Expert Insights with Drone Diva Desi
Hi my name is Desiree Ekstein, Drone Diva Desi. I am a FAA certified remote pilot and safety is important to me. I have been a member of the FAA WINGS program since I started studying aviation. Originally the program was designed for general aviation or manned aviation and recent years it has expanded to include UAS. The program provides useful information for commercial remote pilots as well as hobbyists.
The UAS industry is the future, and it is more important than ever to promote education and safety. The latest data reported from the FAA covering February through September 2016 reports of possible UAS (drone) sightings to the FAA air traffic facilities continued to increase during FY 2016. There were 1,274 such reports from February through September last year, compared with 874 for the same period in 2015.
So, what is FAA WINGS and how does this help? It is a Pilot Proficiency Program. It is part of the FAA Safety Team for Safer Skies Through Education. The objective of the WINGS Program is to address the primary accident causal factors that continue to plague the general aviation community. By focusing on this objective, they hope to reduce the number of accidents seen each year for the same causes. It is not an “Awards” program but is instead a true proficiency program, designed to help improve the skills and knowledge of pilots. It encourages an on-going training program.
Credit is given for the courses, seminars or webinars that are taken. They are free, and are designed to promote safety. It may be in the future for commercial UAS pilots, that these educational courses will be an interracial part of the updating and renewal process for Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate holders.
Just to give you an example of some of the topics that have been offered in the past few months in various locations and through webinars:
- “How do I obtain your part 107 commercial remote pilot certificate”
- “Drones – Understanding the New AirportUAS Facility Maps”
- “Drone Airspace Notifications – Authorizations and Waivers”
- “Unmanned Aircraft Systems Safety”
- Commercial UAS Operations under Part 107
- Best Tips, Tricks and Sites for Self-Briefing
Some people find such a value in these courses they will travel quite a distance to attend. Others find the webinars very beneficial. Not all of the courses are specific to UAS, but they are all helpful for the aviation community.
WINGS is a continuing education program. Sign-up to use FAASafety.gov and take part in all it has to offer. Pilots can participate in the WINGS – Pilot Proficiency Program to improve their skills and knowledge and help promote “safer skies”.
Thank you for taking the time to read and learn more about FAA WINGS program. I am available if you have any questions. I also would like to hear from you if there is a specific topic you would like read about. Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion.
“Expert Insight” is the independent views and opinions of the submitting named author of this article.