DVIDS – News – General Aviation Safety Group Provides Resources for Aviator Enthusiasts


At the 189th Airlift Wing, the Safety Office has many responsibilities. A Guardsman Drill Status, Staff Sgt. Heather Metzler, an 189 AW Safety Technician, also provides safety advice in a civilian capacity and as an Aviation Safety Inspector. As an Aviation Safety Inspector, she launched the General Aviation Assembly Cluster, a group created to provide general aviation pilots with a way to network and learn flight safety techniques and to share the best practices between them.

“We actually have a lot of flyers in our wing,” Metzler said. “This group is for our pilots, civilian recreational pilots, and anyone who generally has access to an aircraft. We talk about the requirements of general aviation and look for ways to help our Airmen achieve the required certifications to be safe while flying. It really helps us nurture and encourage others to achieve their goals.

Currently, the cluster consists of 25 wing members. Officers and enlisted men are all encouraged to join. Pilots of unmanned aircraft are also welcome to join, as similar requirements must be met to conduct unmanned flight activities. The group is also open to other members of the Arkansas National Guard and anyone with access to Little Rock AFB.

One of the benefits of the group includes discussions to meet federal aviation regulatory requirements from the Federal Aviation Administration. The flight review is performed every 24 calendar months and requires one hour of ground training and one hour of flight training. Through the Wings program, a pilot is able to meet this requirement sooner, becoming more proficient and confident in their civilian flight capabilities as a pilot flying.

“The Wings program basically helps pilots maintain themselves at a higher level,” Metzler said. “If a pilot hasn’t flown with an instructor for say 23 months and asks you if you want to fly, would you feel comfortable with that?” There is a rule that says that in order to pick up passengers on your plane, you must have made three take-offs and landings in the past 90 days. Would you like to get on the plane? The regulations say you can do it, but just because you can, should you? This is what we are trying to help people understand.

“The worst thing that can happen is an accident and someone dies. It would be devastating to know that we haven’t done everything we can to prevent this from happening, ”Metzler said. “We have all these things in the military that require a safety net, but in civilian capacity, there is none of that.”

The group aims to educate both novice and seasoned pilots about safety in order to improve the flight culture, make it more safety-oriented and anchor the importance of taking proper safety measures in the air. Metzler believes that realizing that the “normal” culture is not safe is the first step in raising pilots in a safe flight culture.

If you are interested in attending the cluster, the group meets every exercise Sunday at 10 a.m. For more information on the location, call 501-987-7959.

Date taken: 28.09.2021
Date posted: 28.09.2021 13:49
Story ID: 406202

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