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Your New Year’s Resolution: Get Involved!
By Radek Wyrzykowski
January 2017 - From sharing our flight experiences in our EAA/IMC Club groups to sharing the spirit of the holidays, I hope you had a delightful holiday and this New Year will be filled with strength, happiness, peace, and aviation proficiency.
I am sure you were bombarded in December by e-mails and newsletters containing reviews of 2016 from the viewpoint of different organizations and people, and you have heard about all the potential New Year resolutions. I wanted to be different, or maybe I didn’t want to be lost in all the noise. Bottom line, we decided not to publish the IMC Advisor in December and now is the time to look back at the entire year of 2016.
The United States has the largest and most diverse GA community in the world, with more than 220,000 aircraft, including amateur-built aircraft. Per the latest aviation accident statistics released by the National Transportation Safety Board in 2016, Part 91 general aviation accidents and fatalities continued their downward trend in 2015. The fatality rate in 2015 was the lowest it has been in many years. I hope your involvement in the IMC Club had a role in it.
It was a busy time for everyone involved with proficiency programs and especially EAA/IMC Club here at the EAA headquarters. We have transitioned most existing IMC Clubs to the EAA program structure and opened many new ones. We have also started the rollout of our new program: VMC Club, modeled after the philosophy of the IMC Club system and designed for pilots who are not instrument rated. Here I must say thank you to everyone involved. From members participating in meetings in all parts of the U.S., Canada, and Australia to coordinators and CFIs involved with this program, I admire your contribution and enthusiasm. It is truly unparalleled.
New resources were developed and now are available for all members. Among them are our new “Find an IMC Club near you” map and search engine, and SAFEBOOK, which is a place where you can find safety pilots in your neighborhood or you can elect to become one. Our first issue of IMC Club Advisor was published in October. Remember, it is for you and by you. So, if you have a good aviation article you would like to get published, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are many projects and expansions of both IMC and VMC Club programs planned for this year but I have one leading New Year’s resolution: Get all pilots involved!
This program from its inception was designed to create a community of pilots to share information, provide recognition, foster communications, and create safe and proficient aviators. The IMC Club concept was born years ago, when I completed my first solo instrument flight in actual IMC. It happened the day after I got my instrument rating. It was then when I realized I was not ready for that experience, in a total contrast to what my FAA certificate said. My realization brought me to the conclusion that the training and minimum knowledge required by the government have nothing to do with my safety and skill. Practical knowledge is what will make someone a good and safe pilot, but it will only come with experience. I strongly believe we not only have an obligation but also a responsibility to let others learn from our own mistakes. You will be surprised how much you can help, and in the process learn from others. So, next time you look over our IMC Club map or explore SAFEBOOK to find safety pilots to practice with, please remember if there is no IMC or VMC Club near you, you can easily establish one yourself. And please remember that for someone to find a safety pilot in his or her neighborhood, someone else must elect and volunteer to be one. Your involvement is what makes this program possible! Please help, get involved, and benefit in the process yourself. After all, it is all about what we love most: aviation!