It's Time to Stand Down

From NAFI's Chair

It's Time to Stand Down

We are in the throes of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the nature of the illness, it has strained healthcare systems in many parts of the world to the breaking point. Where this hasn't happened, the tragic potential is there. In the countries hardest hit, such as Italy, there has been a lockdown requiring everyone other than those in the most essential services to stay home. The United Kingdom has ordered a similar lockdown. Here, in the United States, some areas where the pandemic has hit hardest, such as California, New York and Washington states, have shut down virtually all non-essential businesses and services and our fellow citizens have been asked to stay home. Almost universally, we have quarantined ourselves, with large gatherings from Sun 'n Fun to the use of Florida's state parks and beaches cancelled, postponed and/or prohibited. We are practicing enhanced sanitation procedures and engaging in something new - "social distancing." None of this should be news to you.

Last week in this space, I suggested Covid-19 safe practices in the flight instruction environment. I wrote that in the optimistic hope that it would be sufficient. It's not. With the guidance of health professionals from both public health agencies and in private practice and with the goal of helping "flatten the curve" in mind, it's time to reassess. Some may disagree, but I believe it's time to stand down and refrain from in-cockpit flight instruction until we have broken the back of this pandemic. I say this because I cannot imagine a way of practicing any form of social distancing within the confines of an aircraft cockpit.

I deliberately use the term "stand down" as a reminder that we do not have to stop all of our aviation activities. Yes, it's frustrating when we can't fly an airplane with our students. However, there are many opportunities to engage with them in other ways. We are fortunate that we live in an age where we can engage other people electronically. Using Skype, Go To Meeting, FaceTime and other tools, we can host virtual educational sessions as effectively as conducting them in person. Those sessions can be structured, or simply hangar talk conversations where students ask questions. Additionally, many flight training organizations are making training content available for pilots at all levels. Working with your students, you can review that material with them, helping both you and your students to remain engaged.

Along those lines, NAFI has several great resources available to help you and your students. First, we have over 35 MentorLIVE webinars archived on a variety of topics of interest, not only for NAFI members but to all pilots. These are available as a public service by NAFI available to anyone and they are eligible for WINGS credit. I urge you to share this with your students for them to explore. Click here for the archive.

Another resource for you to explore is the Professional Development Program, which is a NAFI member benefit. This program helps instructors go beyond their initial training and covers topics ranging from better business practices to teaching methods. You can find it here.

NAFI also makes past issues of our acclaimed Mentor magazine available to our members online. If you remember an article that was helpful or simply want to browse back issues, these are available here.

I will reiterate what I said last week - this is a precautionary landing. The aviation industry has survived 9/11 and we will survive this. With that in mind, NAFI is still planning for AirVenture 2020. In next week's eMentor look for in-depth information about opportunities at Oshkosh, but for now be aware that CFIs are actively being sought to volunteer at EAA's Pilot Proficiency Center (PPC) at AirVenture. More information is available here.

We are also seeking NAFI members to volunteer at our Professional Development Center (PDC) at Oshkosh.   If you are interested, please click here.

Meanwhile, stay safe, follow medical/scientific advice and wash your hands.


Bob Meder,
NAFI Board Chair
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