Aviation instructors are on the front line of efforts to improve the safety record of the aviation industry. Safety, one of the most fundamental considerations in aviation training, is paramount. FAA regulations intended to promote safety by eliminating or mitigating conditions that can cause death, injury, or damage are comprehensive, but even the strictest compliance with regulations may not be sufficient to guarantee safety. Rules and regulations are designed to address known or suspected conditions detrimental to safety, but there is always a chance that some new combination of circumstances not contemplated by the regulations will arise. It is important for aviation instructors to be proactive to ensure the safety of flight or maintenance training activities.
The safety practices aviation instructors emphasize have a long-lasting effect on students. Generally, students consider their instructor to be a role model whose habits they attempt to imitate, whether consciously or unconsciously. The instructor’s advocacy and description of safety practices mean little to a student if the instructor does not demonstrate them consistently. For example, if a maintenance student observes the instructor violating safety practices by not wearing safety glasses around hazardous equipment, the student probably will not be conscientious about using safety equipment when the instructor is not around. One of the best actions a flight or maintenance instructor can take to enhance aviation safety is to emphasize safety by example.
Another way for the instructor to advocate safety is to join the new FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam). The FAASTeam is dedicated to improving the aviation safety record by conveying safety principles and practices through training, outreach, and education. More information is available at FAASafety.gov.