Saturday, March 22, 2008

Goodbye old WINGS, hello new WINGS

The old Wings safety program that we all knew is now officially gone. This has come as a shock to many pilots who relied on it for their flight reviews. In its place however is a new and improved version of the program, one that addresses some of the issues and shortcomings of the old program.

The new WINGS is a web-based program that tracks your training and promotes personal proficiency. The old WINGS program was time based; go to an FAA safety seminar and do the three hours of training. No standard of proficiency was specified. The new WINGS program is based on both knowledge and proficiency. It is modeled on consistent recurrent training to PTS standards, a paradigm that has proven successful in both airline and corporate flying. As with the old program, it is entirely voluntary. In order to participate, you need to have a pilot license and a current medical. Student pilots may participate in the program, but they will not be able to receive credit for training.

Training is broken down into three phases — basic, advanced and master. Completing the requirement for the basic phase will count as a flight review. Within the phases there are core elements and elective elements. Completing the requirements for the basic phase constitutes a flight review.

How do you, both flight instructor and pilot, participate in the new WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program?

  • Go to the website ( and register. You must hold an FAA license and a current medical.
  • Complete the pilot profile for the type of training you wish to do. This does not necessarily have to reflect your certificates. It may be tailored to the type of flying you do.
  • Complete the required and elective training requirements.
  • Submit your completed credits for validation.
  • Use the system to track your proficiency.

As with the old system, you must fly with an instructor in order to complete your training. Both the flight instructor and the pilot must be registered in order to obtain credit. If the flight instructor is not registered, the flight training must be verified by a registered instructor.

The instructor doing the training must put an endorsement of training in the pilot’s logbook.

“I certify that [pilot], holder of pilot certificate number [number], has satisfactorily demonstrated proficiency in all tasks as outlined in the WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program activity course number [number] on [date].
Name, certificate number, date, signature”

I have made it my goal to do my flight review, which expires in May, by working my way through the Basic phase of the new WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program. This should give me a much better understanding of the program, and I am looking forward to doing it.