LOCK HAVEN - AvSport of Lock Haven, the flight school operating on the Piper Memorial Airport since January 2010, has been designated by the Federal Aviation Administration as an official FAA Safety Team training provider.
AvSport's Chief Flight Instructor Prof. H. Paul Shuch completed his FAASTeam training today, making AvSport the first flight school in central Pennsylvania to gain this approval.
Shuch, a retired engineering professor, started flying in 1961. He has trained pilots for three decades, and served as an FAA safety volunteer since 1983.
"My title keeps changing as the program evolves," noted Shuch. "I have, at different times, been called a safety sentinel, accident prevention counselor, aviation safety advisor, FAASTeam, representative, lead representative and now training provider.
"Whatever you call it, my job is to improve aviation safety by providing additional training to pilots and mechanics," he added.
His popular safety seminars, conducted at the Sentimental Journey Fly-In and other airport events, will now enable participants to receive various FAA safety awards.
AvSport's Training Provider designation was conferred via teleconference by FAA Safety Team National Program Manager Bryan Neville. He and Shuch first met this past January at the Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla.
Shuch was the only FAA Safety Team representative to conduct an FAA-sanctioned safety seminar at this year's Expo.
The first of AvSport's educational offerings to be approved by the FAA under this new designation is its "Airspace Ace" mini-course, offered to licensed sport pilots desiring to fly in the nation's busier, more structured airspace.
"Sport pilots are typically trained to fly at uncongested airports like ours in Lock Haven," Shuch said. "In five days of classroom work and flight instruction, participants in the Airspace Ace course are prepared for flight operations at the largest, busiest airports, where they will safely interact with airliners, air traffic control towers and radar controllers. This is much the same training as I have long provided to commercial pilots, but tailored specifically for sport fliers."
Additional AvSport flight courses will qualify for FAA recognition in the months ahead.
The Sport Pilot license, in which AvSport specializes, is the newest portal of entry into the world of aviation, allowing prospective pilots to become licensed in half the time, and at half the cost, of the traditional private pilot license.