In 1958 Congress passed into law the historic "Federal Aviation Act of 1958" which resulted in creation of the current Federal Aviation Administration. One very important stipulation of this historic Act states:

"The FAA Administrator shall regulate air commerce in such a manner as to best promote its development and safety."

With this in mind in the mid–1960's former FAA Flight Standards Division Manager Pete Campbell – who eventually became the first manager of what is now the "FAA Aviation Safety Program" – proposed creation of an outreach safety-education program for all general aviation pilots intended to refresh, maintain and improve pilot knowledge, skills and attitude toward flight safety. In 1968 the FAA instituted a two year test-program involving the Central and Southwest FAA Regions. The new concept was a major success with both general aviation pilots and the FAA. In 1970 FAA formally approved, funded and initiated the full fledged "Aviation Safety Program" or "ASP" as its know today.

The current Aviation Safety Program is comprised of two sections: "Operations,"which involves all aspect of pilot and flight activity, and "Airworthiness," which addresses recurrent education and safety awareness associated with maintenance, and technical areas of aviation. The ASP is comprised of National Managers in Washington D.C., a Regional Manager for each FAA Region, one Operations and one Airworthiness Safety Program Manager (SPM) for each Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) and a loyal group of more than 4500 volunteer Aviation Safety Counselors (ASC's) who are selected, designated and formally appointed by FAA FSDO Safety Program Managers. Safety Counselors, who are comprised of CFI's, airline pilots, A&P/IA mechanics and professionals from many other aviation fields, volunteer their time to support the Safety Program and receive no FAA compensation. Safety Counselors provide a broad array of assistance to FAA Safety Program Managers such as counseling pilots on safety/regulatory/maintenance issues and organizing and conducting Safety Seminars.

FSDO Safety Program Managers are responsible to assure that regularly scheduled Safety Seminars and Safety Clinics are provided at key airports or aviation areas within their District. Safety Counselors often provide assistance with location and scheduling seminars and in many cases develop and provide seminars themselves.

What Is The SLO-FAA Aviation Safety Program?

The San Jose FAA FSDO has geographic jurisdiction and responsibility for Safety Program Seminars for all San Luis Obispo County and Monterey area pilot and maintenance airmen. The SJC FSDO has provided periodic Safety Seminars in the PRB, SBP and Oceano areas for many years. However the remoteness of SLO airports to San Jose has created scheduling and presentation hardships for the FSDO over the years in providing required seminars. Therefore in 1996, Patrick Duncan, who is a local SLO County FAA Safety Counselor for the SJC FSDO since 1974, volunteered to formally establish and manage the SLO Aviation Safety Program. The SLO Safety Program is a locally based, managed and funded extension-outreach of the San Jose FSDO Aviation Safety Program. The SLO Safety Program provides six bi-monthly seminars which are held in January, March, May, July, September and November. All seminars are free and held at the SLO Veterans Memorial Hall, 801 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo on the second Tuesday of the month from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM. Reservations are not required and complimentary refreshments are served.

All SLO Aviation Safety Program seminars qualify for full credit toward FAA "Wings Program" awards as well as for industry discounts from certain aviation insurance providers.

At each seminar the SLO Safety Program also provides a free by-monthly aviation safety newsletter called "SLO-FLIGHT" which contains current safety and operational information on SLO county airports, air traffic control, current maintenance information and guest authored articles on pertinent aviation issues. The Safety Program also provides a free e-mail based "Safety Alert" notification service to all pilots wishing to participate. Safety Alerts provide up to the minute information on local NOTAM's, airport construction, military flight training activities and other safety related subjects of imminent concern to flight safety and airworthiness.

The SLO Safety Program receives no FAA funding and relies on volunteer donations from seminar attendees and local pilot/aviation organizations.

All existing or potential pilots and aviation maintenance personnel are always welcome and encouraged to attend the free bimonthly Safety Seminars which are held at the SLO Veterans Memorial Hall, 801 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo from 6:30 to 9:00 PM on the second Tuesday of each odd numbered month.

For questions or more information contact: Gary Sparks at gary@sloasp.org or Jim Willis at jim@pcfaviation.com.