Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006, Ann Arbor, MI

I noticed a CFI renewal clinic in Soaring Magazine, but I didn't think I could fit it into my schedule until I got some friendly encouragement from John McCormick, our very friendly CFI. You don't have to be a CFI to attend these clinics, and the amount of information that you can pick up at one is simply incredible.
I'd just spent the last previous Saturday with some of the best glider pilots in the country, and this weekend turned out to be just as good. The instructors were Bob Wander, whom I got to meet, Dean Carswell, and Rich Carlson from the Soaring Safety Foundation who I met the previous weekend at the ChicagoLand Glider Council Safety Meeting.
They just don't come any bigger than Bob Wander. Bob is a tremendously energetic individual, and very passionate about the subject of Flight instruction. Bob covered "Fundamentals of Instruction", "Flight Information Publications", "Teaching Aerodynamics", "Human Factors", and "Instructor Professionalism". Bob wrote a good portion of the new FAA Glider Flying Handbook. Other contributors were Rolf Hertenstein on Weather (Meteorology), and Paul Schweizer Jr. Bob played segments of the new Sporty's DVD, "Transition to Gliders", to which he contributed and in which he appears. I had a copy within a week. The section on Spins alone is worth the cost of this video.
Dean Carswell, pictured on the right, is from the Dallas area and has flown 140 different types of gliders. Dean is an attorney, and appropriately covered "Flight Safety", "Practical Test Standards", "Federal Air Regulations (FAR)", "CFI Liability", and "Controlled Flight Into Terrain".
There was quite a bit of discussion about flexibility in planning landing approaches, and it appears that Dean has made significant contributions to this concept. The most comprehensive description of these concepts can probably be found in the "Accuracy Landings" chapter of Dean's Cross-Country Handbook for Students.
Rich Carlson, Chairman of the Soaring Safety Foundation, covered "Collision Avoidance", "Flight Maneuvers and Procedures", "Recurrency/Transition Training", "Weather Analysis", and has actually come up with a way to organize teaching the "National Airspace System". Rich lives in Illinois and flies with the Chicago Glider Club. He is currently working in Michigan and we hope he will be able to visit our club and fly with us this summer.
Rich maintains the Soaring Safety Foundation's Web site, which contains a great deal of safety-related information available for free download. One SSF program that was discussed at the clinic is the on-line Wing Runner Course, which stresses safety during glider operations. This course can be completed on-line, and after successfully completing a twenty question Exam, a Certificate of Completion can be printed.
The Michigan Union was the site of the 2006 Michigan Soaring Banquet. Bob Wander was the guest speaker. The food was great, and so was the facility.
Special thanks to Orrin Beckham and the crew at Sandhill Soaring Club for organizing this great event.