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Scholarship, refresher classes offer avenues to safer flight for Alaska pilots

  • Author: Colleen Mondor
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published May 11, 2016

As Alaskans ramp up for the busy summer flying season, the UAA Aviation Technology Division has announced three short classes in May for general aviation pilots and aircraft owners. These noncredit courses will be taught by regular UAA faculty and offered on two-day schedules around normal working hours for ease of attendance. They are designed to refresh knowledge of piloting and maintenance skills in an effort to enhance aviation safety in the state.

"Preventative Maintenance for Pilots" will cover common preventative maintenance tasks and how to keep proper maintenance entries. It is offered Fri., May 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sat., May 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a cost of $199.

"Instrument Pilot Review" is for those pilots who have not flown instruments in some time and would like to review some fundamentals, especially if they have a checkride scheduled. It is offered Tues., May 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Thurs., May 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for a cost of $159.

"Private Pilot -- Flight Fundamentals Review" is for those who have not flown in a while and would like to review basic airspace and regulations and catch up on any changes to the Alaska aviation environment. It is offered Tues., May 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Thurs., May 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for a cost of $159.

For questions or to enroll, visit the Continuing Education Department's aviation safety course registration page or contact the Aviation Technology Division at 907-786-7200.

Alaska pilots should also be aware that the Dale Carlson Memorial Foundation scholarship for a Spidertracks tracking device and a year of service is open again for applications. The award is directed toward pilots who may not otherwise have the funds to outfit their planes with this important safety feature.

The first scholarship for 2016 was presented earlier this month at the Great Alaska Aviation Gathering to lifelong Alaska resident Tom Vitt. According to a press release, after a 20-year hiatus from flying, Vitt is back in the air and determined to be as safety-conscious as possible.

"Safety is paramount," said Vitt, "but the cost of getting into flying again has meant I've previously only carried the safety equipment I've been required to. I have tried low-cost handheld tracking devices to supplement required devices but like other pilots, I found they are not designed for aviation and in remote areas like Alaska performance can be unreliable."

According to Harry Kieling, Chairman of the Alaskan Aviation Safety Foundation which administers the scholarship, Vitt is exactly the type of pilot the scholarship is aimed at helping.

"Flying can be an expensive passion," Kieling said. "Many times new pilots may be forced to sacrifice what we feel are critical safety devices. The purpose of the Dale Carlson Memorial Foundation is to put a Spider in as many aircraft as possible and help turn that around."

Applications are currently being accepted for the fall deadline of Sept. 30. The application can be downloaded on the safety foundation's website or the Dale Carlson Memorial Foundation page on Facebook.

Contact Colleen Mondor at or @chasingray.

The Dale Carlson Memorial Foundation is a partnership between the Carlson family, Spidertracks, Alaskan Aviation Safety Foundation, Northern Lights Avionics, and the Alaska Airmen's Association and was created for the purpose of helping to keep Alaskan pilots safe. The foundation was established in memory of Dale Carlson, a father, husband, son, brother, friend and outstanding pilot.

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