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FAA Wings Program

posted May 23, 2003

I highly encourage pilots to participate in the FAA Wings program, which is also called the “Pilot Proficiency Awards Program.” This is a better alternative to a Flight Review to stay current. Here’s why:
FAA Wings

  • For pilots who do not fly very often, the minimum of 1 hour of ground and 1 hour of flight instruction every 2 years during a Flight Review is typically not sufficient.
  • If you are ever involved in an FAA action, being an active participant in the Wings program will work in your favor. It shows the FAA that you are a concerned about safety and your own proficiency.
  • Some insurance carriers give discounts on their rates for pilots that are active participants in the Wings program.
  • You get a set of wings from the FAA each time you advance to a new level. The only way to obtain these wings is to earn them.
  • Completing a Wings level satisfies the requirement for a flight review, this is documented in FAR 61.56 (e).

It’s very easy to complete a wings level. The full details are in AC 61-91H, but here is a quick summary. There are 20 Wings levels, and you can complete a maximum of one level per year. To earn an additional wings level in an airplane, you need to complete an FAA-sanctioned safety seminar (which you can even do online — see the links below) and a total of 3 hours of flight training including: stalls, slow flight, maneuvers, takeoffs, landings and instrument flight. Once you’ve completed the ground and flight training, complete the Wings Application Form and send it to your local FAA Flight Standards District Office.

Online Courses

The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has developed these online courses are FAA-approved as the required ground training for an additional Wings level. You’ll still need to get the required flight instruction in addition to completing one of these courses.

The AOPA Air Safety Foundation also has an information page on the Wings program.

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