436th Airlift Wing, Dover Air Force Base, DE

By Staff Writer

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE (AFB) AERO CLUB of the 436th Airlift Wing (AW) at Dover AFB, DE, was awarded the 2022 Aero Club Safety Certificate.

The Dover AFB Aero Club’s safety record reflects the manager’s, instructors’, and mechanics’ professionalism and their determination to serve the base community safely.

The club’s Flight Safety program was inspected twice by the wing and twice by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). These inspections evaluated compliance with the United States Air Force, FAA, and Department of Veterans Affairs directives governing their operations and safety programs, and the club passed them all with flying colors.

The Dover AFB Aero Club is extremely active, with more than 1,300 hours of mishap-free flying in fiscal year 2022. The 170 flying members of the Dover AFB Aero Club include 10 flight instructors, two ground instructors, and 40 student pilots. Five obtained new pilot certification; two gained certification above private pilot.

Club supervision is intensely focused on safety in day-to-day operations both inside and outside the club. Chief Flight Instructor and Club Safety Officer Joe Nickle, who is an FAA-certified Aviation Safety Counselor, volunteers in the community to counsel pilots the FAA has identified for unsafe practices. Aero Club Safety meetings are also open to the public in conjunction with the FAA Safety Program.

The Dover AFB Aero Club uses Operational Risk Management (ORM) in daily operations, as well as long-term strategic planning. The instructors use ORM to develop crosswind and heat index limitations to benefit pilot trainees. These assessment tools helped instructors consider the level of risk for students based on individual situations and to make confident decisions to keep their students safe while flying aircraft.

Dover AFB Aero Club members remain alert, aware, and safe while off station as they are briefed on procedures to inform air traffic control or airport management of any suspicious activity or potential hijacking issues they may encounter while operating Aero Club aircraft.