by Tom Hoffmann, FAA Safety Briefing
Whether you’re a veteran pilot, or an aviation greenhorn dabbling in unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations, you’ll likely need to be able to find airman “stuff” on FAA.gov. And yes, the FAA has plenty of airman related “stuff” available! Everything from air traffic publications, to accident data, to all the latest handbooks and training resources is just a click or two away. However, the question we often hear is, how do I find what I’m looking for? Allow me to offer some guidance that should help make your next visit to FAA.gov more fruitful and efficient.
A good, and often overlooked place to start on the FAA.gov home page is the FAA For You … button located in the upper right corner of the page. Mousing over this button brings up a list of categories based on popular areas of interest (e.g., pilots, mechanics, aviation educators, etc.). If what you’re searching for falls into one of those categories, you’re in business and you will see a new page specifically dedicated to that user group. For example, pilots will see a portal with links to pilot and medical certification resources, training and testing materials, and flight operation and program information. There’s also a helpful tool on the pilot portal for finding out more about the different FAA headquarters and field offices, as well as locating a designee near you.
Another good starting point for your search is to use the A-Z index in the upper right corner, and directly to the left of the FAA For You … link. Numbers are also included on this list, but only for some of the major forms or FAA Orders. If you’re looking for specific regulations or guidelines not listed there, the home page has a portal, front and center, that lists the most recent Advisory Circulars, Airworthiness Directives, forms, notices, and more. The tabs for each of these items also contain search functions to let you search within that group of documents or link to a more comprehensive list.
Most of the information on FAA.gov is also contained within the seven main tabs that run along the top of the site: Aircraft, Airports, Air Traffic, Data & Research, Licenses & Certificates, Regulations & Policies, and Training & Testing. Hovering over any of these brings up a menu of associated sub-topics that are all hyperlinked. This method might require a bit more savviness in terms of knowing where things are located initially, but the menus are organized intuitively. Each page within FAA.gov also displays a navigation menu along the left margin to help you find your way within a particular topic area. In addition, you can always use the search button that appears at the top of any page within FAA.gov.
Going back to the home page layout, you should also notice a “slider” that features a set of recent news items with photos. If what you’re looking for is topical, you might consider toggling through the four or five items there. More featured topics and events can be found near the bottom of the page, including banner ad links that provide quick access to some of the FAA’s more popular areas, like the NextGen and UAS pages.
Safer Skies Through Education
If you’re enrolled in the WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program, you’re likely familiar with the FAA Safety Team’s website, www.FAASafety.gov. If not, have a look. The site is dedicated to aviation safety outreach for pilots and aviation maintenance technicians (AMTs). You’ll find information on hundreds of courses and seminars on any number of aviation safety topics. It also hosts the online part 107 training course for small UAS that active part 61 pilots seeking a remote pilot certificate will need to complete.
FAASafety.gov’s home page is broken out into different portals, including featured courses, upcoming seminars, and both the WINGS and AMT Awards Programs. There’s also a series of quick links at the bottom of the home page that connects you back to several airman relevant areas of FAA.gov.
Still have questions on finding what you need on FAA.gov or FAASafety.gov? Shoot us an email, and we’ll provide vectors to get you to your destination.
Tom Hoffmann is the managing editor of FAA Safety Briefing. He is a commercial pilot and holds an A&P certificate.
This article was originally published in the November/December 2016 issue of FAA Safety Briefing magazine.