Our airspace is now shared by pilots of both manned and unmanned aircraft. Often, we don’t understand enough about this new mix of aircraft operations. That’s why it is imperative for everyone to share a common understanding of how and why this blend works, and how to maintain and improve the impeccable safety record that general aviation has enjoyed for decades.

In order to improve this understanding by both groups, the FAA yesterday announced it is holding a webinar to address the issue. This webinar is an important resource to get all pilots on the same page and will answer many of the misconceptions that we all have about manned and unmanned operations.

The webinar is part of the FAA’s WINGS program and we encourage all our readers to get involved in this Pilot Proficiency Program which is designed to help aviators build an educational curriculum suitable for their unique flight requirements. The program encourages pilots to continue their aviation educational pursuits and requires training, review, and flight proficiency in the Areas of Operation (found in current Practical Test Standards ‘PTS’ and their eventual replacement Airman Certification Standards or ACS) that correspond with the leading accident causal factors.

The event is co-hosted by the Portland, Maine FSDO (FAA Flight Standards District Office) and WINGsReality EDU, a private online ground school with offices in Maine and Florida, and can be attended live on the WINGsReality EDU campus in Orono, Maine or online via webinar.  It is free to attend on campus, but a small fee ($6.95) is charged for online access; there are 200 seats online and 20 seats in the classroom on campus available for attendees. Please make sure to register early whether attending online or in class so the organizers can plan accordingly.

We reached out to Michael Lessard, co-founder/Chief Academic Officer of WINGsReality EDU and coordinator of this event, to explore the possibility of future dates in case demand exceeds availability.

“Of course it’s possible to add another date if we have more registrants than available seats,” Lessard told Commercial UAV News. “It is our intention that the two groups interact in common forums. This webinar is not about how to fly a drone or a manned aircraft; It’s all about how do we interact in shared airspace and how we understand the rules that guide each industry and how these rules interact and fit into the FAA safety framework.”

“The way these webinars work, once we reach the maximum enrollment for the ‘live’ event, we change enrollment over to the ‘recorded version’,” Lessard continued. “In the recorded version, there is no limit to the number of people that can enroll. The recorded version is available for viewing by noon the day after the live event. If your readers follow the link provided below and create a user account, we will add them to the list of attendees free of charge. All you have to do is establish a user account. We’ll take care of the rest for you.”

For more details about the event and to register officially please visit


We encourage our readers to register as soon as possible for the webinar in particular and to explore the WINGS program in general. It’s a valuable and cost-effective way to maintain our piloting skills tuned and to get FAA-approved credits in the FAAST safety program.