The FAA has implemented significant changes to the Wings Pilot Proficiency Program and the updates seem like a great idea. In the new Wings program, pilots still undergo recurrent training that counts as flight review under 14 CFR 61.56, but that training now defines performance standards like those found in the Practical Test Standards. The new program provides credit to pilots who attend seminars, just like the old program, but the new program now provides on-line courses. You can complete an on-line course at your convenience. When the knowledge portions are combined with the necessary flight portions, you'll receive credit toward a phase of the wings program.
The best news is that the on-line courses and performance standards are all designed to target areas of operation that most often lead to accidents. One of my complaints about the old Wings Program was that pilots could go for years without ever completing an official flight review and, in the process, fall hopelessly out of date with regard to changes in regulations and recommended procedures. What's more, the old wings program didn't specify any completion standards for the flight portion or provide any guidance on how to conduct the flight portion. By targeting areas of operation most closely related to accidents, this new wings program has got to be one of the smartest things I've ever seen the FAA do with regard to GA.
If you haven't already done so, go to the FAASafety website. There you can register, specify your preferences for seminar notification, and define your Wings Program preferences. There even a thorough, animated introduction to the new wings program. Once you've registered, you'll receive occasional email notices about programs in your area.
When you set your Wings Program preferences, you specify your level of pilot interest (private, commercial, ATP or all three) as well as the aircraft category and class (ASEL, AMEL, etc). Then you can locate seminars to attend and on-line knowledge courses that you can complete to begin meeting a phase of the wings program. You can also lookup the flight portions and the PTS tolerances they reference. As you complete knowledge and flight portions, you can track your progress on-line.
Check it out!