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PRESIDENT'S PERSPECTIVE

The Record Shows That Safety Remains Our Highest Priority

By Ed Bolen

Business aircraft operators have always made safety a top priority, and recent statistics have reflected the industry’s safety emphasis. According to National Transportation Safety Board data, 2009 was one of the safest years ever for the industry, continuing a long-standing record of safety comparable to that for the airlines.

Certainly, enhancements in technology and training are helping push accident rates down. But even with these advances, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels – we know that even one aircraft accident is too many.

That’s why NBAA has always provided tools to help the industry continue building on its safety record. For example, the Association co-sponsors numerous events – such as the Safety Standdown and Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar – that facilitate the sharing of important safety knowledge and best practices.

Of course, NBAA Members don’t need to attend an event to access many of the Association’s safety resources. Helpful safety information is included in the copy of Business Aviation Insider you are holding. In this, NBAA’s second annual Insider devoted to safety issues, articles explore the advantages of using an SMS flight risk assessment tool, the need for cockpit discipline and the latest on tools to help operators fly safely through the upcoming thunderstorm season, among other topics.


“We cannot afford to rest on our laurels – we know that even one aircraft accident is too many.”

Along with NBAA’s efforts to promote safety education within the industry, we know that it is also important for NBAA to ensure that government officials are aware of our commitment to safety. That’s why I recently testified before a House subcommittee hearing on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) oversight of on-demand charter operators.

In testimony, I pointed to my role as co-chair of an industry/government Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), which was tasked with updating safety regulations for on-demand operators. In 2005, the ARC submitted more than 140 recommendations to the FAA on a myriad of operational issues, including pilot training, flight duty and rest limits, FAA oversight and other matters.

While I hope those recommendations will be adopted soon, I told lawmakers that additional measures can be pursued to foster charter safety, including enactment of specific new and recurrent training for the FAA’s Part 125/135 inspectors, and an increased emphasis on balancing the inspectors’ workload with available resources.

In conclusion, I reminded the House committee members that business aviation plays a vital role in the nation’s economy and transportation system, but in order for all of those essential functions to continue, safety must continue to be a central part of our industry’s focus and planning. Congress understood this fact, and I know NBAA Members do as well.