March 15, 2010

If the 2009 Pacific Northwest Business Aviation Association’s “Safety Day” was a resounding success, participants agreed that this year’s event “blew it away.”

“I was in awe,” said Jim Bennett, president of PNBAA. Themed “The Human Side of Aviation,” the all-day regional safety event was held March 4 in Seattle’s Museum of Flight. Some 150 aviation department managers, pilots, safety officers, risk managers, directors of maintenance, schedulers and dispatchers attended, welcoming the chance to hear directly from aviation safety experts. Breakfast, lunch and all course materials were included in the $120 admission cost.

The “Human Side of Aviation” was the focus of the 2010 Safety Day, because statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) show about 75% of aviation accidents are due to human error. “We’ve done about as much as we can to make the aircraft and aviation systems as safe as possible,” said Dave Lehman, secretary of the PNBAA Board of Directors. ”It’s the human that is the weak link in aviation safety.”

Speakers at the Safety Day comprised “an all-star cast,” said Kristi Ivey, NBAA Northwest Regional Representative. They included Sean Roberts of National Test Pilot Schools; former NTSB investigator Greg Feith; United 232 Captain Al Haynes; aviation safety analyst John Nance and the originator of Bombardier’s annual “Safety Stand-Down” events, Bob Agostino. “Several aviation department managers told me they planned to send as many people as they can next year because of the value they see in the event,” Ivey added.

At the Safety Day, PNBAA President Bennett and Sue Carroll also presented a check for $2,500 to students from Aviation High School, the only college preparatory aviation-themed high school in the northwest. The money came from a PNBAA-sponsored charity golf tournament held last year.