Jan. 24, 2017

NBAA recently participated in the inaugural meeting of a National Academy of Sciences working group, which is tasked with developing effective safety-assurance methods within the National Airspace System (NAS). The Aviation Safety Assurance Committee is composed of 17 stakeholders from across the aviation community, including representatives from federal agencies, industry groups and academia.

Steve Brown

“It’s a multiplicity of folks with strong technical and policy backgrounds,” said Steve Brown, NBAA’s chief operating officer, of his fellow committee members. “I look forward to this opportunity to bring the business aviation perspective to this discussion on methods to improve our airspace system.

“The committee’s focus is on enhancing air traffic control safety, including the proper use, maintenance and procurement of system hardware and software,” explained Brown. “While there’s been a lot of progress made in recent years on safety assurance protocols within the NAS, including broadly through development and use of safety management systems, there’s always room for further improvement.”

The committee will meet several times this year to discuss plans by federal and private entities to support the development of system-wide safety assurance methods, tools and technologies. The first open session, which took place Jan. 23 and 24, featured presentations about air traffic modeling, cybersecurity, and safety-assurance research programs conducted by NASA, the FAA and private universities, including the Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University.

“At any given hour, there are 5,000 aircraft operating within our airspace system, transporting over 2 million passengers a day,” noted Brown. “Our mission is to develop the proper metrics that can be used to enhance and demonstrate safety assurance within the airspace on a real-time basis.”

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit organization of researchers tasked with offering independent, objective advice on matters related to science and technology. Congress tasked the group to research methods to further improve aviation safety, and committee members will submit their recommendations later this year for further consideration and research, and potential implementation.