Feb. 7, 2019

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published its biennial 2019-2020 Most Wanted List, describing what the board considers transportation’s most important safety improvements.

On the NTSB’s list this year is to “Improve the Safety of Part 135 Aircraft Flight Operations,” including safety improvements related to Part 135 air charter, air taxi, air medical and other operators. The board said these operators should implement a safety management system (SMS) to mitigate overall risk in the operation and flight data monitoring programs to identify and correct deviations from company procedures, adding the FAA has required Part 121 airlines to implement and maintain an SMS since 2018.

Finally, the board recommended Part 135 operators train fixed-wing aircraft pilots to mitigate the risks of controlled flight into terrain. Helicopter operators are already required to conduct this training.

The combined Part 135 safety improvements are the only aviation-specific item on the current Most Wanted List. Its inclusion is related to 51 Part 135 accidents in 2017 and 38 in 2016.

“NBAA has long encouraged all business aircraft operators, including Part 135 operators, to implement a robust safety management system to identify and mitigate risks in their operations,” said Mark Larsen, NBAA senior manager of safety and flight operations. “We also urge operators to participate in narrative safety and flight data monitoring data sharing programs, including the FAA’s ASIAS [Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing] program.”

NBAA has repeatedly emphasized the need for scenario-based training, most recently in comments to the FAA regarding a draft ATP and Type Rating for Airplane Airman Certificate Standards, added Brian Koester, NBAA’s senior manager for flight operations and regulations. Koester pointed out recommendations for scenario-based training are mutually beneficial between regulators and industry, leading to a common goal of improved aviation safety.

NBAA’s Safety and Domestic Operations Committees will further review the NTSB’s recommendations applicable to this Most Wanted List item and develop appropriate resources for member companies to increase their focus on these safety improvements.

The NTSB’s Most Wanted List identifies top safety improvements across all modes of transportation, intending to guide lawmakers, industry and other stakeholders in their efforts to improve safety.

Learn more about the NTSB’s 2019-2020 Most Wanted List

Learn more about NBAA’s Safety Committee and other safety initiatives