The NBAA Safety Committee has identified the association’s Top Safety Focus Areas for 2019-2020, highlighting a number of priorities in support of a greater commitment to business aviation safety standards. These safety priorities, grouped into two areas – Top Safety Issues and Foundations for Safety – are intended to help promote safety-enhancing discussions and initiatives within flight departments and among owner-flown operations.

Download a summary version of the 2019-2020 Top Safety Focus Areas (387KB, PDF).

Top Safety Issues

Reduce the Risk of Loss of Control Inflight

Loss of control inflight (LOC-I) accidents result in more fatalities throughout general aviation than any other category of accident. The alarming consistency of catastrophic outcomes in this type of accident continue to make its contributing factors a targeted issue for safety improvement by NBAA and aviation professional organizations across the globe. Learn more about this severe threat on NBAA’s LOC-I information page, where you will find a wide variety of resources, expert safety presentations, and information on upset prevention and recovery training providers across the country.

Reduce the risk of Runway Excursions

Runway excursions continue to afflict the business aviation industry. Operators can prevent most excursions by mitigating well identified hazards, including adhering to stabilized approach and landing criteria, and using accurate and timely runway condition data. The Safety Committee continues to raise awareness of these highly preventable incidents by utilizing a data driven approach to enable all operators to learn from the experiences of their peers.

Reduce the Risk of Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT)

Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) has occurred in more than 15 percent of general aviation accidents and fatalities. Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems (EGPWS) and other ground collision avoidance systems are exceptionally capable technological solutions, but not all business aviation aircraft are so equipped. Further, safety data reporting on EGPWS alerting still points to loss of terrain awareness that would have otherwise resulted in catastrophe had it not been for a last-minute save by the crew. NBAA continues to raise awareness, push for scenario-based training, and spark discussions on technology and best practices to reduce the risk of CFIT.

Reduce the Risk of Aircraft Ground Operation and Handling Incidents

Within business aviation, far more aircraft suffer damage on the ground than in the air. Although these events rarely result in serious injuries or loss of life, they can be very expensive and hinder, if not cancel altogether, any ensuing flight operations. NBAA encourages the adoption of robust Safety Management Systems (SMS) among all operators and FBOs which would include enhanced standards, training, and procedures to prevent avoidable mishaps on ramps and in hangars.

Improve the Safety Performance of Single-Pilot Operations

Single pilot operations have enhanced risks when compared to multi pilot operations, demonstrated by the fact that single pilot aircraft are 30 percent more likely to be involved in an accident than aircraft with dual pilot crews. Single pilot operations are more susceptible to task saturation; when task saturation increases, so too does the number of errors. The Safety Committee has an important role to play in arming pilots with tools and training to safely manage single pilot operations. Examples of these efforts include the annual Single-Pilot Safety Standdown event, contributions to news and resources, and further outreach to the single-pilot community.

Increase the Use and Sharing of Human-Reported and Automated Safety Data

Human-reported and automated safety data can provide a wealth of information to business aircraft operators. However, in a survey conducted by the NBAA Safety Committee, only 45% of association members said they participate in some sort of an automated safety data sharing effort.

In the aftermath of recent incidents, NBAA members have seen data pointing to the prevalence of common causes throughout the industry. How many incidents might business aviation prevent by taking advantage of this information before a tragedy, rather than after? Without operators utilizing or providing data, these critical failures can go unnoticed, even in the most robust SMS, resulting in incidents and potentially loss of life. The Safety Committee is developing tools to promote the use and sharing of data among business aircraft operators not already doing so.

Improve Defenses Against Automation Mismanagement

Aircraft and avionics manufacturers have developed amazing tools to enhance situational awareness, ATC communications, aircraft control, and aircraft system management. To take advantage of this technology, however, crew must have a full understanding of all modes and capabilities that this technology offers, as well as the training to understand when it is not producing the desired outcome. Over-reliance and over-dependence on cockpit automation can induce complacency and a reluctance to actively monitor aircraft flight path and performance, as well as disconnect the automation when it is prudent to do so. Moreover, the mismanagement of automation has played a role in incidents related to most of the other Top Safety Focus Areas.

Foundations for Safety


Professionalism is the pursuit of excellence through discipline, ethical behavior and continuous improvement. It is a cornerstone focus of active safety management where professional behaviors rule and safe actions become a byproduct. Professionalism is about who we are and how we approach everything that we do. Learn more about professionalism in business aviation.

Safety Leadership

The entire organization must work together to fully embrace a proactive safety mindset supported by a “just culture” and evidenced by not only participation and belief in the culture, but the willingness to share safety data with fellow aviation professionals. This second foundation for safety highlights the need for an effective set of beliefs, values, attitudes and practices from executive management to the flight line. Review NBAA’s safety leadership resources.

Technical Excellence

The common denominator for excellence in aviation decision making, risk management and flight path management is training. Improved business aviation training will lead to a reduction in loss of control, runway excursions and other business aviation accidents. Training programs need to address the skill sets required of business aviation professionals today in a way that teaches them new skills and sharpens old ones. Find an NBAA Professional Development course to help enhance your skills, review scholarship opportunities for training courses around the country and consult NBAA’s Training Management System Guide (PDF).

Risk Management

On a daily basis, business aviation operators must effectively identify, analyze and eliminate or mitigate the hazards and associated risks that threaten the viability of the organizations for which they operate. Learn more about safety management systems and benchmark your risk management policies against industry peers using data from over 800 business aviation professionals collected in the 2016 Business Aviation Safety Survey.

Fitness for Duty

In a physically and mentally demanding environment, a clear mind and healthy body is essential to safe business aircraft operation, maintenance and management. Operators must address fatigue, sleep apnea, improper use of medications and many other physical and psychological aeromedical issues. Find more information and resources related to fitness for duty on NBAA’s Human Factors page and download the collaborative NBAA and Flight Safety Foundation publication NBAA’s Human Factors page and download the collaborative NBAA and Flight Safety Foundation publication Duty/Rest Guidelines for Business Aviation to review science-based guidelines for duty and rest scheduling.