The NBAA Safety Committee has identified the association’s Top Safety Focus Areas for 2024, highlighting multiple priorities in support of a greater commitment to business aviation safety standards. These safety priorities, grouped into three areas – Address Preventable Accidents, Engage Unique Operational Concerns, and Identify and Implement Mitigation Strategies – are intended to help promote safety-enhancing discussions and initiatives within flight departments and among owner-flown operations.

Address Preventable Accidents

Loss of Control Inflight

Loss of control inflight (LOC-I) accidents result in more fatalities throughout general aviation than any other accident category. The alarming consistency of catastrophic outcomes in this type of accident continues to make the 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.

Runway Safety

Runway excursions and incursions 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. Runway incursions and wrong surface events can similarly be prevented by reviewing airport diagrams and NOTAMs to have situational awareness of the airport environment as well as fully understanding and complying with air traffic control clearances. 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.

Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT)

Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) has occurred in more than 10 percent of general aviation accidents and fatalities and continues to be a top 4 defining event among business and general aviation accidents. 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 the 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.

Ground Operations and Maintenance Accidents

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.

Engage Unique Operational Concerns

Single-Pilot Accident Rate

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.

Human Factors

Aviators are duty-bound to comply with federal, state, local and international regulations, company policies, and manufacturer procedures. Yet non-compliance remains a significant contributing factor in aircraft accidents and incidents. It is imperative that business aviators in all vocational categories become aware of the extent that non-compliance has proliferated in business aviation, identify the causal factors for non-compliance and develop workable solutions that eliminate non-compliance events. See more about procedural non-compliance.

Fitness for Duty

Following the global COVID-19 pandemic, the industry continues to contend with a significant number of new life stressors and increased intensity of other typical stressors, creating a unique operational concern for the business aviation community. Addressing mental health, fatigue and physical health issues, all elements of the broader concept of Fitness for Duty, remains a priority to ensure the health and wellness of individuals performing safety-sensitive functions in business aviation.

Workforce Challenges

Current projections from one industry training provider note the aviation industry has a significant demand for 1.3 million new professionals in the next decade, including 41,000 business aviation pilots to address attrition and retirements. Given the evolving industry landscape, strategic talent attraction and retention while upholding stringent safety standards has become imperative.

The NBAA Safety Committee’s new Workforce Challenges Working Group will collaborate with key stakeholders to cultivate innovative strategies for fostering careers in business aviation and facilitate the transfer of critical knowledge, particularly emphasizing the cultivation of a robust “safety mindset” among less experienced peers.

Identify and Implement Mitigation Strategies

Safety Management Systems Implementation

Business aviation organizations should incorporate a systemic approach to proactively managing safety in their operations, thereby identifying hazards and mitigating the risk before it leads to an accident. With the FAA likely to issue a final rule in the summer of 2024 to mandate safety management systems (SMS) for Part 135 operators and some air tour operators, the time to begin efforts to implement an SMS is now. An SMS needs to grow from its implementation point and over time become an integral part of how an organization improves the conduct of its business and its safety posture.

Support of Safety Expenditures

With SMS mandates on the horizon, more safety managers will have to make the “asks” for personnel and financial resources necessary to mitigate the risk of identified hazards. Supporting safety managers, who serve in companies with financial decision-makers that have various levels of aviation knowledge and perspectives on cost and return on investment, is key to seeing further business aviation safety improvements. Organizations need to know when to bring in consulting or auditing services to identify and improve the organization’s safety practices, business case considerations for specific hazard mitigations, and how to address situations where emerging hazards don’t yet offer sufficient clarity on financial costs, potential losses or hazard frequency.

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 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 potential 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.

Business Aviation Compliance With Manufacturer-Required Flight-Control Checks Before Takeoff (PDF) – NBAA’s final report on the association’s collaboration with the NTSB analyzing the extent to which noncompliance with manufacturer-required routine flight-control checks before takeoff exists.

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

Daily, 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.

Fitness for Duty

In a physically and mentally demanding environment, a clear mind and healthy body are 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 Medical Issues page. Download the collaborative NBAA and Flight Safety Foundation publication Duty/Rest Guidelines for Business Aviation (PDF) and review science-based guidelines for duty and rest scheduling on NBAA’s Fatigue page.