Business Aviation Insider

NBAA continues to put safety first in business aviation operations, highlighting a culture of professionalism in the industry.

May 29, 2019

Ed Bolen

Hall of Fame foot-ball coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” Business aviation’s ongoing focus on safety has produced excellence: our industry has a low accident rate, thanks largely to a data-driven approach that identifies safety challenges and focuses on developing effective mitigation measures.

But perhaps most important in the pursuit of safety perfection is our industry’s mindset. Safety has always been a core value, and the foundations of operational safety, the core competencies that make it possible, are immutable: professional-ism, safety leadership, risk management, fitness for duty and technical excellence.

To address specific safety challenges, each year the NBAA Safety Committee identifies its Top Safety Focus Areas, which are based on well-researched data and developed in collaboration with industry and government safety organizations, including the NTSB. These are actionable items that all operators – from single pilots to flight departments with multiple aircraft – need to address to improve business aviation safety.
The 2019 Top Safety Focus Areas are:

  • Reduce the risk of loss of control inflight
  • Reduce the risk of runway excursions
  • Reduce the risk of controlled flight into terrain
  • Reduce the risk of aircraft ground operation and handling incidents
  • Improve the safety performance of single-pilot operations
  • Increase the use and sharing of human-reported and automated safety data
  • Improve defenses against automation mismanagement

Although several focus areas remain on the list from prior years, one topic
– safety data – has been modified to emphasize that simply collecting data is not enough: operators need to share their findings to have a greater impact on safety. That’s one reason NBAA has been publishing an annual Safety Edition of Business Aviation Insider for more than a decade. And that’s why NBAA continues to reach out to aircraft-type clubs and local and regional groups to highlight the association’s safety resources, including a new loss-of-control video and runway excursion guide.

NBAA also is committed to sharing the good news about our industry’s excel-lent safety record with those outside of our community. For example, after it was reported that California’s Van Nuys Airport, one of the busiest U.S. general aviation facilities, did not experience a single runway or taxiway incident during 2018, I underscored this achievement in a letter published in several regional news outlets, noting that business aviation’s commitment to safety is reflected through our culture, training, government-industry collaboration and sharing of best practices.

Of course, continued progress will require focused efforts. But I am confident that together, if we keep safety as our top priority, we will achieve additional positive results.