Jan. 22, 2024

With the right approach to safety, business aircraft operators big and small can avoid incidents and operate with less risk. That’s why, every two years, the NBAA Safety Committee brings together some 80 experts from across the industry to review and revise its list of top safety focus areas.

The NBAA 2024 Top Safety Focus Areas fall into three categories. In the first, “Preventable Accidents,” the areas of focus are loss of control inflight, runway safety, controlled flight into terrain and ground operations and maintenance accidents.

According to Dan Boedigheimer, committee vice chair and CEO of Advanced Aircrew Academy, “These focus areas are based on the latest accident data. For example, loss of control inflight continues to be the No. 1 cause of fatal aviation accidents.”

In the second category, “Unique Operational Concerns,” the focus areas include single-pilot operations, human factors (like regulatory, policy and procedural non-compliance), fitness for duty and workforce challenges.

“Single-pilot operations historically demonstrate significantly greater risk than multi-pilot operations, so they continue to be a focus,” said Boedigheimer. “Mental health has become a very important part of fitness for duty. And it’s increasingly important for operators to take steps to enable the smooth transfer of knowledge to a new generation of workers.”

The focus areas in the final category, “Mitigation Strategies,” are safety management system (SMS) implementation, organizational support of safety expenditures and increasing the use and sharing of safety data.

“The FAA is likely to mandate SMS implementation for Part 135 operators this year, making now the time to get started for those who haven’t yet,” said Paul “BJ” Ransbury, Safety Committee chair and CEO of Aviation Performance Solutions. “At the same time, an SMS can also bring big benefits to smaller operators. With concise guidance, it’s possible to implement an SMS efficiently and cost-effectively. Operators of all sizes and complexities can benefit from a formalized risk-management program that complements and supports their operations.”

The NBAA Safety Committee plans a range of efforts to spread the word about the 2024 Top Safety Focus Areas and increase adoption of best practices in these areas. Business aviators should keep an eye out for NBAA Flight Plan podcasts and NBAA News Hour webinars – and be sure to check out the safety presentations at regional NBAA events as well as the Single-Pilot Safety Standdown and National Safety Forum at this year’s NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE).

View NBAA’s safety resources.