Small flight department managers juggle more than just flying the airplane. The Small Operator Symposium (SOS) is a half-day event focused on small flight department management and operations. Small flight department managers will have the opportunity to participate in audience-engaging sessions on how to manage the many responsibilities of operating and managing an aircraft from maintenance, to safety management including finding safe and reliable contract help. Subject matter experts will lead the discussions with ample time for open town-hall style Q&A and interaction with the audience.

Monday, October 15

2:00 – 2:20 p.m.


2:20 – 3:05 p.m.

Do You Like My Hat?

This session will focus on the varying responsibilities of a small department manager and how they can increase workload and affect their operational safety. As more responsibilities pile on, how do managers separate their “manager hat” from their “pilot hat” and focus on what is important? How do you decouple the external pressures from the cockpit and check your management responsibilities and worries at the foot of the landing stairs? Learn how to manage time effectively and juggle the hats so you can get home safely.

3:05 – 3:50 p.m.

Maintenance and the Small Department – What to do when you have to make a maintenance decision?

This session will focus on how the small department keeps its planes in the air and pilots and passengers safe. A discussion regarding MELs to provide an overview, how to use them, and when to use them will be the focal point for the first part of this session. Additionally, what documentation must be maintained by the department and what must be on the aircraft? Maintenance may be arguably the most taken for granted piece of the operation until something goes wrong.

4:05 – 4:50 p.m.

Scaling the SMS Mountain – What small operators can do to put together a robust SMS that works for THEM without becoming a burden

Many small departments struggle with putting an SMS in place that is effective. The standards all say that SMS should be scaled to the operator to be effective and worthwhile, but there isn’t always a lot of support for an operator who looks at the four components and doesn’t know where to start. This session will provide some insights from small operators that have implemented successful SMS programs and what they did to get them in place and some hard lessons learned along the way.

4:50 – 5:20 p.m.

Help Wanted – How to find and hire well-trained, safe, and reliable contract pilots

This session will focus on how to locate and vet contract pilots. How do you integrate them into your specific SOP and ensure they are trained in your specific procedures? How do you craft a relationship with a contractor to ensure you can use them for future trips if they are a good fit? What kind of compensation and employment agreements are necessary, and how do you protect your company when using contract pilots?

5:20 – 5:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks

2018 Small Operator Symposium (SOS) Sponsor

NBAA wishes to thank its generous sponsor for supporting the Small Operator Symposium (SOS).


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