Oct. 11, 2021

Under the theme, “The Empowered Pilot: Practical Safety Solutions for the Single-Pilot Operator,” the 2021 NBAA Single Pilot Safety Standdown focused on consistent preflight planning and proper aeronautical decision-making in developing an effective operational safety culture – particularly when you are the only person on the flight deck.

“Thanks for spending an extra day with us,” said Chris Provencio, director for flight safety & security for Textron Aviation, in welcoming attendees on Oct. 11 ahead of the opening of the 2021 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) in Las Vegas, NV. “You are dedicated to the safety profession,” he said, “and at the end of the day, you’ll have some takeaways that you can share with your own operation [and] your colleagues.”

Elliott Fisher, a pilot for Polymer Resources, emphasized ADM skills for single pilots and standardized procedures – key components of safety management systems, or SMS – to mitigate risk and avoid mindsets that can increase the probability of an accident.

“I take the [Pilatus] PC-12 into a 2,300-foot strip on an island in New England, and every so often I see a [light jet] parked there,” Fisher said. “I don’t have the guts to pull that off. You sneeze wrong on takeoff and you’re going into the water.”

Attendees at the 2021 Single Pilot Safety Standdown

Everyday concerns can have even greater impacts on flying safety. Despite the effects of COVID-19 on flight hours, Fisher noted pilots submitted 3,956 voluntary incident reports over the past year to the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System. Of those, 936 – nearly one-quarter – cited time or workload pressure as the primary human factors behind their decisions that led to reportable incidents.

“We work in an industry where you don’t get that many chances to get it wrong,” he said. “Statistically, by this time next year, one person in this room will have had a non-fatal flight accident. That’s how the numbers work out.”

Additional presentations included discussions of upset prevention and recovery training by NBAA Safety Committee Vice Chair Paul “BJ” Ransbury; incorporating safety into standard business practices, featuring NTSB Vice Chair Bruce Landsberg; and a progress update from the Citation Jet Pilots Association on its “Safe to Land” initiative to help prevent runway excursions and overruns.

Standdown sessions were recorded and will be available later this month for viewing online – free to registered in-person attendees.

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