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Kern Award Winner Bryan Burns: Leading Efforts to Improve Business Aviation Safety

Nov. 24, 2021

When Bryan Burns was selected as president of the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) more than a decade ago, many in the business aviation industry had not heard about ACSF and its programs. Only a handful of primarily Part 135 operators were members of the non-profit safety group.

Fast forward to today, and more than 280 companies are ACSF members, and over 100 of them are Part 91 operators. Burns, a long-time FBO president and general manager, has raised the awareness and reach of ACSF.

“I really see this as a progression of my career,” said Burns, who relished his positions at Signature Flight Support’s Washington, DC locations and at FBOs in Vail, CO, and Jackson Hole, WY, but now he appreciates the ability he has to influence aviation safety as head of ACSF.

Under his direction, the organization has evolved to promote and facilitate a number of safety programs, including a third-party managed aviation safety action program (ASAP) with the FAA, a web-based safety management system tool kit, as well as safety auditing and flight data monitoring.

“We’ve grown our offerings in pursuit of the goal of really moving the safety needle,” said Burns “We want to enhance and improve our members’ operations on their pathway to safety.”

Burns is well-respected in the industry and is passionate about the progress the foundation continues to make, establishing new relationships with other aviation entities, including the Helicopter Association International, Fly Louie and the International Business Aviation Council.

“We make scalable safety tools available for small- and medium-size operators, and that’s the point,” said Burns. “We want to make a difference.”

While ACSF’s flight data monitoring program is still being beta-tested, its ASAP program is already used by more than 200 ACSF members. Burns and his small staff facilitate numerous ASAP Event Review Committee meetings each month.

With the cooperation of and assistance from leading charter operators, fractional program managers, charter brokers, Part 91 operators and aviation auditors, ACSF has developed its Industry Audit Standard (IAS), which eliminates the need for an operator to undergo multiple annual audits. Although the foundation does not conduct audits, it trains and accredits IAS auditors and oversees these approved individuals as they perform the audit function.

Burns, as one of NBAA’s 2021 Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award winners, exemplifies the leadership qualities, outstanding achievements and significant contributions to aviation safety that the award recognizes.

Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award

Seven individuals were selected to receive the NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award in 2021. Created in 2015 to honor Dr. Tony Kern, this peer-nominated award recognizes individual pilots, maintenance technicians, flight attendants, dispatchers and other aviation professionals who excel in leadership in the areas of professional ethics, vocational excellence, continuous improvement, professional engagement, professional image and selflessness.

Learn more about the NBAA Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award.

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