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President’s Perspective

Safety Lessons for Beyond the COVID Era

Safety has always been a core value for business aviation, and the industry’s commitment to safety has never wavered, not even during the darkest days of COVID-19.

When it became too difficult to conduct business as usual, operators developed innovative ways to keep pilots and aircraft ready to resume normal operations once conditions permitted. Maintenance flights were used to sustain pilot proficiency, and simulated missions were conducted to keep aviation personnel sharp. Some operators also used the downtime to train.

Many of the creative solutions conceived during the pandemic have already become industry best practices. Protocols designed to minimize virus transmission – from aircraft cabin sanitization to touchless transactions at FBOs – make sense for flight crews and passengers whenever or wherever they travel.

Ever since the pandemic was declared, NBAA has worked closely with operators, regulators and other stakeholders to maintain safety by helping members address the challenges of flying in this new environment. For example, NBAA GO Virtual Safety Week, held last Oct. 5-9, drew more than 1,500 participants, and not just from traditional business aviation operations, but from type clubs and other general aviation organizations.

Virtual Safety Week included all the traditional safety-related features of NBAA’s annual Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition – the Single-Pilot Safety Standdown, Safety Town Hall and the National Safety Forum – plus presentation of the inaugural NBAA Above and Beyond Airmanship Award to Bruce Monnier and Gerald Downs, who made a dead-stick landing after a dual-engine flameout. Overall, the event was not only NBAA’s best-attended online meeting, but one of our most successful safety events ever.

As business aviation traffic approaches pre-pandemic levels, we need to redouble our efforts to improve safety and not forget lessons learned during COVID times. That includes taking actions that will enhance our industry’s already commendable safety record:

  • Collecting and sharing safety data
  • Implementing safety management systems
  • Adhering to our industry’s high standards of professionalism

Being mindful of the NBAA Safety Committee’s Top Safety Focus Areas
Business Aviation Insider can help. Because this and every other edition of the magazine produced since mid-2020 is digital, we provide new content each week during the two-month publication period, often with a focus on safety information.

In closing, I congratulate the recipients of NBAA’s 2020 Flying Safety Awards – especially the 50- 60- and 75-year award winners – along with the Dr. Tony Kern Professionalism in Aviation Award winners.

NBAA, working with dedicated individuals and organizations like these, will continue to be your safety partner as we look to take business aviation safety to the next level. Look for new initiatives, such as NBAA’s Safety Manager Certificate Program, as we move forward.

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