March 18, 2005

Ms. Di Freeze
Editor-in-chief, Airport Journals
13000 E Control Tower Rd
Suite 216 , Box J-12
Centennial , CO 80112

Karen Di Piazza’s story on the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO), (“IS-BAO” – Industry Standard or Political Placebo, Airport Journals, March 2005) mischaracterizes IS-BAO, misrepresents sources, and links IS-BAO to matters unrelated to the initiative.

First, Di Piazza demonstrates a lack of basic understanding of what IS-BAO really is: a set of best practices designed to help flight departments achieve high levels of safety and professionalism. IS-BAO undergoes continuing refinement, and relies heavily on annual feedback from operators and auditors. Their input ensures that the practices outlined, and the processes by which they are administered, are appropriate. Contrary to Di Piazza’s claims, IS-BAO is not an operations manual, an audit standard, or a replacement for other auditing functions.

Di Piazza’s apparent lack of knowledge about IS-BAO is troubling, but equally so is her tendency to misrepresent her sources. For instance, her article reports the untrue claim that former NBAA Board Chairman Don Baldwin expressed concerns about IS-BAO that went unheeded. Mr. Baldwin never voiced such apprehensions with anyone, but she allowed the charge to stand in her story. That’s unfortunate – Mr. Baldwin has been known throughout his career as a consummate professional and staunch advocate of IS-BAO and other safety best practices. In addition to the misrepresentation given Mr. Baldwin, it seems Di Piazza deliberately chose to limit testimony from sources supportive of IS-BAO – several people told us they spoke highly of IS-BAO with Di Piazza, but their comments were excluded from the piece.

Finally, we were baffled by Di Piazza’s misguided attempt to connect her claims about IS-BAO with her critical opinions about our Association’s response to recent general aviation accidents. While NBAA has been very effective in advocating for the safety of our industry with the media, what those events, or NBAA’s communications about them, have to do with IS-BAO is completely incomprehensible.

It is unfortunate that, given the many flaws in Di Piazza’s story, the editors at Airport Journals didn’t dismiss the piece out of hand.


Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association