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NBAA steps up its safety game

Jan. 14, 2015, Washington, D.C. - The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today said the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB’s) 2015 “Most Wanted” Safety Improvements, unveiled Jan. 13, are consistent with the safety focus areas of NBAA’s Safety Committee, and that the consensus between government and industry about which specific concerns to target is ideal for promoting continued improvement in flight safety.


January 14, 2015
By Carey Fredericks

Half of the NTSB’s desired safety improvements for 2015 align directly with a number of NBAA’s Top Safety Focus Areas, and we believe that our continued focus on these areas is helping enhance safety,” said Mark Larsen, NBAA senior manager of safety & flight operations.

Larsen noted, for example, that one of the newcomers to the NTSB’s “Most Wanted” list directly addresses loss of control, a cause in more than 40 percent of fatal general aviation (GA) accidents between 2001 and 2011. The concern is also among the Top Focus Areas for NBAA’s Safety Committee, which has identified loss of control as part of its broader concentration on enhancing airmanship skills.

Larsen also pointed out that NBAA continually focuses on GA safety in other ways. As two examples, NBAA serves on the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, and Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing Team – both government-industry groups that use data-driven analyses to find specific, root causes for accidents, like loss of control, and guide the work of government and industry stakeholders to address major safety concerns.

Additionally, NBAA sponsors a host of safety-themed events each year, designed to promote industry awareness of top safety concerns, and share ways to deal with them. For example, NBAA partners with the Flight Safety Foundation in sponsoring the annual Business Aviation Safety Seminar; the Association also supports the Bombardier Safety Standdown each year. Furthermore, NBAA helps organize a host of regional safety-focused gatherings throughout the year.

“It’s clear that safety is the aviation community’s top priority, which is why NBAA and the people on the Association’s Safety Committee, and throughout its broader Membership devote so much effort toward continually enhancing GA safety,” Larsen said. “And while one accident is always too many, we know that our efforts are having an impact.”

In fact, Larsen pointed out, NTSB data on GA safety over the course of several decades shows a record of continuous improvement. “Our ongoing work to address safety concerns, including those outlined today by the NTSB, is part of the reason that aviation remains the safest form of transportation, and that the safety record for business aviation flights remains comparable to that for the commercial airlines,” Larsen said. “That said, the concerns the NTSB pointed to today are a reminder that we can never rest, and that the progress made to date on flight safety must and will continue.”

Although loss of control is the only concern specific to GA in the NTSB’s 2015 list, other aviation issues are identified, including enhancing public helicopter safety (a returning item from NTSB’s 2014 list), and strengthening procedural compliance (another newcomer to the list this year), which seeks to root out inadequate aviation procedures, ensure comprehensive training, and reinforce crew compliance.

Other safety concerns identified by NTSB certainly have application to the aviation community, including requiring medical fitness for duty, reducing deadly distractions and ending substance impairment, which the NTSB has applied to all modes of transportation.

The NBAA Safety Committee’s Top Focus Areas which overlap with the NTSB’s most-wanted safety improvements include: Professionalism; Fitness for Duty; Positive Safety Culture; Single-Pilot Safety; Distraction Management, and; Airmanship Skills.

“Safety will always be job number-one for the business aviation community, and as part of that mission, NBAA will remain dedicated to its collaborative working relationship with the NTSB,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “We in the industry are committed to working with those in government to continually strengthen aviation safety.”