Did you know that Flight Safety Foundation counts more than 600 business aviation-related companies and organizations among its members? Many think that the Foundation focuses primarily on the global airline industry, but business aviation also is a focal point, as exemplified by our annual Business Aviation Safety Seminar (BASS), formerly known as the Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar, and our long-running Business Aviation Committee.
This year’s BASS is scheduled for April 10–11 in Montreal, and we are very pleased to have the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) as a co-presenter and the Canadian Business Aviation Association (CBAA) as a supporter. NBAA represents more than 8,000 member companies of all sizes across the United States, and CBAA has 430 member companies and organizations, including operators, management companies and suppliers.
Together, our three organizations have thousands of members involved with business aviation in this region of the world, which makes a formidable, collective voice for safety in the business aviation segment. So one could ask, what can be done with that influence?
FSF, NBAA and CBAA all have safety committees that work on issues that will benefit not only their members but also all of business aviation. Topics such as terrain avoidance, stabilized approaches, runway excursions, and safety management system (SMS) programs have been discussed and worked on; lots of good things have come from the committees.
I recently talked with a couple of the top professionals in business aviation, and our discussion led to what will become some of the items we will work on next. Our focus items will be training, fatigue and data. To write in detail about each one of these items would take more column inches than I have been allotted.
What I will say is that training for business aviation operations must be revisited. Different operations have different needs. Let those needs dictate the training, not the training dictate the needs. Fatigue issues, particularly in long-range business operations, need to be better understood. Air carriers have figured out a minimum standard, and business aviation needs to do the same.
The key to the next generation of safety enhancements will be the collection and sharing of data. Effective collection and standardization of data will move safety from being reactive to predictive. Being predictive will help business aviation operations mitigate threats. Many of you are participating in data gathering programs. The question is how are you using that data? By sharing data (with the usual protocols), comparisons to similar aircraft types and airport operations can be extremely helpful.
So take those thousands of business aviation entities and focus them on these three items, and just see how far we can go!