Steve Charbonneau, a pilot and chairman of the corporate flight operational quality assurance (C-FOQA) Centerline program created by Austin Digital, is leading a team to develop best practice standards for data gathering from the digital flight data recorders (DFDR) that are now standard on most new large business jets. “The goal is to analyze and share data to give operators both the qualitative and quantitative boost they need to develop their organization into world-class operations,” he said.
While a C-FOQA sounds like a no-brainer to proponents of such safety mechanisms, some flight department employees aren’t so sure. “There can be apprehension [the pilots] are being watched by the ‘boss’ and will be punished or reprimanded for any deviation,” said Charbonneau. “Deploying a C-FOQA can actually motivate a cultural shift toward an environment of trust and understanding.”
He refuted the suggestion that C-FOQA is a waste of time, arguing that even the most competent operators have something to learn from the process. “Operators who fear discovery [of their data by the wrong people] are often the ones who have the most to gain from C-FOQA,” he concluded. “It allows them to face their problems head on [and fix them]. If no problem exists, there is newfound confidence and the fear of discovery dissolves.”