Software Lets Pilots Open Up About Safety

 - May 12, 2014, 10:45 AM

Audiences at aviation conferences possess important industry insights, but pilots are often reluctant to share some of that information publicly. Recognizing that fact and attempting to overcome audience resistance, François Lassale, CEO of Morrison, Colo.-based Vortex FSM and master of ceremonies at the Flight Safety Foundation’s business aviation safety summit (BASS) in San Diego, used the “Poll Everywhere” online software to anonymously gather useful safety information from the BASS audience and instantly project the results for the group to view.

Some of the answers made it abundantly clear why many attendees didn’t raise their hands to answer personally. One of the first questions asked about the safety challenges business aviation people face in their flight departments. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said gaining company buy-in is their greatest hurdle, with another 21 percent claiming negative attitudes at their operation’s base is the real problem. Approximately 19 percent said a lack of funding gets in the way, with plain ignorance stopping another 17.5 percent. More than 16 percent said their department displays a lack of will to change anything.

Lassale asked the group how they convince senior management to implement safety protocols or equipment, especially when the need is only voluntary. A sampling of the responses: “Apprise management of the risk in writing…only writing changes their tune,” “Stress the downside of inaction,” “Highlight the final benefit and make them think it’s their idea,” “Provide data that supports my position,” and “Wait until it’s mandated or there’s enough peer pressure to force their hand.”