Ground accidents addressed in University-level course

 - January 29, 2007, 6:06 AM

Accidents involving aircraft on airport ramps remain one of the most expensive sources of claims for insurance companies. Efforts to curtail such losses have taken a new turn with a three-way cooperative program that teams the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), United States Aircraft Insurance Group (USAIG) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). The three parties have combined their efforts to design a university-level course titled “Safety and Security of Airport Ground Operations.”

Drawn extensively from NATA’s Safety First program, the elective three-credit course is scheduled to be available for ERAU students at the start of next fall’s semester. Courseware is also available to any college or university by contacting Seth Young at ERAU at (386) 226-6723 or USAIG’s v-p of general aviation underwriting, Christopher O’Gwen, at (212) 859-3688.

The course details airport ground operations from the perspectives of both pilots and ground personnel such as line technicians and fuelers. It is designed to enhance awareness of rules, policies, procedures and potential hazards that affect the safety not only of aircraft, but also of crews, passengers and airport/FBO employees.

O’Gwen has said repeatedly that many FBO employees are still not fully aware of how expensive a ramp accident can be. For example, beyond the cost of the repair to the aircraft, there is the diminution of its market value associated with damage history of any kind. Then there is the aircraft downtime and the cost of substituting a charter aircraft to cover necessary uplift in the meantime.

O’Gwen said, “We are confident that if all future aviation professionals receive training about the importance of ground safety, these needless accidents can be reduced significantly.” That would ultimately lead to reductions in insurance premiums for aircraft operators and FBOs alike, he said.