NBAA Convention News

FSF and NBAA Bolster Their Cooperation on Safety

 - October 22, 2013, 10:15 AM

The independent Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) of Alexandria, Va., now has a member on the NBAA Safety Committee and NBAA plans to appoint a member to the FSF’s Business Advisory Committee, which addresses the concerns and challenges of corporate and business aviation. Peter Stein, chairman of the Business Advisory Committee, is the foundation’s representative on the Safety Committee. NBAA official has not yet announced who will be its representative on the FSF committee.

While this may not seem like a big deal, Kevin Hiatt, who became FSF president and CEO in January, said he sees this as “a good step toward keeping both of our organizations in tune with each other on the important safety issues.

“The relationship between NBAA and the Flight Safety Foundation [Booth N1416] has been good in the past and having permanent members on each others’ committees is going to move this to a higher level,” Hiatt told AIN. “In the past it was like working in a siloed environment, with a lot of organizations doing on similar but almost the same things. But now, with a member for each group on the other’s committee, it will allow both groups to see and have an opinion about what the top issues are. That will allow both groups to concentrate and collaborate to help each other out in achieving the goals that are important to both.”

As an example, he mentioned NBAA’s Top 10 Safety Focus Areas (see box) and explained that the Flight Safety Foundation normally has about three main topics during different times of the year that it emphasizes.

“Actually, there are a lot more similarities than differences among the issues that the two organizations are now targeting,” Hiatt said. Referring to he list, he named only number-four–“Light Business Airplane Safety,” with its focus on small airplane skill sets, and number-seven, “Public Policy,” which has to do with the legislative decisions and policies affecting business aviation–as being the only two that are not of direct concern to many FSF members, which are more concerned about commercial airline operations.

Regarding public policy, Hiatt added, “While it has importance, particularly in the U.S., it is not something that affects the entire membership strata of the Flight Safety Foundation because we are an international organization and so we have to deal with different states all over the world, thinking about their issues, instead of just public policy here in the United States.”

It’s not that any of the items on the NBAA list are not important or that the FSF does not endorse NBAA’s work on all of them, he said, but rather that, “We have an international organization and we will look at the ones that we feel have a bit more importance and relevance to our members.” The Flight Safety Foundation, which was established in 1947, has more than 1,000 members (organizations and individuals) in 150 countries.

Go-arounds from unstable approaches, or rather the lack of go-arounds from them, is one of the top subjects on FSF’s current agenda. An FSF study, which was initiated by its European Advisory Committee, found that 97 percent of approaches are stabilized. However, of the 3 percent that were not stabilized, fully 96 percent do not result in go-arounds. When asked how many of these unstabilized approaches should have resulted in go-arounds, Hiatt replied, “All of them. They were unstabilized.”

He speaks from 35 years of aviation experience, including 26 years with Delta, and the rest with World Airways and Midwest, and in corporate aviation. At Delta he also served as flight safety coordinator and manager of line operations safety.

The reasons why some pilots continue unstabilized approaches to touchdown are well known, he said, including schedule pressure, cost concerns and pilot hubris: “I know I’m a little high and fast, but I can make it.” The solution, said Hiatt, is to make the guidelines for the go-around decision earlier in the approach. For example, if the approach is not stable when the airplane descends through 1,000 feet, than a go-around should be initiated.

NBAA’s top 10 safety focus areas are: professionalism; safety culture; airmanship skills; light business airplane safety; talent pipeline; impact of technology; public policy; airport safety; fatigue and task saturation.

Here at NBAA 2013, Hiatt will be one of the panelists on a session titled “The Perfect Storm: Continuing to Address the Business Aviation Talent Shortage,” on Tuesday (10:30 a.m. to noon, Room N241).

And at the same time on Tuesday, Peter Stein, chairman of FSF’s Business Advisory Committee and the foundation’s representative on NBAA’s Safety Committee, will participate in the NBAA Safety Town Hall Meeting, titled “Addressing Business Aviation’s Top Safety Challenges” (Room 240).