Single-Pilot Ops, Ground Handling Top NBAA Safety List

 - March 14, 2016, 9:55 AM

NBAA’s Safety Committee late last week released its annual list of “Top Safety Focus Areas,” adding the single-pilot accident rate and ground-handling incidents to its most pressing safety concerns for 2016. The list, now in its fourth year, is derived from survey results along with risk-based safety data and other input from NBAA members and other industry and regulatory partners. The list is designed to foster focused discussions on key safety areas and determine how best to allocate safety-improvement resources.

In adding the single-pilot accident rate to the list, NBAA cited concerns that single-piloted turboprop aircraft have a 1.5 times greater chance of being involved in an accident than dual-piloted aircraft. Further, 60 percent of accidents involving turboprops certified for single-pilot operations occurred while being flown by a single pilot, the association said.

As for ground-handling incidents, NBAA noted that 48 percent of respondents to its survey reported having one to three incidents within the past three years and 8 percent reported having four to nine incidents or close calls.

In addition to the single-pilot accident rate and ground-handling incidents, the committee retained loss of control in flight (LOC-I) and runway excursions on this year’s list. The committee also outlined a series of notable safety hazards: intentional non-compliance, distractions from duty, fatigue, task saturation, bird and wildlife issues, intentional laser strikes, airspace complexities and pilot deviations.

“The NBAA Safety Committee’s data-driven approach to identifying the most significant risks yields clear results,” said NBAA Safety Committee chairman Steve Charbonneau. “Loss of control in flight and runway excursions remain significant risks, and our research shows that single-pilot operations and ground-handling incidents are equally worthy of significant safety-improvement efforts. NBAA, in collaboration with industry partners, will dedicate substantial resources to develop tools and programs designed to help operators mitigate these risks.”