ACSF Safety Symposium Kicks Off with Compliance Focus

 - March 13, 2018, 11:37 AM

Pressure on pilots to complete missions, poor training, complacency, fatigue, and apathy are among myriad factors that play into procedural noncompliance, and in turn can have devastating consequences, attendees of the 2018 Air Charter Safety Foundation’s (ACSF) 2018 Safety Symposium were told today. However, these factors, said Bob Baron, president of The Aviation Consulting Group, can be mitigated by a proactive and predictive approach that balances safety with operations.

Baron was part of a slate of eight safety experts scheduled to guide attendees on topics ranging from decision-making to implementing an Aviation Safety Action Program to runway excursions to managing communications after an aircraft accident. More than 120 senior industry, association, and government representatives registered for this year’s two-day ACSF symposium, which also featured a half-dozen exhibits.

Kicking off the symposium, Baron relayed personal pressures he faced while a contract pilot, including operators chastising him for executing a go-around or deicing the aircraft, and being told to continue operating with a worn tire. Along with pressure from a company, he noted pressure pilots face from interaction with passengers could further lead to procedural noncompliance. Other pitfalls can come from a lack of training, high risk-takers, and even use of contract pilots that can make crew resource management more difficult, he said.

But Baron stressed that balancing “production” with “protection,” where a strong safety culture is incorporated while still fostering strong operations, could help offset issues that might lead to noncompliance. He advised thoroughly vetting pilots, “looking for red flags,” and cautioned against “pencil whipping” or pressuring pilots to such an approach where boxes are checked without full knowledge of what was just approved. He also advised implementing a strong cockpit resource management program.

A proactive approach—through safety management systems, safety reporting, and/or efforts such as FOQA—further will ward off noncompliance, he added. These efforts won’t prevent all accidents, he acknowledged, saying, “There is no silver bullet.” However, he added the efforts would provide the necessary ammunition to help provide appropriate safeguards.