One of the tenets of business aviation is its versatility and flexibility, but what happens when you can’t go? The owner or principal of business aviation aircraft are typically both “hard-chargers” and highly successful, so telling a passenger that the flight is delayed or canceled is difficult. To explore how best to break the difficult news, manage expectations, and explore sensible options, NBAA recently hosted a webinar entitled “Making Tough Calls in the Interest of Safety.”
Hosted by NBAA Western regional representative Phil Derner, the webinar touched on the need to “say no,” how best to communicate those options or decisions, and the need for a strong safety culture within a flight ops organization. Panelists included Wyvern CEO Sonnie Bates and Solarius captain Brad Lindow, both holding CAM certifications.
Common themes during the presentation were to present a unified message from the crew, supported by the organization; create a plan; and build upon an established safety culture.
Bates suggested building the safety culture to extend into a corporate culture using the tools established within a safety management system (SMS). Lindow stressed the importance of setting the proper tone—being “respectively general” when communicating weather or maintenance delays. Bates and Lindow both agreed that the flight crew should offer options, while also being professional and empathetic to each situation.
When presented with challenges, Bates suggested using the SMS and its tools to look at things in a more analytical way. As an example, if fatigue is an issue, anchor those conversations with scientific facts presented by IBAC, NASA, or other credible organizations—then it becomes more impactful.