The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) completed its ninth annual Air Charter Safety Symposium on March 8–9, 2016. The event was held at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Training Center in Ashburn, Virginia.
For the second year in a row the Symposium set a record for attendance. The two-day gathering drew 115 people, including aviation executives, directors of operations, chief pilots, safety officers, risk managers and schedulers. The conference also attracted 22 sponsors.
“Once again the attendance for the Safety Symposium exceeded our goal,” said ACSF President Bryan Burns. “This is attributed to our members and the air charter industry as a whole, making safety the top priority within their businesses. We are very pleased with the turnout and quality of our presenters,” noted Burns
The theme for this year’s symposium was, “Safety: A Small Investment for a Rich Future.” Some highlights from the symposium included:
- Keynote speaker, Charlie Justiz, Ph.D., Managing Director, JFA Inc. noted that “Safety processes are usually considered adequate until one of them fails and there is an accident.” Justiz reviewed lessons he learned while at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the best practices that were implemented to ensure that safety processes were adequate and constantly tested.
- Dann Runik, Executive Director, Advanced Training Programs, FlightSafety International discussed the importance of standardization, and what can happen when standards either don’t exist or are purposely ignored.Troy Smith, Special Agent, U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Program Manager of Aviation Safety discussed how to use safety metrics to get the attention of senior management, line pilots and support staff to focus on internal safety programs. Smith explained how to implement simple programs to measure safety efforts within a charter operation or flight department.
- Dan McCune, Associate Vice President for Safety, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, discussed accident prevention through safety culture enhancement. McCune explained that safety culture is a product of senior leadership, and how strong leadership can ensure that a culture of compliance is instilled and constantly nurtured to prevent the downward spiral into disaster.
- The Honorable Chris Hart, NTSB Chairman discussed how improvements in safety can lead to complacency and decreased safety vigilance. “As the ‘low hanging fruits’ are addressed,” noted Hart, “continued improvement becomes ever more difficult and necessitates more thinking out-of-the-box.”
- John Allen, Vice President, Safety, Jet Blue Airways spoke about the new FAA Compliance Policy, and what it means for FAA inspectors and certificate holders. “The new FAA Compliance Philosophy was 10 years in the making through vibrant internal debate within the FAA,” said Allen. “With the new policy comes an evolution of the relationship between the regulator and regulated. This policy advocates for the use of training, counseling and other safety improvement tools and use enforcement when the other tools are inappropriate,” noted Allen.
- Other topics included Applied System Safety & SMS in Business Aviation, Drones and Unmanned Vehicles, and a panel discussion on the advantages of participating in an aviation safety action program (ASAP).