NBAA identifies top safety focus areas

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the second year, the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA’s) Safety Committee has published a list of recommended safety priorities for the business aviation industry. The list is intended to promote safety-focused discussion and advocacy among NBAA Members and the business aviation industry.

The list of focus areas for 2014 is (in no particular order):

  1. Professionalism
  2. Positive Safety Culture
  3. Single-Pilot Safety
  4. Fitness for Duty
  5. Airport Safety
  6. Airmanship Skills
  7. Distraction Management
  8. Public Policy
  9. Talent Pipeline
  10. Technology Management

The committee developed the list with input from many of NBAA’s other  committees, as well as from the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Flight Safety Foundation’s Business Advisory Committee and regional business aviation groups, according to NBAA officials.

The list is intended to serve as a conversation starter, officials note.

“We want to start having discussions in our various spheres of influence on what each of these topics means on a personal basis,” said NBAA Safety Committee Chairman Eric Barfield. “But perhaps more importantly, we want to provoke a meaningful discussion among colleagues within the flight department and with the corporate office. It’s a conversation that goes both up and down the chain of command.”

The list also will serve to guide the Safety Committee’s work in support of safety advocacy for the year to come, providing a framework for developing future NBAA resources and education efforts in the coming months, officials said.

“Sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to business aviation safety,” Barfield said. “We’re trying to educate them on those areas, as well as point out tools to help them continuously improve their safety processes and outcomes.”

First published in 2013 under the moniker “Top 10 Safety Focus Areas,” this year’s list was renamed to recognize the diversity within business aviation and give equal weight to all items listed, officials said.

“This is no longer a prioritized list of concerns. Everybody has different priorities,” said Barfield. “Instead, these are key areas where the committee believes more discussion is warranted.”

The 2014 topics are largely unchanged from 2013. Where changes to the list were introduced, they typically served to enhance or expand on topics and focus area descriptions from the previous year, officials said.

For example, “fatigue” is now aligned under a larger “fitness for duty” umbrella along with aeromedical issues and the growing concern with improper use of over-the-counter medications.

“Distraction management” is a new topic encompassing not only task saturation and situational awareness, but also distractions created by pressures stemming from the home and office.

“Airmanship skills” and “airport safety” remain on the list, but have been expanded in scope.

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