Safety Solutions

Galaxy Aviation's decision to make safety training a priority has resulted in their membership in NATA's Safety 1st Program, giving the company the chance to reduce fueling accidents through intensive training, writes Alicia Hammond March 2003 In...

Galaxy Aviation's decision to make safety training a priority has resulted in their membership in NATA's Safety 1st Program, giving the company the chance to reduce fueling accidents through intensive training, writes Alicia Hammond

March 2003

In aviation, fueling is a very important process that occurs constantly in airports around the world. For such a common operation, fueling involves a high level of danger. Mistakes can be made and the results can be costly, as well as possibly deadly. While this danger cannot be fully contained, there are some things that can lessen the risk of accidents. One possible answer is simple enough: training.

Safety training may seem obvious but it can be a very important part of lowering the number of fueling problems and accidents. This belief is held by Ken Bray, the Safety Training Manager of Galaxy Aviation, in Boca Raton, FL, who incorporated an intensive safety training program into the company.

Galaxy Aviation is Southern Florida's largest FBO with four bases in the Palm Beach International Airport, Boca Raton Airport, Orlando International Airport, and Stuart-Witham Field.

Safety First
The question for Galaxy Aviation and Bray was not the importance of safety training but how to provide up-to-date, relevant training to all employees. After deciding to incorporate a regulated safety-training program, a lot of research went into Galaxy's decision. "There were challenges as far as getting the right program that suited us," Bray says. "We considered several programs before deciding on the best one."

The solution was The National Air and Transportation Association's Safety 1st Program.

"In my opinion, it is the most recognized program in the industry," Bray says. "Most aviators know the NATA training program, and when they see the Safety 1st logo at our bases, they know that we're using the top-notch training program for line service."

The NATA Safety 1st Program Professional Line Service Training is an updated version of the original AMR COMBS PLST program. Almost 500 operators have used this program since its conception in 1998. Many groups from FBO's like Galaxy Aviation to corporate flight departments to airport authorities around the world use this program to meet training, airport, and insurance requirements.

"The Safety 1st Program was created because the industry was having problems with ground losses and needed training that covered more than just fueling. By offering all the aspects of the line service duties, it has raised the bar on training," says NATA Manager of Education and Training, Amy Koranda. "The NATA Safety 1st Program has become the industry standard that the industry looks for at an FBO."

The program identifies the knowledge and skills required of line service technicians and tests their competence. "Safety 1st is our main line service training and continuing education program. It is probably the most recognized safety program in the aviation industry," Bray says. "One of Galaxy Aviation's goals is always to provide professional and safety-conscious support to our customers. Our choice to use the Safety 1st program is a reflection of that."

Koranda believes this program has created a wonderful opportunity for line service technicians. "I think it's a win-win situation. These guys are really important out there on the line; their professionalism is as important as everybody else's at your FBO," Koranda says. "I think this has brought them into the forefront and it has given them a credential they can use."

Training and Testing
The program was developed to be an all-inclusive testing and training program in many areas that line service technician deal with on a daily basis.

Bray says the program is thorough, involving nine video modules with a corresponding test after every section. "There are 37 mandatory hands-on exams and a final written test with 125 questions, which is graded by the NATA," he says. "The program is very intensive. The average time [it takes to complete the training] is three to four months before [the technicians] get completely certified."

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