Veteran manager shares how his FBO refocused its line operations
By Chuck Halderman, VP, Operations, Denver jetCenter
Centennial Airport was a rather quiet GA airport until Denver Stapleton
closed in 1994, and then things really took off. As the business increased,
DJC experienced a series of towing/ hangaring accidents. Although top
management had over
70-plus years of FBO operations experience, the safety
business model had to be changed.
jetCenter is one busy FBO. DJC averages 3,200 fuelings per month, 1,000-plus
aircraft tows per month, and services over 750,000 square feet of hangars.
This creates a lot of opportunity for accidents.
First, we needed to become proactive in accident prevention. In the past we waited for an accident before a policy was created, and then only addressed the issues associated with the specific accident.
About the Author
TO: Crew Chiefs, Training Dept., & Assistant Crew Chiefs
FROM: Larry Ulrich / Chuck Halderman
Re: Safety clearances and use of wing/tail walkers in "community" (multiple aircraft) hangars
jetCenter has adopted strict policies regard-ing the use of wing
walkers and minimum clearances when moving aircraft in and out of
our "community" hangars (i.e. Hangars 30W, 30E, 2, 7 and
14, etc.). The following rules apply for moving aircraft into or
out of these hangars:
• SAFETY CLEARANCES
Clearance of AT LEAST 3-feet must be maintained at all times when moving an aircraft in or out of all "community" (multiple aircraft) hangars.
• WING AND TAIL WALKERS
All EJA aircraft hangar movements require two wing walkers at all times.
All other aircraft in "community" (multiple aircraft) hangars require at least one wing or tail walker who has continuous radio contact and/or line of sight communications with the tug driver at all times when moving aircraft in or out of a hangar.
No employee will move aircraft in or out of our hangar unless these guidelines are followed. Failure to comply with these proce-dures will be grounds for termination. Remember you can use crew members, DJC management, shop personnel, Mayo [Aviation] personnel, or whoever you feel is competent to act as a wing or tail walker. Always use conservative good judgement when moving aircraft. When in doubt Stop and get help BEFORE an accident occurs.
Second, safety had to take priority over perceived service conflicts.
The ultimate service to customers is a safe operation. The most important
thing to understand is that if we continue to have accidents, we become
uninsurable and are out of business.
We formed an Accident Preven-tion Committee, consisting of Larry Ulrich (then our president), myself (VP of operations), a morning senior crew chief, an afternoon senior crew chief, our training coordinator, and the director of safety.
The first order of business was to establish a primary goal: an accident-free environment with a minimal impact on our level of service. Making an accident-free environment the number one priority - and customer service the second priority - meant we would sometimes have to say "no" to customer requests, if it compromised safety.
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