Air Charter Safety Foundation

The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) just completed its sixth annual Air Charter Safety Symposium at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Training Center in Ashburn, Virginia.The symposium provided two days of presentations and discussions on topics, such as, developing a positive safety culture, safety leadership, and starting an aviation safety action program (ASAP).

"We are extremely pleased with the response from symposium attendees," said ACSF President Bryan Burns. "The attendees were awed with the quality, depth and range of information presented that they could use in their daily operations. The best part was the interaction between the attendees and presenters. It was an extremely successful event."The theme for this year's symposium was, "Safety is an Investment: It Pays Dividends," which drew more than 120 representatives from the on-demand air charter and fractional aircraft ownership community, as well as various aviation industry experts.

"This was an outstanding program," said ACSF Chairman Dennis Keith. "Attendees benefited from Chief Safety Officers, Federal Aviation Administration officials, industry experts, and an Associate Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia - Darden Graduate School. We're very pleased that the ACSF continues to gain momentum and the validity of the foundation's mission - to raise the level of safety within air charter and fractional ownership operations - continues to be confirmed through operator and industry participation in ACSF activities."Presentations from the symposium included:

  • Keynote Speaker Robert L. Carraway, Associate Professor of Business Administration - Darden Graduate School, University of Virginia, discussed how culture is shaped and formed by not only by how we interact with one another, but also by the countless decisions, big and small, that we make every day, both individually and in groups. Mr. Carraway commented that "We consciously seek to align those decisions with important organizational norms and initiatives, but research has shown that our individual decision-making processes are fraught with traps, particularly when we over-rely on experience and intuition."
  • Mr. Lou Nemeth, Chief Safety Officer at CAE and Mr. B.J. Ransbury, President and Chief Flight Instructor for Aviation Performance Solutions, focused on novel approaches to recurrent simulator training that are designed to mitigate the greatest risks to flight safety. Simulator Operational Quality Assurance (SOQA) is a new tool that allows training managers to gain deep insight as to the continuous improvement and health of their training system.
  • Mr. Robert Figlock, President of Advanced Survey Design and Mr. Marc Stirton with M&N Aviation presented a case study entitled, "How is your safety culture.and how do you know?" The two companies produced an anonymous web-based safety culture survey covering five major areas. The survey has proved to be a catalyst for change - causing improvement to existing procedures; increased awareness of specific risks; and greatly improved communication between line pilots, schedulers, maintenance, and management.
  • Mr. Kevin Armstrong with Aircare Solutions Group and Mr. Skip Moshner, Director of Flight Operations at Galvin Flying Services addressed basic stress management as part of daily life. The discussion covered the human mental health model, what causes disruptions to strong mental health, and methods of managing both basic stress and critical incident stress.
  • Mr. Bill Grimes, Vice President of Safety & Security at CitationAir, discussed organizational safety and the need for continuous monitoring and participation. Mr. Grimes commented, "It's important to have senior leadership participate in your SMS, select the right person as the safety officer, and educate your group to drive cultural change."
  • "The Value of Safety through Leadership" was presented by Mr. Craig Hoskins, Vice President and Chief Safety Officer with JetBlue Airways. Mr. Hoskins stated, "Leadership without strategic vision and just culture will make a proactive approach to risk management programs extremely difficult or nearly impossible." The session discussed how to integrate key aspects to develop, implement and execute a risk management program.
  • A panel of air charter and fractional operators shared their experiences about how their companies have benefited from instituting an aviation safety action program (ASAP). Each participant described how the program identifies and reduces possible flight safety concerns and mitigates risk. Mr. Chris MacWhorter, Senior Technical Advisor, FAA Flight Standards, explained the value of the program.