Eye on the Ramp: USAIG, NATA push operations safety

May 8, 2004


Eye on the Ramp

USAIG, NATA push operations safety

May 2004

ORLANDO — USAIG, a leading aviation insurer, and the National Air Transportation Association kicked off a series of safety meetings here. The focus: reducing line mishaps, aircraft damage, high insurance costs, and personnel safety.

Officials report that the Flight-Safety Foundation estimates general aviation ground accidents in North America cost some $200 million each year.

Christopher O'Gwen, VP with USAIG, says the number may actually be twice that. A key fact, he says, is that most of the damage caused during ground operations is the result of human error, which means it can be readily addressed through training and awareness programs.

USAIG estimates that, globally, ground incidents account for some $5 billion in costs for all of aviation.

A central part of the push for improved ground safety for fixed base operators is the NATA Safety 1st program, which to date has more than 525 companies participating. The program includes initial and recurrent training, and a certification process for line technicians.

Following Procedures
According to O' Gwen, many FBOs have policies and procedures in place for handling aircraft but they aren' t always followed stringently. Some examples: failing to always chock aircraft; failing to always have at least two wing-walkers; or, not escorting non-FBO vehicles while on the ramp.

He recommends getting pilots actively involved in the ground process, such as having them on hand during towing operations. He also recommends having an outside firm perform an audit of the FBO' s safety procedures and practices for an objective analysis.

O' Gwen also sees incentive programs, such as putting a penny a gallon into a safety reward pool, promoting safety as a good way to heighten awareness about the value of following procedures. Safety bonuses can be paid out monthly or quarterly when there are no losses.