The first days of May found snow on the Rockies and safety in the conference hall of the Business Aviation Safety Summit in Denver, Colorado. CTS was a first-time attendee of the summit and an active participate in every training session. If there was an overarching theme of the 2-day event, it would be that Complacency and “Check-the-Box training” is out and Data Driven Decision Making is in.
We began the morning with FAA Deputy Associate Administrator, John Duncan and the FAA’s call to personal and peer accountability within the aviation community. He emphasized the Administration’s desire to standardize regulatory oversight. While acknowledging the storied history of FAA punitive actions, he expressed a shift in their focus toward a desire to work cooperatively with operators toward creating a culture of compliance. Promoting the participation with the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) and highlighting the data driven focus in the release of the FAA Strategic Plan 2019-2022. As his time on stage came to an end, attendees were reminded of the ADS-B Out mandate taking effect January 1, 2020 (your fleet is equipped, right?).
The morning continued with talks on Recent Trends in Business Aviation from the NBAA Safety Committee Chairman, Tom Huff. He reported an increase in accidents in single-pilot operations, the continued focus on addressing crew fatigue, and the value of scenario and evidence-based training. Huff also expressed the NBAA’s support in the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program, another voluntary data-sharing program linked to FOQA and safety hazard reports.
The following Q & A panel discussion focused on single-pilot operations gave us chance to get “off-the-cuff” responses from those invested in industry. Thomas Howe, Aviation Safety Manager, and Brad McKeage, V.P. Flight Operations, represented Embraer Executive Aircraft. Lou Nemeth, Chief Safety Officer from CAE and Airshare’s Director of Safety, Jeremy Wright discussed the implementation of practices that may be overlooked by the single pilot. The panel swapped stories of audibly “talking themselves through cockpit checklists”. Though the room softly chuckled, there was a shared understanding of the discipline required to follow procedures such as briefing, debriefing, and contingency plans when you are solo behind the controls.
The afternoon sessions reinforced the morning’s focus on data driven decision making and the consequences of complacency, with presentations on aeromedical and fatigue issues, crisis management, and a case study from the National Transportation Safety Board. Dr.Quay Snyder, from Aviation Medicine Advisory Service, addressed what is meant by “fitness for duty” and how it goes beyond sobriety. He stressed the importance of recognizing medical issues such as headaches, dental and ear pain, and sleep apnea that can rapidly deteriorate your personal airworthiness and in some cases incapacitate a flight crew. Dr. Daniel Mollicone, CEO, Pulsar Informatics reported on research efforts to find effective ways to mitigate risk on flights when fatigue falls into critical stages.
The final session concluded with the NTSB’s, Senior Air Safety Investigator, James Silliman’s findings of the Learjet 35A accident at Teterboro Airport (TEB) in March 2017. The chilling report disclosed the disregard for the operation’s safety procedures, and a failure to understand and apply ATC instructions that lead to the lethal crash.
The morning began with Mr. Steve Hanson, representing the National Safety Committee and National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Hanson discussed the use of the voluntary reporting programs such as ATSAP for air traffic controllers and ASAP for pilots. He was encouraged by the use of CISP (FAA’s Confidential Information Sharing Program) and its data merge from ATSAP and ASAP to determine origination and break-downs in safety within the systems. Fred Calvert, Director of Safety Assurance with Executive Jet Management, demonstrated how they have successfully incorporated the use of FOQA data to guide training and take a proactive approach to avoid catastrophes. The Director of IS-BAH, Terry Yeomans focused his presentation on Ramp Safety Issues and encouraged pilots to view safety as a priority when selecting your FBO of choice… not just based on low fuel prices, coffee, cookies, or great customer service. Erika Armstrong, from Advanced Aircrew Academy gave several anecdotal references to remind operators and pilots to place their responsibility to safety above the internal and external-driven pressures from passengers.
For an extra dose of data, GE Aviation sent Shelby Balogh, a data and analytics scientist, to explain through numerous charts and graphs an Analysis of Runway Overrun Risk. He discovered that only a small percentage of landings actually fell into a statistically significant area at risk of runway overrun. However, that percentage was landing further and further down the runway over time, placing them on an increasingly dangerous pattern. His data debunked some common excuses for long landings such as, the increased length of a runway offset the long landing and the assumption that a long landing equals a smooth landing.
Martin Egberth, Psychologist, Senior Human Factors Expert for Lufthansa Aviation Training, spoke on both days, with a charismatic stage presence that kept the audience engaged. His first talk on Leadership, impressed that skills such as emotional intelligence, inspiration, reflection and self-critique have replaced the old-adage of “because I said so”. His second presentation on Skills for the Future, complimented his earlier talk. Egberth, suggested mentoring programs and cross-training, as practical ways to increase crew resource management and engagement. He also addressed the training needs of the incoming generation. Providing meaningful, easily accessible, on-demand recurrent ground training will engage learners and when reinforced during flight training will have long lasting implications. While once the standard, “checking the box training” usually means trainees are checking out.
Day 2 ended with a look to the future. Lithium ion battery protocols have not yet been established but the proliferation of EFBs and the dangerous effect of cockpit smoke create a potential risk that every pilot must consider before each flight.
MITRE’s, John Helleberg, introduced the concept of a “Digital Co-pilot”. After undergoing extensive research and development, as well as study through pilot workshops, flight tests, simulations, and lab studies, this “Siri-like” application can be utilized by single pilots to conduct a variety of co-pilot tasks. Providing audible checklists, destination summaries, and alerts for incorrect runway alignment or flying towards rising terrain, implementation of the “Digital Co-Pilot” may be a safety game changer for Part 135, 91 and recreational pilots.
After two days of educated perspectives from a variety of sources, one thing was clear. Each and every presenter and participant was passionate about creating a safe and secure environment, both on the ground and in the air. I am proud of CTS’s commitment to adapt with these evolutions in training and our focus to provide the training solutions you need for your operation. Our ability to customize lessons so that you can create personalized training templates coupled with objective data collection echo the focus of BASS 2019.
CTS will continue to create the training you need to meet industry changes of the future. We value the trust you place in us as one of your training vendors and seek to continually earn it. If there is any way we can enhance the integration of CTS within your organization, just let us know. We’d be happy to hear from you as we’re always “on frequency and ready to copy” your thoughts on how we can best deliver a “Your CTS” experience.