As business aviation has matured, the lessons learned from accidents and incidents have led to significant improvements in design, technology, materials and maintenance–all of which have made business jets one of the safest forms of transportation.
In a report titled “An Overview of Human Factors in Aviation Maintenance,” the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) concludes, “The errors of maintenance technicians are the visible manifestation of problems with roots deep in the organization. Yet until recently, maintenance personnel were overlooked by the human factors profession.
Like all high-tech industries, aviation has hardware, software and wetware. The last is a euphemism for the gray matter between a pilot’s ears (or a controller’s, mechanic’s or any other operator’s, for that matter). Over the 10 decades of powered flight, we’ve vastly improved aircraft engines and airframes. In the past two decades or so, computer processors and databases have left their indelible imprint on avionics.
Spurred by the popularity of Bombardier’s blockbuster annual standdown in Wichita, safety stand- downs are becoming regional one- day events. The Greater Washington Business Aviation Association recently hosted its own one-day safety and security standdown at Signature Flight Support’s FBO at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Safety Management Systems (SMSs), popular in other industries for years, are coming to aviation because regulatory authorities, safety experts and industry leaders have proclaimed that SMS represents the future of safety management in our industry. Other countries have been working with safety management systems for years, and the SMS is now gaining traction in the U.S.
By September next year European aircraft maintenance providers will be obliged to have conducted approved human factors training for their staff. The requirement is included in Part 145 rules issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), but national aviation authorities’ (NAAs) inconsistent implementation of the rule appears to be causing confusion for some European companies.
Executive Jet Management (EJM), a provider of aircraft management and charter services, received special recognition from Grey Owl Aviation Consultants for its commitment to human factors training and improving safety and reducing maintenance errors.
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