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Upcoming NBAA Regional Forum Features Session on Business Aviation Safety

Jan. 15, 2014

A session taking a look back at the advances in business aviation safety over the decades is sure to be a highlight of the upcoming NBAA Business Aviation Regional Forum in Boca Raton, FL on Jan. 30.

"In the 40-plus years that John [Sheehan] and I have each spent in this industry, we've seen business aviation safety continually evolve," said Jim Cannon, program director of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) at the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC). "It's grown from a siloed environment where flight departments on the same airfield didn't talk to each other, to today's systematic, cross-discipline approach to identifying and managing risk."

One early milestone, Cannon said, involves Jimmy Doolittle - who would later become a U.S. Air Force general and World War II hero - becoming the first pilot to fly and land an airplane on instruments only, making all-weather flying possible.

"He did that just before he became the chief pilot for Shell Oil," said Sheehan, audit manager at IBAC. "From the beginning of business aviation, there has always been this tradition of safety innovation."

Sheehan said he hopes that looking back on the milestones that brought the industry to this point will help flight departments think creatively about safety.

"All these innovations – even back 80 years ago – are still in use today and have proven incredibly valuable in enhancing the safety of business aviation," he said.

Just as flight departments are proactive about staying up-to-date with the latest technologies required by regulators, like automatic dependent surveillance broadcast, it's equally important to stay-up to date on best practices in safety processes and procedures, said Sheehan.

"At the end of the day, it's the human factor that uses the equipment and makes it a safe operation," he said.

The session, "Milestones in Business Aviation Safety," spans Doolittle's flight to the present - covering the founding of NBAA in 1947, Al Ueltschi launching FlightSafety International in 1951, the development of TCAS and the beginning of NBAA's Professional Development Program and Certified Aviation Manager credential in 2002.

The session will be presented by Sheehan, along with Robert Breitling, who has been compiling and analyzing business turbine aircraft accidents since the 1960s.

"The Breiling Annual Turbine Accident Review has been a standard in the industry for tracking business aircraft accidents and determining safety rates across the industry," said Doug Carr, NBAA's vice president for regulatory and international affairs. "We're excited to have both Bob and John presenting at this Forum."

Learn more about the Boca Raton forum.

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