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Honoring a Legacy of Safety and Advocacy

By Ed Bolen

The business aviation community recently lost a tireless advocate, respected leader and good friend in John Winant, the former NBAA president who passed away earlier this year.

It is a fitting tribute to one of business aviation’s most ardent advocates – and one who played such a prominent role in enhancing the industry’s safety record – that this first themed edition of NBAA’s Business Aviation Insider is devoted to safety.

Winant was widely honored for his business aviation achievements, and for his safety efforts, the Flight Safety Foundation presented him with its Meritorious Service Award.

Of all his safety work, Winant was most proud of his involvement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), which provides aviation system users with a means of reporting safety deficiencies confidentially. From 1975 to 1987, Winant chaired the ASRS advisory committee.

However, Winant may be best remembered for being the driving force behind establishment of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC). Among the most notable safety contributions IBAC has been responsible for is the creation of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO). Most recently, IBAC released new guidance that helps operators implement a safety management system. (View the related SMS article.)

While NBAA has been encouraging operators to adopt IS-BAO, the safety tradition at the Association actually extends back to its earliest days. For more than half a century, NBAA has recognized Member Companies through the Association’s Flying Safety Awards, which acknowledge the accident-free records of management, maintenance, pilot and support personnel teams.

NBAA proudly carries on the safety tradition advanced by Winant. The Association is co-sponsoring a three-day U.S. Safety Standdown, a one-day Safety Standdown as part of EBACE2009 and a Single-Pilot Safety Standdown that will debut at NBAA2009. (View the related article here.)

NBAA is proud to have helped business aviation achieve a stellar safety record, and the Association is devoted to continuing to uphold the safety standards set by leaders like Winant.

Likewise, NBAA is committed to continuing Winant’s legacy of responding rapidly in a crisis. When the air traffic controllers strike of 1981 crippled the ATC system, NBAA quickly established a telephone hotline to help operators arrange their flights.

Today, the Association has responded to the economic downturn and recent negative publicity about the industry by stepping up its multimedia advocacy efforts. As part of this initiative, this edition of Business Aviation Insider includes a special supplement detailing the Association’s work to defend the industry, most recently through the introduction of the No Plane No Gain initiative (view the suppliment online). The supplement provides details on that campaign and also offers practical advice and tools to business aviation professionals whose flight departments and jobs are at risk.

The initial response to these new advocacy efforts has been positive, but NBAA Members can rest assured that the Association will work tirelessly until business aviation is free of this current turbulence. We’ll also continue to honor the tradition of safety that’s become the industry’s hallmark.