What’s the significance of NBAA signing an updated Safety Policy Letter, and why is the Association’s focus so firmly on Loss of Control In-Flight? Dave Higdon reviews in this week’s blog…
The closing day of last month's annual NBAA-BACE may not have brought the packed halls and crowded static display of the first two days, but the Convention activities continue right up until the floor closes. This year's final day brought some action from the association, reaffirming its commitment to making safe Business Aviation operations a top priority.
Tom Huff was installed as NBAA Safety Committee chair, along with a renewal of the association’s Safety Policy Letter (a document first signed in 2016). NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen and Chairman Lloyd “Fig” Newton signed the updated letter and immediately went about reinforcing the text with association actions.
“With any safety management system, you really need that critical component of a written safety policy,” explained said Mark Larsen, NBAA's senior manager, safety and flight operations. “In NBAA’s case, the renewal of the Safety Policy Letter allows NBAA’s staff, our Board of Directors and our Safety Committee to remain synced on the direction, roles and engagement needed to achieve desired safety objectives, and assure both the membership and the industry of NBAA’s commitment to safety.”
As a key element of the NBAA Safety Committee, the letter spells out the importance of using data-driven analysis to identify significant industry hazards as a means to develop appropriate and effective risk mitigation solutions and affirms NBAA’s commitment to collaborate with strategic government and industry partners to promote safety.
Human Factors Remain Key
As seen for years, the human element remains the key factor in most flying accidents and incidents, and specialized training continues to offer a potential antidote to one of the more vexing threats to safe flight: Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I).
Safety authorities define an “airborne upset” as an undesired airplane state characterized by unintentional divergences from parameters normally experienced during operations. In other words, any unintended divergence from controlled, straight-and-level flight.
NBAA has prioritized LOC-I awareness, highlighting the issue as one of its annual Top Safety Focus Areas.
“By better understanding the threat areas where we are vulnerable, we can be more effective at overcoming loss of control,” said Paul Ransbury, president of Aviation Performance Solutions and lead of the NBAA Safety Committee LOC-I working group.
Ransbury offered testimonials from a number of business aircraft pilots who credit their own upset recognition and recovery training (URRT) for surviving LOC-I events.
“As we approached the Washington, DC area, suddenly we experienced…a wake turbulence upset,” Joe Kline, a Gulfstream G650 captain with more than 13,000 flight hours, recalled in a video shown during the panel.
Clint Feredy, who has more than 22,000 flight hours across General and Commercial Aviation, recalled an incident where his aircraft experienced 22 degrees of roll upon descent to Los Angeles. The PIC, who had previously taken URRT training, was able to correct course without further incident.
Another G650 captain, Rodney Lundy, discussed in the video how his familiarity with the physiological effects of an upset through URRT training enabled him to successfully recover his aircraft during an incident enroute to New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).
“[On simulators], you’re not feeling the Gs,” Lundy elaborated. “You’re not feeling the airplane moving around, you’re not feeling the cup of coffee spilling on you as it falls out of the cup holder. Being able to actually go out and perform the upsets in jet aircraft gives you the confidence and muscle memory.”
Where to Find URRT Training
Flight Research, JETUAT and Aviation Performance Solutions are among the companies offering URRT courses. Every source consulted for this topic, however, advised that taking some training in an aerobatic aircraft doesn't provide the same training experience as training specifically to recognize and recover from an unintentional upset.