As deep as Business Aviation is in resources, new ones keep emerging from the many groups which support it, notes Dave Higdon. NATA’s new FBO Status Map provides yet another excellent example...
NATA, which represents aviation businesses, developed its 'Safety 1st' program as an educational outreach and training arm to elevate the quality of FBO services and safety. The program brings best-practices training to FBOs and their staff for the safe handling of aircraft in their charge and related activities (from fueling to towing, and other ground-handling tasks.
Similarly, the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) is a program developed under the auspices of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and is the ground-handlers’ counterpart to the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO).
Many pilots actively seek FBOs that ascribe to, and participate in Safety 1st or are IS-BAH registered. The challenge for flight crew can be identifying which FBOs follow these standards.
NATA’s FBO Status Map
To that end NATA this week introduced the FBO Status Map, a free on-line tool for helping operators identify FBO participants in both IS-BAH and Safety 1st programs. NATA’s FBO Status Map is a cloud-based program designed to work on all forms of today's computing tools. Users simply search the FBO Status Map – by company name, airport ID, or address.
The tool differs from other resources designed to help pilots find the best fuel prices or airports with suitable runways.
As NATA put it, this is a tool to help operators who prefer to use FBOs with staff trained to Safety 1st criteria and that adhere to the best practices for handling those expensive tools.
Knowledge is Power
“NATA's FBO Status Map provides operators and pilots a free, easy to use tool to locate Safety 1st qualified and IS-BAH registered FBOs throughout the world,” explained Thomas L. Hendrick, NATA president and CEO. Neither ‘Safety 1st Trained’ nor ‘IS-BAH Registered’ come without an FBO overseeing the training of ground-handling employees who, in turn, must pass strict qualifying tests and endure practices audits before designations are earned.
“Safety 1st and IS-BAH are not competing programs, but rather complementary tools that help assure ground handlers are utilizing best practices and gold-standard training,” added Michael France, NATA’s Managing Director of Safety and Training.
While some might question the value of yet another software tool for making informed decisions, any tool that helps boost an operator's confidence in their FBO choice should also be a boost to those businesses that ascribe to the high standards of both programs and should be welcome in any cockpit. The price doesn't get any better. You can check it out via www.fbostatus.com.
NATA's efforts are one more example of the depth of support available to Business Aviation operators. Hats off to NATA for the foresight to develop this tool.