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Appointing Your Aviation Safety Officer

Board Members are responsible for all corporate policies- including those related to the company’s use of a business aircraft. However- the details of creating- implementing and revising as needed company policy regarding business aircraft should be delegated to professions such as the Flight Department’s Safety Officer- says Jack Olcott.

While the Flight Department Manager may assume the duties of the Safety Officer in organizations with limited personnel- there must be a professional airman who assists with policy generation and compliance. Routinely- Boards should interface with the aviation Safety Officer to fulfill their oversight responsibilities for safe operation of a company’s aircraft.

Qualifications for the aviation professional designated as Safety Officer include the following characteristics:
• Extensive operational experience- usually as an active aviator or maintenance specialist;
• Training in aviation management;
• Experience with aviation-related safety programs;
• Knowledge in preparing and implementing recognized protocols such as International Standard-Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) and Safety Management Systems;
• Specialized training in human factors- decision-making and safety philosophy; and
• Understanding of risk management and accident prevention.

Duties of the Safety Officer include:
• Being available as the resident expert on matters related to Business Aviation safety;
• Familiarize and educate where necessary personnel affecting safety;
• Monitor implementation of company policy related to aviation safety;
• Liaise with safety organizations and other Flight Departments regarding safety culture;
• Report periodically to top management and to the Board on status of the company’s safety program.

Always remember- though- that while the Safety Officer is vital to the successful creation and implementation of an effective safety culture- overall safety remains a Board responsibility. Email feedback to editorial@avbuyer.com

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