Business Aviation’s Biggest Safety Risks – and How to Avoid Them

by Richard Zaher / Apr 29, 2017

Pilots in Cockpit

There’s a reason why large scale aviation accidents still make the front page of newspapers, aside from the element of tragedy. It’s because they’re rare. Flying has become one of the safest modes of transport, with numbers suggesting that flying is now safer than driving.

But this is no accident. Thousands of industry experts toil away every day to keep up with our growing and changing technology, staying one step ahead of the game to make sure the next time you step foot on an aircraft you’re in the safest hands possible. In order to ensure this remains the case, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has produced a new guide outlining the main areas of concern when it comes to business aviation and flying safety.

Loss of control

Also referred to as LOC-I, loss of control inflight may not be the most common issue in aviation but it is, unfortunately, the most fatal. Losing control of the aircraft mid-flight results in more business aviation fatalities than any other type of accident, making it one of the most important topics to address. Whilst some incidents are unavoidable, the NBAA’s understanding is that the number of LOC-I accidents “can be reduced through improved prevention, recognition and recovery skills”. This opens the door to reducing the number of incidents via top-level training and the hiring of the best pilots in the business.

Aircraft Engine

Runway issues

By far the most common cause of accidents in business aviation is the runway excursion, which comprises of any number of incidents occurring before take-off. Many of these are not significant in terms of harm to passengers, but the knock-on effect that this can have on schedules, businesses and other flights can be terribly costly and unnecessary. Knowing how to use runway condition data to optimum effect, coupled with the ability to identify risk factors and following the standard approach to landing criteria can help avoid this issue entirely.

Flying alone

Two heads are better than one, and this is never truer than when it comes to safe flying. Flying can be immensely pleasurable but it is also a demanding task, and having a co-pilot can be of major assistance. However, it is not always feasible or even possible to have two trained, qualified individuals flying together and this is where mistakes sometimes slip in. Accident rates are frequently higher for single-pilot aircraft, but there are things that can be done to reduce these rates. Increased safety dialog and improved resources will help single pilots avoid the pitfalls they sometimes fall into when flying solo.

Pilots in Cockpit at Night

Procedural Non-Compliance

Non-compliance is unforgivable in the world of aviation. It is a fundamental necessity to provide a safe environment for flyers everywhere and everything must be done to achieve conformity on this most serious of matters. Again, this is largely a matter of personnel, and stringent checks could be the difference here.

Ground Handling

Again, ground handling incidents do not make headlines and rarely cause serious injuries, but the knock-on and financial effect they can have on the running of an aviation business are huge. Aircraft can be taken out of service after acquiring damage following the landing stretch of the journey, and the overall valuation of an asset can be significantly reduced if not handled properly.

Distractions

No matter how many checks are carried out, pilots and crews are subject to human error just as everyone is. The most important thing to avoid costly or hazardous distractions is simply astute management, which can involve anything from recognizing stress or fatigue to actively combating complacency in the more run-of-the-mill aircraft checks. No corners should be cut when it comes to the safety of crews and their passengers.

Aircraft in Sky

Dealing with risks and unexpected scenarios

The most important aspect of continuing to improve business aviation is excellence in training. Everything we understand about aviation is learned and it is imperative that new members of a team not only understand what they have to do but why they are doing it, which will be imperative in the case of a fault or emergency. This involves the process of learning but equally, it means re-learning and making a continued effort to ensure all new technology is integrated into training regimes.

Airspace issues

Often outside of the aircraft crew’s control, complexities within the airspace can have a hazardous effect on flyers. From increased air traffic to testing weather conditions, airspace issues are sometimes unavoidable but with proper training and preparation their impact can be minimal.

How to avoid these issues

When it comes to finding the safest way to fly, Paramount Business Jets objectively takes action to prevent and minimize any issues that may be incurred whilst flying. As a member of the Aviation Research Group – United States (ARGUS) we’re committed to rigorous auditing which leaves no stone unturned. This is complemented by the TripCHEQ system which provides the most detailed safety analysis program available today, giving our team all the information they need to make the best decisions possible when it comes to every detail of the planned flight.

Far from resting on our laurels, we audit every single flight, every single time, without exception. The operator, the aircraft, the crew – we go through every detail to make sure every aspect of safety is covered in advance. This happens behind the scenes, meaning not a second is added to your journey.

Experience is key to flying, so as part of our advanced vetting process we demand a minimum of two FAA-certified, ATP-rated pilots on every flight – no single-pilot aircraft issues here.

We value our passengers’ safety above everything, and we like to let people know about it. That’s why just 10% of the providers meet our extremely high requirements to join our preferred global network. We don’t just meet Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) and Department of Transportation (DoT) regulations, we exceed them.

About Richard Zaher

Richard Zaher Richard Zaher is the founder and CEO of Paramount Business Jets. He is a former pilot and the President of ACANA. Richard is a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Studies. A seasoned international jet charter expert, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and the recipient of the Embry Riddle Eagle Excellence Award at the 2012 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention. He is also an active member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) as well as several safety and air charter organizations.

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