Sixteen members of Bozeman, Montana-based Summit Aviation recently attended the Air Charter Safety Foundation's annual symposium. “Any meeting or symposium planner would agree, when you experience this kind of exceptional interest in and commitment to an event, you have to assume you're doing something right,” says ACSF president Bryan Burns.
Shortly after the event, Summit president Ben Walton shared a letter with Burns written by Janine Schwahn, who is director of operations and director of safety for Summit. “Change happens from the inside out, and all pilots, schedulers and our director of maintenance should attend,” Schwahn wrote.
Burns thinks that the increasingly high level of interest in ACSF is because safety is hitting its stride. Schwahn added: “Within hours of the symposium being finished, safety and anomaly reports began trickling into our online reporting system, and none of them were anonymous. Everyone understood the importance of information and knew there was not to be retribution. We're all in this together.”
The symposium opened up topics of discussion and ideas among the crews, schedulers and mechanics. Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) and SOPs were talked about in taxis, hotel lounges and even the known crewmember checkpoints as delegates travelled home.
Adds Schwahn: “One week later, I'm still getting texts, phone calls and emails from captains, first officers, mechanics and our schedulers with suggested changes to procedures and processes to make the operation safer. Likewise, we are removing procedures that just added workload and didn't improve safety.”
Burns hopes to make the annual symposium even more topical and interesting based on Summit's feedback. “As Charles Lindbergh said, 'isn't it strange that we talk least about the things we think about the most.' With that in mind, I sincerely hope that many more ACSF members take Summit's sterling example of commitment to the cause of safety, and that we can open up this topic even further to help bring about greater and more effective safety measures in this industry,” he concludes.