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Small operators form focus of NBAA online learning series
Developed by the NBAA, these online courses will address those issues small flight department leaders face every day and provide newer managers with guidance in the development of their departments.
The online sessions are an opportunity to connect with other small flight departments that are dealing with similar issues who have found ways to handle those challenges.

To help small flight departments with issues they may face, the National Business Aviation Association has created the Small Operator Learning Series to share insights into budgeting, effective communication strategies, maintaining safe operations and more from flight department leaders and industry experts.

“The majority of NBAA's membership is made up of small operators, those with one or two aircraft,” says manager of operations Noah Yarborough. “Leading a small flight department can feel like a lonely space, but these learning sessions are incredibly valuable resources developed by small operators for small operators.”

The series of online courses are developed by the Small Flight Department Subcommittee with feedback from other flight departments.

“There's value in benchmarking other flight departments,” says Dylan Miller, Challenger 604 captain and co-chair of NBAA's Small Flight Department Subcommittee. “And even if we can't address an operator's exact scenario, the online sessions provide additional resources to get a specific answer.”

Attendees who complete all eight sessions of the series can receive one Certified Aviation Manager credit toward application or recertification.

NBAA provides several resources for small flight departments, including best practices for maintenance in a small flight department and the Small Flight Department Safety Guide.

“Business aviation is a dynamic industry and no two small flight departments are exactly alike,” says co-chair of NBAA's Small Flight Department Subcommittee Joe Samudovsky. “However, these online sessions and other resources are an opportunity to connect with other small flight departments that are dealing with similar issues who have found ways to handle those challenges.”

A new module has been added that expands upon the first safety-related module 'Speaking with Your Principal - Expectations of Safety', entitled 'Continuing the Road to a Safer Flight Operation'. In this new session, panelists resume the conversation on safety, discussing the roles that professionalism, training and standardisation have in small flight departments.

Panelist and KB Solutions CEO Kodey Bogart, an aviation safety expert and consultant, encourages small organisations to be open to safety management systems (SMS) and other initiatives, even if most resources seem tailored to large organisations. “Small organisations think they can't implement certain safety programmes because they're small,” he says, adding that confidential reporting is one example of an initiative small organisations may struggle to implement. “It's not as daunting as many organisations think. Start by assessing what you already do and look to outside resources to help fill the gaps.”

For example, Aviation Safety Action Program participation is available through some third parties, enabling small operations to combine reporting efforts that can help protect anonymity and facilitate organisations learning from each other.

Small operations may not find much value in an internal safety standdown involving only a few employees, but many regional aviation associations host safety standdowns. Participating in these activities can help a small organisation round out their SMS in a very effective way.

The Small Operator Learning Series also provides best practices for aircraft time-sharing, insurance guidance, budgeting basics and tips for communicating with your principal.

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