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May 2019

Aviation Safety Management—Exceeding the Standard

An interview with Vice President of Safety, Richard Meikle
To ensure Owner and crew safety, NetJets has made an industry-leading safety investment. Explore NetJets’ Aviation Safety Management System with our Vice President of Safety, Richard Meikle.

Q: What kind of aviation safety management program does NetJets have?

A: NetJets was the first private aviation company to reach the highest level of the Federal Aviation Administration Safety Management System initiative. Our Safety Management System is a formal, top-down, organizationwide approach that leverages proven procedures, practices, and policies to proactively manage safety risk. It’s important to note that there are no regulatory safety requirements in the private, charter, or fractional aviation sectors. Aviation safety management systems are also expensive, so many opt to assign safety as an additional duty to an individual’s existing role. NetJets, on the other hand, chooses to staff dedicated, full-time experts who are focused on safety every day.

You simply cannot pay another company to run your safety program and expect it to be effective. When an external party is managing a safety program, there is no emotional buy-in. After an accident, using an outside company would result in finger-pointing: “You should have seen that coming for us.”
Quote Open
“It’s important to note that there are no regulatory safety requirements in the private, charter, or fractional aviation sectors. ... [NetJets] chooses to staff dedicated, full-time experts who are focused on safety every day.”
Richard Meikle, VP, Safety, NetJetsQuote Closed
NetJets has an industry-leading aviation safety management system that includes many programs. For example, we routinely download and analyze flight data through a program called Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA). This big-data program is based on the concept of safety enhancement through monitoring and correction. By monitoring the operation, FOQA provides a set of eyes—and opportunities for improvement—into the operation where there are normally blind spots. We knew we wanted to establish a FOQA program and since the necessary equipment is not required by rule, NetJets made an investment in safety by requiring installation on all new deliveries starting in 2013. This investment, which significantly exceeded the regulatory requirements, has provided more insight into the operation than any other safety program.

Another example is the implementation of a Fatigue Risk Management System. Fatigue is insidious, and having it sneak up on you while inflight increases risk. Through the acquisition and integration of a biomathematical model into our scheduling software, NetJets can identify flight sequences that may pose a safety risk and reassign them to another crew that is more rested. Despite the best science available, there are circumstances the software is blind to, such as noisy hotels or other rest inhibitors. This is where the non-reprisal, self-removal policy provides the crews with yet another layer of safety.

Q: How is the information gained through safety programs used?

A: All the safety programs have one common goal, which is to identify hazards and enhance safety margins. Much of this is accomplished through two avenues. The first is process revision and the second is training. Having a customized training program is possible through the tight partnership we have with FlightSafety [International®]. Every six months, NetJets revises the training programs to incorporate the latest information from our safety programs and other industry events. Once developed, the NetJets Training Department spends hundreds of hours training the FlightSafety instructors on correct delivery of simulator and ground school scenarios. This helps ensure the highest level of proficiency in each of our crewmembers.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SAFETY
Read the second part of our interview with Richard Meikle.
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