Flight safety: NBAA’s 2024 top safety focus areas

Photo Credit: NBAA

When considering flight safety, with the right approach both large and small business aircraft operators can not only prevent incidents but also operate with significantly less risk.

Every two years, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Safety Committee convenes a group of around 80 industry experts to review and update its list of top safety focus areas.

Let’s delve into the NBAA’s 2024 Top Safety Focus Areas, categorizing them into three key sections.

Preventable Accidents


Loss of Control Inflight

Loss of control inflight remains the primary cause of fatal aviation accidents, making it the number one focus area.

Industry experts, led by Dan Boedigheimer, committee vice chair and CEO of Advanced Aircrew Academy, stress the importance of addressing this critical issue through targeted safety measures.

Runway Safety

Runway safety is another pivotal aspect, emphasizing the need for meticulous procedures during takeoff and landing.

The NBAA emphasizes the significance of preventing runway-related incidents, thereby enhancing overall aviation safety.

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A private jet taxis for takeoff.
Photo Credit: Ivan Chumakov via Pexels

Controlled Flight into Terrain

Avoiding controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) is a crucial focus area, urging operators to employ advanced technologies and adhere to strict guidelines to prevent accidents arising from navigating into challenging terrains.

Ground Operations and Maintenance Accidents

Ground operations and maintenance accidents are highlighted to underscore the importance of rigorous protocols on the ground.

Implementing best practices in these areas significantly contributes to overall safety enhancement.

Unique Operational Concerns


Single-Pilot Operations

Traditionally, single pilot flight operations, especially single pilot IFR, have been acknowledged as representing the highest pilot workload in the industry.

Single-pilot operations present unique challenges, historically demonstrating higher risks than their multi-pilot counterparts.

Industry experts, including Boedigheimer, emphasize the ongoing focus on mitigating risks associated with single-pilot operations.

Photo Credit: Daniel Shapiro via Pexels

Human Factors

Human factors, encompassing regulatory, policy, and procedural non-compliance, are integral to aviation safety.

This focus area emphasizes the need for continuous improvements in regulatory compliance, policies, and procedures to mitigate potential risks.

Fitness for Duty and Workforce Challenges

Mental health is now a crucial component of fitness for duty, acknowledging the impact of psychological well-being on operational safety.

Additionally, addressing workforce challenges and facilitating knowledge transfer to the next generation are pivotal in sustaining a robust aviation industry.

Mitigation Strategies


Safety Management System (SMS) Implementation

The FAA is likely to mandate SMS implementation for Part 135 operators this year. SMS implementation provides a formalized risk-management program that efficiently and cost-effectively enhances safety.

This focus area encourages operators, irrespective of size, to initiate SMS implementation promptly.

Organizational Support of Safety Expenditures

Organizations are urged to support safety expenditures, recognizing the direct correlation between investment in safety measures and overall operational success.

A proactive approach to safety expenditure ensures a secure and reliable aviation operation.

Increasing the Use and Sharing of Safety Data

The final focus area underscores the importance of sharing safety data within the industry. Collaborative efforts in sharing information and experiences contribute to a collective understanding of potential risks and effective safety measures.

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The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) discusses its list of top flight safety focus areas for large and small business aviation operators
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