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Mar 18, 2011 3:02 PM  EDT

Air Charter Safety Symposium Draws Record Attendance 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                             FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Alison McHugh
Manager, Safety Programs



Alexandria, VA, March 18, 2011 – This week, the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) hosted its 2011 Air Charter Safety Symposium at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Training Center in Ashburn, Virginia. The symposium provided two days of learning and discussion on topics such as how to develop a positive safety culture and a successful emergency response plan.
“Several keynote speakers from the Part 135 and 91K industry shared their views on emergency planning, preparation and safety culture,” said ACSF President Bryan Burns. “In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration and the NTSB provided valuable insight on past incidents and accidents and recommended best practices to prevent them from happening again. The symposium drew a remarkably large number of attendees, and they were rewarded for their time with very informative presentations. The best part was the interaction between attendees and presenters. It was an extremely successful event.”
The theme for this year’s Air Charter Safety Symposium was “Your Business Plan for Safety,” which drew over 100 representatives from the on-demand/charter and shared aircraft ownership industries as well as various aviation industry experts.
“The Air Charter Safety Symposium that concluded March 16th was the best ever,” said ACSF Chairman James C. Christiansen. “Attendees benefited from senior Federal Aviation Administration officials, industry experts and NTSB board presentations that included NTSB Member Dr. Earl Weener and NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman We’re very pleased that the ACSF continues to gain momentum and the validity of the foundation’s mission – to raise the level of safety within air charter and shared ownership operations – continues to be confirmed through operator and industry participation in ACSF activities. 
Presentation highlights from the Symposium included:
  • Keynote Speaker John M. Allen, director of Flight Standard Service for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), discussed some trends in Aviation Safety and Challenges for 2011 and beyond. He noted that with demand for resources and an uncertain budget, the FAA’s ability to meet the challenges of designing, manufacturing, regulating and operating new aircraft will be affected, and the FAA will be looking to safety management systems to help tailor priorities and focus.
  • A Safety Management System (SMS) update from Dr. Don Arendt, SMS program manager for the FAA, who noted the need for top management to stimulate a healthy safety environment, build trust and gain knowledge through a company-wide SMS program. Dr. Arendt discussed the FAA SMS Pilot Project, which currently has 60 Part 135, 43 Part 121, 4 Part 141, and 10 Part 145 participants.
  • The Honorable Earl Weener, board member, NTSB, provided an overview of safety issues affecting business aviation with a focus on airframe icing and runway excursions. He noted that although there are efforts to raise awareness of these issues, there are still recurring issues in aviation accidents.
  • Presentations on Emergency Preparedness and Response were given by Don Rickerhauser, manager of safety and security with Bombardier FlexJet, and Bob Schmidt, director of operations for Million Air Dallas. Both presentations highlighted the importance of being prepared for an emergency through development of an emergency response plan and the need to put that plan in practice at least annually. Preparation through planning, training, exercises and appropriate service level agreements can significantly assist an operator in properly managing an accident and providing care for those people affected.
The ACSF’s leadership acknowledged key contributors that have supported the on-going efforts of the foundation in promoting the safety of on-demand charter and fractional ownership operations throughout the industry. Among those recognized for their dedication were CAE, NetJets, Signature Flight Support, FlightOptions, JetSolutions and many others.
“We were extremely gratified by the record level of financial support the ACSF received this year from leading companies and individuals,” stated Christiansen. “We also added three new members during the symposium. Any organization that supplies charter or fractional lift, and those organizations that use this lift, should strongly consider joining their peers by becoming members of the ACSF. The benefits to their organization, and to the industry in general, far outweigh the cost of membership.”    
Presentations from the symposium will be made available to the public on the ACSF’s Web site at
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Through research, collaboration and education, the Air Charter Safety Foundation advances charter and shared aircraft ownership industry standards and best practices; promulgates safety, security and service benchmarks; and promotes the universal acceptance of safety management systems.


For additional information on this release, please contact:
Alison McHugh
Phone: (888) 723-3135
Source: ACSF  

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