training aerosapce detail

Repetition is the Mother of All Skills

11/14/2021 Written by: Stuart Hope

If the primary focus of a successful real estate purchase is location, location, location   – the equivalent for aircraft safety is training, training, training. Yet time and again, lack of the required discipline it takes to stay the course and train each member who plays a part in the safety of a successful flight department, results in a not so happy ending.

In November 2013, a fatal crash in Alaska killed the pilot and three passengers. After departure, the pilot ran into heavy fog and with the aircraft icing up, tried to divert to a nearby airport to land, but overflew the airport and crashed into a ridge four miles away. As part of its investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported the commuter airline routinely failed to follow its own risk assessment plan contained in its operations manual which required flight coordinators to assess the risk of each individual flight before releasing it.

Training and repetition develops and sharpens skills. We all know that but for many flight departments, while it is identified as important, it’s not always urgent. To many, the fact they have never had an accident proves they are safe, but could it be they have just been lucky? Ask any pilot, and they can tell you of a flying experience where they have gotten themselves into serious trouble and promised the good Lord above, if He would let them land safely, they would never make that mistake again.  Sometimes your luck runs out as it did for the pilot in the case above.

Insurance companies obviously understand it. They have a lot of money on the line and have the statistics to back up that training unequivocally lowers accident rates. They know 80%+ of aircraft accidents result from pilot error so they realize their focus should be on reducing this number. To that end, all insurance carriers require recurrent training for pilots annually in turbine and jet aircraft with rare exception. It is simply not left to the discretion of the aircraft owner. Even then, some operators try to find a way to postpone it, or ask to train every other year, or request approval to train with a local “guru” rather than a formal training center. Why? Because recurrent training is expensive, and it takes time. In the end, how will those reasons for wanting to avoid training play out in court when one is being sued after an accident?

Many aircraft owners spare no expense making certain their aircraft is maintained meticulously to minimize a potential in-flight mechanical failure of any kind. While an excellent risk management strategy, again 80%+ of aircraft accidents result from pilot error, not a mechanical failure. Doesn’t it make better sense that like the insurance company, an owner’s primary focus, money and attention from a safety perspective be directed to flight department training?

Contact the AssuredPartners Aerospace team for information on possible exclusive safety offerings insurers make available at no charge to flight departments willing to train at the highest levels.

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