One measure of the effectiveness of an aviation trade association is when one of the federal bodies cites that organization in an official ruling. Such a reference connotes the unusually high regard of NBAA by the NTSB.
Even more impressively, the Board’s call for this business aviation association to “work with business aviation flight operational quality assurance groups to analyze existing data for compliance with manufacturer-required routine flight-control checks before takeoff, and provide the results of this analysis to NBAA Members as part of the Association’s data-driven safety agenda for business aviation.” That official assignment reflects the Board’s respect for NBAA’s technical capabilities and ability to translate effective responses into operational practices by their members in a short period of time.
Perhaps the NTSB’s reliance on NBAA is based on a successful past. Since the association’s beginnings in 1947, it has responded to 10 Board directions calling on the trade association to exercise its expertise in designing and implementing specific safety practices. All 10 were successfully closed.
Ed Bolen, NBAA’s CEO and President, commented:
“NBAA appreciates the NTSB’s diligent investigation of this accident, and its recognition of NBAA’s ability to assess and address the hazards of procedural non-compliance within the business aviation community…Procedural compliance with checklists, standard operating procedures, regulations and company policies is critical to aviation safety.”
Trade associations provide value to their members in many ways. NBAA employs a staff of able, knowledgeable safety experts. That team is always engaged in establishing standards for its Members that exceed the minimum requirements of the FAR and educating the pilots, mechanics and all involved in supporting business aviation about the benefits of these enhanced practices.
It is unusual for a federal safety authority to rely on a non-governmental organization to be part of the solution. By so doing, the members will receive practical, realistic solutions developed by the professional staff and the companies’ peers. The creation of more effective checklists, rules and policies will be the product of the work of NBAA and its committees. In trade association, that is great leverage— dollars spent at the association level will create benefits to the members at a multiple of the dues paid.