NTSB’s DeLisi points to P121 practices for BizAv and they’re going there- Safety Standdown

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DeLisi: Part 121 Has Laid Roadmap for Bizav Safety


DeLisi points to SMS, FOQA, FDM, etc.

Bizav moving there already

Bombardier, with the LEARJET fleet as an earlier bizjet and now with the range of LEARJET 70/75, the CHALLENGER 350, CHALLENGER 650 and GLOBAL 5000-7500, has a strong interest in business aviation.

So, in 1996, it started the Safety Standdown in Wichita, Kansas. Its initial audience was restricted to Bombardier Learjet Flight Demonstration Team.  Stand down, particularly safety stand down, is a term used by the military (synonym “at ease”) which calls for all involved to look at their assignment and focus on how the task might be done better/safer.

Bombardier’s objective was and still is, to improve aviation safety standards and sustain positive changes within the industry. After several of these sessions, it was obvious that this forum was so effective that the invitation list was opened to other corporate pilots and flight crews in 1999.

The Safety Standdown is NOW a must attend annual event which offers knowledge-based pilot safety training along with personal discipline and responsibility as essential elements of aviation safety and aviation professionalism. In fact, the 2018 session had more requests to attend than the facility could handle.

One of the featured speakers at this year’s Wichita convocation was John DeLisi, Director of the Office of Aviation Safety


Mr. DeLisi has been with the National Transportation Safety Board for since 1992, serving as Deputy Director of the Office of Aviation Safety for the past four years. In June 2011, he began a detail as the Acting Director of the Office of Marine Safety. He began his career with the Safety Board as an Aircraft Systems Engineer in the Aviation Engineering Division, and was an on-scene investigator for 20 major airline accidents and 6 international investigations. He authored 16 safety recommendation letters that have led to improvements on air carrier airplanes such as the B737, B747, B757, B767, and A 320. In 2000, Mr. DeLisi became Chief of the Aviation Engineering Division, which is responsible for investigating the airworthiness of aircraft involved in major aviation accidents. He also served as the Chief of the Major Investigations Division and oversaw over a dozen major airline accident investigations, including the investigation of the Comair Flight 5191 accident in Lexington, Kentucky.

Mr. DeLisi has presented technical papers at conferences sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, the Flight Safety Foundation, the International Aviation Safety Association, and has been the Sigma Series Lecturer at the NASA Langley Research Center. He is a recipient of the Safety Board’s Managing Director’s Award and has twice been nominated for the Safety Board’s Dr. John Lauber Award for technical excellence in accident investigation.

Mr. DeLisi is a cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Aerospace Engineering, and has done graduate work in Engineering Management at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. He also holds a private pilot certificate and has multi-engine, instrument, and aerobatic experience. Prior to joining the Safety Board, Mr. DeLisi spent 10 years as a Flight Test Engineer with McDonnell Douglas, where he was involved in flight test programs on F-15 and F/A-18 aircraft.



Here is what Kerry Lynch wrote about Mr. DeLisi’s presentation

The discussion about Part 121 fatal accidents in the U.S. “is a very short conversation,” John DeLisi, director of the NTSB’s Office of Aviation Safety, said this week at the Bombardier Safety Standdown. “It’s the sound of crickets…they’re just not happening anymore in the U.S.,” he noted. “How did what was already the safest form of transportation become one in which accidents just got wiped off the map for nine and a half years? A lot of things came together.”

Factors in the dramatic boost in the Part 121 safety record include the adoption of safety management systems (SMS), he said, calling them an important player in improving the safety culture. Other improvements include weather forecasting and dispatching.

Weather doesn’t bite us anymore; we know where it is with great accuracy” with the forecast tools now available, DeLisi said. Controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) training and equipment also have played key roles, he added, saying CFIT is “another category of accident that has almost been wiped off the map.”

Flight data monitoring (FDM) further has played a role. “I used to feel guilty about this requirement” for airlines, he said, adding that it originally involved collection of data after an accident. But it is now looked at for proactive collection of data that could be shared. In fact, data sharing, including efforts such as Aviation Safety Action Programs, have elevated safety overall.

“Are we realizing those gains in Part 91 and 135 jet operations? Not yet,” DeLisi said, and traced through a series of fatal accidents that pointed to a need of many of the safety improvements already adopted by the airlines.

These included the June 25, 2015 crash of a Promech Air DHC-3 in Ketchikan, Alaska; the October 2, 2016 crash of a Hageland Aviation Services Cessna 208B in Togiak, Alaska; the November 10, 2015 crash of a Hawker 700A in Akron, Ohio; and most recently the May 15, 2017 crash of a Learjet 35A in Teterboro, New Jersey.

However, DeLisi expressed the belief that with the lessons learned, Part 91 and 135 operators can achieve those goals. “It’s not going to be easy but if our goal is to prevent fatal accidents, what a great roadmap has been laid out before us.”

Business aviation may be further along on the roadmap which Mr. DeLisi has defined:


NBAA’s clever method to include Small Flight departments into the SMS arena




Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS)

The Foundation’s Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS) program is designed to provide organizations that engage contracted aircraft operators with a standard to assist in the risk-based management of aviation activities. The Standard is suited to any organization that uses aircraft operators to provide contracted aviation support for their operations, particularly within remote and challenging environments

NBAA Advances Aviation Safety through its own Initiatives










FOQA is coming to Business Aviation- GOOD for safety

The good news is that BizAv is already working to reduce its safety risks.





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