SMS can be a person-to-person event: Bombardier Safety Standdown

SMS for Business Aviation
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SMS is data-driven

But not to the exclusion of interpersonal communications

Bombardier Safety Standdown proves value of people

Business Aviation has struggled to deal with the systems required to collate and analyze the data which is the basis for safety management systems (SMS) for this segment of aviation. This preconceived antipathy to the state-of-the-art risk analysis/prediction tool is just that—reluctance to deal with the unknown. As Jens Hennig, VP of Operations with the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), explained what he has observed as SMS as has been applied to general and business aviation:

Jens HenigJens Hennig: There is a misconception that establishing a safety data sharing and analysis program is complex, but experience has shown that programs can be scaled to the size, complexity, and type of operation of most organizations today under existing regulations and guidance. We have already seen over 140 businesses and on-demand Part 135 operators elect to sign up to partake in the joint-industry/FAA Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program and feedback has been positive.

With that premise, it is consistent with the SMS principles for these pilots, mechanics, flight dispatchers, etc.  to exchange information on a face-to-face basis. For 25 years, the Bombardier Safety Standdown has advanced aviation safety of this class of flight with its annual event.

Its “learn, share, apply” theme is a translation of SMS’s data collection to the human behavior arena. Clearly, this forum has been an important and effective mechanism to improve safety.Standdown explanation











25th standdown logo

Safety Standdown Celebrates 25th Anniversary


The Bombardier Safety Standdown celebrated its 25th anniversary last fall in Wichita, Kansas. Over the past quarter-century, the event has become one of the most comprehensive and respected human-factors conferences in the aviation industry.

The mantra of “learn, apply, share” serves as the cornerstone of the Safety Standdown, during which industry professionals come together for two days of safety training. Bombardier plays a key role in organizing and sponsoring the conference.

learn, share, apply




Over the years, more than 10,000 aviation professionals from all sectors and many disciplines have attended Safety Standdown during live events; many more have experienced the conference through webcasts. In 2021, nearly 200 people visited Wichita to participate in the conference, while another 1,100 from more than 20 countries joined the event via a webcast. The event typically draws 400 or more attendees, but Covid restrictions limited last year’s in-person registrations.

Former Safety Standdown Award winner and long-time safety advocate Mike Ott called the Bombardier Safety Standdownthe ultimate act of corporate citizenship.” Ott is a high-time Learjet and Gulfstream pilot flying worldwide missionsMike Ott for Phoenix Air Group, where he acts as the director of government contracting. In addition, Ott is a member of the Safety Standdown Advisory Council, IS-BAO Standards Board, and NBAA Safety Committee.

Bombardier started the Safety Standdown in 1996 as a safety training event for its Learjet flight demonstration team in Wichita. After three years of success and growth, Bombardier opened the event to all corporate pilots and flight crews, not just to Bombardier customers. There has never been a fee charged to attend, and the list of attendees is diverse; the roles vary from flight crew to maintenance to other supporting employees such as flight dispatchers and schedulers.

The goal of each Standdown is to promote knowledge-based pilot safety training along with personal discipline and responsibility as essential elements of aviation safety and professionalism. This is accomplished each year by recruiting industry thought leaders to facilitate general session presentations as well as workshops. Last year’s two-day event included six presentations in the general session and more than 12 workshops.

BSS transition team

In 2021, Bombardier passed leadership of the event to Chris Milligan, Bombardier VP certified pre-owned aircraft services, flight operations. Milligan succeeds Andy Nureddin, a long-time Bombardier executive and past steward of the program. Nureddin has led the event for 25 years and said, “Safety Standdown is one of the most comprehensive human factors safety conferences in the industry…We at Bombardier are exceptionally proud to be sharing critical strategies to improve safety awareness, processes, procedures, and structures in all aspects of our operations.” Nureddin is currently the Global 7500 program lead and plans to retire in late 2022.

safety advisory committee


The Safety Standdown is more than an annual conference. The complete program consists of an Advisory Council, several subcommittees, an internal Bombardier ambassador program, a safety award program, and a website that has resources in its knowledge center.

Safety Standdown contents

The Safety Standdown Advisory Council consists of a diverse group of 12 professionals from aviation and other industries. Council members provide advice and recommendations for the content and direction of the Safety Standdown programs.

Beginning this year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s digital transformation advisor, Dr. Amy Grubb, takes over as the Safety Standdown advisory chair. Grubb is the first non-aviation-based chair and the first woman to hold thisDr. Grubb position. She has been a member of the Advisory Council since 2018 and is an industrial-organizational psychologist who provides insight regarding leadership, organizational culture, and change management, all areas that are relevant to aviation safety.

Each year, the Safety Standdown Advisory Council culls through nominations for its annual Safety Award. The award goes to aviation professionals who demonstrate a commitment to the promotion of safety. The award winners live the principles of the Safety Standdown by following the “learn, apply, share” model in their flight departments and beyond… 

safety award winner

The future looks bright for the Safety Standdown. New leadership plans to build on the event’s past successes while adding a few new elements such as experts from outside of aviation to bring fresh perspectives. Plans are underway for the 26th Safety Standdown in the fall of 2022.






BSS meeting


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