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Safe in the skies: Crew Aviation goes beyond regulations to keep passengers safe

October 6, 2021

Passport: Places, Trends, Style October 2021

By Amy Barnes

Photos by Kathryn Harrington

Stellar Service (™) with Safety Standards. Louisville private aviation company Crew Aviation, LLC prides itself in being at the leading edge in ensuring the highest levels of safety, certification and training available in the industry. VOICE Louisville spoke with the Director of Training and Director of Safety regarding the extra steps Crew Aviation takes to ensure every flight meets and exceeds federal, international and internal regulations and expectations.

What are the different levels of safety compliance?

Service hinges on safety and a lot of accountability, Federal, State, Local Rule, International Rule, covering agriculture, garbage, OSHA and EPA. First, there’s Part 91: These are Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations for people who own their aircraft. Typically, these are less regulated. The second level is Part 135: The rules become more strict when an owner wishes to allow the plane to fly for hire. The third is Part 121: Used by significant airlines and requiring adherence to financial reporting and enplanement reporting and using a functional Safety Management System and validating Emergency Response Plans.

At Crew, we comply with those regulations mentioned and follow IS-BAO (International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations) Stage 3 Progressive. The top certification offered by that organization and WYVERN LTD is the oldest third-party safety management group in the U.S. complying with all aspects of ICAO Annex 2 – beyond what IS-BAO does. We’ve invested time and money to ensure safety, and the more external oversight you have, the more likely you are to ensure safety compliance.

Can you elaborate on what IS-BAO Stage 3 certification is?

It takes years of experience to achieve these levels of certification/registration; you have to prove your system. The overall process moves from reactive to proactive to predictive. As a Part 135 operator, we voluntarily subject ourselves to additional oversight by third-party entities and higher best practices and safety standards. To adhere to these standards, we are evaluated every 90 days for compliance. We look at flight quality analysis, boutique management systems, assessing equipment for failure and predict problems using analytics from an operational standpoint. If an issue arises, from donuts to airframes, we evaluate it for the root cause and ensure correction without recurrence.

What additional training do you require of your flight crew?

We spend a lot of time preparing for situations that we hope never happen. We use two prominent vendors to train our team: Flight Safety and Aircare International. Flight Safety provides bi-annual aircraft flight training to ensure ongoing pilot proficiency. Our crew members attend three to six weeks sessions to learn how to fly a particular aircraft to receive a type rating. All of our pilots hold ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) certifications.

Aircare International provides aircraft cabin simulation for emergency evacuation, ditching, onboard fires, healthcare and emergency response training, including food safety training and the use of devices like EpiPens and other medical training. They offer medical briefings regarding situations on the ground. Aircare provides services that are helpful to international travelers, such as replacing a prescription or eyeglasses if a passenger forgets or loses them.

We also require annual classroom training. The minimum training required is 40 hours – we do 56. The minimum requirement for continuing training is 8 hours and we do a minimum of 30, and some years we do more.

What are your educational targets to ensure an extra level of safety is in place?

We review all organizational changes and identify potential risks associated with each and the limits regarding compliance. Operational readiness spans all departments. No matter what the difference is, it goes across every department and how it could impact safety. We assign a numerical risk factor from a variety of algorithms and look at ways we can make that number lower. We are shooting for zero. The change could be major or minor: Whether we add an aircraft, a new pilot, move someone from one role to another, change a provider for fuel or even a food vendor. No matter who we’re doing business with, we have an entire vendor evaluation process.

Our team reviews all regulations weekly, ranging from flight, maintenance, OSHA regulations, environment and security. Our team receives a weekly safety newsletter, which we reincorporate into the testing of employees.

Finally, everyone on our leadership team must complete the Energy Leadership Index Assessment. The ELI provides our senior leadership team with the insights on internal strengths allowing us to operate efficiently within our organization.