Safety Is No Accident

The natural thing for airplanes to do is to fly into the ground, and when they do, almost 80% of the time the causal factors in the crash are related to human error.  While pilots frequently play a role in human error attributed aircraft mishaps, very often lax management and oversight of operations play a significant role as well.

The NTSB investigation into the runway overrun and subsequent crash of a Challenger 600 at Teterboro airport in 2005 reads like a dog’s breakfast of criminally negligent management practices, inept operations, substandard aircrew training and nonexistent oversight by all involved (NTSB report can be found at:  While this investigation rightly served as something of a call to action for the FAA’s oversight of aircraft charter operators, the fact remains that on demand air charter (“Part 135”) operators continue to have an extremely high aircraft mishap and fatality rate when compared to commercial airlines.

FAA regulations require much more stringent operating, maintenance, training and safety policies and procedures for commercial aircraft operators, including on demand air charter companies.  The fact is however, that operating aircraft for hire is an inherently and persistently low margin business and compliance with FAA regulations designed for passenger safety costs money .  Unfortunately, this compels some unscrupulous operators, owners and brokers to mislead clients, disguise or obscure issues of operational control and cut corners on maintenance and operations to increase profits (the story of Avantair should serve as a cautionary tale).

Customers of charter aircraft should use all available resources to ensure they fully understand the safety record and practices of a charter company before they use the firm.  Charter brokers, if used, are by definition far removed from the actual operations of a given flight (and therefore an aircraft mishap) and must be able to clearly demonstrate they use a deliberate, quantitative and industry standard safety vetting process when booking flights for clients, and that they fully understand the criticality of issues like Operational Control and other FAA regulations that govern passenger safety.

Aviation safety is not an accident, or something that just happens.  It is a well quantified system of adherence to policies, procedures, standardization and oversight that requires constant and persistent engagement by owners, operators, maintenance personnel, management, crew, brokers, passengers and regulators.

Blue Hawk Aviation provides expert aviation and aircraft advisory services and can match companies, individuals and families with the safest, most efficient private aviation solution.  Additionally, Blue Hawk advises on negotiations, partnerships, purchase arrangements, upgrades, delivery, management and operations issues.

Blue Hawk represents our client’s interests alone. We are not in the charter brokerage business, and do not accept referral fees or other consideration from service providers or vendors. 

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