Read the original aviation safety article in the January 2023 issue of Aviation International News.
Bombardier opened its recent Safety Stand-down in Wichita with conference veteran Tony Kern, founding partner and CEO of Convergent Performance, challenging the roughly 450 in-person attendees to think of their organization as a working ranch.
Wearing a black Stetson, work boots, and a western overcoat, Kern equated an organization’s standards oﬃcer and safety oﬃcer as the herding and guard dogs of the “ranch” and that both should be distinct positions within an organization to ensure a culture of safety that permeates to the individual level.
“Standards and safety should not be viewed as part-time additional duties,” he said. “They are critical, core requirements for moving safety forward.” He recommended that organizations “keep pushing the bar” on developing safety as well as standards oﬃcers.
Kern also addressed the industry’s pilot and mechanic shortages, emphasizing that they could be alleviated in part by attracting more women to those careers. But ﬁrst, he said, the industry needs to acknowledge that sexual discrimination is still an issue. And “we can’t make progress if we don’t acknowledge it exists,” Kern emphasized. He urged participants to make business aviation the place for women professionals.
Differences in compensation, cultures, and unintentional workplace messaging are some of the factors that can create a divide in an organization or department, leading to dissatisfaction and a breakdown in safety, explained Aviation Personnel International president and CEO Sheryl Barden and v-p Jennifer Pickerel, in a separate presentation.
For example, compensation trends in business aviation over the past seven years show that captains have seen a more than 30 percent increase, while schedulers have Tony Kern, CEO of Convergent Performance seen only a 14 percent pay bump over the same period. Pressures that women and other underrepresented groups in an organization feel are also “likely greater than what others are feeling,” Pickerel said.
To overcome these barriers, they encouraged leaders to engage with employees by understanding what they value, identifying cultural mismatches, and learning their aspirations and what motivates them.
Attendees also heard about cybersecurity and safety from Jeffrey Troy, president and CEO of the Aviation Information Sharing and Analysis Center. Troy explained that while the industry is undertaking efforts to address growing cybersecurity risks, there needs to be better collaboration and coordination between the industry and policymakers. “There are way too many cyber rules that are not harmonized,” he said.
Other presentations included remarks from FAA acting deputy executive director Derek Morgan, NTSB member Michael Graham, and NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen. Bombardier officials said 51 per-cent of this year’s in-person attendees were there for the first time.