News: Blogs

18 November 2016


Blogs: Flight Safety Foundation and IASS2016

Over the past week, I have had the pleasure of spending time with, learning from, and presenting to, some of the wider aviation industry’s foremost experts in safety.

In Dubai, I participated in the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) Board meeting and the Foundation’s 69th annual International Air Safety Summit (IASS).


The FSF has much in common with HeliOffshore: it is a not-for-profit organisation focused on enhancing safety. While its remit is broader, covering all aspects of flights safety; like HeliOffshore, it relies on the ongoing commitment of industry leaders and safety champions to achieve its safety objectives.

It’s a true honour to serve on the Board, alongside high calibre professionals who are deeply committed to protecting the lives of all who fly.

It was wonderful to see three long-serving Board Members being recognised for their significant contributions to safety (you can read more here).

The opening keynote address for the Summit was delivered by Capt. Henry Donohoe, divisional SVP of Flight Operations at Emirates (the event sponsors).   Capt. Donohoe, who serves on the Foundation’s Board of Governors, discussed the challenges and the potential of automation in aviation and the importance of a “back to basics” training approach.

Enhancing use of automation is a high priority for HeliOffshore and our members, so it was extremely valuable to hear presentations on new technology avionics and the role they will play in enhancing safety in the air and on the ground. There were also excellent talks on maintenance safety and culture.

I met with a number of HeliOffshore members at IASS and enjoyed the opportunity to present to the Summit our association’s shared safety model and programme of work. I asked the Summit to consider a more proactive and collaborative approach to safety:

  • Setting clear goals,
  • Organisational and industry-wide strategies for meeting them,
  • Encouraging innovation, and
  • Using day to day measures of performance to both make the business case for improvements and to ensure our actions deliver the desired results in the frontline where it counts.

It seemed to really strike a chord when I gave examples of HeliOffshore being formed, plus the many initiatives that our members are working on together (e.g. FCOM, HUMS Best Practice, HTAWS, Information Exchange, Eye Tracking Research).  As safety leaders, we can speak the future we want to see into being and, working together, we can really make a difference.

I also talked about the future of technology, and how the best technology creates an effective partnership between people and equipment, enabling operational goals to be achieved in an engaging way; in the same way that smart phones do more than help you to navigate; they improve the whole travelling experience.  Also how computer games make technology engaging and reaching higher levels of performance is part of the experience.

It’s important that we continue to connect our efforts to enhance safety to the very real outcome that we are delivering:  we save lives, and we protect families from experiencing the loss of a loved one.

It’s the primary purpose of everyone in our industry to protect the lives of those we serve. Of course, an additional benefit is that improving safety performance will also help our industry to thrive.

It’s a compelling argument for continuing our collaboration for safety.

We are obligated to draw on the experience and success of those beyond the boundaries of our own industry – and then to apply that learning to enhance our safety performance. Even in difficult times financially, safety results can – and must – be achieved. And I am confident that we are making progress by remaining highly focused on priority areas and continue to work collectively to use our combined resources to best effect.

Thank you for your continued commitment to safety.