This year’s Citation Jet Pilots (CJP) Owner Pilot Association convention kicked off on Wednesday with more than 560 attendees, many who flew to Georgetown Executive Airport north of Austin, Texas, in 160 Cessna Citations. CJP now has 1,427 members who operate 916 Citations, and during the past two years there have been zero incidents or accidents involving members and their airplanes.

With safety as a key focus of CJP and its CJP Safety and Education Foundation, yesterday’s first full day of the convention began with a safety standdown. CJP Safety Committee chair Charlie Precourt, a former space shuttle commander and CJ1+ owner, led the first session, “The Quest for Safety.” This featured a discussion of safety practices by NetJets fleet program director Robert Switz and FlightSafety International director of safety Mark Kleinhans.

Switz described how NetJets has developed its flight operations quality assurance (FOQA) program and how it has contributed to the company’s stellar safety record. “FOQA has been a game-changer for us,” he said.

A recent example of how FOQA helped NetJets improve its operation was during visual approaches into California’s Truckee Tahoe Airport. The FOQA analysis showed that many flights were experiencing issues such as terrain and sink rate warnings and unstable approaches.

As a result, NetJets created its own visual approach procedure based on standard approach design criteria with detailed instructions such as speed limitations to achieve the desired radius of turn. “It has severely reduced our FOQA alerts,” Switz said, and NetJets is publishing similar charts for other airports with higher-risk features. “There’s no reason we [CJP] couldn’t do that,” said Precourt.

“We know from industry data that even proficient pilots may encounter situations they’re not prepared for,” said FlightSafety’s Kleinhans. “We need our clients prepared for the real world.”

To that end, FlightSafety is working with GE Digital to capture flight and training data and provide analysis that helps identify threats and hazards. “We look at what training does and how to inoculate our pilots,” he said.

Some results of all this work are CJP’s new FOQA program, working with L3Harris and CloudAhoy, and its Safe To Land initiative. The latter is specifically designed to tackle the high rate of runway excursions in personal and business jet operations. “Data shows about 35 percent of all hull losses are from runway excursions,” Precourt said. “That’s a big area for us to focus on. We’re working hard to do our part to drive these trend lines lower.”

CJP members were able to attend a two-hour ground school for Safe To Land on Thursday afternoon, and within certain time constraints this can be credited towards FlightSafety’s upcoming Safe To Land course, which will be available next year.

During today’s morning session, Textron Aviation president and CEO Ron Draper addressed the supply-chain issues that are challenging aircraft manufacturers and their service organizations. “Supply chain has been tough for a year and a half,” he said. “It’s leveling out, but it’s going to take some time before it’s substantially better.” He acknowledged that Textron Aviation has had to slow some of its production due to shortages, including raw materials such as wing spars and delayed engine deliveries.

“On the aftermarket side,” he said, ‘[we’re] working extremely hard to get answers for every customer.” That said, Textron Aviation did take steps during the pandemic to manage its supply chain, placing significant orders with suppliers as demand ramped up, to the extent that some suppliers questioned the size of the orders.

Textron Aviation also sent supply-chain experts to suppliers and, in some cases, technicians to help bolster lean workforces. “We’re working everything we can to improve the situation,” he said. “Actuation [components] has been a problem, so we bought an actuation company.”


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