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Plane Talk

Are You Really Ready?

Posted on: September 29th, 2012 by Pete Agur

Are You Really Ready?


By Peter v. Agur, Jr., Managing Director & Founder

The VanAllen Group, Inc



Forget ghosties and goblins, vampires, and werewolves, oh my.  We aviation professionals lose the most sleep over the specter of an accident.  After all, our most important responsibility is to assure safety.  But accidents can and do happen.  Therefore, our being ready to respond to an accident is our second most important responsibility.


Many aviation leaders think they are ready, but they are not.  Being prepared is a lot more than having a copy of NTSB 830 and a phone list handy.  Don’t get me wrong, these items are important but they are not the heart and sole of an effective response.  To be fully prepared you must be ready to perform three separate and distinct responsibilities:


  1. Take care of the people,
  2. Manage information,
  3. Support the investigations.


“Take care of the people” includes:

  • The timely and sensitive notification of next of kin,
  • Effective logistical support for the next of kin,
  • Assure effective immediate and long-term medical and psychological care for everyone involved, and
  • Be able to confirm your team members’ readiness to return to work.


“Manage information” requires that you:

  • Be certain of nearly immediate notification of an event through “real time” flight following processes,
  • Gather and qualify information about the event quickly,
  • Have an accurate manifest instantly available, and
  • Within the NTSB’s constraints, be prepared to be the media’s and your company’s best source of timely and accurate information.


“Support the investigations” effectively:

  • Be prepared with trained people and the right resources at home and in the field,
  • Know your legal and regulatory responsibilities, authority, and limits ,
  • Protect and secure the investigative process on behalf of your company and flight department, and
  • Conduct a parallel private investigation to learn the important things the NTSB and FAA investigations don’t.


The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared.”  In order to be prepared you must

  • Have an effective plan,
  • Have resources and processes in place,
  • Train enough of the right people to fill the primary roles of
    • Emergency Response Director (typically an executive from downtown),
    • Flight department representative (director, manager or chief level),
    • Human Resources representative,
    • Communications or public relations manager, and
    • Emergency Response Coordinator (scheduler or executive assistant).
  • Practice, practice, practice.  After all, you don’t take your first trip in a new airplane after only reading the Pilot’s Operating Handbook.


There is an easy way to do much of this.  The NBAA and The VanAllen Group have teamed up to provide an extensive reference document and a two-day workshop to give you a big jump start to being Really Ready.  The document is free for the asking, the cost of the workshop is modest and the peace of mind is priceless.  Contact us for your free 60+ page ERP template.

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