Safety is the focus of the Citation Jet Pilots Owner Pilot Association convention

This year’s Citation Jet Pilots (CJP) Owner Pilot Association convention kicked off Wednesday with more than 560 attendees, many of whom traveled to Georgetown Executive Airport north of Austin, Texas, aboard 160 Cessna Quotes. CJP now has 1,427 members operating 916 citations, and in the past two years there have been no incidents or accidents involving members and their aircraft.

With safety at the forefront of CJP and its CJP Safety and Education Foundation, the first full day of yesterday’s convention began with a discussion on safety. Chairman of the CJP Security Committee Charlie Precourt, 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 Manager Robert Switz and FlightSafety International Safety Manager Mark Kleinhans.

Switz described how NetJets developed its Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) program and how it has contributed to the company’s excellent safety record. “FOQA was a game changer for us,” he said.

A recent example of how FOQA helped NetJets improve operations was during visual approaches to Truckee Tahoe Airport in California. FOQA analysis showed that many flights encountered 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 turn radius. “It reduced our FOQA alerts significantly,” Switz said, and NetJets publishes similar charts for other airports with high-risk features. “There is no reason why we [CJP] couldn’t do that,” Précourt said.

“We know from industry data that even competent pilots can encounter situations that they are not prepared for,” FlightSafety’s Kleinhans said. “We need our customers to be prepared for the real world.”

To that end, FlightSafety works with GE Digital to capture flight and training data and provide analysis that helps identify threats and hazards. “We’re looking at what the training is doing and how to inoculate our pilots,” he said.

Some results of all this work are CJP’s new FOQA program, in collaboration with L3Harris and CloudAhoy, and its Safe To Land initiative. The latter is specifically designed to cope with the high rate of runway excursions in personal and business aircraft operations. “The data shows that approximately 35% of all hull losses are due to runway excursions,” Precourt said. “This is an important area that we need to focus on. We are working hard to do our part to bring down these trendlines.

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

During today’s morning session, Textron Aviation President and CEO Ron Draper addressed supply chain issues that challenge aircraft manufacturers and their services. “The supply chain has been difficult for a year and a half,” he said. “It’s stabilizing, but it’s going to take a while before it’s noticeably better.” He acknowledged that Textron Aviation had to slow down some of its production due to shortages, including of raw materials such as wing spars and delayed engine deliveries.

“On the secondary market side,” he said, “[we’re] working extremely hard to get answers for every customer. That said, Textron Aviation has taken steps during the pandemic to manage its supply chain, placing large orders with suppliers as demand grew, to the point that some suppliers questioned order sizes.

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

Kevin A. Perras