Flight Safety Foundation

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Another organization that plays a significant role in air safety is the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF). Founded in 1945 by the then-leaders of the aviation industry, who recognized the need for an independent body that would promote safety in aviation, anticipate flight safety problems, act as a clearinghouse on safety matters, and disseminate aviation safety information. Through the years, FSF has been responsible for the development of many aviation safety improvements that are taken for granted.

FSF doctrine is to anticipate and study flight safety problems and to collect and disseminate safety information for the benefit of all who fly. The most safety-conscious airline shares the same airspace with the less-informed or even careless operator, so it is of benefit to invest in the education and awareness-raising of such operators. FSF, with more than 800 member organizations in more than 70 countries, provides an information-collection and feedback function that many lesser-developed aviation industries rely on for aviation safety information.

As an apolitical, independent, nonprofit, and international organization, FSF benefits from a nonofficial status because it avoids a great many of the postured responses that many businesses are obliged to present to their peers, governments, and media. Because it has no enforcement authority, its task is of friendly persuasion. Several aviation leaders have described FSF as the “safety conscience” for the industry. FSF has the support from major manufacturers and airlines (which have a sense of responsibility as well as an enlightened selfinterest) to make the skies as safe as possible.

The agendas of FSF’s annual safety seminars, held in locations throughout the world for the past 50 years, feature a strong program of accident-prevention methodology presented by the best safety experts in industry, government, and academia. Their aim, of course, is to provide effective feedback to the aviation community about hazard identification, design, training, inspection, procedures, trend analysis, etc., to use collective knowledge for the prevention of accidents.

Feedback occurs in other forums, such as industry association meetings, industry-government committees dealing with specific safety topics, meetings with other independent associations focusing on specific areas of safety improvement, and computer-based data exchanges.

Another means of obtaining information for feedback to the airline industry is FSF’s confidential safety audits of corporate and airline operations. This is a valuable method of gaining firsthand information about how companies comply with their own operating standards, how they value safety, and how they manage risk. FSF shares this information on a nonattributable basis with its members through the regular publications it produces, as well as its safety seminars. In addition, it completes the feedback loop by special workshops and conferences that focus on specific safety problems in various regions of the world.

FSF has helped the former Soviet Union to establish a Flight Safety Foundation in what is now the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). FSF is actively working through FSF-CIS to inculcate a safetyconscious culture in Aeroflot and the more than 60 emerging airlines in the Commonwealth. Coordination of risk-management information is a real challenge. For their half, the agencies of the previous USSR are quite generous in sharing safety and accident info they need developed for his or her aviation operations. FSF, in turn, has shared this data with its worldwide membership.

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