By Elsa Klarich
It has been an exciting few months as I’ve researched, discussed, and worked toward creating a safety culture program for Flying Labs! I’ve enjoyed learning about and developing a unique perspective on safety culture and how that pertains to the Flying Labs programs.
Safety is not a new concept in aviation, nor to me as a former crewed aviation bush pilot. When I used to fly Cessna aircraft in Tanzania, I knew I was responsible for keeping everyone on my airplane safe. So, I always followed my checklists, utilized safety procedures and briefings, and limited distractions. As a multi-engine commercial pilot, I knew that the responsibility was immense, and safety was the most important aspect of flying.
When I decided to fly uncrewed aviation, there was a different feel when it came to safety as I was not in the aircraft and didn’t have passengers. It was easier to separate myself from safety principles because the possible adverse outcomes seemed to be “less” than in a traditional crewed aircraft. However, as a pilot, whether in a crewed or uncrewed aircraft, I had been taught and had first-hand experience regarding the importance of safety. I followed the foundational principles I had learned and developed throughout my aviation career. I knew that if I viewed safety as my responsibility and priority, the likelihood of something terrible happening would lessen.
Safety culture is an exciting concept as it is the most important aspect of any aviation program that will enable longevity. Safety culture is inherently promoted and viewed as the norm when people decide to follow safety measures (even when it’s tempting to skip the safety brief!). It takes a team to make safety the number one priority, but it is always worth it in the end! Mistakes happen, but when you choose each day to follow through on your safety commitment, it will reduce the mishaps and incidents and make flying programs stronger.
In the Safety Culture course starting on February 7th, Flying Labs will learn about the importance of safety culture, safety programs, and how to promote safety within the Flying Labs. Safe operations are central to Flying Labs’ credibility, successful activities, and sustainability. A strong safety culture allows Flying Labs to be role models for their local ecosystem. It opens up opportunities for more advanced interactions and collaborations with their local Civil Aviation Authorities.
I look forward to working closely with the Flying Labs to promote a safety culture. Together we can create a safety culture network that will change how we look at safety in the ordinary sense and develop safety culture ecosystems for everyone!