How big of a problem are ground handling accidents?
An independent study conducted by the business aviation consulting group VanAllen, in Peachtree, GA studied towing accidents over a 24 month period covering 2014/2015:
- Eighty (80) aviation departments and FBOs participated in the study.
- 37% of respondents had at least one ground incident in the study period.
- In total, the respondents had 168,810 aircraft legs flown, and a total of 64 ground events.
- In all, the study group had a ground event rate of approximately one event per 4000 flight hours. For example, organizations responsible for eight (8) aircraft had a 50% probability of having a ground event in a six (6) month period.
- 33% of these accidents were towing accidents (21).
- Total estimated cost of these accidents was $12.3M in this study group alone in 24 mo.
- 2016 accident cost/lost revenues estimated to be $586K per event x 21 events.
Why is training ground handling operators important?
- Efficient aircraft ground handling ensures schedules are maintained, resulting in improved bottom lines.
- The safety of your entire team and passengers is the number one priority. Safe operation of your ground handling equipment is a critical business requirement.
- Training GSE crews effectively is a key element in maintaining a safety program that holds up to internal and external regulatory scrutiny.
- Accidents are expensive. The average cost of an accident involving ground handling equipment was nearly $400,000 in 1998 (FAA Study, Wenner, Drury). This takes into account only potential aircraft damage and lost revenues (passengers/cargo). The intangibles make this number much higher.
Ground Operations Training Challenges
- Ground handling operators are subjected to daily hazards which require critical driving and difficult decision making skills.
- Your organization’s responsibility to provide proper training is key to the safety of your ground crew and ramp operations as a whole.
- Traditional classroom training approaches, which focus solely on equipment control and do not fully engage trainees, fall short.
- In order to improve decision making skills, drivers must be:
- exposed to dangerous situations
- become familiar with potential risks and threats
- have the opportunity to practice appropriate responses
- Learning environment is difficult to stage.