Clearly, nothing is more important than safety. At Keystone Aviation, safety is the cornerstone of our organization and a core value we strive for in every aspect of our business. But how do you know which aircraft charter companies go above and beyond with regards to safety? One way to identify the most safety conscious organizations is through safety certifications from independent aviation auditing firms.
Independent aviation auditors develop audit standards that incorporate both required operational and safety procedures as well as the latest in best practices. These firms then audit a charter company’s manuals, processes and operations against the audit standard and issue a certification. You can look for these certifications from operators who provide aircraft charter services. Here are some of the safety certifications to look for when booking a private charter flight:
Wyvern Consulting was one of the first aviation safety auditing firms in the country. Wyvern offers different levels of audits, so be sure to clarify which level your charter company has achieved.
- Registered Operator – The Wyvern Registered Operator program is an entry-level program in which operators provide their records for Wyvern to have on file. These records are available for Wyvern’s clients to review under its PASS program which allows third parties to check that an aircraft, crew and trip plan meet certain standards. Registered Operators have not been audited by Wyvern.
- Wingman * – The Wyvern Wingman is the certification issued to aircraft operators who have been audited against Wyvern’s audit standard. Operators at this level have successfully demonstrated that their processes reflect the latest safety best practices. As of May 2015, only about 100 operators worldwide were members of the Wingman program.
The Aviation Research Group/US (ARG/US) audits an operator’s flights, insurance, maintenance records and processes to ensure they meet or exceed FAA standards. There are four ARG/US certification levels:
- DNQ – Does Not Qualify
- Gold Rating –Historical information on the operator’s commercial certificate, pilots and aircraft are compiled and scored by ARG/US. This information is compared against an aggregate group with similar exposures to determine if the applicant is eligible for the Gold Rating. Those operators with a Gold Rating have not been audited by ARG/US.
- Gold Plus Rating – The Gold Plus Rating is awarded to operators who meet all of the criteria for a Gold Rating and have completed an on-site safety audit or maintain an IS-BAO (International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations) registration.
- Platinum Rating * – The Platinum Rating is the highest level that can be achieved in the ARG/US rating system. Platinum is only awarded to experienced operators who meet the criteria for Gold, and pass the ARG/US Platinum on-site safety audit. A Platinum Rating requires a well-developed Safety Management System and an Emergency Response Plan, in addition to effective processes and documented records for all major aspects of aircraft operations and maintenance.
Air Charter Safety Foundation Registration
The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) Industry Audit Standard (IAS) has been developed with the input and guidance of leading safety auditors, charter operators, shared aircraft ownership companies and charter consumers. The Industry Audit Standard is a revolutionary program built from the ground up by ACSF to set the standard for the independent evaluation of an air charter operator’s and/or shared ownership company’s safety and regulatory compliance. The ACSF audit is one of the most comprehensive audits in the aviation industry.
- ACSF IAS Registered Operator * – After completing an on-site audit against the ACSF Industry Audit Standard, the auditors’ recommendations are reviewed and approved by an independent review board which decides whether the charter company will be admitted as an ACSF IAS Registered Operator.
The asterisks (*) above indicate the certifications that have been achieved by Keystone Aviation.
Now that you understand some of the aviation industry safety certifications, you can make more informed decisions when choosing not only a charter company, but an aircraft management company as well. Here’s to safe flying!