Passenger briefing course to guide GA pilots

August 4, 2011

In response to a recommendation from the NTSB, the AOPA Foundation’s Air Safety Institute is developing a short training video to coach general aviation pilots on how to give an effective passenger briefing on emergency communications and survival equipment.

The NTSB recommendation was a result of the board’s investigation into the August 2010 accident in Alaska that claimed the lives of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and four others, including the pilot. There was a satellite phone and survival kit, but the pilot did not—nor was he required to—include that information in his preflight briefing for his passengers.

In a letter to NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman, AOPA Foundation President Bruce Landsberg said the Air Safety Institute is developing an eight-minute safety video specifically designed to help pilots educate their passengers on emergency communications and survival gear.

The video, he wrote, “will include knowing basic VHF radio operation, personal locator beacon operation, the use of cell phones and the cockpit ELT switch. Additionally, egress procedures and how to locate survival gear are essential items for passengers to understand. This should increase passenger survival if ever involved in a general aviation accident.” Landsberg also indicated that the Air Safety Institute is developing a basic checklist that pilots can follow to ensure that their passenger preflight briefings are as thorough as possible.

Both the video and the checklist should be complete and available to all pilots in September on the Air Safety Institute’s Web pages.

“With more than 60 years’ experience in educating general aviation pilots about safety, the Air Safety Institute—formerly known as the Air Safety Foundation—is uniquely qualified to fulfill this recommendation from the NTSB,” said Landsberg. “We welcome this opportunity to work with the Board to achieve our common objective—ever safer general aviation travel.”