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Constant Vigilance – Safeskies 2011 conference

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 18, 2011

October’s Safeskies 2011 conference is expected to canvass a number of aviation-related safety issues, aimed at keeping industry representatives informed and up date on both present and future challenges for aviation in Australia.

This year’s biennial event, which features a number of prominent military and civilian leaders, will be headlined by Federal Aviation Administration chief scientific and technical advisor for flightdeck human factors, Dr Kathy Abbott, and Australia’s first NASA astronaut, Dr Andy Thomas.

“In the last 10 or 12 years, we’ve brought Safeskies up to a point where it is the most important aviation conference of any sort in Australasia and certainly the most important aviation conference in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Safeskies 2011 chairman Peter Lloyd.

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“It’s vitally important because it brings up local and world issues that tend to be overlooked… It also brings the world’s best exponents of the various aspects of issues that effect safety,” he added.

While Thomas is expected to discuss the future of NASA as opposed to any air safety-related issues at his Sir Reginald Ansett Memorial Lecture, Lloyd said the conference’s cadre of speakers were pre-eminent in their fields, with some of the “foremost” government and military leaders in aviation. That includes new Chief of Air Force (CAF) Air Marshal Geoff Brown, CASA CEO John McCormick, Airservices Australia chief Greg Russell and ATSB chief commissioner Martin Dolan.

“We choose people who are preeminent in their area. Now they all know that we at Safeskies and some 400 delegates are concerned about the present situation…And in the general aviation area in Australia of course, they are not good…Internationally, there have been some quite dramatic worries and there’s been airspace worries in Australia quite recently [as well]…So there are problems that should be identified and addressed as part of good safety management. These problems are being addressed and our speakers will [no doubt] have something to say about that,” Lloyd explained.

While industry representatives from the airlines, military, and general aviation are encouraged to attend the two-day conference, Lloyd has placed particular emphasis on reaching out to government officials involved in making aviation policy to attend, as well as those public servants ‘at the coalface’ in having to deal with the flying public.

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“I think if I’ve got a message on safety at all, it’s this: that safety depends on absolute vigilance of the passer, part of anyone to do with aviation but particularly management,” Lloyd said.

“We obviously want the top blokes in areas where we should have some knowledge [but we also] want the people in government who are making decisions at a much lower level than the top two or three echelons and particularly those who are in contact with the public…So that means they extend their regulatory modern knowledge in the case of CASA, and their policy knowledge to also being able to pass on valuable knowledge to the people with whom they deal,” he added.

Categorising the overriding theme of Safesskies 2011 as assessing where industry stood with existing problems and potential future challenges, Lloyd remained confident that the conference would have a solid outcome for all involved.

“Looking out to the future, with knowledge in what the future holds in both the public demand for aviation, the pilot demand for flying airplanes and the manufacturers, they [the speakers] will identify, I hope, some of these problems for the benefit of others in the industry,” he concluded.

The Safeskies International Aviation Safety Conference will be held between October 26 and 27 at the Hyatt Hotel Canberra. It will be preceded by the Sir Reginald Ansett Memorial Lecture and Safeskies Conference Dinner at Parliament House on October 25.

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