At the NBAA for an awards ceremony, the Flight Safety Foundation's (booth 4712) president and chief executive Bill Voss told Flight Evening News that times are hard for organisations like his when member companies are suffering, and that the aviation industry will need to decide whether it wants an organisation like the FSF.

Voss says bad times do not only hit for-profit organisations, explaining: "This year nearly 100 members went out of business and their support is sorely missed. It is also understandable that companies have to make cost cutbacks where possible. We certainly do the same.

"But when companies cut back on attendance to safety seminars, or exhibits at a show, the little adjustments of 1,000 great companies add up to a pretty challenging situation." The FSF runs the unique Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar in association with the NBAA every year.

"Perhaps the most difficult problem is responding to safety concerns with a workforce that is composed largely of volunteer labor," Voss says, adding: "It is tough to get a workgroup together under the best of circumstances, and when everyone operates under essential-only travel restrictions it gets even more difficult. We compensate by cutting costs to the bone like everyone else."

The FSF has survival reserves. Voss explains: "Several years ago, we decided to create an endowment as a means of operational support, because in a cyclical industry such as this, the money needed to execute safety programs is rarely there when times are bad and the work is needed the most."

He is frank about the future: "A good endowment base would mean the FSF could respond to urgent needs without looking over its shoulder for the next downturn. We are working aggressively to grow the endowment, even during this economic slowdown. Ultimately the industry will have to decide if a small investment in a group that puts safety work together still makes sense."

Source: Flight Daily News