Bizav training partnership’s 2nd safety event

One of the most popular seminars at PCAT Safety Smackdown in Valero Energy’s hangar at SAT was the renewal program for aircraft inspectors. More than 100 maintenance techs attended.

A crowd of more than 200, including flight department managers, schedulers, dispatchers, pilots, customer service representatives and line and maintenance technicians, attended the Partnership for Corporate Aviation Training’s (PCAT) 2nd annual Safety Smackdown in the Valero corporate flight hangar at SAT (Intl, San Antonio TX) on Mar 29–30.

PCAT is an advocacy group geared to supporting traditional corporate flight departments and their employees. It was started by a group of flight department managers in the San Antonio area who wanted a forum to set up training and networking opportunities for their departments and employees.

Key speakers at Smackdown included NBAA Senior VP Ops Steve Brown, who discussed safety and security, Robin Eissler, a volunteer with Corporate Aviation Responding in Emergencies (CARE), who spoke about coordinating business aviation flights to provide earthquake relief in Haiti, and Special Agent Chris Eldredge, with the San Antonio office of the FBI, who discussed security threats facing bizav operators.

PCAT Pres Ben Lewis said the program was put together to help flight departments fulfill requirements for IS-BAO certification or renewal, certified aviation manager (CAM) certification, and to satisfy requirements of their safety management systems (SMS) or other training requirements, including OSHA’s voluntary protection program (VPP).

Class attendees receive training certificates that are IS-BAO, CAM and VPP recognized. Lewis said the PCAT program was loosely patterned after Bombardier’s Safety Standdown programs, but has been tailored to meet the specific needs of Part 91 flight departments.

By pooling resources, he said, departments can share areas of expertise and gain insights not otherwise obtainable. “If I have to make a trip to Mexico,” he says, “I want to talk with a flight department that’s been to Mexico on a regular basis. With PCAT, I can do that. This gives us an opportunity to emulate the people who do things well.”

Because PCAT is a local consortium, Lewis said, a department can send numerous individuals to training at low cost and high time efficiency. “In today’s environment,” said John White, dir of flight ops for Valero and a PCAT vp, “it is critically important that traditional Part 91 flight operations do everything they can to increase their operating efficiency. PCAT is proving to be an excellent tool for us to accomplish that.”

IS-BAO Standards Mgr Kathy Perfetti said PCAT is providing an excellent forum for flight departments working to achieve or maintain IS-BAO registration. “It’s a way for operators to satisfy their requirements in a very cost-effective way,” she said. “PCAT provides a large number of training elements in a single location that spreads out the cost for individual flight departments and makes it that much easier to comply with the requirements.”

PCAT also provides an environment for civilian operators to interact with the US military—an important element in the San Antonio area, where traffic from 2 US Air Force bases with training missions (Ran­d­olph AFB and Lackland AFB) shares air­space with a dozen civilian fields, including SAT.

Lt Col Mitch Lyons, commander of the 559th Flight Training Sqn at Randolph, said PCAT en­han­ces safety by helping commercial and military operators find new ways to cooperate. The 559th provided instructors for several of the courses presented at Smackdown, including high-altitude physiology, weather and transition to land.

Among the other courses offered at Smackdown this year were initial radar introduction, crew resource management, CPR first aid recurrent training (presented by Medaire), servicing and ground handling, food safety/inter­­­national trash, minimum equipment lists, safety management systems, IA renewal, and ethics and leadership. PCAT will hold its next Smackdown in Feb 2011. —Mike Potts


Jun 8–13: ILA Berlin Airshow, Berlin, Germany. ILA, 49302-061-4013 or visit

Jun 10: NBAA Regional Forum, Teterboro NJ. NBAA, 202-783-9000 or visit

Jul 7–8: CBAA annual meeting, Cal­gary AB, Canada. CBAA, 613-236-5611 X225 or visit


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