The Power of Safety

By Rachel Greco

Like a pebble striking a windshield and causing cracks to spider web across the glass, an airplane accident can have an untold number of repercussions. Accidents are not only financially costly, but emotionally as well—too costly to let happen, without doing all one can to prevent them. This is one of the reasons that this year’s Aviation Technical Conference (ATC) at JAARS focused on safety.

Representatives from each of the subscribers to the International Standard for JAARS Aviation Operations— YAJASI, SIL PNG, SIL Cameroon, AIMAir* and SAMAir*—came for the week-long conference.

Rio flying to deliver food and other necessities to a remote village

Rio Seseray, a Papuan pilot for YAJASI in his home country of Indonesia, first came to JAARS ten years ago. “It was very special for me to visit JAARS in 2009 because my father had visited JAARS in 1994, and I had heard about JAARS growing up,” Rio shared. Rio visited our center every year for seven years for flight training until 2015, when he passed JAARS technical evaluation and graduated from JAARS orientation.

He returned this year to attend ATC for the first time in his role as safety officer for YAJASI, our aviation partner in Papua. As part of the course, he and the other participants learned about Safety Management System (SMS), an administrative system designed to encourage continuous improvement in operational safety. According to Mark Sjoblom, the ATC coordinator, “SMS provides a way to communicate safety policy, report hazards in the workplace, evaluate and mitigate risk, and by doing so to improve safety.”

The students and staff at this year’s Aviation Technical Conference

This system allows pilots and mechanics to file reports of occurrences and hazards they have observed.  Administrators then seek to use the reported information to change and improve the environment in which operations take place. 

According to Rio, “The SMS presentation was very helpful for me to take to YAJASI. And I was very pleased to see and meet people from other around the world.”

Rio and the family he flew to a village where they will work on Bible translation

As a pilot in Indonesia, Rio has the opportunity to fly mission workers, translators, the sick, and government and community development workers. “Sometimes [when I fly] I get to share my testimony,” Rio said. “I have [also] helped people from villages that are sick get their medication in the city and weeks later seen them back on their feet ready to go back to their village.”

Safety is always a major consideration for both pilots and passengers. If the passengers Rio and the other pilots carry do not feel safe, then they will not use the services these organizations offer, and translation could slow to a crawl or stop altogether in some locations.

You can ensure that important, potentially life-saving conferences like ATC continue to occur, by making a gift here to our Aviation Training Solutions. Thank you for caring about the safety of our pilots and mission workers!

*Africa Inland Mission *South American Mission