Director of Safety Phil Kost first joined Schubach Aviation in July 2014, he is also our Citation Latitude lead captain and has accrued more than 5,200 flight hours. As Director of Safety, since January 2020, he is responsible for driving and managing Schubach Aviation’s safety programs.
We asked Phil a few questions regarding the Director of Safety role and his responsibilities and objectives here at Schubach Aviation:
1. What does a “day in the life” of a Director of Safety look like?
Day to day, my duties may include hosting a monthly safety committee meeting, auditing aspects of our operations, studying accidents in our industry to glean insights that will improve our operations and performing a root cause analysis of an incident or hazardous condition identified by one of our employees through our reporting system. Or hosting a quarterly pilot forum to report on our safety initiatives and their effectiveness, as well as to provide feedback on submitted safety concerns.
2. How do you foster a safety-first company culture at Schubach Aviation?
One of the most important things employees can do, from a safety perspective, is to learn from their actions and experience. Schubach Aviation promotes a safety-first culture by emphasizing why a minor failure or oversight occurred, not who caused it. That way processes and procedures or training can be implemented or amended to prevent further occurrences.
3. What safety programs have you implemented in your tenure at Schubach Aviation?
I’ve been fortunate to advance the positive efforts started by others in our company. Since becoming Director of Safety in January 2020, most notably, I was able to implement an Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP). It encourages reporting safety concerns or missteps that an employee may have committed or observed, in exchange for immunity from disciplinary action by the company or the FAA. This program has proven to be valuable even in its infancy. When employees can report safety concerns without fear of reprisal, everyone wins. Our goal is to learn from experience and to foster a culture of open dialogue around safety.
4. What questions should clients ask/look for when they are choosing to fly with a jet charter operator?
The private aviation industry has done a great job of striving for the safest operations possible. Fortunately, the safety record has been at great levels — but those don’t always correlate to safe operations.
From a client’s perspective, I would want to know that I’m getting the designated level of safety that the FAA demands. However, in an industry that is very unforgiving of failure, our industry best practices set operators apart from others. Clients have the right to ask if an operator has been audited by these best practices auditors, namely, International Standard of Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO), done by IBAC, Wyvern and ARGUS.
5. What sets Schubach Aviation apart from other on-demand charter operators?
From a safety perspective, Schubach Aviation is an IS-BAO stage 3 operator. We participate in Wyvern and ARGUS programs and are under an audit, currently, with ARGUS. We have also operated incident and accident free for 30 years.
6. What is your favorite flight destination?
My favorite destination is one where I get to stay and experience the local culture and cuisine. It’s one of the perks of the job that I look forward to most! Recently, on a trip to Austin, Texas, I tasted some of the city’s famous brisket!
7. What do you love most about your job?
I love traveling the country and seeing the vast array of cultures, incredible food and inspiring history that is tucked into every corner of this nation.
8. What is your favorite aircraft to fly and why?
I currently fly the Citation Latitude and it is the best aircraft I have ever flown! It’s a proper business jet that is comfortable, but not too big where I’m away from home longer than I like.
9. Do you have any words of wisdom/insight for those that fly private?
Get the right aircraft that fits your mission, it makes the trip much more enjoyable! Also, rarely is there ever an instance where it’s better to be in the air than on the ground. Grant flexibility to the crew to operate the aircraft safely, without the external pressure of passenger demands.
10. What do you like most about flying private (vs. commercial)?
I wish I got to sit in the back!
From that perspective, however, the seamless nature of drive-up and walk-on is very nice and removes a lot of the anxiety that comes with commercial air travel.
11. Where did you last fly to?
My last trip was to a new destination, Raleigh-Durham International airport (RDU). It is always exciting to experience a city for the first time.