The Flight Safety Foundation
Founded in 1947 by Jerome Fox “Jerry” Lederer (1902-2004), the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) has, for over 70 years, initiated projects and developed products to reduce risk and improve aviation safety worldwide. It was the first and only organization of its kind devoted exclusively to safety in aviation. The headquarters are located in Alexandria, VA, USA.
Jerome Lederer was presented with the 33rd Edward Warner Award in 1999 in recognition of his continuous contribution to the improvement of all aspects of safety in international civil aviation thereby helping the world of civil aviation achieve a remarkable safety record.
The Flight Safety Foundation is an independent, non-profit, international organization engaged in research, auditing, education, advocacy and publishing in the field of aviation safety and brings together aviation professionals from all the sectors to help solve safety problems facing the industry. With a membership that spreads throughout the world, FSF brings an international perspective to aviation issues for its members, the media and the travelling public. Membership ranges from individuals to airlines to manufacturers, from labour and management and in every corner of the industry; the Foundation provides leadership to more than 1200 members in more than 75 countries.
FSF works in close cooperation with ICAO, IATA (International Air Transport Association), ACI (Airports Council International). IFALPA (International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations), IFATCA (International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations), and other international organizations.
The FSF gives out annual awards to recognize individual achievements and group achievements in aviation safety. The Flight Safety Foundation Award for Distinguished Service, for assistance to aviation throughout the world in the achievement for safer utilization of aircraft, was given in Athens, Greece on 7 November 1963 to the personnel of the ICAO weather ships. The North Atlantic Ocean Station (NAOS) Agreement, under which this scheme is operated, originated in 1947, when 13 ocean stations were established, primarily for the purpose of providing a permanent network of meteorological observations, surface and upper air, to supplement the observations provided voluntarily by merchant ships. The chief reason was to provide better meteorological facilities for trans-Atlantic aircraft, but it has been found in practice that the information provided by this network is also essential for general meteorological purposes. The general principle of the North Atlantic Ocean Station Agreement, which operated under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organisation, is that all those countries which operate aircraft across the Atlantic contribute to the scheme, the amount of each contribution being based upon the number of scheduled flights across the ocean; some countries make their contribution by operating ships to man the stations, whereas the others contribute cash. In addition to meteorological services, the NAOS system also provided communications services, and search and rescue services.
On 20 November 2012, ICAO and FSF signed a new agreement to formalize their plans to cooperatively promote and advance the sharing of aviation safety information and metrics worldwide. The new collaborative initiative supports ICAO Safety Management System (SMS) guidance that calls for increased monitoring, analysis and reporting of aviation safety results. It is one of several important new agreements signed by ICAO since 2010 as it seeks to expand its cooperative activities. The ICAO-FSF Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) will see the two bodies working more closely to enhance global compliance with ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) and related guidance material. It promotes joint activities between the organizations in the areas of data sharing and analysis, training and technical assistance. The joint analyses developed will facilitate the harmonization of proactive and predictive safety metrics and the promotion of a just safety culture globally. ICAO and FSF will shortly begin convening regular regional forums to share aggregated results on emerging safety issues and facilitate improved collaboration on targeted mitigation strategies. Both organizations are already consulting with a number of States on upcoming demonstration projects.
On 2 August 2019, Airports Council International (ACI) World and Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) that allows for enhanced collaboration. Safety continues to be the number one priority for airports, the aviation community and the travelling public and the MoC will allow ACI and FSF to share relevant safety information and materials and to collaborate on a number of different initiatives. Cooperation between the two organizations goes back more than 10 years and has already resulted in the publication of an important report on reducing the risk of runway excursions.
On the sidelines of ICAO’s 40th Assembly, held in Montreal in September/October 2019, the President of the ICAO Council, Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu met with the President and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation, Dr. Hassan Shahidi, and its Vice President-Technical, Mr. Mark Millam to reconfirm the commitment of both Organizations to continue working together in the areas of data sharing and analysis, training and technical assistance. This cooperation will facilitate the harmonization of proactive and predictive safety metrics and the promotion of a safety culture globally.
In line with the Technical Cooperation Bureau's efforts to enhance partnerships to support capacity-building endeavours, the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) became as a new partner further to the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 15 March 2022, in Montreal; a wide array of activities shall be undertaken to support both Organization’s respective implementation activities. From the joint development of ICAO Implementation Packages (iPacks), to the delivery of training courses, the promotion of ICAO’s Gender Equality in Aviation initiative as well as other collaboration opportunities for fellowships and exchange of Subject Matter Expertise, this partnership will enable both Organizations to leverage from their respective strengths to diversify and enhance products and services to further build capacity in aviation.
In recognition of the leadership and coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic realized by the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART), the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) conferred its inaugural Richard Teller Crane Founder’s Award upon the International Civil Aviation Organization at a special ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington on 21 June 2022. The award was received by the President of the ICAO Council, Salvatore Sciacchitano, on behalf of the Organization and the many other international experts from States and across the air transport industry who contributed so tirelessly to the global aviation response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the ICAO CART, which was established in April 2020, ICAO has forged partnerships with a wide array of stakeholders to address pandemic-related challenges in aviation, providing coordinated international guidance to regulators towards ensuring the continued provision of essential services, and accelerating and optimizing the safe, secure and sustainable restart of all air transport operations.
The Richard Teller Crane Founder’s Award is named in honour of an FSF founder and entrepreneur who played a critical leadership role in the early days of the Flight Safety Foundation. The award recognizes an organization for sustained corporate leadership through lasting contributions to civil aviation.
Crane (1914-1996) was a pilot and an entrepreneur who launched the first regional airline in the United States in the 1930s. With his friend David Morrison, he launched an organization called Flight Safety Foundation in 1945 to study human factors in the design of aircraft cockpits. In 1947, that organization was combined with another study group, Aircraft Engineering for Safety (AES), led by Jerome F. “Jerry” Lederer to actually found the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF).
In 2022, the Flight Safety Foundation commemorated its 75th anniversary, as it can be seen on one of the pictures below.
On 16 March 2020, Dr. Hassan Shahidi, president and CEO of Flight Safety Foundation met the new ICAO Council President, Salvatore Sciacchitano to discuss the importance of international cooperation and information sharing in responding to urgent matters: COVID-19, conflict zones. They renewed their commitment to closely work together under their long-standing cooperative agreement. Salvatore received Foundation’s model airplane “Wing of Hope” on behalf of ICAO, as the battle against COVID-19 continues in his home country Italy and in all nations around the world.
The President of the ICAO Council, Salvatore Sciacchitano (left) receiving the Richard Teller Crane Founder’s Award. At Right: FSF President and CEO Hassan Shahidi. Photo Credit: ICAO News Release.