"Circle of Safety" Saving Alaskan Lives

"Circle of Safety" Saving Alaskan Lives.


by Mike Ford

Alaska averaged 35 commercial aviation accidents per year in the 1990's,many resulting in fatalities. In an effort to reduce those accidents the Federal Aviation Administration teamed with Alaskan air service operators and passengers to develop a program to change that trend.

The "Circle of Safety" was designed in 2005 to let passengers know their rights and responsibilities when taking a flight. Wisely choosing a provider of aviation services,preparing well for each flight and paying attention during boarding and throughout the flight.

Knowing what safety gear is on board is also apart of the plan according to Rob Stapleton of the Medallion Foundation."Where is the emergency locator transmitter? Things that would aid a passenger if there were an emergency."

The Medallion Foundation is an important partner with the FAA in putting out the "Circle of Safety" information. Medallion updates and customizes the plan for different parts of Alaska's widely diverse aviation community. Stapleton explains you'll soon see some modifications in the literature "We're modifying it a little bit this year, putting float planes for float plane operators and helicopters for helicopter viewing operators, sort of re-tailoring the whole program"

According to Stapleton the program also helps promotes certain dialogues that might have been tough to have before. "When you have a relationship where you know the pilot and you know his family and you live in the same community a lot of times a pilot might make exceptions. In this case it puts the responsibility on the passenger as much as the pilot"