There were some 460 attendees at last week's 10th annual Bombardier Learjet Safety Standdown 2006, held at the Wichita (Kan.) Hyatt Regency Oct. 2-5 and, if all of them were as positive about the experience as those with whom AVweb spoke, the event was an unqualified success. As one attendee told us, "Somehow, Bombardier continues to incrementally improve" its annual event. Begun in 1996 in response to a pattern of safety problems the company identified, the Safety Standdown follows the military model, with outside experts bringing their authority and experience to a unique training environment. The four-day event -- two days spent in hands-on safety demonstrations and drills, with an additional two days of lectures and seminars -- has become so popular Bombardier had more than 950 applicants for this year's edition. Do the math -- it was forced to turn away some 50 percent of potential attendees, even after both the FAA and NBAA committed to permanent sponsorships.
This year's hands-on programs included aircraft evacuation training, in-flight medical emergency scenarios, in-cabin emergency simulators -- including decompression, ditching and smoke-filled cabin training -- plus a "for-real" firefighting exercise involving use of a Halon extinguisher on a fuel-fed conflagration. Classroom topics included a special emphasis on fatigue and rest cycles, as well as ways to extrapolate runway performance, standardization and international operations. Said one attendee, "There's a reason people line up for this training -- the focus is on knowledge-based training drawn from real-world scenarios. It will leave you feeling better equipped to cope with your next emergency." The dates and location for next year's Safety Standdown have not yet been announced.