Creating SMS Culture at the Pilot Level

November 17, 2021

PJ Helicopters is a 51-year family owned company with a long history and a strong passion for flying. Originally starting as a small agriculture spraying business, they worked off the ramp at the airport in Red Bluff, CA with two pilots and aircraft. Fast forward to today, the team has since expanded and performs a range of work, including powerline and electric-grid maintenance, aerial firefighting, and provides construction operation support. 

Their fleet includes MD500s, Bell 206s, UH-1/205s, and 429, and Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawks. PJ Helicopters have recently entered their fifth firefighting season, with an accident-free record. 

Flying aircraft is seen as high intensity work, and a proactive training culture can help to keep pilots and teams safe. By carrying this through to interactions between line crew and company training departments, teams can see improvement in operations, and work towards mitigating accidents.

“We have an approved SMS program in place,” said Justin Chaffin, VP and Chief Pilot for PJ Helicopters in Red Bluff, California. “Our management team is committed to the practices and protocols that make SMS work. But, we felt that the nature of our business required closer hands-on support for our pilots.”

Read their full story here.

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