Vertical Aviation Safety Team Charter
1.0 – Who We Are
The Vertical Aviation Safety Team (VAST) is a public–private initiative to enhance worldwide flight operations safety in all segments of the vertical flight industry. Team members comprise international regional safety teams; safety authorities, including civil aviation authorities; and other industry stakeholders that work to improve worldwide vertical flight safety.
- International regional safety teams, which consist of national and industry stakeholders, are formed to improve the safety of civil vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) operations in their respective national airspace systems.
- Safety authorities include national civil aviation authorities (such as the US FAA and the CAAs of the United Kingdom, Sudan, and Colombia); jurisdictional agencies (ICAO and EASA, for example); and nationally recognized safety organizations (such as the National Transportation Safety Board in the United States, the Transportation Safety Board in Canada, and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission in New Zealand).
- Other industry stakeholders include OEMs, training providers, operators, service providers, and vertical flight industry associations such as Helicopter Association International, the European Helicopter Association, and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.
2.0 – Vision
The VAST vision is a worldwide vertical flight community with zero fatal accidents achieved through cooperation and collaboration.
3.0 – Mission
The organization’s mission is to continuously improve the worldwide vertical flight community’s safety culture and operational performance through collaboration, harmonization, coordination, and implementation of global safety information, resources, and programs while supporting regional safety team data that promote vertical flight’s societal contributions.
4.0 – Goals
VAST has five chief goals:
- Establish VAST as the world’s most trusted source for vertical flight safety information and resources
- Establish working groups to represent key segments and issues relevant to the global VTOL industry
- Formalize leadership positions, working groups, and advisory roles for participating organizations and individuals
- Identify, collect, harmonize, and deliver centralized access to safety information and resources from participating stakeholder entities
- Provide and coordinate a forum where regional safety teams, safety authorities, and other industry stakeholders can work together on vertical flight safety issues.
5.0 – Background
In 1997, the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security set a 10-year goal of reducing the US fatal aviation accident rate by 80%. At the same time, the commission identified the need for strong government–industry partnerships to support the aviation system of the future. This effort resulted in the organization that became the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST), which focuses on commercial air travel.
In 2005, attendees at the International Helicopter Safety Symposium created the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST), modeled after CAST, to reduce the helicopter accident rate. Fourteen years later, the IHST transitioned to the International Helicopter Safety Foundation (IHSF). To expand its public–private efforts and to enhance worldwide flight operational safety in all segments of the vertical flight industry, in 2021 the IHSF was rebranded as VAST.
6.0 – Strategic Approach
In its strategy for enhancing flight operational safety in vertical flight, VAST:
- Is the international face and voice of vertical flight and fosters and promotes the industry’s growth through safety initiatives
- Receives, integrates, harmonizes, and distributes aviation safety data; develops risk reduction efforts globally; and works to reduce duplication of effort
- Uses a data-informed, consensus-based approach to define, evaluate, and support the implementation of safety enhancements based on data analyses and safety intelligence
- Coordinates and supports the actions of regional safety teams, aviation authorities, and industry stakeholders
- Serves as the arbiter between the regional safety teams to foster collaboration and coordination across safety initiatives as well as the sharing of final outputs.
7.0 – Structure
VAST includes two advisers who advise on all aspects of the team. There are also two general groups—the regional safety teams and the global VTOL safety stakeholders. Liaisons from these groups bring ideas, content, suggestions, and proposals from their organizations to the two advisers and the VAST Steering Committee.
VAST maintains various working groups to collect, analyze, distribute, and promote integrated aviation safety data and safety programs. The steering committee comprises one adviser, the co-chairs of the working groups, an adviser-assigned administrative support person, and a communications support person. (See Appendix C for the VAST Organizational Chart.)
The principles for participation in VAST are contained in Appendix A.
7.1 – VAST Advisers
VAST has two advisers, one representing the industry–operator community and one representing the regional safety teams (see Appendix B). The VAST advisers should exhibit the ability to:
- Advocate on behalf of the VAST members by establishing and maintaining relationships with all levels of vertical flight stakeholders (from the executive level to the working level)
- Contribute to strategic-level decisions and set VAST strategy based on findings from data-driven analyses
- Understand past challenges to improving vertical flight safety and offer constructive solutions to overcoming these challenges to implement working group data, recommendations, and safety programs
- Arbitrate conflicts and make decisions on all aspects of VAST’s program, including the final determination on working group recommendations.
7.2 – VAST Liaisons
Liaisons are leaders designated by the regional safety teams and other vertical flight global safety stakeholders. They bring to the VAST Steering Committee ideas, content, suggestions, and proposals from their organizations for consideration and implementation. Liaisons may also choose to serve in, or designate other representatives to serve in, VAST working groups.
7.3 – VAST Support
The VAST Steering Committee has two support positions—administrative support and communications support. These positions are assigned by the advisers.
7.4 – VAST Steering Committee
The VAST Steering Committee coordinates work between the team’s working groups. The committee compiles and integrates the ideas, content, suggestions, and proposals from the VAST liaisons and routes them to the appropriate working group for disposition. The committee also recommends projects for the Special Projects Working Group.
The steering committee comprises VAST’s working group co-chairs, the administrative and communications support personnel, and one of the team advisers. Steering committee members designate two co-leads (normally, one from the industry stakeholders and one from the safety authorities) to support compliance with this charter.
7.5 – Working Groups
Working groups are staffed by members of the regional safety teams or other global VTOL safety stakeholders to collect, analyze, distribute, and promote integrated aviation safety data and safety programs. Each working group will be managed by two co-chairs, normally one from the industry stakeholders and one from the aviation authorities. Working group co-chairs facilitate activities of working groups and project teams. Working groups also make recommendations on the distribution of data, information, safety, and safety programs. The groups may be formed or dissolved to accommodate vertical flight safety needs. A list and description of the working groups are contained in Appendix D.
8.0 – Meetings and Voting
VAST holds four types of meetings, according to the participating group:
- Adviser meetings: VAST adviser meetings will occur quarterly to support VAST’s mission and activities.
- Steering committee meetings: The VAST Steering Committee will meet quarterly, or more often as activity warrants.
- Working group meetings: VAST working group meetings will occur monthly, or as activity warrants.
- All hands meetings: VAST all hands meetings will occur every other month.
Most meetings will take place electronically (via telephone or video conference). One meeting each year will be face-to-face and coincide with HAI HELI-EXPO®.
8.1 – Meetings
An agenda will be made available at least three days prior to meetings. Meeting notes will be taken during each meeting. For the working groups and steering committee, designated co-chairs or co-leads (as appropriate) are responsible for the development and distribution of the agenda and the taking of meeting notes. Agendas and meeting notes for the all hands and advisers meetings will be supported by the steering committee’s administrative and communications support personnel.
Steering committee, all hands, and face-to-face meetings may include, but are not limited to, the following agenda items:
- Call to order
- Roll call of members present
- Introductions: industry and government advisers and co-chairs
- Review previous-meeting action items; complete discussion, decision-making, or voting as appropriate
- Accident review
- Working group reports
- Outreach update
- New business
- Action item review (include the following for each item)
- Action/milestone item
- Action/milestone date
- A primary point of contact
- Upcoming VAST meetings
- All hands
- Face-to-face (date, time, desired agenda items)
- Upcoming events VAST representatives will attend
8.2 – Process and Voting
All hands and face-to-face meetings generally will be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order. Motions are used to introduce new pieces of business or propose decisions or actions. A second motion must be made, after which there is limited discussion and, if applicable, a vote.
VAST decisions are approved by a simple majority, unless special circumstances dictate otherwise. A meeting quorum is achieved with two-thirds of voting members.
If any vote decision is required, each voting member will be polled and his or her vote recorded. Voting may be conducted in person, in writing (including e-mail), or by other electronic means (such as via telephone or video conference). If a voting member is unable to attend, his or her vote may be submitted electronically or by proxy. Only another voting member may serve as proxy. If a proxy is voting, the member will inform the working group co-chairs and advisers (if appropriate) in writing of the name of the proxy and the specific subject on which the individual has the authority to vote.
9.0 – Modifications to This Charter
The VAST advisers have the authority and responsibility to modify this charter in order to meet the team’s goals as necessary. Modifications may be in the form of an appendix to this charter and should be signed by both VAST advisers.