BLADE Operating Standards and Flight Safety FAQs
How BLADE Selects Its Operators
Your safety is our top priority. The operators who own, manage, and maintain aircraft in our accessible fleet have been specifically chosen to work with BLADE based on consistently high safety standards, industry leading equipment maintenance programs, and conservative operating protocols. They have been vetted by BLADE and third-party rotorcraft industry experts and are audited by our Dedicated Safety Team (see bios below) on a quarterly basis. All of our operators are subject to regulation under FAA 14 CFR 135, which prescribes a much higher level of oversight by the FAA over BLADE flights versus operations in privately owned and operated helicopters.
Each core operator must pass comprehensive safety evaluations including:
- In-person audits of flight departments including review and inspection of General Operations Manuals, Safety Management Systems, pilot training and maintenance practices, and compliance with FAA and DOT record keeping requirements.
- Confirmation of adequate insurance coverage, as well as certificates of insurance naming Blade as an additional insured on the operator's liability policy and indemnification agreements.
- Operators must also meet Blade's standards for flier experience and operational efficiency: Blade branded aircraft with "as-new" condition interiors and exteriors and required use of Blade's operator dispatch and accounting dashboard technology.
Blade has adopted internal procedures for weather cancellations that are often more stringent than FAA minimum requirements to further reduce the likelihood of incidents and unpleasant or turbulent flight experiences.
All passengers must supply a valid government ID for check-in at all BLADE departure points. BLADE digitally verifies the names of all passengers, records flier weight, and determines the dimensions and weight of baggage to ensure that they fall within the specifications of the operator and FAA mandates. BLADE also assists operators in arranging passengers in specific seats within aircraft based on considerations for center-of-gravity and size or weight of the individuals flying. Pilots make the final determinations based on the aforementioned assessments.
BLADE trains all of its on-the-ground representatives in "fit-to-fly" passenger assessments. We reserve the right to prohibit passengers from flying who are unruly, intoxicated, disruptive, or otherwise unfit to fly in the sole determination of BLADE and/or its operators. Our in-lounge Customer Experience Team ("FX Team") is trained to make recommendations to our operators. Cigarette smoking, electronic cigarette smoking, and vaping are prohibited in the BLADE Lounges and on aircraft.
A Step Above in Safety Standards
As part of Blade’s commitment to promote a culture of safety for employees and fliers, Blade conducts regular training of ground staff in connection with ground operations and procedures at heliports, airports and FBOs (private airport terminals) to prevent incidents when loading and unloading aircraft.
Blade has adopted internal procedures for weather cancellations which are more stringent than FAA minimum requirements to further reduce the likelihood of incidents and unpleasant or turbulent flight experiences.
Blade has hired a Fixed-Wing Safety Inspector to perform both in-person and remote audits checking safety, standardization, operations, safety management systems, and emergency response protocols.
Blade has hired a Chief of Safety to conduct and oversee these preventative audits, as well as lead any post-incident return-to-service audits.
Highlights of the Tarmac Safety Policy:
Staff are trained on:
- Communications with all ground crew and aircraft crew by airport and heliport managers
- Which zones they can and can not enter, especially when an active aircraft is on the landing pad
- Direct communications with all passengers prior to boarding, while traveling and when "deplaning"
- Situational awareness, including the changes brought on by weather, or when working with aircraft crew for the first time