Safety First, Second, and Always

Your Safety is Our Top Priority

Our customers experience peace of mind knowing that our pilots receive extensive training, are certified by  the FAA, and, as a group, are the most experienced in Alaska.

The name Taquan, meaning “village by the sea” in the Tsimshian native language, has been synonymous with aviation in Southeast Alaska for over 40 years. This service record has given Taquan Air an advantage in attracting and maintaining strong business relationships.

Taquan maintains an exceptionally high level of professional integrity and will not compromise safety or good business practices. Management has committed the company to being the top floatplane operator in Alaska. Taquan Air’s value statement begins with a company-wide safety culture.

The Medallion Program at Taquan Air

Taquan Air was an active participant in the nationally acclaimed Medallion Foundation FAA Sponsored Aviation Safety Program until the organization ceased operations in September 2019. The program was established to provide safety management systems and support to Alaska aviators. The foundation used a Five-Star Program to provide process guidelines, training, and follow up with audit support and coordination to ensure compliance. Taquan Air had been awarded 5 out of the 5 stars and had been awarded the coveted Medallion Shield award. The five stars where awarded in the following disciplines:

  • VFR Pilot – PCATD/Simulator Training Program – Awarded May 2004
    This star included a classroom training program as well as training on a PC based computer simulator or equivalent device. Two annual check-rides are a requirement to maintain this Star.
  • Operational Risk Management – Awarded November 2004
    The ORM system is dynamic and provides analytical tools as well as a system of checks and balances to proactively identify hazards and manage risks.
  • Maintenance and Ground Service Operations – Awarded April 2005
    These operations must include specific training and manning requirements as required in accordance to this star.
  • Safety Program – Awarded April 2006
    For this star, each operator must establish a safety program. A key aspect of the safety program is the commitment of top-level management to the safety program. At a minimum, the safety program includes safety meetings and audits, the use of root-cause analysis, hazard identification, incident investigations and a viable emergency response program.
  • Internal Audit Program – Awarded May 2008
    The incorporation of a proactive internal audit system that focuses on the use of systems safety principles as well as regulatory compliance.

The Medallion Foundation Overview

The Medallion Foundation, Inc. was a non-profit aviation safety organization that provides management resources, training and support to the Alaskan aviation community. The Medallion Five Star Shield program was an enhanced Safety Management System (SMS) that took a business-like approach to safety, providing for the setting of goals as well as planning and measuring performance in specific areas through the use of System Safety concepts. A Safety Management System can be defined as a systematic, explicit and comprehensive process for the management of safety risks. Another definition is an integrated set of work practices, beliefs and procedures for monitoring and improving the safety and health of all aspects of an operation.

The Medallion Five Star Shield program was voluntary and focuses on establishing and sustaining an elevated level of safety performance through:

  • The development of a safety culture that holds safety as a core value.
  • Continuous professional development of individual skills and competence.
  • Proactive sharing of operational control responsibilities.
  • Hazard identification and risk management.
  • Management practices that support the organization’s safety objectives.

The Medallion Foundation Five Star SMS program went well beyond these definitions. It is a step-by-step approach that provides not only program and process guidelines, but specific training classes, one-on-one company mentoring in the areas addressed by the Five Stars, and auditing to determine if the applicant meets a specific Star requirement. In addition, a final external audit was conducted to determine if the applicant has incorporated the concepts into its organizational culture. Additional external audits where conducted each year to ensure the applicant is maintaining the required standard.

In order to maintain the Shield status, the operator was required to successfully pass an audit each year. If the operator did not pass the annual audit or if Medallion personnel noted during on-site visits that a specific Star is not being properly addressed on a continuing basis, the Star and therefore Shield status were to be revoked. There where procedures in place to reacquire the lost status, but it involved a more time-consuming procedure. The operator  had to cover the cost for an additional external audit that could also be required.

Taquan's Safety going forward with the Federal Aviation Administration

The FAA was supporting the Medallion Foundation in the implementation of it’s program. Taquan Air will be working rigorously to maintaining and practicing the safety procedures and culture that we have. We are working towards implementing a new SMS program with similar practices and safety procedures that were followed while under the Medallion Five Star Shield Program. Safety Programs similar to these are required by the FAA for large part 121 airlines. Taquan Air’s new SMS program will exceed those required by government regulations in most areas, even though programs like this are not yet required for small 135 operators.

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