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Private Jet Safety - Records and Ratings

Updated: Jun 6

Wyvern, ARGUS and IS-BAO

When was the last time this engine was serviced or overhauled? Can you tell by looking?

The private jet market in the US is massive. Flooded with operators from all over the country. Some with big names and huge fleets, others with only one or two aircraft that you may have never heard of. So how do you distinguish the good from the bad? How can you tell the difference between 4 operators who are all offering the same aircraft type for around the same price? Safety.

As an air charter brokerage firm who has been doing this for over 20 years, the answer is always safety. The winner is always the operator that has the best safety rating. The safety rating is a measure of not only accidents and incidents, but maintenance procedures and protocols incorporated by the operator to maintain safety of their aircraft as well as their flight crews.

How can you determine an operator's safety record or safety rating? There are three main companies that provide independently audited safety ratings for Part 135 air carriers. Part 135 air carriers are air charter operators who operate their flights for hire, meaning that they are a step above privately owned and operated jets, due to the fact that they are under higher scrutiny by the FAA because they are available to the general public. Read more about the differences here.

The three main safety ratings in North America are ARGUS, Wyvern, and ISBAO.

ARGUS Ratings

Below are the three Argus ratings and their requirements for obtaining and maintaining the rating with ARGUS. This is the most popular rating in the industry. More operators choose to become ARGUS rated for the instant identification and recognition that comes with the ARGUS stamp of approval. It is also the easiest tier system for consumers to comprehend. Gold is good, Gold Plus is better and Platinum is the best.

Wyvern Wingman

Wyvern has only two levels, certified operator and their top level, Wingman.

Registered Operator

To become a certified operator, a step below the Wingman program, Wyvern Registered Operators maintain fleet, crew, and insurance information as well as verified regulatory documentation within the Wyvern system.


Each Wingman Certified Operator undergoes an initial audit then recurring audit every 24 months to verify compliance to the performance-based Wingman Standard.

The PASS Program

PASS (Pilot and Aircraft Safety Survey) allows Wingman Certified Operators to provide Wingman Standard trip-specific PASS Reports to all clients.

Wingman Standard PASS reports cover a 150+ point inspection for each flight. They confirm pilot and maintenance personnel training, crew currency, background checks, accident records, and that an operator is Wingman certified.

The Registered Standard PASS report checks aircraft, pilot, and insurance data in Wyvern's system. While not as detailed as the Wingman Standard PASS, the report still contains key safety information to help the consumer make an informed decision about their choice of operator.


The IS-BAO auditing process concentrates on Safety Management System (SMS) development through a gradual process of advancing maturity:

Stage 1 - confirms that the SMS infrastructure is established and that safety management activities are appropriately targeted

Stage 2 - ensures that safety risks are being effectively managed

Stage 3 - verifies that safety management activities are fully integrated into the operator’s business and that a positive safety culture is being sustained


What does it all mean?

Safety is paramount, and for that reason, you should be considering safety ratings prior to booking a flight on any private jet. It is important to do your research ahead of time and feel comfortable with your decision. Many operators do not readily provide their safety information, or may only indicate their rating at the bottom of their website. As an air charter broker, we make sure we provide safety ratings to all of our clients prior to the charter flight booking. Including a trip specific safety report for the specific aircraft and the proposed flight crew to ensure the two pilots have sufficient training and experience for each flight.

Want to learn more?

Give us a call or email one of our senior account executives today. 603-890-0044


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