Convair CV580 Cabin Safety Instructions Card, front cover, hand-held

Pionair logoPionair in both New Zealand and Australia was simultaneously an airline that specialised in private air charter and air cargo and a ‘best in class’ tour operator. At the start of 2007 Pionair owned 4 passenger Convair CV580 aircraft and two dedicated air cargo Convair. One passenger Convair operated in New Zealand out of Christchurch Harewood (operations having moved from Wigram in 2006) the other three, and the freighters operated in Australia from Sydney Bankstown airport and several others along the eastern seaboard, from Tasmania to Queensland.

Convair CV580 Cabin Safety Instructions Card, 2007

The Convair 580 aircraft safety card instructs passengers aboard the aircraft about the Convair’s specific procedures for dealing with various emergency conditions that may arise during the flight. The variability in the cabin fit-outs between Pionair’s four passenger Convairs meant Pionair’s card’s infographics were individually tailored to each aircraft.

Convair CV580 cruising, clearcut on a white background.This card was located in the seat back in front of the passenger. The first iteration of safety cards I produced for the Convair were A4 format in the manner of a prior version. However this format proved unsatisfactory in use—a tight fit in the seat pocket that often jammed and therefore quickly delaminated and shabby, resulting in an unsatisfactory and short service life.Convair_air-to-air_takeoff-clrx

Rollover fold 6-page format

The rollover fold 6-page format was the innovation I developed in 2007 to;

  • increase the durability of the cards
  • adhere to the requirement for increased quantity, detail and nuance required in the cards‘ infographics after New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) aligned its standards with the Australian Authority (CASA) in May 2006.
  • The card was designed and printed digitally, in-house by Pionair ‘Propellor’ Studio, and finished in a heavy-duty laminate capsule.

Human figure Infographics drawn from life

Convair CV580 Cabin Safety Instructions Card, vector infographic, arming the escape chute, opening the door.The Convair safety cards contents are entirely graphic representations which makes the cards accessible to those speaking another language than the flight attendants. The contents use a blend of clear, descriptive infographics drawn from life, set in the aircraft and a set of simple, Convair specific / generic pictograms.

Every second counts during an emergency, so in order to illustrate quickly to the highest standard I staged photographing colleagues on board the Convair as reference, then drew large, clear infographics from life—most in the context of the aircraft. In my opinion this representational format results in infographics that are much more easily understood by passengers. The standard generic pictograms often used now are, in my view, sub-optimal for demonstrating multi-step, skills-based tasks in a crisis. Well executed, large-sized infographics are the best format to present information to passengers in any critical scenario.

The view from the cockpit of the Convair CV580, bound from Townsville to the Osborne mine over Outback Queensland, February 2006. Murray Collings is the captain.

A brief note to the design, specifically using the perforated metal pattern as an aviation style decorative background, the inspiration for this decorative element springs from observation of the CV580 cockpit where perforated metal is used liberally, probably as a weight saving measure. Observation also informed the re-creation of the original engraved Convair eagle brand as a vector drawing for use in the custom CV580 safety cards, and prospectively for use on CV580 specific promotional merchandise.

Designed and printed in-house

The demand for short-run colour printing within Pionar increased rapidly between 2004–6, so the directors deemed it imperative to bring the printing and finishing of documents in-house. To that end Propellor Studio purchased a Fuji Xerox A3 colour laser in January 2006 which I maintained and operated.


Print finishing: Croft Printing
Font credits: Univers, Sloop script

©magentadot brands

2004–2009 Pionair Adventure Travel, Aviation, Booklet, Brochure, Digital illustration, Information Graphics, Pionair Australia, Pionair Aviation, Print production, Rebrand, Technical writing, Travel & tourism, Typography

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