HAI is poised to launch a helicopter safety accreditation program for small operators and is currently in negotiations with the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), which helped develop the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO).
IBAC introduced the IS-BAO program as a code of best practices at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in 2002. At the core of the IS-BAO is the requirement for operators to implement a safety management system (SMS).
HAI director of safety J. Heffernan told those attending the Heli-Expo Safety Symposium on Saturday that participation in the HAI safety accreditation program is voluntary, although most operators already have what they need to reach that level of safety but don’t realize it.
The accreditation of the safety program is in addition to the IS-BAO, which he said is currently “a heavy-iron program.” Before HAI’s initiative, there was no way to get a program for small operators.
“We believe that the helicopter industry has been essentially overlooked in these kinds of accreditation programs,” Heffernan said. “Accreditation as a safe operator is going to be measurable.”
HAI will begin taking applications in June. Work is under way to place information about the program on HAI’s Web site.
Asked how HAI will tie its safety accreditation program into other safety programs, Heffernan explained, “If there is a good audit program out there we can tie in with, we are going to do this.” He noted that helicopter auditors are already present in IS-BAO, and the tie-in will give HAI members access to those auditors.
The European Union has granted IS-BAO official recognition as the industry standard for business aircraft operations. The official endorsement will facilitate recognition of IS-BAO in the European Aviation Safety Agency Implementing Rules system.
Because a SMS will be required of all commercial operations and operators of complex aircraft engaged in non-commercial operations under an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulation, the IS-BAO includes an SMS toolkit that can be used to develop an appropriate and effective SMS.
The goal of SMS is to manage safety risks effectively by integrating management of operations and technical systems with financial and human resource management. According to Heffernan, HAI safety accreditation will tie in with the ICAO framework, and future FAA regulations.