SMS: More Than Just the Latest Buzzword in Bizav

 - May 1, 2008, 11:24 AM

“Safety management systems aren’t just the latest fad for corporate flight departments,” Daedalus Aviation Services president David Bjellos told the nearly 450 attendees yesterday at the 53rd Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar (CASS), held this year in Palm Harbor, Fla. In fact, SMSs could be a requirement for entry into some foreign countries starting in 2010, per ICAO Annex 6 section 3.2.4, noted FAA SMS program coordinator Rick Krens. A “systematic way to control safety,” an SMS also provides a safety-culture framework for aircraft operators. SMSs are currently voluntary in the U.S., but “at some point” they will be mandatory for Part 121 and 135 operators, according to Krens. The FAA issued SMS guidance for operators in June 2006 (see AC 120-92), but the agency plans to issue an updated Advisory Circular in the next three to four months, he told CASS attendees. Meanwhile, the FAA is working on how to protect SMS data from use in any agency enforcement actions or in legal prosecutions, Krens said.