The FAA is making progress implementing safety management systems (SMS) both within the agency and for the aviation industry as a whole, but the effort is likely to take many years to complete, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada has updated its investigation of the May 28 midair collision between a Beechcraft Bonanza and a Piper PA-28 over the Washington, D.C. suburb of Summerduck, Va. The TSB is handling the investigation at the request of NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman to avoid any potential conflicts of interest because the two victims aboard the Bonanza were U.S. government employees.
Two pilots and the company they flew for, Aéropro, were mainly responsible for the June 23, 2010 crash of a Canadian-registered Beech King Air A100, according to the final accident report released by the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada on August 20. The two pilots and their five passengers were killed when, just after takeoff, the aircraft struck the ground a mile-and-a-half beyond the end of Runway 30 at Québec City/Jean Lesage International Airport (CYQB).
After asking for a show of hands from air charter operators who are experiencing difficulties filling pilot vacancies, FAA deputy director of flight standards John Duncan told attendees at last month’s NATA Air Charter Summit that he gets involved in discussions about pilot shortages in a lot of different venues. “From an academic standpoint, it’s going to be interesting,” he said. “But from a community standpoint, it’s probably going to be a little painful. This is a dilemma for the aviation community.”
On Monday, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (Arsa) filed a friend of the court (amicus curiae) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking the court to intervene in the issue of manufacturers refusing to provide technical data to maintenance providers.
Because safety is a never-ending quest, a safety management system (SMS) often calls for a cultural change. And changes take time. But just hearing the SMS acronym is enough to make many industry folks roll their eyes and sigh, thinking surely safety management systems must be working by now.
Just a few years ago, no one in the aviation safety business anywhere on earth would have seriously asked if the FAA is losing its safety edge. For more than half a century, the FAA was the unquestioned leader in airline safety around the globe, the one all other nations looked to for leadership in setting the safety bar.
NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman, keynote speaker at today’s HAI Membership breakfast and meeting here at Heli-Expo 2011, praised HAI for its creation of the International Helicopter Safety Team (IHST) and its new Safety Accreditation Program. And she also challenged the HAI membership to continue its efforts to promote Safety Management Systems (SMS) through IHST’s SMS Toolkit.
In an attempt to curtail the number of audits currently competing for the FBO and charter industry’s business, the National Air Transportation Association has launched a single industry-wide standard that it hopes will eventually replace them all. The NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Standard is designed to promote industry best practices and the development of safety management systems.
As the 2012 U.S. election campaign season begins ramping up, industry leaders are concerned about what they believe will be an unprecedented number of temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) as candidates spread out to press the flesh. Given the number of states up for grabs in what looks to be an extremely close and contentious presidential election, private aviation is bracing for the inevitable travel interruptions.