sMS (safety management systems) and FOQA (flight operations quality assurance) are no longer just buzzwords, said Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) president and CEO Bill Voss in remarks opening last month’s FSF/ NBAA Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar.
There are no petri dishes where we could grow a perfect strain of safety culture and inject it into those aviation organizations that clearly seem to need it. Come to think of it, all airlines and repair stations could use a booster shot of safety culture to keep their organizations fighting the constant pressures to move aircraft and save money, often by cutting corners.
Although only a handful of countries have regulations in place for approving safety management systems (SMS), most nations are working to comply with an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulation that will require an SMS for international operators of large aircraft and business jets weighing more than 12,500 pounds.
“You can bet the insurance market is going to change. All the ingredients are in place and it’s only a matter of time,” Jim Gardner, v-p of Insuramerica Aviation, an affiliate of J. Smith Lanier, told AIN.
Since the August 2007 acquisition of StandardAero (Booth No. 1918) by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), the Tempe, Ariz.-based company has launched a number of new initiatives, including the expansion and redesign of some of its facilities, the opening of a new PW600 test cell and the implementation of a safety management system (SMS).
The European helicopter safety team (Ehest) released the preliminary results of the first European-wide helicopter accident study on October 13, during a conference in Cascais, Portugal. The Ehest is now transitioning from analysis to the development of an action plan. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the helicopter accident rate by 80 percent by 2016, consistent with the goals of the international helicopter safety team (IHST).
If you regard safety management systems as just the latest fad for corporate aviation flight departments, think again, Daedalus Aviation Services president David Bjellos told the nearly 450 attendees at the 53rd Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar (CASS), which was held early last month in Palm Harbor, Fla. Emphasizing SMS’s importance, almost every presentation at CASS was about SMS or mentioned the topic in some shape or form.
If the CEO of a corporation should suddenly ask the aviation department manager, “What are we doing to ensure the highest level of safety in our flying operations?” that manager should be prepared to outline the elements that constitute the company’s aviation safety program.
Aviation insurance rates can be affected by the vagaries of the stock and investment markets, insurance claims unrelated to the aviation industry and historic peaks and valleys in policy pricing. And further cost pressures are added because the number of aviation insurers continues to decrease.
The charter industry is shifting to a new way of thinking about safety. “We are going from a compliance-based ‘Do you meet the regulatory standard?’ to ‘What more should we do, how can we be safe, how can we tell the good story of this industry?’ [Charter] is becoming a larger player in the transportation marketplace.