The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and a number of heavy hitters in the air charter industry have created the Air Charter Safety Foundation to promote Part 135 safety initiatives, including an industry-wide standard safety audit and adoption of safety management systems. Once an operator has completed the audit, the operator’s information will be included in an online registry for charter customers and others to review.
Safety Management Systems
As its name implies, the Corporate Aviation Safety Seminar, hosted by the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) and NBAA, focused on the common theme of improving the safety record in the corporate aviation sector.
Implementing safety management systems (SMS) and developing operator decision-making skills are imperative to improving the accident record for helicopters. That was the message more than 100 helicopter pilots, crewmembers and industry managers heard at the third annual Helicopter Safety Forum, co-sponsored by FlightSafety International and Rotor & Wing magazine, held this year in Dallas-Fort Worth.
After a Hendrick Motorsports King Air 200 crashed into Bull Mountain on Oct. 24, 2004, while attempting a missed approach at Martinsville/Blue Ridge Airport in Virginia, Nascar race team flight departments took a fresh look at the safety of their operations.
Last month this column looked at safety management systems (SMS) and considered why the industry is embracing them. This month focus shifts to the key elements of such systems and their contribution to the industry’s livelihood.
Safety Management Systems (SMSs), popular in other industries for years, are coming to aviation because regulatory authorities, safety experts and industry leaders have proclaimed that SMS represents the future of safety management in our industry. Other countries have been working with safety management systems for years, and the SMS is now gaining traction in the U.S.
In an effort to encourage users to take advantage of its online Event Reporting safety-management system, the Helicopter Association International (HAI) recently eliminated the $300 subscription fee and made the system free to anyone who wants to use it.
While safety is at the top of her list of priorities, new Transportation Secretary Mary Peters told the third annual FAA International Aviation Safety Forum early last month that President Bush has charged her with modernizing the U.S. ATC system, “including new approaches to funding to deal with our aging infrastructure.”
The FAA released Notice 8700.49, effective October 11, to guide FAA inspectors in helping operators develop Safety Management Systems (SMS). An SMS advisory circular–AC 120-92–was released on June 22, and since then the FAA has promoted the SMS concept industry-wide, at meetings such as the Bombardier Safety Standdown in early October and the Nascar race team SMS Safety Summit on October 20.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has unveiled a program to help air charter companies improve safety. Modeled after the ground service safety program the association launched last year, the initiative for Part 135 on-demand operators is designed to reduce the number of accidents and eventually to lower insurance rates and deductibles.