5 Most Important Things to Know Before Buying Aviation SMS Database

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5 Most Important Things to Know Before Buying Aviation SMS Database

                                                              Northwest Data Solutions

Posted by Christopher Howell on Dec 6, 2018 10:00:00 AM  

I Don’t Need an Aviation SMS Database!…or Do I?

Many aviation service providers today are researching features and capabilities to acquire databases to address documentation requirements of their aviation safety management system (SMS). Alternatively, these operators are not looking to acquire an SMS database, but to:

  1. learn how to design an SMS database in-house; or
  2. cobble together single point solutions to satisfy SMS regulators.

Why are aviation SMS databases important?

What should an aviation service provider know before running out and buying the cheapest SMS database on the market?

Aviation (SMS) are composed of structured processes. In most cases, aviation SMS enforce, and in other situations, encourage, aviation service providers to manage their SMS according to best practices established by:

The reason SMS databases are so important to aviation service providers is that many SMS documentation requirements need long term data storage and retrieval strategies from many disparate data sources. Let that sink in. You may even wish to re-read that sentence. The important phrase is:

long term data storage and retrieval strategies from many disparate data sources

For readers whose eyes are rolling back in their heads, this simply means that you need to store and retrieve data from many areas of the SMS that have different data elements, such as data from:

  • Safety reporting;
  • Accident investigations;
  • Hazard identification;
  • SMS Training;
  • Risk controls; and
  • Safety communications.

SMS Databases Automate Labor Intensive Tasks

In an SMS, there are many risk management activities that are time sensitive with due dates that cannot slip through the cracks. Otherwise, SMS regulatory auditors will identify your substandard safety performance and issue audit findings. After reacting to repeat audit findings, operators either:

  • end up complying and get proper tools to address substandard performance;
  • modify company’s risk management processes; or
  • lose their certificate (in two to four years based on my experience).

In addition to alerting safety teams and management of “problems in your risk management processes,” SMS databases are use to accurately automate labor-intensive data analysis and monitoring tasks, like

  • generating reports and trending charts;
  • providing and tracking SMS training;
  • detecting trends and automatically alerting management of trends;
  • collecting safety reports from various sources (web, email, third parties);
  • tracking hazard identification processes;
  • risk management processes;
  • safety communications;
  • setting and monitoring key safety performance indicators (KPIs or SPIs).

Based on many years of observations, aviation service providers are not having problems with reacting to events and applying corrective and preventive actions, the problems I see are operators having problems are managing the documentation. As I mentioned earlier, there data management tasks required in an SMS are no joke.

Furthermore, operators know what is most important to their operations (KPIs), their problem arises from:

  • monitoring;
  • measuring; 
  • analyzing; 
  • identifying trends; and
  • documenting results and corrective actions when necessary.

SMS is structured process. Operators need help documenting their risk management processes. As they start working the process and documenting their actions, then they will start being able to demonstrate continuous improvement of the SMS.

Factors Determining Benefits of SMS Database 

To help safety teams in their search for an aviation SMS database, here are a few things to consider before you throw time and energy into implementing aviation SMS software or building your own. Not every aviation service provider needs an SMS database.

I’ll be the first to tell you that some operators should not purchase an SMS database. Their safety culture and management commitment will not support long term data management initiatives.

There are several considerations that determine whether an SMS database will add any value to your company, such as:

  • Top management commitment;
  • Safety budget
  • Organization’s size and complexity;
  • Existing technological capabilities;
  • Employee technological maturity;
  • Maturity of SMS implementation;
  • Short term strategic business initiatives;
  • Effectiveness of regulatory oversight; and
  • Safety culture.

What Is an Aviation SMS Database?

Northwest Data Solutions

As of 2019, the Australians and Canadians are still the ones who most fully embrace the ICAO 2006 SMS mandate. These requirements are explained in ICAO Document 9859.

The rest of the world can learn from the growing pains suffered by the Canadians and Australians during their SMS implementations. For those of us that have been following SMS from the beginning, we have been able to identify trends in their SMS implementation processes.

Since these two countries paved the “SMS way,” countries following in their footsteps can leapfrog technological hurdles faced earlier by these two countries. “Leapfrogging” is a concept that you may run into during business and economic discussions. The best example that always sticks with me from my college days is the “mobile phone” example.

Third world countries adopted mobile phones without having to bear the huge expense of “hard-line” phones. In short, they leapfrogged over the hard line phones and directly adopted mobile phone technology. This leapfrogging allowed these counties to forebear the horrendous expense of telephone poles and tens of  thousands of miles of telephone wires.

Along the same vein, aviation service providers that are not in the leading technological edge of SMS data management can leapfrog technologies that have proven ineffective in managing SMS documentation requirements, such as spreadsheets and poorly integrated “point solutions.”

If your company has more than 50 employees, you should not consider spreadsheets to store SMS data. You will regret this and the accountable executive will not be pleased with the unnecessary risk. Another rule of thumb based on over a dozen years of observations is:

Do not use spreadsheets in companies with high employee turnover, even for small companies with 15-20 employees.

Point Solutions Next Phase of SMS Data Management Evolution

Point solutions are software products designed to satisfy one major business requirement, such as:

  • Safety reporting system;
  • Auditing system; 
  • Document management system; or
  • Training and qualifications system.

There are companies like Sabre and ETQ that actively search to acquire and market point solutions to provide to the aviation industry. These companies don’t generally develop solutions, but acquire point solutions and add them to their stable of software offerings.

In a few instances, these companies will integrate multiple point solutions into a single platform or product and relabel the new “integrated solution” under their brand. You may know this as “white labeling.” A white label product is produced by one company and then rebranded by another company to make it appear as if they made it. 

Point solutions may satisfy a particular business need, but often are not easily configurable to meet unique business needs. This becomes more true with white label SMS solutions because the company marketing the SMS solution doesn’t have the technological ability to easily customize the solution.

Another disadvantage of point solutions is that technical and customer support are not as responsive because support tickets are routed from the solutions provider back to the original software developers, and then returns through the same process. This “support ticket routing game” becomes obvious when tech support takes more than a couple hours to contact you with a solution to your problem. If technical support and flexible configuration capabilities are important to your company’s long term data management strategy, point solutions should not be considered.

The advantage of point solutions is that they are cheaper than fully integrated databases that have all the features required in a complete SMS database. Most operators don’t need all features in the beginning of their SMS implementations, so a point solution scratches the immediate itch.

Point solutions are a short-game strategy. There are valid business cases for adopting point solutions, but if you are a small company with fewer than 60 employees, these point solutions will come back and haunt you in five to six years into your SMS implementation. Larger operators may have available IT resources to integrate multiple point solutions, but if you are a smaller operator, or your IT support staff are overworked, then you should avoid point solutions in your SMS implementation.

Integrated Point Solutions Comprised of Multiple Databases

Point solutions usually have at least one database for each system; therefore, if your company has six point solutions to manage all SMS documentation requirements, then you will potentially have at least six distinct databases to store data. This is not an efficient data management strategy for aviation SMS.

Unfortunately, this complexity is hidden from clients who buy an integrated solution comprised of multiple point solutions. To the customer, they are buying “Brand X SMS.” They think they are buying “one product” when in reality, they may be buying 6 or 8 different “white label” products wrapped in a cute package with fancy marketing speak. Unsuspecting customers may not know what is under the covers until years later as they wonder why it is so hard to have a user-friendly configurable system.

The quickest way to spot these “white-label” integrated SMS solutions is look at their public facing documentation. How much detail do they show? If they don’t show much detail about their SMS solutions, chances are that this will be a white-label SMS package that may have been created for another industry, like:

  • Chemical;
  • Energy (petroleum);
  • Automotive, etc.

Best SMS Database is Designed For Specifically for SMS

The best solution with the lowest long-term maintenance cost is the single, enterprise-capable SMS database that was designed specifically to address aviation SMS documentation and performance monitoring requirements. An easy way to tell if an SMS database was designed specifically for the aviation industry is to look at the industry types the company markets to. It becomes highly unlikely the SMS database was built for aviation SMS when the SMS database provider is also selling to the other industries, like:

  • Automotive;
  • Chemical; 
  • Food;
  • Construction; and
  • Oil and gas.

Is it important that your SMS database provider sells to other industries? Are you concerned about the depth of SMS database provider’s subject matter expertise? These are both valid points to consider.

Retooling Systems In-House to Manage SMS Data Needs

Similar to the white-label software providers, some operators have been re-tooling existing database solutions, such as SharePoint and Spiceworks to serve as their SMS database. We have seen some ingenious hacks using “help desk support software” that was designed to support IT teams. The business argument was that the price was right.

This is again a short-game strategy.

As we have seen in Australia and Canada, in the early stages of the SMS implementation, safety mangers don’t know what data they are going to collect. What are they going to do with the data once they get it. These safety managers were addressing one implementation point at a time, without the experience of what the end game looks like. It was only years later, usually six to eight years, that accountable executives and safety teams realize that they had an unrealistic picture of the final product – and by final product, I’m referring the fully implemented SMS.

Based on what they knew at the time, safety managers adopted available tools in house, which were the spreadsheets, point solutions or retooled software solutions hacked together to satisfy the “immediate need” to demonstrate “something.”

Major shortcomings these operators finally realize after about three-to-five years is that they lack:

  • automated notifications of schedule slippages;
  • real-time SMS performance monitoring;
  • KPI management and KPI monitoring;
  • industry-accept hazard identification and risk control monitoring;
  • SMS-specific charting tools to analyze data and spot trends; and
  • automated email notifications from major activities (feedback and task assignment notifications).

As you can see, point solutions are great and scratch an immediate itch, but lack long term sustainability. For a long term SMS data management strategy, don’t implement your SMS using point solutions.

Benefits of an SMS Database During SMS Implementation

We have worked with hundreds of aviation service providers in many countries since 2007 as they implemented SMS, or as they re-implemented failed systems. We provide an SMS database built following ICAO’s four components. In short, we have seen hundreds of SMS implementations and we are also SMS data management experts. We are not white-label SMS resellers, but genuine aviation SMS database architects and developers.

We have worked with many different types of operations, which is very cool for us. As you may know, it is not just airlines and airports that are required to implement formal SMS. The list also includes, 

  • Aviation maintenance;
  • Air traffic control;
  • Flight Schools;
  • Aviation equipment manufacturers;
  • Ground handling companies.

In the early days after ICAO mandated formal SMS adoption, the Canadians and Australians resorted to tools they knew best and had in-house, including:

  • MS Word,
  • MS Excel, 
  • MS Access, and maybe
  • SharePoint.

After several years of implementing their SMS, many of these companies realized that the data management requirements of fully implemented SMS required professionally designed SMS databases. To be perfectly candid, they didn’t realize this solely on their own, but from SMS auditors. This became even more evident for companies with more than 100 employees, regardless of whether they were:

  • Airlines;
  • Airports; or
  • Aviation maintenance organizations.

For the major operators with more than 1,000 employees, these companies have IT support that could either develop their own system or integrate multiple point solutions to address regulatory requirements.

These smaller to mid-sized companies also tried in-house solutions and point solutions. Finally, they had come to realize that it is easier, more cost effective and less risky to simply acquire an SMS database from a company that focuses on such systems. After all, you don’t buy an aircraft from an auto manufacturer. Subject matter expertise runs more deeply in a company that dedicates its energies to satisfying SMS data management requirements.

From my experience, aviation service providers in the Middle East and Europe didn’t suffer as long as the Canadians in their SMS implementations. This may be due to better training or a better understanding of the data management requirements of these fully developed aviation SMS. If you are an operator in the Middle East, your biggest challenge will be to acquire top management commitment and support to acquire tools to demonstrate SMS compliance. Each geographic region has their own challenges. Luckily, I’ve been blessed by being exposed to most regions around the world.

So what does an aviation SMS database offer before, during and after an SMS implementation process?

  • Centralized data storage;
  • SMS gap analysis tools to evaluate existing tools and processes;
  • SMS implementation management;
  • Secure access by all members of the aviation organization based on role;
  • Improved data security;
  • Improved organizational communication; 
  • Enhanced accountability;
  • Less risk to the organization; and
  • Real-time SMS performance monitoring.

Best Practices Achievable Using SMS Databases

Professionally designed aviation SMS databases can also ensure that operators are following data management best practices. When multiple managers have access to the same data, there is less chance to ignore reported hazards and safety concerns. There is increased accountability and transparency across the organization’s SMS.

In addition to best practices, employees become more involved in the SMS when the SMS database is user-friendly and the workflows are logical. There is nothing more of a buzz-kill than a crappy SMS database that doesn’t work or is not user friendly.

A poorly designed SMS database is a threat to your safety culture. I learned long ago that an airline will suffer a long time before ditching substandard software. It is expensive to change. You have to consider

  • legacy data to import into the new system;
  • training employees on the new system; and
  • reviewing SMS manual to align risk management processes to new software.

The point is that it is less expensive to choose wisely in the first place. Otherwise your company’s safety culture will suffer for many years to come, unless you get out of the bad relationship within the first year or two.

SMS Databases Encourage Repeatable Risk Management Processes

SMS is a structured process. Perhaps the single most important advantage of an SMS database is that it facilitates repeatable risk management processes. Business rules can be enforced to ensure designed risk management procedures are followed according to your SMS manual. This becomes increasingly important for larger companies that are “process driven” or companies with high staff turnover.

The SMS database also reduces risk for the accountable executive. They can be assured the SMS is performing in all areas of the organization and alert management when substandard safety performance is detected. If your company needs repeatable risk management processes, and you don’t have time to develop your own, the quick fix is to acquire an SMS database.

Not having defined risk management processes becomes especially more important when the operator still doesn’t have a good SMS manual. SMS manuals are a major concern for new SMS implementations as safety managers work diligently to organize:

  • Safety policies;
  • Duties and responsibilities of key safety personnel;
  • Organizational chart;
  • Safety reporting processes;
  • Risk management processes;
  • Auditing and safety assurance;
  • Hazard analysis (safety risk analysis); 
  • Safety training;
  • and so on…

Some SMS database solutions have an SMS manual template to get new operators started on the right track and to reduce frustrations. SMS manual templates allow safety managers to get a huge jump start on their SMS implementation. This becomes increasingly important when safety managers come to an organization with poorly documented risk management processes. 

Safety managers without documented risk management processes are grasping for some sort of help, and these SMS manual templates are wonderful because they have well-defined, industry accepted best practices already incorporated in the SMS manual templates.

What to Expect from Aviation SMS Software?

When we talk about an aviation SMS database, it is important to understand that the database is simply half of the solution. The user interface is the other half. Most safety professionals think that the SMS database and the user-interface are the same. However, if the safety manager has an IT background, the safety manager will realize the database is only used to store organized data in logical tables, like a spreadsheet.

To be absolutely correct, SMS software, in most cases, is a Web application. This is a detail that may not excite you, but if you are thinking about buying an SMS database, you will also be getting the front-end where the user interacts with the database using pretty workflows and business logic that prompts you to do something. The Web application may also enforce data restraints, such as required fields, or send email notifications when you assign a task to another user.

To us in the IT world, what I described is a Web application, but you may recognize it as a “software program.” There is a database in the back end that stores data. You can think of the database as having hundreds of related data tables. Software (the Web application) accesses this data, either retrieving or storing the data according to security and functional requirements of the software.

An aviation SMS software program offers little value unless the user interface is:

  • Full-featured;
  • Intuitive;
  • User-friendly;
  • Flexible (or configurable); and
  • Easily adaptable when technologies change (such as from desktop to mobile).

When you shop for your aviation SMS database, consider your goals and needs. For example, if you are already using SharePoint, you may not need a robust version-controlled document management system integrated within your safety portal.

At the bare minimum, your aviation safety database should consist of the following:

  • Web-based hazard reporting forms;
  • Automated email notification of events;
  • Risk management workflow to assess, classify and perform investigations;
  • Corrective/Preventive Action tracking;
  • KPI management and monitoring;
  • Data analysis and export features to MS Excel; and
  • User-friendly charting and graphing tools.

Again, these are the bare minimum features the cheapest aviation SMS database software should offer. The more sophisticated systems will have:

  • Offline features for safety reporting and auditing;
  • Proactive hazard analysis (safety risk analysis);
  • Hazard and risk registers;
  • Message boards with “read files”;
  • Auditing suites for scheduling and managing audits;
  • Training and qualification management; 
  • SMS training delivery and tracking of initial and recurrent SMS training; and
  • SMS performance monitoring dashboards.

To sum this up, your SMS database scratches the itch affecting all aviation safety managers:

“how and where do I store all my SMS documentation?”

SMS Performance Monitoring Is Required

Your accountable executive has major responsibilities to the SMS. For starters, they need to make sure their SMS is properly implemented and working as designed across the entire organization. They also need to regularly review safety performance. Whenever problems are identified, either by the safety team or by external auditors, they are responsible for fixing the substandard safety performance.

In order to assure the accountable executive that the SMS is performing, you will need tools to monitor SMS performance. SMS performance monitoring dashboards and email notifications (or alerts) afford accountable executives some assurance that the SMS is performing as expected. The alternative is the accountable executive may as well be on another planet, unaware of what will happen to him should a major event occur.

The unaware accountable executive will be the one who is not committed to the SMS and will not support the SMS budget for the SMS database. The unaware accountable executive deserves a “spreadsheet SMS” because they are telling the safety team that all he is concerned with is a “paper SMS.” He just wants to check the box.

I’ll keep repeating that a “paper SMS” is not always a bad thing. There are business cases that support “checking the box.” However, if your company really is sincere about benefiting from SMS risk management processes, then the accountable executive needs to budget for an SMS database to effectively monitor SMS performance and be able to respond to substandard performance in a timely manner.

What Options Do I Have with Aviation SMS Databases

When it comes to aviation SMS software solutions, the options are virtually endless and are growing daily. Technology constantly changes, so even the existing aviation SMS databases are changing rapidly.

Most of the popular aviation SMS solutions are subscription based and some have the option of hosting on your server. With a subscription to aviation SMS database software, the subscription payments are typically monthly or annually. Costs vary by the number of employees or number of aircraft. Operators that focus pricing on the number of aircraft are commonly flight operations specific and their solutions are not as flexible as those that don’t focus on aircraft.

There are also some free aviation SMS solutions on the market. Free aviation SMS software may be great for starting your SMS program, but don’t expect to have all the features of a paid subscription. Smaller operators and many governmental agencies without an aviation SMS budget typically sign up for the free aviation SMS subscriptions.

Are Aviation SMS Databases Right for Our Company?

If your company has more than 20 employees, you should invest in an aviation SMS software program to save yourself pain and misery caused by managing the aviation SMS requirements.

Experience has shown that aviation service providers will suffer about eight to ten years of pain before realizing that they need help managing all the data associated with required aviation SMS documentation.

If you don’t have top management support, then an aviation SMS database may not be your answer. Lack of top management support is the number one reason why aviation SMS fail.

A good rule of thumb is; if your company has 40 or more employees, you will definitely need software tools to manage your data. Otherwise, expect to have audit findings and know that you will suffer repeatedly whenever auditors come calling.

What Benefits Can We Expect with Aviation SMS Database

We will review the benefits described above:

  • Centralized data storage;
  • Secure access by all members of the aviation organization;
  • Improved data security;
  • Improved organizational communication;
  • Enhanced safety culture;
  • Repeatable risk management processes;
  • Enhanced accountability; and
  • Less risk to accountable executive.

Which Aviation SMS Databases Are Worth Considering?

There are probably three or four aviation SMS software providers that have comparable products. If you Google “aviation SMS software,” you will find the top companies on the first page. Aviation SMS database programs are not that expensive, with some of them as low as $100 per month for smaller operators.

Before you purchase an aviation SMS software solutions, make sure the database will be able to grow with your needs. Also, research how the SMS database will help solve your problems when you are implementing your aviation SMS program.

Did I mention that we provide an SMS database?

If you need an SMS database,

  • we are not white-label; and
  • we have a single, enterprise-grade database; with
  • excellent customer support

 

After watching the videos above, you may have questions. Sign up for a live demo. No pressure.

Published August 2015. Last updated January 2019.

Topics: Aviation SMS Database

Site content provided by Northwest Data Solutions is meant for informational purposes only. Opinions presented here are not provided by any civil aviation authority or standards body

SOAR+® Advanced SMS

cropped-Captain-Major-Web-Image-1080x300Sextant Readings Solutions works closely with Patrick S. Major Inc. in supporting aviation safety management globally.

When using term SOAR+, Soar+, or otherwise referencing Patrick S. Major, Inc.’s proprietary safety of operations audit and resolution of safety issues process, and/or its flight data monitoring (FDM)-based safety of operations assessment, risk management, airmanship enhancement, and asset protection processes, kindly depict as follows “SOAR+®,” with the ® prominently displayed.

SOAR+, a practical, results-oriented, approach to the art and best-practice of aviation, represents the foundational underpinning for next generation safety management systems (SMS).

Safety manager or Safety coach?

Safety Manager or Safety coach?

Source: March 15, 2015 Jan Peeters S/R/M BLOG,

What’s in a name?

The term safety manager is used to denominate the individual responsible for the development, operation and continuous improvement of the safety management system (SMS) deployed by an operator/service provider. He acts as a focal point for safety management issues in the organization.

In this post I’d like to address the term Safety manager and what the term implies versus what actually needs to be done to improve safety performance. The purpose being to provoke some thinking of what the role means and what kind of skill and toolset might be needed to perform well in this role.

Before, the person managing the Flight Safety and Accident Prevention Program was called the Flight Safety Officer. There were several good reasons for the shift to the term “Safety Manager”. First of all the Flight Safety Officer tended to report to the Flight Ops Manager, and his area of concern was the flying part of the operation, in practice that meant he or she was mostly talking with and about pilots. Sometimes there would also be a Maintenance Safety Officer, and a Cabin Safety officer.

The Safety Management System was introduced because, to be effective, the organization needed to address the management of safety systematically, throughout the organization.

A safety management system (SMS) is a systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organizational structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures. (ICAO)

The Flight Safety officer’s remit was mostly limited to Flight Operations. Safety events or issues seen by the Flight Operations department might be a manifestation of a long organizational chain of contributing factors originating in different departments.

A problem that could occur was that safety recommendations remained limited to the Flight Operations department, dealing with symptoms rather than the root causes which originated elsewhere. Another issue that the “Safety Manager” title addressed was one of representation. With the position of “manager” came also more access to management meetings, and with that a chance to influence the decision-making process to take into account safety relevant info.

Drawbacks

One of the drawbacks of the title “safety manager” however is that the term contributes to the misunderstanding as to who actually manages safety.

A safety manager does not, nor should (s)he, have any authority to make decisions in the management of the company. As such a safety manager, does not directly manage safety. The safety manager, in spite of his name, does not have a manager’s authority, budget or resources to do anything but manage the SMS itself which is in essence a data gathering and measurement machine.

This management of safety is done by the day-to-day decision making of the management team, hopefully based on good information from the SMS which the Safety Manager effectively communicates to the management team. As I explain in another post, having an SMS does not automatically mean that you are managing safety well. The SMS is a tool for the task of safety management.

The problem that I have observed in various organizations is that the management team considers the safety performance of the organization as the safety manager’s problem. Like financial performance, safety performance is an outcome of the day-to-day decision making and efforts of the organization to increase safety performance.

The output of the SMS is data about the organization’s safety performance and helps the management team in their day-to-day decision making, like the financial management system generates data for other dimensions of the business. This is where I think that the term Safety Coach reflects a lot better what this particular function actually is about.

In my personal journey from consultant to coach I have discovered that increasing performance  through coaching is something that is well established and understood through parallels with sport, business and life. Coaching is not a practice restricted to external experts or providers, managers and leaders in the organization can be just as effective as externally hired coaches. Provided they have a structured approach they can add value, and help develop the management team’s skills and abilities in managing safety.

In some organizations, coaching is still seen as a corrective tool, used only when things have gone wrong. But in many companies, coaching is considered to be a positive and proven approach for helping others explore their goals and ambitions, and then achieve them.

I believe a safety coaching approach is key to obtain better safety performance and develop the management of safety as a skill.

If we want to increase the safety performance of our organizations, I believe that framing the function of the Safety Manager as that of a coach to the organization is more productive. It can remove conflicts and clarifies the role of the Safety Manager as one of the people that are able to give the players on the field better overview and focus for the game they are playing. Exactly the fact that the Safety Manager is not directly involved in the day-to-day operations and the fighting of the many crises that seems to entail, allows them to take a step back and look at the whole system, focusing on solutions that benefit the whole group not just individuals.

Any other ideas for how we should denominate Safety Managers?

Now hiring: Thousands of drone pilots to fly the skies of Europe

Everyone’s a captain

Now hiring: Thousands of drone pilots to fly the skies of Europe

Written by

Cassie Werber

Cassie Werber@cassiewerber

March 5, 2015

There could be as many as 150,000 drone jobs in Europe by the year 2050, says a report out today from the EU Committee of Britain’s House of Lords. Those jobs include piloting as well as manufacturing and other support work. In the US, the drone industry has claimed there’ll be a similar bonanza. But there are a couple of catches.

First, people need to know how to fly them. In the UK, commercial drone pilots need a form of aviation license, and regulations ban them from being flown over built-up areas or crowds, or out of sight of the pilot. But the aviation industry is still worried. It has said that “leisure” users might at some point cause “a catastrophic accident,” which could damage the growth of the industry, the report says.

Then, there’s the problem of public perception. Drones clearly make people nervous, even though there’s a world of difference between the small commercial devices and the massive military drones that patrol the skies over war zones. The unexplained sighting of drones above Paris last week had a city that had recently experienced a terrorist atrocity immediately on edge.

While small drones are already increasingly used for filming and photography by journalists and movie-makers as well as enthusiasts, they also have less visible uses: farmers surveying their fields to plan crop rotation, estate agents taking aerial shots of houses, and infrastructure companies checking on cables and or bridges. All of these make privacy a particularly fraught issue. To deal with that, the report calls for pilots to be made aware of rules that protect ordinary people from having their private lives inspected or their data collected.

Keeping track of what drones are in the sky should help. The report also recommends creating an online database on which drone operators would share their flight plans, and suggests that the UK and Europe team up with NASA. The US space agency already researching the development of such a system, which might eventually function as a kind of drone air-traffic control.

ADVANCED AIR ADDED TO ACSF

ACSF Logo

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Bryan Burns
President
888-723-3135
bburns@acsf.aero

ADVANCED AIR ADDED TO ACSF INDUSTRY AUDIT STANDARD REGISTRY; SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES THREE-IN-ONE AUDIT

Washington, DC, March 4, 2015 — The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) is pleased to announce that Advanced Air, LLC, headquartered in Hawthorne, CA has been added to the ACSF Industry Audit Standard (IAS) Registry.

“We are pleased to add Advanced Air to the IAS Registry,” said ACSF president Bryan Burns. “We also congratulate them as the first operator to successfully complete a combined audit of the IAS, ARGUS Platinum and IS-BAO.”

“Advanced Air is proud to be a part of the Air Charter Safety Foundation Registry,” said Advance Air President Levi Stockton. “The experience of having undergone the ACSF audit process left us with a much stronger, cohesive, and safe operation.”

Advanced Air is committed to providing the highest quality of service, with the strongest commitments to safety and customer service.

The IAS is the first and only extensive audit program specifically created for on-demand operators by a committee of Part 135 and 91K industry leaders. It is conducted every 24 months and is in-depth in its evaluation of regulatory compliance and the operator’s SMS program against both FAA and international standards.

Customers should look for the ACSF IAS registered logo and encourage their preferred charter provider to participate in the program. The ACSF makes its operator registry and key company details available at no charge, so verification of IAS registration is quick and easy. Charter consumers can view the registry at www.acsf.aero/registry.

“The vision of the ACSF is to enable on-demand charter providers and fractional program managers to achieve the highest levels of safety in the aviation industry. This goal will be achieved through:

  • Promotion of risk management programs,
  • The adoption of one common industry audit standard,
  • Dissemination of safety information and,
  • Creation of additional programs that advance the goals of the foundation.”

The Magnitude of Change

Safety Culture Excellence short logo

The Magnitude of Change

November 12th, 2014

A lot has been written lately on the weaknesses of many change-management strategies and why many change projects fail.  One simple guideline that can avoid many of these problems is simply to make the change in easy steps and to manage the perception of the magnitude of change.

Fact is, too much change too fast overloads people and systems.  Overload causes inefficiencies and other problems all of which demotivate the change effort and the people involved. This does not mean that massive changes are impossible, it simply means that the change has to be divided into bite-sized pieces.  Each piece has to be palatable and not prompt the overload mentality.

So if you want to change your culture or employee behavior or perceptions, pick out a few and give them the old “sell it to yourself first” test.  If thinking about the bite makes you nervous or fearful, take a few items off the list till it seems easy to do.  People don’t inherently resist change as much as they resist force and overload.  All change strategies should mapped and each step should be relatively easy to do and not create negative emotions. How effective are your change strategies?

-Terry L. Mathis

For more insights, visit www.ProActSafety.com

Terry L. Mathis is the founder and CEO of ProAct Safety, an international safety and performance excellence firm. He is known for his dynamic presentations in the fields of behavioral and cultural safety, leadership, and operational performance, and is a regular speaker at ASSE, NSC, and numerous company and industry conferences. EHS Today listed Terry as a Safety Guru in ‘The 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS in 2010, 2011 and 2012-2013. He has been a frequent contributor to industry magazines for over 15 years and is the coauthor of STEPS to Safety Culture Excellence, 2013, WILEY.

7 Reasons to move GIS to the cloud

7 Reasons to Move GIS to the Cloud

Supporting US Airport GIS infrastructure

Neill Jobe, Vice President, GeoJobe GIS Consulting writes:

7 reasons to move GIS to the cloud GEO-Jobe GIS ConsultingFlexibility
This enables an organization to plan for the unknown. As the need for more bandwidth, storage, and users increase, an organization can easily leverage the necessary assets without replacing their existing infrastructure.

Disaster Recovery
In the old days when some event caused servers to stop working, then so did work. With Cloud technology, an organization minimizes downtime from overseen events, and also has a simple disaster-recovery plan in place.

Increase Collaboration
With the proper authentication, the knowledge workers can utilize the data and work from anywhere. An organization can now utilize the same data from office to field, and have all edits sync together seamlessly.

Automatic Software Updates
Software gets old and outdated. With Cloud technology, an organization never has to worry about updating their resources again. This allows them to embrace the best technology, and not be version-locked into a antiquated solution.

Simplicity
Utilize the solutions you want without needing to hire an additional 3 people to setup the environment. With the Cloud your organization can leverage the right solutions at a rapid pace with reduced complexity.

Capital Expenditures Free
Pay for what you need; when you need it. When using the Cloud you an organization can eliminate the costs associated with deploying a solution on premises and supporting it.

Access from Anywhere
Your organization uses computers, phones, and tablets, right? Then why limit yourself to one medium? When using the GEOPowered Cloud with ArcGIS Online you can get the data exactly where you want it, when you want it.

JETSUITE JOINS AIR CHARTER SAFETY FOUNDATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                  FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT
Bryan Burns
President
888-723-3135
bburns@acsf.aero

 

JETSUITE JOINS AIR CHARTER SAFETY FOUNDATION

Washington, DC, February 11, 2015 — The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) is pleased to announce that JetSuite of Irvine, California is the newest charter operator to join the ACSF. Along with 105 other companies, JetSuite supports the mission of the ACSF to raise the safety bar in the on-demand charter and fractional industry.

“Our membership furthers our dedication to maintain industry-leading safety practices,” said JetSuite CEO Alex Wilcox. “We are pleased to support the ACSF in our commitment to maintaining a culture of safety, excellence and transparency and we are delighted to be among the first members of the ACSF’s ASAP. ”

JetSuite, with 19,000 hours of operations in 2014 is the 4th largest part 135 operator in the country. JetSuite also is the only light jet charter company in the world with in-flight, real-time satellite weather mapping, and safe taxi technology installed across its Wifi-equipped fleet of Phenom 100s and JetSuite Edition CJ3s. In addition, the Federal Aviation Administration’s 2012, 2013 & 2014 Diamond Award of Excellence and the National Air Transportation Association’s 2012 & 2013 Five Star Award were bestowed upon JetSuite for the achievements of the company’s maintenance department.

“We welcome JetSuite into the foundation, and their commitment to safety as a core value for their company,” said ACSF President Bryan Burns.

The ACSF has developed the industry audit standard, an all-inclusive audit tailored for Part 135 and 91K operators that acts as a detailed gap analysis of an operator’s management practices. The audit program consists of a thorough review of an operator’s processes and procedures, regulatory compliance, and the operator’s implementation of and adherence to a safety management system (SMS).

For further information, go to www.acsf.aero or www.jetsuite.com.

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“The vision of the ACSF is to enable on-demand charter providers and fractional program managers to achieve the highest levels of safety in the aviation industry. This goal will be achieved through:

  • Promotion of risk management programs,
  • The adoption of one common industry audit standard,
  • Dissemination of safety information and,
  • Creation of additional programs that advance the goals of the foundation.”

 

SOAR Next-Generation SMS Audit & Safety Issue Resolution

SOAR+

is a computer-based safety of operations audit, risk assessment and resolution of safety issues (ROSI) process supporting E-IOSA, IASA, ISBAO as well as SAIs, EPIs, DOD, ICAO, regulatory compliance, NetJets, internal QA/evaluation, and/or custom audit protocols.  SOAR+ raises the bar by risk-ranking audit standards, then reporting results in an intuitive, executive-friendly format that establishes a means for quantifying returns on investment (ROI) in safety.

SOAR+ is imminently configurable; e.g. A CASE version of SOAR+ is set to be installed at a major US based Maintenance & Repair Operation (MRO) soon; providing services to Pratt & Whitney, the US Air Force and UPS among others.  SOAR+ is also under consideration to support the US Department of Transportation’s (DOT’s) Federal Transit Authority (FTA) implementation of safety management systems (SMS) in US municipal transit and rail operations.  Could also work for airports, shipping, and hospitals it: wherever safety and compliance is linked to performance.

SOAR “AAP” is a flight data monitoring (FDM)-based safety of operations-assurance, risk management, airman-ship assurance and asset protection utility incorporating the identical ROSI process as SOAR+.  Unconstrained by traditional flight operations quality assurance (FOQA) paradigms, SOAR AAP optimizes the use of aircraft flight data recorders, the so-called “Black-Boxes,” before the crash: to optimize operations, training, and to actually prevent accidents by making practical application of information that is traditional used only to conduct forensic inquiry…after the fact.

SOAR+ Attributes –

  • Audit standards can be derived and/or imported into SOAR+ from any source: from ICAO, host country regulations, to internal airline oversight, quality control and quality assurance processes.
  • A gap analysis and corrective actions tool exemplary of highest standards in SMS.
  • Supports SAIs, EPIs, specific regulatory requirements (SRRs), as well DOD and Enhanced-IOSA requirements.
    • Also available as an IOSA-attainment sub-routine providing a sequential guide to air, ground and maintenance operators in achieving and maintaining IATA registration.
  • Standards and findings are risk-ranked in advance of the audits, and after, to guide in prioritizing effective action plans.
  • Reports are normalized to 100% to facilitate effective communications with non-technical stakeholders, and to
    • Establish a basis for quantifying return on investments in safety.
  • Both SOAR+ and SOAR AAP fill significant lapses in virtually all existing SMS computer-based utilities,
    • Can be integrated into existing SMS software.
  • There are Enterprise versions,
    • And versions capable of supporting-
      • Mobile devices,
      • Laptop PCs and
      • “Cloud-based” access.
    • The ROSI process includes prioritization of findings on the basis of safety and/or business, political and economic concerns, supporting unparalleled root cause analysis, safety risk assessment (SRA) and corrective actions implementation, validation, and assurance processes.

•     Indeed, SOAR+/SOAR APP may represent a credible foundation for what can best be described as “Next-generation SMS.”

SOAR+ is deliberately configured to be useful measuring the attainment of standards in virtually any environment. For example, SOAR+ could be a useful means to measure attainment of implementation standards in Ebola prevention and treatment procedures, methods and protocols, to report results in an imminently intuitive executive-friendly format, to measure the risk of failure to implement complete and comprehensive corrective measures, to conduct safety risk assessments on proposed corrective measures, to document approval of an accountable individual before deploying proposed corrective actions, to verify and validate implementation, controlling performance creep by means of a continuously renewable improvement process, and to quantify return on investment in health and safety of the population.  We would need to dissect Ebola prevention and treatment protocols to identify standards and then deploy auditors to record their observations in the SOAR+ safety of operations, risk assessment and resolutions of safety issues utility.

NBAA Top 10 Safety Focus Areas

The NBAA has released their list of the top ten Safety Focus Areas

1.Professionalism

2.Safety Culture

3.Airmanship Skills

4.Light Business Airplane (LBA) Safety

5.Talent Pipeline

6.Impact of Technology

7.Public Policy

8.Airport Safety

9.Fatigue

10.Task Saturation

http://www.nbaa.org/ops/safety/top-10/