FAA Working (Slowly) on SMS for Airports

Source: Aviation International News » April 2014

by  Paul Lowe

April 2, 2014, 12:25 AM

FAA Working (Slowly) on SMS for Airports

Never renowned for its ability to fast-track rulemaking, the FAA might be gunning for a new record.

It has been nearly a decade since the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) introduced an amendment to its aviation rulemaking to require member states to have certified international airports establish a safety management system (SMS). The FAA has said it supports harmonization of international standards and has worked to make U.S. aviation safety regulations consistent with ICAO standards and recommended practices.

ICAO issued its first SMS directive to its member nations in 2005. It required these countries to mandate SMS implementation for a number of operators, including air carriers, repair stations and international general aviation in large and jet aircraft, by Jan. 1, 2009.

Even then, knowing its own track record on rulemaking, the FAA filed “differences” with ICAO, a process by which nations can postpone implementation of some ICAO regulations. Those differences are published in the form of supplements.

According to the FAA, it intends to implement SMS at U.S. airports in a way that complements the requirements of Part 139, Certification of Airports. The FAA said it is now considering the best way to introduce an SMS requirement to the more than 540 U.S. airports certified under Part 139. The notification of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for certified airports was issued on Oct. 7, 2010. The agency accepted comments on the proposed SMS rule through July 5, 2011.

The FAA said it received “many helpful comments and insights on benefits and costs” from the public in response to the October 2010 NPRM. “The FAA carefully considered these comments, and in light of the information received, the FAA decided to modify our proposal and provide another opportunity for public comments on the modifications through our SNPRM [supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking] process,” the agency explained.

On Dec. 10, 2012, the Department of Transportation posted its monthly Significant Rulemaking Report for that month. The December 2012 report amends the next stage for the Airport Safety Management System rulemaking (Docket Number FAA-2010-0997) as a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking.

While the SNPRM is currently under development, the agency anticipates offering changes to the rule’s applicability and some proposed requirements. Specifically, the FAA is evaluating several options for SMS at various classes of Part 139 certified airports to improve the implementation of SMS. The FAA is considering changes to SMS implementation and some SMS elements to reduce the burden on an airport implementing SMS.

More than 30 certified airports are already developing and implementing SMS. Safety experts worldwide view SMS as the next major step to improve safety in aviation. The FAA is encouraging all certificated airports to develop an SMS voluntarily. The FAA will continue to make Airport Improvement Program funds available to commercial airport sponsors for eligible airport SMS-related costs.

Sextant Readings Presentation on SlideShare has been viewed over 1,750 times

The Sextant Readings presentation – 8 Steps to an Efficient SMS – has been viewed over 1750 times on SlideShare.

Positioning the “8 steps to an efficient SMS” is intended to clarify some of the mis-information about Safety Management that is rife on the internet.  There is a lot of hype about SMS – usually focused on the particular strengths of a vendor’s offering.

However we view Safety Management in the context that safety is a direct result of  “A management system based on professionalism and safety principles” of an organization.  There are many ‘pieces’ of management system support in the offerings from so-called Safety Professionals.

At Sextant Readings we believe that supporting the management of an organization based on the principles of professionalism and safety is our business.  You can see the presentation here:



Source: Bryan Burns
ACSF President

Alexandria, VA,  November 25, 2013 — The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) is pleased to announce that Transplant Transportation Services, Inc (TTSI) is the newest company to join the ACSF.  Along with 105 other companies, Transplant Transportation now supports the ACSF’s vision to enable on-demand air charter providers and fractional program managers to achieve the highest levels of safety in the aviation industry.

“Our mission at Transplant Transportation is to provide our hospitals, transport centers and organ procurement organizations with operational excellence and relentless levels of service and safety,” said Transplant Transportation President Scott Pritchard. “We recognize the important, life-saving work the organ teams provide and strive to deliver them to their destination safe, prompt and in comfort.”

Pritchard noted, “When we schedule a flight and select an aircraft, safety is our priority. Joining ACSF will help us do both.”

Transplant Transportation is a leader in logistics, managing systems, processes and technology. With more than five years’ experience, TTSI works with a select network of world-class operators to provide complete transportation services for organ transplant teams, organs, and support staff.  With the emphasis on thoroughly vetting each charter flight, they have narrowed the list of their safety approved network down substantially from the many charter operators available in the marketplace today.

“We are pleased to welcome Transplant Transportation Services to the foundation,” said ACSF President Bryan Burns. “Becoming a member of ACSF is a testament to their commitment to providing the safest aircraft and flight crews for their clients.”

For further information, go to www.acsf.aero or www.transplanttransportationservices.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.”