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Summit climbs up the safety standings
Summit Aviation owner Ben Walton is bullish about the importance of achieving the higher echelons of each safety standard. He was happy to welcome an external auditor on site to assess his firm's processes.
Summit Aviation has achieved its IS-BAO Stage II certificate and has also renewed its ARGUS Platinum rating.

Summit Aviation, based in Bozeman, Montana, has recently achieved its IS-BAO Stage II certification and renewed its ARGUS Platinum rating. This is in addition to its status as a Wyvern Registered Operator.

ARGUS, Wyvern and IS-BAO are independent safety audits which are conducted at the request of an aircraft operator. Each safety audit encompasses all aspects of the aviation operation, including pilot qualifications, aircraft maintenance, risk analysis reporting, mitigation processes, emergency response plans and the company's safety culture. The audit checks for past incidents, accidents and violations against the pilots and/or the company.

“There's a widely held notion that pilots, aircraft and charter companies are all equal, and this is absolutely untrue,” states Summit president and owner Ben Walton. “While many operators hold ARGUS Gold ratings, this means they've completed the paperwork and checked the boxes. Achieving a Gold+ or Platinum rating means an operator has welcomed an external auditor onsite to conduct interviews with the aviation staff, review documents and manuals and ensure that an operator puts into practice safety requirements and mitigations to make air travel safer.”

While both ARGUS and Wyvern audits have their basic framework derived from the FAA standards, IS-BAO is based on International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) guidelines, meaning that it is a worldwide safety standard. It is considered very stringent, with advancement required from Stage I to Stage II.

The first stage of IS-BAO demonstrates that safety procedures and protocols have been developed for the entire company, while the second stage is proof of implementation. The Stage II level audit is a review of the prior two years, showing the growth and maturity of the safety programme. It is intended to not only point out to the company its strengths, but also to show its weaknesses, so it has a focus for improvement.

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