The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has announced its 2021-22 ‘Most Wanted List’ of transportation safety improvements that will prevent accidents, reduce injuries and save lives. Specifically, the board adopted two safety improvements that will affect the Part 135 aviation industry, including the recommendation to require and verify the effectiveness of SMS, and install crash-resistant recorders and establish flight data monitoring programmes.
The Air Charter Safety Foundation, a non-profit organisation with more than 250 member companies, including Part 135 and Part 91 aviation operators, supports the NTSB's recommendation in an effort to create a safer charter industry that will prevent accidents, reduce injuries and save lives.
The ACSF has developed aviation safety tools to help its member companies manage all aspects of safety and, importantly, to plan ahead for pending legislation requiring their organisation to establish an effective SMS programme. “A large part of the educational aspect of our mission is to promote a culture that embraces the non-punitive, 'Just Culture' philosophy of programmes such as FDM, SMS and the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP),” says Bryan Burns, president, Air Charter Safety Foundation. “These new recommendations from the NTSB align both with our mission and our latest member benefits.”
The Foundation currently offers its members these SMS and safety audit solutions: The ACSF SMS Tool, an actively managed, web-based software tool to take aviation operators through the process of setting up an SMS and getting started with the Aviation Safety Action Program. Additionally, flight department staff can use this tool to document aviation safety data, perform risk assessments and assign corrective actions, among other functions; and The ACSF Industry Audit Standard, which aligns with the FAR Part 5 SMS voluntary programme and ICAO Annex 19.
During its meeting, the NTSB discussed the fact that among the 1,900 Part 135 organisations, only 20 operators have had their SMS accepted into the FAA's SMS for voluntary programme (SMSVP). Another 213 operators have applied for the SMSVP and are somewhere in the process for that acceptance. “These data are proof that there's a lot of opportunity to educate Part 135 operators on the need to raise the bar by establishing an SMS programme and having it validated,” explains Burns. “As part of our mission, we want to ensure all aviation operators implement an effective SMS, regardless of their fleet size. In an effort to make safety tools more accessible to a broader range of operators, we offer a very affordable, entry-level solution for first-time users. As an organisation's SMS matures, we encourage it to take advantage of the much more advanced and robust SMS platforms offered by our partners and member companies: ARGUS International, Aviation Manuals, Baldwin Aviation, FltPln.com and Wyvern.”
The ACSF will launch its new ACSF flight data monitoring programme to serve as a resource for member companies to learn “all things related to FDM,” including the implementation process and FDM's programme benefits. Specifically, ACSF members will benefit from the ACSF FDM through: reduction of expenses associated with acquiring hardware and software; and educational opportunities, such as training for front-line employees, department management and the C-suite on the value that FDM can bring to the safety culture of an operation.