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El Aero becomes inaugural customer for HAI’s SMS
When HAI sponsored the creation of three new SMS programmes, El Aero was interested. It had been looking at options for upgrading its own system to something more digital and signed up with Baldwin straightaway.
El Aero Services has chosen Baldwin Safety and Compliance for its SMS programme.
Read this story in our February 2022 printed issue.

Nevada-based operator El Aero Services has become the first member of the Helicopter Association International (HAI) SMS Programme, introduced last autumn as an affordable, scalable system for small rotorcraft businesses that would like assistance with incorporating SMS into their business.

“We were very interested when HAI announced it had sponsored the creation of these new SMS programmes,” says El Aero director of operations Jairus Duncan. “We’d been looking at options for upgrading our dated SMS programme to something that was based more in the digital world, with easy access to report generation of received data, and simpler for pilots to utilise, with the bonus of being compliant with new government contracting requirements.”

Open solely to HAI operator members in good standing, the programme was the direct result of a membership survey in which a significant number of respondents requested turnkey SMS support programmes, including ways to make an SMS easier to implement and track. In response, HAI partnered with three industry-leading SMS software providers to offer a range of products to best meet the requirements of interested customers: Baldwin Safety & Compliance, ACSF and Wyvern.

El Aero Services has been in business in northern Nevada for over 50 years and currently operates two Bell 206L-4 aircraft, one Bell 206B-3, and three fixed wing aircraft. With bases in Elko and Carson City, the company regularly offers services to all of Nevada and five other Western states, and occasionally into the Midwest.

“Our company is heavily involved in support of the National Wild Horse and Burro Program in Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Oregon, performing bison gathers for state and national parks, and every facet of ACETA [Aerial Capture, Eradication and Tagging of Animals] work,” adds Duncan. “We provide fire support to BLM, USFS and Cal Fire in the summer and perform restorative burn seeding in the winter months. We also conduct search and rescue and tactical flight operations for the Elko County Sheriff’s Office and surrounding agencies.”

HAI president and CEO James Viola adds: “One of the most exciting elements of the HAI SMS Programme is how quickly and efficiently it helps improve safety across operations. We are pleased to offer this solution, which has the versatility to meet the needs of nearly every operator that currently does not have its own programme.”

The National Transportation Safety Board has long advocated for mandating SMS programmes in all revenue passenger-carrying flight operations. The HAI SMS Programme would meet the requirements outlined in the NTSB proposal and is equally available to member companies that do not carry passengers for hire.

“Finally, the other element our programme offers is the amount of money our new software-provider partners will save our members,” adds Viola. “Signing up for the programme through one of these providers should save most of our members more money than the cost of their HAI membership. I cannot imagine any HAI member not being interested in improving their safety programme while saving money at the same time.”

Each package offered through the HAI SMS Programme allows users to verify their compliance with current and future international and domestic regulations.

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