Operator Newsletter – 5/12


The Numbers

As of 1 May 2012 there were 646 registrants:

  • Stage 3 – 56 — 9% of total
  • Stage 2 – 155 — 24%
  • Aviation Operating Certificate holders – 184 — 28%
  • Non-US – 147 — 23%

Noteworthy: One-third of registrants now have productive SMSs, i.e. they have progressed beyond the formative stage of the program.

New Policies/Bulletins

Three new policies effective 15 March 2012 have been released:
Policy 2012-01, Auditor Accreditation Requirements and Procedures
This is an update to the 2010 version of this policy. The new helicopter auditor designation requirements are described.

Policy 2012-02, Auditor Currency Requirements
The policy requires auditors:

  • not familiar with both flight operations and maintenance aspects of IS-BAO to take a brief examination prior to their first audit in the subject area for which they have little or no experience. After passing the examination act as an auditor under the observation of a fully qualified auditor during at least one audit. After completing the audit the lead auditor must attest to the ability of the new auditor to adequately conduct a complete audit.
  • not conducting an audit or completing an IS-BAO workshop within the previous 12 months must present evidence of completing an approved workshop or other course or to provide implementation support to an operator and take a written requalification examination.

Policy 2012-3, SMS Progress Requirements for Operators
This was developed to clarify the SMS ongoing performance requirements for IS-BAO registration, and to provide for provisional operator registration under certain circumstances. Specifically, the policy covers issues of failure to progress to or maintain higher stage levels of registration.

Also, note IBAC-Bulletin-12-03.pdf and IBAC-Bulletin-12-04.pdf

Knowledge of Current IS-BAO Content

The IS-BAO standard receives a major update every January and is constantly revised through policy statements like those shown above. Because the standard is constantly changing you may not be aware of some of the changes, items that may be significant for your operation. While this changing information is all available at www.ibac.org/is-bao it may be difficult for you to appreciate the big picture of the changes. However, the Introduction to IS-BAO workshop is designed to familiarize both newcomers to the program as well as those already registered with its features. If you or a member of your department have not been through this workshop in the recent past this is a means for either familiarizing them or refamiliarizing them or yourself with the program. See the IS-BAO Workshop schedule.

Small Flight Departments Benefit from IS-BAO

Conversations with a number of small flight departments indicate that they have shied away from taking committing to implement IS-BAO for their flight department. Reasons for not doing so range from “We are so small we don’t need it” to “IS-BAO is too complex and difficult for a single-aircraft operation.” The truth is that all flight departments will benefit from implementing IS-BAO and implementation doesn’t have to be too onerous if taken one step at a time using IS-BAO supplied materials. For instance, Appendix A of the IS-BAO standard contains an easy to use supplement for single-pilot operations, which normally contains fewer resources than a two or three-person department. Additionally, a special single pilot generic company operations manual (GCOM) is supplied with the standard when downloaded. These two items will make it clear that the scalable and common sense approaches provided make it possible for a small department to reap the benefits of IS-BAO.So, don’t hesitate to take the plunge; implementing IS-BAO will change your aeronautical life for the better.

3.2.3a – Safety Performance Monitoring and Measurement

The organization shall develop and maintain the means to verify the safety performance … shall be verified in reference to the safety performance indicators and safety performance targets of the SMS.”Operators should generate a set of measurement tools to verify performance. The secret to this one is to set measurable targets/goals. Unfortunately, many SMS goals contain few, if any, means of quantifying progress toward goals. For example, a safety goal to reduce overall risk to its lowest possible level is not measurable unless quantified. A more realistic safety goal may be to — reduce risk to its lowest possible level by:

  • Conducting risk analyses for all operational issues
  • Actively identifying and mitigating hazards
  • Conducting quarterly internal evaluation program evaluations
  • Ensuring each employee is evaluated on their safety program participation
  • Etc…

This is based on and validated by the management axiom: if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

Multiple Minor Non-Conformities Add Up to Significant Consequences

The majority of audits received are now are for the advanced stages. These require evidence of performance, not just having a system in place designed to prepare an operator for conformance. A number of audits describe varying levels of performance but also describe relatively high levels of basic oversights and non-conformities that should have been accomplished at stage 1.If an operator has been operating under IS-BAO for two years yet all personnel have not attended required training courses, safety communication is lacking, SOP are not universally used and/or key standards and limitations are missing from the operations manual, it is hard to believe that safety management is actively targeted and safety risks are being effectively managed. Taken alone these non-conformities are bad enough but together they indicate a pattern that indicates a lack of SMS conformance and effectiveness.


Advanced stage audits concentrate on SMS performance but not to the exclusion of the remainder of the IS-BAO standards. The percentage guidelines for emphasis on program effectiveness shown in APM 5.4 are not intended to exclude the necessity of ensuring conformance to all standards. APM 4.2.3 provides guidance in this issue. Checking the program basics, especially performance of essential items, is a required subset of the audit designed to ensure the program fundamentals leading to SMS conformance are indeed in place and working correctly.

Bits and Pieces

  • 2012 IS-BAO forms and protocols must be used for audits performed after 1 July 2012. There are a number of changes in the new standards that you should know about.
  • We are beginning the annual revision process for all IS-BAO documents and would like to have your input regarding any changes you would recommend for improving these documents. Please send you comments to sbates@ibac.org prior to 15 June 2012.
  • Management company audits must consider and report on issues shown in IS-BAO Policy 2010-5, Management Company IS-BAO Registration
  • Ensure key people are adequately trained in SMS issues. An excellent brief online training course is available, developed by Flight Safety Incorporated and IBAC – see Safety Management Systems for Managers

  • Start arranging for your next IS-BAO well in advance of your registration expiration date. Arranging for the audit and unforeseen changes within your flight department often tend to push the actual audit beyond the expiration date.
  • Stay ahead of SMS education; while you’re at it, how about some SMS education for the person(s) the flight department reports to?
  • Exercise your Emergency Response Plan on a regular basis.
  • What events have happened or will likely happen requiring change management plans?
When was the last time you submitted a hazard report?
International Business Aviation Council

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