IS-BAO Newsletter | February 2014

2014 ISBAO Standards Available
The 2014 version of IS-BAO, Audit Procedures Manual and Internal Audit Manual are now available for download from the IBAC website (logon credentials required). New protocols to evaluate SMS performance are included in this update. Because effective SMS performance is critical to our industry, IBAC strongly suggests that any audit conducted this year be done via the 2014 protocols.
For operators who would like more time to implement the new standards, note that the standards relating to SMS have not changed, only the performance indicators to assess SMS performance have been enhanced to reflect the latest guidance from ICAO.

While there are minor changes to other sections of the IS-BAO for 2014, the benefits of utilizing the new protocols immediately for audits far outweigh the risk of the operator not meeting a new or revised standard, which would most likely only result in a minor non-conformity. If you have any questions, contact the IS-BAO Audit Manager at

Evidence of Stage 2 and 3 Performance
The primary focus of Stage 2 and 3 audits is to determine the effectiveness of the twelve elements of the SMS. To do this, evidence of adequate levels of performance must be recorded in the audit report to justify an advanced stage recommendation. The best source of factors to prove conformance with the standards is illustrated through questions shown in sections 5.8.2 and 5.8.3 in the IS-BAO Internal Audit Manual 2014. And, the evidence provided must be specific to the operator audited, not just general comments that could be applicable to any operator. Help your auditor to know your organization by bragging about the items that made you particularly effective since your previous audit.
How Many is Enough?
“The operator encountered – choose one: no/few/no significant — hazards since the previous audit…” Is this possible? Is this cause for rejecting the audit? Or, does the department have uncommonly good luck?
While it is possible to encounter few hazards, the concept of “significant hazards” raises the question, when is a hazard not sufficiently significant to warrant a report and require mitigation? While it may be overly simplistic, a hazard is hazard and should be reported: it is up to the auditor to decide the degree and rapidity of mitigation.

How about no hazards encountered? It beggars belief that absolutely, positively no hazards have been encountered in what is nominally a two-year period of active aircraft operations. While anything is possible, the degree of probability is stretched thin in this case. Similarly, the comment, “We handle hazards on the spot and don’t have to report them.”, essentially makes the SMS program useless since the process of investigation, mitigation and feeding back into the SMS to ensure constant improvement and safety communication is effectively cancelled.

The point is that the sheer numbers of hazard reports do not indicate a good or bad SMS. But, a flight department with few or none may not be trying hard enough to recognize what constitutes a hazard. If this is the case, other aspects of the program will likely be lacking as well. This is just one indicator, although significant, of a potentially larger problem within the organization.

IBAC Business Aviation Safety Brief Available
The annual Safety Brief is available for download at It contains a detailed analysis and statistics for 2012 business aviation accidents. This data and accompanying narrative may be used to show others the good safety record experienced by most segments of business aviation and to sharpen the focus of safety efforts by operators.
SMS Goodies
Operators either implementing IS-BAO or wishing to upgrade their SMS often ask about the availability of examples of items that will help them get started or enhance what they already have. Log into the IS-BAO Downloads section of and download the SMS Toolkit Files segment. This contains a wealth of information, especially for SMS issues. Among the tools contained in this section:

  • Operational Risk Analysis
  • Compliance Monitoring
  • Cultural Assessment
  • Hazard Identification
  • Risk Analysis Guidelines
  • SMS Evaluation
  • Safety Policies

…and many more.

How Much is a SMS Worth?
Parks College Center for Aviation Safety Research has produced an interesting SMS return on investment study which provides a different perspective on the value of aviation SMS.
Got Goals?
The strategic safety goal of the company safety management system is to reduce operational risk to as low a level as reasonably practicable. In order to achieve this strategic goal the safety management system must be proactive, ongoing and fully integrated throughout the Flight Department and all of its activities. To achieve this, the following initiatives are important:

  1. All Flight Department employees and users will be involved in the company safety management system;
  2. Risk will be measured and managed prior to any operational event;
  3. Employee awareness, compliance, inspection, investigation and education programs will be incorporated into all aspects of the operation;
  4. All employees will identify, report and mitigate/eliminate hazardous conditions;
  5. All reported hazardous events will be investigated to determine root cause;
  6. All proposed new equipment acquisitions, facilities, operations and procedures will be evaluated using risk analysis techniques;
  7. Flight crews will undergo an annual Standardization/Aircraft Emergency Equipment review facilitated by a Standardization staff member
  8. An internal evaluation of flight department compliance with international, federal and ISBAO standards and regulations will be conducted quarterly.

Are these some of the safety goals of your operation?


  • Start arranging for your next IS-BAO audit well in advance of your registration expiration date. Arrangements 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 Ltd (IBAC)
(514) 954-8054