IS-BAO Newsletter | May 2014

Personnel Changes
IS-BAO Program Director Jim Cannon and IS-BAO Audit Manager John Sheehan, following many years of dedicated service to IBAC, will be stepping down from their respective positions and assuming support roles within the IS-BAO organization during July and thereafter. Sonnie Bates, IS-BAO Operations Manager, has been selected to replace Jim as IS-BAO Program Director and Larry Fletcher, IS-BAO Assistant Audit Manager, has been chosen to replace John as IS-BAO Audit Manager. During the selection and hiring process for IS-BAO Operations Manager and IS-BAO Assistant Audit Manager, Jim and John will assume those support roles. Once replacements are hired both Jim and John will continue part-time in supporting roles within the organization.
The Dog Ate My Homework, Again…
The interval between audits is clearly stated: two years for stage 1 and 2, three years for exceptionally qualified stage 3 operators. Yet, more than ten percent of renewing registrants call in or email passionate pleas for extensions to their registration date. The reasons range from honest – “I forgot to schedule the audit” – to fanciful – “…five new airplanes, all new managers, workload increased by a factor of three just in the last six months!” Regardless of the reasons for not being ready for the audit operators are supposed to cope with extraordinary circumstances using their change management system. This has to be accomplished prior to and during the change, not after it’s happened.

Change in corporate and charter aviation is a constant, not an exception. Anticipate it, deal with it as soon as possible and measure the results of your efforts. Do this and you won’t have to request last-minute extensions.

Operators should plan ahead and prepare for an audit. Since an operator can retain their assigned expiration month if they receive an audit up to 90 days in advance of the expiration, schedule the audit as early as possible so your registration doesn’t expire.

Audit Preparation
Preparing for an IS-BAO audit, regardless of stage level, doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking situation if a steady, continuous effort has been made in anticipation of it. Understanding what the auditor is looking for may help with the process.

IS-BAO is a systems audit, not just a compliance audit. Rather than just checking the boxes the auditor looks at a group of processes all working together to achieve a common goal. In doing so the auditor:

  • looks at policies, processes, procedures as a whole
  • ensures all the above items are well-integrated to support the SMS
  • collects objective evidence through observations, interviews and examination of documents.

Specifically the auditor:

  • reviews manuals, policies and procedures
  • examines records
  • interviews a variety of department personnel
  • observes general and specific operations
  • concentrates on SMS policies, processes, activities and performance.

While performing these actions the auditor looks for evidence of performance, especially for stage 2 and 3 audits:

  • good, well-organized, current manuals, documents, policies
  • records indicating conformance to the standards
  • progress toward stated goals and objectives
  • knowledgeable, motivated employees
  • comprehensive, functioning SMS, fully integrated into all operations

How do you know you’re ready for the audit? Perform a full internal audit using the IS-BAO Internal Audit Manual; it is a free download from the same location on the IS-BAO website containing the current standards.

  • Perform the audit using several flight department personnel:
    • assign auditors who are not associated with the subject being audited
    • complete the audit as a full, formal audit
    • discuss results at management level
    • develop action plan to correct discrepancies
    • assign responsibilities to correct discrepancies
  • Complete IS-BAO protocols for stage desired
    • cite a manual or policy reference for each protocol item
    • add comments if necessary
    • send to auditor at least two weeks in advance of the audit – this assures your readiness for the audit and shows the auditor where protocol conformance statements are located in your manuals
    • Ensure records are complete, orderly and relevant.

Now, you should be confident that your operation is as ready as it will ever be for the audit. Questions? Ask the auditor.

One of the main principles of IS-BAO is to identify the causes of substandard performance in your SMS and eliminate or mitigate them. Without this critical feedback mechanism hazard identification and mitigation become a whac-a-mole exercise in which you do not learn from events that may continue to be hazardous to your organization. The feedback from your safety risk management and assurance programs provide material to foster a continuous improvement for SMS and other organizational programs.

Also, consider another way to improve your program, that of benchmarking or comparing your operation with what similar IS-BAO operators have done to mitigate and control risk. Comparing processes and procedures with other operators may provide insights that lead to further improvements to your program. When considering changes to your programs based on other’s ensure the modifications are appropriate by using risk assessment techniques.

Multiple Minor Non-Conformities Add Up to Significant Consequences
The majority of audits received are now 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.

Support Services Affiliate Listing
We now have more than 30 Support Services Affiliates listed in that section of the web site. These are companies that have complied with the provisions of IS-BAO Policy 2012-04 and are listed alphabetically in the page. Specific areas of expertise relative to the IS-BAO program and SMS are also shown in the listing. If you want help with a startup or ongoing IS-BAO program you may wish to request assistance from these companies with implementing or maintaining either an IS-BAO program or SMS.
Looking for Input
If you have any interesting, inspiring or good stories about your journey with IS-BAO and SMS, whether you are new to the program or are about to receive your third stage 3 audit, let us know about them. We will share them with you all in forthcoming newsletters.
Bits and Pieces

  • Operator Remedial Action Plans must include a target completion date and be submitted to the auditor within 30-days of receiving the audit report.
  • Regarding standards 5.1.1 & 5.1.3 — Annual training is required for each type of aircraft a pilot is qualified and operates
  • For purposes of the IS-BAO standard, an MMEL is not an MEL. While some States permit the MMEL to be used as an MEL, this does not meet ICAO standards. An MEL must contain maintenance and operations procedures designed to mitigate the effect operating without a deferred item.
  • In-house, online or vendor provided training for IS-BAO required items must be made from a training course outline or syllabus to be valid.
  • Take a look at to see what’s new.
When was the last time you submitted a hazard report?
International Business Aviation Council Ltd (IBAC)
(514) 954-8054