Thursday, October 17, 2013

Emergency Response Planning in SMS? NOT!

Emergency Response in SMS?  NOT!

This post is based on a proposal submitted to ICAO by Airports Council International.

Emergency Response Planing, ERP,  has been a pillar as one of the Components of the Safety Management System, SMS, under ICAO. Many have questioned this position for ERP since the other “pillars” are functions of the Management System. It can be argued with good reason that the coordination of interfacing emergency response plans process is not an item that belongs in the SMS framework, as the SMS is a management system but the ERP coordination process is a process with the same nature as most other processes in an organization’s operation. Such a process is therefore not different from, 

You must have procedures that govern emergencie

for example a preventive maintenance program, the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) processes, or runway safety processes and many other processes that can be argued to be more safety critical than the ERP and its coordination to interfacing ERPs. These processes are all under the SMS and the compliance monitoring function Quality Assurance, QA, in the way that they are subject to audits/inspections from those management systems. 

The Safety Management System with an Intergrated Emergency Preparadness

The SMS audit function under the safety assurance component of the SMS takes to the safety processes and the regulatory compliance monitoring function takes to the compliance. There is no apparent reason why the ERP coordination process is handled differently and put into the safety management system’s framework. Removing element 1.4 from the SMS framework does therefore not mean that the SMS/QA will treat it any differently, and certainly not differently than other similar processes, it will simply be monitored by the safety assurance audit function of the SMS.

Emergency Preparedness must be
 integrated into the companies "system" 

ERP procedures MUST be a part of the companies SMS/QA system. Yes many feel that because ERP has the word "Emergency" in it, that automatically elevates it to a Pillar or Component level in the SMS. It is impossible to determine if ICAO will change their SMS model but, this exercises in examination of this important aspect of the SMS teaches more about what is a Component, Policy, and Procedure. It is important to clearly define terms in any system. Dr. Deming says; "You must agree on operational definitions in order to have a system." 

Your thoughts.......

Note: A proposal regarding element 1.4 of the SMS framework in Annex 19: The coordination of the service provider’s Emergency Response Plan (ERP) to the interfacing procedures of the ERPs of those organizations it must interface with during the provision of its products and services. 

Action by the SMP is in paragraph 4. REFERENCES

Annex 19, 1st Edition
ICAO Safety Management Manual (Doc 9859)
Job Card SMP 009

Monday, October 14, 2013

Airplanes are hitting the birds most of the time.

Airplanes are hitting the birds most of the times.

NOTE: This post is from one of our frequent contributors to this blog, "Birdseye59604."

Over a three-year period, airplanes in one region were on average striking birds at a rate of 92.7 %.  For every 100 landing or take-offs almost 93 of the birds were struck at or near an airport. The other seven birds either were avoided by pilot actions as an abrupt movement or rejected takeoff. The key to manage is to reduce bird activity near airports. 

Birds is a hazard to aviation safety. The goal is to avoid as many as possible, but travelling at high speed it is not often enough distance available to avoid one or a flock of birds. Often a bird is not observed until after it has been hit. 

Technology today does not have an effective means of "live time" tracking birds. There are records of migratory bird routes and nesting places. From these historical records, it is possible to assess past bird activity and predict time and location of future activity. Simply said, it is known that the birds travel north in the spring and south in the fall. This knowledge is then applied when planning bird-hazard mitigation. 

This chart is showing how many birds were struck,
based on how many birds were in the area. 
The bird strikes numbers may be declining, but when 55 birds were struck, there were 60 birds in the vicinity, and when 84 were struck, there were 90 at or near the airport. 

Birds may be such an overwhelming issue that it is tempting to take the "there is nothing we can do about the birds" approach to the hazard. However, if nothing can be done, why are birds an issue? Whenever there is an issue that compromises aviation safety, something can and must be done about it. 

Birds are just like teenagers. They like to be where there is food, action and friends.  Airports take on their share of mitigation with a Wildlife Management Plan. An airport is the first defence in reducing bird activities, and therefore reducing strikes. A Wildlife Plan is bird mitigation or in other words; "does something about it". Airports take on bird-research, act on removing food sources, reducing gathering places and keeping birds away. 

If a hazard is not known is not the same as not being a hazard. (By the way, did you find the dog in the the picture?)

Progress is being made in bird-science with DNA bird-analyzes and Wildlife Management Plans. In the past 100 years of aviation trial and error methods of safety management has already moved into the next generation of safety; which is a planned Safety Management System where processes are implemented to mitigate known hazards. 

Your thoughts..... 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

When Regulations are Performance Based, make Safety Your Business.

When Regulations are Performance Based, make Safety Your Business.

NOTE: This post is from one of our frequent contributors to this blog, "Birdseye59604."

When regulations are performance based they don't prescriptive describe what is required, but communicates what conforms to regulatory compliance. It might be tempting for an enterprise management to believe that actions are not required since regulation doesn't state what prescriptive action to take. If applying this approach the result might not be what conforms to regulatory compliance. 
Displacing the treshold 2000ft on a 4500ft runway might be what it takes to conform to regulatory compliance.

Aviation safety has to be managed in a Safety Management System with a Quality Assurance Program where facts are analyzed. Whenever there are temptations to transfer responsibility and accountability from an enterprise to the regulations, that's when it is time to find out what went wrong with the processes.  

One regulation may say that airport operators are required to give notice of any known obstructions penetrating the protected Obstacle Limitation Surfaces. This could be cranes, trees or other objects being too high for the airport zoning. 
An enterprise without a process to detect obstacles may believe that the obstructions were not known to them and therefore not required to give notice. This approach is an attempt to remove operational accountability and control from the operator and to transfer this  responsibility to the regulations. 

If an enterprise attempts to transfer responsibility to the regulations, what prevent pilots from taking the the same approach?

The proper CAP is to accept accountability and find opportunities to discover obstructions in the flight path. An enterprise needs to establish processes where obstructions that are "not known" to them becomes known. 

Aviation safety is not to passively assume third parties to be accountable. Aviation safety is to actively seek out hazards, analyze and implement Corrective Action Plans. 

When an obstacle violates an Obstacle Limitation Surfaces at an airport, someone accepted and allowed this violation to happen. This acceptance could be as simple as "it's not my problem" or "too much paperwork". When arriving at this fork in the road read the signs and chose a path  to aviation safety. 

Your thoughts.......


Line-Item Audits

  Line-Item Audits By OffRoadPilots A irports and airlines are required to conduct a triennial audit of the entire quality assurance program...