Friday, December 11, 2020

Santa At Recovery

 Santa At Recovery

By Catalina9

This year had been a quite different experience for Santa. In addition to complete the productions of all gifts requested, Santa had to implement several changes to the operation, which included change management processes, or safety-case actions. For centuries Santa had successfully delivered gifts to every household on the globe. On the same date every year, over a 24-hour period, every corner of the world received a visit from Santa delivering gifts that both kids and grownups had requested. This year was not any different than previous years with gift requests from all corners of the globe. 

Santa scouting out the new place.
    What was different was that Santa needed to move the manufacturing plant due to competition by a previously little known of the genetically altered reindeer Randolph and the crew. While Randolph had been active for a test-run some years ago, and at that time Rudolph hand to run, run, run to stay ahead. These reindeer had inhabited one of the most sparsely and remote areas of the globe since Glacial Lake Missoula flooded the West. Santa needed to move South to somewhere around the 60th parallel to be able to compete with these strong, but unpredictable reindeer. The isolated North Pole was a perfect place for other reindeer to infiltrate Rudolph’s crew, infiltrate the elves, and spread invisible poisonous particles onto the gifts. Santa’s ancestors had spoken about these reindeer several times, but Santa did not believe it was possible or that they would become an actual threat to their very successful gift delivery process. For centuries Santa had been the world’s super-supplier of seasonal gifts all over the globe and Santa had no plans for that to change

Santa had developed the Streamlined Mission Service, or SMS, for delivery of gifts and to reduce roof-top incidents and excursions. Initially, Santa was appointed the AE (Accountable Elf), but that didn’t work out since Santa was busy with the production, reading letters and the annual training of reindeer. Mrs. Santa was therefore appointed AE and to have final authority of streamlined operations, oversight resources and approval of elves. Since the implementation of SMS, Santa had noticed that there were several areas that were in need of operational safety improvements. Over time Santa’s SMS evolved into the core business solution center. Every decision now hits the SMS first before it enters anywhere else into the organization. 

Roof-top excursions and unstable approaches were reduced drastically compared to the pre-SMS days. Santa discovered the secret of training, communication and expectations. Rudolph, the lead reindeer and all the other reindeer were assigned specific roles and responsibilities tailored to their functional area in the operations. As the lead reindeer, Rudolph was responsible for planning and executing approaches and departures, while other reindeer were responsible for ATC (Around The Clock) communication, approach slope guidance, airspeed, local phenomena observations, being on the lookout for conflicting traffic, including DRONES (Delivery Resources On Nearby Estates and Surfaces), or on the lookout for other aeronautical obstructions. In addition, Santa applied SPC (Santa’s Professional Calculator) control sheets to assess operational processes. Santa was all set to get ready for the 2020 deliveries, but then the genetically altered reindeer and their Virtual Santa showed up. The only option was to move operations to a different place to be competitive. 

Santa submitted a proposal to the AE to initiate the move to a new location the day after all 2019 deliveries were done to be ready for the 2020 season in time. Normally, since Santa is capable of delivering gifts to billions of people during a 24-hour period the move should be a simple task. However, with all the capacity of Santa, if this move didn’t follow a plan, it could end up in a disaster. Since the beginning of time Santa had operated out of the North Pole and current processes were designed to be effective at that location. 
Over the last few years Santa had noticed an increase in UAV (Universal Autonomous Vessel) deliveries. Santa also took advantage of this service by allowing for the UAV’s to overfly the sleigh and pick up the gifts on the fly for delivery. Santa’s new place was also planned to be close to the UAV production location. 

Secret picture of Santa doing winter training in the summer
Santa was worried, but Mrs. Santa had for years planned for an unplanned move in the near future. Since the beginning of their SMS, Mrs. Santa had designed several Safety Cases for use in the future. Mrs. Santa’s Safety Cases included operational safety, regulatory compliance, compliance with standards and compliance with Santa’s SMS Policy. When preparing for unknown locations, Mrs. Santa had prepared each Safety-Case for locations with snow and ice, rain and fog and the desert with hot sun. In addition, each Safety-Case came prepared with an emergency preparedness plan and an operations contingency plan while on the road

Santa selected a location where reindeer training and their flights could be accessed any time of the year. Since one half of the gift deliveries are in locations without snow, there was a requirement for a location where non-snow training was available. In addition, Santa was looking for a place where the runway could be simulated with ice and snow during the summer months. After much research and drawing from centuries of data, Santa, with Mrs. Santa’s approval selected a location around the 60th parallel where there was a runway that recently was extended and paved, there was a lake at the end of one threshold for water landings training, including training for unexpected events if ditching should be necessary. The lake is a great place for winter training with ice and snow to simulate the North Pole. The runway is located in a narrow valley between tall mountains. This is perfect for departure and arrival training and for Rudolph and the crew to train for mountain flying with extreme winds and to exercise to gain strength to blast away from any place on the globe. In addition, there was heavy-water available for Santa to generate short-field takeoff power.  

Santa At Recovery was a success. The production plant was moved, and delivery operations were in place in time for the first departure. Recovery is the opposite of being reactive. Recovery is to be proactive.  An airport, airline or Santa at recovery is to be proactive to stay on the path with forward-looking accountability and forward-looking recovery while operating within a 3D environment. When driving down the road the driver is constantly in a recovery mode. It’s not a reactive recovery to recover from the ditch or to be towed out of a lake, but it’s to adjust how the vehicle travel 3D, which is time (speed), space (location) and compass(direction) to arrive at the fork in the road, at home, at Santa’s new place, or at the SMS goal set by the SMS Policy. 

Of course, this is a true story, and a blog wouldn’t be anything else. It’s true in that when drastic, or sudden unplanned changes becomes necessary for continued operations there is not even a tunnel somewhere to be found to look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Airlines and airports are now in a time period with a golden opportunity for aviation since the first flight in 1903 to accept the gift of Santa and Mrs. Santa’s to move forward and never look back. Santa and Mrs. Santa had faith in their hard work and SMS preparations. Without doubt, without knowing and without seeing the future, or being able to visualize or comprehend what was in store for their operations Santa and Mrs. Santa were prepared.  

A secret picture of Santa’s new location.
    Their success in the move, and their exception to exceed previous years customers’ confidence level and satisfaction, was contributed to their preparations, which becomes stored as a latent condition until needed. It was contributed to their just-culture and it was contributed to their vision to extend their SMS Policy (Streamlined Mission Policy) and their No Bucking Antlers Policy (Non-punitive Policy) to all their customers. It was crucial for Santa’s operations to accept the sudden changes without looking back and to move forward with a plan to achieve their objective to servicing their customers to their satisfaction. Someday Santa may move back to the North Pole, but then it will be a simple task because the move activated their Emergency Preparedness Plan as a Full-Scale Moch Disaster Exercise.  


Monday, November 30, 2020

How To Set SMS Goals

 How To Set SMS Goals

By Catalina9

Goals within a Safety Management world are derived from data collected, or borrowed, or just picked out of thin air. After a decade or so operating within an SMS world, airlines and airports have collected thousands of datapoints to be recorded in the hazard registry. The SMS process for both airports and airlines have enough inhouse data to design useful goals. 

Make sure your shoes are ready for the first goal-setting step    
    The goalsetting process is a decision process based on data collected and entered in the hazard registry. When data is transformed to numerical or alphabetical values they turn into information. Information consumed generate knowledge and with when knowledge is processed it becomes comprehension of one or multiple integrated systems. Data is the foundation for goalsetting, but just the data in itself is an unuseful tool to generate practical goals until each datapoint applied have completed the comprehension process. It is a simple task to set a goal based on events or a currency value. However, it is a comprehensive task to set goals that affect the outcome of events or values. SMS is hard work and will never change. Data comprehension is very different than an emotional opinion about a datapoint. Comprehension is intelligence, it’s neutral and it’s the law of cause and effect, while an emotion is artificial intelligence, judgmental and an opinion.   

There is a 14-day step process in a professional and effective goalsetting process and to design effective goals. Each step may be assigned to one goal or multiple goals. The 14-day goal process are comprehension steps to assign a goal-value. The value of a goal is measurable in either events or currency. A simple goal is to “be safe.” This goal is not measurable and is not attached to events or currency. To “be safe” is a safety-card goal to eliminate responsibilities. SMS is not only hard work, it’s also roles and responsibilities. Take a minute and write down how each person in your organization can “be safe”. One of the first answers that comes to mind is often what the person cannot do. E.g. do not cross a runway when airplane is landing, or do not land if a vehicle is crossing a runway. The 14-day process looks at what you are doing to achieve the goal and not what you are not doing to achieve the goal. 

Stay on track.
  Another trap that is easy to fall into is to    set a goal that safety is the
  number 1  priority. A general definition    of safety is the condition of being     protected from or unlikely to cause   danger, risk, or injury. When safety is   the  number 1 priority any action taken   by a person must be to protect a person   form danger, risk, or injury. The   simplest  way to achieve this is to do   nothing. However, when safety become   paramount, or the supreme goal, doors   are opened for safety in operations. 

The first of the 14-steps is to think. Think about your airport or airline as it is now and write down the things that are most important to you in your daily operations. Review your hazard registry and think about what outcome each hazard generated. Think about how each hazard was discovered, if was by active hazard search, hazard research, incident report or a report from the public or a contractor. 

The second step is to Imagine. Imagine that you could wave a magic wand and make your airport or airline perfect in each area of your operations. What would it look like? Imagine what snow-clearing would look like, what FOD removal would look like, what a perfect departure or arrival would look like, or what a magic wand could do to take the pressure of your mind. 

The third step is to write. Write It down using your thoughts from Day 2, write down each goal you’d like to achieve for your ideal airline or airport operations. Make your description clear and detailed in every sense. When you write it down use an old-fashion pencil and paper to reinforce yesterday’s imaginations. 
The fourth step is to decide upon your objective, or major definite purpose. Ask yourself if any goal on this list could be achieved within 24hours, which one goal would have the greatest positive impact on your airline or airport operations. Base your decision on operational comprehension as an airport or airline operator rather than a wish of what would be nice to achieve. 

Step number five is a deadline. Think of a reasonable date for you to achieve your goal. If your goal is big enough, set sub-deadlines. Without deadlines and defined completion dates a goal is nothing else but a virtual reality dream. 

The sixth step is to identify any obstacles, or hazards. Identify any potential obstacles that you will have to overcome to achieve your goal. Determine how to overcome each of them. If your airport or airline has worked within an SMS world for a decade or so all your answers are in the hazard registry records. If you are new to SMS, borrow data, research data, or simply pick it out of thin air. 

The seventh step is to Identify. Identify knowledge and skills you’ll need. What one skill, if you developed and did it consistently, in an excellent fashion, would help you the most to achieve your most important airport or airline goal. Within an SMS world all your answers are in the SMS training component. Data collected is a tool to identify skills that helps you the most for each role and responsibility in your airport or airline operations. 

The eight step is to make a list. Make a list of everything (each and every step) you will have to do to achieve your goal. Sine your operations has worked with SMS for several years, use the process assessment tool assigned to your operations. Track the process backwards, from the end result (goal) to a fork in the road where you find step number eight. 

The ninth step is to organize. Organize your list into a plan. Organize your list into a series of steps from the beginning all the way through to the completion of your goal. Goals does not happen by accident but by applying active tasks to each step of the process. Without a list of steps there is an opportunity that an incorrect task is applied to the correct step. 

Write your plan down in your own words
    Step number ten is to write your plan down. Write your   plan down in the Safety Management System records. Write   down each phase of your plan all the way through   completion of your goal. Plan each day, week and month in   advance. Follow the step in you Safety Management   System  (SMS) Manual.

    The eleventh step is to determine your support system.   Your support system is already defined in you SMS Manual   with roles, responsibilities and accountability. Make a list of   every person in your life that you will have to work with or   work around to achieve your goal. These are admin   personnel, pilots, airside workers, vendors, contractors, the SMS Manger, Airport General Manger, QA Manager, Director of Operations, Maintenance Manager and others listed in the SMS Manual. 

The twelfth step is to make your goal public. Tell others what goal you intend to achieve and by when, especially those in your support system. Post it on the SafetyCorner, in paper format or electronically. Follow the process in you SMS Manual. 

The thirteenth step is to practice visualization of your goal. Create clear, vivid, exciting, emotional pictures of your goals as if they were already a reality. Review your goal in a virtual 360 experience. Use virtual reality animation to see what your goal looks like in a perfect SMS world, but also accept the fact that human factors, supervision factors, organizational factors and environmental factors affect the actual outcome of your goal. Visualizations is a common part of flight training in simulators and virtual reality in airport operations also available. 

The fourteenth step is the toughest part. It’s to get started. Take the first step no matter what the step is. Goal setting is like skydiving when the first step is the point of no return. On this last day of the challenge, complete the first task you’ve outlined for yourself and get started on the path to a successful SMS in airport and airline operations. 


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Safety vs Profit

Safety vs Profit 
by Catalina9

One misconception in the aviation industry is that there are major conflicts between safety and profits. Conventional knowledge is that one cannot operate with an effective profit-margin system while at the same time operating with an effective safety system. Let’s for a moment assume that this is true and that for each safety system implemented there is huge reduction in profit and the profit margin. 

When the safety-card is played the SMS nucleus is unbalanced.

When the safety-card is played there are no opposition to their choice of corrective action plan. Nobody wants to argue against safety. When someone wants a specific result, they use the safety-card to get what they want, and they draw root-cause solutions from an emotional data base rather than a hazard registry or an analytic data base. The safety-card is played in the aviation industry, it’s played in the long-haul transportation industry, it’s played to protect public safety and it’s played when nobody has a true answer for their solutions to the issue or event other than a safety scare. The safety-card is a virtual tool without a major definite purpose and where the safety nucleus is unbalanced. 

A major definite purpose is defined as the one goal that is most important to you personally for incremental safety improvements of Your Amazing Airport or Airline. It is usually the one goal that will help you to achieve more of the other goals than anything else you can accomplish. The first part of a major definite purpose is something that you personally really want. Your desire for this purpose must be so intense that the very idea of achieving your major purpose excites you and makes you enjoy the associated projects. The second part it that it must be specific an explained clearly. It’s better to explain it clearly than cleverly. The third part is that it must be measurable. The only quantity to measure is in monetary value. A return on investment safety formula must be answered by dollar signs. The safety result is not that we got away with only one accident this year, but if the return on investment was in the black or in the red. The fourth part is that a major definite purpose must be both believable and achievable. It is a simple task to believe, or wish for an outcome, it’s hard work to achieve it. The fifth part of your major definite purpose is that it needs to come with a high probability of success. If you set a low or medium probability of success, there is little or no incentive to access tools for success. When you set your major definite purpose today it might look overwhelming and unachievable, but it is the only thing that keeps you moving forward at incremental steps to reach each goal to build a path to your objective. A final part of your major definite purpose must be in harmony with your other goals, and the Safety Management System (SMS) Safety Policy. In addition, it must also be in harmony with your sub-goals and congruent with the organizational just culture. The safety-card cannot be the major definite purpose since it does not state specific objectives or goals, but is a tool to generate vague visions, strong wishes, opinions, and reactions without directional control. A safety-card organization is recognized by their wishes to prevent accidents and eliminate damage or injury.

When looking at safety improvements from a safety-card organizational view, their statement is true that safety cost too much and is not practical to implement. In an organization without a major definite purpose the only solution available is to allocate more cash to the solve the problems. Since airports and airlines are safe already and flying being the safest mode of transportation, any additional cash-outlays are not required to maintain current level of safety in operations. Any accident free day is money saved and safety becomes an unnecessary expense. 

SMS is a compass to navigate the turbulent
seas while monitoring drift.

A Safety Management System (SMS) comes with a built-in major definite purpose, which is to design a just culture that is compatible with the safe operation of an airport or aircraft. An airport or airline establishing this as their main definite purpose has unlimited options available to operate within an acceptable safety margin. The safety-card only look at tangible improvements, while the SMS, in addition, looks at intangible solutions. Since intangible solutions are unable to be touched or grasped, there is no physical presence or visual clues, they are unpopular to implement.

The SMS is the human factors system, or human behavior. When looking safety from the SMS perspective as a capital investment of human behavior it becomes the major influencer of the return on investment. Safety in an SMS world is project solutions leadership motivation. Projects are established, solutions are implemented, leadership is dynamic, and motivation is to maintain goal-oriented behaviors. Within the SMS, the safety culture, or just culture, is measured in cash value and return on investment. Simply said, it is expected that a pilot uses the brakes when a taxiing aircraft is approaching behind a stopped aircraft. It’s expected that a pilot on approach stay on approach slope and it is expected that an airport operator has trained personnel to work airside. This is what SMS is all about. When applying SMS processes to operations there is no additional cost to complete these tasks, or other tasks. Every safety measure taken within the SMS is an action of human behavior within the human factor system where safety does not become an opposition to profit but a contributor.   


Monday, November 2, 2020

Building A Winning SMS Team

Building A Winning SMS Team
By Catalina9

Building a Winning SMS [Safety Management System] Team begins and ends with you. You are the person who holds the keys to open doors of data, information, knowledge, and comprehension.  Building a Winning SMS Team is to clear a path of least resistance within a hazard environment. While building the team is to clear a path of least resistance, designing the path is to incorporate a conglomerate of tasks and to navigate insurmountable hazards. A Winning SMS Team operates at a 95% confidence level that your human factors system is in control.  The difference between a 95% confidence level and a 100% confidence level that operational processes are in-control, is that there is no room for safety improvements at the 100% safe operational level.    

A Winning SMS Team is filled with energy.
 Building the Winning SMS Team started with a   blank   sheet of paper and a pencil on a cold October   12th day.   Designing a Safety Management System 
 is beyond any task of designing other types of   systems. SMS is a  team of human factors, human   behaviors and human  interaction which reacts   emotionally to interference  from outside sources.

 The first task when building the team is to design a   path where emotional reactions are acceptable.   During the pre-SMS times the aviation industry   conventional wisdom was that a pilot could make   emotional decisions for the safe operations of an aircraft. It was expected of pilots to have super-natural powers to make rational decisions to avoid hazards and manage hazardous operational conditions. Two prime examples that pilots were expected to have these powers, are the 1977 Tenerife Island disaster and the 1989 Dryden disaster. In both accidents the finding was that the pilots failed one or more tasks in one way or another by making emotional decisions rather than following procedures. Any person experiences an unexpected condition instantly has an emotional reaction to that event. The reaction could be undetected by the pilots or others, or they could be obvious to anyone. The story goes that in a single engine propeller airplane the propeller is a fan to keep the pilots cool…because they will sweat if it stops. 

The second task when building the team is to design a path where variations are acceptable. In the pre-SMS days, it was expected that all pilots operated an aircraft exactly the same way, that they identified hazards without individual deviation, that they all reacted exactly the same way with their hazard avoidance actions, and that the outcome of their reaction would always be incident-free. Airlines operated with a 100% confidence level that they were 100% safe 100% of the times. When operating with this as facts, as opposed to opinions, air travel became the safest mode of travel. Whenever major accidents occurred, they were brushed away as pilot errors by a renegade pilot who willfully disrespected expectations that airliners do not crash. Variations comes from common cause variations and special cause variations. A common cause variation is always present in the process. An example is the migratory bird seasons, where birds seasonally travel, causing a common cause variable in the spring and fall. A special cause variation is not present in the process but is an unexpected event which occurred at an unexpected location at an unexpected time. When special cause variations are acceptable is when root cause analysis management becomes available. In and SMS environment, special cause variations are forced by virtual reality in operations [training] or simple brainstorming sessions [virtual testing]. The fact that one person in an enterprise had decided on what process or procedures were operational safe did not ensure safety, but rather transferred human factor elements from pilots to process designers.  When variations are acceptable is when variations management, or root cause analysis becomes available.

The third task to build the team is to accept a just culture. A just culture are expectations of human behaviors within an organization. In the pre-SMS era, a just culture was what was considered by management what was just to their positions. 

Just Culture is to consider decisions from the past.
Management’s just-culture task became a task to protect their image and decisions which were contributing factors to the disaster. The task after an accident did not always become a fact-finding mission, but rather it became an accident motive-finding mission. When building a Winning SMS Team, a just-culture is what is just for the traveling public, what is just for customer service, and what is just for you. In a just-culture environment there is trust, learning, accountability, and information sharing. Without any of the four just-culture principles there is anarchy in operational safety.  

The fourth task to build the team is to accept learning, education, refresher, and training as pillars for continuous safety improvement. During pre-SMS times training was viewed as a task required to repair lack of knowledge, qualifications, or skills. Yes, it is true that pilots received recurrent training, but the intent of training was to discover and repair deficiencies rather than build on individually current job-performance skills to improve these skills beyond regulatory requirements. Within an organizational culture that embraces training, training becomes a non-punitive reaction to unintended operational events. E.g. if a pilot taxi across taxiway lights because the turn was missed, in a non-training environment a recurrent training due to the incident becomes the punitive action that a pilot does not appreciate. While the same scenario in a training-accepted environment, the refresher training becomes a welcome task for continuous job performance improvement. 

The fifth task to build the team is to accept personnel involvement or initiative. A person who is actively involved comprehend safety in operations at a higher level that a person who passively must accept demands from management to maintain their job. Involving a person is to actively involve the five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. If one or more of these senses are removed from the involvement equation, there is an increase in organizational hazard level. 

The sixth task to build the team is to accept job-performance variances between individuals. Job performance variances are discovered by conducting non-disqualifying operational audits where individual review their findings for possible self-adjusting behaviors. 

Within these numbers are all answers to be discovered.
The seventh task to build the team is feedback    from you and feedback to you. Feedback         comes in all shapes and forms and is more 
 than a standardized feedback answer. Feedback is interaction between personnel, interaction within the enterprise environment, interaction with policies, interaction with project solutions and interaction with leadership motivation. Feedback is the Nucleus within an Enterprise   where positive and negative emotional charges       are balanced as sensed by the five sense. When      emotional charges are balanced an Enterprise    is operating within a user-friendly Safety Management System scaled to size and complexity of the Enterprise.

The beauty of a Winning SMS Team is their generous output of project solutions and motivational management. 


Monday, October 19, 2020

SMS Works

 SMS Works

By Catalina9

COVID19 affected air travel and airport operations to a degree never seen before. Major airports went down to 10% of normal movements and the airlines parked thousands of airplanes at these same airports. COVID19 was a disaster for the aviation industry with little or no hope to recover back to 2019 levels for several years. 

An effective Safety Management System (SMS) could not have prevented this disastrous outcome and would not have made one difference for safety in operations. However, what any airport or airline would have in place with an effective SMS, is a recovery tool unlike any other tool. 

A positive attitude is a prerequisite for recovery in aviation.
When a hazard is discovered for the very first time, or a special cause incident occurs for the very first time, three corrective action plan (CAP) options are available. Option one is the extreme to cease operations, or the other extreme to do nothing. The CAP solution when arriving at the fork-in-the-road and holding on to a previously unidentified hazard, is not to develop a CAP to attack the hazard, but it is of vital importance to turn in the direction of least residual risk (leftover hazards) and the least substitute risks (new hazards). When a new hazard is introduced into the SMS system and this is a hazard without prior known CAPs it is impossible to design a CAP that will resolve the risks. The risk has become an inherent risk that needs to be mitigated. 

A couple of examples of a the introduction of a new hazard is the Hudson River landing, where the probability of an all-engine failure was considered a likelihood to be inconceivable and times between intervals to be imaginary, theoretical, virtual, or fictional. Another accident example is MH370 incident where it also was inconceivable that an airliner could just vanish into thin air. When COVID19 hit airports and airlines with an SMS contingency plan for recovery executed their plan and became the leaders of recovery at airport and airlines. A recovery does not imply getting back to 2019 levels, but to recover from a prior unknown hazard. No one could ever imagine that a virus could prevent 3-4 billion passengers to travel. In 2019 the global airline industry reached over 4.54 billion people. Not long-ago IATA published an article that 1.2 billion people had travelled the first nine months of the year, or about 25% of 2019 levels. 

Airlines and airport took it upon themselves at an early stage of the hazard identification to apply the principle of SMS and ensure that customer service became their number one priority. Airlines and airports leaders understood that the public expected them to make changes and that they needed changes that the travelling public would accept as their hazard protection. 

Their first step was to design and implement a Safety Policy. In general, this policy stated that only COVID19-free passengers could board an aircraft for travel. Not only did they distribute their policy to all personnel, but they also expected the policy to be adhered to by the travelling public, airport operators, check-in agents and flight crew. Airports installed sanitizing gates and airlines sanitized each aircraft prior to boarding new passengers. In addition, check-in agents checked all traveller’s health condition prior to boarding. The first SMS step was completed, which was a short-term corrective action to separate data into two categories. 

The second step was to implement a non-punitive reporting policy. Anyone who observed a hazard, i.e. that a person might be affected by the COVID19 virus was encouraged to report it without fear of repercussion, or for fear of being kicked-off the flight. The non-punitive reporting policy became the second level of safety to separate data into the correct category. The beauty of the non-punitive reporting policy is that there is no requirement for the person reporting to have all the facts or to provide a solution, but to report what in their mind is a hazard. It’s for the experts, SMS Manger or Director of Safety in an organization to establish the validity of the claim. 

The third step was to establish definite guidelines and roles and responsibility for all personnel. This includes what actions to take and the reporting hierarchy. The crucial test for the airline industry had become to ensure that the same approach was applied on all seven continents: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. Applying the CAP with regional differences was expected to cause an unstable recovery. 

The fourth step was to communicate to the travelling public and to both internal and external organizations. The communication process needed to be simple and accessible, and social media became the main preference for communication source. Airlines and airports conducted surveys to learn how the travelling public felt about departure, or arrival delays. 

I am the Confidential Advisor to the AE.
The fifth step was safety planning for travelers to maintain a confidence level that air travel is protecting them from the hazard. Goals and objectives were established and included spacing passengers seating and design seat separators. Face masks were also required during the flight to contain any large droplets within a personal space. Airlines were already equipped with a comprehensive air filtering system as an additional layer to ensure customer satisfaction. 

comprehensive air filtering system as an additional layer to ensure customer satisfaction. 

Step six was performance measurements. Just as passenger’s heath conditions data were documented upon boarding, data was also collected upon deplaning. This data was entered into a hazard registry, analyzed, and compared to pre-boarding screening. 

Step seven was to review all data for effectiveness. IATA article published that 1.2 billion people had travelled by air the first 9 months of 2020. Out of the 1.2 billion travelers 44 cases were contributed inflight COVID-19 transmission, which is five COVID19 transmission per month. Let’s say that an average airliner seats 150 passengers. For 150 passengers to reach 1.2 billion travelers, they would be required to travel 8,000,000 trips. Out of these 8 million trips, 44 passengers would be infected. One person would have to travel 181,818 trips in 9 months to reach a high probability level to be one of these 44 receiving an in-flight transmission of COVID19. 

It is impossible to see what the future holds. It is impossible to state that without applying CAPs, mitigations, and SMS principles more than 44 cases would have occurred during air travel. However, when comparing to the general population of 7.8 billion people worldwide and 40,369,270 cases; this is about 1 of every 200 being infected by COVID19. If applying the same 1:200 ratio to the air-travelling public, 6,217,616 would have been infected. 

Based on this data form the World Health Organization and the International Air Transport Association, a Safety Management System is the profit generator, the effective business tool, and the superior tool in customer satisfaction. 

Recovery in aviation and recovery at airports is to dedicate your Amazing Airport or Airline to continuous improvements. Train your SMS to increase your revenue one-tenth of one percent daily. This amounts to one half of one percent more productive each week, or two percent each month and 26% increased revenue each year. 


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Qualities Of Your Winning SMS Team

 Qualities Of Your Winning SMS Team

By Catalina9

Building your winning Safety Management Team (SMS) team is more important today than it ever was before. SMS is no longer just another safety program but has become the single most important system for departmental oversight and safety in operations. Organizational processes and operational culture do not change within departments but are laterally equal throughout any department. An organizational culture are the faces of their Board Members, Owners, and CEO which does not change between departments. Putting on a different hat might work when taking on different positions in an enterprise, but the magic hat does not move a business culture between positions. There is only one organizational hat when it comes to the organizational structure, and that hat given to everyone by the CEO. 

An effective Safety Management System is a businesslike approach to safety. A businesslike approach to any enterprises is applied throughout the business and not just to selective areas of operations, one person, or one department. A key component of the SMS is to operate with a Just Culture, which is different than the non-punitive reporting culture. SMS regulations require that both airlines and airports comply with their safety policy, that they operate with processes for goal setting and goal achievement; processes identification of hazards, including defining safety critical areas and safety critical functions in the hazard registry, a process for reporting of incidents and accidents; a process for training and competency; a document design of their SMS; a quality assurance program; processes for SMS audits and reviews; and a process for any additional requirements, which includes all airport or airline operations within the enterprise.  

The SMS team are the Accountable Executive, Flight Operations, Maintenance, or if an airport the Airport General Manager and Airside Supervisor, the SMS Management and Quality Assurance Management. A winning SMS team feel positive about themselves to the degree they feel they are in control of their own destiny. In addition, a winning SMS team expects their decisions to affect processes and impact operations. They also understand that the outcome of their decisions may not always be what they had expected or planned for. An effective and winning SMS team works with a 95% confidence level to leave room for safety improvements. A winning SMS team is a happy team and cannot wait to move on with their next challenge. 

The compliance gap is the gap between the action itself and the end result.

There is a regulatory compliance gap when the regulator is enforcing regulatory compliance at a tempo faster than what an enterprise can comprehend. This does not imply that an enterprise should accept non-compliance with the regulations, but that the regulations are based on a static-state operations and there is a lag, or a compliance gap, between the first movement and the compliance analysis. This compliance gap remains constant throughout any process and if observed, or inspected prior to the data analysis, it will generate a finding. When a third-party is imposing operational changes, such as a consultant, customer or the regulator, their CAP may not be effective if they do not count for the compliance gap. The same concept is also true for the Accountable Executive, who in a business-like environment may make spontaneous decisions. When spontaneous decisions are made in a business environment, they may be fatal to the business itself. The same principle is applicable to a Safety Management System where there are no good reasons to make uninformed, or spontaneous decisions. An effective SMS is a businesslike approach to safety and should be the guidance and template for all other business decisions. The winning team of a Safety Management System is the hub, rather than the umbrella of an enterprise.

If the SMS is the umbrella of all operational systems, it becomes a tool that covers or protects from above. When applied to the SMS system, the umbrella is an overarching system encompassing all other systems within the organization. If a department or person under the umbrella assigned bias responsibilities, authorities, or strength, that authority may skew the SMS in a bias direction or cause an undetectable drift away from expected safety results. 

An enterprise may look at its SMS as an umbrella or a wheel. If the SMS is under an umbrella, the umbrella protects from above and the strength of the SMS is in the person carrying the umbrella, or the Accountable Executive. When the SMS is under an umbrella there is little or no room for changes, except for staying within the protection of the umbrella itself. When looking at the SMS as being under an umbrella, the safe spot in the SMS is where the Accountable Executive is with safest travel to blindly follow their directions. 

A wheel in harmony may endure approaching hazards or obstructions.

If an SMS is built as a wheel, the SMS may travel in any direction where their data points to. A wheel is built up by a hub, spokes, and a protective surface. The hub and spokes of the wheel is the strength of the wheel, or the SMS, while the protective surface, or rubber (wood or steel in the old days) is what carries the load of the SMS. However, the protective surface is dependent on a strong hub with strong spokes to function. 

An enterprise operating under an umbrella becomes a place where departments and personnel will play it safe without venture outside of the protection of the Accountable Executive. Bureaucratic organizations function well under an umbrella and within the safe spot of their leader. Safety may be their priority, but it is not paramount within such an organizational structure. Short term fixes, putting out fires or ensuring that the correct checkboxes are filled becomes their primary tasks. It is irrelevant if this is a large conglomerate of an organization, or a simple small enterprise. In this type of organization, it’s easier to reject suggestions for improvements and remain at status quo even if there is a high probability of a disaster at the next fork in the road.  

An enterprise operating as a wheel becomes a place where departments and personnel must make decisions to steer the wheel out of harms way. The Accountable Executive, as the hub, has ensured that the spokes are trained and are knowledgeable within their area of expertise to maintain a strength for the wheel to carry. When looking at the SMS as a wheel, the Accountable Executive is a part of the total solution.  Safety may also be their priority but is also paramount to the strength of their organizational structure. Short term fixes, putting out fires or ensuring that the correct checkboxes are filled in are still required tasks, but their primary task is to steer the wheel in the safest direction while arriving at the fork in the road. The direction this SMS takes is the calculated safest direction, with a 95% confidence level that the best option was selected. While an umbrella-organization feel their highest performance level is best at status quo, a wheel-organization preforms best while maintaining alertness for changes and makes ongoing decisions to ensure the safest path of travel. In this type of organization there is forward-looking accountability within a coherent system. 

Members of a winning SMS team has learned to set aside emotions and personal differences. They are looking at every hazard as a challenge to conquer and overcome. Members of a winning SMS team embraces changes and see a new opportunity in every difficulty. However, a superior behavior of a person within a Winning SMS Team is their individual ability to accept conclusions and move forward towards the next fork in the road. 


Monday, September 21, 2020



By Catalina9

Travel and exotic destination were affected deeply by the COVID19 virus. Airplanes were parked, airports became ghost towns, and everyone stood up and walked off. Life became a life on the Someday Island. Life in the fast lane became a life of stagnation and procrastination. Airport and airline executives were scrambling to keep operations to a bare minimum. Time went on without any progress being made. Everyone was procrastinating and waiting for the recovery in aviation to lift off like a rocket. But nothing ever happened…

Procrastination is to leave a blank page for someone else to write your story
The aviation industry is experiencing exciting times these days. This is an exiting time since the next page of aviation history is a blank page to be published. Not only are we given a blank page, but we are also given a pencil to fill out the page with whatever we want! This is an opportunity like nothing before, where we can build anything out of the aviation industry. If I remember correctly, the last time it happened was in 1903. We have been given a golden opportunity to get it right this time. Yes, it is true that prior to COVID19 air travel was statistically the safest mode of transportation, wile it is also true that the result of one single accident in air travel caused more harm to the travelling public and their loved ones than any other mode of transportation. These records speak for themselves by all regulatory restrictions that over the years were imposed on airlines and airports. 

Since the first flight of 1903 air travel implemented excellent safety measures after each major accident. The 1956 Grand Canyon mid-air collision laid the base for modernizing ATC, controlled airspace, and radar. At the time of the crash both aircraft were compliant with the regulation. In 2012 two general aviation aircraft crashed mid-air in the middle of nowhere. Both captains complied with the regulations at the time of the crash. The Tenerife Island March 27, 1977 is still the worst aviation accident in the history of aviation. There are many speculations and two independent reports concluded differently. However, one fact remains, that one crew did everything they could to maintain compliance with the regulatory required flight duty time. After each major accident several great safety measures had been implemented, which generally were technical, mechanical and automation improvements or new regulations. The aviation industry eventually caught on that imposing regulations and improved mechanical and automation advancements were not the only tools to prevent accidents. The next step in the system was to improve the Human Factors System.  This goal became true with ICAO’s mandate of a Safety Management System and with regulatory implementation by each ICAO state. The SMS regulation was different than previous regulations in that it is performance based as opposed to prescriptive. While the prescriptive regulation required 100% compliance 100% of the time. With a 100% / 100% requirement there is no room for safety improvements since the regulation itself ensured 100% safety. The new SMS regulations were based on a 95% confidence level of compliance, which leaves room for improvement. This was unheard of and rejected by many in the aviation industry. 

Procrastination is a learned skill and behavior to take on trivial tasks without directions. Procrastinators are permanent residents of the Someday Island and only get off the island when their leaders demand that they do. Procrastination is by many identified lazy, or bad behavior, while in the real world, procrastinators might contribute more than the go-getters. Procrastinators are followers, they need guidance and support for their opinions. They leave the door wide open for anyone who moved away from the Someday Island to generate a wealth of success. Without the procrastinators, there would be little or no room for a successful business. Procrastinate, or procrastinare, or utsette, means to wait until tomorrow to start on a task. However, tomorrow does not exist and never comes to your rescue. My goal is to help procrastinators to achieve their wishes and dreams in the comfort of their place on the Someday Island. 

After the COVID19 hit, successful business leaders became procrastinators, or possible they were already procrastinators being directed by their leaders. Airlines and airports managers sudden stopped in their tracks. They had arrived at the Fork-In-The-Road and without directions as they had not done their homework and the Fork-In-The-Road Test. 

The COVID19 fork-in-the-road was a surprise with nowhere else to go.
The Fork-In-The-Road test is a tool to identify if current steps in the evaluation process are taking shortcuts and jumping to a conclusion that the new strategy is the correct strategy and it’s a tool for a contingency plan when The-Fork-In-The-Road comes unexpected. A shortcut is an attempt to break the wall in a maze to make it to the end without following the planned path. The Fork-In-The-Road Test is to backtrack the process to find out where in the maze the wall failed and then think in 3D, which is measured in time, space, and compass. When thinking in 3D a future scenario can be designed. This does not imply that the future can be predicted, but it implies that data, information, knowledge, and comprehension are vital steps to predict hazards that affect operational processes.

Procrastination is defined in Pareto’s 80/20 principle. Applying this principle, it is reasonable to expect that 20% of human behavior is the cause of 80% of the result. 20% of pilots may cause 80% of the incidents, 20% of airport operators may cause 80% of unsafe airport operations or 20% of the CEOs may cause 80% of business failures. This is a principle or theory and a tool to initiate actions to draw the first card for recovery in aviation. There is no doubt that COVID19 forever changed the landscape.  

The Safety Management System is a tool for recovery. The ICAO SMS system itself is so brilliantly designed that it blows any other pre-SMS safety systems currently in place. Based on the Pareto principle it is reasonable to expect that 20% of airport and airline operators have embraced SMS and moved away from the Someday Island. 

The next step for recovery at airports and recovery in aviation is to accept that changes has occurred and that they need to move forward in a digital customer appreciation environment. The NextGen of customer appreciation is for airports and airline operators to take on a role in Project Solutions Leadership Motivation. The roles of the Accountable Executive have changed from business management to apply a businesslike approach to the Safety Management System. Both airports and airlines would have experienced a reduction in economic losses if they pre-COVID19 had implemented a businesslike approach to SMS. But rather than focusing on SMS they were running the old-way safety which is extremely expensive. A pre-COVID19 transition to a businesslike approach to SMS would have reduced the impact since SMS operational cost is less than the cost of safety. 

If you don't design Your Amazing Airport or Airline plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.


Friday, September 18, 2020

How Using an SMS and QA Integrator Saves Money!

How Using an SMS/QA Integrator Saves $Money$

Most small companies have accountants, lawyers and human resource people. Usually these small companies can not afford to have these required functions on a full time basis. Their accountant works from an accounting firm and monitors the books and gives advise. The lawyers usually work for a law firm outside the company and are called upon when needed to assist in legal business situations. A lot of companies contract out their Human Resource functions to payroll and other personnel management companies. Let's face it, it is a lot cheaper to hire a payroll or accounting company then to pay a full time accountant with benefits and all the costs that go along with a full time employee sitting at a desk. We have to have these departments because regulations and laws require it. As long as the functions meet all the legal and regulatory requirements, why not "Think outside the box" for ways to streamline and thus reduce the costs of the required functions while still getting the desired results. 

"Why can't we do the same with Safety Management Systems, SMS and Quality Assurance, QA?"

SMS Flow is a complex Process

Safety Management Systems and Quality Assurance are daily and continuous processes. So the questions is;  do we need to have a person sitting in the company to make the SMS and QA work?  We have learned valuable lessons from the great Quality Assurance gurus like Dr. W. Edwards Deming and Dr. Joseph Juran. It is the "Processes" themselves that create, control and produce the desired results for successful outcomes. It is not a single person who is responsible for the Safety or Quality functions that a company strives for, but rather it is the collection of  stakeholders working together within a "system" that produce the desired outcomes. 

So here's the Paradigm!  "We must have a person that is sitting in the company somewhere that is responsible for the SMS and QA function!"

Not so! All the activities of a successful Safety Management System and Quality Assurance System can be easily "Facilitated" remotely. Let me explain "facilitated." 

Everyday Safety reports are generated. The actual reporter and/or designated administrative person enters the report into a "Database" (such as SMS Pro, Vortex...etc.) The SMS Integrator, (who for all intents and purpose acts as the SMS Manager), now takes those reports and facilitates Risk Assessment, Root Cause Analysis and the development of Corrective Action Plans. The SMS Integrator manages the reports in the company's system by convening Safety groups through email, distance conferencing, (i.e. Zoom, MS Teams...etc.) and other Robust communication methods. The SMS Integrator monitors the "Corrective Action Plans" and reports on a continuous bases and reports to the company's management on "Corrective Actions" and "Continuous Improvement" initiatives. 

Daily Monitoring of The SMS remotely

"The key to a successful SMS Integration is based on several important decisions that must be made by the company."

1st. Are the company employees committed to the SMS and QA programs and willing to participate in Safety committees and Quality Circle Groups. 

2nd. Is the upper management of the company committed to supporting the SMS and QA system. 

3rd. You must contract an SMS Integrator that has the knowledge, skills and ability to manage a successful SMS and QA Program. The Integrator company must have "Profound" knowledge of SMS and QA Regulations and be able to conduct effective training to company personnel. The SMS Integrator must have knowledge of the operation, procedures and responsibilities of the company's local regulator personnel. The SMS Integrator must have communication skills to interface management initiative with the SMS and QA program. When management seeks change, the SMS Integrator must be able to conduct "Management of Change" processes to facilitate any changes with company personnel and processes. They need to produce "Safety Cases" and brief the company's management and personnel on the risks induced by the proposed changes and come up with mitigating measures. 

The Integrator is THE SMS Manager

The SMS Integrator can also monitor and maintain the company's Hazard Register to help management come up with Goals and Objectives from the Safety Risk Profile that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. The SMS Integrator also monitors the Hazard Register for Trending and reports appropriate data to management and then facilitates the corrective actions needed. 

The SMS Integrator would be responsible for the company's robust Audit program. The SMS Integrator would conduct SMS and QA Audit training to certify company personnel to perform Audits. In addition, all SMS and QA training would be conducted by the Integrator thus saving money in hiring "outside" training organizations. 


Since the company does not have to have a full time SMS and/or QA manager, a company can save on salary and benefits associated with these positions. In most cases anywhere from 50 to 150 thousand dollars. Because the SMS Integrator has daily communication and contact with the company, the company would have to designate an "Administrative" person to be the hands and feet of the Integrator at the physical building as needed. An Integrator liaison would be only a portion of the administrative person's responsibilities and therefore the cost factor is significantly lower as compared to hiring a full time SMS or QA Manager. In most cases, the cost of contracting with an SMS Integrator is about 10-20% of the cost of hiring managers for these positions. 

The SMS Integrator will also be responsible to the company's regulators when it comes to regulatory Assessment, Process Validations and Process Inspections. Since the SMS Integrator is responsible, any Corrective Actions required by the regulator is the responsibility of the SMS Integrator to facilitate in the company. The company would not have to hire a consultant to help develop CAPs and other Actions. This is tremendous saving of thousands of dollars. 

You do NOT have to purchase new or expensive SMS Software. The SMS Integrator will use your existing SMS Database no matter which one it is.  The company will simple add the SMS Integrator to the user list in order to see reports and data. This is also a significant savings. Even if you do not have or want to stop paying for SMS Software, the SMS Integrator will be able to work a system of reporting and monitoring that would replace SMS Software at very little or in most cases no additional cost. 

The Cost Savings are Significant!!

What about the Regulations?

There is no regulation stating the requirements for the position only the requirement for the SMS System. The fact is that several enterprises are already using an SMS Integrator with the regulator's blessing.  If needed, the actual SMS Integrator will physically come to the company in the circumstance of a regulatory audit if the company so desires. 

The SMS Integrator takes the place of the SMS Manager!


October 20 12pm

By Dennis Taboada, M.eng.,CQE,CQM


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Aviation Recovery

 Aviation Recovery

The 200th Post from Catalina9! 

Aviation recovery is on a path to the fork-in-the road, where one single decision could be the determining factor of recovery success or failure. The downturn in aviation came as a shock to executives and decisionmakers in both airlines and airports. Life in the aviation-line was good and daily operations was extremely successful by their own standards and assessments. By their own success from the past, airports and airline executives was protected from making emotionally difficult operational decisions. When COVID-19 hit, everything they knew about decision-making disappeared. Their inability to react positively to the downturn is the greatest example of how both airlines and airports had swept their Safety Management System (SMS) under the rug. The first day of the pandemic an airport or airline with a successful SMS would have picked up their pre-designed Safety Case or Change Management plan for actions to move forward. Or, at a minimum, they would have initiated a Change Management plan at that time.

An empty airport is a hazard to aviation.

 Both airlines and airport   executives did what they   how to do the best. They   reduced their operational   personnel to a minimum.   This step, among other   steps, were necessary   reactive processes due to   the approaching economic   situation. A successful SMS   would not have prevented   these reactions, but a   successful SMS was at that   moment the tool for           executives to apply and initiate recovery steps. Procrastination is an enemy of success.


A Safety Management System is not the magic wand to eliminate changes or hazards. However, it is the greatest tool for recovery in aviation. This is the time for airports and airlines executives to embrace their losses and move forward with their digital recovery. The path to success in recovery is to take on the KWINK challenge, Knowing What I Now Know. It is known that success was achieve in the past and it’s known that this success failed tremendously. When conducting a risk assessment for moving forward while knowing the outcome of the past, the path that lead to success in the past must be changed. The purpose of a risk assessment is not just to momentarily avoid hazards and reduce risks, but also to design a Project Solution Leadership Motivation plan to action when success fails.


A standard risk assessment does not do the job for the multiple risk assessments that must be done for recovery in aviation. A standard risk assessment defines losses while it eliminates the hazards of success. Several years ago, I developed a risk matrix for both success and failures. A systematically failed risk assessment process is one where times between intervals of failures are methodical, planned, and dependable, without defining the operational system or processes involved. A prerequisite for airports or airlines recovery process is to review risk assessments of the past for failure or success. If the outcome was as expected by the risk assessment it was successful, but if the outcome failed, then the risk assessment process failed. If, for some reason, a risk assessment of hazard or incident reports were not conducted, the risk assessment is assumed to have failed. In Canada, since the SMS was implemented for airlines in 2006 and airports in 2009, there should be a wealth of data to review for recovery.


The aviation industry will look totally different tomorrow that how it was yesterday. Airport terminals designed yesterday was designed to meet the needs of the airport itself and not the travelling public. Airside personnel responsibilities today are regulatory compliance and compliance with SMS policies. Their responsibilities are not linked to aircraft movement or passenger counts, but to the static regulatory environment. Airline personnel, including pilots, mechanics and customer service representative responsibilities are the combination of static regulatory and variable customer service tasks. When accounting for time away from these responsibilities all personnel require retraining before returning to operations. A major change in the aviation industry since yesterday is that yesterday’s operations got away with regulatory requirements only, while operations today must cater to customers expectations. What the aviation industry had missed, both airlines and airports, when the COVID hit, was to have a prepared answer the question raised several times: “Why does the Global Aviation Industry, being Airlines or Airports, need a Safety Management System (SMS) today, when they were safe yesterday without an SMS?”

Different approach equals different outcome.

Operations will never be the same for airlines or airports. When the world stopped, the aviation industry took a downturn. The only way for Your Amazing Airport or Amazing Airline to succeed is to embrace the new digital world. We all like to see the good old days come back, but our wishes are irrelevant to what's happening. We need to service our customer's primary needs. While they love to travel and fly to exotic destinations, their worries are how their trip will be interrupted by other events. Imagine how stressful it is for your friends who are restricted, uncomfortable, and restrained to their seat in an airplane that has not moved for hours because it's parked. The ability to set and achieve a goal through systematic focus and accomplishment is the most powerful way to turn your dreams and visions into reality.


A successful recovery is to embrace public opinion and social media since they are telling you what they expect of Your Amazing Airline or Airport and what you need to know. Social media posts are being pushed aside by experts as being untrue or irrelevant to operations. Over the years I have written about this systematic customer service failure. Our goal is to provide exceptional and unconditional service to customers from a point of view of the travelling public. The recovery is to listen to our customers, and they are there on social media. Digital Recovery is the key factor to Celebrate Your Success.




Friday, August 21, 2020

Take On The AZR Challenge

Take On The AZR Challenge 

By Catalina9

Airport Operators in Canada are avoiding the AZR challenge and taking on a gambling position to protect their capital investment. An aerodrome without an AZR is to sign a blank check to the local landuse authority. Your Amazing Airport is taking the path of least resistance but also the path of greatest failure. Airport Zoning Regulations (AZR) is a unique program for Canadian airports to protect their capital investment. An aerodrome in Canada is any area of land, water, ice or other supporting surface used, designed, prepared, equipped or set apart for use for the arrival, departure, movement or servicing of aircraft and includes any buildings, installations and equipment. In short, all of Canada is an aerodrome. An airport is an aerodrome with a certificate of certification. Certification of an aerodrome is required for operations of scheduled air service, if the aerodrome is within a built-up area, or if it is in the public interest that the aerodrome is certified.

NOTE: It is always in the public interest that an aerodrome is certified.  

Once upon a time there was an airport…
For an aerodrome to be certified it must pass a test. Just as a pilot must pass a test for a pilot license, an aircraft mechanic must pass a test to conduct aircraft maintenance and most of us passed a test for a driver license. The test an aerodrome must pass is the TP312 5th Edition test. It’s a comprehensive test. The TP312 test is not given to a person or an entity, but to the parcel of land itself. There are conditions for when an aerodrome is obligated be certified, but there are no conditions under which an aerodrome may be excused from certification. The regulator may oppose certification of your airfield if it is a private member field, is located in a rural area, or there is lack of business at your field. This year, it is 11 years ago since an aerodrome submitted to the Regulator an application for certification. The airfield passed the TP312 test, but the Regulator refused to issue a certificate due to lack of business at the aerodrome. An aerodrome without a certificate and the AZR could in the blink of an eye be reduced to a drone-field by construction of aeronautical obstructions in the vicinity of Your Amazing Airport.

There are no conditions under which an aerodrome is excused from being certified. However, there are conditions under which certain behaviors are unsuitable for a person to be the Certificate Holder or Airport Operator. The tasks a person, as a certificate holder or airport operator is required to perform to maintain their position are to design and maintain the Airport Operation Manual, maintain the Standards of TP312 5th Edition and maintain the Safety Management System.


A Regulator requires Operational Control of an Aviation Document, or Certificate. Pilots maintains operational control of their certificate by training and medical certificates, an airline maintains operational control of their flight crew qualifications and aircraft maintenance. Just as an aircraft certificate is dependent of the aircraft operator, an airport certificate is heavily dependent on the operator. The difference is that an aircraft is moving all the times, while an airport is stationary. The Regulator expects operational control of all aviation documents, not just for pilots and airline operators, but also of airport operators. Operational control of an airport certificate is very different, since the certificate is issued to a static parcel of land. Operational control of an Airport Certificate is achieved by the Airport Zoning Regulations.


Some years ago, a finding was issued to an airport operator because a tower was built about 3 SM away from the airport. The tower penetrated the airports’ OLS and therefore became a hazard to aviation safety. Pursuant to the SMS regulations, an airport operator has based its safety management system on the safety policy and that there is a clear commitment to safety. Without an AZR in place, there is no clear commitment to safety since the airport operator does not have a tool to remove aeronautical obstructions that are hazardous to aviation. Should a structure be erected and penetrate an approach surface, the only option available to the airport is to shorten the runway. Making a runway shorter must be approved in the Airport Operations Manual and it is known that an approval may take 3-6 months. Without an AZR, an airport operator is operating outside the parameters of public interest and safety in aviation. An AZR is established to prevent lands adjacent to or in the vicinity of an airport from being used or developed in a manner that is incompatible with the safe operation of an airport or aircraft.

Without AZR the only way out is to move backwards for safety

Without an AZR in place an airport operator finds themselves between a rock and a hard place for compliance with the Safety Management Regulations. The regulations requires that there is a process for identifying hazards to aviation safety and for evaluating and managing the associated risks, that there is a process for ensuring that personnel are trained and competent to perform their duties and that there is a process for the internal reporting and analyzing of hazards, incidents and accidents and for taking corrective actions to prevent their recurrence.


"Let’s take a closer look at these three regulatory requirements as it relates to the TP312 5th Airport Certificate and required tasks by the Airport Operator."


The first requirement is that there is a process for identifying hazards to aviation safety and for evaluating and managing the associated risks. Intent is not a hazard to aviation safety. That someone intend to build a tower on short final at Your Amazing Airport is not a hazard to aviation safety itself, since there is no structure intruding on the approach surface. Under these conditions, and without an AZR, an airport operator or the Regulator has no rights to demand that a private citizen do not erect the structure. Since the structure is not erected, an airport operator does not have in place a process to identify hazards to aviation or to evaluate and manage the risks. A plan or proposal is not a hazard to aviation safety and does not become a hazard until the moment the structure penetrate an approach surface established pursuant to TP312 5th. The only option the operator has is to displace the threshold and shorten the runway. The Regulator has only one option, which is to issue a finding to the airport operator for not maintaining the Standards of TP312. A well-known public airport event is the Chatham silo.


The second requirement is that there is that there is a process for ensuring that personnel are trained and competent to perform their duties. Unless there is an AZR in place, airport personnel are without an option to be trained in obstacle management beyond the airport property and without the ability to affect the outcome of the plan.


The third requirement is that there is a process for the internal reporting and analyzing of hazards, incidents and accidents and for taking corrective actions to prevent their recurrence. Imagine for a minute a hazard report stating the following: “The Town is planning to build a 500-foot wind turbine 1 SM away from Your Amazing Airport inline with the approach path. When built, the wind turbine will penetrate the approach surface.”  

The one question Your Amazing Airport needs to ask and come up with an answer, is what to do about the hazard. In the case of this report, the airport operator does not have one single tool to stop or prevent the construction of the wind turbine. The only option is to close the runway. 


Operational control at an airport is not to manage pilots or aircraft, but to mange the integrity of the certificate and TP312 5th Standards. The only tool is the Airport Zoning Regulations.





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...