An aviation safety management system (SMS) is an interaction of many elements in an open operational environment. These elements include:
- Equipment; and
When we consider the environment, this will extend to social and geo-political factors.
Today's "aviation system" is a complicated interaction between both commercial and governmental interests. Coupled with changing aircraft technologies, rising consumer demand and changing environmental conditions, we find it necessary to implement controls in order for the "aviation system" to continuously adapt and offer assurance to consumers that risk in the "aviation system" is as low as reasonably practical (ALARP).
To achieve this end, ICAO mandated in November 2006 that all member states implement formal safety management systems. The United States took exception with the ICAO mandate, but finally passed regulation (final rule January 2015) that went into effect for scheduled airlines in January 2016. This legistation is 14 CFR Part 5, Safety Management Systems for Domestic, Flag, and Supplemental Operations Certificate Holders. For the general aviation industry, this legislation is simply referred to as "Part 5."
Part 5 not surprisingly closely resembles the ICAO SMS requirements, which are structured in four components, also known as four pillars of safety management systems. These four components are:
- Safety Policy;
- Safety Risk Management;
- Safety Assurance; and
- Safety Promotion.
Differences Between Part 5 & ICAO SMS Framework
While the FAA followed the ICAO SMS framework at a higher level, the ICAO SMS element names were not universally adopted. This leads to syntactic confusion with operators that have adopted the earlier ICAO framework. Furthermore, these operators following ICAO's SMS framework frequently have verbal confrontations with FAA inspectors that have been taught the newer, FAA rhetoric.
To facilitate harmony between FAA inspectors and aviation service providers, NorthWest Data Solutions, a leader in developing and supporting aviation SMS software, has created the Part 5 Automation Tool that is modeled after Part 5 regulations.
You can explore Part 5 Automation Tool by pillar at the right.