SMS Pro Aviation Safety Software Blog 4 Airlines & Airports

Christopher Howell

Manage global operations for aviation safety management systems (SMS) software that facilitates regulatory compliance, such as ICAO, FAA, Transport Canada, IS-BAO. Manage software engineering support efforts to local Alaska businesses. Assist in design, implementation, testing and documentation of complex, three-tier Windows applications relying heavily upon secure Web services technology.
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Recent Posts

Aviation SMS Implementation Challenges for Small Service Providers

Posted by Christopher Howell on May 20, 2019 5:43:00 AM

Disadvantaged Part-Time Safety Managers

Incredible challenges assail aviation safety managers at smaller operations who are implementing aviation safety management systems (SMS). In short, their organizational size and make-up present a very real hazard that must be recognized and mitigated.

Recognizing the hazard, as well as awareness of possible remedies will be a first step toward overcoming these SMS implementation challenges. What is the biggest hurdle for these small service providers who are required to implement an aviation SMS? How do other small service providers manage this hazard?

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Topics: Aviation SMS Implementation

4 Tips for Passing Aviation SMS Audits -with Free Resources

Posted by Christopher Howell on May 15, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Why Passing an Aviation SMS Audit Is Critical

Over the past dozen years, an aviation SMS audit has become a necessary and commonly difficult task for:

  • Airlines;
  • Airports;
  • Aviation maintenance organizations;
  • ATC; and
  • Flight schools.
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Topics: 3-Safety Assurance

5 Things You Wish You Knew before Your First Aviation SMS Implementation

Posted by Christopher Howell on May 8, 2019 6:00:00 AM

Aviation SMS Implementations Take Years to Fully Mature

Safety managers are fresh, fully motivated when starting their aviation SMS implementations.

SMS Implementations are marathons, not sprints. Initially, you will be able to have many short bursts to get you out of the starting gate. These short bursts may be attributed to:

  • Management pressure;
  • Upcoming audits (regulatory or client); or
  • Stage of your aviation SMS implementation.

Regardless of whether this is the first time you have implemented an SMS program, or whether you have participated in others, we hope to share some lessons.

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Topics: Aviation SMS Implementation

What Is a Gap Analysis in Aviation SMS?

Posted by Christopher Howell on May 7, 2019 6:05:00 AM

What Is a Gap Analysis Used For

Both new and experienced aviation safety professionals sometimes have to ask themselves, what is a gap analysis and why am I using it?

The first thing anyone needs to understand about a gap analysis is that it is a process used by both new aviation safety management systems (SMS) and maturing SMS. This process is used by aviation service providers to determine:

  • The current state of the SMS;
  • The desired state of the SMS; and
  • Where the “gaps” between those states are.
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Topics: 3-Safety Assurance

What Should Be the Number One KPI in the Aviation Business?

Posted by Christopher Howell on May 2, 2019 6:01:00 AM

Questions on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Aviation

Aviation safety professionals frequently email our subject matter experts (SMEs) for opinions regarding aviation safety management systems (SMS) and advice as to managing key performance indicators (KPIs). Goal setting relating to key performance indicators is also another very common thread we are asked about.

In the case that follows, I was asked:

"If I were to join the one KPI on Quality & Safety for a CEO in the Aviation business, what would you recommend me to suggest? My intention is to open this in the CEO’s KPIs as a performance target. Please assist if you can and thank you in anticipation!"

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Topics: Key Performance Indicators

What Is Proactive Hazard Identification and Risk Management in Aviation SMS

Posted by Christopher Howell on Apr 30, 2019 6:07:00 AM

What Is Proactive Hazard Management

I have a friend across the globe who is having troubles getting his head around proactive hazard identification and the resulting risk management processes in his aviation safety management system (SMS). This friend naturally prompted this blog article to explain an approach to proactively manage hazards and to document hazard identification and risk analysis activities.

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Topics: 2-Safety Risk Management

What Is Aviation Safety?

Posted by Christopher Howell on Apr 23, 2019 6:13:00 AM

Understanding Safety Terms Remains Important

We write everyday about topics relating to aviation safety management systems (SMS), yet we have always taken for granted that you know what is aviation safety?

Deep down, most of us have an idea about safety. We can logically expand a safety definition to encompass the aviation industry. Yet this takes work to consider the broad implications. I've taken a few moments to discuss what is aviation safety, since I've never defined it in the past.

I'm hoping to share a few insights and I am also hoping that other industry experts will expand upon this often overlooked definition.

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Topics: 2-Safety Risk Management

Safety Chart: How to Find Bureaucratic Weakness in Business Processes - Aviation SMS

Posted by Christopher Howell on Apr 14, 2019 6:29:00 AM

Why #Policies Involved In Issues Charts Matter for Your Aviation SMS

Operational policies and procedures are the bureaucratic backbone to the success of every organization. The policies and procedures are the recipe, or secret sauce that your company uses to deliver its product or service.

The purpose of every aviation safety management system (SMS), besides to obviously improve levels of system safety, is to improve operational processes to a point where risk is mitigated as low as reasonably practical (ALARP). The most practical approach to achieve this goal is for the industry, as a whole, to adopt standards that manage risk in a formal, structured, proven risk management process.

As operators improve their operational processes, systemic risk is logically reduced. A most powerful approach to improve your processes in the shortest time possible is to actively and continuously monitor your policies and procedures.

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Topics: Risk Management Software

Setting Up an Aviation Safety Management System (SMS)

Posted by Christopher Howell on Apr 13, 2019 6:08:00 AM

SMS Implementation Guidance Still Needed

Over a dozen years (Nov 2006) have passed since ICAO issued its first mandate requiring member states to implement formal, structured aviation safety management systems (SMS).

By now, I would like to believe there is considerable guidance available for aviation service providers to implement their aviation SMS. However, approximately ten percent of the people I encounter in my work as a provider of aviation SMS software request guidance on setting up their aviation SMS.

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Topics: 1-Safety Policy

How to Tell Your Safety Culture Needs Help? - w/Aviation SMS Resources

Posted by Christopher Howell on Apr 8, 2019 6:11:00 AM

What Does Ideal Safety Culture Look Like in Aviation SMS

I have written before that one of the biggest problems with safety culture in aviation safety management systems (SMS) is the way most of us understand what safety culture is. The problem confounds itself when one considers the other related organizational performance topics, such as:

  • Just culture;
  • Learning culture;
  • Flexible culture;
  • Reporting culture; and
  • Informed culture.

Often the assumption – without ever really defining it – is that safety culture vaguely involves employees who appreciate and participate in safe behavior. This kind of nebulous understanding doesn’t help anyone actively target problem areas of their aviation SMS' safety performance.

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Topics: 3-Safety Assurance

Site content provided by Northwest Data Solutions is meant for informational purposes only. Opinions presented here are not provided by any civil aviation authority or standards body.



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