SMS Pro Aviation Safety Software Blog 4 Airlines & Airports

Understanding Complex Aviation SMS Database Configurations - Portals

Posted by Christopher Howell on Jun 6, 2016 6:00:00 AM

Saving Money Implementing Aviation SMS Programs

Not all aviation service providers are created equal.

  • Charter operators; 
  • Aviation maintenance organizations (AMO);
  • Flight schools; or 
  • FBOs.

Other larger operators may be more complex, having parent companies with a combination of:

  • Airlines;
  • Helicopter operations; and
  • AMOs.

Likewise, there are many aviation service providers operating simultaneously in multiple theaters, such as:

  • North America;
  • South America;
  • Middle East; or
  • Asia.

In this article, we'll discuss some common-sense database configurations for aviation safety management systems (SMS). This article is not intended for a beginner or for a simple operator.

Some complex operators have a desire to save money by having one database for the entire parent company. There are times when this could work, and other times when it will come back and bite you in the tender regions.

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Topics: Aviation SMS Database

How to Setup Aviation Safety Database Solutions for ICAO SMS Programs

Posted by Christopher Howell on Feb 29, 2016 6:00:00 AM

High Expectations and Fear Toward Safety Database Complexity

Each day, I speak to at least four safety managers as they search for an aviation safety database solution to satisfy their ICAO SMS, or regional civil aviation authority (like FAA, Transport Canada, EASA, CASA) SMS requirements.

Safety managers are apprehensive

  • to make the wrong decision as to which SMS software solution to choose;
  • whether their SMS database is flexible to change as their company changes; and
  • about what is required of them once they choose their safety database.

All safety managers know that the solution they choose will be better than what they currently have, whether their existing aviation SMS solution is:

  • Paper based;
  • Excel spreadsheets; 
  • Home-grown Web solution cobbled together by power users; or
  • MS Access database created by a long-gone employee who had a clear vision.

In this article, we go through the steps an SMS Admin would go through when setting up their aviation safety database.

This article will serve four purposes:

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Topics: Aviation SMS Database

Transparency and Aviation Safety Data Security - User Roles SetUp

Posted by Tyler Britton on Jan 25, 2016 6:00:00 AM

Transparency Is A Philosophical Question

As I have written before concerning transparency and Just Culture, a high level of transparency in aviation SMS programs is critical for creating:

  • Just Culture.
  • A reporting culture.
  • A culture of safety.

I think most, if not all, aviation safety managers would agree with me on this. Aviation safety data security is commonly under control of an SMS administrator, who may also be the director of safety. These managers are safety professional and not data security professionals.

This is probably why safety managers have so many questions about how to set up users in their aviation safety management system (SMS) database program. For starters, they may be managing users' safety roles and permissions in different parts of their aviation safety database program. For example, one SMS software program may use:

  • Individual User Security Roles; and
  • Custom User-Access Roles. 

The million dollar question is: "what is the best practice for organizing access to safety information?"

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Topics: Aviation SMS Database

How to Use Divisions in SMS-Pro's Aviation Safety Database Program

Posted by Tyler Britton on Dec 21, 2015 10:00:00 AM

What are Divisions In SMS-Pro

This is a question that comes up a lot.

Especially when we start throwing other words into the mix like:

  • Departments;
  • Portals; and
  • Management Portals.

It can get confusing quickly. Many people ask – what’s the difference?

Aviation safety database programs possess considerable flexibility and power. Scalable database programs can effectively serve either small, medium or large airlines and airports.

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Topics: Aviation SMS Database

Learn How to Choose an Aviation Safety Database Solution

Posted by Christopher Howell on Dec 11, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Which Aviation Safety Database Should We Choose?

Aviation safety managers become apprehensive at certain points of their careers. We see this frequently when:

  • They are making a decision to purchase an aviation safety database solution; or
  • They are setting up a new safety database for their SMS program; or
  • They are assigned to manage an existing aviation SMS database program.

This article will serve two purposes:

  1. Act as a guideline for selecting a new aviation SMS database; and
  2. Serve as a review for safety managers reviewing their existing safety database implementations.
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Topics: Aviation SMS Database

When You Need to Design an Aviation Safety Database for SMS Programs

Posted by Christopher Howell on Dec 4, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Do We Need An Aviation Safety Database Yet?

Not every aviation safety manager has a budget. Let's face it. Some safety managers don't know how to ask for budget.

Other safety managers are too imtimidated to ask for budget, believing that not being able to "figure it out yourself" is either a sign of:

  • weakness and incompetence; or
  • not knowing what in the hell you are doing.


Accountable executives and top-level managers think little of paying $4,000+ to fuel up the company jet, but spend $300 a month for safety software? Are you kidding? "How does that add value to our operations?" they may ask.

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Topics: Aviation SMS Database

Most Common Question: What Are Divisions in My Safety Management System

Posted by Christopher Howell on Nov 6, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Do You Understand Aviation SMS Solutions' Architecture?

After eight years of being an aviation SMS software consultant, I have heard just about every question imaginable about aviation safety software.

Perhaps the most common questions we get are:

  • What is a division in your aviation safety software; and
  • How many divisions do I need?

Before we answer this question, we should familiarize you with the overall architecture of an aviation SMS solution.

Modern aviation safety management solutions are designed to reduce the grief associated with paper and MS Excel spreadsheets. These home-grown solutions end up costing airlines and airports more money in lost time than if they simply found a commercial-off-the-shelf SMS solution.

The best aviation SMS solutions are scalable for small, medium and large aviation service providers. Let's dig in further.

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Topics: Aviation SMS Database

3 Things to Know Before Buying Aviation SMS Database

Posted by Doug Walker on Aug 6, 2015 10:00:00 AM

I Don't Need an Aviation SMS Database!...Or Do I?

It seems as if today that many more airlines and airports are scrambling to research or acquire aviation safety management system databases. Why are aviation SMS databases important? What should an airline or airport know before runing out and buying the cheapest SMS database on the market?Aviation safety management systems (SMS) are structured processes that in most cases enforce, and in other situations, encourages, aviation service providers to manage their safety programs according to best practices established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the FAA, Transport Canada, EASA and other civil aviation authorities.

To help safety teams in their search for an aviation SMS database program, here are a few things to consider before you throw time and energy into implementing aviation SMS software at your organzation.

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Topics: Aviation SMS Database

3 Benefits of Aviation Safety Management System (SMS) Databases

Posted by Doug Walker on Aug 4, 2015 7:00:00 AM

What Are Safety Management System Databases

In early 2007, when we started designing and developing SMS Pro, I was mildly surprised that many aviation safety managers called a Web application to manage aviation safety events a "safety management system" (SMS) database. I'm an IT guy, and when I think of a database, I"m thinking about Oracle, SQL Server, MS Access, etc.

I believe the confusion comes from pilots who are used to dealing with MS Access databases. MS Access has the abilty to create forms that feed and access data from the internal database. Therefore, I can understand how aviation safety managers, as well as many other professionals in other industries, can confuse the term "database" with "Web application."

A Web application has forms that can be accessed via the Web. These forms are tied to a centralized database, such as Oracle or SQL Server, two of the most popular enterprise grade database programs. In this article, we are going to call the Aviation Safety Management System Database simply "SMS Database."

We will highlight the various benefits of using an SMS database at airlines, airports, flight schools and aviation maintenance organizations. These benefits will include:

  • Safety Benefits;
  • Business Benefits; and 
  • Unanticipated Benefits.
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Topics: Aviation SMS Implementation, Aviation SMS Database


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