Safety Systems (SMS) - SM4 Safety Articles & Resources

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time to act sign

Vigilance! Now More Than Ever. A Time to Act!

As the aviation community begins its rebound from the COVID-19 experience, managers and safety professionals must be focused on getting staff back to work safely and returning to pre-COVID routines. One thing is for certain, bringing staff back to full strength to match the rebound has uncovered some less-than-desired consequences, even for those operators who believe they have a fully functional SMS.

Posted on July 30, 2021
runway in the mountains

Risk Is a Choice: How an SMS Can Help Prevent Runway Excursions

Every accident starts with a choice. It is a decision among a sequence of actions that can still be within the boundaries of rules, but for too many business aviation operations, it is a sequence of choices that ends in a runway excursion.

Posted on May 3, 2021
do it

SMS for the Small Operator

“I know that there are those who complain that they’re too small for a Safety Management System (SMS). Or that it’s too costly. Or that they don’t have time. One by one: No one and no company is too small for a SMS. The cost of a SMS is far less than the cost of an accident.”

Posted on April 30, 2021
airplane crash on runway

Pilot Error Accidents: There Is More To the Story

Working directly with an aviation emergency response firm gives me unique insight into the complex and often cascading factors involved in understanding accident causation. Although pilot error is an often-cited root cause, it is easy to see it is rarely, if ever, that simple.

Posted on April 5, 2021
airplane at hangar

SMS Policy Review: Is Your Safety Culture Adaptable, Flexible and Resilient?

As the early months of 2021 unfold, this is a gentle reminder that it is time to dust off the SMS manual and perform your company’s annual policy SMS review. While our current work days continue to go sideways with pandemic-based tasks, this might be a perfect opportunity to get some quality Zoom time with your accountable executive (AE).

Posted on April 1, 2021
aircraft maintanence mechanic

When Systems Fail: Overcoming Systemic Comfort Zones and the Rebirth of Self-Reliance

In the last week, I found myself smack dab in the middle of the plunging polar vortex that took power, heat, water and the ability to travel away from millions of people in Texas (including my family). This has become the focal point of a national debate about electrical grid reliability across the nation.

Posted on March 1, 2021
Emergency crew assisting plane on runway

Was There a Decrease in Runway Excursions in 2020?

We now know that a global pandemic affects different industries in different ways. Retail liquor stores, package delivery companies and online meeting software all saw COVID-related bumps in sales. Restaurants, bars and most of aviation have experienced a COVID slump.

Posted on January 29, 2021
Man wearing face mask checking his phone before boarding plane

Your Pandemic Operating Plan: Process vs. People

By now, most organizations seem to be well on their way to developing their pandemic operating plan, how they will continue to do business in a pandemic environment. In business aviation, the plan must detail how you will move people from location to location, stay compliant, and meet your responsibility and defensibility goals.

Posted on November 25, 2020
Standard operating procedure spray painted on road

The Bedrock of Aviation—Standard Operating Procedures… Consider the Variables!

Aviation is all about standard operating procedures and their more-beloved acronym “SOP.” With the current COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on staffing levels, operators have had to make some hard decisions, whose impact may not be readily apparent. This article illuminates the risk in assuming SOPs are, in fact, standards.

Posted on October 30, 2020