• This call was started with Walter Kraujalis introducing the guest speaker, Sonnie Bates, the incoming IS-BAO Program Manager replacing Jim Cannon starting July 1st. As most of us know, a major contributor to the growth and acceptance of SMS in our industry can be attributed to ISBAO. SMS is an integral part of the standards. Sonnie has been teaching the ISBAO workshops and participating in the review of all the audit reports.
• Sonnie opened by saying that for the listeners on the call and working with the ISBAO standards, IBAC really appreciates whatever feedback you can give to them. The IBAC staff compiles and processes all of the feedback into recommendations that are presented to the ISBAO Standards Board. Over the past 3 years that he has been a part of IBAC, there have been numerous positive improvements. They also get feedback from the auditors.
• Someone asked how many operators are ISBAO registered. Sonnie replied that over 700 operators are registered, including everyone that is a Stage One, Two, and Three. He said that right now there seems to be flat period of growth – that the number of operators that registered in 2013 has leveled off. He is not sure what the reason is for this. He thinks it might be the operators looking at the requirements and thinking they are too onerous. He would like anyone’s feedback on this. IBAC is focusing on facilitating the small operator to become ISBAO compliant and registered.
• Sonnie was asked what does he mean by “small operator”? He said that has yet to be definitively defined, but they are looking at the operator that has a single aircraft that is a medium size jet or smaller, likely less than 27,000 kilos. That weight class is used in the ICAO SARPS as a delineator of certain equipment requirements. They want to encourage small operators to qualify. They are concerned what the small operator might think about the costs of complying, but mentioned that often the insurance underwriters can give a break on insurance premiums.
• Continuing the discussion about the small operator, Sonnie said that an SMS does not need to be all that complex. The level of activity is only one level of measurement of the robustness of an SMS. For a small operator to have only one hazard report a quarter would not be unusual. What is important is whether the report was processed properly, with a root cause analysis, mitigation strategy, and follow up. He said to look at ICAO Doc 9859 Safety Management Manual [note: available at AeronomX.com/downloads] which has a great description of the SMS process. Whether an operator has 4 hazard reports versus 25 reports, there’s no difference in IBAC’s opinion. It’s about the quality of the report. He is talking about hazard reports that are more than low-grade hazards, for example the light bulb being burned out in the stairwell. Yes, adequate lighting is important, but it doesn’t take too much of a process to figure out to replace a light bulb. A hazard report should have an analysis, be assessed, and then controlled with mitigation. There should be somewhat of an engineering science to treating the hazard, especially for Stage 3 operators.
• Sonnie shared a story about a small operator that flew a single-pilot jet only about 150 hours annually and used some part-time pilots. The pilot told him that it was impossible for him to have a safety committee. Sonnie suggested that the operator look to some of his vendors that provide essential services and see if they would be a part of his safety committee. Try asking the contract pilot, the FBO where they were hangared, the maintenance vendor, and the pilot training facility. He said this operator did just that and later remarked how well it was working for him.
• When asked about the online SMS services available, what did he think about those? Sonnie said that they can bring a great benefit, especially to the small operator.
• It was then time for Q&A from the callers. One caller said they are currently a Stage 2 operator and are due for an audit in April. How is it handled now? Should they try for a Stage 3 and see what happens, or just stay a Stage 2, or can they leave it for the auditor to determine which Stage they should be?
o Sonnie asked why go for a Stage 3? It is OK to remain a Stage 2. However, the expectation for a Stage 3 is that they are capturing all of the active conditions affecting their exposure to risks. Latent conditions are the other type of process deficiency. [Editor note: the 2014 ISBAO Audit Procedures Manual has had much more information added that defines what a Stage 3 operator which be performing].
• Dave said that they are a Stage 3 operator, a small department, and have quarterly safety meetings. He said it is difficult to get participation from everyone, to get them to submit reports. He said that he has probably submitted most of the hazard reports.
o Sonnie replied that IBAC has been thinking about having a Stage past Stage 3, an operator that has matured to a point that they are interested and willing to act as a mentor to other operators. He hopes that with operators like this available, questions like these could be handles by these mentoring operators.
• That concluded the call. It was 30 minutes in length. Next call is Tuesday, July 8th, at 11:30am Eastern time. Thank you for your participation. Please let other Safety Officers know of the opportunity to join the call or to access these meeting notes.