The FAA has estimated it can take the average aviation service provider three years to implement the basic SMS framework when done in-house. In other words, the SMS represents a significant project management challenge, one that requires experience and a very specific skill-set to ensure conformity to the standard and more importantly, that you benefit from SMS.
Most small to medium sized flight departments, airports and maintenance providers have staffing constraints, and that means SMS implementation can be highly disruptive, distracting and potentially lead to disappointing results.
After spending the past two decades planning, implementing and managing SMS, our best advice is to get expert help before you even think about implementing the SMS. Make no mistake, the SMS is a complicated standard that provides lots of opportunities to make costly mistakes, but it doesn't need to be.
PART 135. We implement SMS following the current standard found in AC120-92B and Part 5 of the regulation. That regulation is currently aimed at part 121 operators, but will eventually be expanded to include part 135. Most charter operators have already moved to SMS or ISBAO to compete, but for others, the smart way to go is to adopt SMS now, before the regulation.
The major challenge facing part 135 is the same one facing part 91, staffing constraints. Small operators typically manage their SMS as an ancillary role, which impacts workload and leads to disappointing results.
The solution is either add staff or farm the program out to an experienced SMS provider, and in terms of cost benefit and effectiveness, there is absolutely no comparison. The savings and performance enhancement is substantial.
SMS Framework Implementation is the easy part, we've done hundreds, which is why we can do it for a fraction of the cost and time you'll spend trying to figure it out as you go. Typical project takes 3 to 5 days and often even less time.
Our experience means you avoid the frustration of an in-house attempt and the disruption and distraction it can cause. And, you'll have the peace of mind in knowing your program meets the standard and more importantly, will deliver real benefit.
PART 91. Since 2006, corporate flight departments with international exposure have been required to implement an SMS per the ICAO SMS mandate. Some operators chose to pursue a quality management program such as the ISBAO, while the majority pursued a stand-a-lone SMS solution. Fast forward to today and many operators are now looking for SMS support that ensures standard conformity, but more importantly, ways to fully benefit from their programs.
For new operators looking to adopt SMS, we provide a fully conforming SMS that meets all industry standards and ICAO requirements in about 3-days. As part of that process, we provide training and 12 months of professional management, that once you see how cost effective it is, you'll likely stay in the program.
PART 139. The FAA publication date for the SMS final rule was February 17, 2023 and applies initially to 268 airports within the NPIAS. The other 276 airports will eventually voluntarily adopt the program over time, as the SMS becomes the industry standard.
We have a broad range of options for airports, from initial implementation planning, manuals and training, to turn key implementations, conformity audits and everything in between. Call or email us today for a detailed proposal.
PART 145. For MRO's, adopting and integrating the SMS standard into your operation should be easy if you already have a QMS such as ISO 9001 or the 9100 standard.
If you are starting from scratch, plan on a significant project that will take 1 to 3 years to fully adopt should you decide to "self-implement". In that case, we recommend you contract the initial implementation to phase 2 of the FAA maturity ladder, and then take over at that point.
You will want to avoid the disruption and distraction that is typical in the early stages of the SMS implementation process. We have a program that meets that goal and can be accomplished in roughly 10-14 days. For more information and a detailed proposal, call or email us anytime.
I retired from my flying career in 2004 and spent the next two years as an apprentice working for a company that specialized in SMS, QMS and EMS program implementations.
Since 2006, I've done hundreds of SMS implementations and confirmation of conformity audits and continue to provide SMS management support services to dozens of flight departments.
While, I have experienced SME partners I can call on when needed, for the most part my primary partner is the customer, who knows their operation better than anyone. My goal is to make your transition to SMS a simple process that is affordable.