Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Purpose Of SMS When Standards Change

The very first step of an effective Safety Management System (SMS) is for management to review and document intent, or documentation of regulatory compliance, the second part is to perform a Quality Assurance (QA) of operational processes to discover degree of processes regulatory compliance, with the following step to perform a QA to discover degree of safe operational processes. The regulatory requirements is the first item on agenda, since without being regulatory compliance, operational criteria do not exists. Before any operational process are established, the enterprise is in a static-state of regulatory compliance.  A hazardous operational condition begins to exists at the split-second of aircraft movement and an airport becomes operational.  Unless managed, this is a hazardous condition which could lead to an incident.

Hazardous conditions exists at the moment an aircraft is operational.
When standards are changed, either in flight operations or airport, it becomes essential to discover how this affect operations. An effective SMS includes a regulatory compliance segment, with the intent to not only capture the changes, but also to assess what effect these changes have on current and future operations. These future effects of changes becomes vital for management to understand. Often, airport master-plans extends beyond 20 year in the future of planned changes to runways, approaches and the capacity of operations. This capacity ranges from volume of passengers, to runway length and precision approach category.

The intent was not to have the town turn into a ghost-town.
Airports are critically dependant on obstacle free approach zones and these obstacles are managed different in different jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions have zoning regulations which restricts the maximum height of obstacles close to the approaches. When a new airport standards are coming into force these zoning regulations, may or may not, protect for future precision approaches to current or future planned runways. Unless the impact is assessed and understood, a fully functional airport could become ghost-airport in the future.   

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