AOPA’s Air Safety Institute creates an SMS approach which should reach much of GA

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GA has difficulties amassing the numbers needed

ASI develops “scalable” approach for clubs and individuals

Total individual commitment is needed for SMS and Safety Culture

Airline safety has benefitted from the risk analyses which are actionable due to the mega data that identifies, in statistically reliable bases, the issues to be assessed. This valuable analysis is based on the massive set of numbers entered by airline employees. General Aviation has difficulty replicating this important predicting tool because the fleet of aircraft is dispersed among many single plane owners. The entry of the myriad of indicia would be a burden on these operators. As noted before, this reduces the sample size and then minimizes the projections from the information collected—


GA Safety Improvement is a Good Goal, its Achievement may not be as Quick as with CAST

Gathering of General Aviation Safety Data might best be accomplished by the Private Sector Incentives

The AOPA Air Safety Institute has developed an approach which may provide enough data to provide some statistical validity.

The AOPA Air Safety Institute has released a Scalable Safety Framework (SSF), a PowerPoint presentation with a supporting PDF, that can be downloaded by aviation organizations like public benefit groups, flying clubs, and more to help them formulate, implement, and sustain a safety culture that is geared and scaled to their specific organization.






The institute’s Scalable Safety Framework is based on the FAA mandated Safety Management Systems in use by air carriers and other large operations. The Air Safety Institute focused the framework on five main components and steps to success.

Leadership: Communication from senior leadership stressing their commitment to a safety culture is imperative. This commitment sets the tone for the whole organization, and emphasis should be placed on a non-punitive culture that encourages pilots to report safety concerns.






Accountability: Examine and assess the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder in a group. The roles include how these individuals interact with others in the organization. The responsibilities include requirements to successfully fulfill the roles as well as the limits of an individual’s authority (i.e., can they cancel a flight, ground a flight, authorize a flight?).



Risk: Identify and assess the risks and unique issues associated with the operation. Then, create meaningful mitigation strategies that realistically can be implemented.


Reporting: Create a reporting system or promote the use of a system that already exists. A reporting system can be paper based, or web based—either way, it must be usable for the organization. A usable reporting system needs a standard form to report safety issues, a means to submit the report, a place to collect the reports, and a means of distribution of findings across the organization.

Culture: The goal of the SSF is ultimately to create an organization-wide safety culture that encourages reporting, rewards safe actions and behaviors, and keeps the entire organization (not just the leaders) engaged and involved in correcting issues.




Safety is everyone’s responsibility—help your aviation group by developing your own Scalable Safety Framework. Download the presentation from our Safety to Go portal.

Just reading these PowerPoint slides is not enough!!! SMS and Safety Culture are not just words to be memorized. To really attain the level of commitment needed to make this system effective, there is a level of individual comprehension and internalization which is not a matter of mere intellectual comprehension.

This paradigm, truly inculcated, requires a level of total, constant awareness which is more likely to be adopted by participating with other professionals. Yes, there is a need to command the data, analytical tools and risk management, but that is not enough. SMS and safety culture require a high level of personal commitment.

Beyond individual subscription to SMS and Safety Culture, a team—from the most senior to most junior and everyone in between—must jointly adhere to this new exacting, powerful safety regime.









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