Safety Benefits of SMS ignored/overlooked by Press

aviation safety overlooked by media
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Airline does the Right Thing

Headline and text focus on NEGATIVES

Fails to mention SMS’ positive, preventative actions

There is good news in the story of a regional airline grounding a fleet of aircraft. Who knew???

How would a headline ⇒“AIRLINE IDENTIFIES PROBLEM AND TAKES IMMEDIATE REMEDIAL ACTION” ⇐ play  in the mass media or even the trade press? Good aviation safety does not make good news for the 4th Estate. The below story about PSA Airlines, a wholly owned AA subsidiary, has buried the lesson of a carrier’s use of Safety Management Systems to take preventative action.

faa sms

Aviation is a most visible industry and the familiarity with sitting in an airplane seat makes the average consumer and avid reader of any news. That popularity helps focus the attention of print, radio, television, and internet “journalist” on all things concerning the flying business.

The operation of aircraft is deceivingly easy to the casual observer. In reality, running an airline is complex, particularly as it pertains to aviation safety. That does not deter these “experts” from analyzing and making absolute conclusions.

This story includes the basis for a positive report—

“…the airline removed “a number” of its Bombardier regional jets from service after discovering a maintenance item that required immediate attention. “The airline voluntarily disclosed the matter to the FAA, and the agency is working with the airline to address the situation…”

Prior to SMS, a carrier possibly identifying such human error, would not make it public. Because, if the information was released, the FAA would have penalized the “miscreant” millions of civil penalties. The publicity would scare passengers for months or longer—probably a greater sanction than the fine. To avoid all of that opprobrium, an airline executive would be tempted to make the repairs one-by-one until all the ADs had been met.

Under SMS, PSA and AA made the following public pronouncements:

PSA tweets

Immediate resolution of a safety risk is one clear benefit of SMS, but the greater value is the scrutiny of WHY this inadvertent error occurredfailure in some computer system designed to monitor ADs, inaccurate copying of ADs to work cards, inadequate parts/training…

PSA has an effective SMS program and culture; this example shows that the system worked, that it was trusted by the PSA’s organization from top to bottom and that it achieved the program’s goals- safety, preventive action, openness and learning from mistakes

sms graphic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is disappointing that the reporters fail to note these important safety gains in this case and from SMS in general. Perhaps, it is that the intricacies value of this state-of-the art risk reduction discipline are not well known to these professionals.

media slant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

PSA Airlines Grounds Most of CRJ Fleet

by Gregory Polek

– January 28, 2021, 3:48 PM

PSA CRJs grounded

American Airlines regional subsidiary  PSA Airlines on Thursday grounded “most of its fleet” to complete what it called on its Twitter feed “a standard inspection.” The grounding involves its 130 Bombardier CRJ700s and CRJ900s, all of which became the subject of an FAA order to inspect the airplanes’ nose gear doors.

nose gear

An American Airlines spokesperson confirmed to AIN that PSA grounded the fleet “out of an abundance of caution.”

“We are working with PSA and the FAA to immediately address the issue,” said the airline. “We are working with our customers to arrange new accommodations on other flights and we are working to return the impacted aircraft to service.”

In a separate statement, the FAA told AIN that the airline removed “a number” of its Bombardier regional jets from service after discovering a maintenance item that required immediate attention. “The airline voluntarily disclosed the matter to the FAA, and the agency is working with the airline to address the situation,” said the statement. It did not specify the suspected problem with the nose gear doors.

Headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, PSA operates as an American Eagle partner to more than 90 destinations from its hub in Charlotte and focus cities of Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

 

 

PSA logo

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1 Comment on "Safety Benefits of SMS ignored/overlooked by Press"

  1. I am surprised you might think the press would actually know what you are talking about! They don’t have time to educate themselves and it is difficult when you’re jumping to conclusions to do so!

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