Although it seems unlikely that the FAA will issue a rule mandating SMS at U.S. airports any time soon, many airports and aviation companies are not waiting for a rule to implement SMS. They see the benefits of a data-driven, proactive approach to safety and are forging ahead with their own programs. Those programs include their own SMS training, whether provided in-house or by outside training facilities.
But at airports and companies where no SMS has been formally introduced, SMS training is limited and a lot of questions abound. Many people have heard the initials SMS bandied about, but they’re not sure what they mean. And as with any program that people are unsure of, there’s a certain wariness about it.
As a big proponent of SMS for many years – and co-author of two textbooks on the subject – I’m concerned that a lack of knowledge on what SMS is and how it works can make people skeptical and resistant to its introduction at their facility.
As I was thinking about this – and updating some of my course materials for an aviation safety class I teach at Vaughn College of Aeronautics – I came across a draft Advisory Circular that the FAA published last year for industry comment. In re-reading the AC and adding it to the course materials, I thought it was an excellent introduction to SMS. And, for many cash-strapped workers, the price is right – free!
Here is the link to the FAA Web site where you can read the AC.