U.S. Federal Aviation Administration officials plan to launch a regulatory proposal soon that would require aircraft and engine manufacturers to implement a Safety Management System (SMS), requiring them to manage safety with the same level of priority as other core business processes.
The FAA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is expected to be released in September, an agency spokeswoman told Runway Girl Network, noting that the NRPM will also be seeking comments on a proposed requirement that non-scheduled operators of Part 135, companies performing air circuits under Part 91, and repair stations are adopting SMS, in addition to aircraft and engine manufacturers.
An agency summary for the NRPM states:
[T]its regulation would require people engaged in the design and production of aircraft, engines, or propellers; certificate holders conducting public transport operations under Part 135; persons engaged in the maintenance of Part 121 aircraft under Part 145; and persons performing certain specific types of flight operations under Part 91 to implement a safety management system.
Also in September, a final rule requiring airports to implement SMS is expected to be scrapped, the FAA spokeswoman said.
SMS is a top-down, organization-wide approach to managing security risk, ensuring companies have effective risk controls they can act on. Airlines have been required to have SMS in place for several years. And the fruits of their labor are apparent, Acting FAA Administrator Bill Nolen said June 14 at the FAA-EASA Security Conference in Washington DC.
“Within the FAA, we have seen the benefits of SMS in reducing commercial aviation safety risks, which is why we are working to extend SMS requirements to manufacturers, airports and service providers. aeronautics,” explained Nolen.
The next NPRM grew out of the FAA’s review of the Boeing 737 MAX program following two fatal crashes. When the agency canceled the MAX on November 18, 2020, it noted in his report that: “The FAA currently only requires SMS for Part 121 operators. The FAA should mandate the implementation of SMS for design and manufacturing organizations, ensuring connection and interrelation with existing SMS from airlines, airports and service providers.
But even as it began to outline a plan for such a mandate, the FAA recommended manufacturers adopt voluntary SMS programs and created guidelines for stakeholders who wanted to take the initiative. In December 2020, he formally accepted Boeing’s voluntary SMS for his Boeing Commercial Airplanes unit – a job he had steered the Airman towards as part of a prior settlement agreement to resolve suspected regulatory compliance issues within the company.
As part of its SMS policy, Boeing is committed foster a positive safety culture that enables the proactive identification and mitigation of risks to prevent accidents, injuries or loss of life; and ensuring that all employees understand the obligation to report any hazard, incident or safety concern, among other commitments.
Last month, the aircraft manufacturer released its first-ever Director of Aerospace Safety Report, in which it outlines its SMS work to date, including employee awareness training. And, on June 23, as part of the implementation of this company-wide SMS, Boeing announced it will integrate Aireon’s space-based ADS-B data into its security analysis tools.
Under the agreement, Aireon will provide historical aircraft data and near real-time aircraft event data through its AireonINSIGHTS product “for select Boeing aircraft programs,” the two companies said in a statement. .
AireonINSIGHTS merges Aireon ADS-B data with contextual aviation data such as infrastructure, weather, avionics, aircraft register and planning data, to provide tracking event data aircraft and flight alerts.
“We are investing in a stream of data that can be turned into safety intelligence,” said Vishwa Uddanwadiker, Boeing vice president, Aerospace Safety Analytics. “We are adding this to our data analytics ecosystem to help predict and prevent security risks, while identifying other opportunities to strengthen our security management system.”
Aireon CEO Don Thoma added, “With this integration, Boeing will have data to provide a complete operational view of its fleet, and we are excited to partner with them.”
Asked by Runway Girl Network to describe the select Boeing aircraft programs that will see Aireon provide data (Boeing 737NG, 737 MAX, 777, 787), the aircraft manufacturer remained vague. “Over a period of time, we will receive historical and near real-time data for various Boeing aircraft, which will provide us with a holistic view of our fleet. The goal is to make our risk models robust by ingesting a variety of data,” Uddanwadiker said via an emailed statement.
He noted that all data will be used internally to support advanced analytics performed to strengthen Boeing’s SMS.
The 737 MAX program in particular, however, is again under intense media scrutiny, after ABC News claimed the jet had experienced at least six in-flight emergencies and dozens of groundings over the course of the year. the year following the non-grounding order.
“An ABC investigation may also reveal that the US government will announce a new audit examining Boeing’s production oversight of 737 MAX aircraft,” said the news agency.
Moreover, the FAA may still see fit to formally integrate Aireon’s signal into the US air traffic system. A joint venture involving Iridium, NAV CANADA and European air navigation service providers, Aireon “is actively engaged with the FAA regarding the use of space-based ADS-B,” an Aireon spokeswoman confirmed this week.
It remains to be seen whether the next round of FAA reauthorization legislation in 2023 will include investments for this integration.
“We look forward to continued discussions on the integration of the signal into the airspace and its final operational use in accordance with the schedule established by the FAA,” she said.
However, in the meantime, the FAA has evaluated Aireon’s service in the ocean and Caribbean area of Miami and explore innovative use cases for space-based ADS-B.
Featured image credited to istock.com/the_guitar_mann