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  • FAA's Proposed SMS Regulations
    Posted by KristinMajcher 5:48 PM on Jan 04, 2011

    The Federal Aviation Administration announced its plan to develop Safety Management System (SMS) regulations for Part 121 operators on Nov. 5. According to the U.S. Federal Register, the aviation community has time to comment on the interim rule until Feb. 3, 2011. The final SMS rule would require the airports to develop standard safety measures six months after a final rule, thus making U.S. airports compatible with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements.

    Although these SMS regulations would not necessarily affect MRO organizations and manufacturers at first, the Aviation Suppliers Association (ASA) discusses some ways these rules could affect repair stations and OEMs in their recent UPDATE Report newsletter.

    SMS is a system that can predict hazards before they happen by using risk-based analysis to identify and allay the most pressing safety problems in the industry. ASA predicts that this will lead to an increased pressure on distributors to collect safety data, and also identfies some potential problems for parts distributors and Part 145 repair stations.

    One interesting argument that the ASA makes on p. 4 is that the FAA itself could hinder the implementation of the rule:

    The problems with implementing SMS are not limited to the text and interpretation of the regulation itself. Another problem with SMS as a regulation is that the FAA has already recognized that much of their workforce is trained and qualified to serve as inspectors, rather than as systems auditors. FAA employees have suggested that the shift in attitude toward true systems-based auditing could take 10-15 years and could require a "generational shift."

    Kerry Lynch just wrote a great article in January's Overhaul & Maintenance with more details about the SMS rulemaking process.

    Tags: FAA, SMS, OM99

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