FAA ARC Publishes SMS Recommendations

SUMMARY: The Safety Management Systems Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) published its final report to the FAA regarding suggestions for the implementation of SMS in the United States. Click here to view final report.

MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS: Overall, the ARC believes the FAA should issue regulations on SMS. However, it was noted that several SMS concepts already are covered by existing regulations to various degrees.

The ARC recommended organizations certificated pursuant to 14 CFR Parts 21, 119, 121, 125, 135, 141, 142 and 145 as listed in the ANPRM should be included with any SMS mandate. The ARC also recommended 14 CFR Part 91, Subpart K operators be included.

There were a significant number of considerations the ARC also recommended, which the FAA must resolve prior to promulgation of any rule, including:

  • Protection of SMS safety information and proprietary data
  • Alignment with ICAO SMS framework and international acceptability
  • Phased promulgation of SMS regulations
  • Phased implementation of SMS requirements
  • Recognize existing systems and processes
  • Recognize existing regulations/requirements
  • Scalability and flexibility
  • Consistency in requirements for holders of multiple certificates
  • Alternative strategies for SMS implementation
  • SMS does not change existing regulatory standards

AEA COMMENTARY: The ARC recommendation is the first step in the rulemaking process, and it is clear the FAA has a lot of work to do before a proposal can be initiated.  For example, the cost/benefit analysis required for all rulemaking will be difficult to achieve, as well as the requirement for evaluation of alternative approaches for small businesses to achieve the same outcome. In each of these cases, the federal agency must define a quantifiable problem that alternative solutions can be measured against. To date, the FAA has not identified a quantifiable problem.

The current status of SMS and how the AEA will assist its membership in implementation of whatever the final rule requires will be a topic of discussion at this fall’s AEA regional meetings.

Contact Ric Peri, AEA vice president of government and industry affairs, by email at ricp@aea.net or by phone at 202-589-1144.