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Monday, April 21, 2014

BARS Risk Program Continues to Grow

By Ernie Stephens, Editor-at-Large

The Alexandria, Va.-based Flight Safety Foundation reports that its Basic Aviation Risk Standards (BARS) program has been meeting with great success in the helicopter community. Flight Safety Foundation's vision to see "an international civil helicopter community with zero accidents" is what drives BARS.

BARS was developed three years ago to provide a uniform, objective method for evaluating an operation's safety culture by way of an audit, which is conducted by specialist from the FSF team. The audit is provided upon request by an interested operator, and performed for a nominal fee.

"It assess the aircraft operator against a common standard," said Greg Marshall, managing director of the BARS program. "It doesn't matter where in the world it is - whether it's helicopters or fixed-wing - there is a common standard that applies to all of those organizations."

Marshall added that a company can define the scope of the audit. Once the audit is completed, a very detailed report is prepared showing where things were done well, and where things could be improved. Marshall said that the report is often seen as a "health check" by companies that demand the aircraft operator produce one before contracting it.

More than 100 operators around the world have been audited and registered with the BARS program. Approximately 40 percent operate helicopters only, 40 percent fly fixed-wing only, and 20% operate both. As of February of this year, a total of 250 audits have been completed.

BARS also offers safety courses entitled, Aviation Risk for Managers, Helicopter External Load Operations for Ground Personnel, Aviation Coordinator for Onshore Personnel, and Aviation Coordinator Offshore Personnel.

Marshall encourages operators to visit Flight Safety Foundation at www.flightsafety.org. to learn more about all of its safety initiatives, and to download checklists that can help them prepare for a BARS audit.

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