As much as we would all like to have an aviation safety crystal ball and the ability to predict every possible flight operation safety scenario, the reality is that it still boils down to getting everyone on the same safety page. Nurturing a culture of safety, whether in a large or small flight department, is still fundamentally the best way to identify risks and avoid the possibility of the smallest of safety items slipping through the cracks. Drawing on decades of experience in providing operational guidelines and safety management expertise, AviationManuals offers three useful tips to kickstart your new flight operations year:
- Setting 1-3 safety goals: Using the analogy of setting weight loss goals, something many of us are doing after a fulfilling holiday season, safety objectives should be crystal clear, easily attainable, and easy to measure. Given the amount of ground to cover, try not to accomplish everything all at once. If you are just getting started, set a single goal that will have the greatest impact. In the future as you become more experienced with SMS you can add to your goals.
- Establish an inclusive safety culture: Turn informal safety conversations that often take place on the ramp, in the hangar after a flight, or back at your hotel during a layover into a formal safety briefing and establish a structured protocol for reporting and addressing safety concerns. Encourage your team members to actively contribute by sharing their observations and experiences. Implement a reporting system that allows for timely documentation and analysis of potential risks. By fostering a culture of proactive communication, we can collectively identify and address safety issues before they escalate.
- Keep your operations manual up to date: It is vital that your policies and procedures be formally incorporated in standardized fashion into your operations manual. This not only ensures internal flight operation continuity but also ensures procedural consistency with outside contractors and new additions to the team. Otherwise, the lack of standardization could lead to an inefficiency or, worst-case scenario, a crucial safety shortcoming.
When it comes to maintaining consistent operational safety, regardless of who is in the cockpit or on the ground, the importance of having safety mechanisms in place to help avoid the unexpected is essential. It also helps to mitigate risks from typical challenges like avoiding crew fatigue, assuring contract personnel are properly trained, and fleet management. Like with every flight, it starts with preparation and planning and it ends with successful execution and completion.