SMS and C-FOQA Combine to Enhance Aviation Safety


The ability of an SMS to identify and eliminate hazards in corporate aviation may get a boost

According to the FAA, the definition of a Safety Management System (SMS) is a “formal, top-down, organization-wide approach to managing safety risk and assuring the effectiveness of safety risk controls. It includes systematic procedures, practices and policies for the management of safety risk.” 

FOQA (Flight Operations Quality Assurance), also known as FDM (flight data monitoring) is the process of analyzing routinely recorded flight data, making it easier to identify and eliminate potential safety hazards in flight operations. And now, GE Aviation has announced the integration of Corporate Flight Operations Quality Assurance (C-FOQA) with Polaris Aero’s safety management system – Vector SMS. The safety benefits of the combined programs will be incredible. 

Can I be honest and say that I’ve been in corporate aviation for 10 years and I did not know that C-FOQA was a thing. I knew that airlines had been using FOQA for over 20 years, and that it has been credited with reducing incident and accident rates at airlines where it had been adopted, but I did not know that there was a similar program for corporate flight departments. In fact, C-FOAQ and Vector SMS have more than 400 combined customers, including Part 91 operators, 135 charters and other business aircraft operations.

This integration is brand new in business aviation and is unique because the information from flight data is automatically forwarded to the Vector SMS using GE Aviation’s API (application programming interface). This makes it easy for users to identify the underlying causes of safety events. C-FOQA is GE Aviation’s premier service and it offers patented analytics software that combines meteorological data, navigation data and terrain mapping to identify safety events on thousands of daily flights. 

Vector SMS is an app that is designed to simplify the complex safety process, making it easy to report, analyze, audit and trend safety concerns. Communication is easily shared throughout the organization so everyone has access to important safety data. 

Aviation specific SMS programs create a culture where pilots are encouraged to learn from shared experiences without fear of punishment. Combining these two programs to automate the process will have positive ramifications throughout the aviation industry. Now that I know it exists, I’m going to look into it.

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