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Ctrl, Alt, Delete – Part III: Simplicity

IS-BAO, SMS | August 26, 2015

Author: Scott Macpherson

In speeches and writings in the business aviation community, there seems to be an unfortunate belief in the need for complexity in SMS and the implementation of standards, such as the IS-BAO or IS-BAH. However, the IS-BAO is kept simple by being scalable and performance-based, not prescriptive. The resulting design characteristics of the base SMS are kept simple, too.

Complexity without purpose squelches engagement. While it is true that implementation takes work, the results should be simple and effective. Whether an operation is small and basic or large and very advanced in its systems, operators can use these three characteristics to keep their SMS simple to use:

  • Soundness (Is it all there?)
  • Appropriateness (Is it suited to the risks encountered?)
  • Effectiveness (Is it demonstrably maintaining or improving safety?)

Whether you prefer a basic paper and file folder system with phone calls as your complete SMS or subscribe to a mobile friendly cloud system with automated notifications to the safety team, the system must be usable and produce results for those providing input. If it is too complex, participation will stop and effectiveness will reach zero.

I sincerely hope that operators will do what they can in-house and utilize some of the excellent services available to them with regards to SMS. These services will simplify their safety management activities through appropriate and effective measures requiring minimum effort, for maximum possible effect.

The next entries in this Ctrl, Alt, Delete series will be about measurement and advantages.

Part I | Part 2


Scott Macpherson is the President and Founder of and Vice-Chairman of the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) Governing Board. He is currently Captain on a Falcon 900LX.

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