IS-BAH: What Can It Do for You?

Almost two years have passed since the launch of the ISBAH audit standard. By now, you’ve probably heard about the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) and what it means for aircraft ground service providers. If you’re like many in the industry, however, you probably also have several unanswered questions about how the standard works in practice, and how it interfaces with the work you are already doing. While IS-BAH may sound like just another round of best practices, it is much more than a passing fad. In fact, the fundamental elements of IS-BAH provide operators with far-reaching benefits, including international compliance, marketing advantages, better efficiency and communication, and of course, safety and more resilient operations.

Many aircraft operators are ahead of those of us in the ground services industry in terms of a systems-level view of managing safety and quality. IS-BAO, Air Charter Safety Foundation and other audit standards have been around for years in Parts 91 and 135 flight operations, and are often a requirement for client contracts or charter brokers. Today, hundreds of flight operations have undergone the rigorous process for achieving IS-BAO registration. In the February 2015 issue of the Aviation Business Journal, I wrote about defining safety as much more than the absence of negative events; and the comprehensive framework of IS-BAO has proven a valuable system for helping operators better manage safety, quality, and operational effectiveness. IS-BAH provides the same benefits to ground handling organizations, and it complements existing programs for training and service.

IS-BAO and IS-BAH are managed by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) and were developed by members of the business aviation and handling communities. We’ll focus a bit more on IBAC—as opposed to some of the other standardization bodies—because it is the organization that manages the IS-BAH standard. IBAC’s member organizations include 14 business aviation associations from around the world. IBAC has permanent observer status with the International Civil Aviation Organization; and is an advocate for the business aviation community in that forum as well as others. When an operator chooses to conduct an audit to the IS-BAH standard, they do so through one of the accredited auditors listed on the IBAC website. IBAC itself does not conduct audits, so any agreement for the conduct, expectations, and costs associated with an audit are arranged between the operator and the auditor they choose.

Standards at face value are a way to provide structure and assurance that products and services are delivered safely and reliably and meet certain basic levels of quality. From an organizational perspective, standards are more than just a means for achieving quality and safety. They provide a framework for strategic direction as well, by incorporating a set of tools to minimize waste and errors, capitalize on improvements in communication, and increase productivity. IS-BAH and IS-BAO share common roots in the long-established ISO 9001 standard, one of the many standards the International Organization for Standardization promulgates around the world.

The primary focus of the IS-BAH standard (and the IS-BAO) is on systems. What that often means in practice is that we must adopt a holistic, process-based view of how we approach our business. Even in the heavily-regulated world of Part 121 and 135 carriers, standards are a useful way of codifying not only what we do, but how we do it at an organizational level, and how we continuously improve as a group. An important distinction is that IS-BAH is a performance standard. Rather than focusing on compliance with a strict set of guidelines, the standard seeks to push registered operators to design systems that can be monitored and validated toward reducing inefficiency and better identifying risk. Risk is an important element to IS-BAH, because the central tenet of the standard is a sound, appropriate, and effective safety management system.

Why is participation in a standard like IS-BAH a great idea, even if you already utilize the NATA Safety 1st Professional Line Service (PLST) curricula? The short answer is Continue reading

No More Waiting! Safety 1st Electronic Certificates Now Available

You may have already noticed but Safety 1st certificates for the PLST and Supervisor  programs are now available for online printing. No more checking for a certificate ship date or waiting for delays in the mail, simply click the “apply for certificate” button and then click the “print online” button, and you have your trainee’s certificate. The only difference in the Safety 1st certificates is that they are available to you instantly.

We have made this change to better support you, our user. Printable digital certificates save you time and remain available for the duration of the certification period, so if a certificate is lost or destroyed, you are able to print another copy.

If you have any questions regarding printable digital certificates just shoot us an email at safety1st@nata.aero.

Who are your Managers?

Submitted by Michael France, NATA Director of Safety and Training

If your business is like most in general aviation, you promote from within. Individuals who display passion, knowledge and skill take on new responsibilities and eventually even new roles. Many of these “homegrown” leaders have never had formal leadership and management training, yet they are tasked with leading and managing your business. Their success is often based solely upon raw talent and desire. Imagine what these leaders and managers could accomplish with just a little bit of expert instruction!

The NATA Safety 1st Aviation Management Workshop is designed to provide these leaders, both new and experienced, the positive edge they need to take the businesses they run to the next level. Presented in partnership with Aviation Management Consulting Group (AMCG), the Aviation Management Workshop explores proven leadership, management, and decision-making principles, best practice approaches, innovative strategies, and creative techniques from industry experts who have decades of experience leading and managing people and making business decisions.

Now is the time to invest in your leaders and managers and the Aviation Management Workshop is the solution you need.

Check out our events page for more details and to register

2014 Aviation Management Workshop
September 16-17
Savannah, GA

Visit of return to NATA website: http://www.nata.aero  

Safety 1st Launches the Advanced Line Service Regional Workshop

Today NATA announced the launch of its newest offering, the Advanced Line Service Regional Workshop. The workshop will be held May 14th and 15th at St. Louis Downtown Airport. We are very excited about this launch because this new workshop resulted from listening to you, our members.

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This workshop is designed to bring quality in-person training content while keeping the travel costs for participants much lower. The workshop only registration cost is only $175 for NATA members.

The ALS Regional Workshop includes:

  • Both classroom and hands-on training in advanced aviation fuel handling & quality control and the use of portable fire extinguishers (will include live fire practice)
  • Renowned customer service training presented by ServiceElementsTM
  • Leadership training, because being a leader isn’t just the job of your boss!
  • A session we call, Speaking the Language of Aviation

Past Safety 1st seminars included a certificate that met the requirements of 14 CFR 139.321, however, since we now offer that training in an online format, this workshop covers other important topics, including hands-on fire extinguisher training.

For those still wanting 14 CFR 139.321 certification, you can get a discount on this workshop if you sign up for our Supervisor Online or PLST program at the same time (check out our order form here).

At Safety 1st we believe in the value of in-person training. Between interacting directly with industry experts or networking with other attendees, dollars spent on in-person training get the best return. Fortunately with the Advanced Line Service Regional Workshop, it doesn’t take a lot of dollars to get a lot of training value.

Click here to visit the ALS Regional Workshop page to register.

Hope to see many of you in St. Louis in May!

Foggy Fuel Befuddles Some

A warm welcome to NATA Safety Net guest blogger Michael Mooney, VP & Chief Risk Officer with EPIC. This blog is part one of two.

Periodically in winter months we receive reports of cloudy jet fuel and/or free water in samples taken during truck transport deliveries at airports. The root cause of many of these reports is the fact that all fuel holds water in a dissolved invisible state and when it is cooled the water becomes “free” and visible to the naked eye. Water will fall out of suspension at the bottom of the sample bucket or remain suspended in the fuel like a haze or fog.

This temperature drop and release of water could be the result of the tanker truck driving from a warmer area into an area of colder temperatures, driving over a mountain pass, driving long distances at night, or parking overnight exposed to wind and cold. One customer located in a mountain resort area was supplied directly from a refinery located in the valley where the fuel was still relatively warm and was loaded into transport trucks and driven to an airport where it was much colder. Once the truck arrived the operator sees the hazy fuel in several samples and wants to reject the load, failing to consider the fact that what they were seeing was perfectly normal although admittedly frustrating. The reality is that in these extreme cases involving major temperature changes you will not be able to draw clear samples after just ten minutes of settling time.

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FAA Advisory Circular AC 150 5230-4 states “as fuel is cooled, water comes out of solution at a rate of about one part per million per degree Fahrenheit (1 ppm/degree F).”  This has nothing to do with the quality of the aviation fuel. Water is present in all fuel in a dissolved state and some will remain no matter how many times it is filtered, settled, or sumped. Based on the FAA ratio, an 8,000 gallon truck load of jet fuel that drops 30 degrees Fahrenheit would produce as much as 31 ounces, or over 2 pints of free water. At a recent IATA Fuel Forum an airline reported that a wide body aircraft loaded with approximately 53,000 gallons of jet fuel that departs from an airport in a hot humid climate on a long haul flight can create as much as 5 gallons of water in the fuel tanks. The warm humid fuel is exposed to extremely cold temperatures present at high cruise altitudes and the water precipitates from the fuel. They could sump the tanks upon arrival, if the water was not a solid chuck of ice, and begin to question the quality of the fuel loaded when the facts are the fuel was of a perfectly acceptable quality when it was loaded onto the plane before departure.

However, as a line service technician, you cannot just assume the appearance of free water is caused by extreme temperature changes. You must conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that you are not facing gross water contamination from another source. If you find free water in a tanker truck sample I would tell you to call your fuel supplier. Ask them to walk you through the investigation protocol to ensure only clean, dry fuel is received into storage per industry standards.

My thanks to Steve Anderson, Global Fuels Quality Manager at Air BP for his help in editing this article. In the next blog Steve will write “Part 2” of water in fuel and share some great pictures.

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The Winning Ticket

Just recently, the Safety 1st team set out on a mission: to complete a procedure manual. Wow! Who ever thought writing a procedure manual could be so difficult?? You never really appreciate the work you do on a day-to-day basis until you have to write it on paper! After about 6 months, we can honestly say – if the Safety 1st team won the lottery and didn’t show up to work the next day, someone could step in and do our job. Not that anyone wants to feel that they are that easily replaceable!

I started thinking about our members – could you say the same thing about your staff? If everyone at your facility won the lottery, could you hire a new staff and have them start working the same day? Can you pick up your procedure manual and explain to new hires how to do the job they were hired to do?

I was trying not to plug one of our products/services during this blog, but I just can’t help it. The Safety 1st Ground Audit Standard. The standard was established by industry experts to create a consistent operational safety standard for FBOs, airports, and other facilities while increasing the overall safety level of these operations. One of the main aspects of the standard is not just proving that you do a great job, but documenting how you do that great job. The standard won’t necessarily help you write your manual and SOPs, but it will help you organize your thoughts and give you a starting point – it also gives you a goal to get them done!

This might seem very overwhelming and it can be, but going into the process knowing that you won’t get it done in a week is key. I’m sure you have quite a bit of “common knowledge” available from your employees that have worked there for years – these are the people you need to tap before they win that dreaded lottery. As I mentioned at first – this process will take time and it will take a lot of effort but once it’s done you WILL be immensely proud! Trust me, I know.

Happy writing!

By Elizabeth Nicholson, NATA Safety 1st Program Manager

For information about the NATA Safety 1st Ground Audit Program, please click here.

Are You Cultured?

NATA Safety 1st, from time to time, will have guest bloggers from our Safety 1st committee or the industry at large present here at The Safety Net. We are please to present our first guest blogger, Bill Miller, the current chairperson of the NATA Safety 1st Committee and Area Director for Signature Flight Support.

From the intellectual perspective, culture is defined as “the totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, beliefs, institutions and all other products of human work and thought characteristics of a community or population.” The culture of a group of people, a business, or your own home and family evolve over a period of time.  It’s a bit history, hand-me-down experiences, outside influences and new minds and ideas.  Pretty heady stuff until you begin to see the effects of shared experiences and group learning.  One might ask where the heck is the author going with this…it’s about our, better yet YOUR safety culture at YOUR location.   Our neighbors in the United Kingdom have defined safety culture as; “The product of individual and group values, attitudes, perceptions, competencies, and patterns of behavior that determine the commitment to, and the style and proficiency of, an organization’s health and safety management.” 

Each member of a team of service professionals bring their own behavior patterns and beliefs to their work and subsequently affect the culture of the group.  In our environment it can change as people come and go, both employees and customers.  Our ultimate goal is to weave that safety culture into the fabric of our operation.  In the grand scheme of things, the safety culture we want to build places value on making safety understood and accepted as job one.  From a leadership perspective it involves sharing information, identifying and communicating risk and most importantly, focusing on human factors.   Over the last few years we have all read and learned much about the role human factors play in aviation safety.  You may have experienced a situation in which an employee or co-worker who was experienced, had received training and demonstrated proficiency with a task, made a poor decision or deviated from established procedure which resulted in undesirable or unexpected results.

Human error is inevitable and we all can make a mistake.  The secret, or maybe challenge is the better term, is how we influence each other to do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.  It’s the way a professional does their job.  Once that seed takes root it becomes second nature to the group or “the way we do things around here.”      

By Bill Miller – Chairmen, NATA Safety 1st Committee
Signature Flight Support

Thanks for reading!

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