Nov. 2, 2020

NBAA’s Emerging Technologies Committee recently published the first entry in a new content series on safety management system (SMS) guidance for UAS operators, which addresses risk factors brought about by drones.

“SMS is all encompassing,” said. Jon Hegranes, CEO and founder of Kittyhawk and primary author of the guidance document. “While SMS for traditional aviation creates a good baseline for UAS operations, those processes and procedures need more tailoring for drone operations. This series is intended to help operators apply traditional aviation SMS concepts to UAS operations, from Part 107 to Part 135, and beyond.”

The resource describes the four pillars of SMS: safety policy, safety assurance, safety risk management and safety promotion, then provides practical tips for growing enterprise UAS programs and small- and medium-business UAS programs to successfully implement an SMS in their organization.

“The Emergency Technologies Committee is excited to share this guidance document – the committee’s first published work product – with other UAS operators,” said Heidi Williams, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure and committee liaison.

“We know most UAS operators already incorporate risk-based processes into their operations,” Williams added. “This guidance document will help those operators to create a more formal SMS, building on their existing policies, processes and procedures.”

The Emerging Technologies Committee, launched last year as part of NBAA’s efforts to encourage new technology development and ensure safe integration with traditional aircraft operations, focuses on promising and innovative aviation technologies, including unmanned aircraft systems, advanced air mobility, unmanned aircraft system traffic management, commercial space and other future technologies and infrastructure.

The committee’s overarching goals are to engage the industry, create new data points and develop an evergreen resource center.

The new guidance document is essentially an introduction to SMS. The group will continue to develop content pieces, including more guidance on implementing an SMS and specific case application examples, as part of the ongoing work to create a full resource library.

Review the new SMS resource: Introduction to UAS Safety Management Systems.