Nov. 25, 2013

This is the second part of a two-part story highlighting many of the upcoming changes to the IS-BAO program that will become effective in January 2014.

The International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) program enhances business aviation safety through the adoption of new standards and recommendations that are performance-based and appropriate to the wide range of business aircraft operators.

One of the most significant changes in the IS-BAO program for 2014 is new guidance issued by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) Standards Review Board on best practices for conducting instrument approaches when weather criteria fall below minimums at a destination.

The guidance is timely because, in recent years, the International Civil Aviation Organization has barred commencement of an approach if conditions are known to be below minimums at the destination airport. However, in the U.S. and some other countries, the standard allows for non-commercially operated aircraft to fly the approach, even if ceilings and/or visibility are suspected to be below published minimums.

“In countries [such as the U.S.] where approach rules are more permissive in some cases, you would be able to fly a ‘look-see’ approach,” said IBAC Audit Manager John Sheehan. “That would allow the crew to make the approach down to the decision point even if current weather observations [or, when no observations are available, the current forecast] is below published minimums. But in countries where there are more restrictive rules, you won’t be able to do that. The bottom line is that you must abide by the rules of the country where the approach is located.”

Another 2014 enhancement to IS-BAO standards involves keeping up with the evolution of special requirements related to changes in communications, navigation and surveillance (CNS) networks. This includes performance-based navigation, automatic dependent surveillance and controller-pilot data link communications.

Aware of “standards creep,” IBAC is working to prevent the burdensome accretion of rules and guidance over time. Case in point: when it comes to CNS, Sheehan said, less is better for 2014.

“We slimmed that section down,” he said. “We actually took a lot of these things out of one chapter because we realized that we had duplicated them elsewhere. But we emphasize the fact that operators must meet these requirements and must be aware of what their state of registry says.”

Realizing the hazards of working alone in what can create dangerous and quick-changing environment, the Standards Review Board issued for 2014 both a new standard for maintenance personnel and a new recommended practice for all employees aimed at addressing safe working conditions for those working outside the presence of others.

“A maintenance technician working alone at night, for instance, faces a very special and very dangerous set of potential problems,” Sheehan said. “That person could fall off a ladder, for instance, something that could cause serious injury or even death. Operators should have plans or procedures in place to mitigate potential safety hazards for people that may work alone on company time and on company property.”

Another IS-BAO recommendation that is new for 2014 calls for operators to ensure both procedures and training to support pilot competency with regard to key safety areas, such as managing flight automation, fly-by-hand skills, prevention of runway excursions, upset recovery and stabilized approach criteria.

“We’re recommending that the operator ensure procedures and training to support competency in each of these areas,” Sheehan said.

Other areas in which the Standards Review Board issued recommendations or standards include:

  • Replacement of the current standard regarding flotation equipment for helicopters (which was deemed by the review board to be too prescriptive) with one that is more performance-based and therefore more flexible.
  • More guidance for organizations operating under Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization (CAMO) policies and procedures.
  • New audit reporting procedures that include the use of forms that are more in line with ICAO safety management system concepts.

For more information on IS-BAO, visit the IBAC website.