Current FAA oversight processes have contributed to an outstanding safety record. As we strive to make the skies as safe as possible and anticipate future needs and challenges, the FAA must re-evaluate its approach to safety oversight. To best target oversight priorities and FAA’s oversight resources, the FAA is transitioning to a risk-based, data-supported oversight system.

To support Flight Standards (AFS) through this transition, AFS established the System Approach for Safety Oversight (SASO) Program Office (PO) to develop and implement a comprehensive system safety approach to the oversight of aviation entities. The goal is to improve safety beyond current levels by enhancing our risk-based, data-supported approach.

The AFS Safety Assurance System (SAS) is the combination of people, processes, and technology that will be AFS’ safety assurance capability. In 2015, the AFS SAS will be the new oversight system for 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) parts 121, 135 and 145. Ultimately, SAS will be used for other applicable CFR parts.

SAS is being designed in 3 phases. It is broken down as such because of the scope and size of this initiative. There are approximately 7300 certificates within the United States – and no two are exactly alike – SAS will have the ability to meet the needs for many of the FAR parts.

A Safety Management System has four components. They are: Safety Policy, Safety Risk Management, Safety Promotion and Safety Assurance. SAS will be the Safety Assurance component of the internal AFS SMS.

What is SASO specifically?

SASO is the System Approach to Safety Oversight – it is a program office. SAS is a product.

What does the SASO PO do?

Using the phased approach shared above, the SASO PO plans and implements the SAS – AFS’ future oversight system for 14 CFR parts.

SAS Phase I – research and development of SAS

SAS Phase II “Alpha”

  • Scheduled for full deployment in 2014 through 2015
  • Includes 14 CFR parts 121, 135 and 145

SAS Phase II “Beta”

  • Scheduled for design and development from 2015 to 2018
  • Inclusion of remaining 3 components of AFS SMS and remaining applicable CFR parts


  • Maintenance of SAS

Why was the SASO PO created?

For two main reasons:

  • To integrate system safety into our oversight processes and develop the tools to support them.
  • To ensure we continue to maintain our safety record in a world of increased air traffic and static budgets.

What work does the SASO PO do?

The SASO PO works in four main areas:

  1. Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR) – Redesign of current oversight processes and integrate system safety principles within these processes.
  2. Systems Alignment – Ensure tools and technologies are designed in support of these oversight processes.
  3. Enterprise Architecture (EA) – Integrate the tools and processes into the AVS-wide enterprise management.
  4. Change Management & Implementation (CMI) – Ensure that business process changes are rolled out appropriately so that the people affected have the right knowledge, skills, tools, processes and systems to adapt.

What is the SASO PO doing now?

  • SAS fully operational at 66 AFS Field Offices.
  • Program is on schedule for deployment to all AFS field offices by January 2016.
  • Nearing the completion of the fourteen AFS-500/900 SAS training courses.
  • Executing Regional Listening Sessions to receive feedback about how SAS is working; Training, Policy, Field Support, and Automation.
  • Assisting the coordination of SAS continual improvement with AFS-900 Continual Improvement Program Office (CIPO) through the SAS Assistance, Feedback, and Enhancement (SAFE) process
  • Helping AFS plan and execute change; preparing and collaborating with the workforce for a successful transition to SAS.
  • Distributing and maintaining numerous SAS communications for the AFS workforce.
  • Educating and collaborating with SAS Transition and Readiness Team (START) members to be effective on-site subject matter experts pre-post SAS deployment.
  • Reviewing the automation in its production environment and coordinating with all active AFS personnel to ensure the automation is an effective support tool.
  • Deploying all offices through December 2015.
  • Planning and preparing for SASO Phase II Beta.

Mohammad Wasique
Manager, SASO Program Office
45005 Aviation Drive, Suite 240
Dulles, VA  20120

Phone: (703) 661-0581