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United States Department of TransportationUnited States Department of Transportation

Safety Assurance System (SAS)

What is SAS?

The Safety Assurance System (SAS) is the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) oversight tool to perform certification, surveillance, and Continued Operational Safety (COS). SAS includes policy, processes, and associated software the FAA Flight Standards Service (FS) uses to capture data when conducting oversight. SAS is not a separate safety standard and does not impose additional requirements on Certificate Holders. SAS helps accomplish the following objectives:

  • Standardizes the work being accomplished across FS
  • Improves consistency and collaboration between FAA and industry
  • Helps FAA aviation safety inspectors (ASIs) determine risk-based, data-supported oversight decisions
  • Provides the standardized protocols to evaluate whether Certificate Holder operations are in compliance with regulations

We encourage you to review What is SAS? – An Overview for Certificate Holders and Applicants (PDF) to learn more about SAS. In this presentation, you will learn basic information about SAS and receive an overview of focus areas and safety attributes within SAS, the SAS oversight model, and the external portal.

Additional Information about SAS

The SAS policy and procedure provide aviation safety inspectors (ASIs) with standardized protocols to evaluate Certificate Holder programs required by regulations to be approved or accepted. SAS is being developed in phases and enhanced over time. It scales and tailors oversight to the size and complexity of Certificate Holders. SAS implements FAA policy by providing safety controls (i.e., regulations and their application) of business organizations and individuals that fall under FAA regulations.

SAS was developed to:

  • Support the evolution of a system safety approach to a single oversight system
  • Build connections between what is in policy, why it is done, and how automation continues to evolve
  • Allow for the use of consistent, risk-based, and data-supported approaches
  • Provide tools for collecting, recording, and analyzing data
  • Allow inspectors to be more effective in their role so they can focus their work on the highest area of risk

SAS and System Safety

The goal of system safety is to optimize safety by the identification of hazards within an environment and to eliminate or control their associated risk. We do this by performing Design Assessments (DA) and Performance Assessments (PA) based on system safety principles. Certificate Holders fulfill their responsibilities by designing operations systems that manage hazard-related risks and by providing service with the highest degree of safety in the public interest. These concepts are fundamental to SAS. SAS is based on system safety principles, Safety Attributes, and risk management process (RMP).

  • Element Design Assessments (EDAs) are used to ensure a Certificate Holder's or Applicant's operating systems are designed to comply with the intent of regulations and system safety.
  • Performance Assessments (PA) are used to determine if the Certificate Holder's or Applicant's operating systems are producing the intended results, as well as to confirm the Certificate Holder's or Applicant's risk assessment is occurring through their monitoring process and they are taking appropriate corrective action when needed. This includes mitigation or control of hazards and risks and the ability to detect latent, systemic failures that may occur over time or due to subtle environmental changes.

In our continuing effort to improve the quality of service to our stakeholders, FS would appreciate any comments you may have on our services and how to improve them:

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