The Safety Assurance System (SAS) improves the certification and surveillance processes for air carriers. Under SAS our primary responsibilities are
- Verify an applicant can operate safety and comply with regulations and standards before issuing a certificate and approving or accepting programs.
- Conduct periodic reviews to verify that a certificate holder continues to meet regulatory requirements when the environment changes: and
- Validate the performance of a certificate holder’s approved and accepted programs for the purpose of Continued Operational Safety (COS).
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 principals. 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).
SAS has five process modules (For a more detailed explanation of these processes please see Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS):
- System Configuration
System configuration occurs during air carrier initial certification. It is also triggered when an air carrier requests a new or modified scope of operation. The Principal Inspector (PI) or certification project manager (CPM) uses the configuration process to assess a certificate holder’s or applicant’s request for a new or changed scope of operation and to develop a Certificate Holder Operating Profile (CHOP). The operating profile contains DCTs scoped to the certificate holder’s or applicant’s type of operation. The certificate holder or applicant has access to the configuration module through the external portal.
The PI/CPM uses the planning process to develop a risk-based, data-supported plan for SPAs. This module contains the Certificate Holder Assessment Tool (CHAT) and Comprehensive Assessment Plan (CAP).
- Resource Management
The Frontline Manager (FLM) uses the resource management process to assign work and manage resources for the execution of the data collection plan. Resource management is an ongoing process to ensure that available resources are assigned to the highest risk priorities as identified in the Comprehensive Assessment Plan (CAP).
- Data Collection
The Data collection process consist of data collection, data reporting and data review. The Certificate holder or applicant has access to scoped DCTs through the external portal.
- Data CollectionThe Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI) uses the data collection process to collect data while conduction oversight of the certificate holders’ or applicant’s process design and performance. The purpose of collecting data is to gather information that the PIs/CPM uses to make informed decisions about the certificate holders’ or applicant’s operating systems: (1) before approving or accepting them when required to do so by regulations, and (2) during recurring PAs. ASIs collect data to ensure that the certificate holder’s or applicants system complies with the intent of the regulations and safety standards.
- Data ReportingThe ASI uses the data reporting process to transfer collected data into the SAS automation. Element Design Assessments (EDA), System Performance Assessments (SPA), Element Performance Assessments (EPA), Custom DCT (C-DCT), random inspections and Dynamic Observation Reports (DOR) data are used to assess air carrier or applicant system design and performance and identify any safety issues.
- Data ReviewThe data reviewer uses the data review process to evaluate reported data based on data quality guidelines (DQG).
The data review process ensures that quality data is entered into the SAS automation for the analysis and assessment of the certificate holder or applicants. The inspector provides the first level of validation by submitting complete, accurate, and quality data that complies with the data quality guidelines. The second level of data quality validation is supplied by automation. The data quality reviewer (DQR) conducts the third step of data review for the Certificate Management Team (CMT) or Certification Project Team (CPT).
- Analysis, Assessment and Action (AAA) – The AAA consists of analysis, assessment and action.
- Analysis and Assessment – The PI/CPM uses the analysis and assessment process to make informed decisions about the certificate holder’s or applicant’s operating systems: (1) before approving or accepting them when required to do so by the regulations, and (2) during recurring PAs. The analysis and assessment process module for design assessment determines if the air carrier's or applicant's system design meets the standards for acceptance or approval. The process uses data collected by CMT or CPT members. The PI/CPM may use data from other sources to help make the assessment.
- Action – The PI/CPM uses the action process to determine a course of action based on the decisions made during analysis and assessment of negative findings. These items are tracked in the Action Item Tracking Tool (AITT). Actions may be required even if the air carrier's system performance has been affirmed. When the air carrier system performance is not affirmed, the PI/CPM must take action.