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Safety Analysis & Promotion Division

System Approach for Safety Oversight Program (SASO)


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 has transitioned and evolved to a robust risk-based, data- supported oversight system.

To support Flight Standards Service (FS) through this transition, FS established the System Approach for Safety Oversight (SASO) Program Office (PO), an AVS level program, to develop and implement a comprehensive system safety approach to the certification and oversight of aviation entities. The goal is to improve safety beyond current levels by enhancing Risk Based Decision Making (RBDM) practices and initiatives.

SASO is responsible for the FAA’s Safety Assurance System (SAS). SAS is the combination of people, processes, and technology and is the safety assurance component of the Safety Management System (SMS).

SAS is being developed and implemented in Phases. It is broken down as such because of the scope and size of this initiative. There are over 12,000 certificates within the United States – and no two are exactly alike – SAS will have the ability to meet the needs for most of the CFR parts.

SASO Program as a Phased Development Approach

What is SASO?

SASO is the System Approach to Safety Oversight: "a program" maintained by the SASO Program Office, sponsored by the Flight Standards Executive Director (AFX-1), and is a Capital Investment Program approved and overseen by a Congressional Joint Resource Council.

What work does the SASO PO do?

The SASO PO works in four main areas and in coordination with other Aviation Safety (AVS) Lines of Business, Flight Standard Service (FS) Program Offices, and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

  • Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR) – Supports the redesign of current processes using cross-functional teams who integrate system safety principles within these redesigned processes, and is available to assist all AVS Lines of Business to meet their business needs.
  • Systems Alignment – Ensure tools and technologies are designed in support of these oversight processes.
  • Enterprise Architecture (EA) – Integrate the tools and processes into the AVS-wide enterprise management.
  • Change Management (CM) – Apply structured processes and tools to manage the people side of change from the current state to the future state so the desired results of the change are achieved.

What is the SASO PO doing now?

  • SAS is fully operational for 14 CFR Parts 121, 135, 141, 142, 145 and 147.
  • Sponsoring and conducting SAS User Forums; soliciting feedback and input to assist in continual improvement
  • Released the next evolution of SAS - SAS Phase 3. This upgrades SAS to include features such as Risk Profile, Activity Recording, Office Workload List, Coordinated Surveillance and others. Support Teams and Subject Matter Experts are now developing the next generation of SAS - SAS Phase 4.
  • Practicing and implementing Change Management activities to meet the needs of the FS Workforce
  • Assisting SAS continual improvement through the SAS Assistance, Feedback, and Enhancement (SAFE) process

This office manages and supports continual improvement initiatives for:

  • Safety Assurance System (SAS) Automation/Policy
  • National Program Guidelines (NPG)
  • Certification Service Oversight Process (CSOP)
  • Data Collection Tools (DCTs)
  • Compliance Program – The office collects and responds to feedback from the users of these systems, provides input on national policies and procedures for the oversight of air operators, air agencies, airmen, and dispatchers, and recommends enhancements for SAS oversight business processes to include, policy, data collection tools and automation. The office is divided into the following teams:
    • Automation and Policy Team – The office develops, deploys, and maintains software requirements, automation user guides, systems-based oversight for the Safety Assurance System (SAS), for National Program Guidelines (NPG), and Certification Service Oversight Process (CSOP) and authors national oversight policy guidance.
    • Technical Support Team – The office develops, authors, and maintains data collection quality standards and plans and implements certificate holders’ configuration enhancements for the SAS Data Collection Tools (DCTs) and creates National/Divisional/Custom DCTs at the direction of the Safety Standards Office.
    • Safety and Compliance Team – The Safety and Compliance Team is responsible for the continued implementation of the Compliance Program within the Flight Standards Service. The Compliance Program provides the overarching guidance for the FAA’s approach to adherence to safety standards, such as regulatory requirements. The Safety and Compliance Team is responsible for the policy, messaging, training, and monitoring of the Compliance Program. In addition, the team works to promote the program to individuals and operators overseen by the Flight Standards Service .

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