What's New: SMS NRPM for 14 CFR Part 121

The SMS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for 14 CFR Part 121 Certificate Holders was posted November 5, 2010. It can be found at regulations.gov – Docket FAA-2009-0671. In addition to the NPRM, Industry guidance was published as part of the docket packet, as was guidance for FAA Inspectors. In addition to the traditional SMS NPRM (PDF), the packet consists of:

The Proposed 14 CFR Part 5, outlined in the SMS NPRM is aligned very closely with the current AC 120-92A (dated Aug 2010), which is in alignment with ICAO SMS Framework requirements. The voluntary development guidance documents have been evolving as part of the experience gained through the SMS Voluntary Pilot Projects that have been a joint effort between the FAA and Industry since 2007.

A concise version of just the Proposed 14 CFR Part 5 Regulatory (PDF), SMS NPRM text is provided from this link.

The comment period ended March 7, 2011. Every comment that was received is currently under evaluation by the Aviation Rulemaking Committee as per the FAA formal rulemaking process.

The NPRM Docket Packet and Public Comments can be viewed at Docket FAA-2009-0671.

The FAA is doing SMS because it is the right thing to do. SMS applies modern management methods to the processes involved in safety decision-making. It expands on the basic system safety initiative that was started by FAA over a decade ago. SMS provides a formal management framework that can serve as a valuable interface between regulator and service provider. The FAA began the move to system safety and then to SMS before the ICAO requirement, which exists because of growing realization around the world of the need to add this new approach to our safety strategy. In fact, as a "Member State", we are requiring ICAO to incorporate SMS requirements because of the safety benefits.

Now that the ICAO SMS Requirements have been formalized, FAA is engaged in an SMS rulemaking effort. The FAA is engaged in an SMS rulemaking effort corresponding to changes made in ICAO Annex 6 as well as FAA internal system safety objectives. While FAA is following its formal rulemaking protocol, (as codified in the Aviation Rulemaking Committee Charter, FAA Order 1110.152), FAA is conducting SMS Pilot Projects for external SMSs. (See the SMS Pilot Projects section for more details)

While FAA encourages each aviation product/service provider to develop and implement an SMS, these systems in no way substitute for regulatory compliance of other certificate requirements, where applicable.