SMS: A safety management system (SMS) is a systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organizational structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures. (ICAO). The key elements of an SMS are (1) Policy and Objectives, (2) Risk Management, (3) Assurance, and (4) Promotion. An SMS should be structured, documented and carried out in a fit-for-purpose way to assure that all risks are assessed and then continuously managed to a level as low as reasonably practicable.
Structured training program for initial and recurrent training: Initial and recurrent training should deliver specific competencies required for the missions to be flown. Training should have specific intentions and measure desired outcomes. For example, regarding instrument flight training, the recurrent training requirement should address the ability to successfully fly the approaches required for the mission (e.g., ILS) rather than a fixed amount of flying time in actual or simulated instrument flying conditions. All pilots should get recurrent training annually, including practice of emergency procedures, preferably in fit-for-purpose flight training devices or simulators.
Fully automated HUMS: With fully automated HUMS, sensors are placed at critical locations on helicopters to automatically monitor the health of mechanical components, as well as usage of the airframe and its dynamic components. HUMS record structural and transmission usage, transmission vibrations, rotor track and balance information, and engine power assurance data. HUMS monitor the health of rotating components such as gearboxes, bearings, shafts, engines, and rotors through vibration, and can also record parametric data from the aircraft’s bus for usage and event analysis. HUMS can identify approaching equipment failure, enabling proactive maintenance and avoiding inflight emergencies.
FDM: Helicopter Flight Data Monitoring (HFDM) is a systematic method of accessing, analyzing, and acting upon information obtained from flight data to identify and address operational risks before they can lead to incidents and accidents. The information and insights provided by HFDM can also be used to reduce operational cost and significantly enhance training effectiveness and operational, maintenance, and engineering procedures. Information from HFDM programs is unique since it provides objective data that otherwise is not available. Low cost devices are available for all helicopter types. Support groups are available to help small operators or individual pilots manage an FDM program.
Structured maintenance management systems: All helicopter operators, including individual owner/operators need a fit-for-purpose system or framework to ensure that they can safely maintain their aircraft in airworthy readiness for operations a cost-effective manner. It is essential for all the stakeholders, including the owners, operators and their customers, to agree on how maintenance is to be done and to document that agreement to assure a shared understanding and consistent execution. The structured system for helicopter maintenance management should use the manufacturer’s guidance as the baseline, assuring full compliance with the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance practices and schedule.