Nevada-based helicopter operator El Aero Services has become the first member to join the HAI SMS Program. The company fully implemented the system on Jan. 1, 2022.
Last fall, HAI introduced its safety management system (SMS) program as an affordable, scalable solution for small rotorcraft businesses seeking to incorporate SMS into their operations. HAI partnered with three industry-leading SMS software providers to offer an affordable range of products for interested customers.
El Aero chose Baldwin Safety & Compliance as its SMS partner after a meeting between the company’s management and a Baldwin representative during the HAI Aerial Firefighting Safety Conference in Boise, Idaho, last November.
“We’d been looking at options for upgrading our dated SMS program to something digital, with easy access to report generation for received data, and simpler for pilots to utilize,” says Jairus Duncan, director of operations at El Aero Services. “Plus, it’s compliant with new government contracting requirements.”
El Aero, which began providing helicopter services in 1973, operates two Bell 206L-4 aircraft, one Bell 206B-3, and three fixed-wing aircraft. With bases in Elko and Carson City, the company works throughout Nevada, the western United States, and the Midwest. Its primary operations include supporting the federal Wild Horse and Burro Program in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Oregon, and performing bison gathers for state and national parks.
El Aero also provides fire support to the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, and Cal Fire; performs restorative burn seeding; and conducts search-and-rescue and tactical flight operations for the Elko County Sheriff’s Office and surrounding agencies.
The HAI SMS Program is a direct result of an HAI membership survey in which many respondents requested turnkey SMS support. The program is available to all HAI member operators in good standing.
”Our members asked for assistance with SMS programs, and one of the most exciting elements of the HAI SMS Program is how quickly and efficiently it helps improve safety across operations,” says James Viola, president and CEO of HAI. “We are truly grateful to our partner providers for enabling us to offer this tremendous program that helps members increase safety and save more money than the cost of their HAI annual membership.”
The three software providers in the HAI SMS Program are:
- The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) of Washington, D.C. The ACSF provides a full range of SMS software options.
- Baldwin Safety & Compliance of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The company provides the Baldwin SMS Product Suite, which offers options for small, medium-sized, and large businesses.
- WYVERN Ltd. of Nashua, New Hampshire. WYVERN offers its SMS Software and 24/7/365 Support Services package, with affordable options for small operators and other choices with premium SMS software capabilities.
Additionally, both Baldwin and WYVERN offer aviation safety action program (ASAP) reporting modules on their servers for companies participating in the ACSF’s third-party–managed ASAP program. The ACSF can access the ASAP reports and conduct event review committee meetings with the participating company and the FAA. ASAP is a voluntary, self-reporting program that identifies and reduces possible flight safety concerns and mitigates risk. Each package offered through the HAI SMS Program allows users to verify their compliance with current and future international and domestic regulations.
While the FAA doesn’t currently require SMS programs for all operators, HAI and the National Transportation Safety Board have recommended that helicopter operators develop and adopt a safety reporting system that allows data collection, analysis, and corrective action where necessary.
The HAI SMS Program packages also offer training, self-auditing capabilities, gap analysis, reporting capabilities, and user support services.