Image: Courtesy Genesys Aerosystems
AEA’s work with HAI creates an SMS for aircraft maintenance at not additional cost to HAI members.
Founded in 1957, the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) represents nearly 1,300 member companies in more than 40 countries, including approved maintenance organizations specializing in the maintenance, repair, and installation of aircraft electronics systems in general aviation aircraft. AEA members also include manufacturers of aircraft electronics equipment, instruments, airframes, and test equipment; instrument repair facilities; major distributors; engineers; and educational institutions.
AEA Mission and Vision
The AEA’s mission is to educate, and communicate and advocate for, aviation businesses around the world that manufacture, support, and install innovative technologies for flight. Complementing the association’s mission is the organization’s vision: to power safer and more efficient flight.
HAI’s Collaboration with AEA on SMS
HAI recently collaborated with the AEA to add the Maintenance Safety Management System (SMS) Program for small businesses to the HAI safety tool chest, at no additional cost to HAI members.
An SMS is a proven system for improving safety using a top-down approach that requires support from every employee at a business. Properly used, these programs help identify areas where work is needed to improve maintenance conditions, allowing the business to develop solutions.
When participants use the Maintenance SMS Program at their facilities and operations, the AEA co-manages the SMS with each participating company: in essence, the association acts as each participating company’s director of safety to facilitate program implementation as needed, working with a company-designated safety representative or SMS coordinator on-site at each of the company’s locations.
The AEA tells all users of its program that “safety” doesn’t mean operating at a level without risk. Rather, safety is a condition in which the risk of harm exists at, or is actively mitigated to, an acceptable level. The aviation industry involves some inherent risk, but one purpose of an SMS is to proactively identify, analyze, and mitigate risk to an acceptable level to prevent loss of life or property damage. Risk management involves making rational decisions based on the probability and severity of a possible outcome.
Enrollment in the Maintenance SMS Program is straightforward. First, interested HAI member small businesses attend a virtual or in-person training session that provides instruction on using the program. Once the HAI member attends the training session and submits the name and contact information of the company’s accountable executive and SMS coordinator, the AEA distributes an employee enrollment form.
The SMS coordinator then returns the completed form with all employee names, unique email addresses, user names, and passwords. The accountable executive then signs and posts the SMS website agreement and notifies the employees of the company’s participation in the Maintenance SMS Program.
All employees must then log in to the SMS site and complete the employee initial training program. Once all employees have completed training and the accountable executive signs and posts the safety policy commitment, full enrollment is complete.