Spidertracks As Part Of Your SMS

Sharise Pistorius
December 13, 2021

Safety Management Systems (SMS) rely on the capture of data for organisational growth. The improvement of flight safety is the driving force behind the implementation of Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA) programs. A FOQA program retrieves operational situations or events in which risk is increased or elevated to enable early corrective action before that risk results in an incident or accident. Spidertracks' Virtual FDR™ is the ideal device for capturing FOQA data that can be utilised as part of your SMS to drive statistical, qualitative data to improve safety mitigations and management decision-making. 

Spidertracks HD Flight Tracking

FOQA or Flight Data Management (FDM) is the process of collecting and analysing data from flights to improve the safety and efficiency of flight operations. A successful FOQA program should be customised to address the operator's individual needs and situation. 

The implementation of a FOQA program as part of the organisation SMS can be accomplished within four steps:

  1. Obtaining a Flight Data Recorder (FDR) device – A device like the Spider X can retrieve and record valuable flight data and insights. Spidertracks' Virtual FDR™ technology captures events and parameters such as altitude and bank angles. The parameters are captured in real-time via a satellite-based network, providing actionable flight data wirelessly and automatically.  Furthermore, management's confidence in the FOQA program and the data capture device is directly proportional to the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of a successful FOQA program.

  2. Data analysisA vital cornerstone of a FOQA program is the acquisition and aggregation of the data. The process involves looking at the data captured and displayed on the Spidertracks dashboard and evaluating the extent to which the flight has conformed to the organisation's standard envelope/flight profile. Statistical analysis is a tool to look at the total performance of the organisation's operation.

  3. Corrective and Preventative Actions (CAPAs) – After analysing the flight data and thoroughly investigating and reviewing the cause of any exceedances, the persons overseeing the FOQA program will impart the necessary CAPAs into place. Safety mitigations and controls will need to be verified and audited to ensure they are effective.

  4. Continuous Monitoring – This step involves continually monitoring the events captured from the FDR and ensuring that all flight operations are within their safe envelopes and any exceedances are reported for correction; This typically is completed by reviewing FOQA data over an allotted time. Baselines can be established so the data can be monitored to track the trend of what is occurring. The use of data distributions can develop a risk assessment process by establishing a baseline for trending data and determining critical safety concerns. Each organisation working with its FOQA team could establish or modify organisational policies and training programs based on the performance of all its flights from the data captured.

As part of an SMS, safety promotion is a crucial pillar, and the training and education, and safety communication elements are necessary for successful promotion. It is imperative to remember that a comprehensive program to continuously endorse FOQA should be established, along with mechanisms for implementation. The FOQA promotion effort ought to focus on gaining widespread support for the program.

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