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Mar 8, 2011 2:13 PM  CST  

ACSF Newsletter 12.1.10 


   December 1, 2010                                                        


The Air Charter Safety Foundation(ACSF) 

Founded in 2007, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation established to improve the safety of air charter and shared aircraft ownership operations.

Through research, collaboration and education, the ACSF advances charter and shared aircraft ownership industry standards and best practices; promulgates safety, security and service benchmarks; and promotes the universal acceptance of safety management systems.


Upcoming Events

2011 Air Charter Safety Symposium 

 Ashburn, VA 
arch 15 - 16, 2011 




Safety Magazines



Save The Date - 2011 Air Charter Safety Symposium March 15-16, 2011

Register now to attend the 2011 Air Charter Safety Symposium to
be held at the NTSB Training Center on March 15-16. The 2011 symposium will not only provide the essential information for emergency preparedness and response, but also show you how to put this knowledge to practical use.

New this year, are sessions on how to create an Emergency Response Plan, a review by Million Air Dallas leadership on how you can conduct an effective emergency response drill as well as a case study-style review of an operator’s emergency plan response in action.

Other safety topics that you will not want to miss:
• SMS Update
• Building a New Safety Culture
• How to Respond in an Emergency – Family Assistance
• NTSB Update from Deborah A.P. Hersman, Chairman

Register today at


ACSF Audit Standard Gains International Acceptance

The Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) Industry Audit Standard (IAS) registration was recently listed as an accepted method of compliance with Safety Management System (SMS) requirements by the Bermuda Department of Civil Aviation (BDCA).

A letter issued on behalf of the Bermuda Director of Civil Aviation states that the BDCA will enforce the requirements of ICAO Annex 6 Part 2 when it becomes effective on November 18, 2010. These requirements affect all operators of general aviation aircraft operated under FAR Part 91 and Part 125 or equivalent with a Maximum Take-Off Weight of greater than 12,500 lbs.
The BDCA will accept several methods of compliance with the requirement for an SMS, one of which includes ACSF registration. This letter has been posted on the DCA Web site at:

The IAS is a universal audit standard developed specifically for charter operators and shared aircraft management companies to accomplish two key functions – to verify compliance with regulatory requirements and to evaluate the level of compliance with recognized SMS standards.
The ACSF audit process and registry were developed to position an operator, through a single audit, to gain world-wide recognition of its SMS program. The IAS is also the only program that evaluates operators every 24 months rather than annually, minimizing the administrative burden on operators and program managers.
The ACSF IAS requires every operator to complete an internal pre-audit prior to scheduling an on-site audit. Doing so enables operators to gauge, before any payment is tendered, how well they will perform during the audit. This system allows an operator to determine in advance of any payment if they are not yet ready to proceed to audit. Operators completing the pre-audit won’t be unprepared and will not waste their money paying for an unsuccessful audit.
Supporting materials are available at Operators wishing to initiate the audit process should contact Russ Lawton or Alison McHugh at 1-888-SAFE-135 (888-723-3135).


FAA Previews SMS Requirements

FAA has begun to outline a template for the future of safety management system (SMS) requirements, but that template comes as the Nov. 18 international deadline for SMS was missed. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) had set a Nov. 18 deadline for non-commercial operators and certain aviation organizations to have an SMS program in place. ICAO previously set a Jan. 1, 2009, deadline for member states to adopt SMS requirements for commercial operators.

FAA has filed a "difference" with ICAO, essentially notifying the organization that FAA is not in full compliance with the deadline. Few countries have formally implemented SMS requirements-Canada being among the first to take action. Bermuda last week began enforcing the ICAO requirements for non-commercial operators (ICAO Annex 6 Part 2).

The National Business Aviation Association has been pushing FAA to release guidance that would recognize best industry practices as an acceptable means for SMS compliance. This guidance is important for business aircraft operators to demonstrate to international inspectors that they meet ICAO compliance requirements, says Doug Carr, vice president of safety, security and regulation for NBAA.
Bermuda has stated it would accept a variety of means to demonstrate compliance, such as registration with either the Air Charter Safety Foundation's (ACSF) Industry Audit Standard or the International Business Aviation Council's International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations.
FAA notes that it has been assured that neither Transport Canada nor the European Aviation Safety Agency plans to restrict operations that are not currently in compliance with ICAO SMS requirements.
No Rush To Regulate
But both Carr and Russ Lawton, director of safety and security for the National Air Transportation Association and the ACSF, warn that operators flying internationally should make sure they are aware of what the individual states are expecting. While other countries have not restricted operations for SMS non-compliance, Lawton notes anecdotes of certain operators of large business aircraft that have been turned away from France because they were not in compliance with flight data analysis requirements.
It is unclear if or when FAA will consider formal regulation for non-commercial operators. "In the short term, I don't think we'll be facing some rush to regulate us," says Carr, who adds that NBAA is not taking a formal position on regulations until the agency develops a proposal specifically geared to general aviation. "It's premature to say whether NBAA is going to end up on one side or another of a discussion," he says.
It also is unclear when FAA might require SMS for Part 135 operators-which fall under the Jan. 1, 2009, deadline. But the agency has indicated those regulations are coming.
FAA on Nov. 5 released a proposal requiring Part 121 air carriers to adopt SMS, but says that proposal will serve as a template for other certificate holders. The proposal, which was issued at the directive of Congress, calls for Part 121 carriers to submit an SMS implementation plan within six months of release of a final rule (BA, Nov. 8/1). The scheduled carriers would be required to implement the plans three years later.
While focused on Part 121, FAA says it "has developed these general requirements with the intent that in the future they could be applied to other FAA-regulated entities, such as Part 135 operators, Part 145 repair stations and Part 21 aircraft design and manufacturing organizations and approval holders," the agency says. The agency did not discuss plans for other general aviation operations.

The Aircraft Electronics Association notes that the proposal does not directly apply to most AEA members, but warns its members to follow the rulemaking closely, saying, "This is the beginning of an SMS mandate which, in the next several years, will have a direct effect on the AEA membership."

Lawton agrees, saying the proposal, which is accompanied by a proposed advisory circular, regulatory analysis and inspector guidance, could have wider-ranging ramifications.
The proposal appears to follow the recommendations of the industry-based Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), notes Carr. The ARC is still ongoing, and its deliberations will be included as part of the public docket, adds Lawton, who is a member of the ARC.
The proposal cites the ARC's recommendations that the agency phase in requirements for different sectors of the industry, and asked for comments on the future application of the general requirements.
FAA also acknowledges the ARC's appeal for flexibility and scalability in an SMS rule, and says the proposal would require a process that "can be tailored to provide [a] relevant, yet robust management system for each carrier."

The proposal may necessitate specialists in information technology and statistical analysis for some operations, but others may only need "a whiteboard, pencil and paper," FAA says as example.
The proposal would create a new Part 5 to house SMS requirements and would focus on four components-safety policy, safety risk management, safety assurance and safety promotion. The proposal calls for a series of processes to implement each component.
FAA says the proposal defines "what" is expected rather than "how" the requirements will be met. "We need a holistic approach to safety that allows us to spot trends in aviation and make necessary changes to help avoid incidents and accidents," says FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "Safety management systems are a critical piece of a successful safety culture."


ACSF Announces New Executive Officers

The Air Charter Safety Foundation is pleased to announce three newly appointed members to its Executive Committee.

William F. Haberstock, president and chief executive officer of Million Air Aviation Company, Salt Lake City, and former treasurer for the ACSF was elected to fill the role of vice-chairman for the coming year. Haberstock has more than 35 years of aviation management experience, including 11 years with Keystone Aviation. Throughout his career, he has held positions as chief pilot for Eagle Air; vice president of flight operations and aircraft sales manager for Barken International; and director of flight operations for Beech Aircraft Corporation –Salt Lake City. Haberstock is an airline transport pilot with more than 16,000 hours of flight time. He has served on the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) Board of Directors and the board of governors for the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, Utah Air Travel Commission.

John Grillo, president of Executive Fliteways, Inc., Ronkonkoma, NY, was selected as the new treasurer for the ACSF. Grillo is a 36-year veteran of the aviation community. He retired from the United States Air Force as a Major, having flown the C-130 extensively throughout Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. He is the recipient of more than 30 military awards and commendations, including six Air Medals for Valor, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star and the Silver Star. Grillo's experience also includes a 22-year career as a captain for American Airlines. Grillo also served on the NATA Air Charter Committee, where he helped establish operational and regulatory standards for our industry.

“We are pleased to have these gentlemen working in their new roles for the foundation,” said James C. Christiansen, chairman of the Air Charter Safety Foundation. “Both have been avid members in their service on the Board of Governors. Their extensive experience and knowledge of the industry have been great attributes for the foundation, and we look forward to working with them to continue the foundation’s mission of promoting and increasing the benchmark of safety in the charter industry.”

Bryan Burns, ACSF Executive Director, was elected to fill the role of President of the foundation. Burns has 28 years of experience in the fixed base operator industry. Prior to joining the ACSF, he was area general manager for Signature Flight Support at the Washington Dulles and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airports, where he was responsible for all daily operations. Burns holds a Bachelor of Science in Air Commerce/Transportation Technology from Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida.

The ACSF continues to grow, with new memberships increasing 27 percent in the last 3 months. The Industry Audit Standard (IAS) remains strong, being the most rigorous standard for Part 135 and 91K operators. It was designed specifically to evaluate both compliance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations and the operator’s implementation of a proactive Safety Management System. To date, the foundation has facilitated 54 audits using the IAS, with an additional five audits scheduled through the end of this year. 

Priester Aviation, Sterling Aviation, and TWC Aviation Latest Operators To Achieve ACSF Registered Status

ACSF welcomes Priester Aviation, of Wheeling, Illinois, Sterling Aviation, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and TWC Aviation, of Van Nuys, California as the latest charter operators to be added to the ACSF Industry Audit Standard (IAS) Registry. These companies have completed the IAS audit and achieved Registered status with the ACSF.

“The Air Charter Safety Foundation audit experience was most beneficial because it required an extensive review of every detail of company operations,” said Rob Gort, president and chief operating officer of Sterling Aviation. “Our addition to the ACSF audit Registry places Sterling in an elite group of companies and proves to our clients that we take their safety seriously.”

The IAS, conducted every 24 months, is the first and only extensive audit program specifically created for on-demand operators and shared aircraft ownership companies, and evaluates both regulatory compliance and the operator’s Safety Management System (SMS) program.

“Priester Aviation is thrilled by its addition to the Air Charter Safety Foundation registry,” said Andy Priester, president and chief executive officer of Priester Aviation, LLC. “All of us at Priester Aviation have worked hard to achieve the high level of performance required by the ACSF standards.”

The IAS consists of a rigorous review of an operator’s processes and procedures and regulatory compliance, as well as the business’ implementation of, and adherence to, an SMS.

“The audit process was the most comprehensive we have been through and was not easy, but it clearly enhanced our already strong operations. I thank the Air Charter Safety Foundation for this opportunity that will help keep Priester Aviation ‘Above it all,’” concluded Priester.

“We are extremely proud of this achievement,” says Andrew Richmond, president of TWC Aviation. “The IAS certification is one more reason for charter customers to trust our commitment to safety and operational excellence.
Customers should look for the ACSF IAS registered logo and encourage their preferred charter provider to participate in the program. The ACSF makes its operator registry and key company details available at no charge, so verification of IAS registration is quick and easy. Charter consumers can view the registry at

Supporting materials are available at Operators wishing to initiate the audit process should contact either Russ Lawton or Alison McHugh at 1-888-SAFE-135 (888-723-3135).


FAA Acknowledges ACSF Audit Standard To Evaluate SMS

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has acknowledged the Air Charter Safety Foundation’s Industry Audit Standard as a tool to validate a company’s safety management system (SMS). In the recently released FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 120-92A, “Safety Management Systems for Aviation Service Providers,” the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF) is listed as a source for providing a third-party evaluation for SMS. 

“We are pleased that the FAA has acknowledged that our audit standard can be used to validate a company’s SMS,” said ACSF Chairman Jim Christiansen.

The ACSF Industry Audit Standard (IAS) comprehensively evaluates both an air charter operator’s or shared aircraft ownership company’s SMS and its FAA regulatory compliance. The IAS consists of a rigorous review of an operator’s processes and procedures, and regulatory compliance, as well as the business’ implementation of, and adherence to, an SMS.

“We designed the ACSF audit program to be a single, comprehensive standard for the charter and shared aircraft ownership industry,” added Christiansen. “Our listing in the advisory circular is further acknowledgement of our program’s credibility.”

In 2009, 24 audits were completed and another 32 audits will be completed in 2010. The Foundation will soon be announcing a series of new operators that have successfully completed their audits and made the ACSF IAS registry.

With the ACSF IAS, the charter consumer can be assured that audited and registered operators are compliant with the highest standards of safety and compliance. Customers should look for the ACSF IAS-registered logo and encourage their preferred charter provider to participate in the program.

ACSF makes its operator registry and key company details available at no charge so verification of IAS registration is quick and easy. Charter consumers can view the registry at


Flight Safety Foundation's AeroSafety World Magazine 

October 2010 - In this issue:

  • Bearing Down on Winter
  • Ins and Outs of ADS-B
  • Key Ingredients for SMS
  • NextGen Road Blocks
  • Triage for HEMS

Click here to view a PDF issue


NATA's 4th Quarter Aviation Business Journal Now Available
This edition of the journal spotlights Mazzei Flying Service, and has articles on health care reform, California's flight training saga, family-owned/operated aviation businesses, and regular feature articles such as the President's Message and Inside Washington.

Click here to view a pdf of this issue



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Air Charter Safety Foundation
4226 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22302
Phone: 888-SAFE-135

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For additional information on this Newsletter article, please contact:

Alison McHugh
(888) 723-3135

Source: Alison McHugh

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