Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) announced that it has become the first aircraft original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to receive full International Standard for Business Aviation Operations (IS-BAO) certification for all of its flight operations. HBC has been involved in an ongoing process to develop a Safety Management System (SMS) specifically designed to meet the standards required for IS-BAO registration for the past two years.
IS-BAO is a code of best practices for flight operations introduced originally in 2002 by the International Business Aviation Council, a non-profit, private sector consortium of associations representing the interests of business aviation around the globe. It essentially structures ISO 9000 principles to apply to aviation safety.
“Adopting IS-BAO standards is a voluntary process designed to integrate all the best safety and operating procedures,” said Ken Qualls, HBC vice president, Flight Operations. “Since we highly recommend it for our customers, we felt it was a priority to pursue this certification ourselves. This was a major undertaking for HBC due to the diversity of our flight operations, including the number of different locations where we base aircraft and flight personnel. We went to great lengths to develop a framework for our SMS manual, safety risk profiles, risk assessments, operational alerts and a database for use across all our flight departments. A great deal of credit goes to all of our flight and support personnel for completing this process.”
HBC began the registration process by developing procedures and creating models at its Little Rock, Ark. Production Flight Test operation. Data and insights gained from that effort were then adapted for utilization across the full spectrum of HBC’s Government Business Division, Engineering and Experimental Flight Test, Wichita Production Flight Test and Demonstration, and Corporate Transportation Flight Operations.
As an OEM, HBC faced a variety of situations atypical to corporate flight departments. The nature of experimental, engineering and production flight test programs differs markedly from routine transportation operations. OEM pilots often fly a vast number of different airplanes. HBC produces 10 distinct models, and test and demonstration pilots can be called upon to fly several different types under conditions that are seldom faced by their corporate counterparts, including formation flights, trans-oceanic ferry flights and extended customer support operations.