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Application of an airline standard Safety Management System - Enhancing safety in aeromedical transport


John Tessarolo
Pel-air Aviation Pty Limited


Group GM Human Factors Group - John Tessarolo
John is an ATPL holder and commenced his airline flying career with Hazelton Airlines in 1999.  He then went on to obtain flying positions with Rex Airlines where he later became the Sydney Flight Operations Manager and later, National Flight Operations Manager.  These roles involved being the Project Lead for the Rex Group Fatigue Risk Management System and CASA regulatory matters.  In May 2015, John was appointed GM Human Factors Group with oversight across Safety, Security, Compliance & Quality Assurance departments.  John brings with him vast operational, regulatory and risk management experience.



This presentation is to share learnings Pel-Air Aviation (Pel-Air) has derived from implementing an airline standard Safety Management System (SMS) in its aeromedical operations.  The SMS is approved by CASA to regular public transport standards, as Pel-Air is able to leverage on resources within the Rex Group of companies.  The mainstay of the SMS is an electronic reporting system, a culture of reporting and commitments by management towards safety management.

The objective of the presentation is to raise industry awareness and the level of safety through shared learning.  The SMS has shown benefits in identifying trends in areas of flying operations, aircraft maintenance and work, health and safety.

Below are a couple of cases where the SMS helped increase safety standards.

  1. Air Ambulance Victoria fixed wing aeromedical operations to aircraft landing areas (ALA).  Many of these ALA are unmanned aerodromes and operate to Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF), where pilots interact with others within the vicinity to determine take-off and landing arrangements.  Through reporting in the SMS, Pel-Air identified a developing risk in unmanned aerodromes whereby patients, who were conveyed by private means, encroached onto the airside while the airplane was still running.  In one incident, the patient walked through the unsecured gate and onto the tarmac prior to the aircraft shutting down and the patient made it to within 2 metres of the still spinning propellers.
  2. Fatigue monitoring of flight crew.  Pel-Air operates to a CASA-approved Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS).  Through the SMS and the regular Safety Management Group meetings, statistics on fatigue, pilot reports and audit reports are quickly raised to stakeholder and management attention for decision-making.

We find that a systematic approach towards investigating and analysing safety events can improve safety aspects of the operations.



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