The Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS) program — introduced five years ago — has now completed more than 350 audits at 140 operators in 29 countries around the world, and is anticipating the next wave of developments in the program.
Originally introduced in 2010 to address safety issues facing aviation operators in the mining and resource sector, the standard was developed using the “bow tie” model of risk management — named for the bow-tie-shaped diagram used to portray the relationships between major threats to aviation safety and the controls used to manage them.
The core standard, initially accompanied by provisions regarding external load operations, has been expanded over the years to include operations involving geophysical survey, emergency medical services, night vision goggles and United Nations aviation standards. This means aircraft operators have a range of optional elements to choose from when creating and scheduling an annual audit.
Earlier in 2015, the Foundation developed a separate standard for offshore helicopter operations, known as BARS OHO, supported by an audit protocol similar to that of the original BARS audit program.
Another achievement has been the release of a model for competency-based pilot training for both fixed-wing transport category aircraft and offshore helicopters. The goal is to provide a generic model for operators to design training systems in a way that they can be evaluated by subsequent audits.
De-identified data from BARS audits can be valuable for analysis of safety issues; two data-analysis reports have been produced to date and a third is scheduled for early 2016. Trends in issues facing aircraft operators can be deduced from these data, and in time, this will allow the Foundation to target specific training or other efforts to avert problems before they cause accidents or serious incidents.
The benefits for operators undergoing a BARS audit include the use of the FSF BARS logo to indicate they have successfully completed the audit process. BARS’ shared audit concept makes audit reports available to other BARS member organizations for review, thereby reducing the number of contractor audits that otherwise would be conducted at a single operator’s business. BARS registered operators also are entitled to access the Flight Safety Foundation library of material and research.
The BARS Program Office is looking toward the next evolution of the BARS program. The experience and data gathered over the last five years allow the office to focus audits on areas that will yield the most benefit. One concept for the future is a smaller-scale audit suitable for operators who provide on-demand or ad hoc charter services.
David Anderson took over in July as managing director of the BARS program. He previously spent four years as the BARS audit manager. During a 34-year career in aviation, he has been an aircraft mechanic, a flight engineer in the Royal Australian Air Force and with a commercial air carrier, and a lead auditor with experience with BARS and other audit protocols. He succeeded Greg Marshall, now FSF vice president, global programs.