Safety Management Systems


The foundation of Safety Management Systems (SMS) is to make an aviation organization safer. Safety adjustments are often derived from data. In the United States, the FAA mandates that air carriers create and adopt an SMS program. For an SMS program to be effective, all participants, from leaders to front-line employees, must prioritize safety and empower all participants to raise safety concerns. Through voluntarily submitted reports, data is collected to improve processes and procedures.

A key component of SMS is participation. All employees must feel empowered and validated to participate through information sharing. One of the defining characteristics of an SMS is its emphasis on risk management. Risk management is comprised of identifying and mitigating threats. Threats are inherent in any flight. While certain threats can be identified (expected), others may be unexpected. SMS attempts to foster risk identification and mitigation to the greatest possible extent, thus reducing unexpected threats. Pilots can better prepare and react to threats in advance, through tools such as briefings. Whether through data or through the input of employees and others, recognizing that many opportunities exist to stop an accident is the first step in moving from reactive to predictive thinking.

It is a common misconception that SMS only applies to airline operators. Even as a flight instructor at a flight school, you have a role and responsibility to promote safety. Doing the right thing, following procedures and policies, will ensure you operate within a safe environment, each time without fail. Sharing your own experiences, whether through an official reporting system, or informally, can help colleagues in the future. 

Many organizations have safety magazines or newsletters published by their flight-safety departments. In an effort to increase awareness of hot safety topics and areas that need special emphasis, pilots should remain up to date with the latest safety-related events. 

Be proactive by advocating for safety and improving the national airspace system. Fly safe!

SOURCEAero Crew News, January 2024
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Sergio Sovero was born and raised in Lima, Peru, and currently serves as Captain for Delta Air Lines. At the age of 17, he moved to the United States to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Daytona Beach, Florida. Sergio obtained a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science in 2017, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He served as a flight instructor at ERAU, while assuming several leadership roles within the Flight Department. These included: Flight Supervisor, Quality Assurance Instructor, and Assistant Training Manager. He also developed additional training material, in support of furthering the curriculum and improving the quality of instruction. Such involvement led to his recognition as “Flight Instructor of the Month” and “Excellence in Quality of Instruction” awards. Sovero holds a Gold Seal CFI, AGI and IGI ratings. Upon meeting the minimum requirements, he joined Republic Airways, where he participated as a Pilot Recruiter and Interviewer. Joining Delta Air Lines at 23 years old, he holds A-320, B-737, B-757/767, DC-9 & ERJ-170 type ratings. Sergio is an active member of the ERAU Prescott Aerospace Advisory Board (AAB). As such, he provides unique perspectives to the College of Aviation regarding curriculum development. In response to his special interest in sustainable practices, Sergio is pursuing a Master of Science in Aviation and Aerospace Sustainability (MSAS), with a Human Factors Specialization, and is passionate about mentoring the next generation of professional pilots. He resides in Atlanta, loves traveling, and frequently visits his hometown of Lima.


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