Flight Operations Manual with SMS

Our Flight Operations Manual is continually updated with IS-BAO (International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations) standards and protocols (which support ICAO [International Civil Aviation Organization] Annex 6 Part II and ICAO Annex 19), as well as best practices from hundreds of operators and auditors. The manual is optimized for viewing on both desktop computers and iPads. Safety Management System Forms supporting the SMS process and analysis of data are included.

Process Overview

Our interactive development process lets you participate from anywhere in the world via remote teleconferencing sessions. As many participants as you choose can log in from one or multiple locations.

We offer flexible options for manual development based on your particular needs. Below is an overview of our most common development method:

We start with a brief phone interview to gather basic company information. This lets us prepare an initial Working Draft of the Flight Operations Manual.

We will send you sections of the manual for review, and then schedule development sessions to review each section with key personnel from your department, conducted online at your convenience. After we have completed developing the manual with you, we will issue a copy of the full manual for your review (the “Review Draft”).

Based on your review, we incorporate further revisions and issue a Final Copy.
We handle all formatting and editorial matters during the entire process, allowing you to focus solely on the content of the Flight Operations Manual. We also offer Reissue Services so we can update your manual to reflect ever-changing regulations, best practices, and IS-BAO protocols.

Manual Outline

Here is a typical outline for a Flight Operations Manual. Of course, we routinely include additional items or customize existing sections to provide essential and easy-to-find information for all of your personnel.

Section 1: Organization and Administration

An overview of the organizational structure, including responsibilities, duties, and qualifications for all positions and titles within the operation. This section also includes personnel policies, such as uniforms, use of mobile devices, alcohol / drug policy, trip expenses, and recordkeeping.

Section 2: Safety Management System

The operator’s SMS, including the various forms, overall processes, and components forming a continuous cycle of improvement. The Hazard Identification, Tracking, and Resolution System is customized for each operator in both text and graphic format. We can also provide separate files for each of the forms so that you may print / distribute them as needed.

Section 3: Operating Procedures

The operational control system including Trip Scheduling, Weather, Flight Rules, Performance, Fuel Requirements, Weight and Balance, Aircraft Defects, Use of Checklists and SOPs, Flight / Duty Time Limitations, Aircraft Equipment, and Passenger and Cabin Safety Procedures.

Section 4: Emergency Procedures

Guidance for Airborne Emergencies, Emergency Landing and Evacuation, a basic Emergency Response Plan, Facility / Medical Emergencies, and a description of required Emergency / Survival Equipment.

Section 5: Qualifications and Training

Details of the qualifications and required training for all Flight Department personnel.

Section 6: Aircraft Maintenance

An overview of the maintenance control system, including, Elements of Aircraft Maintenance, Aircraft Records, Preventative Maintenance, Deferred Maintenance Items / Discrepancy Management, Technical Dispatch, Parts, Material Control, Tool Calibration, Maintenance Arrangements, and Maintenance Safety Programs.

Section 7: Security Procedures

An outline of the Operator’s security-related policies and procedures, including Threat Assessment, Preventative Measures, Responsive Measures, Facilities (Home Base and Transient), Aircraft and Passenger Security from Preflight to Postflight. Guidance for Unlawful Interference and Bomb Threats is provided, along with checklists.

Section 8: Company Forms

Samples of the forms referenced throughout the manual. We can also provide separate files for each of the forms so that you may print / distribute them as needed.


Operator-provided content, aircraft-specific SOPs, expanded Winter Operations, etc., may be included in Appendices.

Next Step

Contact us for a quote!

Frequently Asked Questions about Our Flight Operations Manual with SMS

Do you have an off-the-shelf manual?

While there may be common elements between each operators’ manual, the intent of the manual is to reflect your particular operation. Therefore, the manual will be unique. An auditor will be able to determine if an operator has a boilerplate manual that does not specifically describe their operation.

Who will need to attend the online meetings?

Typically, we coordinate with one individual assigned to develop the Flight Operations Manual. However, we suggest that additional personnel familiar with the content to be covered attend those sessions, if available. (For example, the Director of Maintenance should attend any meetings on maintenance procedures).

Are there any subscription fees or recurring costs?

There are not; however we do offer a Reissue Service, which is typically provided annually for a fixed fee. We will send you a reminder to Reissue your manual a few months prior to our recommended Reissue date. If you were interested in moving forward with a Reissue, we will then update the manual according to the latest IS-BAO standards and protocols, best practices, and regulatory changes. Any additional revisions you may have will be charged at an hourly rate.

I want to implement a Safety Management System / Flight Operations Manual, but I don’t want to pursue IS-BAO registration at this time. Can I still order an FOM?

We can still work with you to develop procedures that meet your needs. We start with an IS-BAO compliant manual, but we can remove any items that you choose not to incorporate. However, these items will need to be addressed if you plan on conducting an IS-BAO audit in the future.

How long does development take?

We work around your schedule, so the development time will vary from operator to operator. However, the average development time is usually 1 – 3 months, which includes the online sessions, time for you to review the document, and additional revisions, if needed.

How soon after the manual is developed can I schedule an IS-BAO audit?

Unless you have specific regulatory / civil aviation authority requirements, this is entirely up to you. To ensure you are fully prepared, we highly recommend that you take time to familiarize everyone in your department with the new manual and procedures.

We already have an operations manual, but it is outdated or does not meet our requirements. What kind of options do I have?

We recommend starting over with our document, as we regularly update it to ensure it meets current IS-BAO protocols and regulatory requirements. If there are certain sections of your manual you would like to retain, we can incorporate them into the new manual.

We already have an existing manual that is serving our needs. We want to develop and implement an SMS. What is the best method?

We can provide SMS procedures through a standalone manual, however we encourage operators to include these procedures in their existing operations manual. SMS is an integrated approach to identifying and managing risks and involves the entire department.

How do we revise the manual in between reissues?

You can send us revisions at any time. These revisions will be invoiced at an hourly rate. Alternatively, you can use the Company Directive process outlined in your manual. Simply complete the one page form detailing the change, then send it to everyone in the department and require them to acknowledge the change (Read & Initial). During the next Reissue, these Company Directives will be incorporated into the appropriate sections of the manual.

I want to develop a manual, but I also don’t want to limit the flexibility of our operation. How can I do this?

Generally, IS-BAO only outlines the items an operator needs to address and does not specify how this is to be accomplished. In many cases, as long as an operator meets the requirements of the State of Registry, they will meet the IS-BAO requirements. Additionally, IS-BAO provides a deviation process, so you may deviate from your manual as long as a risk assessment and analysis is conducted and the deviation is in accordance with any applicable regulations.

We use another vendor’s software to manage our SMS functions. Are you able to write the manual to this software?

The SMS section of the manual describes general procedures and concepts rather than explicit instructions to complete a form, submit a flight risk assessment tool, etc. However, we are able to modify this section to describe the system you have in place, whether paper-based or electronic. We will usually ask you to provide information about the system, such as form names or specific processes that are in place to review submitted forms.

We already have enough paperwork. Why do we need additional forms?

The new forms may seem demanding, but they only need to be completed consistently, not constantly.

Our Flight Operations Manual with Safety Management Software

Our Aircraft Flight Operations Manual with SMS is continually updated with IS-BAO standards and protocols and includes SMS forms. Learn more.

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