AviationManuals Reports Operators Used Lull in Flying to Improve Operations

Company Sees First Half Demand Rise Amid Flight Restrictions

Washington, D.C., July 27, 2020 – Washington-based AviationManuals, the world’s leading provider of digital manual development services and Safety Management System (SMS) software for business aviation, reported strong demand in the first half of 2020. The demand was the result of flight departments taking advantage of reduced flight schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic to improve their operations by implementing SMS software and improving or developing operations manuals.

“We have had surprisingly robust demand in 2020, especially considering the negative effects the pandemic has had on business aviation activity overall,” said AviationManuals CEO Mark Baier. “Operators showed a lot of initiative and foresight using the additional time they had available to review and improve the way they operate,” he added.

As the pandemic continues to spread, operators are recognizing the need for better support tools to help manage the new and unique impacts of COVID-19. Several AviationManuals’ product categories including Health Travel Preparedness, Organizational Changes and Metrics Reporting have all seen increases in demand over recent months.

“Our advisors have been remarkably busy helping flight departments and FBOs, particularly with ARC SMS software and emergency response plans. Many operators also took the time to develop and update their flight operations and maintenance manuals,” Baier added.

Compared to 2019, the first half of 2020 saw considerably increased business requirements for digital flight department tools as companies continue to seek to improve the way they operate. The first half expansion followed exceptionally strong growth last year as companies continued to improve the way they operate.

New Products and Complimentary Pandemic Resources

The market strength in the first six months of 2020 allowed the company to grow its team and improve its offerings with new Risk Assessment Tool features, a new Maintenance Manual, as well as an enhanced ERP. AviationManuals’ growing team also allowed it to support the industry by providing complimentary resources for flight, ground, and FBO operations through a series of complimentary whitepapers and guides. The aim was to help operators deal with this pandemic as well as future unforeseen crises.

Clients Operate 4,500 Aircraft Around the World

With a client base that operates more than 4,500 aircraft worldwide, more than 60 Fortune 100 companies use AviationManuals’ services. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, the company provides digital operations manuals with update services, as well as SMS software and iPad apps for fixed-wing, rotary-wing, drone operators, and FBOs worldwide. Founded in 1996, the company has produced thousands of manuals.

Products and services include SMS Software, Flight/Company/General Operations Manuals, International Operations/Procedures Manuals, Minimum Equipment Lists (MELs), Emergency Response Plans (ERPs), FBO Manuals and Internal Audit Programs, as well as Letters of Authorization (LOA) support for RVSM, Data Link (CPDLC / ADS-C), PBN (RNP-10 / -4, NAT HLA, B-/P-RNAV, and RNP-1), Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS), and EFBs.

AviationManuals is a member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). For more info go to https://aviationmanuals.com/.

Photo Credit: Alamy Stock Photos

AviationManuals Develops Maintenance Manuals for BizAv Flight Departments

Process Begins with Completion of a Simple Questionnaire

Washington, D.C., June 29, 2020 AviationManuals, the leading provider of digital operations manuals, has launched a customized General Maintenance Manual developed specifically for Part 91 flight operations.

The company’s General Maintenance Manual (GMM) is delivered with ARCdocs software and iPad app, and addresses procedures for maintenance leadership and shop floor personnel. Several flight departments have already incorporated the new offering into their operations.

“A GMM is another valuable resource business aviation flight departments should consider having to help reinforce procedures, best practices and to assure an adherence to consistent standards,” said company CEO Mark Baier.” It helps flight departments from everything to staying on top of changing and complex operations, to helping with employee onboarding.”

The GMM covers:

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Personnel policies
  • Inspection programs
  • MEL management
  • Functional flight checks
  • Airworthiness directives
  • Tool calibration
  • Inventory control
  • Training and safety programs

Customizable

AviationManuals’ General Maintenance Manual for Part 91 operators is customizable for a wide-range of flight department sizes and can incorporate requirements tailored to individual operators. Getting started is as easy as filling out a simple form.

A GMM helps develop consistency among varying experience levels of maintenance professionals and provides procedures to help contract workers assimilate in an organization. Topics covered include inspection, maintenance, and work turnover procedures; MEL management and deferral procedures; safety programs; aircraft marshaling and towing; procedures to use an outside MRO or repair center; personnel policies for maintenance personnel; duty time limits; and integration into existing Safety Management Systems.

Clients Operate 4,500 Aircraft Around the World

AviationManuals supports a client base that operates over 4,500 aircraft worldwide, including over 60 Fortune 100 company flight departments. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, the company provides digital operations manuals with update services, as well as SMS software and iPad apps for fixed-wing, rotary-wing, drone operators, and FBOs worldwide. Founded in 1996, the company has produced thousands of manuals.

Products and services include SMS Software, Flight/Company/General Operations Manuals, International Operations/Procedures Manuals, Minimum Equipment Lists (MELs), Emergency Response Plans (ERPs), FBO Manuals and Internal Audit Programs, as well as Letters of Authorization (LOA) support for RVSM, Data Link (CPDLC / ADS-C), PBN (RNP-10 / -4, NAT HLA, B-/P-RNAV, and RNP-1), Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS), and EFBs.

AviationManuals is a member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). For more info go to https://aviationmanuals.com

Post-Pandemic Planning Part 2: The Most Important Things You Should Be Doing with Your Manuals

An increasing number of countries are beginning to ease COVID-19 restrictions. While we will be feeling the aftermath of this global health crisis for quite some time, all industries, including aviation, should prepare for when lockdowns lift. Make the most of this time to prepare your operation for the bounce-back.

In the first part of this series, we encouraged you to use this time to close the gaps in your emergency response plan. It’s important to have the necessary tools in place to handle future emergencies, but without updated manuals, your whole enterprise may be at a disadvantage. The second part of this post-pandemic series is centered on updating your operations manuals. In-house reviews, such as updating your manuals, conducting internal audits, and checking your LOAs should be on your annual to do list anyway, so why not take the opportunity during this down time and get a head start?

Catch Up on Paperwork

If you are operating without a digital toolkit, it can be a headache to manage required paperwork. So now is a great time to catch up on all those documents you were previously too busy to complete, finish the manuals you were already working on, and get started on some new ones that have been on your to do list for far too long.

  • If you don’t have an Operations Manual yet, it’s time to get one. Whether you’re an FBO, drone operator, or flight department, an Operations Manual supports your organization by standardizing your guidelines, making it that much easier for new and existing employees to perform their duties in line with the way you do  things. Without this internal guide, you may be vulnerable to safety or efficiency issues. Keep in mind that an Operations Manual is a lot less daunting than most people realize – it should simply reflect the complexity of your organization.
  • Ensure you have the right documents in place to make it easier to stay in compliance with your LOAs.  For most LOAs, operators are required to continually ensure their crews have been trained on, have knowledge of, and/or have access to applicable procedures. Having a manual that contains the relevant procedures and is continually kept up to date is the easiest way to demonstrate compliance and avoid findings or even potential fines.

For global operations, this means getting an International Operations and Procedures Manual .

You may also need to consider an Enhanced Flight Vision Systems manual, Part NCC Compliance solutions, or an MEL.

Check When Your Manuals Were Last Issued

When was the last time your manuals were reissued? Since regulations, procedures, and best practices are constantly changing and being revised, it’s essential to make sure your manuals are up to date and you are being notified of important changes. Documentation should be updated on an ongoing constant basis, but certainly at the very least annually.

For example, new regulations became effective just earlier this year requiring RNP-4 and Data Link Letters of Authorization to fly in certain transoceanic airspaces. Have your manuals been updated with this newest guidance?

What about the latest expansions to National Security Sensitive Locations and LAANC for Drones? Both of these were updated with new locations in late 2019.

Audit Your Flight Plans

Flight plans are an essential part of your operation, but the FAA is increasingly finding flight plans have not been filled out correctly. On top of needing them for every flight, your organization must also provide a sample flight plan to obtain certain LOAs. When submitting an LOA application, the FAA will review flight plan codes, specifically in items 10 and 18. Having correct flight plans is critical to ensure uninterrupted flights and smooth LOA applications.

Find out more on how to evaluate your operation with an Internal Audit Program to ensure a culture of continual improvement. For organizations looking to audit their current flight plans, the International Operations and Procedures Manual is a great place to start to review applicable codes and requirements.

Work on Your Letters of Authorization

Applying for LOAs can be a lengthy process – don’t wait until you need one to apply for it. During COVID-19 the FAA and inspectors are still reviewing applications and issuing authorizations. Since it can take several weeks, or even months, to be granted an LOA, start your application before operations are back to full speed.

When applying for an LOA, you’ll need paperwork such as a cover letter, documentation of proper operations procedures, and copies of AFM pages and training certificates, to name a few. Luckily, after these applications are approved, LOAs do not usually expire. This means that unless there are significant operational changes, you will not have to go through this application process for the aircraft again.

The first step is to understand what your organization needs: not every flight department needs every LOA. If you are unsure what to apply for and how, download our free LOA Guide for clear guidance.

Feel free to contact us with any questions –we’re always ready to help.

Post-Pandemic Planning Part 1: Get Your Emergency Response Plan in Order

While countries are slowly beginning to open their doors again as the spread of coronavirus begins to stabilize, the world is going to feel the aftermath of this health crisis for months, perhaps even years, to come. As the lockdown lifts, it will be important for companies to have what they need in place for a smooth return to operations. Now is the time to make sure you are prepared.

One of the most important areas for your operation to focus on when preparing for life after the pandemic, is crisis management. While you may have made it through these trying times, there are still likely to be setbacks on the path to reaching pre-coronavirus levels of operation. On top of that, there are bound to be other emergencies in the future. Part of the new normal means making sure you are ready for all kinds of setbacks.

1. Run a Remote ERP Drill

Like a fire drill, the best way to make sure you have a good ERP is to use it in simulations.  You can even execute drills while employees are at home. Here are a few examples of how you can test your ERP:

  • Test your procedures for a variety of emergencies: Coronavirus has become a top concern for flight operations; however, there are still other crises that may lead you to activate your ERP. A successful response plan allows you to address any situation, whether on the ground or in the air. For example, what measures do you have in place if an aircraft is forced to make an emergency landing? Do ground operators know the proper protocols for calling security and medical professionals to meet that aircraft once they land? By running through different scenarios, you can pinpoint gaps in your ERP and close them before normal flight services resume.
  • Test health procedures: Even when travel begins to pick up, it will still be imperative that your employees know what to do during a health emergency. In the event you have an ill passenger, do you know whom to call? Do your employees know what extra supplies should be available on their aircraft and how to interact with a sick passenger to mitigate the risk of spreading any infection? Now is a great time to ask these questions, while operations are most probably less busy. To get started, you can take our quiz to review your current ERP.

2. Update All Contact Information

In an emergency, speed is essential. Operations cannot afford to waste time searching for the right person to contact. Here’s how to keep your ERP at peak performance:

  • Make sure all phone numbers in your ERP are accurate: An ERP should be a living document that adapts as staff members join, leave, or change roles. Take this opportunity to make sure contact information is up to date for each step of your ERP process. For example, do you have direct lines of communication listed for senior flight department managers and company resources? Will users be able to easily contact representatives from a Rescue Coordination Center, NTSP or FAA?

3. Make ERP Instructions Clear to All Team Members

The best ERPs can be initiated by anyone. It is important that your entire team (flight and non-flight positions) know what the very first action in any emergency should be. Here’s how you can prepare your team while they work from home:

Feel free to call us with any questions – we’re always ready to help.

AviationManuals Suggests Updating FBO Operations Manuals for COVID-19 Health Concerns

Also Managing Safety Risks and Updating Emergency Response Plan

Washington, D.C., April 27, 2020 – AviationManuals, the leading provider of digital operations manuals, is providing guidance for properly updating FBO Operations Manuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“By now FBO operators should be conscious that everyone’s perceptions and attitudes with regard to risk have changed dramatically,” said AviationManuals CEO Mark Baier. “While it is always important to operate to the highest standards, making customers and employees comfortable in times like these has become paramount due to COVID-19, so we wanted to offer some enhancements people can put in place.”

With the ongoing pandemic, FBOs have hopefully begun examining the policies and procedures they have in place surrounding health and sanitation. AviationManuals, in order to help, is making some recommendations and providing a whitepaper on how to get the process started.

  • Assess policies and procedures in place.
  • Research industry guidance from reputable sources, like the CDC, WHO and NATA.
  • Consult with local airport staff.
  • Focus on personal hygiene.
  • Practice evolving standards for social distancing.
  • Increasing the sanitation schedule.
  • Have workers wear gloves and masks.
  • Let those who can, work from home.
  • Check first aid kits for sufficiency.
  • Include your team in updates and welcome suggestions for compliance.

“In addition, take the opportunity to use your FBO’s Safety Management System to perform risk assessments,” Baier added. “Also, update your FBOs Emergency Response Plan with a particular focus on medical emergencies. With activity down, it’s a great time for dry runs of your ERPs.”

More complete details and a free Whitepaper can be found on the AviationManuals website. AviationManuals also recently outlined COVID-19 procedures for Flight Operations.

AviationManuals supports a client base that operates over 4,500 aircraft worldwide, including 62 Fortune 100 company flight departments. Based in the Washington, D.C. area, the company provides digital operations manuals with update services, as well as SMS software and iPad apps for fixed-wing, rotary-wing, drone operators, and FBOs worldwide. Founded in 1996, the company has produced thousands of manuals.

Products and services include SMS Software, FBO Manuals, Flight/Company Operations Manuals, International Operations and Procedures Manuals, Minimum Equipment Lists, Emergency Response Plans, and Internal Audit Programs, as well as Letters of Authorization (LOA) support for RVSM, Data Link (CPDLC / ADS-C), PBN (RNP-10 / -4, NAT HLA, B-/P-RNAV, and RNP-1), Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS), and EFBs.

AviationManuals is a member of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), International Business Aviation Council (IBAC), and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). For more information on AviationManuals, go to www.aviationmanuals.com.

Data Link and RNP-4 LOAs: What You Need to Know

Clear communication between aircraft and Air Traffic Control (ATC) is especially important when conducting operations over oceanic airspace. To ensure safe passage, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) released regulatory guidelines mandating that crews flying over much of the North Atlantic (NAT) must have Letters of Authorization for Data Link and RNP-4 by January 30, 2020. With these regulations already in effect, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to obtain your LOAs and keep your operations running smoothly.

What Are RNP-4 and Data Link and Why Do You Need Them?

The only way to permit more aircraft in a high-use airspace is to lower the separation standards between them. ICAO has mandated RNP-4 and Data Link to keep up with the growing air traffic in the NAT. This equipment helps to ensure efficient communication and minimum navigation performance allowing the distance between traffic to be reduced.

  • RNP-4: More accurate navigation equipment, which is certified in accordance with ICAO’s “Require Navigation Performance” specifications, ensures that aircraft can fly accurately to a centerline.  The lower the RNP value, the more accurate the equipment.  This is especially important in oceanic or remote airspace where control centers are not available. In a highly trafficked airspace such as the NAT, it is critical that as many aircraft be certified with the most precise navigation equipment possible.
  • Data Link: Navigation is only part of the equation; ATC still requires position reporting information from aircraft to properly track and control flights.  Relying on pure voice communications for those position reports would be impractical as traffic expands — enter Data Link.  By automating position reports with Automatic Dependent Surveillance — Contract (ADS-C) and Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) technology, ATC can ensure that critical position information is transmitted quickly and reliably.

What Should I Do Before Applying for These LOAs?

  1. Make sure you have completed any necessary upgrades to your aircraft. Check your Airplane Flight Manual and consult with your maintenance team to ensure the aircraft is actually capable of both RNP-4 and Data Link. This is typically outlined in the “limitations” section of the AFM.  If a Service Bulletin / Change or STC is required, schedule those installations as soon as you can.  It might be possible for the FAA to begin reviewing an LOA request while maintenance is still in progress, but it is definitely impossible to get an LOA for something your aircraft can’t currently do.
  2. Review your current RNP LOA, if any. Your flight department may or may not have an LOA for oceanic RNP operations already.  Check if the FAA has already issued you a paragraph B036 LOA, and if so, check whether it lists “RNP-4.”  Most non-NAT oceanic operations only require RNP-10, and for many years that was the only authorization given. It’s possible that you might only have RNP-10 even if your aircraft was capable of RNP-4 when you first applied for LOAs. 
  3. Make sure your pilots’ training is up to date. For Part 91 operators, training requirements are a bit more relaxed than for the rest of the aviation world. This means you can take some liberties with training schedules and deadlines. However, to ensure that pilots are familiar with current procedures in the NAT, the FAA will likely hold you to a 24-month currency for your international / RNP training, if not even less.  If your training is older than 24 months, it is recommended that you schedule a recurrent course ASAP.
  4. Contact a flight planning service to obtain a sample flight plan. For both the RNP-4 and Data Link LOAs, the FAA will require that you provide a complete sample flight plan.  Note that this sample should reflect both a full crew plan (i.e., the computer printout, including the fuel block, waypoints, ETPs, etc.) and the one-page ICAO flight plan.  The FAA may check your plan for any number of potential issues, including compliance with fuel requirements, the equipment codes used, or even just that you’ve selected an appropriate destination alternate.  So, it is important to choose a flight planning vendor that you trust to provide an accurate and suitable plan. Check out our top tips and tricks for ensuring your flight plan is ready in our Flight Planning Codes Demystified article.

LOA Applications Now Will Yield Cost Savings in the Long Run

While LOA applications may seem like a lot of work, shirking them can have real-world consequences. There are significant financial penalties for being caught flying without required LOAs and the alternative — flying around, above, or below the airspaces with these mandates — isn’t much better. You may be forced to fly hours out of the way, incurring unnecessary additional fuel costs and delays.

The applications can be a process, but the time and cost of applying for these LOA applications does not compare to the price of flying an additional four or five hours, or the fine for avoiding them altogether.

Once approved, your LOAs likely won’t need to be considered again until the FAA releases new regulations and guidelines. But if there ever is a reason to resubmit an LOA application, subscribing to our manual revision service can help you stay on top of such changes. When we hear about new regulations that could affect operators’ LOAs, we can push news out to our subscribers, detailing what those changes are and what actions departments will have to take. What LOAs look like now is not what they looked like five years ago, and most likely not what they will look like five years in the future, so it is best to have the tools to react quickly.

Contact us for any LOA support, and check out our free LOA Guide for more information.

Are You Prepared for a Health Emergency? – Take the Quiz

The recent health crisis has disrupted a significant portion of global travel. It is more crucial than ever to have manuals that are up to date to ensure flights are organized and executed as safely as possible.

Are your operations equipped to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and future health emergencies? Take our latest quiz and see how your safety management stacks up.

 

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How did you do? If you feel you could use a hand, get in touch with our manuals experts today and see how easy it is when AviationManuals manages your content for you!

5 Things You Should Do at the End of The Year

With the new year swiftly approaching, it’s time to review how up to date your department’s operations and safety management are. Here are 5 key items to consider when going through your end-of-year to-do list.

1. Take stock of what you have and how old it is

 

  •  Are your manuals up to date?

Aviation is a dynamic industry requiring continual improvement. This means regulators and organizations often need to change and update guidance every year. It’s a good time to check if your manuals are still up to date in the areas of regulation, accepted standards, and best practices. If you don’t have an automatic update subscription, you will want to make a list of all the year’s changes and incorporate the applicable items into each of your manuals. You will want to review revisions from the FAA, ICAO, industry best practices, and country-specific regulatory authorities.

  • Review your ERP

An outdated Emergency Response Plan (ERP) is of no help in an emergency. Track any personnel, facility, and operational changes that have occurred and make sure they’re reflected in your ERP. Role changes, additional personnel, updates and modifications to facilities, and changes or expansions in flight operations will all affect your ERP procedures. Your ERP should be reviewed at least on an annual basis – you can read more about keeping your ERP up to date here.

  • Get a customized MEL versus an MMEL

Although the U.S. allows Part 91 operators to use a Master Minimum Equipment List (MMEL) as an MEL, if you travel internationally, especially to areas of Europe, having a customized Minimum Equipment List (MEL) LOA for your aircraft will ensure that you don’t run into any issues with overseas authorities. In addition, an MEL is more concise and in general easier to use than an MMEL. If you haven’t made the transition yet, now is a great the time.

2. Check your LOAs

 

  • Are your LOAs current? Especially your Data Link A056 LOA.

LOAs don’t usually expire, but they do need to be updated from time to time. Take stock of your LOAs and check that they’re still valid for the coming year and whether you need any new ones for new aircraft, updated avionics installations, or new types of operations. Be sure to check your A056 LOA, as it’s been updated numerous times by the FAA in 2018, and your version might not be the most recent one. You can read about the most recent requirements here.

  • LOA and aircraft planning

If you’re planning on purchasing a new aircraft next year, keep track of the LOAs you might require – it could take anywhere between one to six months to get your LOA approved, so be sure to insert that timeline into your planning. Sometimes FSDOs will allow submissions of LOA applications prior to completion of the aircraft transition so that you can start to reduce the time that it takes to get the aircraft operational.

  • Review upcoming mandates

Although certain mandates are still a while away (like the ADS-B mandate set for January 1, 2020), don’t wait until the last minute to get your LOA. As the deadline approaches more and more operators will be applying for the authorization, which may cause the FAA’s approval timeline to increase. It’s best to beat the crowd and get approved now.

  • Don’t forget your procedures that support your LOA

Most operators keep their associated procedures in an RVSM Operations Manual or International Procedures Manual. When applying for a new LOA, the FAA may expect to see that this manual is up to date with the latest guidance, so keep that in mind when planning your to-do’s and timeline.

3. Conduct an internal audit

 

An audit can either be a fully detailed process of your entire organization and all manuals or a spot-check of your operation. You want to ensure that the procedures outlined in your manuals are actually being followed. If you find areas where this is not the case, you need to uncover the specific reasons why and implement corrective actions accordingly. Keep in mind that there may be times where procedures are not being followed as the result of changes to your operation that make the procedure redundant. In these cases, they should either be updated or removed from your manuals.

4. Review what your SMS is telling you

 

  • Are you getting the most out of your SMS?

Have you been using your Safety Management System (SMS)? Review the information that has been entered into your system including reports, risk assessments, and safety profiles. Ideally your entire organization should participate in safety, so check to see if your contributors represent all areas of your operation and not just pilots or top-level management.

  • Reviewing data and trends

With a year’s worth of data, now is a good time to analyze it. See if you recognize any trends, both negative and positive. If you’ve spotted anomalies, try to figure out how and why these happened. Once you have determined root causes you can implement corrective actions for things trending in the wrong direction and keep doing what you’re doing for those headed in the right direction.

  • Check your safety goals

Now’s a good time to check how far along you are in your safety goals and to review goal setting for next year. Have you achieved what you planned? Are there certain things you want to focus on in the new year? Consider what roadblocks you ran into this year or what elements helped you along so you can work these into your plan for next year. If you want to know more about setting safety goals, we’ve got you covered.

  • Conduct a safety culture survey?

In order to keep a pulse on the organization, you should consider conducting an anonymous safety culture survey for your department every year. This way, you can get an honest opinion from everyone about their feelings toward the state of your safety program. You can then plan training and meetings for the next year to tweak the current procedures or communications regarding your SMS.

5. Think about going digital

 

Now might be the right time to think about putting a digital system in place to help streamline your entire SMS process. Consider the effort involved in reviewing paper based SMS data, conducting internal audits, and administering surveys. A digital system can allow you to do all of these with the simple click of a button. Additionally, an SMS app can boost engagement as users can simply fill in their reports through the app when on duty or right when the event occurs rather than hours later.

By considering the above list, you can ensure you’ve thoroughly reviewed all the hard work you did this year as well as actually utilized the data you took the time to collect. You will be prepared for the new year and may find you already have a head start on a number of new year’s resolutions.

The team at AviationManuals wishes you a happy holiday season – please be sure to contact us if you have any questions. We’re always happy to help review your manuals or provide you with more information on ARC, our digital SMS platform and app.