Effective Date: May 01, 2017
Expiration Date: May 01, 2023
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6.1.1 This chapter describes the roles and responsibilities of NASA Aviation Management and Aviation Safety Professionals and defines minimum qualifications and training of Center ASOs. The chapter also provides the basic requirements for NASA's Aviation Safety Program and provides structure for managers and ASOs to establish and implement their Center's programs. Managers and ASOs will also find requirements regarding aircraft hazard and mishap reporting
6.1.2 The objectives of the NASA Aviation Safety Program are accomplished through the detection and mitigation of hazards, effective risk management, safety awareness training, and enforcement of high standards of conduct and performance. The primary purposes of the NASA Aviation Safety Program are:
a. Preserving human and material resources by preventing damage and injury through the mitigation of aviation safety hazards and effective risk management throughout NASA.
b. Enhancing safety awareness in all NASA employees and contractor personnel.
6.1.3 Safety Management System
126.96.36.199 While NASA has a robust Aviation Safety Program, that program is enhanced and validated by the Safety Management System (SMS), a recognized standard throughout the aviation industry. It is recognized by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and civil aviation authorities (CAA) as the next step in the evolution of safety in aviation.
188.8.131.52 This NPR establishes policy and procedures for the NASA Aircraft Operations SMS in accordance with ICAO, Federal, and industry standards. Compliance is mandatory and shall be monitored during IAOP functional reviews. 
a. The SMS shall establish the mechanisms necessary to deliver and monitor safety performance. 
b. Specifically, SMS requires the following:
(1) A structured means of safety risk management decision making.
(2) A means of demonstrating safety management capability before system failures occur.
(3) Increased confidence in risk controls through structured safety assurance processes.
(4) An effective interface for knowledge sharing.
(5) A safety promotion framework to support a sound safety culture.
184.108.40.206 Centers shall assign an individual within aircraft operations with the responsibility for managing the Center's aircraft operations SMS to include, at a minimum, documentation control, training of personnel, and promotion of the program to ensure all aircraft operations personnel are aware of their responsibilities. 
220.127.116.11 SMS non-conformances identified through either Agency internal or third-party audits will be mitigated in accordance with either Center specific or Agency overall policies or procedures based on the appropriate level of responsibility.
6.2.1 The Chief, Safety and Mission Assurance (SMA) is the Technical Authority for NASA Aviation Safety and has delegated the responsibility for NASA's Aviation Safety Program to the Director, AMD.
6.2.2 Center Directors are responsible for the safe operation of all aircraft, including UAS, assigned to or operating from their Centers including all commercial aviation services (CAS) supporting NASA mission requirements regardless of the location of the operations.
18.104.22.168 Center Directors shall support and maintain an Aviation Safety Program and organization in accordance with Agency safety policies and this NPR. 
22.214.171.124 Center Directors shall ensure that the Center ASO is granted formal and direct access to senior management when safety issues cannot be resolved at a lower level in the flight organization. 
6.2.3 The Center's Chief of Flight Operations is the senior line manager with authority and responsibility for all flight operations at the Center and is responsible to the Center Director for the safe and effective operation of all aircraft, including UAS. This is necessary to ensure that aviation management decisions are made only by designated and qualified individuals and to ensure that management actions do not create or contribute to unsafe conditions.
6.2.4 The Director, AMD, as the institutional authority, is responsible for the oversight and management of the Agency's Aviation Safety Program and requirements through this NPR. The Director, AMD, will ensure that periodic reviews of all NASA flight operations are conducted to ensure that NASA aircraft management policies are followed.
6.2.5 The Headquarters AMD Aviation Safety Manager (ASM) serves as the senior advisor to the Assistant Administrator for the OSI and the Director of the AMD on aviation safety matters. The AMD ASM shall be a qualified ASO in accordance with the Federal Management Regulation on the Management of Government Aircraft and meet the training requirements in section 126.96.36.199 within 3 years of appointment.  The AMD ASM is responsible for implementing the Agency's Aviation Safety Program, coordinating the annual NASA ASO meeting, and managing the Agency's IAOP review program. The AMD ASM also provides aviation safety support to Center aircraft managers and Center ASOs and serves as liaison to other Federal agencies and military services on aviation safety matters.
6.2.6 The IAOP ASO subpanel keeps the IAOP chair informed of safety developments and issues. The ASO subpanel chair serves as the main interface between Center ASOs and Headquarters, providing advice and counsel regarding aviation safety issues and concerns. The ASO subpanel chair is responsible for briefing aviation safety issues and concerns of the Centers to the IAOP and shall schedule and conduct subpanel meetings and teleconferences.  The chair is selected from the membership of the ASO subpanel and serves a term of 3 years.
6.2.7 The Center's Chief of Flight Operations shall recommend assignment of the Center Aviation Safety Officer (ASO), with the concurrence of the Center SMA Director, to the Center Director for approval. 
188.8.131.52 The ASO will be a civil servant assigned to the Flight Operations Department, serve as the Center's focal point for aviation safety, and act on behalf of the Center Director when discharging this responsibility.
184.108.40.206 The ASO has the duty to advise the Chief of Flight Operations regarding safety issues and concerns within the organization. Managers will use the advice of the ASO in formulating organizational decisions but should not expect or rely upon the ASO to make managerial decisions.
220.127.116.11 The ASO serves as a member of the Center's ARB and is responsible for managing the Center's Aviation Safety Program and ensuring that the goals of the program are clearly understood. If the ASO believes that a safety concern has not been dealt with sufficiently by the Flight Operations organization, the ASO shall take the concern directly to the Center Director, Chief, SMA, or the HQ Director, Aircraft Management Division without retribution. 
18.104.22.168 Center Aviation Safety Officer qualifications include the following:
a. The ASO shall hold qualification as a NASA PIC in primary research aircraft type used at the Center. 
b. The ASO, within 1 year of appointment, shall complete a course in Aviation Safety Program management and NASA STEP 1 for Aviation Safety. 
c. The ASO, within 2 years of appointment, shall:
(1) Have graduated from a recognized Military Aviation Safety Officer Course or an Academic Aviation Safety Certificate Program (of at least 6 weeks' duration).  Program should include courses in aviation safety management, accident/incident response preparedness, aircraft accident investigation, SMS, human factors in aviation operations (maintenance and flight operations), crew resource management theory, aviation ground safety, and aviation law.
(2) Have completed the necessary NASA courses to lead or act as an ex-officio member of a mishap investigation in accordance with NPR 8621.1, which shall include at a minimum:
(a) Overview of mishap investigations.
(b) Mishap investigation roles and responsibilities.
(c) Introduction to human factors in mishap and close call investigation.
(d) Completing the investigation and mishap report.
(e) Root cause analysis. 
22.214.171.124 Recurrent Training. Each Center shall establish a continuing education program to ensure that each ASO maintains adequate knowledge to discharge the duties of the office. 
a. To maintain familiarity with the latest aviation safety principles as a NASA ASO, the ASO shall be actively engaged in the Center's aviation operations program and complete 40 hours of continuing education in ASO course elements within 24 calendar months. 
b. ASOs should include portions of the NASA STEP requirements for Aviation Safety in their recurrent training program. Training for ASOs includes the following course elements:
(1) Aviation Safety Program management.
(2) System safety.
(3) Aviation accident investigation.
(4) Mishap planning.
(5) Human factors.
(6) Maintenance safety.
(7) Risk management.
(8) Aviation law.
(9) Crew resource management.
(10) Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
(11) Aviation medicine/physiology.
(12) Software assurance.
(13) Quality management.
6.2.8 Center Aviation Ground Safety Officers (AGSO). The Center's Chief of Flight Operations shall appoint an AGSO.  The AGSO will be assigned to the Flight Operations Department, serve as the Center's focal point for aviation ground safety. The AGSO has the duty to advise the Chief of Flight Operations regarding safety issues and concerns within the organization. The AGSO serves as a member of the Center's Aviation Safety Working Group and is responsible for supporting the Center's Aviation Safety Program.
126.96.36.199 Aviation Ground Safety Officer qualifications include the following:
a. The AGSO shall hold qualification as an aircraft or helicopter mechanic, aeronautics engineer, or in airport or aviation operations. 
b. The AGSO, within 1 year of appointment, shall complete NASA STEP 1 for Aviation Safety. 
188.8.131.52 Recurrent Training. Each Center shall establish a continuing education program to ensure that each AGSO maintains adequate knowledge to discharge the duties of the office. 
a. To maintain familiarity with the latest aviation safety principles as a NASA AGSO, the AGSO shall be actively engaged in the Center's aviation operations program and complete 40 hours of continuing education in AGSO course elements within 24 calendar months. 
b. AGSOs should include the NASA STEP for Aviation Safety in their recurrent training program. Training for AGSOs include the following course elements in addition to the elements in 6.2.1a through 6.2.1m:
(1) Human Factors in Aircraft Maintenance Aviation Safety Program Management.
(2) NASA Root Cause Analysis System Safety.
(3) Introduction to SMS Aviation Accident Investigation.
(4) Basic Systems Safety Mishap Planning.
(5) NMIS user.
184.108.40.206 The AGSO shall:
a. Lead and manage quarterly maintenance aviation safety training. Facilitate monthly safety training by work Centers.
b. Lead and manage process to identify and resolve hazards identified within the aircraft maintenance activities.
c. Investigate initial reporting of hazardous events and hazardous conditions associated with aircraft maintenance activities.
d. Inspect and audit the effectiveness/health of Flight Operations processes addressing:
(1) Cargo safety for assigned aircraft.
(2) Ramp/hangar FOD.
(3) Vehicular traffic incursion and tool control.
e. Recommend safety policy for aircraft maintenance activities.
f. Participate as a member of the Aviation Safety Working Group.
g. Investigate and report on aircraft-related NPR8621.1 events as assigned.
h. Develop and manage portfolio of existing ground safety hazards associated with aircraft maintenance activities.
i. Facilitate periodic inspections/audits of aircraft maintenance-related facilities/ramps and resolution of identified deficiencies.
j. Serve as the safety liaison between the Center's airfield manager and related aircraft maintenance activities. 
6.3.1 The Center's Aviation Safety Program shall be documented in a coherent set of directives maintained in a single comprehensive manual, The Aviation Safety Program shall provide a clear assignment of roles and responsibilities of the Center's SMS and implementation of requirements and policies outlined in this directive, NPR 8621.1, NPR 8715.3, and NPD 7900.4.  The program needs to address requirements of the aviation ground environment, as well as all aspects of the flight environment. NASA's Aviation Safety Programs are dynamic and provide oversight to the many changes that occur in the aviation operational environment. The following program elements are required by NASA policy or Federal regulation:
220.127.116.11 Center's Aviation Safety Working Group. The Center's Aviation Safety Working Group provides a forum to discuss and resolve Center aviation safety issues. The working group is chaired by the ASO, shall meet at least semiannually, and reports to the Chief of Flight Operations.  Areas represented on the working group include, but are not limited to, operations, maintenance, engineering, aviation safety, aviation ground safety, airfield facilities, and QA.
18.104.22.168 Inspections and Evaluations.
a. The Director, AMD shall conduct aviation safety reviews of each Center as part of the periodic IAOP functional reviews. The Office of Safety and Mission Assurance will support these reviews to ensure insight into the effectiveness of the Aviation Safety Program. 
b. Centers conducting flight operations shall perform a review of flight operations during the alternate year when an IAOP review is not scheduled by either an internal or external organization. 
(1) Internal self-assessment reviews should be conducted by the ASO using the IAOP Checklist and should encompass at a minimum the sections on management, operations, maintenance, quality assurance, airfields, airworthiness, and aviation safety.
(2) External reviews may be conducted by review by the Center's Safety Office or an external aviation inspection organization that shall provide an objective evaluation of selected aircraft operations, maintenance, crew procedures, and facilities to ensure safe and efficient operations. 
(3) Centers that have completed an onsite SMS evaluation coordinated by Headquarters do not need to conduct an alternate year inspection or evaluation.
c. Alternate-year inspections and evaluations should focus on progress toward remedying findings and deficiencies identified in the past IAOP Reviews, the last SMS audit, and changes to Agency directives since the last IAOP Review.
d. The review should document and focus on progress toward remedying findings/deficiencies identified in the past IAOP inspections, the last SMS audit, and changes to Agency directives since the last IAOP inspection.
e. A written report summarizing the review, findings, and recommendations shall be provided to the Center Director, copy to AMD, within 75 days of the review. 
22.214.171.124 Hazardous Conditions and Events. The ASO will be the focal point between Center's processes to address the requirements of NPR8621.1 that relate to aviation activity under the Center's control and establish, as necessary, processes to identify and report hazardous conditions and hazardous events occurring within flight operations activities into the NMIS or other Center system. The ASO shall be the primary interface between NMIS and DoD Safety Investigation Databases for gleaning lessons learned and potential mitigations for their operations.  The ASO will establish a process for investigating, analyzing for root cause, and identifying and resolving deficiencies associated with hazardous conditions and hazardous events that do not satisfy the criteria of the Close Call category as defined in NPR 8621.1.
126.96.36.199 Cultural Surveys. The Chief of Flight Operations, with the assistance of the ASO, shall conduct a Government/industry-recognized cultural survey, assessment, or workshop within aircraft operations every 2 years. 
a. This survey shall:
Determine employees' expectations of the Center's Aviation Safety Program.
Evaluate the effectiveness of the current Aviation Safety Program. 
b. The goal of this survey is to provide anonymous feedback to management regarding perceptions of organizational climate, management practices, safety, and risk mitigation. These surveys will foster better communication by highlighting and addressing concerns within flight operations.
188.8.131.52 Quarterly Aviation Safety Training. ASOs shall conduct safety training for operations and maintenance personnel and establish a process to ensure that topics covered are disseminated to those who could not attend. 
184.108.40.206 Awards Program. Centers shall establish an Aviation Safety Awards program. 
220.127.116.11 Risk Assessment and Hazard Analysis. The ASO shall establish risk assessment and hazard-analysis procedures that address risks, hazards, and mitigation methods associated with aircraft modifications and research flights, in accordance with Chapter 2 of NPR 8715.3. 
18.104.22.168 Project and Program Safety Plans. The Center shall ensure that project and program safety plans are subject to a review process that ensures that the plans address associated risks and hazards with the specific project or program. 
a. Once approved, the Center shall ensure that the plans are disseminated to all involved personnel. 
b. The requirements for these safety plans may be satisfied by flight test plans or safety permits but still are subject to the review process.
22.214.171.124 Facilities and Equipment. The Chief of Flight Operations shall ensure that aviation facilities both at home and deployed locations are maintained and inspected in accordance with applicable OSHA and NASA safety standards.  These facilities include, but are not limited to, the airfield, aircrew spaces, maintenance shops, ground support equipment, Crash Fire Rescue (CFR) facilities, and ATC facilities.
126.96.36.199 Cargo Safety.
a. The ASO or AGSO shall ensure safety oversight is provided during the handling and stowage of cargo, including hazardous materials, aboard NASA aircraft. 
b. The Transportation Officer shall ensure that mixed cargo and passenger loads meet all Federal requirements and ensure that contract carriers and airlift services used by NASA comply with Department of Transportation (DoT) regulations, including 49 CFR Part 175, Carriage by Aircraft, in the transportation of hazardous materials and cargo. 
c. Transportation of lithium-ion batteries is not authorized in any quantities in the cargo hold of NASA aircraft.
188.8.131.52 Dissemination of Aviation Safety-Related Information. ASOs shall ensure that aviation safety-related information is distributed throughout aircraft operations and maintenance and that safety information that would be of interest Agency-wide is sent to the OSMA for distribution. 
6.4.1 Each Center shall publish and maintain Mishap Preparedness and Contingency Plans that involve aircraft in accordance with the procedures established in NPR 8621.1.  In addition to the requirements in NPR 8621.1, each Center's plan shall:
a. Ensure that Mishap Preparedness and Contingency Plans that involve aircraft contain provisions to comply with NTSB, FAA, and GSA investigation and reporting requirements in accordance with Federal regulations. 
b. Ensure that local fire/crash-rescue personnel are briefed annually and prior to operation of newly acquired aircraft on rescue and emergency procedures peculiar to the aircraft regularly operated at that facility. 
c. Ensure that mock mishap drills through desktop or simulation are held annually and that the ASO evaluates the results to ensure optimal coordination with stakeholders for the Mishap Preparedness and Contingency Plan. 
d. Establish procedures for notifying and working with the FAA for aircraft accidents or other reportable aircraft-related incidents under Federal regulations. 
6.4.2 The Center safety office, with the support of the IRT, and the Center Flight Operations, shall coordinate with the Agency NAMIS Manager the impounding of all NAMIS data and records for the aircraft, support equipment, and facilities that may be involved in the mishap to prevent their unauthorized use or modification. 
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