Study of Safety Management Software for Airports

The purpose of this projects is to gain an understanding of the variety of software being used by airports as part of their respective Airport Safety Management Systems (SMS) strategies, with the goal of providing the the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with guidance towards recommending the use of SMS software at airports, including minimum functionality standards. For several years, the FAA has embarked on a program of establishing the use of SMS at airports. SMS may be thought of as a “proactive” strategy towards improving safety at airports through four primary components: (1) Establishing a Safety Policy, (2) Promoting a Safety Culture, (3) Performing Safety Risk, and (4) Management (SRM), and performing Safety Assurance. As part of this program, the FAA and other sources have published several documents for airport operators, including advisory circulars, guidebooks, and resource lists, including certain software products to facilitate the implementation of SMS at airports. In addition, the FAA contracted with 31 U.S. Commercial Service and General Aviation airports of varying sizes to perform “SMS pilot studies”, of which 14 airports continued with the FAA to perform “SMS implementation studies”. As part of these studies, several of these airports implemented the use of SMS software. Some of these airports purchased off‐the‐shelf SMS software originally developed for other industries (such as manufacturing plants), others developed software in‐house, and yet others hired consulting firms to develop, purchase, and/or manage SMS software platforms. These pilot studies were completed in 2012. Since 2012, some of these airports have continued to keep their SMS programs active, either using their original software programs, or refined platforms. Others have added SMS software to their SMS programs, and yet others have dropped their utilization of software, or inactivated much of their SMS programs overall. Since 2012, additional airports have begun to implement SMS programs, also using software in many cases. Preliminary research in developing this statement of work found several commercial products marketed as airport safety management software. In addition to commercial products, some individual airports have created in‐house SMS software or have used fundamental office‐based software (such as generic database and spreadsheet products). As such, there is a gaining wealth of institutional knowledge at individual airports regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the varying SMS software platforms that have been used. Despite these gains, there are many airports in the United States that have yet to embark on an SMS program, and as such have no institutional knowledge or guidance towards selecting an appropriate SMS software tool. This work proposes to address the FAA’s desire to provide such guidance, through a thorough investigation of the use of SMS software products, and a study of what airports need in terms of software tools to operate a successful SMS strategy.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Centers of Excellence - Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility, and Sustainability


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $207066
  • Contract Numbers:





  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Aviation Administration

    William J. Hughes Technical Center, Atlantic City International Airport
    Atlantic City, NJ  United States  08405
  • Project Managers:

    Vitagliano, Lauren

  • Performing Organizations:

    Ohio State University, Center for Aviation Studies

    2036 Neil Avenue
    Bolz Hall, Suite 228
    Columbus, OH  United States  43210
  • Principal Investigators:

    Young, Seth

  • Start Date: 20140804
  • Expected Completion Date: 20171231
  • Actual Completion Date: 20171231
  • Source Data: PEGASAS Project 12

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01587295
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Partnership to Enhance General Aviation Safety, Accessibility and Sustainability
  • Contract Numbers: 12-C-GA-OSU-009,016,032, 12-C-GA-OSU-034, 12-C-GA-OSU-041, 12-C-GA-OSU-060
  • Files: RIP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 19 2016 4:03PM