AIRCARE™ Explained

Minister Launches AIRCARE accreditation Programme
AIRCARE™ Explained
'Improves safety, simplifies compliance, guarantees performance and builds customer loyalty'
AIRCARE™ Benefits to Accredited Operators
  • Safety is enhanced (aircraft accident rates 32% better than for non-accredited operators)
  • Compliance requirements are not overlooked
  • Enhanced support from staff and their families who appreciate the extra layers of safety
  • Recognition - Safety Awards available for pilots and operators
  • Loyalty from customers who appreciate the transparent systems and lower risk operations
  • Loyalty from customers who know that their environmental expectations are being met
  • Less auditing by customers as more and more are accepting AIRCARE™ as a means of meeting their quality and safety requirements
  • CAA’s SMS requirements met
  • HSW’s requirements met
  • The knowledge that the company is making a major contribution to the sustainability of the industry as a whole

The purpose of the AIRCARE™ Accreditation Programme is to ensure the sustainability of aviation’s General Aviation sector.
The AIRCARE™ Accreditation Programme has been developed by members of the aviation industry for the benefit of the aviation industry and its General Aviation participants. Members of the aviation industry believe that sustainability for this sector can be ensured provided organisations always operate to best practice. Accreditation to the AIRCARE™ Programme permits organisations to demonstrate they are in fact operating to best practice.
The AIRCARE™ Accreditation Programme is an integrated programme for aviation businesses. It brings flight safety, environmental safety and other safety related functions together in one safety assurance programme. In doing so it rationalises many of the aviation compliance requirements.
Aircraft operators are generally well versed in applying solid risk management procedures to flight safety so what AIRCARE™ does is to get them to use those same techniques to manage environmental safety, transport of patients, fire fighting and pilot training. There are a number of standards to which organisations can be accredited, depending on what activities they undertake, but one common theme is that all participating organisations are required to have sound risk management processes.
The following principles have been followed in developing the AIRCARE™ Accreditation Programme:
  1. Safety First – taking care of everyone’s safety - staff, visitors, customers, contractors, public
  2. Industry Led – developed by members of the aviation industry for the aviation industry
  3. Sustainable – environmental, social and financial
  4. Integrity – robust processes of accreditation and governance
  5. Supportive – providing tools for organisations to achieve best practice
  6. Transparent – criteria and findings are fully transparent
  7. Independent assurance – third party verification
  8. Intelligent – audit data is regularly reviewed and assessed
  9. Evolutionary – improving continuously to help General Aviation to lift performance
  10. Proactive – promoting safety and environmental performance for a vibrant aviation sector contributing to a better New Zealand.
The rules and standards incorporated in this programme not only represent best industry practice but compliance with them will also provide independently assessed assurance that participants in the programme are performing at a level that consistently ensures compliance with regulations and industry codes of practice. The AIRCARE™ Accreditation Programme has SMS as its foundation and risk management is a cornerstone of SMS. Therefore compliance with AIRCARE™  SMS will also meet HSE requirements and CAA’s SMS rule when these are rolled out. AIRCARE™ SMS is not a separate compliance regime – it is an integrated one.
The programme was launched at a function at Parliament by the Associate Minister of Transport Nathan Guy on 12th May 2011. All General Aviation organisations are invited to adopt the programme whether or not they are members of the Aviation Industry Association. 
The accompanying flowchart represents the compliance requirements for aerial operators (except major airlines.) The left hand side deals with aviation safety and is mandatory under the Civil Aviation (CA) Act 1990. Complying with the CAA requirements will ensure continued certification and therefore continued licence to operate.
The right hand side deals with voluntary environmental codes of practice.
Environmental management.  Whereas Civil Aviation is regulated primarily by a few Acts of Parliament and the associated rules and regulations, environmental management is regulated by some 45 Acts and 80 different regulations. The principal elements in these that affect aviation are discharges to land, water and air and amenity values. (Noise can be an amenity value.) So whilst requirements concerning discharges affect in particular Agricultural Aviation the adverse effects of noise reach across all of aviation. The codes of practice that currently make up the Environmental Management System are:
  • GROWSAFE® Code of Practice for the Management of Agrichemicals (NZS8409:2004)
  • SPREADMARK™ Aerial Code of Practice for the Placement of Fertiliser in NZ
  • AIRCARE™ Code of Practice for the Aerial Application of Vertebrate Toxic Agents
  • AIRCARE™ Code of Practice for Noise Abatement
There are three other voluntary codes of practice that are neither solely flight safety nor environmental safety but may include elements of both. These are performance codes.
  • Air Ambulance (EMS Operations) – The purpose of this standard is to ensure that the quality of services provided by air ambulance/air rescue services in New Zealand promotes safety, consistency and is patient or recipient focused.
  • AIRCARE™ Flight Training Code of Practice – The purpose of this code is to enhance the professional practice of flight training providers.
  • AIRCARE™ Fire Fighting Code of Practice – The purpose of this code is to provide a national fire fighting protocol for aircraft that manages the risks of aerial fire fighting. The code was developed jointly by AIA and Rural Fire Authorities in 2012.
The flowchart shows a Safety Management System (SMS). AIRCARE™ Accredited Organisations are adopting SMS to supplement the Quality Management Systems aviation has been running for nearly 20 years. SMS is the management system operators should utilise to manage their compliance with both the CAA Rules and the AIRCARE™ codes of practice. SMS is soon to be a requirment of compliance with the the CA Act and its associated rules. The SMS itself is auditable. In respect to the AIRCARE™ only four elements of SMS are required to be adopted at this stage. They are:
  • A Quality Assurance process
  • A procedure to identify hazards
  • A procedure to place controls on the hazards
  • A procedure to measure the effectiveness of those controls
i.e. QA and Risk Management. When CAA rolls out SMS, additional elements of SMS will be added to the AIRCARE™ Programme to ensure it is aligned with CAA requirements.
AIRCARE™ Elements in a nutshell
There are three principal elements to AIRCARE™
  1. Pilot competency. This is demonstrated by a pilot passing an assessment and therefore qualifying for a certificate for example on a code of practice.
  2. The organisation is required to demonstrate that it has in place the necessary systems and procedures to ensure compliancey with relevant legislation and codes of practice.
  3. Organisations are independently audited by a third party to assure compliance.
When the public see an aircraft, hangar, vehicle sporting the AIRCARE™ logo they can be assured that the organisation they are looking at is absolutely dedicated to a high level of safety performance in all aspects of its business.
A number of industry's customers are requiring AIRCARE™ Accreditation as a condition for operating in areas under their control because they want best practice delivered and they have confidence the AIRCARE™ Programme delivers just that.
The codes of practice, accreditation rules, audit check lists and material aimed at helping organisations through the accreditation process can be found under the various sectors of General Aviation at AIRCARE™ Resources

A copy of the codes of practice and the SMS Guidance Manual that includes the rules for accreditation are available on this website under AIRCARE™ Resources.
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