Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Safety Management Systems (SMS) have now become regulation within FAR Part 121 operations with U.S. airports and FAR Part 135 operators coming next. An assessment of the implementation of voluntary SMS programs and their effects on safety culture within major U.S. Helicopter Air Ambulance (HAA) operators was conducted. This study is designed to see if safety management systems, safety culture or the lack thereof changes the perception of HAA operators and crew members. A Likert style survey was administered to HAA pilots, paramedics, and flight nurses who were asked for their perception on their ability to communicate freely, belief their organization’s culture was a Just Culture, and the effectiveness of certain hazard mitigation protocols popular to the industry. The survey data revealed that SMS has been fairly well received by the working roles in these HAA operations. It also showed that some difference in opinion surfaced between the most experienced group (twenty plus years) and less experienced respondents (< twenty years).