8900.1 CHG 581



Section 4  Safety Assurance System: Acronyms, Abbreviations, Terms, and Definitions

10-1-4-1    GENERAL.

A.    Purpose. This section provides a list of Safety Assurance System (SAS) acronyms, abbreviations, terms, and definitions.

B.    Scope. This section provides an overview of the SAS acronyms and abbreviations in Table 10‑1‑4A, Acronyms and Abbreviations, and terms and definitions in Table 10‑1‑4B, Terms and Definitions.

Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information. Indicates new/changed information.

Table 10‑1‑4A.  Acronyms and Abbreviations




Analysis, Assessment, and Action


Advisory Circular


Aircraft Configuration Control Document


Aircraft Interior Configuration Document


Analysis and Information Program Office


Action Item Tracking Tool


Advanced Qualification Program


Aviation Safety Assistant


Aviation Safety Action Program


Aviation Safety Inspector


Aviation Safety Inspector—Aircraft Dispatcher


Aviation Safety Inspector—Cabin Safety


Aviation Safety Technician


Air Transportation Supervisor


Automation User Guide


Airworthiness (Avionics/Maintenance)


Office of Hazardous Materials Safety


Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement


Custom Data Collection Tool


Comprehensive Assessment Plan


Continuing Analysis and Surveillance System


Commercial Aviation Safety Team


Code of Federal Regulations


Certificate Holder Assessment Tool


Certificate Holder Evaluation Process


Certificate Holder Operating Profile


Continual Improvement Program Office


Continued Operational Safety


Certification Process Document


Certification Project Manager


Certification Project Team


Certification Services Oversight Process


Certification Team Leader


Design Assessment


Data Collection Tool


Data Evaluation Program Manager


Dynamic Observation Report


Data Quality Guidelines


Data Quality Reviewer


European Aviation Safety Agency


Element Design Data Collection Tool


Element Design Assessment


Electronic Flight Information System


Essential Maintenance Provider


Element Performance Data Collection Tool


Element Performance Assessment


Extended Operations


Enhanced Vital Information Database


Federal Aviation Administration


Frontline Manager


Freedom of Information Act


Flight Operations Quality Assurance


Geographic Airport Data Display


Helicopter Air Ambulance


Hazardous Materials


Hazardous Materials Frontline Manager


Hazardous Materials Division Manager


Hazardous Materials Field Office


Hazardous Materials Principal Inspector


Hazardous Materials Safety Program


Hazardous Materials Safety Inspector


International Civil Aviation Organization


Internal Evaluation Program


Instructor‑Led Training


Individual Work Plan


Major Change Process Document


Maintenance Implementation Procedures


Master List of Functions


Maintenance Provider Custom Data Collection Tool


National Inspection and Investigation Manual


National Safety Analysis


Office Manager


Operations Specifications


Operations Research Analyst


Performance Assessment


Principal Hazardous Materials Inspector


Principal Inspector


Point of Contact


Program Tracking and Reporting Subsystem


Question ID


Risk‑Based Decision Making


Required Document List


Random Inspection


Risk Management


Risk Management Process


Resources Not Available


Returns the Request


Resource Work List


Safety Assurance


SAS Assistance, Feedback, or Enhancement


Safety Assurance System


System Approach for Safety Oversight


System Analysis Team


Service Difficulty Report


Subject Matter Expert


Safety Management System


System or Subsystem Performance Data Collection Tool


System or Subsystem Performance Assessment


Safety Performance Analysis System


SAS Resource Guide


Safety Risk Management


Specific Regulatory Requirement


Team Coordinator


Team Leader


United States Code


Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Program


Web‑Based Training

Table 10‑1‑4B.  Terms and Definitions



Acceptable Risk

The level of risk that individuals or groups are willing to accept, given the benefits gained. Each organization will have its own acceptable risk level, which is derived from its legal and regulatory compliance responsibilities, its threat profile, and its business/organizational drivers and impacts.

Action Item Tracking Tool (AITT)

The AITT is a repository that provides access/manages functionality on all of the action items created for any given certificate holder. The AITT includes action items created from various modules in Safety Assurance System (SAS) automation, such as the Analysis, Assessment, and Action (AAA), the Certificate Holder Assessment Tool (CHAT), Data Collection, and the AITT itself. The AITT does not replace documentation requirements specified in other guidance.


An individual, group, or organization seeking new operating authority.

Assessment (in relation to Performance Assessment (PA) or Design Assessment (DA))

An item that the principal inspector (PI)/certification project manager (CPM) schedules or plans on the Comprehensive Assessment Plan (CAP). An assessment is created to evaluate the certificate holder’s or applicant’s process and procedures. Assessments include System or Subsystem Performance Data Collection Tools (SP DCT), Element Performance Data Collection Tools (EP DCT), Element Design Data Collection Tools (ED DCT), Custom Data Collection Tools (C DCT), random inspections (RI) (Ramp), and En Route inspections.

Authoring Tool

The authoring tool is an application used by the Safety Analysis and Promotion Division to sustain and continuously improve Data Collection Tools (DCT).

Authority Attribute

A clearly identifiable, qualified, and knowledgeable person who has authority to effectively plan, direct, and control resources; change procedures; and make key determinations, including safety risk acceptance decisions.

Avionics Special Emphasis Programs

Accepted or approved programs to the certificate holder/applicant’s maintenance program requiring specific emphasis and procedures to ensure compliance with the associated regulations and guidance. These programs include: Cockpit Voice Recorders, Flight Data Recorders, Air Traffic Control (ATC) Transponder, Lower Landing Minimums, Reduced Vertical Separations Minimums, Aircraft Network Security Program, and Electrical Wiring Interconnection Systems.

Baseline Interval

The baseline interval is the criticality value of the assessment (high, medium, or low).

Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreements (BASA)

BASAs provide for technical cooperation between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other civil aviation authorities (CAA).

Bundling (in reference to planning assessments)

Grouping specific assessments together regardless of criticality for better resource management.

Compliance Action

Action taken by Flight Standards personnel (not the certificate holder) to:

  Correct an airman/organization/noncertificated person’s deviation from regulatory standards when the deviation was not a result of intentional, reckless, or criminal behavior, or a pattern of negative behaviors or performance; or

  Communicate safety hazards, risks, concerns, or recommendations.

Certificate Holder Assessment Tool (CHAT)

The CHAT is an automated tool for each certificate holder and specialty that contains a series of risk indicators and PI options that help the PI assess risk. The output of the CHAT will assist the PIs to justify changes in resource order on the CAP.

Certificate Holder Evaluation Process (CHEP)

A standardized process to evaluate Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) parts 121, 135, and 145 certificate holders. A CHEP can be conducted at the office, divisional, or national level.

Certificate Holder Maintenance Provider

An individual whom the certificate holder has identified for the responsibility for the accomplishment of any of its maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations.

Certificate Holder Operating Profile (CHOP) (also known as the operating profile)

The main purpose of the operating profile is to generate a specific set of DCTs used to conduct PAs and DAs. The operating profile is developed from configuration data taken from the enhanced Vital Information Database (eVID) and operations specifications (OpSpecs), as well as questions that must be answered by the PIs/CPMs. The operating profile represents a certificate holder/applicant’s scope of operations. The output of the operating profile is scoped data collection questions.

Certificated Repair Station (CRS)

Part 145 repair station.

Certification Project Manager (CPM)

Primary FAA spokesperson throughout the SAS initial certification process. The CPM is responsible for ensuring that all certification job functions are complete.

Certification Project Team (CPT)

Responsible for the oversight functions of an initial certification.

Comprehensive Assessment Plan (CAP)

The CAP is a tool used for planning, documenting, and tracking assessments. The PIs/CPMs use the CAP to schedule and adjust resource order and due dates of assessments, and to record the reasons for making those adjustments. The CAP is a 2‑year plan.

Configuration Data

A set of unique characteristics or attributes that define the certificate holder’s or applicant’s scope of operation. For example, route structure, fleet type, fleet size, domestic vs. international operations, and Extended Operations (ETOPS) are types of configuration data.

Continued Operational Safety (COS)

Routine recurring PAs (routine surveillance through safety inspections). Also includes certificate management, the management of major changes in operation (i.e., system configuration change).

Contract Maintenance

Any maintenance, preventive maintenance, or alterations accomplished by a certificate holder maintenance provider.

Controls Attribute

Developing and maintaining the need for, and adequacy of, new or revised risk controls into a process to ensure mitigation of unacceptable risk.

Custom Data Collection Tool (C DCT)

Both a PI C DCT and a National/Divisional C DCT can be used for focused inspections, special emphasis oversight, and to collect data on specific areas of concern outside of the normal planning schedule. If data needs to be collected on functions not covered by EP DCTs and ED DCTs, then a National/Divisional C DCT template will need to be created.

A PI can create a C DCT to include:

  Both scoped and unscoped questions.

  Design questions.

  Performance questions.

A PI cannot create a C DCT to:

  Combine design and performance questions, or

  Combine Airworthiness and Operations questions.

C DCTs created by PIs have the option of going through the AAA.

A template C DCT consists of questions for focused inspections. C DCTs created from a template will automatically go through the AAA.

Data Collection Tools (DCT)

Tools designed to collect data to help the PI/CPM determine if a certificate holder or applicant follows procedures, controls, and process measurement for each element. Includes: SP DCTs, EP DCTs, ED DCTs, C DCTs, and En Route and Ramp inspections.

Data Quality Guidelines (DQG)

Guidelines that help determine acceptable levels of data quality during the evaluation of inspection records.

Data Quality Reviewer (DQR)

An individual who is designated for reviewing DCT reports and records to ensure they meet DQGs. This automation function is held by a Frontline Manager (FLM) and can be delegated to the data evaluation program manager (DEPM) or other assigned person.

Due Date

The required or expected completion date for assessments or DCTs.

Dynamic Observation Report (DOR)

The DOR is used to record an unfavorable observation of performance outside the planned oversight process. A DOR has two options: Question‑Based or “No Applicable Questions.”


An element refers to the groupings per subsystem that characterize the components of that system.

Element Design Assessment (EDA)

The SAS function that measures a certificate holder/applicant’s operating systems at the element level for compliance with the full intent of regulations and system safety, including the requirement to provide service at the highest level of safety in the public interest.

Element Performance Assessment (EPA)

The SAS function that measures a certificate holder/applicant’s operating systems at the element level to confirm that the certificate holder is following its procedures and producing the intended result.

En Route Inspection

An inspection of the in‑flight operations of a certificate holder within the operational environment of the air transportation system. Requires management approval.

Essential Maintenance Provider (EMP)

An EMP is any person with whom a part 121 or 135 certificate holder has made arrangements for the accomplishment of any of its on‑wing maintenance or alterations designated as Required Inspection Items (RII).

External Portal

The external portal is a secured, user‑friendly, web‑based system that allows the PI/CPM and the certificate holder or applicant to exchange information and populate the SAS automation.

Frontline Manager (FLM)

FLMs provide first‑level supervision to subordinate employees and manage the activities of one operating unit, project, or program area. FLMs report to middle or senior managers.

Geographic Resource

A geographic resource is an aviation safety inspector (ASI) that is not included on the office roster that can be requested by a PI or CPM to conduct planned or unplanned data collection. The process to request a geographic resource is described under Resource Sharing in Volume 10, Chapter 4, Section 1, subparagraph 10‑4‑1‑9C7).


A hazard is defined as a condition that could foreseeably cause or contribute to an aircraft accident as defined in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR) part 830, § 830.2.

Hazardous Materials (Hazmat)

A substance or material that the Secretary of Transportation has determined is capable of posing an unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when transported in commerce, and has designated as hazardous under Title 49 of the United States Code (49 U.S.C.) § 5103. The term includes hazardous substances, hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, elevated temperature materials, materials designated as hazardous in the Hazardous Materials Table (refer to 49 CFR part 172, § 172.101), and materials that meet the defining criteria for hazard classes and divisions in 49 CFR part 173.

Identified Risk

A level of risk that is identified through various analysis techniques.

Identify New Hazard (Request NSA Support)

A new hazard is identified as one where the associated risk is not adequately controlled by current directives, or risk controls do not exist to effectively mitigate risk (e.g., in the case of new technology). The hazard may be a systemic or a potentially systemic safety issue that may apply to multiple certificate holders.

Individual Work Plan (IWP)

A rolling plan documenting the risk‑prioritized DA and PA activities for each ASI. The IWP includes estimates of resources necessary to complete each activity and includes other ASI activities, such as training and office duties.

Interfaces Attribute

Interactions between processes that must be managed in order to ensure desired outcomes.

Maintenance Implementation Procedures (MIP)

The procedural document authorized by the BASA related to the performance of maintenance, alterations, and modifications on civil aeronautical products. This document defines the process for reciprocal acceptance of each authority’s recommendations for certification, renewal, and acceptance of eligible repair stations and maintenance organizations.

Maintenance Special Emphasis Programs

Accepted or approved programs applicable to the certificate holder/applicant’s maintenance program requiring specific emphasis and procedures to ensure compliance with the associated regulations and guidance. These programs include: Aging Airplane Inspections, Repair Assessment for Pressurized Fuselages, Damage Tolerance Assessment of Repairs to Pressurized Fuselages, Fatigue Critical Structure (FCS) Inspections, Electrical Wiring Interconnection Systems (EWIS), Fuel Tank System Maintenance Program, Limit of Validity, and Flammability Reduction Means.

Master List of Functions (MLF)

A list of functions that a part 121, 135, or 145 certificate holder or applicant could perform.


An action needed to reduce the level of risk.


An action plan to keep under systematic review. Observe and check the certificate holder/applicant’s progress or quality over a period of time.

National Safety Analysis (NSA)

A key foundational component of SAS, NSA is a national‑level function providing analytical support to identify new systemic hazards or safety issues within the extended aviation community overseen by the Flight Standards Service, assess adverse trends in safety performance, and evaluate the effectiveness of existing safety risk controls.

National/Divisional C DCT

A template C DCT that consists of questions for focused inspections. The National Program Office Branch’s Continual Improvement Program Office (CIPO) Technical Support Team (TST) develops a National/Divisional C DCT based on a request from the Office of Air Carrier or General Aviation Safety Assurance or the Office of Safety Standards. The National/Divisional C DCT can include questions currently found in existing DCTs and/or custom questions. A custom question is one that is created for the C DCT and not currently in a DCT. A National/Divisional C DCT created from a template will automatically go through the AAA.


Activities that occur outside of normal FAA duty hours, including weekends.

Office Roster

The automation provides a roster that lists all of the certificates and the office personnel. When FLMs assign work, they can select from any of the office personnel listed on the roster, regardless of the certificate.

Operating Profile (also known as Certificate Holder Operating Profile (CHOP))

OpSpecs and eVIDs create an operating profile, which is a tailored list of systems/subsystems, elements, and questions that are applicable to a certificate holder/applicant’s scope of operation. The PI/CPM can modify the profile if the certificate holder or applicant has a unique situation that results in differences from the standard configuration, such as a deviation or exemption.

Operational Risk

A risk indicator that has the potential to affect the operations of the certificate holder.

Operations Research Analyst (ORA)

Responsible for assisting the office personnel in collecting and analyzing certificate holder or applicant data.

Operations Specifications (OpSpecs)

Legal and binding contract between a certificate holder and the FAA that documents specifically how the certificate holder operation is conducted.

Organizational Risk

A risk indicator that has the potential to affect the organizational and environmental factors of the certificate holder.


The practice of contracting internal certificate holder programs, processes, and traditional certificate holder functions to external independent vendors, suppliers, and contractors, such as maintenance, training, and ground handling. Oversight for the quality of the overall process remains with the certificate holder.

Peer Group A

All part 121 certificate holders.

Peer Group B

Part 135 – 10 or more seats.

Peer Group C

Part 135 – 9 or less seats.

Peer Group D

Part 135 – 9 or less single pilot only.

Peer Group E

Part 135 helicopter air ambulance (HAA).

Peer Group F

Part 145 located within the U.S.

Peer Group G

Part 145 located outside the U.S. without Aviation Safety Agreement.

Peer Group H

Part 145 located outside the U.S. with Aviation Safety Agreement.

Performance History

The results of the certificate holder’s operations over time.

Performance Measure

A description of the desired outcome of a certificate holder element process. It is used to determine whether the desired results of that process were achieved.

Planning Cycle

The term “cycle” is used to distinguish the planning differences between part 121 and parts 135 and 145. The planning cycle for part 121 is quarterly; for parts 135 and 145, the planning cycle is annually.

Preapplication Statement of Intent (PASI)

The completed PASI is a document used in initial certification that denotes intent by the applicant to initiate the certification process and allows the FAA to plan activities and prepare to commit resources.

Principal Inspector (PI)

The PI is the primary FAA spokesperson and decision maker for their specialty in all applications of SAS.

Procedures Attribute

Methods or practices including checks and restrains that are written or unwritten and regulatory or nonregulatory, designed into a process that a certificate holder/applicant uses to accomplish a desired result. “Unwritten methods” refers to certificate holders/applicants that are not required by regulation to have documented procedures.


Policies and procedures designed to produce a desired result or end product for a certificate holder.

Process Measurement Attribute

Monitoring and measuring the outputs and safety performance of a process and identifying problems, or potential problems, in order to take corrective action.


This allows a person to perform the SAS functionality of another person in the automation. See Volume 10, Chapter 1, Section 3 for more information.

Random Inspections (RI) (Ramp)

Planned or unplanned ramp inspections, with authorization. Supports the Geographic Airport Data Display (GEO ADD) tool and Public Law (PL) 111‑216, Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010.

Resource Work List (RWL)

Located in Module 3, Resource Management. The RWL displays the rows for the DCTs to which the FLM/Office Manager (OM) can assign (or recommend, in the case of the PI/CPM).

Responsibility Attribute

A clearly identified person who is responsible for ensuring financial and human resources to ensure the safety and quality performance of a process.


The combination of predicted severity and the likelihood of the potential effect of a hazard.

Risk Analysis

The injury and damage potential of events related to hazards regarding the likelihood of occurrence and severity of resulting consequences.

Risk Assessment

The process by which the results of risk analysis are used to make decisions.

Risk Control

To reduce or eliminate the effects of hazards.

Risk Factors

Risk factors identify what must be controlled to reduce the level of risk.

Risk Indicator

Conditions that may create hazards in the certificate holder’s systems.

Risk Management (RM)

The process composed of describing the system, identifying the hazards, and analyzing, assessing, and controlling risk.

Risk Severity Values

High—Loss (or breakdown) of an entire system or subsystem; accident or serious incident.

Medium—Potential moderate damage to an aircraft, partial breakdown of a certificate holder system, or a violation of regulations or company rules.

Low—Potential poor certificate holder performance or disruption of the carrier’s operations.

Risk‑Based Decision Making (RBDM)

Building on safety management principles to proactively address emerging safety risk by using consistent, data‑informed approaches to make smarter, system‑level, risk‑based decisions.


The state in which the risk of harm to persons or property damage is acceptable.

Safety Assurance (SA)

Processes within a Safety Management System (SMS) that function systematically to ensure the performance and effectiveness of safety risk controls and that the organization meets or exceeds its safety objectives through the collection, analysis, and assessment of information.

Safety Assurance System (SAS)

SAS is the Flight Standards oversight of parts 121, 135, and 145 certificate holders and applicants.

Safety Attributes

The qualities of a system (e.g., Authority, Responsibility, Procedures, Controls, Process Measurement, Interfaces, and Safety Ownership) that should be present in a well‑designed certificate holder system and process.

Safety Management System (SMS)

The formal, top‑down, organization‑wide approach to managing safety risk and ensuring the effectiveness of safety risk controls. It includes systemic procedures, practices, and policies for management of safety risk.

Safety Objective

A measurable goal or desirable outcome related to safety.

Safety Ownership Attribute

The measure of understanding an individual has of how his or her performance of safety‑related duties contributes to the safety performance of the element.

Safety Performance

Realized or actual safety accomplishments relative to the organization’s safety objectives.


Scalability allows us to tailor and scope the operating profile to each certificate holder’s unique operation. This is accomplished through the use of peer groups and configuration data, which results in scoped DCTs.

Scope of Operation

Description of a certificate holder/applicant’s authorized activities in air commerce.

Scoped DCT

A DCT created using a process that filters available questions to include only those that apply to a specific certificate holder/applicant.

Standard DCT

There are three types of standard DCTs: SP DCT, EP DCT, and ED DCT. Each standard DCT in SAS aligns with a specific MLF label.


The groupings per system that characterize the major operations within that system.


An integrated set of elements that are combined in an operational or support environment to accomplish a defined objective. These elements include people, hardware, software, firmware, information, procedures, facilities, services, and other support facets. For the purposes of SAS, the six systems are defined as the following:

1.0 Organizational Management,

2.0 Flight Operations,

3.0 Operational Control,

4.0 Technical Operations,

5.0 Onboard Operations, and

6.0 Ground and Station Operations.

System Analysis Team (SAT)

A team that includes participants from the FAA, the certificate holder, other FAA organizations, and other non‑FAA entities (e.g., the manufacturer) to accomplish further analysis and determine root causes of system deficiencies.

System Approach

The structured, safety‑driven means by which the FAA certifies and conducts oversight activities on elements that are designed to interact predictably within the certificate holder’s systems and subsystems.

System Safety

The application of special technical and managerial skills to identify, analyze, assess, and control hazards and risks associated with a complete system. System safety is applied throughout a system’s entire life cycle to achieve an acceptable level of risk within the constraints of operational effectiveness, time, and cost.

System Stability

A state of constant balance of safety resulting from a certificate holder’s ability to effectively manage aspects of their organization and environment (those they control directly and those over which they have no direct control).


Design/performance issues affecting one or more systems in a similar manner and magnitude. Also known as constant error.


Tailoring applies to the DAs and PAs to determine which DCTs are used for a particular assessment.

Team Coordinator (TC)

The TC organizes and coordinates the team activities. The TC monitors the SP, ED, EP, and C DCTs for accuracy and completeness.

Technical Operations

Those functions associated with aircraft maintenance, including: Training and Qualification, Maintenance Planning and Monitoring, Maintenance Operations, Technical Administration, Maintenance Facilities/Providers, Maintenance Special Requirements, and Maintenance Tools and Parts Control.


To reassign the risk to another FAA entity that has the authority to address the risk.

Unacceptable Risk

Risk that cannot be tolerated by the managing activity. It is a subset of identified risk that must be eliminated or controlled.

10-1-4-3 through 10-1-4-29 RESERVED.