SAR aviation operations are classified as a ‘State’ activity and their safety regulation and oversight is generally delegated to Civil Aviation Authorities.
Commercial aviation operations have aviation regulations which do not include SAR. As a result Civil Aviation Authorities make best endeavours to conduct safety regulation and oversight of an activity that does not have clear rules.
Some countries issue SAR approvals to operators and other countries produce SAR guidelines based on commercial regulations.
There is no worldwide standard approach to SAR safety regulation and oversight and consequently there are inconsistent levels of oversight of SAR systems. This can cause tension between the SAR regulator, SAR contracting agency and SAR operator which is a potential hazard to the safe conduct of SAR operations.
What can a National Aviation Authority do if it does not have appropriately qualified staff to conduct safety regulation and oversight of SAR operations?
A Civil Aviation Authority may decide to delegate to a Qualified Entity, the initial certification and continuing oversight of persons and organisations providing Search and Rescue activities.
Search and Rescue International…….
Search and Rescue International can be that Qualified Entity by making a documented agreement with the National Aviation Authority and approved by both parties at the appropriate management level, which clearly defines:
i. the oversight tasks to be performed
ii. the declarations, reports and records to be provided
iii. the technical conditions to be met in performing such tasks
iv. the related liability coverage; and
v. the protection given to information acquired in carrying out such tasks