Safety Accreditation FAQs

Our most commonly asked Questions

What is HAI-APS?

The HAI Accreditation Program for Safety (HAI-APS) is a voluntary program that helps helicopter operators reduce accident and incident rates by improving their safety culture. HAI, the trade association for the international helicopter community, developed HAI-APS to help participating businesses “fly to a higher standard” of safety and professionalism.

To become an HAI-APS accredited operator, you’ll need to demonstrate that your operations are in compliance with internationally accepted standards of safety and professionalism for helicopter operations.

What is HMSS?

The HMSS (Helicopter Mission-Specific Standards) provide helicopter operators with safety standards that specifically address their operational environments. The HMSS contain some information that applies to all helicopter operations, as well as safety standards customized to 14 different helicopter mission segments:

  • Aerial application
  • Aerial photography and filming
  • Airborne law enforcement
  • Air tour operations
  • Corporate and business charter operations
  • Electronic news gathering
  • External loads and heavy lift (construction, logging, seismic, firefighting, and so forth)
  • Flight training
  • Helicopter air ambulance
  • Heli-skiing
  • Offshore operations
  • Pipeline and power line
  • Wildlife management and mustering

I’m a small operator; doesn’t this program cost a lot of money?

75% of HAI members operate 5 or less helicopters in their fleet.  For these operators, the total reoccurring annual cost to participate in the HAI-APS is less than $2000 per year.  This includes both the IS-BAO audit and registration (the foundation of the HAI-APS Program), and the HAI-APS Audit and Accreditation.  The combined IS-BAO & HAI-APS pricing model considers, an operator’s size, complexity, number of bases, and number of man hours needed to complete the audit.

Estimated Reoccurring Annual Costs to Maintain IS-BAO & HAI-APS Accreditation:

  • 1-5 Helicopters and 1-3 Bases: $1,900/year
  • 6-19 Helicopters and/or 4-8 Bases: $4,500/year
  • 20+ Helicopters and/or 9+ Bases: $6,000/year

Why would I want to be HAI Accredited?

There are thousands of personal, corporate and commercial helicopter operators but only a few ways to discern which operators are safer than another.  Every operator must meet the “minimum level of safety” established by their regulatory authority, but not every operator has adopted policies and procedures to assure their employees and customers that they conduct business to a higher level of safety.  The HAI-APS Accreditation Program allows an operator to demonstrate, to an independent third party auditor, that not only do they incorporate minimum State regulatory standards for a given operation, but:

  • Meet or exceed a recognized international helicopter standard
  • Have adopted industry best practices in 1 or more of 14 unique HAI-APS mission specialties
  • Have enhanced operational safety through predictive and proactive methods
  • Have an improved, or Just, safety culture
  • Have improved efficiency through effective Safety Management Systems
  • Have an enhanced ability to measure safety performance
  • And have executive level participation on aircraft maintenance and operations

By being HAI-APS accredited, operators can set themselves apart from their competition and foster a safer helicopter industry.

What are the steps to becoming HAI-APS Accredited?

Generally speaking, HAI-APS accreditation is accomplished in 5 steps:

  • Purchase the IS-BAO & HMSS Standards. The first step in becoming an HAI-APS accredited helicopter operator is to purchase the IS-BAO and HMSS standards and support materials. These internationally accepted standards for business aviation (IS-BAO) and helicopter operations (HMSS) will help you improve the safety and professionalism of your operations.
  • Conduct Gap Analysis. Once you receive the standards, review them and perform a gap analysis of your operation by comparing your existing policies, procedures, operational standards with the IS-BAO and HMSS standards. Operators are often surprised by how much they already do and how they meet many of the standards: they simply need to document or make small changes to their programs to reach full compliance. To aid in your review, the IS-BAO and HMSS audit questions used by the auditor to assess your operation are provided in your manuals. Or to make things easier, we now have an audit tool called iAuditor, used by all auditors that can help you document and share the IS-BAO & HMSS Audit data within your company.  The iAuditor Application is compatible with any desktop, laptop, iphone, iPad, or any apple or android device and will simplify the audit review and sharing process.  Simply logon to and create a free account. Then purchase the IS-BAO/HMSS iAuditor Templates for $15/month from HAI. Once you have set up your new account at and have purchased the IS-BAO/HMSS Audit Templates from HAI, you will receive a link from HAI APS Staff inviting you to logon to your application and to perform a template sync. Mobile device set-up instructions are provided at and Develop. Revise your existing policies and procedures or develop news ones to meet the requirements of IS-BAO and HMSS. Both standards easily scale to both large and small operations and are performance based, allowing you maximum flexibility in determining how you reach the performance goals. REMEMBER: HAI-APS staff are here to mentor HAI member operators through the process, suggesting next steps, and helping to demystify the process- ALL AT NO COST TO YOU!
  • Prepare for Audit. To prepare for the audit, key company personnel (ie. Required Part 135 post holders and/or those management personnel with operational control) should review the audit questionnaire to ensure all audit questions have been addressed and each audit question has an associated internal company manual reference next to such question. This will accomplish two things: it will ensure you fully understand the depth and breadth of the audit process and second, it allows your management team to validate that your current manual set not only meets the minimum regulatory safety standards, but enables you to document the higher safety standards that you have set out to achieve. Keep in mind, if you have questions throughout this process, complimentary support prior to, and during, your IS-BAO/HMSS audit is available to you by simply contact the HAI-APS program staff at
  • Undergo Audit. Schedule and undergo the accreditation audit(s). To earn HAI-APS accreditation, you must pass an audit for both the IS-BAO and HMSS standards. All accredited HAI-APS auditors are dual qualified to conduct both the IS-BAO and HMSS audits, allowing you to realize cost savings by having both audits conducted concurrently. If you already hold an IS-BAO registration, then you may choose to only have the HMSS audit performed at little expense. Once you have conducted your gap analysis, comparing your current (documented) organizational process and procedures with the IS-BAO & HMSS Standards, and feel your procedures are consistent with the IS-BAO/HMSS standards, then you should contact HAI to schedule an audit.  HAI will assist you with finding an authorized HAI-APS auditor to complete your audit. The auditor will advise HAI-APS of the pending audit and prepare the necessary paperwork to complete your registration upon successful completion of the audit.
  • Passed the Audit! Once you have passed your audit, it’s time to show-off your accomplishment. You will receive 3 Accreditation Certificates and Plaque indicating you have achieved HAI Accreditation. You will also receive a customer feedback form to rate your experience.

How long does it take to become HAI-APS Accredited?

It all depends on how prepared you are. If you have your programs, processes and procedures well documented, and have downloaded the audit template and validated your program meets the standards set forth by IS-BAO and HAI-APS, the auditor will spend 1-2 days on site validating the programs and then within 2 weeks, you can receive your accreditation. Preparation is key to a speedy and successful audit.

Can I become HAI-APS accredited without becoming IS-BAO Registered?

The HAI-APS utilizes the IS-BAO Standards as its foundation then builds upon the IS-BAO Standards to provide Helicopter Specific safety standards for 14 specific helicopter mission specialties.


Reach out to us at: