Meet the experts: SMS & Human Factors

SMS means integrating safety into every aspect of aviation.

Safety management systems (SMS) need to manage all areas of risk—including those that increase the likelihood of human error. New regulations require pilots and engineers to receive training in human factors as part of minimising the likelihood and impact of human error.

Human factors specialists look at human capabilities and limitations and the manner in which these capabilities and limitations interact with complex systems, such as those in aviation. The goal is to minimise the likelihood of human error and to maximise performance to improve the overall safety of the system.

CASA’s manager of safety management systems and human factors is Ian Banks. Before his current position at CASA Ian had a 17-year career as a pilot and flying instructor with the RAAF from 1987 until 2005. Ian flew C130E Hercules for seven years with a highlight being the achievement of a Highlands of PNG Captaincy and an extended deployment in the highlands of PNG for famine relief operations.

After flying C130Es Ian became a flying instructor and trained ab initio students at the ADF Basic Flying Training School before being posted to the Central Flying School to instruct on the ADF flying instructor course.

After leaving the RAAF Ian completed a bachelor degree in psychology, which included an honours year focused on decision-making under stress. He also worked as a consultant with McRob Aviation where he worked on three significant pilot course development projects.

Ian joined CASA as the head of human factors in 2010 before becoming the manager in 2012 and for the past four years has been involved in a period of significant regulatory change.

Ian Banks
Ian Banks
Gareth McGraw
Gareth McGraw










Joining Ian at Avalon is Gareth McGraw—CASA’s human factors specialist. Gareth has been involved in aviation since 1987 when he joined the Royal Air Force as an aircraft electrical technician.

He moved to Australia in 1993 and after two years working in civil aviation for Lucas Aerospace, he joined the Royal Australian Air Force as an avionics technician.

After completing a Bachelor of Aviation—focusing on Human Factors and System Safety—Gareth joined the Defence Aviation Safety team in 2008 as an air safety investigator.

He left the RAAF in 2010 to take his current position at CASA where he has supported the introduction of the Human Factors and Non-Technical Skills training program for CAO82.3/5, Human Factors in Part 145 maintenance organisations and has recently completed a Graduate Certificate in Risk Management.

If you’re interested in discussing SMS and human factors, meet Ian and Gareth at the CASA stand in Hall 2 from Tuesday 24 February until Thursday 26 February.

Avalon 2015 is one of the largest, most comprehensive aviation events in the southern hemisphere and will bring together aviation and aerospace professionals, key defence personnel, aviation enthusiasts and members of the general public.

Make sure to stop by the CASA stand at Avalon and meet all our other experts, get free safety material and take home your very own Flight Safety Australia cap.