SM4 Safety Articles & Resources

A wealth of knowledge provided by experts in aviation safety can be found here in our Aviation Safety Resource Library. From time-proven safety and risk management principles to updates on the latest in aviation safety regulation, you’ll find the information you need to strengthen the safety culture in your organization. The content available here can be used as curriculum in your organization’s safety systems, and the experts whose content appears here are available as aviation safety consultants and safety trainers.

Click on a category below or use the search tool on this page to find the resources you need. If there is a topic you would like to see us cover in the future, let us know by emailing us at .

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pilot training

Redefining Pilot Skills?!

How does a pilot truly get better? What drives us to get better or what is the event that triggers the awareness of our potential deficiencies?

Posted on October 6, 2021
aircraft carrier

Strong Up the Middle

A few months ago, I was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend two days on board a United States aircraft carrier—the USS Abraham Lincoln—while she was at sea conducting flight operations. It was an immersion experience that will forever change the way I look at work and life. No kidding.

Posted on October 6, 2021
emergancy response

High-Consequence Decision-Making: The Data is Telling an Important Story

As an industry, we are very good at examining aviation accidents after they result in injury or tragedy. Regrettably, we fail to take advantage of the proactive learning opportunities—those found…

Posted on September 8, 2021
training program

Train Smarter: The Benefit of an Annual Training Program Analysis

Training programs are an investment of both money and employee resources (time). Training can be used to improve employees’ skills, expand an individual’s knowledge to a new topic, highlight changes, raise awareness to create a point of emphasis, improve efficiency, manage risk or simply to ensure compliance.

Posted on September 8, 2021
yawning pilot

Long-COVID Another Challenge for a Safe Operation

Most people infected with Covid-19 will recover from their symptoms, if any, in a maximum period of four weeks. However, 10-30% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 will experience long-term after-effects. When existing symptoms last longer than expected or new ones develop following the acute phase of COVID-19 infection, it is referred to as “ongoing” symptomatic COVID-19 (from four to twelve weeks).

Posted on July 30, 2021
time to act sign

Vigilance! Now More Than Ever. A Time to Act!

As the aviation community begins its rebound from the COVID-19 experience, managers and safety professionals must be focused on getting staff back to work safely and returning to pre-COVID routines. One thing is for certain, bringing staff back to full strength to match the rebound has uncovered some less-than-desired consequences, even for those operators who believe they have a fully functional SMS.

Posted on July 30, 2021
upset recovery training

Train for you!

Hello, summer! With the COVID vaccine now readily available, the demand for travel is bringing back air traffic and the empty skies of 2020 will soon be a piece of aviation history. As we dust off our flight bags or update the iPad applications, be mindful that skill loss, albeit temporary, is a reality we need to contend with.

Posted on July 2, 2021
humble inquiry

Humble Inquiry: Are You Asking the Right Questions?

An excellent organization is one that can nimbly execute its strategy while continually learning from itself. Its structure is designed to provide management with constant feedback and performance from normal work. Its safety leadership spends considerable resources to carefully listen to the ”weak signals” from frontline employees, work teams and key stakeholders alike to help build the capacity and risk tolerance necessary for employees to fail fast, fail softly, learn how to learn quicker and perform brilliantly.

Posted on July 2, 2021
travel rebound

3 Things To Keep Your Eye on as Global Business Aviation Begins To Rebound

Since COVID-19 first entered our world in January 2019, it has taken us on quite a roller coaster ride with plenty of twists and turns. Few would have thought that we would still be in that situation over a year later, but here we are. It has been a challenging time for the aviation industry, but with global business aviation activity up 28% compared to 2020, down only by 9% compared to 2019 year to date, it looks as if our rebound is here.

Posted on June 7, 2021
caffeine power

Caffeine Will Enable Me To Power Through My Day. Right?

Worrying about the current public health crisis and how it affects our jobs, our lives and our health is something that all of us have experienced to some degree over the past year. Unsurprisingly, an increasing number of people have been reporting sleep disturbances since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Posted on June 7, 2021
runway in the mountains

Risk Is a Choice: How an SMS Can Help Prevent Runway Excursions

Every accident starts with a choice. It is a decision among a sequence of actions that can still be within the boundaries of rules, but for too many business aviation operations, it is a sequence of choices that ends in a runway excursion.

Posted on May 3, 2021
do it

SMS for the Small Operator

“I know that there are those who complain that they’re too small for a Safety Management System (SMS). Or that it’s too costly. Or that they don’t have time. One by one: No one and no company is too small for a SMS. The cost of a SMS is far less than the cost of an accident.”

Posted on April 30, 2021
airplane crash on runway

Pilot Error Accidents: There Is More To the Story

Working directly with an aviation emergency response firm gives me unique insight into the complex and often cascading factors involved in understanding accident causation. Although pilot error is an often-cited root cause, it is easy to see it is rarely, if ever, that simple.

Posted on April 5, 2021
airplane at hangar

SMS Policy Review: Is Your Safety Culture Adaptable, Flexible and Resilient?

As the early months of 2021 unfold, this is a gentle reminder that it is time to dust off the SMS manual and perform your company’s annual policy SMS review. While our current work days continue to go sideways with pandemic-based tasks, this might be a perfect opportunity to get some quality Zoom time with your accountable executive (AE).

Posted on April 1, 2021
aircraft maintanence mechanic

When Systems Fail: Overcoming Systemic Comfort Zones and the Rebirth of Self-Reliance

In the last week, I found myself smack dab in the middle of the plunging polar vortex that took power, heat, water and the ability to travel away from millions of people in Texas (including my family). This has become the focal point of a national debate about electrical grid reliability across the nation.

Posted on March 1, 2021
Running with time

How to Combat Revenge Procrastination

We all know that sleep is important. When we don’t get the 7‐9 hours of daily sleep recommended by the National Sleep Foundation and endorsed by a consensus of top scientists, we feel groggy and irritable. It can affect our relationships. Our performance at work suffers.

Posted on March 1, 2021
Man flying drone at sunset

15 Steps to Starting and Running a Successful Drone Business

Thinking about starting a drone business as a side gig or as a main source of income? Doing so can seem like an overwhelming task, but having a plan and doing things the right way can make it more attainable (and profitable). Here are 15 steps that will help you on your way to developing a successful drone business.

Posted on February 3, 2021
Emergency crew assisting plane on runway

Was There a Decrease in Runway Excursions in 2020?

We now know that a global pandemic affects different industries in different ways. Retail liquor stores, package delivery companies and online meeting software all saw COVID-related bumps in sales. Restaurants, bars and most of aviation have experienced a COVID slump.

Posted on January 29, 2021
Two parked airplanes glistening in a well-lit hangar

Enhancing Aviation’s Value & Relevance in Today’s Pandemic Environment

The COVID-19 pandemic has violently disrupted nearly everything we previously considered “normal.” Who could have imagined that during the middle of March 2020, the business world would be so dramatically and radically changed?

Posted on January 12, 2021
Small plane flying above solar farm

2021 Is Here—Are You Ready?

The new year has begun and with it an assortment of resolutions to make ourselves better in one way or another. January is generally the month in which everyone shares those resolutions, and as a flight safety academy, we see numerous pilots interested in additional professional development events and training focused on countering loss of control-inflight (LOC-I). All great news!

Posted on January 12, 2021