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 checking aircraft

The Importance of Being Consistent—Aviation’s Most Cost-Effective Safety Tool.

Within the aviation community, one of the most basic tasks pilots learn from day one of training is to perform a pre-flight inspection (PFI). The PFI is a visual walk-around of the aircraft to enable the pilot, using sight and touch, to determine the basic condition of the aircraft, systems and functional controls for the purpose of flight.

Posted on January 10, 2022
pilot instructor with aircraft

Training Program Changes for 2022

As we move into the new year, it is a good time to analyze your training program for changes within your operation, updates needed to training content, and to address the latest industry trends. Your safety management system (SMS) is a good place to start to consider whether changes to your training program are needed for 2022.

Posted on January 10, 2022
hand holding wrench

2022: The Year of the Aviation Mechanic

As we ring in the New Year, many of us like to think big. How can we have the most impact in the new year? How can we recruit and provide the best people with the best tools, training and motivation to excel? How can we find the resources to accomplish all of our grand ideas floating like sugarplums though our holiday-spirited minds?

Posted on January 10, 2022
mechanics checking aircraft

7 Questions to Help You Create Great Safety Objectives

Preventing problems is much more efficient and effective than addressing them after they occur. However, as Dan Heath points out in his book “Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Occur,” there are barriers to “upstream” thinking that must be overcome. This starts with organizations asking themselves seven key questions.

Posted on November 30, 2021
flying over mountatains

Aviation Mastery or Minimums… What’s Your Safety Standard?

In the realm of professional aviation, each of us carries a mantle of tremendous responsibility for the other souls with whom we share the airspace, our families and colleagues, our companies and employers and, of course, ourselves. The consequences of a serious misstep in our profession can have a finality that renders the statement, “I will do better next time” meaningless.

Posted on November 2, 2021
runner on track

Managing Fatigue with Quantitative Data

It may be November, but the clouds are clearing for air operators. People are flying again. Business meetings are being scheduled live. And the busy holiday season is coming up soon. Is your flight department ready?

Posted on November 2, 2021
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