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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usiness people discussing strategy with a financial analyst

Getting Your Boss to “Yes”

One of the most intimidating discussions with your Aviation Reporting Executive (ARE) may be regarding aviation’s operating budget for the coming year. These budget discussions are all about how successful you are at convincing your firm or ultra-high-net-worth owner to allocate the resources you need to successfully fulfill the desired service levels of your aviation organization.

Posted on May 2, 2022
Pilots flying an airplane

Selecting Items To Include on Your FRAT

At its core, the Flight Risk Assessment Tool (FRAT) is a pre-flight evaluation of potential threats faced in a mission or flight. Developed from research and detailed study of accidents occurring in the aviation industry in the early 2000s, the FRAT was revolutionary when it became mainstream in 2007.

Posted on May 2, 2022
Front view of business jet on runway

Developing Escalation Thresholds for Emergencies

Your view on what constitutes an emergency is significantly shaped by your education, training, life and career experience and by the scope of your responsibilities and job functions.

Posted on May 2, 2022
woman researching country

Elevating Situational Awareness to Future-Proof Your Operations

Recent global events underscore the need to elevate your operation’s safety profile. Doubling down on preventative measures for a growing list of risk factors requires a new level of situational awareness that includes operational safety and the health and personal security of your crew and passengers.

Posted on April 5, 2022
aviation operations

Understanding Human Factors in Safety Assurance: The Bowtie Method

Human factors may be the final frontier in aviation risk management. While those factors can’t be handled in the same way as, for example, issues with mechanical systems, there is new thinking in risk management that can help. It includes viewing a high-risk situation as an event and then using a so-called “bowtie diagram” as a tool for defining and addressing it.

Posted on March 1, 2022
business meeting

Riptide: Psychological Safety in a Cancel-Culture World

There is a dangerous riptide taking place between what is acceptable in our society and what is necessary in our workplace. As everything turns into an “us vs. them” war of opinions, the ability to respectfully listen to others is rapidly becoming a lost art. Aviation must, once again, demonstrate its leadership in constructive communication.

Posted on March 1, 2022
drone night flight

Safety Risks and Benefits of Flying a Drone at Night

It’s true that more commercial and personal small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) are populating the skies, not only during daytime hours, but also at night. The FAA reports 260,276 certified drone pilots in the U.S. as of January 2022. As flying a drone at night becomes more popular, it is important to weigh the inherent safety risks and benefits of night flight and to take into account some safety practices.

Posted on January 31, 2022
pilot safety check

Making Safety Scintillating

Safety and risk management—two concepts that likely are not the most scintillating to enter your day. Do not let that dissuade you. If these two notions are not at the forefront of every aviation decision you are making, it is time to readdress your paradigm.

Posted on January 31, 2022
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