Aviation Is Risky Business
Aviation, like any business, has elements of risk.
Whether it is a safety issue or a cost issue, the risk is very much a part of the aviation industry past, present, and future.
I believe it takes a certain kind of person to be successful in aviation risk management.
Yet what does success look like for an aviation safety professional?
Qualities of Successful Aviation Safety Managers
The qualities of a successful aviation safety professional should exhibit should be:
- Articulate; but above all
- A leader.
Related Aviation Safety Manager Articles...
- What Makes a Good Aviation Safety Manager?
- Career Advice for Aspiring Safety Managers
- 3 Things Proactive Aviation Safety Managers Do Every Day
Effective Risk Management Affects Many Lives
Aviation is an industry that has people’s lives in the hands of others.
A passenger boards an airplane, because they believe that the people flying it are well trained, and skilled pilots.
Customers board with the belief that if anything happens during the flight,
- the cabin crew will know how to take care of the situation,
- that the emergency oxygen masks will drop from the overhead and provide life-sustaining oxygen,
- that the life rafts will work if they must ditch, and
- that below each seat is a life preserver.
A person in aviation risk management must remember whom they serve, and why they do it. Profit is nice, but at what cost?
Everyday people live their lives, not in fear of small privately owned planes crashing down because of gross negligence.
People believe that a pilot does his pre-flight check like they are taught.
They believe that air-traffic control is watching the scope.
You must be vigilant to be successful in the aviation risk management profession. Cutting corners is not acceptable. It puts lives in danger.
Aviation is not a field that you can accept any greater risk than is already exhibited by flying.
To be successful in aviation risk management you simply must hold yourself to the highest standards. Anything less is not acceptable.
Related aviation risk management articles
- Difference between Reactive, Predictive and Proactive Risk Management in Aviation SMS
- What Are Important Factors of Aviation Risk Management Process
- Your Risk Management Attitude, Risk Response, and Emotional Intelligence
Evaluating Your Risk Management Position
Are you holding yourself and your company to the highest standards in aviation SMS?
Where are you in your SMS? Which phase are you truly sitting in?
Here are a few honest questions (with free resources should you need them) to evaluate your current SMS phase.
Evaluating risk begins with:
- Understanding where you need to go; and
- Where you are in your current SMS implementation.
The above tools may require an hour or two to complete, but be honest with your assessment. An SMS is not a race. Neither will you receive endless awards for having the best SMS in your region. However, safety managers who have demonstrated excellence in the risk management processes are recognized not only by stakeholders who receive their services, but also by industry professionals.
The most successful safety managers understand their limitations and educate themselves on the latest and greatest technologies. Successful safety managers adopt SMS software tools to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Automated, low-cost aviation SMS software can make the difference between a failed SMS implementation and a successful, sustainable SMS that will continue to provide benefits long after the safety manager has left the company.
Published May 2016. Last updated May 2019.