Sample Aviation Critical Thinking Paper on Aviation Safety

Aviation Safety

Aviation regulation has advanced significantly over the past century. Most of the advancements witnessed are safety-related, most of which have been gradual and incremental (Chaplin, 2011). The 60s had some fatal accidents, which had tremendous effects on the operations and safety measures in the industry. The effects of the accidents are still prevalent in the aviation industry. Aviation is safe today compared to the past century, because of the advances in safety programs and management systems.

Britain’s Aerial Navigation Act of 1911 perhaps launched the aviation industry’s concern for safety, although, ideally, the Act’s concern was on protection of people on the ground (Chaplin, 2011). The law encompassed provisions for registration and certification of aircraft and pilots. However, with the maturity of aviation in both the number of flights and passengers, the concept of aviation safety has changed. Britain’s de Havilland Comet changed aviation by being the first jet airliner to cross the Atlantic in addition to heralding the wider use of planes for travel as it could carry people in droves (Dowling, 2014). Wide-bodied airliners further changed the outlook of the aviation industry, not only by spurring real growth by offering more economical travel but also by shifting concern for safety from the people on the ground to passengers.

Airbus’s A320 was especially revolutionary in changing the concept of safety, as it became the first digital fly-by-wire airliner (Dowling, 2014). The A320 particularly revolutionized the pilot’s role, as well as the safe operation of a civilian aircraft, effects that reverberated across the aviation industry. Today, aviation safety is a confluence of gradual changes ranging from aircraft build, maintenance, equipping, and operation. Investment in improved tools and techniques for accident investigation have improved the industry further. The tools and techniques have been instrumental in unveiling primary causes of accidents, fronting answers to the causes and mitigating the effects. Further, for technology, training, and psychology; Sweetman and Croft (2016) posit that they have all improved over time in handling issues once dismissed as “pilot error” heralding an age of a safer aviation industry.

The aviation industry’s focus on safety is perhaps a result of the realization of loss in aircraft and reputation, particularly loss emanating from accidents. In the mitigation of losses, the industry has implemented different systems. Among the systems is Safety Management Systems (SMS), which are a series of defined, organization-wide processes that allow players in the industry to make effective risk-based decisions aligned with the daily operations of the organization (IATA, 2018).

Implementation of SMS comes with the realization that losses are avoidable through diligent deployment of mitigation systems and measures easily achievable through a sound SMS. Implemented as regulatory requirements, SMS identifies safety hazards, ensures (by providing) continuous monitoring and regular assessment of safety, and strives to ensure there is continuous improvement in the overall safety levels (IATA, 2018). The implementation then benefits the organization in various ways including providing for informed decision-making, improving safety through reduction in the risk of accidents, providing for better resource allocation resulting in increased efficiencies, and reduced costs. Additionally, the implementation strengthens an organization’s corporate culture while at the same time demonstrating an organization’s due-diligence. The result of SMS implementation is not only improved safety but also mitigation of loss through development of a robust, efficient, and frugal system.


Chaplin, J., C. (2011). Safety regulation-the first 100 years. Journal of Aeronautical History, 3, 75-96. Retrieved from

Dowling, S. (2014). 100 years of air travel. How planes shrank the globe. Future. Retrieved from

IATA. (2018). Support Consistent Implementation of SMS. Retrieved from

Sweetman, B. & Croft, J. (2016). 100 years of attention to safety brings results. Aviation Week & Space Technology. Retrieved from