1st Edition

Operational Safety for Aviation Managers Practice Beyond the Theory

By John Frearson Copyright 2025
    130 Pages
    by Routledge

    130 Pages
    by Routledge

    Despite the vast amount of work building the foundations of safe operations, aviation accidents still happen, and prior to many accidents and other safety-related events there was unexpressed or ignored disquiet as the ‘last minute’ approached - the last minute being that time when there is no longer time for discussion or analysis, only ‘safety first’ action. This book aims at the assurance of better outcomes from these time-critical situations whose genesis lies in the time period immediately preceding the ‘last minute’. This assurance of better outcomes can best be assured by enabling operational managers to adopt new paradigms, in the development of SOPs, building the right culture and implementation of training programs relevant to good the decision making required as the ‘last minute’ approaches.

    This book examines the development of the foundations for aviation safety - the things that give foundational support for safety to pilots in particular, but over which line pilots may have little knowledge or day to day control. It provides a history of time-critical safety-related events, providing the foundation for the understanding of the reasons why pilot inactivity, indifference, fixation and incapacitation can so pervade the lead up to the ‘last minute’ as to leave the safe continuation of the flight resting on prompt remedial action. The role of doubt, how it is expressed and how it is heard, is another central thread. Finally, the book addresses the role of flight data analysis as a valuable management tool.

    Written for aviation managers, line flight crews and those in similar operational roles in aviation-related operations, this book and its informal discussion style should appeal and communicate across national, age, experience and language boundaries to create a safer operational environment.

    Preface 1. Introduction 2. Operational Safety 3. The Concept of the ‘Last Minute’ 4. The Arithmetic of the ‘Last Minute’ 5. Some Case Studies 6. The Premises of this Book 7. What do the Premises mean for Pilots? 8. The Concept of Recognition and Recovery 9. Communications 10. What do the Premises mean for Aviation Managers? 11. Recommendations 12. A Final Perspective 13. In Conclusion


    John Frearson is a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and currently works in the Flight Standards Branch of Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority. He has been with CASA for more than 12 years and prior to that worked with ICAO in Manila. John has extensive experience in worldwide operations both in the cockpit and in various management, advisory and regulatory roles. He is type rated on the Boeing 777, the Airbus A320 and the Boeing MD-80.

    "John Frearson has written an engaging and highly relatable book. Using real life examples to illustrate his points he provides a thought-provoking analysis of operational safety in aviation. All aviation managers and aircrew would benefit from reading the book and reflecting on how best to manage time critical situations.  John Frearson is a natural communicator. It is a triumph that he can impart his vast knowledge and aviation experience in such a readable and enjoyable format. I highly recommend this book."

    Simon Lutton, Executive Director, Australian Federation of Air Pilots, Australia

    "My friend and former colleague, John Frearson, has offered up an invaluable resource that every airline employee and every person interested in aviation safety should read."

    Sam Coats, retired senior airline executive and Chair of the Board of Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, USA

    "In short, an outstanding read for aviation professionals from all functional areas in the aviation business. Not exactly a “quick read” but one deserving of deep concentration and careful introspection. Love how John wound the case studies around the technical content thereby driving home the critical importance of awareness, conservatism, and communication!"

    George H. Snyder, President & CEO GHS Aviation Group, LLC and former Senior VP Safety at Korean Air, USA

    "No matter what the level of experience in aviation safety management and investigation the reader will find this book a fascinating insight into why aviation accidents and serious incidents continue to occur."

    Deborah Lawrie, airline pilot and safety and training professional, Australia