#42 | Summer of Safety – Training & Risk Margins


This episode kids off the “Summer of Safety” series… shows that reveal the return-on-investment through a risk mitigation lens.

Think: $1 safety investment for $5 safety equity.

We'll translate training costs into the real-life benefit you get, cover what crew/staff training course are “bare minimum” vs. “best-practice,” and show why those training (safety) investments matter to you.

Press play above to start!

Training Reduces Risk

Training really is about filling the cognitive bank account. Sully Sullenbuerger said,

“One way of looking at this might be that, for 42 years I've been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience, education, and training.  And, on January 15th, the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.”

Sully was the Captain of that famous US Airways flight that landed in the Hudson River in New York after colliding with a flock of geese.

Decades of training, which had added immensely to his brain's emergency-response knowledge bank account, paid off that day when an act of God attempted to alter his, and his passengers, fate.

See, as an owner/operator, we can get caught up in the line-item look of training costs. When the training bill comes, which can be a six or seven figure bill, natural questions arise.

  • How do we justify this cost? What's the ROI?
  • Do we need to train our team (they already have licenses, right)?
  • Can we (should we) trim the training cost?

Questions like these can actually expose you to MORE risk… creating a false belief that training to the bare minimum beats data-driven best practices.

Margins of Safety

Here's how to simplify (justify) training costs. Imagine a stock market graph. One minute the market is up. Then, it's down. Then up… then down. Throughout the day, the market moves up and down. Let's call this risk.

Now, imagine a market floor. Let's call this the “accident/incident floor.” As the market (the business aviation flight) moves along the timeline, risk goes up and down… up up, down down down, up down down. Every second. As the risk line moves down, toward the accident/incident floor, you have less margin of safety. As the risk line moves up, you have more margin of safety.

The idea… keep the risk line high, keep the margin of safety wide. Considering training, it can be hard to see/experience the relationship between training and large safety margins. But be assured, the relationship is real. Training improves your safety margin.

Again, $1 safety investment for $5 safety value.

2 Risk Mitigation Roads

The bare minimum training safety investment is equivalent to taking one match on a ten day arctic camping venture.

Misuse that match, and you'll freeze. The best practice its o carry twenty matches (or more) on a ten day arctic camping venture.

NOW we have some margin. Now, if one match fails, we have nineteen backups. We have safety margin.

This is a values thing… some of you value the bare minimums (spend small). Some of you value best practices (spend smart). Each value comes with its associated safety margin chart.

Listen to the episode above or in iTunes for a full description of “bare minimum,” “best practices,” and BONUS training agendas along with rough costs and trustworthy resources.

Mentioned In The Show

SMS Safety Management System (podcast interview)

APS Upset Recovery Training (website)

APS Upset Recovery Training (podcast interview)

NBAA (2)

NBAA – Professional Development Program

NBAA – Certified Aviation Manager (CAM)

Georgia State University Business Aviation Leadership Certificate 


What training do you feel provides maximum margins of safety in your business aviation ventures?

Share your view, in the comments below, or confidentially here.

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  1. […] needing to travel next week, too. Our industry will get all of it done… at the sacrifice of safety margins. Will you recognize […]