Safety with Magellan Jets


“Safety is our number one priority!”

is something you hear a lot, especially in aviation. You can bet that every operator out there will make this same claim. But are they all the same? How can you ensure that a private aviation operator is walking the walk when it comes to safety?

Over the past decades, air travel has become exponentially safer, thanks in part to a worldwide shift in safety culture. In the past, aviation safety measures were purely reactionary. A mid-air collision in 1956, for example, prompted the expansion of radar and a more robust ATC system, but only after hundred of lives perished. A lavatory fire that killed 23 passengers prompted the FAA to install smoke detectors and automatic fire extinguishers in lavatories. Similarly, redundant hydraulics systems were required in all new aircraft after a total hydraulic failure caused the crash landing of United 232.

There is still much to be learned from accidents and incidents, of course, but the aviation industry isn’t a forgiving one. When it come to making mistakes, loss of life (or aircraft) as a primary method for positive change isn’t an option we want to rely on. Instead, the industry has had to take a much harder look at preventing tragedy before it happens.


Enter the safety management system (SMS) – an industry safety standard meant to identify and mitigate risk with the ultimate goal of preventing accidents and improving overall safety.

But what does this mean for private aviation customers? A private aviation client needs to be aware of the specific safety aspects of an SMS that a company employs. The term “safety management system” is broad, and a single SMS can be simple and effective or complex and ineffective, depending on the company and its culture.

It first helps to take a look at what a good SMS looks like, and then examine these factors when comparing private aviation companies.


First, it helps to know that safety management systems aim to take a holistic approach to safety instead of a reactionary one. We do this in multiple ways, best described by a universally adopted definition from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), which includes four pillars of safety management systems.

Safety Policy and Objectives

Safety Risk Management

Safety Assurance

Safety Promotion

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