Executive Air Safety Chairman, ALPA (2001-04)


The global nature of business and personal travel needs make aircraft an indispensable part of modern life. Aviation today is one of the safest forms of transportation ever invented. Yet every so often an airplane accident occurs. Investigators methodically examine every aspect of the ill fated flight to learn what happened and prevent reoccurrence. Over time fewer and fewer accidents occur but the leading cause remains the same. Loss of Control – In-flight is the number one cause of aircraft accidents.

Technology has mitigated many types of accidents. Only top quality pilot training can mitigate Loss of Control – in flight. Pilots need academic, simulator, and practical training to have the ability to maintain control during upsets. Whether caused by wake turbulence, thunderstorms, aircraft malfunctions, or pilot error, today’s pilots must be able fly the aircraft successfully out of the upset.

With increasing use of automation pilots must be system managers while maintaining handling skills. The balance is difficult to maintain but is essential to modern aviation. Avoiding becoming digitally dependent is necessary to successfully recover from an upset.

Professional training dedicated to helping pilots acquire the skills necessary to cope with an unexpected upset is essential. Having flown with APS Emergency Maneuver Training it is clear their training meets the need. By blending academic, simulation, and on-aircraft flight training into an effective syllabus, I think they have one of the best, if not the best, programs for upset recovery training in the world.

The more pilots that are effectively trained to recover from upsets the lower the accident rate will be. Aviation’s focus has to be on better pilot training if we are to dethrone Loss of Control – in flight as the leading cause of fatalities and hull losses in the worldwide commercial aviation industry.
Captain John M. Cox, President & CEO
Safety Operating Systems
Executive Air Safety Chairman, Air Line Pilots Association (2001-2004)
International Air Transport Association Trained Airline Auditor (IOSA)

About Captain John Cox

After 25 years as a Captain for a Major US airline John retired to become Chief Executive Officer of Safety Operating Systems, a Washington, DC aviation safety consulting firm.  Captain Cox was the 2007 recipient of the Sir James Martin Award for aviation safety is and a Liveryman of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. A veteran of almost 40 years in aviation, Captain Cox now works with regulators, airlines, business flight operations and manufacturers improving all aspects of aviation. As a certified safety auditor, he has performed safety audits on airlines and flight operations worldwide. In 2007, the Royal Aeronautical Society published the Specialist Document “Smoke and Fire in Transport Aircraft” which he was the author. As a well know expert, he is a frequent speaker at international forums and in the media promoting improving flight safety. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a member of the Flight Operations Group. In 2004 the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators awarded him the Master Air Pilots Award. He has been a member of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators since 1991 and has been involved with thirteen major accident investigations. US Airways presented Captain Cox with their Air Safety Award in 1999. The Airline Pilots Association awarded him the Annual Air Safety Award in 1998.