This paper advances the proposition that although the outside world perceives aviation as ‘safe’ and accepting that the accident rate is slowly falling, there remain a number of accidents every year which appear to have common causes. Is aviation really a learning industry? Could significant progress be made by requiring airlines to demonstrate that lessons have been learnt and procedures changed accordingly? Where the cause is technical, change occurs through the manufacturer and the regulator. Where operating procedures and human factors are involved changes occur slowly, if at all.
The author suggests three courses of action for improvement.