The first cross-industry guidelines for the implementation of structural health monitoring for aerospace applications have been created as a SAE International Aerospace Recommended Practices document: SAE ARP 6461 ‘Guidelines for Implementation of Structural Health Monitoring on Fixed Wing Aircraft’ . These guidelines have brought together manufacturers, operators / users, systems integrators, regulators, technology providers and researchers to produce information on the integration of SHM into aircraft maintenance procedures, generic requirements and advice on validation, verification and airworthiness.The take-up of SHM in the aerospace industry has been slow, in part due to the lack of accepted industry practices surrounding not just the technology itself (sensors and sensor systems) but also the associated issues arising from the introduction of new methods into aircraft maintenance. The SHM community responded by forming an Industry Steering Committee on the topic which then became a Technical Group within the SAE International standards organization (G-11 SHM). The initial task of this group was to produce guidelines to address some of the issues that currently prevent adoption of SHM in commercial and military aircraft operations.This paper is a summary of the key content to the guidelines and the rationale behind their development. This is the first document of its type and as such is not concerned with details of the SHM technologies themselves but instead, focuses on the key steps needed to implement the technologies within the current regulatory environment and prevailing aircraft structural design and maintenance practices.