Farnborough 2018
photo: Mark Wagner

Flight Safety Foundation

What It Is: An international nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) provides impartial, independent safety guidance and resources to the aviation and aerospace industries and engages in research, education, advocacy, and communications in furtherance of that mission. The first group devoted exclusively to safety in aviation, it has been in the forefront of the field for more than seven decades. It is supported by dues, donations, and grants, and has more than 1,000 member organizations in 150 countries. 

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How It Grew: Aviation safety pioneer Jerome “Jerry” Lederer (aka Mr. Aviation Safety) founded FSF in 1947, inspired by the previous year’s crash of TWA Flight 513, which resulted after electrical wiring produced intense fire and smoke. The organization held the first International Air Safety Summit in 1947 and staged the first Business Aviation Safety Summit in 1955. Lederer remained FSF’s director until 1967. 

Flight Safety Foundation’s dozens of milestones have included the first civil aviation accident investigation workshop; the first computer modeling of accident forces; the first international, confidential pilot safety reporting system; the development of flight operational quality assurance (FOQA) programs for business aircraft operators; and the development of fatigue- management guidelines for corporate aviation operations.

In January 2019, Dr. Hassan Shahidi, director of aviation safety at the Mitre Corporation and key developer of the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) program, took over FSF leadership. He succeeded Jon Beatty, who had led the organization since 2014.  

What It Offers: 

Expertise. Continuing participation in the U.S. Commercial Aviation Safety Team, ICAO Air Navigation Council, the National Business Aviation Association Safety Committee, and other key organizations. 

Initiatives. Current projects include developing standards for remotely piloted aircraft systems; a Go-Around Decision-Making and Execution project; runway offshore helicopter operations; and development of safety-data collection, analysis, and sharing toolkits. 

Safety Summits. Five annually, including Business Aviation Safety Summit, International Air Safety Summit, Singapore Aviation Safety Seminars, Safety Forum, and India Aviation Safety Seminar.

Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS). An FSF-developed standard that helps users assess and manage risk-based aviation activities. More than 400 BARS audits have been conducted.

Recent News: Citing a “fragmented” approach to grounding the 737 Max, in April 2019, FSF called on global regulators to recommit to a collaborative aircraft certification process. 


Founded: 1947

HQ: Alexandria, Virginia

Employees: About a dozen at headquarters, and five in Melbourne, Australia. Four board members.

President & CEO: Dr. Hassan Shahidi

Website: flightsafety.org