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Our Emergency Response Aviation Safety Management program is currently on hiatus. Join our email list to receive updates on the program and find out when something new is available.

Certificate Program in Emergency Response Aviation Safety Management

Concerns about the structural health of U.S. public use firefighting aircraft have led to the development of a new certificate program to educate emergency response personnel about the critical factors involved in aircraft health management, as well as the decision-making processes and communication skills and technology required for coordination and cooperation during emergency response situations.

This program focuses on aircraft health monitoring for condition-based maintenance and was developed by a consortium that combines the expertise and resources of NASA, the University of California, Davis College of Engineering, the U.S. Forest Service, UC Davis Extension and private corporations.

Program objectives and requirements

This certificate program is designed to provide students with a firm foundation in aviation safety principles and practices underlying emergency response aviation. Through the values of leadership, teamwork and ethics, learn current and emerging aviation safety management principles and technologies.

Gain the knowledge needed to create an aviation environment that encourages crew member and management involvement leading to safe aviation practices and operations.

Who will benefit

  • Aviation safety officers
  • Emergency services pilots
  • Forest fire fighter aviators
  • Border patrol aviators
  • Medical-air transport personnel
  • Law enforcement and homeland security aviators
  • Aviation services contracting officers
  • Aviation specialists and consultants
  • Those involved with the retrofitting, operation and maintenance of aging aircraft
  • Anyone involved in the field of aviation emergency response

Requirements to earn the certificate

This is a six-course certificate program whose focus is to provide you with a firm foundation in aviation safety principles and practices underlying emergency response aviation. You learn the practical application of advanced methods for inspection, maintenance, repair and overhaul of emergency response aircraft. Utilizing leading technologies, learn to extend the operational service life of aircraft as well as methods and techniques for successful emergency response situations.

This program is structured to allow you to complete the entire program in just five weeks, during two quarter sessions. Since most classes are limited to 30 students, we encourage you to enroll early.

Quarterly schedule of courses
REQUIRED COURSES Aircraft Health Management 3 Classroom format  
Communications: Operations Management 2 Classroom format  
Communications: Program Management 1.5 Classroom format  
Human Factors and Operational Risk Management 3   Classroom format
Aviation Leadership 3   Classroom format
Safety Program Management 3   Classroom format
F=Fall W=Winter SP=Spring SU=Summer; Schedules subject to change
Classroom format Classroom format

Required Courses

Aircraft Health Management

3 quarter units academic credit, X435.1.

Discover the full range of issues affecting and supporting aircraft health management. Gain insights into the critical features facing aging aircraft-both fixed-wing and rotorcraft-particularly aircraft engaged in emergency response aviation. 

Through academic and field-related topics, examine the function of airframe structural systems, time-dependent failure mechanisms of airframe materials, mechano-structural interactions, and non-destructive inspection methodologies. Analyze factors affecting the integrity of repairs, flight-monitoring and instrumentation. Gain an understanding of how combinations of these factors can influence the operational outcome through accident investigations. Learn about FAA-certification requirements related to maintenance and operations as well as maintenance program strategies and aircraft modification and re-engineering. 

Guest lecturers join the instructor to provide additional depth to course material. 

Aircraft Health Management is approved by the FAA for Inspector Authorization Renewal Training with a course acceptance number and may also be credited toward the Aviation Maintenance Technician Awards Program.

This course is not currently scheduled.


Communications: Operations Management

2 quarter units academic credit, X435.5.

Learn to develop and enhance your ability to become a strong, effective communicator in the high-pressure environment of emergency response aviation. Clear, concise and effective communication is essential to efficient, safe and successful emergency aviation operations. Explore practical emergency situation communications management. Examine functional interagency/interoperability issues, new communication technology tools and interpersonal and organizational behavior. Improve your communication processes and problem solving, group dynamics, workload management and situational awareness skills. Discover strategies and techniques for emergency management planning and information dissemination with the public and media.

Case studies detail communication failures that became causal factors in aircraft incidents and mishaps during emergency operations. Learn to develop procedures for your organization in accordance with the most current best established practices.

Guest lecturers join the instructor to provide additional depth to course materials.

This course is not currently scheduled.


Communications: Program Management

1.5 quarter units academic credit, X435.4.

Efficient communication is a key component in aviation management. Learn techniques to identify and evaluate communication issues and options required to develop effective communication strategies. Enhance communication and cooperation skills within your emergency aviation service organization. Discover methods of communicating major policy decisions during frontline, emergency situations and to incorporate effective communication techniques into your own communication style based on models for efficient/inefficient, effective/ineffective and professional/unprofessional communication usage.

Learn to identify situations in which effective communication is critical and to distinguish the strengths and weaknesses of various styles of communication. Recognize opportunities to strengthen your own communication style and improve your understanding of personality and behavioral styles through communication analysis.

This course is not currently scheduled.


Human Factors and Operational Risk Management

3 quarter units academic credit, X435.8.

Learn about human performance and systems analysis for aviation incidents and accidents, including the effect of such analysis on organizational culture. Review how physiological and psychological factors occurring during aviation operations can affect human performance. Using case studies, discover how traditional methods of accident investigation apply to or detract from human performance and systems analysis. Learn to recognize conditions that have deleterious effects on aviation outcomes and how they can impact the safe outcome of emergency response missions. This scenario-based course focuses on the interrelationship of Just, Flexible, Reporting and Learning cultures and how they can affect and be affected by human performance; how and why many accident investigations identify human failures or errors and what the search for cause can do to organizational culture; how human performance evaluations can be improved; the knowledge, skill and ability to recognize how conditions support mishaps and how to take corrective action; and cultural factors that affect decision making at all levels.

Guest lecturers will join the instructor to provide additional depth to course materials.

This course is not currently scheduled.


Aviation Leadership

3 quarter units academic credit, X435.6.

Develop and learn to use practical and effective leadership skills for public and private sector aviation management, particularly incident response aviation. Gain a thorough understanding of how to make the best decisions possible through establishing situational awareness. Emphasis is on developing leadership through communications, ethics and values. You also learn to establish and enforce performance standards by exploring the four standards of decision making: establishing a culture of mutual respect; developing trust; maintaining effective communications; and interpreting information to establish situational awareness.

Learn to create an effective safety management system by establishing accountability, responsibility and a culture of safety. The course is divided into four sections: Foundations of Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, Team Development and Conflict Resolution, and Applications of Leadership in High Stress/Time Critical Environments.

Guest lecturers join the instructor to provide additional depth to course materials.

This course is not currently scheduled.


Safety Program Management

3 quarter units academic credit, X435.7.

Learn to create, maintain and continuously improve aviation safety programs. Examine the most current Safety Management System (SMS), and learn how to incorporate it into your own aviation program. Work on developing your aviation safety plan to meet the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization Safety Management Manual. Examine the significance of culture and how to tie operational risk management into your aviation safety program.

Guest lecturers join the instructor to provide additional depth to course materials.

This course is not currently scheduled.


Advisory Board

  • William R. Broadwell, Assistant Executive Director, American Helicopter Services and Aerial Firefighting Association
  • Dennis Brown, Regional Aviation Safety Officer, U.S. Forest Service
  • Mike Hill, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering, UC Davis
  • Dennis Hulbert, Regional Aviation Officer, U.S. Forest Service
  • Bill Larsen, FAA/NASA (ret.)
  • Frederick J. Leonelli, President, FJ Leonelli Group, Inc.
  • David McGee, Director, Technology Transfer Center, Office of Research, UC Davis



Emergency Response Aviation Safety Management Flyer

Download a program flyer.