A risk is not the same as a threat. You think planes and their passengers are subjected to risks, they are not, they are subjected to threats. Threats of bad weather, threats of mechanical failures and so on.


If you travel to a malarial region, there is a threat of your catching Malaria from which you will probably die.

If you take anti-malarial medicine the threat of catching Malaria still exists BUT the risk has been reduced.

If you don’t go to a Malarial region the risk of contracting Malaria is nonexistent. The threat remains.

The threat of contracting Malaria always exists but the more defenses you put in place the lower the risk that you are exposed to.


The threat of having your car stolen is high if you leave it unattended with the ignition keys in it and the engine running.

Removing the keys defends your car from the threat of being stolen. Removing the keys and locking it in a garage doesn’t change the threat of its being stolen but it does make it harder for a thief so the risk is reduced. If you lock your car, lock it in a garage, put the keys in a safe 50 miles away, guard your garage with security men, surround the garage with guard dogs, you gradually reduce the risk of your car being stolen. But a car thief wandering past doesn’t stop being a car thief. He just won’t steal yours. In flying, we have so many defenses to guard against the threats, like, weather, malfunctions, and anything you can think of that it makes stealing the car I just mentioned, a walk in the park. 

ASSETS are subjected to THREATS.

DEFENSES against the THREATS reduce the RISKS.

When you insure a car your premium goes down as the risks, not threats, to your car reduce. If you and I park our cars next to each other in an area where car theft is prevalent there’s a threat that our cars might be stolen. So the better my defenses, removing the keys, locking the car, setting the alarm, using a visible steering wheel immobilizer the greater the chance (risk) that my car will be safe and yours will be stolen.

Think of a threat in flying and imagine what we do to defend against it. And when you’ve thought of ten lines of defense I’ll tell you another ten you didn’t even think about. Flying is safer than you think. When you think of danger I’m thinking about safety. When you get on board listen to the Safety Briefing. If you think you shouldn’t do your passenger checklist …why should I do mine? We’re in this together.

Best wishes,

Captain Keith


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