Implementing Safety Management Systems (SMS) is currently voluntary for collegiate aviation operations in the U.S. Some extant studies have advocated using Safety Management Systems (SMS) as a proactive tool to continuously improve collegiate aviation safety culture. Using a structural equation modeling/path analysis (SEM/PA) approach, the effect of SMS on factors of safety culture in multiple collegiate aviation programs in the U.S. was evaluated using a hypothesized model that measures the relationships between scales of SMS, safety motivation (mediator), and safety culture factors (safety compliance, safety reporting, and safety participation). Demographic differences in safety culture were also evaluated. Findings suggest significant predictive relationships between SMS and observed safety culture outcomes. There was also a significant mediation role of safety motivation between SMS and some observed safety culture outcomes. Results suggest that senior or upper-level students were found to have significantly lower reported safety reporting behavior as compared to lower-level students. Domestic students were found to have higher scores for safety reporting behavior compared to international students. Results also suggest an apparent SMS knowledge gap among respondents, and implementing initial and recurrent higher-level SMS courses as part of collegiate aviation program academic syllabuses may be helpful. Other implications for policy and practices in collegiate aviation safety culture and recommendations for future research are highlighted.



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