Using our bowtie risk analysis

Bowtie analysis is a risk analysis methodology allowing stakeholders and risk owners to better understand:

  • risks
  • associated threats (causal factors)
  • consequences (outcomes)
  • preventative and recovery controls (barriers).

A key benefit of the bowtie methodology is it creates a visual representation between threats and hazards. It also shows how threats and hazards interact to produce consequences and the barriers or controls that could prevent an event or reduce its impact.

This is a valuable tool to help you better understand how effective your current controls are and identify new or enhanced controls.

We have developed a series of bowties across various sectors for the following risk categories, including:

  • loss of control inflight
  • controlled flight into terrain
  • mid-air collision
  • runway incursion
  • runway excursion
  • human performance
  • technical
  • organisational.

The human performance, technical and organisational bowties complement the operational bowties where human performance, technical or organisational issues may be a factor for a control not being effective.

These are often identified as escalating factors. We have developed separate bowties for these to address the relevant threats these could introduce.

Reading a bowtie analysis

The following bowties identify the relevant regulatory controls (preventative and recovery) for the specific threat and consequence for each of the risks. These include:

  • the hazard: something with the potential to cause risk
  • the top event: in the middle of the diagram is the moment control is lost over the hazard
  • the threats: are what could cause the top event on the left-hand side of the diagram
  • the preventative controls: these are the barriers that sit between the threats and the top event to prevent the event from happening
  • the consequences: are the possible outcomes resulting from the top event being realised. You can find these on the right-hand side of the diagram
  • the recovery controls: are the barriers on the right side of the top event that prevent the top event resulting in unwanted consequences
  • escalating factors: a condition that leads to increased risk by defeating or reducing the effectiveness of a control. Escalating factors can also have controls assigned to reduce the likelihood of that factor happening.
Example of bowtie risk analysis diagram and layout.
Example of bowtie risk analysis diagram and layout.
Example of bowtie risk analysis diagram and layout.

Important information before reading a bowtie

You can download the following bowties in a PDF format. They all display information up to the control level.

These bowties are not an exhaustive list on regulatory controls, but what we deemed to be the most effective control at the time.

We will review these as required. Please keep in mind bowtie files may not always be updated as regulations change. If you identify any errors, feel free to contact us.

Please use our SSRP contact form for any of the following requests:

  • further information about our bowties
  • see further detail with escalating factors
  • access to the bowtie .XP file to use in your own software.

Download bowties risk analysis

Air Transport Operations – Larger Aeroplanes (ATO-LA)

Air Transport Operations – Smaller Aeroplanes

Air Transport Operations – Rotorcraft

Other supporting resources

Last updated:
13 Sep 2023
Online version available at:
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