Jim Cooley currently serves as one of the Aviation Safety Managers in the Coast Guard’s Office of Safety and Environmental Health at Headquarters in Washington, DC. Jim is the safety program manager for the Coast Guard’s unmanned aerial systems, as well as the Coast Guard Auxiliary, overseeing development and implementation of safety strategies into these unique flight operations.
Jim began activity duty in 2003, first serving on the icebreaker, US Coast Guard Cutter HEALY. After flight school, he flew H-60 Jayhawks in Clearwater, FL, Kodiak, AK, and Astoria, OR. Jim Cooley was a Flight Safety Officer and Flight Examiner and currently holds a rotary-wing ATP and CFI.
Before working at Headquarters, he earned his master’s degree in Aviation Science, with an emphasis in safety culture assessment, from the University of North Dakota. He continues his education with UND as a doctoral student in the Aerospace Sciences program.
AVIT 350 – Human Error
Air Beat – July/August ed., 2016, author
New York Times Magazine feature & interviewee, January 2015 issue for oil rig KULLUK rescue
Helicopter Association International HAI@Work: Managing Risk in Hazardous Environments
Coast Guard Aviation Safety podcast, 2011-2013. Sole creator and producer.
Brothers in Armchairs, 2021
Coast Guard Alaska, 2011-2013
Coast Guard Cape Disappointment: Pacific Northwest, 2013-2014
Airline Transport Pilot
Certified Flight Instructor – Rotary Instrument
ICAP FAA Aviation Safety Officer certificate
Federal Aviation Safety Officer Interagency Committee for Aviation Policy Safety Gold Standard
CAPT Marion Gus Shrode Aviation Safety Award Recipient for top aviation safety officer in the USCG
Southern California Safety Institute Aircraft Accident Investigation Certificate
PACAREA CG Foundation Admiral Chester Bender Award for heroic action with ice climber rescue
International Vertical Flight Society: Vertical Flight Technical award for rescue
USCG Commendation Medals (2) (Operational)
Commandant’s Letters of Commendation (2) (Operational)
USCG Achievement Medals (7) (Operational)
M. S. – Aviation, University of North Dakota (2017)
B. S. – Management, United States Coast Guard Academy (2003)
Advanced Helicopter Rescue School (US Coast Guard) (2013)
High-Altitude Power Management Mountain Qualification (US Army) (2014)
Aviation Safety Officer Course (US Navy) (2014)
2021-present: Aviation Instructor, UND
2019 – Present: US Coast Guard Headquarters – Aviation Safety Manager
- Aviation Safety Training – creating standards and curriculum for USCG’s flight safety officers. Lead instructor. Trained aviators to qualify as major mishap investigators.
- Safety Survey Manager – Created Safety Climate Instrument; distributes surveys to all air stations, synthesizes statistics, creates data visualization, manages intervention strategies.
2013 - 2017: US Coast Guard Sector Columbia River - Flight Examiner, Instructor Pilot, Search & Rescue pilot.
- Flight Safety Officer - responsible for all aviation safety issues, investigated aircraft mishaps, maintained unit Mishap Response Plan, led Human Factors Council, taught Crew Resource Management, Operational Hazards.
2011 - 2013: US Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, AK - Search & Rescue Pilot
- H-60 Flight Services - updated avionics, digital maps, software upgrades.
2006 - 2011: US Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater - Search & Rescue, Homeland Security, and Law Enforcement Pilot.
- Responsible for 4-person CG crew and 3 international federal agents in support of counter-drug
2003 - 2004: US Coast Guard Cutter HEALY - Deck Watch Officer
- Navigated and drove icebreakerin open and ice-covered waters during science operations
- Landing Signal Officer - provided maneuvering signals to helicopters landing aboard ship