Premium on Safety - Issue 45, 2022 - 1

Safety Spotlight: Procedural Non-Compliance
Safety Quiz: What Exactly Is Special Use Airspace?
Best Practices: Proper Restraints Are Essential for Passenger Safety
ASI Message: Learning Works If We Change Our Behavior
Lessons Learned: For Lack of a Pin
The Aviation Maintenance " Never Events Program " Comes of Age
How's Your CRM Rep?
We needed a grand summer blockbuster and-for once a bonus-it
came with an aviation theme! The Top Gun saga roared back to life
after a 36-year break and took me right back to the heady fun of
seeing the original in Pensacola's 'Cradle of Naval Aviation' while
attending flight training there. Airlines were busy starting crew
resource management (CRM) programs in the years leading up to
the movie and believers were extolling CRM's benefits as the 'next
big safety thing' to an interested-but-skeptical aviation community.
Do you suppose Maverick's famous eight-word assault on the
concept helped or hurt?
" Sorry Goose, it's time to buzz the tower. "
Translation: With you as my hostage, I'm ignoring your objection,
violating regs, and risking both of our lives and careers without
good reason. I know-killjoy for picking that apart-forgive me.
You don't hear too much about crew coordination these days.
Surely our collective CRM practice has advanced as impressively as
Hollywood's aerial cinematography in the intervening years. Didn't
the CRM vaccine wipe out intra-crew hostage-taking and stifling
of safety dialogue years ago? Perhaps CRM is tucked in among
the annual training modules you complete, somewhat ironically
considering the topic, individually. Is it valid to presume that since
CRM's been an aspect of pilot training for decades, it's just 'in us'
now? I have a hunch you can think of a current flier who's a bit
of a wild card and flies by the seat of their pants in terms of crew
coordination. Any chance your name just popped into someone
else's head who's reading this? What's your CRM reputation?
Effective crew coordination seems like what would naturally
occur save for the things we do, consciously or not, to interrupt
it. It's certainly more important to apply good CRM practice on
today's trip than to be known for doing so on prior ones. But your
reputation sets the stage, so history's important too. Like winds
aloft, it forms a context poised to either help things along or put
up challenges to push against. It's worth your time to become (and
stay) self-aware of your CRM persona. Want to be a better pilot?
Consider dedicating more personal introspection, reading, and
skill-building effort in this area than the minimum required.
If you're looking for a start, try focusing on being an active listener
in crew settings. That tends to help you validate your teammates'
motivations so you better-value their insights or illuminate
differences you can address sensibly. Either way, it's a perspective
you only get by listening.
I recall a situation where, as an instructor, I was pushing to
complete a flight check while eyeing some building weather.
A crewman who I'd just met at the preflight briefing piped up
unsolicited with, " I think we should pack this in and get on the
ground. " I demurred; confident we had the 15 minutes more
needed to finish. The crewman's response was a matter-of
fact, " We need to get on the ground now. " We'd barely made
it from the parked aircraft into the hangar when the impressive
thunderstorm engulfed the airport. I praised the crewman for
telling a visiting instructor what he thought. He explained he'd
grown up in the area as an outdoorsman, was 'pretty familiar'
with local weather, and could 'just tell' we were about to get
slammed. He said there were lots of pilots with whom he would
not have spoken up but offered, " I didn't know you and really
didn't feel like getting struck by lightning, so I gave it a shot. "
Your CRM reputation-or even the absence of one-matters.
The people you fly with have all sorts of good reasons to steer
you away from poor decisions and collectively help achieve best
outcomes. But they've got to be willing to share them with you,
and you've got to be listening.
Stay well, fly smart, and fly safe.
Paul Ratté
Director of Aviation Safety Programs, USAIG

Premium on Safety - Issue 45, 2022

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