Tuesday, June 19, 2012
The Ultimate Choice
Using crew resource management for the decision-making process
During simulator training for the airlines, crew resource management is an integral part of the syllabus. This includes dynamics such as leadership, assertiveness, error management, conflict resolution and workload management.
The airline industry has worked very hard in the last two decades to increase flight safety, and today's remarkable safety statistics can be attributed to many factors, one being CRM. I truly believe that. I also believe very strongly that these CRM tools can and should be used by pilots flying in general aviation today. Large corporate and charter operators flying multiple-pilot aircraft have outstanding CRM programs. Some even rival and exceed that of the airline industry.
Where the gap occurs is in the single-pilot cockpit. Perhaps it's the perception that CRM principle can only apply to multiple-pilot cockpits. However, if you study in-depth recent NTSB reports on general aviation accidents, some interesting details begin to emerge, suggesting that lack of cockpit resource management principles lead to decreased flight safety. Statements such as: "pilot's lack of situational awareness," "pilot's poor communication," "pilot's fatigue and or failure to manage workload," regularly emerge. Statements such as "pilot's final choice" or "ultimate choice contributed to the fatal accident" should really be an eye opener to all general aviation pilots. In one example, the NTSB final findings of a fatal Cessna 206 accident from 2003 stated that the pilot's decision to take off into a severe thunderstorm contributed to the accident.
Dividing up workload is one simple solution for increased flight safety.
Perhaps pertaining to Cockpit Resource Management for an SPA, we can say this: A pilot who's fit to fly and has properly planned/preflighted communicates better has increased Situational Awareness, thus reducing workload, makes better Decisions, and ultimately increasing their Flight Safety.
Captain Mike McEllhiney flies the A320 for a major airline based in San Francisco, Calif. He holds an ATP with type ratings on the Airbus A310, A320 and Boeing 747-400.
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Labels: Decision Making, Emergency Situations, Features, Flight Hazards, Flying Skills, Learn To Fly, Pilot Skills, Proficiency, Pilot Safety