compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
THE first incidence of its kind -
the tragic accident at San Francisco Airport over the week-end is yet
which I have oft referred to elsewhere.
As the Daily Telegraph reported - "Lee Kang-kuk, whose anglicised name was released
for the first time on Monday and differed slightly from earlier usage, was the second most
junior pilot of four on board the Asiana Airlines aircraft and had 43 hours experience
descent less than two seconds before
it hit a seawall on the landing approach
to the airport, bounced along the tarmac
and burst into flames.
It was Lee's first attempt to land a 777
at San Francisco, although he had flown
there 29 times previously on different
types of aircraft, said South Korean
transport ministry official Choi Seung-youn. Earlier, the ministry said he had accumulated
a total of 9,793 flying hours, including his 43 at the controls of the 777."
... and therein lies the problem - that the computer control systems of these modern
aircraft have become so complex and sophisticated - that the pilots flying them, whether
experienced on type or not, have often never been appropriately trained to actually cope
with the kind of situations which arise with the ultimate failure of the ever more complex
fly-by-wire processes - which are responsible for keeping these aircraft on auto-pilot.
IT IS this airline-training system failure, coupled with a lack of comprehension of the
strict accordance to maintenance procedures and increasing difficulty on the part of
pilots to satisfactorily complete their pre-flight aircraft inspections, that is collectively
putting pressure on airlines to cut corners because of the world wide acceptance, on
into European airspace for the reasons that I have described above. Just consider the fact
that weather forecasting has become very hit and miss in recent times because the
forecasters are using systems based on out-dated computer models which cannot yet
keep up with the rate of change of global weather systems - god forbid that this should
ever become the case for taking a flight from Heathrow to San Francisco.
When NASA put over 20 airline flight crews through an exercise to simulate an
emergency engine failure during flight, they were amazed by the variety of
performances they saw, from good communications to almost complete mayhem.
It's clear that effective communication in the cockpit is vital, yet the researchers
have found that those skills are often barely adequate or even non existent.
The psychologists at NASA are discovering that anything that prevents a flight crew
from working like a well oiled team is potentially dangerous and one of the most
disruptive influences is a pilot's personality. Many of them are simply not fitted
for commercial cockpits at all.
Culture & behaviours: at the root of every major incident. No matter how many
systems & processes you have in place, they'll never save you or your business if the
safety culture & behaviours are weak. If your safety culture & behaviours are strong,
they'll prevail however sloppy the systems & processes are.