Run Aviation Safety The Same Way As COVID Safety
You would think it should work and be safe to run aviation safety the same way as COVID safety is run and managed. The public trust COVID processes completely and without concerns. We do not ask questions about experts’ qualifications and we demand that our leaders lead us down the safe path with their proven COVID safety processes.
A successful process may be applied to other safety concerns and generate a safety outcome. A process that is used to operate a vehicle on icy roads can also be applied to icy runways or icy airplanes wings. The process is the simple plan – do – check – decide – act/adjust process.
Plan is to establish an objective, which is for the public to feel safe or healthy. Do is to carry out what needs to be done to meet the objective. Check is to analyze data from the previous phase. Decide is to make an objective decision at the fork-in-the-road, based on collected datapoints. Decide is to make an objective decision at the fork-in-the-road, based on collected datapoints. Act, or adjust is to make changes to improve the process. The objective is for the public to feel safe by travelling on a road or runway surface that will provide friction, while it is the opposite for an aircraft wing. The do-phase is to apply the plan and conclude with a check or test of the result. After this data is analysed there will always be a fork-in-the-road, and when arriving here an educated decision is made. As the path continues one direction or another, adjustments or action may be applied to improve the road surfaces or quality of de-icing. The corrective action my be different in these examples, but all processes are the same. Gravel may be put on icy roads, chemicals on icy runways and de-icing fluid on an aircraft. At the end of the day the public feel safe and willing to drive the road or enter an aircraft departing from an icy runway relying on laws of nature to transport them safe to their destination.
The onset of COVID surprised everyone and there was little or no data available to understand how react to the virus. In aviation there could also come a time when an unexpected or unknown event would take place. An aircraft cold for no apparent reason become uncontrollable, or a runway could be covered by a swarm of insects within a few minutes.
|Parking an airplane is a safety tool to eliminate a risk to aviation.|
|Bird travel routes were not changed after several birds took an airliner down.|
The final stage of the process is to act or adjust for continuous safety improvements. A decision was made to continue down the path of compliance enforcement, since it had been successful in preventing aircraft accidents. Enforcement actions would be taken against any pilot flying since there is a possibility that the aircraft could be involved in an accident. It was also decided to enforce penalties if a person who normally would be travelling by air was operating a vehicle on any roads. This final stage also paralleled the COVID process in that enforcement actions are taken against groups of people gathering.
When applying this process to aviation safety an aircraft would never fly again since the aviation industry and the safety of the flying public is only safe when all aircraft are parked.
When a root cause is unknown or there is no cure for the failure, two options become available. One is to do nothing, and the other option is to overreact and take extreme actions. The most logical safety option is to overreact to ensure safety. It is easer, less stressful, less work to say no and transfer the risk to someone else than accept responsibility and take measures to mitigate. None of these two options are steps to fulfil the purpose of the objective. What is missing in the equation is a third, but hidden option, which is to assess residual consequences and new hazards by doing nothing or taking extreme measures.