Sunday, April 18, 2021

Diversity in Aviation

 Diversity in Aviation 

By Catalina9

Now and then, there are newspaper articles and news stories about diversity in  aviation and discussions if diversity would improve safety or not. Some of the  arguments against diversity is that the captain of the aircraft should be the best and diversity should not be considered. At the other end, the argument for  diversity is that a diverse team stay stronger against bullies, or the one with the  best vocabulary who wins the deal. The news media portrays these opinions as  opposite ends of a spectrum from safe to unsafe. Sometimes discussions are in  favor of diversity, while other times diversity is unsafe. No matter who wants to  be the safest candidate, both sides are using the safety card. The only reason to  play the safety card is that there is no data to support their statements. Everyone  falls for the safety card and becomes paralyzed in a discussion against safety. The  answer to diversity is not if it is safe or not, but to answer the question of what personal qualities a successful pilot has. The only different between a pilot and  other jobs, is that everyone else do not fall to the ground when taking the wrong  turn at the fork in the road. Learning pilot skills are no special or difficult skills to  learn that only certain pre-selected people can learn. It is a skill anyone can learn  by determination and focus. Diversity in aviation is to recognize people who are  excellent at managing these human behavior skills. 

Becoming a successful pilot requires a combination of skills. It is not all  mathematical and technical, but they have to think creatively, act under pressure,  and adopt a mentality fitting for a role of such great responsibility. Pilots not only  require leadership qualities, but they also have to communicate and work well as  part of a team. The aviation industry in general expects that a plot develops  several human behaviors skills to be a successful pilot. These principles are true  for single-pilot operations or as a member of a multi-crew operations. They are  true for recreational, or general aviation an professional or commercial aviation. A  successful pilot communicates with clear communication, not only verbally, but  also behavioral communication. Clear communication closes the gap between  expectations, assumptions and anticipation and those immediate tasks to take  place in the immediate future. Clear communication also closes the gap between these short-term actions and long-term objections, which is to move the aircraft  from one location to another without disruptions, unplanned, or unexpected  events.  

Pilots has developed a successful skill of situational awareness. Generally,  situational awareness in aviation is that pilots know where they are and know  where they are going. However, this definition assumes that the pilots is working  within a flawless operational environment and that they are the only system that  potentially will malfunction. Situational awareness is comprehension awareness,  where data collected is turned into information, knowledge and system  comprehension or interactions. Situational awareness is therefore more than just  

The pilot of an aircraft maintained situational awareness of the Cali fix, but crashed into the high mountains

knowing where you are at point in space over the surface of the earth. Situational  awareness is to understand where in the process the automated system is, it is to  understand what is coming next in the process, it is to understand the effect of  flight control inputs, including long-term effect, it is to understand power plants,  it is to understand human factors, it is to understand the environment, it is to  understand topography, it is to understand law of physics, it is to understand  aircraft systems, it is to understand navigation aid inputs, it is to understand  display outputs, including visual navigation, it is to understand positions as to  point in space, it is to understand air traffic controller communication and intent,  it is to understand outside visual clues, it is to understand airport environment  and it is to overlay all these situational awareness clues in correct order onto  visual cockpit displays and instrument communication, with a mental picture of  what effect it will have on continuing the flight. In addition, when in visual  meteorological conditions, or on a visual approach, situational awareness is to  transfer this virtual information onto the visual view ahead. 

Successful pilots have developed teamworking skills. A successful airline several  years ago was operating with a principle that captains who had not developed  teamworking skills, were forced into a crew environment with major frictions.  Eventually, this crew-pairing caused a fatal crash, but the airline also made its  point. Accidents will happen if the crew opposes teamwork. Teamworking skills is  to develop forward-looking accountability, or to recognize and accept that current  actions, or reactions, have consequences. Conventional wisdom is that there is no  “I” in team, but there is. Within a team the Captain still has and must have the  final decision authority. Teamwork is not to accept the lowest common  denominator, but to input data into the Captain’s decision-making process.  

There is an “I” in TEAM.

A successful pilot has developed decisiveness and resilience. Time and resource constraints,as well as other pressure-adding  factors are decision making challenges for pilots. Pilot’s resilience to unexpected situations, or special  cause variations, are fully developed by self-experienced events. Resilience is  continuous improvements, or incremental improvements of a pilot’s behavior  during unexpected events, obstacle assessments or emergencies. A pilot is  expected to make sound judgements for the best possible outcome for their  circumstance. 

A successful pilot remains calm. Remaining calm is different than taking your time  to assess or react to events. It is to react immediately based on the unexpected  event. Depending on the emergency, there will always be a point of no return,  where any sound decision, or reaction does not change the outcome. Remaining  calm is also a skill developed over time and matured to a point where a reaction  to an emergency becomes a normal part of the operations. Several years ago, a  flight crew experienced a fire in the airplane just after takeoff. The captain  initiated the emergency action by returning for landing, knowing that the aircraft  needed be on the ground within 8-minutes before the point of no return was  reached. The first officer panicked and froze on the controls at which time the  captain had to momentarily interrupt the person’s behavior, taking time away  from the emergency. Calmness, as a skill developed incrementally and by self experience is a quality of a successful pilot.  
Self discipline and time management are two other traits of a successful pilot. Discipline is to do what you know you needs to be done to become very best in  your field as a successful pilot. Perhaps the best definition of self discipline is the  ability to make yourself do what you should do when you should do it, whether  you feel like it or not. It is easy to do something when you feel like it. It’s when  you don’t feel like it and you force yourself to do it anyway that you move your  life and career onto the fast track. A successful pilot has become successful in self  discipline and time management.
Leadership motivation is another skill needed for a successful pilot. There are five  general leadership style that a pilot should comprehend. The first leadership style  is Structural. Everyone knows exactly what needs to be done, why it needs to be  done, and to what standard. The next leadership style is Participative. This style  makes your team feel that you really care about them by putting them first and  they are treated with the same respect, patience, and understanding. The third  leadership style is Servant, which is a great style to start off with to gain respect,  trust, and loyalty. The style also builds a strong culture since it tailors to the  team’s needs. The next leadership style is Freedom, where people have an  opportunity to perform. This style inspires an entrepreneurial spirit with a clear  goal in your team members. The fifth leadership style is Transformational, which  is a leadership style that affect people’s emotions by painting a big, exciting  picture of the future. People are transformed by tapping into their hopes, dreams,  and ideals. Personnel becomes motivated, leaders become motivated, and  productivity is enhanced through high transparency and communication. 

A successful pilot has the ability to understand technical information and they  need to comprehend how their aircraft works. They comprehend how decisions affects aircraft performance, regulatory compliance and compliance with their  company’s safety policy. A successful pilot’s technical expertise is limited to  control inputs and comprehension of how this affects aircraft performance. The  extent they are expected to repair a malfunction is limited to the checklist items.  The times when a pilot also was a certified aircraft mechanic has passed. By  understanding technical information, a successful pilot has a tool to communicate errors effectively. 

Flying is more than recalling infinity of numbers.
A successful pilot is more than  
a numbers person. Pilots need 
to know the numbers for the  
aircraft, with the capability to  
perform mental arithmetic  
calculations quickly on  
demand. These calculations are  
automated and performed by  
computers. However, as an  
auditor of these systems a pilot  
needs to comprehend what,  when, where, why, who and  how of these calculations. A tragic example is how an airliner crashed in the South  Atlantic several years ago since the pilot could not comprehend these auto calculations.  

It is also said that a successful pilot must know when it is acceptable to break the  rules. Pilots have strict set of rules to follow, laid out by regulating bodies and  various other authoritative sources. Rules are often implemented from public  pressure as a response to prevent known causes of accidents. Regulatory fuel reserve became a regulatory requirement since fuel-burn calculations were  unreliable in the past, pilots were pressured to accept ATC approach delay  clearances, or incorrect weight calculation or winds aloft changed the fuel-burn.  

Many great inventions and safety improvements came about after major aviation  accidents, but with all the rules implemented, they still did not prevent accidents.  As to the conventional wisdom that a pilot must know when it is acceptable to  break the rule is false and incorrect. The Captain is the final authority of an  aircraft and responsible for the safety of that flight. As the final authority the  Captain must comply with a rule taking precedence over all other rules, which is  the safety of that flight. Whatever a Captain does to ensure safety of that flight  does therefore not break any rule at all.  

There are many examples in aviation history of a perfect pilot being involved in an  aviation accident. The perfect pilot was involved in the fist accident on September  17, 1908, injuring Captain Orville Wright. Two perfect pilots were operating two  airplanes that crashed over Grand Canyon in 1956. An exemplary pilot and a  model for all other pilots was in 1977 involved in the worst aviation accident to  date. In 1978 a perfect pilot crashed when a thrust-reverser deployed during a  missed approach. In 2017 the perfect pilot lined up their approach on a taxiway  with sequenced airplanes. The list could go on an on how perfect pilots were  involved in accidents. 
When diversity is being discussed, the discussion evolves about safety, ensuring  that the best pilot is flying the airplane or that there is only one type of pilot that  is safety. Often that type is a pilot who fits all the checkbox answers. What is  forgotten in this equation is that the past does not guarantee the future.  

Diversity in aviation is about the Enterprise itself, the Accountable Executive, and  their Project Solutions Leadership Motivation. When diversity is discussed on the  public platform, these discussions take an emotional turn where diversity is no  longer based on facts but on the comfort level of the participants. The public  opinion, which is a trigger for new regulations, is swayed by the participant with  the best vocabulary as opposed to the facts providing directions at the fork in the  road. The best example of this is that a Regulatory changed their aviation Safety  Management System due to emotional pressure from inspectors and the public. 

Diversity in aviation is about exposure to events and the environment. Exposure is  more than training, since it is about personal experience, it is about the emotions  when unexpected events occur, and it is about a Captain making the right  decisions when everything else goes wrong and when all odds are against you. It  was exposure that saved a light twin in the Rockies running into severe icing, losing all instruments, and ended up in a spin. It was exposure that saved the  MU2 with dual flameout in the Rockies. It was exposure that saved the Hudson River aircraft and it was exposure that saved the Gimli Glider from a major  accident.  


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Predictive SMS

 Predictive SMS

By Catalina9

There are three level of a Safety Management System (SMS). Level 1 is the reactive level, Level 2 is the proactive level, and Level 3 is the predictive level. A fully developed SMS is an SMS at a level when predictions are applied. A predictive level is different than a proactive level, but these two levels also work in harmony. Level 1, as a reactive level stands out in its own class since no actions are required until after the fact, or after the data is available in a data collection tool. Level 2 is reactive to ensure that certain events do not occur again. Level 3, the predictive level, is when the system delivers predictions of future events.  

A predictive level is the guide to excellence 
 A predictive level is different than to foresee the future.   A predictive SMS is about comparing data collected   and results from the past with current data collected to   predict the future. Without making any changes to   human factors system, organizational factors system,   supervision system, or environmental system the   outcome from the past will repeat itself in the future. A   predictive system is not designed, or capable of   predicting a specific event in time (duration), space   (location) and compass (direction), but can predict an   outcome when certain parameters are met. If a person   is  not trained to tow airplanes but expected to park five   airplanes in a hangar that normally holds only four, there is a high probability that at least one airplane will be damaged during one of the towing process. This is predictable, but it is impossible to predict a date and time of the future incident. 

A predictive SMS is also quite different from a proactive process. A reactive SMS is to generated corrective actions and implemented to respond to event analysis and to avoid future incidents or accidents. A predictive SMS is opposite to a reactive system in that a predictive level accepts that future incidents or accidents are inevitable. In a reactive system hazards are captured and entered into a hazard register for analysis. After the proactive and hazard register process is completed, the predictive system goes into the hazard register to predict what hazards are next in line to cause an incident or accident. In short, the proactive system placed hazards in the hazard register into boxes so they could no longer cause incidents, or unscheduled events, while the predictive system then removed some hazards and placed them into another box of future known incidents. It is only when an enterprise accepts that incidents are inevitable that incremental safety improvements becomes available as a safety tool.

At fist glance it also appears that the proactive and predictive system opposes each other, since the proactive system is generating corrective actions to ensure that certain incidents do not happen again, while the predictive system makes these same hazards a cause for the next incident. Yes, they are two different systems, but they complement each other. 

Remember, a predictive system is not a system with the ability to pinpoint the next incident. After a hazard register is populated and corrective actions plans (CAP) are assigned, a predictive system takes over and monitor the CAP processes. A predictive system is a daily quality control system. Some predictions may be long term, while other predictions are only available short term. If an aircraft is still travelling at 100 KTS when reaching the threshold markings at the other end, a confident prediction is that within the next few seconds the aircraft runs of the runway. If this same airplane is touching down beyond the half-way point of the runway, a runway excursion may be predicted, but it is a prediction with less confidence. At the third event, the aircraft is on approach speed and slope for a touchdown point within the touchdown area. A prediction can be made that this will be a successful landing. All this make sense, but why even bother making such obvious short-term predictions. It is absolutely true that it is nonsense to make these short-term predictions since they do not include processes to affect the outcome. A predictive SMS predicts long term predictions with a high level of confidence of an outcome by monitoring hazards. 

A predictive level is the foundation of a sound marketing plan for SMS.
From a reactive system point of view each hazard are placed in a box labeled “Corrected Hazards”. What the predictive system does is to pick up one hazard at a time and monitor it. Hazards are monitored daily within a quality control system and analyzed to the level of job performance, or how the job is done. A job performance level is analyzed to four high level factors: Human Factors (HF), Organizational Factors (OF), Supervision Factors (SF) and Environmental Factors (EF). Applying a daily rundown of airport operations tasks, these factors are monitored and recorded. Over time a predictive SMS will paint a picture of each task and if the picture mirrors expectations from the hazard register incidents are bypassed. 

In a predictive SMS the four factors are in a mastermind alliance where they are working actively together in perfect harmony toward a common definite objective. This is similar to the S-H-E-L-L model where Software, Hardware, Environment, Liveware (people) and Liveware interact with each other in a robust way. Human Factors, Organizational Factors, Supervision Factors and Environmental Factors in a predictive SMS interact with each other in incremental improvements. A change to one of the factors requires a change to one or more of the other factors. Example: An organization may change their organizational factors to suit a Safety Management System, or a person may learn to recite the alphabet for the first time, but without making changes to supervision factors there are opposing 
internal forces acting for and against incremental improvements. A person may learn to recite the alphabet for the first time, but without harmony between HR, OF, SF and EF the opposing forces are destructive to learning. 

A predictive SMS detects these opposing internal forces and can with a high level of certainty, or probability, predict that by continuing down the same path without harmony, eventually the bubble will burst, or an incident will happen. When a paired flight crew, captain and first officer, are opposing each other that aircraft is on its way towards an accident. A predictive SMS recognizes and display these forces.  


Accepting or Rejecting Risks

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