This hits close

A new episode of the National Geographic Air Crash Investigation TV show, titled  Killer Attitude is hard for me to watch. It describes the crash of a perfectly good Northwest Airlink Jetstream 31 from MSP to Hibbing, MN, on 1 December 1993. I was flying out of MSP that night, same airplane type, same airline. I knew the captain, Marvin. I remember the grief counselors in the MSP crew room for two weeks after the crash.    And one of the presenters, Craig Railsback, is a friend. We met 25 years ago, as young first officers in Jetstream 31 training at this … Continue reading This hits close

A340 engine shutdown video

YouTube has a great 15-minute video of an Airbus A340 crew running ECAMs and checklists that results in shutting down an engine in flight. For real. It’s been viewed a bunch of times, but I hadn’t seen it till today, so maybe you haven’t either. It’s an interesting, thought provoking experience. The Swiss airline crew were being filmed by for a high-quality video production of their Zurich to Shanghai flight. But during climb out the number three engine oil temperature starts to gently rise. It’s not TOPGUN, but rather a rare invitation for an intimate look at how professional … Continue reading A340 engine shutdown video

We are the grease in the cogs

Powerful four minute video by professor and pilot Sidney Dekker introduces what we find when we stop looking at accidents, and instead study highly reliable organizations. It’s resilience: the ability to accommodate change and absorb disturbances without catastrophic failure. And it’s not about reducing negatives, but rather promoting positives. The four behaviors that resilient teams practice are: Don’t take past success as a guarantee of future safety. Keep a discussion of risk alive even when everything looks safe. Bring in different and fresh perspectives. Invite doubt, stay curious and openminded. Invest in safety when others say no. We are not error … Continue reading We are the grease in the cogs

Full United Airlines safety memo to pilots

Here’s the complete “brutally honest” safety memo sent to every United Airlines pilot this year. Lots of good points about airmanship, discipline and CRM: Date: January 9, 2015 SAFETY ALERT: Significant safety concerns Recent events in our operation have dictated that we communicate with all of you immediately. Over the past few weeks, our airline has experienced what we would categorize as major safety events and near-misses. In Flight Operations we have seen two events in close proximity to terrain (one resulting in a GPWS pull-up maneuver), an Undesired Aircraft State on departure and a low fuel state on arrival … Continue reading Full United Airlines safety memo to pilots

A very bad CRM book

I was so looking forward to The Pilot Factor: A fresh look into Crew Resource Management (2014) by Jean Denis Marcellin. Had heard about it online. Cool cover picture has airline pilot ripping off uniform shirt to show Superman costume underneath. Some glowing reviews on Amazon. Then I got the book and started reading. Oh dear. It’s a self-published stretched padded 100 pages with no original research, a limited understanding of CRM history, editing issues, no common thread, and no new personal insights. At the end all I really noticed was that there wasn’t a single mention of that pilot-turned-Superman from the … Continue reading A very bad CRM book