Zero/Zero, Charles D. Svovoda

“At last I understood what true professionalism is. Being a pilot isn’t all seat-of-the-pants flying and glory. It’s self-discipline, practice, study, analysis and preparation. It’s precision. If you can’t keep the gauges where you want them with everything free and easy, how can you keep them there when everything goes wrong?” Charles D. Svoboda Flying magazine, November 1976. Old editions of Flying magazine are archived by Google books. This amazing article is online for free in the November 1976 edition, and certainly deserves a new audience. It’s about making a foggy zero/zero landing in a huge prop plane. Lots of good … Continue reading Zero/Zero, Charles D. Svovoda

Surgical checklists

Checklists save lives! A major new study in the journal Annals of Surgery shows a 22% reduction in post-surgical deaths when a simple WHO 19-item checklist was used. It wasn’t a true random experiment, but the clear results are still impressive. “Safety checklists are not a piece of paper that somehow magically protect patients, but rather they are a tool to help change practice, to foster a specific type of behavior in communication, to change implicit communication to explicit in order to create a culture where speaking up is permitted and encouraged and to create an environment where information is shared between all … Continue reading Surgical checklists

How you do the little things

How you do the little things everyday is important. Why is explained by former RAF Tornado F3 fighter pilot and Red Arrows display pilot Justin Hughes in his 2016 book The Business of Excellence. The full quote is: How you do the little things is how you do everything. You don’t choose a different behaviour just because it’s a big important job and you’re under a lot of stress. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; when you’re really under a lot of pressure, you revert to default wired-in behaviours because you have too many other things to worry about than … Continue reading How you do the little things

David Lama on managing risk

“Regardless of the outcome, any expedition still offers hundreds of experiences you can learn from.”   David Lama is an elite climber who has scored many ‘firsts’, but seems grounded in a deep understanding of risk, rationality and unforgiving reality. Both these quotes come from an article in this month’s Red Bulletin magazine that’s well worth the short read. Like pilots, mountaineers must understand the consequences of bad choices.   “In mountaineering, you constantly have to check your perceptions against reality. After all, a plan is only an idea. And an idea is a fleeting thing.”