Darren Smith, Flight Instructor
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CRM Series: Fundamentals of CRM

Navigation:  Fundamentals of CRM | Resolving Conflict | Workload Management Checklist Usage | Briefings & Callouts | Training CRM | Threats to Safety | FOTA | Error Management | Integrating Threat & Error Management | What are you doing over there? | New Captain Series

What is CRM? The effective use of all available resources needed to complete a safe and efficient flight.
Why is it important?  To optimize performance and reduce pilot error.  As a result of the benefits of CRM, the FAA & ICAO mandates CRM training for all air carriers.  The result is CRM/LOFT training.

Goals of CRM

  • KNOWLEDGE of concepts and procedures
  • ATTITUDE which recognizes the importance of good aircrew coordination to safety.
  • SKILLS to effect implementation of knowledge

Cause of Accidents

Graph showing crew members cause most accidents

Typical errors:

  • Loss of situational awareness
  • Violation of FAR 
  • Departure from proven procedures
  • Poor judgment or decision making
  • Preoccupation with minor mechanical problems
  • Inadequate leadership - Failing to:
    • Delegate tasks
      Assign meaningful responsibilities
      Set priorities
      Lack of monitoring
      Failure to use available information
      Failure to communicate plans, problems, etc.

Risk Evaluation Model:

  • AIRCRAFT: Appropriately equipped? Capable? Airworthy?
  • ENVIRONMENT: Weather? Terrain? Obstacles? Hazards?
  • SITUATION: Changes? Alternatives? Evaluate effects?
  • OPERATIONS: Have I done this before? What difficulties are involved? what if it doesn't go as planned?
  • PERSONNEL: Qualifications? Currency? Fatigue? Illness? Stresses?

Crew Coordination Cycle

Crew Coordination Cycle

Decision Making Model

Decision Making: Identify-Research-Select-Review

Human error is inevitable and we often say, "to err is human."  CRM seeks to manage human error.  Pilot error occurs when:
  • Human performance is reduced
  • Expected performance is too high

Human Performance suffers when:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Physiological degradation
  • Overload
  • Distractions

Performance falls below standards when:

  • Excessively high workload
  • Inadequate training
  • Unrealistic performance goals

Eliminating Pilot error starts with:

  • Attitude - hazardous attitudes, I'M SAFE
  • Skills - On-going Training
  • Knowledge - Policy, regulations, SOP
  • Risk management
  • Appropriate mission planning & brief
  • Recognize the difference between unsafe & unwise
  • Saying "uncle" i.e. Go-around, reject, abort.

Loss of situational awareness occurs when:

  • Failure to meet targets
  • Use of undocumented procedures
  • Violating minimums & limitations
  • No one flying the aircraft
  • No one looking out the window (human TCAS)
  • No checklists
  • Incomplete communication
  • Ambiguity
  • Unresolved discrepancies
  • Fixation or preoccupation

Most common errors:

54% Intentional non-compliance with Policies & Regulations
29% Procedural
8% Communication
6% Operational Decision
5% Proficiency

Why is failure to follow policies & regulations so high?  

  • Inadvertent failure to comply related to:
    • Attention 
    • Memory 
    • Attitude 
    • Stress
  • Intentional failure to comply related to:
    • Mind traps 
    • Get it done quick 
    • Disregard for “silly” rules 
    • Pressure (ridicule from peers or authority)
  • Unwise commands

"If the engine stops for any reason, you are due to tumble, and that's all there is to it!" --Clyde Cessna

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