Thursday, March 14th, 2019
Recent airline accidents highlight certain responsibilities that we, as operators of aircraft or as instructors and training captains, must carry.
The designers, engineers, manufacturers and licensing authorities must respond after the event. For every accident there is a subsequent modification or regulation. However, we have a more important role. It is our task to anticipate possible accident scenarios and to teach and train for these eventualities. Most commercial managers will not realise this aspect. They will assume that the training that a pilot receives and for which he or she gains a licence is a sound basis for professional employment. Remember the licensing authority specifies and tests to the minimum standard required for the issue of a licence. The subsequent type rating is designed to familiarise the already trained and qualified pilot to understand the systems and procedures relevant to the new aircraft type. Again this is a set programme of the necessary information. It may not cover all eventualities. There are situations where the pilot has to diagnose a problem in flight. There may not be a pre-determined, hard-and-fast response specified in the procedures. The ability to prioritise and diagnose only comes from training to a deeper level of knowledge and by exercising the skills and analytical capabilities of flight crews. That is our intention in publishing the best manuals that we possible can. The possible faults of a complex digital aircraft cannot always be anticipated but by training, we can ensure that a pilot can at least safely complete the flight on reversionary systems, controls and instruments. We are very conscious of the temptation to let the aircraft fly itself. While this is the way the aircraft is designed to operate, the crew needs to maintain mode awareness, situational awareness and be prepared for the possible need for human intervention, i.e. by Threat & Error Management (TEM).
Our book ‘Human Being Pilot’, is our means of raising and discussing these issues.