“Today the Threats Are…”

By Karlene Pettit

Threat And Error Management: The next level of safety, above and beyond CRM (Crew Resource Management) Threat and Error Management is a systems approach to safety and risk management.

Threats: The events and situations that increase operational complexities. Errors: The actions or inactions that lead to deviations from expected operational behaviors. Management: Mitigating the potential damage.

In 1994 Delta Airlines and the University of Texas joined forces in a human factors research project. Their intent was to evaluate CRM behavior in the flight deck, taking CRM to the next level. They utilized Line Oriented Safety Audits, LOSA, and observers in the jumpseat, on revenue flights, to identify errors. The origin of, the response to, who detected them, and the ultimate outcome of those errors were recorded. The LOSA form was later transformed, taking into account the management of the error, as well as the type of error.

The bottom line is that everyone is going to make errors. The significance of Threat and Error Management is that we as crewmembers identify, and mitigate, those errors before they impact the safety of the flight.

Accidents never happen because of ‘one’ event. Multiple events occur and they fall into place, the moon aligns with the stars, and one thing builds upon another, and the accident follows. Be aware of the kink in the chain, the potential for it breaking, and stop the accident.

Threat and Error Management takes into account the principles of CRM and the interrelationship of human performance with the complexities of the environment in a dynamic platform. English: We work in an imperfect, dynamic world, and we all have the capability to make human errors. Threat and Error Management’s goal is to be aware of the environment that presents the threats, watch for and identify the potential errors, and stop them before they multiply into an accident.

Awareness to the potential threats, and communication, is the first step. 

“Today the threats are… I am new to the A330 and have less than 200 hundred hours on it. I’ve never flown out of Paris before. It’s night, and I’m fatigued… I didn’t sleep well in the hotel because of the noise. The runway is wet and we have thunderstorms to the East. We have a couple maintenance items that shouldn’t impact the takeoff, but if we had to abort they could impact our stopping distance…”

The next step: Acknowledge that errors can happen, and be forthright in speaking up when an error does occur. Stop the chain. Utilizing exceptional CRM skills in the dynamic world we operate may not completely eliminate errors, but will stop them before they grow and compound, ultimately improving safety.

Threat and Error management is something that all pilots, both commercial and private, should utilize anytime they approach a plane with the intent to fly. Utilize all resources, assess the environment… external and internal, be aware that anyone can make a mistake, and have a safe flight.

Who's Karlene?
I'm the mother of three daughters, the grandmother of two granddaughters and a grandson. I've been married for 29 years. Hold a masters in counseling and a MBA. I've worked for 8 airlines… Coastal, Evergreen, Braniff, America West (training department), Guyana, Tower, Northwest, and now Delta.  

I have 7 Type ratings.  727, 737, 757, 767, 747-200, 747-400, A330

I've instructed in the classroom, in the simulator, and on the line for 21 years
I put Guyana's 757 in service… designed and implemented their training program. Wrote their curriculum… training manuals, procedures, emergency manual..etc., taught the ground school and simulator, and was their FAA/CAA designee.
America West… 737 and 757 simulator instructor. 
Northwest, 747-200 Second Officer/ Check Airman… and then 747-400 First Officer
For the previous 20 years, I have also worked for Premair.. my second job, instructing in the classroom and in the simulator on the 737 and 757 aircraft. 

I'm currently flying the A330 for Delta. Final airline home. I just wrote my first novel, an Aviation Thriller…and I'm in the editing phase. Many more to come

Follow Karlene Pettit on her
 personal blog 
and at http://www.flightpodcast.com/!

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