View Full Version : Where next for CRM?
27th Jul 2010, 08:36
Here's a question for you all. If accident rates have reached the what we might consider to be the endemic rate (and can go no lower), where does CRM need to progress to ensure that the rate does not start to rise because of 'the human factor'?
Question posed "... where does CRM need to progress... ?"
Not only for future pilots, but maybe more for future INVESTIGATORs, we need a safety survey of 70-years of airliner in-flight upsets, collecting the tiny components, factors, subtle lessons-learned.
The USA's NTSB has regularly pointed to the risks of Loss of Control mishaps -- but seems their own investigators are seldom familiar with earlier cases. The airlines recite lessons from NTSB & the CASTeam, but neither have proved a good source for information on the tiny contributing factors -- from which pilots might learn, and adapt. Often the new mega-airlines prove ignorant of their own historic upsets.
Previously, I collected some of these tiny factors, red flags, in Cockpit Housekeeping:
29th Jul 2010, 01:45
Some of the latest trends in CRM have been toward yet another re-labeling of it as TEM/R: "Threat Error Management or Recognition". This principle relies on any "threat" (as small as late for work contributing to stress all the way to uncontrollable engine fire, etc) and how this threat is recognised and therefore handled. In my opinion this principle requires EXPERIENCE and/or sound training to replace the training when it is not available (cadet style pilots operating jet transports straight from flying school).
Now, enter the realm of bean-counter where costs are cut, salaries are cut, etc, etc..... Along with this has come poor (self) discipline by way of study and standards from both pilot and airline alike. Review the statistics. Over the past 2 years judgment errors by the flight crew have soared.
CRM has become as futile a catch-phrase as "safety" has. If pilots haven't either the professionalism to appreciate it or the tools as required (training) to learn about it then we will continue down this path.
29th Jul 2010, 06:42
TopTup, I have been almost made a pariah for suggesting that TEM is old wine in new bottles and I am amazed at how the industry has been sold a pup with absolutely no discussion. The 2 replies to my question, so far, point to a more 'professional' approach to the job of being a pilot. In part this would be built on training but it also reflects motivation and morale. These are issues not fixed in a CRM class.
My question was more prompted by a feeling that the existing framework for CRM training is outmoded in both content and methods of delivery. Now that everyone has been exposed to the concept and that everyone has had the chance to compare the message with the operational world, I was wondering if there might be a missed trick here.
The way I see it is that CRM or NTS or TEM or whatever you wish to call it this week is just another 'tool' in our aviation 'tool box'. It is one of the many tools that we use on a regular basis whilst we go about committing aviation.
By using the tool box analagy whilst doing CRM Courses - I try to get the audience to recognise that CRM is not the "be all and end all" - it is just one of the many 'tools' that we need to make use of.
I do try to suggest as well that it is a 'tool' that we use quite a lot - albeit we don't formally recognise that we are using it if you see what I mean. I also suggest that this particular tool is likened to an adjustable spanner - it should be adjusted to fit the nut that it is being used on - so the CRM has to be similarly adjusted for the operation that it is having to work in.
As a helicopter man myself and also operting in the SP domain - I almost throw up if I am asked to watch a video of good or bad CRM in action using the good old 737 cockpit!!
But that then poses a problem in finding suitable training material from my particular industry - but that is my problem.
So what next? - keep doing it but keep it relevant, keep it simple, keep it fresh, keep it in context.
Practically - after the rather painful/dull/boring/mantra-fied initial Foundation/Core course and when doing annual refresher courses - make it 'refreshing'.:ok:
29th Jul 2010, 10:51
T'charged - I agree with you.
And, as tbc is saying, it is a tool to be used. So why call it TEM/R, CRM, etc, etc? Well, for one reason the psych departments need to justify a paycheck! So why not put old wine in new bottles IF it makes us look at that wine from a different perspective? Not always a bad thing.....
Yes, the courses are (from my experience) a case of "let's just get this over and done with!" How many times have we seen that "Duck" video (747 Classic Engineer refers to FO as a duck to the Capt when the FO subtly comments on the unstable approach.... "The difference between a duck and an FO? A duck can fly") Still peddling the same stuff for 18 or 20 years!
So the problem as I see it is COMPLACENCY form both operator and pilot alike. The delivery of the CRM courses MUST be as tbc says: tailored to the needs of the operation in question. Each airline has it's own culture. While the CRM principles are the same, the method of delivery, the methods of teaching, of demonstrating must adapt to this. One former CRM instructor boasted to me once that his course is so great that he uses the same one for a course he runs for truck company delivering freight.
Personally, I have advocated for YEARS that CRM needs to be PRACTICED. We practice and train for all types of failures (engine failures, fires, hydraulic, electrical, pneumatic, depressurisation.....) and approaches, departures... but we don't practice CRM! Why not get the FO or Capt (unknown to each other) to behave a certain way: arrogant, misinformed, lazy, lethargic, dominant, submissive, and so, and so on..... See how the subject reacts then assess, debrief and LEARN from the experience. We do this with the above types of scenarios so IF we come across them in a live situation we have the TOOLS to better handle it. This must be handled by a very experienced CRM TRI/TRE. That means time in the sim and possibly on top of the usual time. That = money.
When the CRM course is not aimed correctly then the effect can all too often have the opposite affect.
So the missed trick here I see is COMPLACENCY, borne from the reasons as per my last post: just my opinion.
29th Jul 2010, 12:48
Tubo, it’s not necessarily the accident rate which the industry has to worry about. Modern society, urged on by sensationalist media, could focus on an increasing number of accidents (even with a constant rate), particularly the spectacular, fatal ones.
If the accident rate has reached a platform (context specific endemic rate), this doesn’t necessarily mean that has CRM effectiveness has also peaked. It may have done in some areas, but elsewhere there could be more to come, but this might imply that a high accident rate is associated with poor CRM. I have yet to see any such an association.
Thus the point is, what more can CRM achieve in preventing human contribution to accidents irrespective of the accident rate.
In ‘low safety’ organisations, CRM training must ensure that CRM training reduces (contains) the human factor.
In ‘ultra safe’ organisations, then it might be necessary to redirect CRM training in order to maintain the ‘ultra safe’ status.
Thus, both types of organisation should keep on doing what is already being done providing it targets the appropriate safety objectives. Accident reports often suggest that CRM/safety objectives are not being met.
In organisations where CRM training is ill-conceived, then refocusing it on error management and individual behaviours may improve its effectiveness, i.e. there should be less focus on ‘soft’ team skills (I assume ill-conceived CRM has inappropriate emphasis on the Human – Human aspects).
CRM training should be rebalanced to consider all aspects of the SHELL model, particularly more on the human at the centre, the cognitive aspects, vice social niceties. There should be more emphasis on ‘self’ and individual behaviour, the interaction with the environment, procedures, and equipment, as well as human limitations, i.e. put safety and CRM into context.
In better organisations, the need is to maintain the high standard. Thus CRM needs reinvigoration (as in previous posts).
Amalberti’s paper (1) suggests attention to changes which increase demanding situations (personal, technology, and commercial); increasing expertise which tends towards routine errors – learn from them, and the need for self awareness and confidence – adaptation and responsibility (professionalism).
The success of these will depend on parallel organisational aspects, such as improving the safety and learning cultures, cultural aspects of CRM.
“… is also important to recognise that these systems are nearing the end of their life, and should not be placed off-balance by requiring operations to take place within unreachable performance and safety objectives.”
Hollnagel (2) has similar views which lead to organisational ‘resilience’, but many aspects of this can be used to redirect CRM. Existing concepts of SMS, TEM, and risk management can be used to build on ‘what we do well’ – more focus on the positive aspects of behaviour.
Hollnagel’s move away from error towards ‘performance variability’ enables clearer views of the source of success as well as of failures, and the boundaries of acceptable performance without connotation of fault, blame, etc.
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of performance variability is the cognitive – thinking aspects which require good situation awareness and appropriate choice of action (decision making); key CRM subjects in order to make any progress at all.
31st Jul 2010, 06:05
'Thus the point is, what more can CRM achieve in preventing human contribution to accidents irrespective of the accident rate.'
That was the question I asked in my original post.
Much of the discussion so far has been around delivery. So do we need to raise the standards of facilitators? Or do we need better models of course development to get at 'CRM as practiced'?
1st Aug 2010, 06:36
A question with a question:
A 2010 BMW is safer than, say a 1980's Skoda. Your company has the money for the BMW but this will affect profits / shares / bonuses, etc, etc. The Skoda will meet the minimum criteria of transporting you from A to B. So, which one will 99.9% of "managers" purchase?
Same with CRM (or any other) facilitators. You want well put together, researched and type-specific CRM training? This costs money....Or you can get Senior Capt Smith to be promoted to "CRM Instructor" and get him to press play on the pre-packaged CRM DVD.
It's not the facilitators and it's not as if the knowledge is not available. It's about whether operators wish to pay for the expertise and training.
You get a professional instructor (in any field) with a good product based on relevant, current and knowledgable facts to deliver the training in an effective manner and then employ correct follow-up training and the results will show. Again, who's going to pay for it?
1st Aug 2010, 10:41
I agree. At the Flight International Crew Management Conference 3 years ago I asked a room full of Trg Mgrs and Post Holders, first, hands up who thought CRM training was a waste of time (75%) and, second, who had a budget for the development of CRM recurrent (0%). So, I suggested that if you pay nothing you get nothing in return.
I was asked to pitch for the CRM training for a UK operator. I knew it was a paper exercise so I didn't put much effort into the exercise. Sure enough, we were more expensive than doing it in house. When I asked the basis of their costing I was told they looked at the per diems and hotel bills they paid their instructors and compared it with my estimate. What they didn't do is actually cost their instructor time and the cost of employing a pilot to fly the aircraft while another pilot delivered CRM.
As long as airlines do not actually have a cost model of training, you will always get make and mend solutions.
But budgets is just one aspect. My point about facilitator competence is still valid. There are lots of facilitators out there who only know the 'show a video and discuss' approach to training.
4th Aug 2010, 20:27
Not sure what you mean by this reference to CAA Flight Ops Inspectors. Is it negative or postive in its meaning? Expand?
4th Aug 2010, 23:11
Turbo, re #7, #8 – subtleties and semantics – never a good mix.
I suggested that with apparently differing accident rates amongst world regions, a universal accident rate (platform) may not have been reached. Thus, irrespective of the rate … … etc, which is not quite as you asked.
However, we agree on the objective of the question.
Delivery? Yes, this is a problem, but not necessarily facilitation. Often the objectives of the training or the choice of subject matter is incorrect.
In addition this might be due to aspects of regulation, but not necessarily the inspectors – you can’t inspect quality into a process.
Better models – ooh … your love of the TEM (model) could be severely tested ;).
As in #7, we should look seriously at Hollnagel’s work. See Thinking about the performance of complex human (http://www.ida.liu.se/~eriho/AccidentModels_M.htm)
Also, see 'changing perspectives' – slide 24 http://www.vtt.fi/liitetiedostot/muut/HFS07Hollnagel.pdf
5th Aug 2010, 16:06
alf, not sure I followed all of that but my reference to 'model' was in the context of course development. Most CRMI courses say little or nothing about developing courses, If CRMIs cannot develop a course then the objectives and content will be inadequate.
And I'd suggest that you can 'inspect' quality into the process if your Inspectors know what they are doing and can leave personal agenda behind.
I'll pass on TEM
5th Aug 2010, 19:32
Clearly there are folk here who know a bit about the topic.
So, a challenge if I may?
Can any of you demonstrate, with statistics, that CRM training has affected the accident rate, please?
5th Aug 2010, 21:03
NASA, I think, published some data a fey years back suggesting a link between safety and CRM.
There have been some papers on the evaluation of CRM training but these tend to deal with lower levels of evaluation, such as delegate satisfaction (was it useful, was it interesting).
This question comes up periodically and I suppose the only answer is that most people feel that things are better now we have identified the social aspect of aviation as being as important as the technical process of controlling aircraft than they were before ... but it's a feeling.
6th Aug 2010, 01:24
I decline the challenge as I doubt that there can be any meaningful conclusion. During the era of CRM, both the concept and training has evolved to meet changing needs in industry.
Similarly the nature of accidents has changed, less single failures and more an amalgamation of factors, of which the human is a contributor.
Statistics, like models, are more often generated to suit a purpose. Accident rates are a convenient link with the public and the perception of safety, but may not contribute very much to finding safety solutions.
Most texts accept that human behaviour is a frequent contribution in accidents, but not as the cause of accidents.
Accidents are rare events, thus they provide few opportunities to study human activity. And if used, the data is assembled retrospectively with hindsight, thus arguably of little value – it’s difficult to question a crew’s unannounced reasoning in fatal accidents.
An alternative is to look at behaviour in normal operations. When and why does less-than-optimum performance occur, how is this performance detected / correct. This is not the same as LOSA, where ‘error’ appears to be a prime objective, and the observer does not interview the actor, thus again the reasoning – different view points, are not established.
Using the work referenced above, particularly the concept of performance variability, it might be possible to identify changes in individual behaviour within an organisation which correlates with safety. This would require a positive view of safety looking at how the human creates safety (not less errors).
Thus the model which Turbo seeks could ditch the concept of error; CRM training would continue to direct behaviours (as it does now), but also seek to control both the variability in behaviour and the boundary of unacceptable behaviour, i.e. the person is more self adapting (flexible) and self limiting depending on the situation.
The key CRM subjects would not change, but the organisation’s view of CRM (purpose) would have to be to be reversed. CRM training would still be directed at behaviour, it would seek to bound behaviour, where the boundaries are flexible, and operations within them should be safe. Thus, the prime needs are for situation awareness and choice of action – knowing / setting the boundary of safety.
Safety statisticians might then choose to look at how close operators are to the boundary, and detect any erosion in safety margin, as opposed to counting and categorising accidents.
1. CAA Paper 2002/05: Methods used to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Flightcrew CRM Training in the UK Aviation Industry | Publications | CAA (http://www.caa.co.uk/application.aspx?catid=33&pagetype=65&appid=11&mode=detail&id=948)
2. %!PS-Adobe-3.0 (http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/~johnson/papers/crm/)
4. CRM - A Cost or a Benefit? …Turbo?
6th Aug 2010, 06:48
Of course, the 'cause' of an accident is the final impact with the hard object. The actions of the crew contribute to the extent that they increase the probability of the outcome.
Nancy Leveson at MIT offers a very useful comment when she says that accidents are a failure of control and what we need to look at are control mechanisms rather than errors.
If you look at any adverse event there is usually a trigger; some event that sets the ball rolling. It might be a component failure or a departure from expected procedures. It might be a change in environmental conditions.
The trigger is not always identified or recognised by the crew nor is it always fully understood in terms of it implications.
Next we sometimes find aggravators. These can be additional failures or they may be actions by individuals that make the situation worse.
Then we see moderators. These are actions that attempt to keep things safe.
Accidents occur when 'moderators' are overwhelmed.
What we are interested in is how triggers and aggravators degrade control and the effectiveness of moderators in regaining or sustaining control.
Alas, in 'safety', we have a habit of categorizing outcomes. I-LOC is the latest now that we have become bored with CFIT. But here is a question, how can CFIT be 'controlled' if the aircraft hits the ground in the middle of nowhere? It should be SFIT - stabilised flight into terrain - as opposed to I-LOC which is UFIT - unstabilised flight into terrain. OK, so I am teasing the taxonomists. Both represent a loss of control.
So, back to my original question about where next for CRM. Might I suggest that the list of topics contained in EU-OPS is irrelevant. It might have been useful guidance when we were all starting out but no longer. Instead, operators need to derive improvement targets from their SMS.
Second, modes of training delivery need rethinking.
Third, the skills of most facilitator need strengthening.
Finally, training development needs to be recognised as more important than delivery.
8th Aug 2010, 02:56
You want to lower accident rates?...hire more qualified pilots....put your money into training and experience, not a new fangled way of trying to get a 1500 hr pilot and a 200 hr pilot talking to each other...
8th Aug 2010, 09:29
I agree fundamentally with you comment about training. I don't agree that CRM is a 'new-fangled' anything. It's a recognition that competent performance requires both the skills of manipulation and configuration plus the skills of trajectory management. CRM is part of the latter but requires the former.
8th Aug 2010, 15:07
Turbo - I honestly have no idea what you just said....CRM was developed out of the need to get the 'God like' Capt to listen to the scared marsh mellow on probation First officer who saw they were going to crash.
If that type of relationship didn't exist in the cockpit these days, due to the way the Chief Pilots hire.....you would simply have two guys up there with ten thousand hours each, basically being ahead of each other...personally, I think an airline can afford a couple of experienced pilots up front, considering you have 200 paying passengers in the back....
8th Aug 2010, 17:35
Back in the mid-1980s CRM was used to address issues of dominant captains. It also had to cope with Captains who were ex-military and used to single-seat operations. But things have changed. Pilots nowadays come from a different background. School is different, family life is different.
Also, CRM is not an absolute; not a constant around the world. In some countries and in some airlines the situation is the same as the North American situation in 1980. Some airlines have good management practices while others have idiots in control.
And aviation is an economic activity, so why not have 250 hour FOs if they can do the job?
8th Aug 2010, 18:13
I am not opposed to 250 hr pilots flying planes...I am opposed to the 'rationale' of chief pilots passing up piles of 10,000 hr pilots in order to hire the 250 hr pilots.
Congress got wise to it.....so it's 1500 hrs now....
8th Aug 2010, 21:18
Johns, re #20.
You cite a very narrow and dated view of CRM. Whilst modern crewing problems and behaviours are far from perfect, there have been many improvements.
CRM has evolved; I prefer a view which is based on knowledge of human factors, particularly about the individual, and the application of that knowledge to produce the required behaviours. I believe that this definition encompasses most modern definitions of CRM.
A high number of flight hours can be an advantage if experience has been gathered (knowledge, understanding, memory) and then that this is used in context, but even these pilots are not exempt from human weakness.
A low-hours first officer should have sufficient experience to be ‘safe’ (requirements) and the knowledge to conduct specified duties. S/he has to recognise that this is the first step on the ladder and there is a need to learn how to apply that knowledge in context. There has to be a willingness to learn – an individual behaviour, and Captains have to provide the necessary ‘CRM’ instruction – a willingness to help.
Congress appears to be blaming pilots, and in requiring change, are they admitting that new pilots are not ‘safe’. Thus, as the principal law maker, is Congress also admitting that they have misjudged previous law; on what evidence, what basis, data, research …? Can Congress change human behaviour? Perhaps they should consider a CRM course, or at least some HF training, with reference to (political) bias – being seen to do something.
Moving on; Turbo ‘where next for CRM’.
“ the list of topics contained in EU-OPS is irrelevant. ” (Appendix 1 to EU-OPS 1.965 Para 4, A to K).
No I don’t believe so; at least use A to H as a basis of teaching HF knowledge. Then – CRM is the application of that knowledge.
“ Targets. ” It’s a good idea to have a target, but how are these to be defined, particularly in CRM terms. Existing targets for acceptable levels of behaviour (behavioural markers) appear to be reasonable if they are used. Thus, perhaps the poor implementation of existing concepts is a problem.
“ modes of training delivery need rethinking ”. Not mode as in method of delivery, but yes as in training content. Rebalance the social - cognitive items towards the latter. Yes HF instruction requires more time, but then how will pilots gain experience of applying HF.
“ the skills of most facilitator need strengthening ”. Do we need facilitators?
HF knowledge can be taught – instructors. The application of HF would benefit from facilitation, but better results may be gained from facilitation in context - exercising HF skills with a mentor on the flight deck.
“ training development needs to be recognised as more important than delivery ”. I don’t follow this. If training is to impart HF knowledge then what else other than instructional skills can be developed?
Considering the application of HF as training, then yes this is important and requires recognition as an operational task. Many operators have taken CRM into LOFT, but this needs extending to all operations; embed CRM into daily activities – this is one of the prime requirements covered by ICAO.
Are all Captain’s willing to be a mentor? They should be capable of delivering the CRM ‘message’ as these skills fall within Captaincy. The main problem is time, particularly debriefing time;- time to digest the knowledge, its application, and commit this to memory for future behaviour.
These activities are not flight hours, its time available for learning, and some of that is controlled by the individual - a willingness to learn and keep on learning.
10th Aug 2010, 12:26
My point is that the list of topics contained in EU-OPS, having been covered in initial, then serve no real purpose. To insist that the list is covered again over a training cycle serves no real purpose.
My point about 'training development' is that I distinguish between the design of training courses and their delivery. The UK system of accreditation covered delivery but is lacking on design. But f you have a weak product in the first place, no amount of skill in delivery will compensate. Many of the criticisms in this thread relate to the design aspect.
I agree with you about mentoring. However, for captains to be CRM mentors will require a significant shift in attitude and a raising of standards.
And, many years ago, I did a project looking at accident rates in a single aircraft type. Time on type was not significant. It was the 3000-4000 total time guys that were most represented in the stats.
10th Aug 2010, 14:11
Turbo, “ the list of topics contained in EU-OPS is irrelevant. ”
I had overlooked the ‘recurrent’ point; I agree with you.
“ training development ”.
I would not have considered the design aspect to be of significance, particularly in any regulatory document (accreditation) which at best might only enhance the requirement. However, if there is a wide range of interpretations of CRM as I fear, then guidance for the design (content) of the initial training would help, but the content should available from other documentation, e.g. UK CAA CAP 737. What remains is how to put the content together and in context.
A major problem in EASA land, is that the regulator either does not see a need for guidance, on this or other subjects, and where good reference and guidance materials are created by national authorities they are not endorsed by EASA.
“…for captains to be CRM mentors will require a significant shift in attitude and a raising of standards ”
Thus this is a significant challenge for the regulator and operators, and perhaps delineates ‘low safety’ operators from the others.
Perhaps this is the ‘where next’ for CRM - a learning culture.
10th Aug 2010, 14:22
While not strictly on the subject of CRM/TEM etc this from a colleague in the training business. He might well be right, too. Remember there are 300 hour pilots operating as second in command of heavy jet transports and whose total real in command time is as low as 75 hours while learning to fly. And most of these on single engine trainers.
"What worries me is the possibility of very low time pilots getting their initial big plane check out on a new high tech airplane like the 777 or 787. Once they get enough hours to upgrade to Captain, they won't move to the left seat on their current high tech airplane, they will have to do their time in the "lesser" airplanes the company is flying while they build seniority. That means you could have a new captain flying a 737 who has never had to compensate for an engine failure at a high power setting and low airspeed. I think the airplane could become unrecoverable before he even had a clue as to what happened, let alone how he could have compensated. I think we can find several examples of similar situations in the aviation accidents over the past several months"
10th Aug 2010, 15:06
The structure and conduct of training in its broadest sense has implications for my concern for CRM. All training is under attack from the bean-counters.
I would argue that the future of 'CRM' is to develop flexible and resilient crew that can rapidly cope with situations. This requires a better framework of 'behavioural markers', more relevant training and better assessing.
However, I'd rather the 'hours' debate - which I agree is important - was conducted in a different thread to avoid topic drift.
12th Aug 2010, 12:12
I would argue that the future of 'CRM' is to develop flexible and resilient crew that can rapidly cope with situations.
Yes, I would agree, and you would have support here:-
Barriers to Regulating Resilience: Example of Pilots’ Crew Resource Management Training. ( www.ep.liu.se/ecp/023/002/ecp2307002.pdf) (A translation from French?)
Audit of HF Training implementation. ( www.aavpa.org/seminars/ess2006/pdf/pdf%20ppt/Paries%20&%20Mourey%20ppt.pdf)
But what is required to develop a flexible and resilient crew, how is this to be achieved?
14th Aug 2010, 11:28
Not sure I understood the 'resilience' paper.
Resilience must rest on better-trained crew. By which I'm referring to the technical (handling and procedural) training.
Then its a case of developing the 'soft' skills of 'managing' in a team context.
Finally, it's a case of reminding management that all 'rules' can be broken and often are crews try to create solutions when the rules don't work.
14th Aug 2010, 18:36
Turbo, re your Not sure I understood the 'resilience' paper.
I think that it was a gentle poke at the regulatory organisations. (By someone who was then in an organisation)
The significant issues are in the conclusion, and that “you cant impose CRM on organisations”:-
A. “Resilience needs expertise and flexible and learning organizations”.
As per Hollnagel.
B. “… are regulatory authorities able to introduce and monitor resilient tools … if they are not themselves attuned to resilience?”
This suggests that regulators need to update their views on organizational safety, CRM, SMS, etc. ‘Resilience’ gives a pointer towards Hollngel’s work, which is by no means isolated. See the work of Woods. (http://csel.eng.ohio-state.edu/woods/) ** May be inop; Google David D Woods – error, bias, etc.
C. “…. authorities … question their strategy of expertise and monitoring of their practices …”
This identifies the need for regulators to have appropriate expertise within the organization (HF, CRM) and questions whether the ‘inspect’ aspects of safety oversight / SMS will improve safety.
Other than some technical training aspects, resilience does not have to be linked to a crew.
Although much of the existing work focuses on organizations, individuals can be resilient both in the sense of a personal attribute and in safety, CRM behaviors.
However, I do not link achievement of the latter with ‘soft’ skills and team management as you imply; it is first necessary to improve the individual – the thinking skills, knowledge, and personal controls associated with behavior.
Rules – SOPs; yes there are many problems here. This too requires that management and regulators need the skills to identify and rectify these problems, they too need to be resilient, hence the conclusions in the paper.
14th Aug 2010, 19:18
The future is stopping CRM being a repetative hobby project and absorbing CRM into an operator's SMS as part of holistic safety promotion as per ICAO's Doc 5859:ok:.
14th Aug 2010, 20:39
What's next for CRM? It goes away, like the linotype.
The new Airbus's will have ten thousand hour pilots, flying single captain, with UAV pilots on the ground in case something goes wrong....
14th Aug 2010, 22:54
johns it would help if you provided an explanation, or supporting evidence for your remarks.
Of passing interest, my ex company considered a single-pilot aircraft which was predominantly automatic. However, the pilot still required more than the basic flying skills, and the ability to think before acting.
15th Aug 2010, 07:05
Well, lots of clever words, but no facts to suggest that all of the CRM training that pilots and others endure has made a difference. What a shame.
Occasionally, when the topic comes up in a presentation or lecture, I ask for a definition of 'CRM'. I've yet to hear a concise and meaningful one. If something can't be defined in a few words, how can it be valid?
'CRM' seems to me to be an abstract concept, without foundation in science and without tangible benefit.
Comparing fleet ages to the accident rate gives a good match, though. Modern aircraft are safer.
Now, why not acknowledge that 'CRM' has failed to deliver the desired effect and abandon it? Three reasons: the accident rate is acceptably low; there is no young pretender to take its place; there is a huge and influential industry around 'CRM' to protest its own dissolution...
I fear that the failure of 'CRM' to deliver is only another building block as we unwittingly construct the great new road to pilotless air transport.
15th Aug 2010, 08:46
'CRM' seems to me to be an abstract concept, without foundation in science and without tangible benefit.
Agree. What CRM as a lecture subject has done is to "enable" many first officers to use their new-found authority to question and criticise the captains every operational opinion and decision. In other words the growing trend is for these pilots oppose and assume the vexatious litigant role instead of using good manners and basic commonsense.
I find it interesting also that there is no shortage of CRM advice to first officers on what to say to the captain when an approach becomes unstable or some other condition has arrived where CRM says the F/O should "assume control" if the captain has been a naughty boy and refuses to go-around when the F/O tells him so.
Exactly how does a worried F/O - particularly a recently graduated low hour cadet - physically take over command from the captain? Does he knock the captain's hands of the thrust levers and flight controls. Does he first smash the captain over the gob to show he means business John Wayne style?
If the F/O attempts to force a late go-around, can he expect the captain to meekly submit and the captain immediately revert to some sort of subordinate role where he raises the gear and flaps, tunes the radios and then waits patiently to see if and when the F/O relinquishes command back to the captain.
What tosh! Why is something as critical to the safety of the aircraft and occupants, shoved under the carpet as being politically incorrect. I bet few company operations manuals or even regulatory advice from the parent CAA ever address this situation. Having said all that I know of one situation in a 737 where the F/O grabbed the crash axe and threatened to belt the recalcitrant skipper over the head when he (the captain) was intending to deliberately descend below the MSA in IMC. It worked like a charm, too
18th Aug 2010, 06:23
If nothing else, CRM has been a paradigm shift. It has forced the industry to recognise that we need more than simply stick and rudder skills to fly safely. The lack of measurable success is no reason to discard the concept: maybe it evidence that we still have some way to go. Maybe 'accident rates' is the wrong measure?
Spooning 'CRM' into 'SMS' is not an answer. The SMS must inform the CRM training but the fact remains both the SMS 'action' and CRM represent interventions. If poorly designed in the first place, neither is likely to work. Is an SMS any better at fixing problems? Does an SMS guarantee a 100% success rate in dealing with issues arising?
20th Aug 2010, 01:47
K-A KG, How do you know that CRM training has not made a difference? Absence of evidence of CRM being effective is not the same as evidence of CRM being ineffective. "Impatience with ambiguity". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance )
The definition of CRM provided earlier - ‘the application of Human Factors’ is based on the science of human factors and should simple enough for even the most uninterested of participants. Even though the science within the definition may be complex, the instructional task is to impart understanding, thus the success of instruction could be questioned.
Rather than say that CRM has failed, I would prefer to explore the idea that CRM has yet to be taught and used effectively. Only a few operators have really embedded CRM within their operations.
The range of CRM definitions adds confusion, as does the evolving nature of the CRM ‘concept’. Currently most CRM is reactive, whereas some of the suggestions for ‘where next’ involve proactive CRM – getting ahead of the game.
Abandon CRM? I don’t think so; where is the evidence that the ‘low’ accident rate was not in part achieved by positive human behaviour. If accidents only occur in 1 in a million instances, what happened in all of the other 999,999 instances; why didn’t they result in accidents?
CRM, IMHO, remains in an immature state, and thus with further evolution (knowledge of human performance) there will be a significant future for using appropriate human behaviour in aviation.
There are some aspects of the CRM implementation ‘industry’ which do not aid safety; the ‘we will fix it for you’ brigade tends to encourage operators to ‘jump through hoops’ to satisfy regulations.
The regulatory requirements for instructor qualification could be rethought, perhaps separating instructional technique from CRM. However, all instructors, ground, flight, instrument, etc, should be qualified in instructional technique; often this better achieved with the domain expertise. Thus, a bold view might suggest that ‘all’ types of instructor should be CRM (CRMI) qualified.
Your view of the future appears to centre on the machine end of the man-machine interface (automatic, pilotless aircraft) and thus overlooks the human end of the system interface and particularly the mechanism in between. These will exist in some form even with a fully automated system, thus there will be a role for CRM – applied human behaviour training for a long time to come
ALF (Not a CRMI or a provider)
20th Aug 2010, 06:13
Ex CRM facilitator at a legacy carrier. Now retired.
I do believe CRM training was necessary to introduce a change to that mindset which made many cockpits very nasty places to work in the 60's, 70's, and 80's.
However, while my carrier gave lots of lip service to CRM - in 2001 they decided to abolish the CRM Dept and 'integrated' the training into the regular type training dept (who didn't appreciate the extra workload).
Then, two years ago, Management used a bout of industrial strife to force a 'cost saving' on crews by cutting out the annual Ground School Day, and instead put all training on-line. Foolishly, the Training Dept have been jacking up the content level continuously since then, creating further resentment at the added workload on busy crews (at zero cost to the company).
So recurrent training went from being a useful forum which allowed the face to face exchange of valuable information related to actual line events - to a wearisome and solitary pass/fail computer based imposition termed 'training'.
One of the most retrograde events I ever saw in my career. It truly discredits the whole safety system. Why do the authorities allow it?
Money of course.....
21st Aug 2010, 06:49
The discussion is still divided between what purpose CRM training serves and how CRM is delivered.
Many of the comments seem to reflect poor experiences in training. Algol's observation reflects a deeper problem in airline training generally - 'compliance at least cost'.
Rather than throw the baby out with the bath water, perhaps we need to refocus.
What we call 'CRM', I suggest, needs to be anchored in the task of managing the aircraft. This, in turn, needs a curriculum more clearly linked to management skills. This then drives the training methodology and the skill set of the instructors.
It also means that we need more sensitive measures of success rather than expecting fewer accidents to show that CRM 'works'.
To be honest, if you read the thread in this forum on reading newspapers while flying you can see that CRM has not made a dent in some peoples' understanding.
21st Aug 2010, 14:45
You're right Turbo, what next?
CRM and HF are embedded from the very beginning in todays training regimes. Whilst it does no harm to have the usual subject matter revisited regularly, I can see why the more experienced could become jaded by that, especially if the delivery is lacking in energy and originality.
The trouble with CRM is its need to be driven by the culture of the airline/unit/operation that's asking for it. They have to find their own path and if the management doesn't support the training, the material doesn't interest and, worst of all, the CRMI lacks the ability to inspire, then it's no wonder that some of us end up questioning the status quo
But I find myself going back to tbc's comments about the CRM toolbox, and aircraft management could be yet another tool without necessarily driving the direction of CRM as a whole? Same goes for TEM, I feel more comfortable with TEM by treating it as an intrinsic part of CRM.
Sorry Turbo, does that take us back to the drawing board?
21st Aug 2010, 17:24
So, as expected, after nearly three decades no one can agree what it is or what it's for or what it's achieved or how it might become worthwhile...
Sorry, if it looks like a dead duck and it smells like a dead duck, then...
Interesting though the thread about reading the paper might be, I fear that de-skilling through automation and highly reliable 'systems' in the broadest sense are more to blame there... Folk are filling their time because there really is nothing else worth their attention. There's no need to operate an A320 like a Tristar.
21st Aug 2010, 18:57
OK, now I have to say something. As I said ... and you seem not to have grasped ... CRM has shifted the focus away from simple hand-eye coordination as being the task of a pilot. My point about the 'newspaper' thread is that some of those who fail to see a problem also fail to grasp the risk. They just don't get it.
We used to talk about the boomerangs: those who were worse after CRM than they were before. We now have a new generation of boomerangs.
The problem is that systems may be highly reliable but they are not infallible. The talk about single pilot operations ignores the fact that RPVs have gone AWOL and Boeing, certainly, has discussed CRM for RPV control teams. With technology, the problem does not go away: it shifts to a new location.
It's not that "after nearly three decades no one can agree what it is or what it's for or what it's achieved or how it might become worthwhile...", it's that there is a dearth of insight and imagination being applied to making a useful concept work.
21st Aug 2010, 20:33
Turbo, you don't have to say anything at all, and if that's your tone then I and others are unlikely to listen.
CRM is a pointless waste of time. The brand is as dead as Ratners.
There are many areas for improvement in operational 'safety', but the areas where detrimental change is happening are in the majority, and for good reasons as I mentioned above.
Flog a dead horse if you want to, but some of us have moved on and may - one day - drag our short-sighted regulators with us.
Further debate on this point is, I fear, as pointless as the majority of the 'CRM training' that I was subjected to over a period of time.
22nd Aug 2010, 01:47
CRM is a unique airline concept, because Chief pilots despite having a truckload of experienced captains to hire from prefer scared marshmellow docile FOs to sit right seat and just do what the captain tells them..
And then we have a crash, because the legend in his own mind capt forgot how to fly a plane that day..
Oh my gosh...well I guess the answer is...rather then hiring better pilots...you teach the scared little 200 hr FO to communicate to the capt in such a way where he doesn't feel he will be fired, but still gives the capt his authority....all the while the plane ambles along toward the mountain...
23rd Aug 2010, 10:28
May I suggest that you consider that any system or process that has the potential to prevent one our little errors (we are all human, after all) becoming a smoking hole with the demise of numerous fellow human beings (or even ourselves) should be considered and employed as often as possible. If you don't believe that knowledge of human factors, threat and risk management and CRM does this for anyone with the responsibilty of large masses of aluminium and flesh, then I feel for you. Sadly, I accept that CRM and Flight Safety are difficult concepts to measure (in terms of cost-effectiveness) but if you look at things from the perspective of money and lives wasted because of human/crew failures (which runs to many $/£ millions for most big airlines) then anything that that reduces that 'bill', is a bonus and money well spent. I firmly believe that human factors and CRM training and awareness does this and, if done properly, makes the company/organisation, safer, better to work for and itself more profitable. This is common-sense. The sad thing about common-sense is that it is not as common as people think!
24th Aug 2010, 16:04
Turbo, ”… the task of managing the aircraft. This, in turn, needs a curriculum more clearly linked to management skills. This then drives the training methodology and the skill set of the instructors.”
I agree, but often it is the emphasis of particular management skills where the system fails. There is too much on managing ‘the team’ and insufficient on managing ‘self’.
K-A KG, I suggest that your view is too narrow. Automation has a place in aviation, but the current and foreseeable standard does not have the unique abilities, and thus capability of a human. To a point, it is arguable that automation will be sufficiently error free, but with the inability to think (intelligence), automatic capability will be far less than a human will.
One solution is to constrained the operational environment (as far as possible) to match automation’s capability, but this would probably be too restrictive or add considerable cost to already costly automatic solutions; e.g. we could have automatic cars (costly), but constrain them to rails then some automatic railways can be viable.
Currently the industry judges that humans, even with their deficiencies, are more cost effective than automation provided the (low) accident rate remains acceptable to society.
I would argue that this is by no means assured (fickle public opinion), therefore options for future safety have to be considered. Broadly, these could be divided into human and system (automatic) related issues, but not discarding improving the much wider system in which we operate.
Turbo chooses to explore the human aspects, which I support as having potential as a contributor to safety. If you wish to focus on automatics or other areas of operational safety then I suggest that you put forward hard proposals with argued reasoning as why these would be so superior that CRM can be discarded, bearing in mind that no credible evidence of CRM failure has been presented.
Whilst I support CRM and its future, I do not discount major safety contributions from other areas. As accidents are increasingly combinations of factors, many different safety initiatives will be required to maintain safety, and some would argue that the human has a unique ability in preventing these adverse factors combing, i.e. humans generate safety; if so then accidents, rare events, occur when the human contribution is insufficient to prevent factors combination.
Man or machine?
25th Aug 2010, 11:33
'There is too much on managing ‘the team’ and insufficient on managing ‘self’'.
In many ways this is what troubles me. CRM, in its current form, is only a partial solution because it focusses on behaviour in the public domain. And it is prepositioned. If you look at your statement it presumes that 'the team' is something that has to be managed and the 'I' do the managing. If you look at the words used in NOTECHS it strikes me that NOTECHS has been written by a bunch of airline captains (and I do know where NOTECHS started). Many of the behaviours describe what 'I' do in relation to 'others'.
But, all behaviours starts inside the head of an individual. Albeit much of it subconsciously and automatically, nonetheless, it starts inside me. Before 'I' can engage with the outside world 'I' have to do some thinking. Once I have acted, then I equally have to process the results of my action before I can take the next step.
This is the heart of interaction. It is also completely ignored in CRM. Now, some might chose to call this 'metacognition'. I'm happier with reflection or self-awareness.
But, there is an important point. If I do not understand the technology I am responsible for; if I don't understand the rules and procedures that frame my actions; if I cannot apply my 'Technical Skills' then my 'Non-Technical Skills' are flawed. In short, the distinction between the 2 is false and the separation of CRM from the job of being a pilot (or any other role) is equally false.
20th Oct 2010, 22:56
Several themes in this thread appear in presentations given at the recent NTSB Symposium on ‘Professionalism in Aviation’ (May 2010).
In particular the difficulty of defining professionalism (as with CRM), or deciding what elements should or could be taught.
One conclusion might be that poor professionalism represents a failure of CRM training or at least misapplied training due to poor instruction or incorrect subject choice – interpersonal vs cognitive skills.
The presentations on day 2 and the keynote from Kern provide a good summary of these issues, but few ideas of how to improve / train professionalism.
Where next for CRM?
Perhaps there is an opportunity for future CRM training. Apparently ‘Professionalism’ is to be the new safety focus (note FAA’s views) – at least until people understand the difficulties in achieving / improving professionalism.
The opportunity for CRM training comes from considering the similarities in CRM, Airmanship, and Professionalism, i.e. their involvement with behaviour, the effects of culture and operating climate, and difficulties in teaching (understanding) the subject.
CRM has the advantage of regulatory requirement and a structure for training and assessment. Future CRM training should focus on individual behaviour and the cognitive aspects of resource management (as in #47?). Also, on how individuals might control their thoughts and develop a particular awareness of situations which place behaviour in context, and thus this is a basis for improving CRM / Airmanship / Professionalism.
NTSB Symposium on Professionalism in Aviation. (http://ntsb.gov/events/symp-professionalism-aviation/agenda.htm)
Big Pistons Forever
25th Oct 2010, 00:20
At the risk of an over simplification, there are two parts to a safe operation:
1) The hands and feet skills
2) The pilot decision making, interpersonal skills with other crewmembers, and personal discipline to adhere to SOPs, limitations ets. These can be loosely grouped under the "human factors" term.
Aviation training has traditionally been all about No 1 with No 2 added on as an after thought.
My personal experience is organisational safety is ultimately completely based on company culture. The organizations that get the most out of CRM are the ones who need it the least. The operators who tolerate or even encourage poor CRM are the ones who will be completely resistant to CRM training. Any courses run will be a total tick in the box and will have zero effect on system safety.
I think CRM "next gen" should be MSRM (manager safety resource management). This industry has not in my opinion done a very good job at presenting the link between management decisons and safety. I think there are lot of managers that truely do not understand the safety consequences of many mangement decisons and policies. A mandatory progran aimed at them will IMO have a positive long term safety impact.
In the short term CRM courses only work the first time. Repeating the same course has IMO zero benefit. If organizations are serious about CRM they should insist on a new supplier for every cycle of CRM training.
25th Oct 2010, 12:40
BPF - your comment about repeating courses and new suppliers goes to the heart of a serious issue I have with current CRM. We train CRMIs to present but we do not train them to create new material. If CRMIs were also effective course developers then you wouldn't have the repetition syndrome problem.
I agree that 'management' need enlightenment but I see this as an additional training need and doesn't remove the ongoing need for crew CRM.
alf - the concept of a 'professional' is clear in other domains: a person with sufficient competence to act in an autonomous sense. Unfortunately, in aviation we have attached 'god-like' tendencies to the concept of an aviation professional. The term has become a cultural icon rather than a unit of analysis.
28th Oct 2010, 01:41
turbo, the definition of professionalism which you give is new to me – I don’t disagree.
Perhaps one of the problems is that a range of definitions exist matching the range of aviation cultures and thus ‘cultural’ professionalism is like ‘cultural’ CRM – it can mean whatever you like within your own cultural environment.
Re creating new material. I assume that you mean new methods of presenting the required subjects – be these social or cognitive; or are there new views of behaviour or eliciting the required behaviour?
If the issue is primarily one of presenting existing subjects, then this should be solvable:-
CRMI’s - either the concept is flawed; or it’s practical, but lacks the required application.
Who are the trainers, who train the trainers, what is ‘appropriate’ presentation material and how is this best conveyed, exactly what enables behaviour change, and how success can be judged.
Perhaps these questions might be answered with conventional training / education techniques.
29th Oct 2010, 13:17
At the risk of an over simplification, there are two parts to a safe operation:
1) The hands and feet skills
And you need go no further than the study of certain jet transport accidents involving loss of control in IMC, to realise the major cause of these accidents is No 1 - hands and feet skills (Lack of) . Blind reliance on automation has turned out pilots who view non-automatics flight with great apprehension so much so that they avoid manual flight at all costs. This fear is exacerbated by manufacturers and operators who distrust piloting skills so much that they accent the full use of all automatics from the time the aircraft lifts off to touch down. And so the vicious circle continues. Watch this space for news of the next loss of control fatal attributed to lack of pure flying ability.
16th Nov 2010, 09:56
I think CRM "next gen" should be MSRM (manager safety resource management). This industry has not in my opinion done a very good job at presenting the link between management decisons and safety. I think there are lot of managers that truely do not understand the safety consequences of many mangement decisons and policies.
Agreed. Does anyone know of any work being done in this area? Is it on the FAA's radar? I think it should be mandated and external providers would be best.