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Old 26th Mar 2013, 23:20
  #5 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 3,182
Originally Posted by PJ2
The other notion that Vaughn pioneered (but which we in this business are familiar with by other names) is the "normalization of deviance". For those new to the notion, one way of expressing the meaning is, the reducing of margins of error in standardized proven systems because the standard can successfully be reduced while maintaining sufficient margins of error. (There are other ways of expressing this of course!).

So rather than nefarious activities behind engineers' backs, most managers could claim to be onside with the safety people but they also knew that they had to be mindful of schedules, budgets, regulatory affairs, government politics and public perceptions. As you would expect these are very bright and aware people but none of that guarantees that phenomenon such as normalizing standards through "reasonable justifications" is the right thing to do. Often it is seen as "amoral", and calculated towards pedantic goals only in hindsight.
Nail on the head.

While us folks on the shop floor like to kvetch about management and accounting, the truth is that there's rarely any generalised malice in their intentions. Whether we're talking about NASA in the case of the Challenger and Columbia disasters, the FAA and McDonnell-Douglas in the case of the DC-10, or De Havilland and the British Government in the case of the Comet, the fact is that most of the time the dangers were not realised because the decisions were mostly in the hands of people who did not fully understand the consequences should something outside their experience go wrong.

As I understand it, in the case of the Columbia breakup, the engineer who first advanced the foam strike theory had to fight tooth-and-nail to get it tested - not just with management, but with other engineers!

Originally Posted by RetiredF4
I wonder myself, in the briefing was nothing new on the planet, mostly stuff what expierienced old school pilots learned about stalls amd falls from the beginning regardless whether it was civil or military.
Well, even line pilots learn about stalls and recovery when they do their initial PPL training. The issue seems to be that this knowledge was not sufficiently revised once they'd earned their seat on an airliner.
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