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RefleXions Professional Judgements

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RefleXions Professional Judgements

Old 4th Feb 2024, 17:10
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RefleXions Professional Judgements

The thought-provoking article 'RefleXions', in the SETP Winter edition of 'Cockpit' magazine by Clark Childers (AF) is a timely reminder of the difficulties in balancing safety judgements, and particularly nowadays that this balance changes with time and context.
What is decided today has to apply in some indeterminate future situation.
See Precautionary Principle; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precautionary_principle

With increasing levels of safety, and with evolving human contributions in system issues, it is now time for the pilots' Code of Professional Ethics to be applied to management, that they are reminded that operational judgements are also management judgements.
Sitting in the barrister's office, reconsidering the decision to rely on procedures and training might not have been as sound as it could have - hindsight, yes. Management requires foresight, which is more than reflection on past events.

Heed the concluding comments:-

"Old and Bold pilots will tell you that the aircraft is perfectly safe and that the procedures written into the flight manual will keep you right side up. And in most cases, they are right.
They will tell you that the ‘really dangerous’ manoeuvres were abandoned/prohibited decades ago because those manoeuvres were regularly mishandled and that mishandling was the cause of the accidents. Unfortunately, this was the operational community playing the hand they were dealt and attempting to reduce accidents using operational mitigations instead of pushing for costly and time intensive aircraft modifications.
Sitting in the barrister’s office pre-Coroner’s inquiry, it seemed that the initial ‘plan’ remained the same in this case, it was to say that it was pilot error (because the aircraft was 5 KIAS slower than the published speed) and then to say that modifications in procedures and documents would be introduced so that the experienced pilots wouldn’t make those errors.
“So wait (I waited until they were done and raised my hand at the end of the table)…Wasn’t the pilot that crashed already very experienced? And you are making an argument that this won’t happen again because you only have experienced pilots flying it?” After 40+ years are new procedures and better training really going to help?
"
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