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The Future of Flight Safety Publications

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The Future of Flight Safety Publications

Old 1st Jun 2007, 10:04
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The Future of Flight Safety Publications

I am a pilot manager of a large airline. I have contributed here many times but I am posting this thread under a new username to ensure the anonymity of me and my airline.

I recently spent a great deal of time putting together an in-house, pilot orientated, flight safety magazine containing the usual collection of stats, featured incidents and advice. The top brass have vetoed publication of the magazine because of concerns about its contents getting into the public domain and any possible adverse publicity.

Whilst being disappointed, I have to admit that in this day & age they are probably right that its contents could end up in the press with all the associated problems that would bring. My question is where do we go from here? And is the Flight Safety Publication dead?

The sad thing is that I know many pilots would have found its contents useful & interesting. It is also possible that it could have helped prevent an incident that would bring us far worse publicity than the magazine ever would.
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 10:16
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Non-pilot speaking.
This is not an answer, just a confirmation that your bunch are conforming to the average.Your Brass have the standard modern 'mgmt' thinking:
  1. Only look at the immediate future (a max of one year) and do nothing to dent sales in the short term.
  2. There is no long term because some other manager will get the praise and the bonus.
  3. Assume that any information about trying to improve saftey by open discussion will be seen as an admission of guilt and have them ripped open by the tabloids.
In this last, they are correct.
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 12:37
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Safety Magazine, I am, and have been an airline pilot since 1971. Without venting spleen like the previous poster who has no basis or industry experience on which to express an opinion here, I very much regret to say you are right in all respects, but so, also, unfortunately is the management. Snooping journalists and lawyers delving into such things will be so well armed with anti-company propaganda and proof of company fault that I do believe that no company can risk such things getting into outside hands, and they always will. Sadly very needed, but too hot to handle!
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 12:51
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As a new person to this field, I would be interested in what aspects of flight safety another publication covers that is not already covered on numerous web sites such as AAIB, on track, CHIRP etc. What particular unique selling points would make pilots pick up this magazine instead of browsing the hundreds of web pages already available? This isn't a criticism just an understanding of what difference I would see by comparing what is out there to your publication?
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 12:56
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So what happens instead? We air our concerns on forums such as PPRuNe, and the public and press get to hear about it anyway!!! Paxboy hits the nail on the head. Modern day managers only care about results during their limited reign (before moving on to their next disaster) without caring a hoot about the wreckage they leave behind them.
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 13:00
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Risk Management

Risk management of bad press sometimes is an overkill. BA have strict guidelines regarding the filming of their aircraft in feature films and tv documentaries. According to what I understand, Casino Royale could not have been filmed with BA aircraft as their risk management policy states that if a BA plane is seen in scenes where explosions etc etc takes place a normal thinking member of the public might think BA are unsafe, even if it is a fuel tanker exploding and the aircraft is taking off in the background... at least Branson has a slightly better take on how to work with the press...
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 13:14
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Julian,

I would be interested in what aspects of flight safety another publication covers that is not already covered on numerous web sites such as AAIB, on track, CHIRP etc.
If you've never read company safety publications, you'd be very surprised. With such a publication being company-specific (and of course usually subdivided into fleet-specific sections), they are usually more relevant and detailed than organs such as CHIRP. Being hard copy, I'd imagine that it's a lot easier to throw in the flight bag and read on the crew bus, or in the cruise, or myriad other locations where a computer is not suitable. I'd wager that considerably more would read such a publication, than would specifically browse aviation safey websites.

Also, many incidents/observations are recorded and captured by a company reporting scheme that would have great benefit to those in the company, but have little or no relevance to the wider aviation community. Those lessons need some way of being distributed, perhaps with commentary and advice.
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 13:26
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I can see the point now, but there is a huge risk of printed matter going walkies. Where I work if you have printed matter that is highly confidential or potentially damaging to your company if it leaked, it is watermarked across with your name - that stops anyone photocopying it etc. Of course if they really want to they could write/type it out longhand, but that tends to stop things being leaked. The other way things are done is a reading room where nothing leaves it, but that is totally impractical in an aviation world as the cockpit is the reading room.
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 13:30
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Safety Magazine:-
Publish and be damned!
The professional pilots amongst us value the details and facts concerning air safety as opposed to the often sensationalised speculation and utter rubbish printed by non-pilot media. A well written article concerning an incident or accident can often prevent a recurrence. A cover-up or refusal to share safety matters is detrimental to all concerned.
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 13:31
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So lets look at the alternative. Whatever airline you work for keeps safety information "secret" and a preventable accident happens. What will the press do then? Concievably it could be the end of the airline if the press hound it for too long. "XXX Airline has accident they could have prevented" is hardly good press either.

Its like the modern approach to allergies. In order to prevent the lawyers taking food companies to court, now almost everything says "may contain nuts". That is more of a hinderance to allergy sufferers than before, as now previously safe foods are marked as unsafe and unsafe foods have the same markings. It would be much better to have "contains nuts" and "does not contain nuts" and nothing in between, however the lawyers got there first.

The safety issue is the same thing in a different guise. The lawyers are the press and the allergy sufferers are the pilots in your airline. I for one am very happy to read safety related stuff in my airlines magazine. While the press are a worry, they shouldn't control us, as they are unelected, unaccountable and generally dim. Ddo we really want our descisions made by these people? If the workd was run like that we would have such little progress that we'd never have aeroplanes in the first place. Just remember what the papers said about the first aviators. They ripped them apart for doing "impossible" and "stupid" things. If they hadn't perservered, the world would not be such an interesting place.

Stand up to your top brass, they are the ones making the error, not you, even though there is some truth in their argument.

If you think the cost of safety is high, count the costs of an accident.
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 13:31
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I am a pilot manager of a large airline. I have contributed here many times but I am posting this thread under a new username to ensure the anonymity of me and my airline.

I recently spent a great deal of time putting together an in-house, pilot orientated, flight safety magazine containing the usual collection of stats, featured incidents and advice.
I think you may have just made yourself un-anonymous.

Best thing to do is email every pilot you know (a USEFUL chain email if you like) and point them to this site. Best magazine around. No needless censoring by people who's flight experience was once buying their bit on the side a scent from duty free called Parfum D'Avion following an enthralling conference in Zurich about bean counting.

Get your point tho.

Just an SLF's POV. Sorry to barge in to the office chaps.
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 13:33
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"may contain nuts" should be posted on the aircraft doors as well sorry couldn't resist.

One concern is that the AAIB now are seeming to "comment" on accidents. I recently saw a report that even talked about a discussion with other pilots about that pilots incident and included criticisms! This is something that really needs to be discouraged as I always thought accident reports were plain facts, and not a hounding of the pilot.
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 13:35
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Safety publications

I am not ex-airline, though know quite a few chums who are ( I used to work for BAe with military jets ).

This is a really sad state of affairs, where it seems to me ALL you above posters are right !

Obviously it should be the over-riding imperative that all possible info' is available freely, without apportioning blame - but in reality the factors of the media and short term thinking management ( and my god have I seen plenty of that !!! ) are problems for a better mind than mine...

Perhaps all that can be done in the short term is a sort of quiet gossip ( as no doubt happens now ) between air & ground crew.

This is of course open to distortion & inaccuracy, be it vindictive or just the ' Chinese whispers ' effect.

On a slightly different note, the RAF used to publish a very useful bulletin called 'Feedback' - don't know if they still do but I somehow doubt it.

Whoever put that together was bright enough to realise that while dealing with very serious issues, by putting a humourous slant on it whenever possible, it was much more readily absorbed.

Why else, after all these years, would I remember the case under the ' Birdstrike ' heading about a groundcrew member concussed by a frozen chicken falling from a Chinook cargo net ?!

The point about securing loads etc still got through, as did the 'Radio Controlled Tornado' mentioning a Tornado landing after a low level sortie who found he'd collected a large model aircraft down an intake - he'd flown through a site known for the things...

As to the wider problem you deal with above, doesn't seem anything can happen until people can actually be applauded for admitting they and / or their equipment are not perfect but do everything they can.

ie a more intelligent attitude agreed between manufacturers & operators - politics including nationalities put aside for the common good, so that's likely isn't it !

If it somehow did come about, it might lead the media with nowhere to go ( I suspect SLF are generally more intelligent than given credit, but it would not do any single operator to own up alone ! ), this seems to me a major issue.
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Old 1st Jun 2007, 14:03
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If a publication is out because of the risk of leaks then I would ask for an increase in personnel and the creation of a Safety Briefing Officer along with a bi-monthly safety conference for all crews on all fleets. Then get the bean counters to look at the financial impact that would have and use the costing as justification for the "Risk" of publishing a mag.

"Do you really care about safety or is it just about the money?" is the question I have used when in similar circumstances. It doesn't often help but makes me feel better.
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Old 2nd Jun 2007, 08:53
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Perhaps a digital version of your magazine could be approved. To protect the company image, the IT boys & girls can use the corporate VPN with encrypted viewers to make it all reasonably secure at little additional cost.


Originally Posted by FE Hoppy
If a publication is out because of the risk of leaks then I would ask for an increase in personnel and the creation of a Safety Briefing Officer along with a bi-monthly safety conference for all crews on all fleets.

Exactly what FE H. said. In-person group briefings are ideal.
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Old 2nd Jun 2007, 09:02
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I'm FSO of a UK airline. I would suggest that you produce an edition of what you propose and distribute it to senior management. You may have already done this, in which case apologies, but by letting "them" see what information is actually going to be disseminated you may put their fears to rest. It is worth pointing out that any investigative journalist worth his or her salt (are there any?) could dig up any incidents involving your airline from official publications. Perhaps if you were to offer to produce a limited number of copies, for distribution to crew rooms only?
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Old 2nd Jun 2007, 09:44
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Sharing information regarding incidents is essential! Unfortunately my career has effectively been ruined after somebody released information regarding an incident I was involved in to the press. They took the facts and turned them into a 'Death In The Skies' story. How can we ensure privacy if people in our own companies sell us out?
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Old 2nd Jun 2007, 12:09
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As an ex Flight Safety Manager:
Remind management that if you don't publish they will be in trouble for not facilitating safety information exchange.

Conversation with senior company exec: "Tell the Judge in your own words why you prevented the dissemination of safety information to your personnel!"
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Old 2nd Jun 2007, 13:58
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I think Mike Jenvy has given you the steer in JAROPS1 support for your proposed publication and likely enough as part of your Safety Management System there is a requirement to do so. The responsibilities of the flight operations AOC post-holder in fostering safety awareness in your airline clearly over-rides any commercial considerations.

A few years ago we had a very interesting few hours with our corporate liability lawyers discussing our exposure and liability in law as post-holders. The single most important factor in keeping you on the right side of the law is to have it written down in SOP's and to be clearly seen to be discharging your responsibilities, and JAROPS 1.037 spells it out quite clearly with respect to publication of flight safety information.

Putting aside the obvious benefits of sharing flight safety related knowledge and information, which might prevent a re-occurrence of an incident. How would you/could you justify this decision not to publish, were it to come to a court of law, on the basis of a fear of some form of press exposure?

The fear of press attention, in my opinion would not hold up. The simple fact of the matter is, as some wise aviator once said, 'we all need to learn from the mistakes of others as we don't live long enough to make them all ourselves', it seems to me your publication would be doing just that.

Publish.
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Old 2nd Jun 2007, 18:06
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Sounds like you have already created the document you have not been allowed to publish, therefore it, and anything used to create it, are 'discoverable' by the plaintiffs lawyers. I wouldn't like to answer 'why did you not proceed'. In the company I work for we take flight safety and flight integrity issues very seriously and do not steer away from publication of such material. I know also other European airlines do not steer away from it, so your Company's exposure is being increased by this policy, in my opinion.
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