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Air accidents at record low

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Air accidents at record low

Old 11th Jan 2008, 09:22
  #41 (permalink)  
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Smile Cheese problems

To my mind, the two most significant problems with Jim's cheese are:

1. We know almost nothing about the 'slice' which we might label 'good fortune'. Very often, it's the most siginificant slice.

2. Big accidents happen at extraordinarily low levels of probability, when all sorts of weird things have happened. They are often a very poor cue to where and when the next big accident will be, whereas an holistic (and I am being careful not to use that word in a crass sense) approach based on Syd's principles will yield better chances of identifying and eliminating future big accidents. Note that there are exceptions to this, but they're generally very obvious, such as poor alerting systems on certain aircraft types, and operations on poor runway surfaces in demanding environmental conditions.
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Old 14th Jan 2008, 00:39
  #42 (permalink)  
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The originating report indicates that the accident rate has reduced. It would be interesting to look at those features which contributed to this and consider if they indicate how our future activities might be shaped.
Undoubtedly, technology has improved safety, with reliable engines, structures, and systems; there have been similar improvements in ground facilities.
More recently, technology has targeted the reduction of human error, e,g, EGPWS, ACAS, aircraft envelope protection, crew workload. In parallel with this, training for human-factors has been introduced.
It could be assumed that during the reporting period many accidents were due to human error; with further assumption the human contribution to accidents during past years has not changed significantly as indicated indicted by several current studies – “80% of all accidents involve human factors”.
Thus for the future do we continue to apply technology and maintain the training effort on human factors. On current evidence, the latter might be a program of diminishing returns – the human factor in accidents cannot be completely eliminated. Further advancements in technology could protect humans from themselves or even replace them in many critical activities, but some source of error would inevitably remain.
What is the outlook for safety in the industry?
We must 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. …

Optimum safety is achieved through the careful monitoring and the tolerance of a minimum number of incidents. The message is twofold:
• It is essential to fully understand system behaviour.
• Such a system must be treated with methods allowing it to remain simultaneously at the edge of safety and at a sufficient performance and competitiveness level to resist market constraints.
From The paradox of ultra-safe systems.
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