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SOP design and adherence

Old 14th Feb 2010, 11:03
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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I'm not sure the US litigation culture caused SOP's to spiral out of control but it certainly would not have helped. Once upon a time we used to have airmanship and common sense; then in the seventies we found a new empire being created around the idea of CRM. This really did expand at a great rate into a world where we all have to be politically correct and be fluffy at all times to all concerned. Where it all went horribly wrong was that the idea of Cockpit or Crew Resource Management lost sight of the last word of the description in which the Aircraft Commander/Captain actually 'managed' his resources on board the aircraft. This does not mean that he has to be nice to people all of the time, he has to have the ability to get the job done with recognition of his resources and react accordingly. So leading back to the topic, the Captain has to do battle with company cultures which lead some of the younger troops to believe that SOP's offer the answer to everything and that 'some' repeat 'some' think they have equal voting rights on all issues at all times - often they do but not all the time ! Personally, I always try and bring my colleagues on the flight deck into the equation on all things but I reserve final judgement if and when required. Their SOP's are probably better than mine and they can probably fly a simulator better than I can but chances are they have never really had much 'handling' experience of large aircraft and the old memory bank can be very useful from time to time !
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Old 14th Feb 2010, 22:53
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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If you wouldn't mind a comment from a simple mechanic:

In my world I try to make what you term as SOPs into Procedures. However we too have the same dilemmas of non-adherance.

In the main this is also because the procedure doesn't match the task or is too long winded and can be bypassed in some way, and often more legally than illegally. I am constantly trying to get managers to match procedures to tasks - not tasks to procedures.

I also try to cut the need for procedures with the following requirements:

1. Important tasks
2. Rarely done but important tasks
3. Complicated tasks
4. Safety tasks (Business or Health - it's up to you)

Anything else is on a case-by-case basis, but if they dont fit into the above...

K.I.S.S.

Rigga
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Old 15th Feb 2010, 05:34
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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This really did expand at a great rate into a world where we all have to be politically correct and be fluffy at all times to all concerned.
CRM doesn't mean that at all in my experience.
Where it all went horribly wrong was that the idea of Cockpit or Crew Resource Management lost sight of the last word of the description in which the Aircraft Commander/Captain actually 'managed' his resources on board the aircraft.
I don't think this is the case either....rather it provides some form of guidance as to the importance of using all your resources and mangaing them and all the while leaving the end decisions up to the Captain.
This does not mean that he has to be nice to people all of the time, he has to have the ability to get the job done with recognition of his resources and react accordingly.
No CRM class I have ever been involved in has ever suggested you need to be nice to everyone all of the time and again, stresses the importance of using all of your resources and acting appropriately.
the Captain has to do battle with company cultures which lead some of the younger troops to believe that SOP's offer the answer to everything and that 'some' repeat 'some' think they have equal voting rights on all issues at all times - often they do but not all the time !
Fair enough, I too have witnessed this and it needs resolving quickly when it occurs.
I would be interested to see if we were taught the basics of CRM differently or if we just interpreted them differently.
Framer
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Old 15th Feb 2010, 09:43
  #24 (permalink)  
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Framer and beamer,

Maybe the CRM is perceived differently based on the age of the individual. Younger crews might interpret it as a right to be involved with captain's decisions while older captains as a modern addition to the operations which needs to be included on their training.

And also one more questions where airmanship ends and SOP begins?


Rwy in Sight
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Old 15th Feb 2010, 10:38
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And also one more questions where airmanship ends and SOP begins?
Uh-oh!! lol
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Old 15th Feb 2010, 10:59
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Maybe the CRM is perceived differently based on the age of the individual.
I would say it definitely has an effect but I remember flying with Captains in their mid sixties who were total experts in CRM......I'm sure they were before CRM was invented too

Younger crews might interpret it as a right to be involved with captain's decisions
Yeah this seems to be more prevelant in my experience....guys and girls from about the last five years or so. It's a fine line I guess but in the end being a first officer is a bit of a black art and to be really good at it normally involves some innate skill I reckon. Maybe more priority needs to be given to the teaching of this. I see how they can become confused. In one sentence they are being told " If the Captain wants to do something that endangers the a/c you can use this 'emergency speak' and hey presto you have saved the day by usurping the formers authority and the company will love you for it." and in the next " The Captain is, at the end of the day, responsible for the safety of the a/c and it's pax/cargo."
Both of these things are true but the first officers need to be clear on their role....it's a critical one after all. I remember flying as a senior f/o with a brand new Captain who was finding their feet, it was kinda uncomfortable at some stages because the roles were getting blurred even when I was trying my best to maintain the correct authority gradient. The roles need to be as they are and IMO some new F/O's don't get this because they have never experienced situations where it was critical to the smooth running of an event.....how far have we drifted now?
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Old 16th Feb 2010, 08:37
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Framer

I suspect you may be right in raising the idea that CRM is approached differently around the globe and indeed between different airlines.

Certainly my concept of CRM revolves around aircraft operation per se whereas Cabin Crew CRM sometimes seem to centre around who's buying the drinks !
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Old 17th Feb 2010, 05:35
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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I have recently attended a mandatory CRM course at a large Asian carrier where the instructor had no idea what CRM was about. He read the required parts out of a book but when he started talking from the cuff it was blatently obvious that he didn't understand the aim or point of it. It was how I imagine the first ever CRM courses being taught. The subject has matured a lot over the last decade or so but not in all parts of the world.This was a major carrier.
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Old 17th Feb 2010, 12:56
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Cool

A wiser man than me said,

"The rules, (or SOPs if you wish), are there for the guidance of the wise men and the blind obedience of the fools"

It is up to all of us to make the decision at the time, on the day and manage the result, hoping that we will always have our "Hudson River" to be waiting.

The comments of the Asian CRM, having been involved with "A Large Asian Carrier" as a facilitator of CRM, the convesion rate to believers was interesting.

One classic comment from an acknowledged Guru was made during training.

When all the CRM and warm fuzzy consultation has been done, THERE ARE TIMES WHEN IT IS NECESSARY TO TAKE NAMES AND KICK ASS to achieve a safe result.
The Captain is not always right, but is the captain and is the reponsible person and provided it is safe is the shot caller.

The difficulty of empowerment of all crew members, which in some cultures translates to active agression and persuite of a course restricted by many factors, experience being only one, is difficult to manage

eg; A-310, on final, spoiler 3-5 fault due overactive aileron inputs by the student, "MUST MAKE MISSED APPROACH!!!!!", nearly had to shoot him to avert going into the biggest storm you could imagine. He had been bollocked by someone that the proceedures MUST be followed.

As a trainer, encouraging people to THINK has always been the challange

be safe out there

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Old 17th Feb 2010, 14:17
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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"The rules, (or SOPs if you wish), are there for the guidance of the wise men and the blind obedience of the fools"
Ha ha thats a great quote but the problem is the self assessment that goes on with regard to determining who the 'wise men' are. Most pilots certainly won't put themselves in the second catagory


He had been bollocked by someone that the proceedures MUST be followed.

As a trainer, encouraging people to THINK has always been the challange
Some of these people have spent their whole lives being taught not to think (communist govts and corrupt military regimes, ) and it can be a real uphill battle to change that. In some countries I've visited/worked you'd think that they actually lack a common sense gene but that is not the case, they just had said gene clubbed to death from an early age.
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Old 17th Feb 2010, 20:56
  #31 (permalink)  
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framer,

does that cultural aspect mean that SOP's may not be global but local tailored to the mentalities and status (maybe) of the individuals concerned?

Rwy in Sight
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Old 18th Feb 2010, 09:54
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Rwy in sight, I don't know sorry. The sops I was using in Asia were designed by a western airline. There were definitely issues though. Quite a few guys either didn't know the sops , didn't understand them, or thought that they only applied to first officers. With English as a second language many things that you and I read and understand instantly can be misinterpreted and that misunderstanding can just sit there for years if the training program is weak. I was a first officer at one place where some of the Captains were genuinely surprised when I explained the intent of a part of the FCOM or similar. It was not a fault of theirs in any way, it's just that the Boeing speak in some instances was ambiguous to them at their level of English and their countrymen F/o's would not bring up the fact that something was being done incorrectly. Some of these guys had around 15,000hrs and were sound pilots but if you don't understand a sentence, you don't understand a sentence.Translating does not solve this problem very often because there are many english words that have no equivilent and a word that is 'about right' can dramatically change the intent of a sentence.
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Old 12th Mar 2010, 03:32
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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"The rules, (or SOPs if you wish), are there for the guidance of the wise men and the blind obedience of the fools"
There are two problems with this quote. First, as framer says, everyone naturally considers themselves to be the "wise men" in the quote. Second, a wise man who is "guided" by SOPs will follow those SOPs to the letter 99% of the time. The SOPs should be followed strictly when they are applicable, and good SOPs will be applicable all day, every day, except for those one or two occasions where something not covered by the SOPs occurs. My point is that the above quote is too often used as a reason to disregard SOPs when there is NO good reason to disregard the SOPs.
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Old 5th Apr 2010, 13:55
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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bfisk An airline that prides themselves in high operational and safety standards, requires all their pilots to memorise ALL checklists

There is no pride in such training culture. In fact it's unsafe and very dangerous. Because crews would have a propensity to do the entire drill by memory.
It depends on the context. There is no shortage of pilots that wouldn't have a clue where to find certain checklists from the QRH without licking their fingers and thumbing laboriously through the contents of a QRH trying to find how to carry out smoke evacuation drills. The fact that the smoke could be so bad that they would not be able to read a checklist never occurs to them.

I once observed a pilot in a simulator still heads down turning the pages of the QRH trying to find the engine failure/shut down (non-memory) drill when the aircraft was in a 90 degree angle of bank and about to hit the deck at 340 knots.

Every pilot worth his salt should have a sound working knowledge of every checklist in the QRH and be able to find any page within a few seconds. Too many slack pilots figure why bother to study QRH contents as there will always be stacks of time to find the required drills when the moment arrives. Most of the time they are probably right - but one night they might have left it too late.
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