Friday, March 28, 2014

The Killer Bee

Since the European bees did not perform well in the tropical climate of Brazil a plan was introduced to breed European honey bees with African honey bees. The goal was to create a bee which was gentle, highly productive and successful in the tropics. However, there was a system failure in the process which caused the creation of a Killer Bee.

The Killer Bee was genetic alteration by good intent of creating a super bee.
After major airline accidents Corrective Action Plans (CAP) were implemented to satisfy the flying public that flying would be safe again. Some of these improvements were Pilots Flight and Duty Time limitations, Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), Crew Resource Management (CRM), Flight Deck Bolted Doors, and several other changes to the airline industry. 

In preparation of the implementation of a CAP  multiple risk analysis scenarios may be conducted to establish the effectiveness of the hazard mitigation. In addition to a risk analysis of the new process, other risk analyses should be conducted of  residual risks.  

Residual risks are hazards generated due to implementation of a new process. If residual risk analyses are not conducted, unexpected hazards may not be discovered until there is an incident. 

A residual risk of flight time limitations could be rushed decisions by pilots due to time constraint, or bolted doors causing hazards to be transferred from passengers to crew and other areas of flight operations. 

Since residual risks are not identified by incidents they are more complex to mitigate. Further, personal experience and opinions also plays more of a significant role in mitigation than mitigation of identified hazards. 

Throughout a process, Statistical Process Control (SPC) is applied to monitor and control the process. Monitoring and controlling a process ensures with a higher degree of certainty that the process operates at its full potential.

SPC ranges from complex mathematical formulas to simple practical tests.
Human behavior is what makes a difference in a process. This goes from the person who is applying controls, to the person who is inputting for automated operations. Just as there was a “hole in the fence” in the process of genetic alteration of bees to create a super-bee, there could be unidentified hazards in the processes of improving aviation safety. 

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