Saturday, January 30, 2016

Lack Of Understanding SMS Leads To Subjective Opinions

Subjectivity or bias is when someone has a personal interest, or an agenda to manipulate the outcome of data collected, or of facts discovered. Bias opinions may be expressed in different ways, either as verbal, behavioral or silent communication. Verbal or behavioral communication becomes an obvious bias opinion which can be addressed. The silent communication is extremely difficult for others to discover since it is managed by manipulation within the rules of the system. Within this system the bias opinion, or personal agenda, makes in argumentative reference statements to third party authoritarian descriptions or opinions without letting personal opinion being known.

When an enterprise conducts an audit of its processes there are standard procedures to follow and items described in a checklist to be followed. This seems like a slam dunk fair and secure system. If this was the fact, there would be no differences in outcome of same and identical audit being conducted by separate individuals. When data is collected it must be analyzed by an impartial method, which is only available by mathematical calculations.

Below are data from official records since 2001 of incidents for 3 different air-operators. Two of the operators are similar in size and complexity, while the third is a one-man pilot and operator. The worse possible outcome of air travel and most affects on safety are fatal accidents.

During the early days of industrial era data was not understood and safety was compromised.

Data for these operators are as follows:
Operator 1 – 209 incidents – 7 fatalities
Operator 2 – 497 incidents – 16 fatalities
Operator 3 – 7 incidents – none fatalities

When analyzing this collection of data, it becomes apparent that Operator 2 is the operator with most incidents and fatalities. In a non-bias environment, without a personal agenda, it would be reasonable to assume that Operator 2 has been eliminated from operations. However, the facts are that both Operator 1 and Operator 3 were eliminated, with Operator 2 continue with public scheduled flights without interruption. When personal opinions take precedence over data collected, the result of an audit also becomes personal opinions with a blind eye to safety and factual data.

Let’s further analyze this scenario of operators 1 and 2. There is not enough data to thorough analyze operator 3, which is a one pilot and one aircraft operator.

When applying the 2015 cost factor to each incident Operator 2 has an incident cost factor of $303,000.00, while Operator 1 has a cost factor of $130,00.00. Operator 2 incurs higher cost factor than Operator 1, but when this data is not applied to safety, Operator 2 is flying, while Operator 1 is not. Every cost factor dollar is the cost of safety.

Without data it’s just another predetermined opinion and lack of understanding process management.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

It’s Not A Difference In Safety, Just A Different Risk Acceptor

On demand flight operations are operating under different regulatory requirements and standards than scheduled airline flights. Non-certified airports are not accountable to the same standards as certified airports.  There are many different codes and regulations applying to the different types of aviation service providers. These differences do not imply differences in aviation safety, but rather operational safety acceptance by different risk acceptors.

A sunset is only as impressive as the memories of the day
When an aviation service provider is issued an aviation certificate, that being for an airline or airport, the intent of operations is to operate in a safe environment, conform to regulatory requirements and to avoid incidents or accidents.
Since the general public have unfettered access to purchase airline tickets and use publicly available airports for travel, there are regulatory requirements and standards put in place by aviation authorities to ensure public safety. The risk acceptor is the public itself since operations is in public interest and under the authority of a publicly governed aviation body.

When the general public do not have direct access to airline tickets and the aviation services are administered by an organization which only allow members or employees, the  risk acceptor is the organization itself. This does not imply that the bar of safety is lowered to minimum safety. The difference is that there is a different risk acceptor.

Without a safety management tool risk assessments are done on the fly

If the only question of aviation safety is if the operation is conforming to legal requirements or not, then safety is taking a turn to the worse.  The additional question to be asked of aviation safety, is if there are safe operating processes in place to manage safety. Without a Safety Management System (SMS) tool to for management of operational processes, there is no accountability by the risk acceptor to ensure safety management. The public has implemented an SMS system in the interest of public safety, while some, but not all of the on demeaned air service suppliers have SMS systems in place.

When the question of safe operation takes first place in an organization is the turning point when a risk acceptor has tools available to assess risks and manage operational safety processes.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Aviation Safety Is Every Aspect As Experienced By The Traveler

It has been reported that 2015 was the safest year in the history of aviation, but it was also reported to be more deliberate accidents than prior years. This safety trend is positive, but there is still one enormous task to manage human behavior in a total safety management system.  Aviation safety is more than metal fatigue, mechanical failure, engineering errors, or projecting blame on pilots. Aviation safety is a complete safety system without beginning or end and without limitations. Aviation safety is ongoing in planning, evaluation and action of every aspect of travelling as experienced by the traveler.

Unexpected occurrences are undefined systems

Historically aviation accidents are contributed to human, or pilot error and defined as failures. It was pilot error when pilots retracted the landing gear believing that it was the flaps. The root cause was defined as failure to recognize position of the flaps lever. As time went on this failure happened over and over again until it eventually was recognized as design error. The flaps lever designed was changed to look like a wing, and the gear handle to look like a wheel. The outcome of selecting gear up and not flaps were placed into an operational safety management system.

Several years ago an intercontinental flight ran out of fuel due to longer distance travel by thunderstorm diversions and the accident was contributed to pilot error and failure to plan the trip. However, when similar situations continued to happen it was recognized that failure to plan trips were due to pilot-fatigue, or organizational management since pilots worked without sleep for 24-36 hours in one stretch. Regulatory restrictions of flight and duty time were implemented to give pilots an opportunity to be rested before work. The outcome of failure to plan were placed into an operational safety management system with organizational accountability. These two scenarios are examples of a humble beginning of Safety Management System in aviation when systems and established processes came under review and short term fault findings were replaced with long term system changes.

Interlocked systems work together
From the point of view of a traveling passenger, families or friends of the traveler, the outcome of the flight is what matters. It becomes a task for the total aviation-system industry to find out where there are breakdowns which could allow for deliberate-systems to infiltrate the safety management system. Just as the flap and gear handle, and flight and duty time restrictions changed the view of root cause analysis, the future holds new and similar challenges from unfamiliar accident-systems that will change how safety is managed. 

The outcome of any flight must be viewed from the traveler’s point of view to ensure that inconsolable experiences do not happen within a safety management system.