Today’s lesson, our final class room lesson before the simulator phase, was based on Crew Resource Management. As the name indicates, it’s all about managing the crew and resources at your disposal and in a multi crew environment it’s very important.
Throughout 99% of a pilots training you are flying in a single crew environment, doing absolutely everything yourself and when you carry out a test the examiner will examine you on how you manage your flight. This focus on single pilot operations means that you’re so used to doing things on your own, in your own set way, that adding someone else into the mix can make things a little tricky. Surely adding someone else into the mix makes a flight easier to manage as you can share the work load? This is the aim however, moving into a multi crew environment introduces a whole host of possible issues.
To begin with we need to have established roles and they are generally – pilot flying/pilot not flying and at times Captain/First Officer. It all depends what type of check list or task is required to be carried out.
Secondly, you will be flying with someone new almost every day, so you need to know what to expect from them and they need to know what to expect from you. This means learning a set of standard operating procedures. These SOP’s enable pilots to work together to ensure safe, fluid operation of an aircraft from start to shut down and gives each pilot the freedom to carry out their checks and tasks without having to worry about what the other is doing. Of course, they will each monitor what the other is doing but with SOP’s it means you can forego the microscope.
Emergencies… they do happen, not that often, but they do. A crew has to be ready to deal with emergencies, they need to be able to function with a high level of cohesion to ensure the safe outcome of the flight. CRM gives us tools in order for us to cope with emergencies when they arise, the most common being TDODAR – Time, Diagnose, Options, Decide, Assign, Review. Together, the flight crew will use a tool such as this to come up with the best solution to a problem and create a plan to carry out the solution. Air traffic control should not be forgotten either and as soon as safe to do so, the pilots should inform ATC of the issue and work with them to get the aircraft safely down.
Don’t forget about your aircraft, it’s a resource that has a lot of features to help get you out of trouble when you find yourself having a bad day. The Airbus, especially, has many protections built in to help you deal with situations that may arise. One in particular is the ability to pitch up to the aircrafts limits without having to worry about stalling the aircraft – very important for collision or terrain avoidance. The ECAM is another fantastic feature of this aircraft, I wont go into too much detail as there is so much about it however, in a nutshell it provides a centralised location where all aircraft system parameters can be monitored and recalled in an instant.
When I move to Doha I will have another 2 days of CRM training, I’m not sure what the differences will be however I’m sure it’ll be just as informative. It can be the be all and end all of flight safety.
Thanks for reading,