Global Aerospace’s SM4 Aviation Safety Program Offers Insight for Understanding Human Factors in Safety Assurance ~ Prodigy Press Wire

Global Aerospace’s SM4 Aviation Safety Program Offers Insight for Understanding Human Factors in Safety Assurance ~ Prodigy Press Wire

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The primary goal of any flight department is to operate safely—and to be able to continue to do so, year after year. But ensuring safety is not one and done. It is an ongoing process, not an end state.

team working on aircraft

If there is one thing the past few years have taught us, it is that we live in a world of constant change. It may be an organism too small to be seen shutting down large swathes of the economy or events far away shutting down large regions of airspace. Or it may be factors much more mundane: staff turnover, new IT systems or a merger with another operator.

Whatever the case may be, the only certainty is that there will be uncertainty.

Defining Risk

Risk management professionals focus on uncertainty as the basis of the definition of risk. This association has its roots in statistics, where the variability of a metric is expressed in terms of error bars or confidence intervals. It is also a familiar idea in finance: the riskiness of an investment is simply the degree of unpredictability of its returns.

In aviation, managing risk is at the core of safe operations. Think about all the details that need to be lined up in order for a flight to successfully depart on time, navigate the skies and arrive safely at its destination. In an ideal scenario, all of these details are precisely equal to their pre-planned, expected values. But the reality of uncertainty means that some details will be perturbed. Some risk is always present.

The Final Frontier in Aviation Safety Assurance

Broadly speaking, the sources of risk in flight operations can be grouped into three categories: systems, processes and human factors. Systems encompass the airframe, avionics and all the other equipment that is instrumental to flying. Processes are the procedures and actions that flight crew perform, guided by detailed checklists. And human factors include an array of items, ranging from human-machine interface to fitness for duty.

The director of aviation of one of our customers, a…



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