CRM Thoughts from Randy Mains

This was posted on Facebook a few days ago, and I think Randy has many good points. Below is his post that went with the video below. More information about Randy Mains here. 

I was sent an excellent video by Dan Faust that I plan to use as a case study in future CRM Instructor’s courses because it has excellent CRM and AMRM learning points. He made the valid statement when he said, “I thought you said the British were far ahead of the US in regards to flight standards. Not being sarcastic, just looking at the fog, cliffs, trees, and deciding to continue the flight.” His point is an excellent one and here is what I wrote back to Dan after I’d viewed it. Dan you bring up an excellent point.

From my experience of flying with them for nearly 30 years is that the Brits are trained to a very high standard and as evidenced in this clip this crew has the best equipment money can buy. Here they have an S-92 which would have had weather radar and 4 axis autopilot that would allow them to auto hover if need be. Saying that, many high-tech aircraft with extremely well-trained crews have killed themselves in rotary as well as fixed wing aircraft. Several statements the crew made caused the hair to rise on the back of my neck because they were clues that an error chain may be forming relevant to crew resource management that, had they been aware of or at least acknowledged them, they would have decided that perhaps the risk was not worth the reward. 

The first thing I heard that made me squirm in my seat was when a voice said very empathetically, “She’s going to DIE if we don’t get her.” Then he says, “Is everyone up for this?” (Which is good) but before all the crew can answer the voice says, “She’s going to die if we don’t give it a go,” which of course puts a heck of a lot of pressure on the crew to say yes. Then a female voice says, “Her head injury sounds significant (as well as the broken femur that they already said at the beginning she could bleed out if not rescued. As they hover near the rock face a voice says, “Got the rock face in front of you Pete. Happy with the clearances?” Here he’s floating a bubble and not giving an assertive statement with an alternative. He obviously is NOT happy with the clearances otherwise he would not have said it. Then several seconds later he says to the pilot flying, “There’s obviously a cliff face in front of us Pete,” again not an assertive statement, informational yes, but the pilot flying should have picked up on the fact that his team member is not happy. The last link in what could have been an error chain forming and prevented a potential accident, was when the female voice of the person about to go down on the winch said she was thinking, “I don’t really want to do this.”

In my view that is when they should have aborted the rescue and she should have been assertive and spoken her mind. Then she says “I’m doing this because the person down there needs me to do this, not because I want to.” I wonder had there not been a BBC film crew on board (pressure for the crew to perform) would the crew have made the same decisions? One has to ask in similar situations “Would I be surprised if we had an accident or incident given the risks involved? If the answer is ‘no’ it’s time to go home. Thanks so much for this. I plan to use it in my next CRM Instructor’s course.

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