Often, in life, the small things get you – not the big problems. The aviation industry is no different. Many incidents and accidents have taken place because of a minor issue that started the accident chain. The chain can usually be broken with and “attitude check,” or proper human input. The right mental attitude about safety will greatly help to improve almost any situation. I see three areas that we should be looking at all the time.
Our equipment, ourselves, and others.
In light of the recent downing of the NAC 747 at Bagram Air Base, I have been thinking about what went wrong. Initial indications point towards the cargo breaking loose and shifting the CG out of limits. It is possible that a restraint broke or was secured improperly. If that turns out to be the case, I wonder if anybody noticed the potentially worn equipment or a tiedown which could have been secured better. Did someone have the attitude that there were plenty of other straps and it did not really matter if just one was not as it should be? Would having the attitude that only the safest would suffice have saved the aircraft and crew?
In my own flying, I have recently been given and asked for helpful criticism in an effort improve my judgement and technique. Correction in any form is not always easy to take. It would be easy to let pride get in the way, have the wrong attitude, and ignore helpful advice. When challenged by others, we should take genuine criticism as an opportunity to stop problems before they get too big or to polish an already acceptable performance.
Around the hangar, there are many times that line service has been in the process of stacking the hangar. It is all too easy to assume that line service has it under control and does not require any assistance. If, instead, we have the helpful attitude that an extra set of eyes never hurts and decide to lend a hand spotting, we might just prevent hangar rash. Looking out for others can have a direct impact on ourselves.
Always be looking for ways to do things better. Do not let routine get the better of you. The words that Special Services emphasizes are safety, legality, comfort, and efficiency. If we can avoid complacency and always be striving for the best in all areas of our business we will reap the benefits. Complacency kills. The right attitude is key.