Former NTSB member and a man who spent many years as an airline mechanic John Goglia knows aviation safety. Through that combination of real world experience and high level analysis, he provides important insights. The below TORQUED piece reflects that valuable perspective.
Aviation, particularly commercial flight, has greatly benefitted from improved regulatory regimes, increased automation and data rich safety processes. Though none of these is intended to reduce or minimize the human connection with safety, a consequence of these advancements has been greater reliance on systems and a subconscious diminution of individual involvement.
Former Member Goglia summarized recent findings of the NTSB Most Wanted List as follows:
- Reduce fatigue-related accidents
- Disconnect from deadly distractions
- Require medical fitness for duty
- Strengthen occupant protection
- Prevent loss of control in flight in general aviation
- End substance impairment in transportation
- Enhance use of recorders to improve transportation safety
He knows from his past within that organization of the merit of its work on that prioritization of safety issues requiring responses. Relying on his time on the ramp and in hangars, Mr. Goglia makes impassioned pleas for personal responsibility by examining Personal Accountability for Fatigue Management and then Responsibility for Learning About Side Effects of Legal Drugs.
It would be easy for an aviation safety professional to unduly rely on the FAA’s state-of-the-art Fatigue Management approach found in Part 117. However, as John notes and as reiterated by the FAA’s Deputy Administrator, the responsibility to assure attentive pilots, flight attendants, etc. is jointly held—by the pilot, her/his fellow crewmembers and management.
Equally with the FAA’s extensive drug testing rules, a natural human inclination may include relying on this parental-like scheme to avoid problems. Here the former NTSB Member eloquently explains the need for every airline and aviation professional to educate himself/herself about the effects of other prescriptions and combinations thereof to impair your ability to perform your tasks to the highest levels.
Add to Member Goglia’s list, two more examples needing increased recognition of individual responsibility:
- the shift of basic cockpit tasks from human hands to precisely performing computers results in both
- SMS benefits from the inclusion of everyone involved in the aviation venture. People from the flightline, hangars and cabin are the obvious participants, but seeking a full 360o perspective, SMS pulls in HR specialists, passenger service agents, executives, purchasing agents, etc. The fact that someone from your organization is on the committee may be seen as a safety assignment to that individual. Your focus on seeing and reporting a real time problem on a real time basis is in NO WAY DIMINISHED. Safety is the personal obligation of everyone who works for an airline.
As usual, when Member Goglia writes on aviation safety, it is wise for all to take notice. His recommendation, as to two on the NTSB Most Wanted List most deserving of attention, is spot on. The list was not intended to be exclusive; so adding an additional pair is consistent with the goal of improving individual attention to safety. This advice is most apt when new systems, intended to enhance safety performance, are being layered on the existing methods.
As always ultimately every pair of eyes involved in this business must be focused on and attentive to SAFETY.