What Happened at Safety Standdown?

Continuing its focus on the human element, Bombardier's Safety Standdown reiterates it's up to flight crew to heed its lessons. Dave Higdon reports...

Dave Higdon  |  03rd November 2017
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Dave Higdon
Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon is a highly respected, NBAA Gold Wing award-winning aviation journalist who has covered all...

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Pilot Safety Training

Continuing its focus on the human element, Bombardier's Safety Standdown reiterates it's up to flight crew to heed its lessons. Dave Higdon reports...

One of aviation’s best freebies has wrapped-up its latest edition when the Bombardier Safety Standdown hosted about 500 aviation professionals for four days of lectures and hands-on training. 

For more than 20 years since Learjet's flight-demonstration team first “stood down” to review their safety practices in 1996, Standdown focused on the personal discipline and responsibility essential to aviation professionalism and flight safety.

Standdown is simply one of the best things in aviation; hats off to Bombardier which made the event free when the company opened the seminar to the flying public in 1999. 

The focus remains the same as in the beginning: Sharpening the human element to improve safety.

Line pilots of all stripes devote time to recurrent training. Motion flight simulators serve as the classroom for most of this training, dominated by handling various machine failures and weather challenges.

Standdown, conversely, gives its students time to engage in hands-on training usually unavailable in simulator training, including water ditching, fighting airborne fires and escaping from smoke-filled cabins after a forced landing. 

Pilots attending Standdown spend the majority of their time hearing from experts from a wide range of fields related to the safety of flight.

Principles of Standdown

Standdown, from the beginning, recognized that the machine training standard did little to prevent the majority of accidents caused by human factors - hence the framing principles that form the foundation of the training: 

  • Human factors are responsible for 80% of aviation error. The risk can be eliminated by continuous knowledge-based training tailored to the individual and organization needs;
  • Strong ethics are foundations for aviation safety judgment in a demanding environment;
  • True Professionals will have the discipline to seek the highest aviation safety standards above and beyond what the regulations require;
  • Automation technology relies on proficient operation. Eliminating the gap of inefficient procedures and systems between technology and humans who operate it is a must; and
  • Aviation safety culture starts at individual empowered accountability. 

The training provides the knowledge pilots need; from there it's up to them to follow the principles they learn.

And that's where even something free can't overcome the human tendency to seek shortcuts to results.

For example, FARs require one pilot of a two-pilot aircraft to continuously wear supplemental oxygen when flying at, or above Flight Level 410. Yet studies show that 82% of pilots fail to take that preemptive step to preclude loss of consciousness in the event of pressurization failure, even knowing that unconsciousness occurs in less than a minute at that altitude and above. 

That's a human-factor failure that is known to contribute to past accidents. 

So while the best things in life may be free, they work only if we heed those lessons – for whatever costs. Hats off, once more, to Bombardier for this invaluable service. 

More information from www.safetystanddown.com


Read More About: Business Aviation Safety | Flight Department Safety


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