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IMPLICATIONS FOR TRAINING


AND MANAGEMENT Just as for the other dimensions of safe


operations, training can accomplish much to mit- igate potential problems due to the influence of individual psychology. At the most basic level, this might be done by simply putting the topic on the table for clarification and discussion among all crewmembers. This would be one place to stress the importance of erring on the side of


safety


whenever there is serious doubt as to the safety of a course of action. It might also be the time to clarify the consequences of exceeding any statu- tory limits established for flight operations. It is a given in aviation that a pilot may temporarily act in variance to a rule in order


to deal with an


emergency. But the license to violate the rules is provided so that a pilot can extricate his aircraft and the occupants from an emergency, and not so that he can get them into one.


TECHNOLOGY Everything discussed in this article to this


point has been for the purpose of considering how to mitigate human error. We all need to rec- ognize that it is not possible to eliminate errors. We also need to acknowledge that we make dozens of errors every day. We catch most of them immediately and make quick corrections. Many of the ones that we don’t catch may still go unnoticed because they are inconsequential. This is true whether the task at hand is cooking dinner, driving your car, or flying a helicopter. Our concern is for those errors that may lead to a


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tragic accident if they are not either avoided or immediately trapped and corrected. A significant number of such errors are the situation awareness. Even


result of inadequate


under ideal conditions humans may misinterpret or simply fail to perceive critical situational cues in the surrounding environment. A helicopter in flight is not an ideal environment. Even with a healthy safety culture in place and a crew that is trained and committed to AMRM principles, a momen- tary distraction or lapse of attention can result in critical cues going unnoticed. At night cues are even more difficult to discern due to the reduced ability of the pilot to see. A pilot with 20/20 day- time vision, experiences 20/200 vision on a dark night. That’s legally blind by anybody’s definition. The use of technology to fill in the gaps in


a pilot’s situation awareness seems like a natural fit for some of the current problems in air-medical operations. The devices that best lend themselves to the needs of air-medical transport are night vision goggles, terrain alert and awareness warning systems, traffic alert and collision avoidance sys- tems, and perhaps some kind of cockpit monitor- ing and cockpit voice recording system. The industry has resisted this technology in the past for three reasons: cost, weight, and effectiveness. From a strictly business point of view, a cap-


ital expenditure is generally justified only when it results in increased revenue which exceeds the costs. While it might easily be argued that the costs of even a single serious accident far exceed the expense of new technology, some managers and financial officers are still having problems connecting those dots.


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