Pictures in this album are archive material and respects company regulations regarding photography during non critical phases of flight.
Sometimes you can just feel it – Other times it just surprises you! The weather can change rapidly, and it’s vital for a pilot to learn the signs…I took a couple of pictures this week before leaving Frankfurt Airport. We were parked at “pole position” B10, which can be a thrill to squeeze into! Hope you enjoy this little sample of different exposures and angles?!
This particular morning in Gothenburg last week was kind of special. The early morning light was very shimmering, and the crew composition was perfect. Since we arrived early to our remotely parked Airbus 321, we all had a chance to chat and to start this day in a social way. So social, that when I picked up a camera, the rest of the crew picked up their iPhones and had a go with selfies, groupies and even airplane pictures as well. SAS Crew within the field of “Social Media (SoMe) is growing fast, and I welcome that our company has begun to see the advantages for everyone involved. Great!
It’s always exciting to discover which crew you are going to fly with, when checking in and greeting each other. Often, we even change crew in the middle of a day, sometimes we just fly one flight and then split. People not familiar with commercial aviation find this very strange. One of the first questions is often “Do you always fly together?” Sometimes we have never met before, and that’s causing a lot of raised eyebrows’ and follow up questions from our passengers.
Anyhow – Flight Crew (that’s the guys and girls in cock pit) most often stay together for a complete 3/4/5 days sling. Many airlines tries to mix the pilots as much as they can, in order to avoid the crew to become slightly too comfortable and friendly with each other. All in the name of Flight Safety. How come? Many studies shows that if pilots fly together very often and for a longer period of time, the risk of creating your own procedures within the team increases dramatically. Anticipating and presuming all kinds of things and behavior from the other crew member isn’t the way we would like to operate. On the contrary. We would like our pilots to follow our check lists and procedures meticulously, since these tools are a set of pre-determined way of “how things should be done”. Hence, the fact that the pilots never becomes too familiar with each other is a step to increase and maintain a high level of flight safety.
Sjöö Sandström Ambassador
“It’s about time”
I’m happy to issue a statement that Swedish watchmakers, Sjöö Sandström from now on is a partner at sascaptain.com.
In connection with this, I’m also very proud to announce being named an official
Sjöö Sandström Ambassador.
The UTC Skydiver, handcrafted for and designed in collaboration with Swedish fighter pilots, is my obvious choice. This high-flying watch incorporates a combination of an analogue and digital movement, a second time zone, perpetual calendar and both a timer and a chronograph etc. During long shifts in my Airbus cock pit, I check the time frequently, up to a hundred times a day. On time performance is crucial, and I do believe that – for me – the SKYDIVER is a perfect match.
The UTC Skydiver is not only a stunningly elegant timepiece, but also a highly advanced instrument operating impeccably even when moving at the speed of sound.
Sjöö Sandström is today one of the few independent watch manufacturers in the world and one of the most coveted brands. Adhering to small-scale manufacturing and combining tradition, innovation and design, they honor the Swedish heritage of skilled watchmaking. Each Sjöö Sandström model is produced in exclusive series and every timepiece is meticulously tested before release.
Winter Wonders at sascaptain.com
So, let’s have some weekend fun with our new Winter Wonders feature – this time with IlyushinLL76! Mia’s pictures caught my eye long time ago, and for variuos reasons it’s been a struggle to make it happen – but here they are!
I hope you’ll enjoy them just as much as I do!? These are Mia’s favorite impressions from her work space, Göteborg Landvetter (GOT). // sascaptain
“I’m working at GOT/ESGG with glycol and stormwater systems and I share my impressions and views on Instagram as ILYUSHINLL76.
To be working near the aircraft and stormwater ponds on the days gives me a job satisfaction beyond the ordinary and the camera is always by my side.”
True Travelers – SAS New Cabin
The invitation from SAS PR was received a couple of weeks ago, and today – 16th of February 2015, the launch of SAS New Cabin was on my schedule! Had a great time together with friends, press, agents and customers – we all got the opportunity to meet Erik Viking first hand and see the transformation for ourselves! I’m very impressed by the new interior and the feeling of quality and cosyness it communicates to our passengers. This is something completely different, where everything from selection of materials to color scheme and entertainment systems shows top class performance. I hope I get to try it “for real” soon…Just a couple of pictures from today’s event. No fancy gallery yet, since iOS isn’t very cooperative in these wordpress-matters. More later…
AVIATION DESKTOP CALENDAR 2015 – YES, IT’S CALENDAR TIME!
Here’s a treat for you all…The pictures are available for your personal use in cooperation with Jörgen Nilsson Photograhy & sascaptain.com – download it via the link below:
I started my flying career as helicopter pilot, and I’m thrilled to watch Tom’s pictures on Instagram. I’m tempted to pay him a visit this spring…Looks awesome! If you haven’t seen them yet, here are some of Tom’s personal favorites (and don’t miss his captions below the pictures). For a full screen display, click the small arrow below the pictures. Tom has made them available for a clean high quality download at a special price with easy payment via our new PayPal-solution (some platforms are having trouble – then drop me a line and I’ll fix it).
Have a marvelous weekend – I hope you’ll enjoy this new Winter Wonders Feature.
“Ever since I was a child I was very fascinated by all things airborne. Growing up I realized that helicopters were especially unique in their nature, so after many years of hard work I finally wound up as a helicopter pilot. Being a helicopter pilot gives me some spectacular views, and a couple of years ago I decided that I wanted to share my views with people who cares for such things. I have some amazing followers on Instagram and on my blog that drives me to take new pictures whenever I have a chance. Thanks to SASCaptain for featuring me, and I hope you enjoy the peek into the life of a helicopter pilot from Norway.”
Tom Andreas Østrem
Human Factors Focus Part 3
Everybody wants safety
Everybody is a stakeholder and wants a safe operation. The owners, the safety board, the pilots, the cabin crew and the passengers – everyone likes safety. To create safety in an airline, you need a lot of things. These are just some examples:
- Well respected Standard Operating Procedures
- Selected and motivated personnel
- Audits and Supervision
- Safety Policies
- Just Culture
- Non punitive reporting systems
- Etc. etc.
When something goes wrong, it’s always easy to look at the incident/accident in hindsight. By that I mean that it’s easy to find reasons, put blame and jump to quick and perhaps smart conclusions, once you have some of the facts. You look at “the chain of events” that sometimes ends with a hole in the ground and says “If they only had done this instead of that”, “They should have set switch 1 to position A instead of B” etc. Sure, that’s easy to say in a nice and warm office, months or years later, when all the facts and mistakes have been thoroughly scrutinized over and over again. On top of that, you know for sure that this wasn’t good, since you’ve seen “the hole in the ground” afterwards.
Modern systems & Automation
In a modern aircraft, there could be a huge difference between a small human error and the sometimes catastrophic result. In earlier days, there were often a strong correlation between the size of an error and its unwanted result. We then also often looked at an incident like “a chain of events”. This error lead to that result which lead to this error which…etc. Today, many systems are connected to each other in multiple ways, but every system is influenced by perhaps one single button. These complex systems are sometimes very hard for the pilots to embrace. While the pilots in earlier days where confident that their education and training had supplied them with very detailed knowledge about the various systems, today’s pilots are well aware of that this is impossible and maybe not even relevant today. The pilot is more of a system operator today than ever. Automation has brought a lot of safety to aviation and has helped the pilots to avoid and exclude some of the errors. It has never been as safe to fly as it is today. However, it has also brought new sources of errors, new questions and challenges, which needs to be addressed in a professional way. When introducing new automated systems, it’s often done in the name of safety. More safety is always good. One of these new systems could perhaps increase the altitude accuracy and in turn make dense traffic areas safer. So, the engineers constructed a system which was in the interest of increased safety. After a while, the traffic would increase even more, and then some authority suggests that “thanks to these sophisticated new systems we can lower the separation by 50%, from 2000 feet to 1000 feet!” So the new system, introduced in the name of increased safety has all of a sudden resulted in a 50% decrease in separation. More automation might relieve the pilots, so they won’t be as tired when it’s time to be sharp and perform a demanding approach and landing. Good, huh!? A safety measure! Unfortunately, it wouldn’t take long before someone found out that “-Now, with all this automation, the pilots don’t get as tired as they did before…let’s increase their maximum duty time so they can work longer days!” Do you see what I mean? Eating of the introduced safety margin in order to increase productivity and reduce costs.
WHY instead of WHO
It’s dangerous to put labels like “Pilot Error” in the investigation. There’s nothing called “Pilot Error”! It can be a “Human Error”, since the pilots actually are humans, but even that label doesn’t explain anything. These expressions and labels won’t help us understand the cause. Labels like these promotes investigators in finding someone to blame, finding a Bad Apple in hindsight. If you find the bad apples – remove them instantly, fire them in order not to risk that they influence all the others. If we fire the pilots making errors or mistakes, will we then have a safer operation? NO, since we haven’t found the cause of the accident! It’s still there, in the system, waiting to happen again. By signaling to the other professionals in the company “We take action, we remove the unreliable humans that makes errors” the result could actually be the reverse. More unsafe, since the willingness to report errors will decrease. Who wants to be prosecuted and fired? That’s why it is vital to kill this method once and for all! We need to look into WHY instead of WHO! We need to focus on how the situation was for the people involved, at that very moment, in order to find countermeasures and ways to eliminate this in the future! The pilots were most probably skilled professionals, often with long experience in the sharp end! People normally tries to do their best in these situations. Nobody wants to die – so let’s find out WHY they took these decisions with reference to the takeoff situation in Philadelphia. Let’s look at WHY they didn’t calculate the takeoff thrust, WHY they didn’t report that they’ve just underwent a stress test and received medication, WHY they put in the wrong runway in the computer, WHY they didn’t aborted the takeoff when the warning bell sounded etc. If you do this, you’ll find countermeasures to increase safety in the future!
It’s so easy to put the label “Pilot Error” or “Human Error” on an incident/accident in order to make it more understandable. The stake holders, i.e. the passengers – the public, will understand it if we are using labels like this. No airline or aircraft manufacturer is interested in supporting causes that make THEM responsible. Think of all the law suits and all the money that will cost!
Bottom lines & Pre-planned Strategies
I fly the A320 series, the same aircraft type that were involved in the accident in Philadelphia (se other article on this site) and Air Asia 8501. It’s a brilliant aircraft, and I really love flying it. It’s “safe” and has some features and aids that no other commercial aircraft has. It’s also safe, thanks to the training and skilled professionals operation these machines, often with competing goals and sometimes difficult dilemmas. But it’s also demanding, especially in the pre-flight phase. It needs a lot of data and programming before you are able to takeoff. As a flying pilot, you are very busy during our rather short turn arounds, needing lots of data about the route, the weight, thrust settings, alternate(s), winds etc. Once that is programmed into our computers, we are ready to go! But it’s a long way getting there – and if you make a small error, it can have vast consequences. Like in Philadelphia. One way to handle this pressure is to set bottom lines. By being proactive, you can make a decision early and relieve pressure. If you are fighting to be able to make a takeoff slot, ask yourself “Is it even realistic?” If not, then ask for an extension or a new one as early as possible. Evaluate if you, already before you end up in a stressed pre-takeoff situation, can develop strategies and decide what actions you would like to take. It’s easier to do this at home, long before you even arrive to work. By developing strategies like this, in a calm and focused way, you are better prepared when these situations occur.
New view of Human Error – Summary
- The way forward and the “new perspective on Human Error” should be systemic.
- Human error is a symptom of trouble deeper inside the system.
- Safety is not inherent in systems. The systems themselves are contradictions between multiple goals that people must pursue simultaneously. People have to create safety.
- Human error is systematically connected to features of people’s tools, tasks and operating environment. Progress on safety comes from understanding and influencing these connections.
Disclaimer: These are my own thoughts and does not automatically represent my companys policies. Ref. Professor Sidney Dekker, who have earned my greatest respect in these matters.
More about the “New view of Human Error” later in this series at sascaptain.com
Human Factors Focus Part 2
Bad Apple theory (Reason)
Let’s start with some simplified basic theory to help us into the right mindset.
The theory is built around a couple of assumptions:
- Systems are basically safe
- Human Error is the cause of many accidents
- Progress on safety can be made by protecting the system from unreliable humans through selection, procedures, automation, training and discipline.
Why the label Bad Apple?
As most of us know, the following truth has been known since Adam & Eve: If we have a basket full of apples and want to keep them fresh for a period of time, we need to look out for (and remove) bad apples. If we don’t, one bad apple could turn the others bad by just being too close to the others. That single bad apple will “influence” all the others and turn them into BAD ones! Through aviation history, this kind of selection and punishment was common in the name of “increasing safety”. If someone messed up, he was on his/her way out, one way or the other.
Dismissal was of course just one way to handle this. Depending on the individual, it could be just as bad to discipline them by schedule extensive extra training, downgrade Commanders into First Officers etc. Another more long term solution could be to introduce more automation, in order to eliminate or reduce the influence from “unreliable humans”.
Unfortunately, I believe that this method is still being practiced in some airlines today, which makes it very difficult to develop a respected safety culture. That said, I’m very satisfied with my own airlines policies and methods. More about this later.
Why is this such a bad idea?
Because when you just remove “the dangerous and error-making human” you haven’t really solved the root cause of the problem. It’s still there in your system, and can lie dormant for a time, until a similar human error occurs again. Also, if the humans within your system are being taught “- If you mess up, continuing making errors and mistakes, we’ll have to punish you (and perhaps fire you in the end)”. This will most certainly result in that the humans (employees) wont report their own errors and mistakes. This in turn leads eventually to a culture where everybody keeps their mouth shut in fear of being punished. If you are supposed to cultivate and develop a “Learning Organization”, trust is vital.
I’ve spoken to lots of representatives within medicine, who honestly likes to know more about checklists, safety culture, error management, decision making and reporting systems. The main problem for a doctor is that, if he/she files a report, he/she could risk disciplinary actions and perhaps criminal charges. This is a very bad environment for a learning organization and a safety culture. You need honest reports in order to manage risk and errors.
Non Punitive Reporting Systems
Aviation has always been in favor of self-reporting systems, since monitoring and supervision 24/7 wasn’t achievable. By introducing “Non Punitive Reporting Systems”, the airlines’ safety board was able to receive true and accurate information about what happens “out there” in the “sharp end”. In a modern aircraft of today, there are incredibly many parameters being collected and analyzed on a daily basis. Most often, these information is by default untraceable to an individual, unless it’s a serious violation/incident/accident. Then this integrity protection will of course be lifted in cooperation with the strict adherence to agreements made between the employer and the union. The standard anonymity is in the benefit of flight safety, and a corner stone in a Safety Culture!
Next in this Human Factors Focus series: “The new view of human error”.
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