Managing and Mitigating Threats

How many times have we been caught unaware in a situation and because we were not prepared, we did not react or even if we did react to the situation, we wished that we could have done better. To put it bluntly, we were caught with our “pants down.”

Pilots are trained to be vigilant and to be constantly on the lookout for things that could disrupt or that could change the desired outcome of the flight. It is important for pilots to not only identify events, happenings and phenomenon from outside and from inside the aircraft, they have to also come out with steps and action plans to mitigate them.

These events and phenomenon are termed as threats. We live in a less that perfect world and oftentimes pilots fly in environments with a lot of threats. The following are some of the threats that could be faced by pilots during flight.

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Pilots are quite used to them and those diligent ones will feel comfortable flying in those types of environment. Only the ill prepared ones often get caught. What happens when threats are not mitigated? Well these could result in errors. And what will happen when errors are committed? Three things could happen:

  • Errors are trapped
  • Errors become inconsequential, or
  • Errors are exacerbated and develop into bigger errors.

When errors are exacerbated and develop into bigger errors incidents or accidents could result and some could be catastrophic.

So what can we learn from the way those pilots identify and mitigate threats? Well the following could be some of those that we could apply to our everyday life:

  • In what ever that we do be vigilant and be aware of things that could affect what we are doing thus the outcome.
  • Once we have identified “threats,” come up with action plans or steps to mitigate them. Be prepared and tell ourselves and team members what we should do when such threats occur.
  • Remember that a phenomenon could be threatening in one situation but not in other situations. As an example, driving with bald tires might be alright when driving on dry roads, but will definitely be a threat on wet roads and going downhill.
  • Threats could be inconsequential. What we need to do is to be aware of errors being committed as a result of those threats. If we are not aware of errors, they could result in more errors being committed until we are overwhelmed with them and unable to cope.
  • Once we are aware of the error or errors being committed do something to break the chain of errors. Studies have shown that incidents or accidents are caused by a series of errors being committed and not recognized or trapped.

Written by Azharuddin Osman

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