Crew Resource Management Has Come A Long Way But Still Has More To Go

2725 words - 11 pages

In several studies of aviation mishaps, human error has been cited as the primary cause of the majority of these mishaps. The main problems of these human errors were failures in interpersonal communication, leadership, and decision making in the flight deck (or cockpit). With this in mind and the need to improve on air safety, Crew Resource Management was developed. We will define CRM and then continue further to define subsequent automations and questionnaires that have developed through CRM. We will discuss the importance of CRM, automations, and questionnaires and the research findings.

Crew Resource Management
Crew Resource Management (CRM) has come a long way. The roots of CRM ...view middle of the document...

The basic training in this generation of CRM dealt more with concepts such as team building, briefing strategies, situation awareness, and stress management. (Helmreich, Merritt, & Wilheim, 1999)
The third generation CRM training started to go down multiple paths. It not only included characteristics in aviation in which the crew must function in, but it also included multiple input factors such as organizational culture. Several airlines also included training modules addressing CRM issues in flightdeck automation. And CRM also started to expand to other within the airline industry (i.e. flight attendants, dispatchers, and maintenance personnel). (Helmreich, Merritt, & Wilheim, 1999)
The fourth generation CRM would seem to eliminate the problem of human error by making it an integral part of all flight training. It would also appear that the goal of making explicit CRM training go away is starting to be realized. (Helmreich, Merritt, & Wilheim, 1999)
In the fifth generation CRM, the goal is for normalization of error and the development of strategies for managing error. If error is inevitable, then CRM can be seen as a set or error countermeasures. (Helmreich, Merritt, & Wilheim, 1999)
Through these generations, Crew Resource Management has become known to many as just a three letter acronym. From when CRM was first developed by NASA, it has lost much of its meaning. We can define CRM as a safeguard for the limits of human performance (Merritt & Helmreich, 1996). CRM can be further defined as a management system that makes the best possible use of all its available resources (i.e. people and equipment) to promote safety and improve the effectiveness of flight operations.
CRM cannot be concerned so much with the technical knowledge and skills necessary to fly and operate an aircraft, but instead with the interpersonal communication, leadership, and decision making skills needed to manage the flight.

Cockpit/Flightdeck Automation
Automation can be defined as the replacement of a human with a machine function. This automation has been embraced in aviation as a means of reducing error and increasing efficiency. However, its application has brought about numerous unintended effects including some with substantial consequences. (Sherman, Helmreich, & Merritt, 1999)
Flightdeck automation has increased steadily over the last 20 years. With currently available flight deck automation, pilots can literally delegate nearly all flight control and navigation tasks to computer controlled systems. This allows a reduction of crew complement and essentially allowing more attention to be devoted to management, planning, and decision making. Depending on the type of aircraft, pilots have the option of letting the flight management computer (FMC) ascend, navigate, and descend the aircraft. By the same token, pilots can decide to fly manually or select to fly many combinations of automated or manual flight control between the two extremes. ...

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