Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Trust - But Verify!

Soviet–American relations. Suzanne Massie, a writer in Russia, met with President Ronald Reagan many times between 1984 and 1987. She taught him the Russian proverb, "Доверяй, но проверяй" {Doveryai, no proveryai} (trust, but verify) advising him that "The Russians like to talk in proverbs.

Image courtesy Belfast Telegraph
Pilot Dara Fitzpatrick and her crew were lost as a result of a crash. There are lessons for all of us in this event. And if you do some soul-searching, you will realize that what happened to them could also happen to us. Take care. May God bless their souls and comfort their families.

"Ireland's Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) released its preliminary report on the crash which stated that the helicopter's Honeywell Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS), which alerts pilots to imminent danger from terrain and obstacles, does not include either the terrain of Blackrock island or the lighthouse on the island."

That single statement points towards a human-factors accident. A human failure to act that resulted in needless deaths.

We can never rely completely on a sole-source of information as to our position, safe-altitude, or hazards ahead. In the interest of true situational-awareness we must continually verify one source of information with another. Heading, altitude, destination, route to be flown... As well we must never put our complete faith in an onboard system. These systems are "aids," but the human at the pilot's station is the final defense should a system fail to operate as intended. If ANY system suddenly begins to malfunction - for instance if an autopilot suddenly commands an unexpected hard turn at the end of a coupled-approach - the pilot must be ready for this. He or she must be instantly ready to override the system and take manual control.

We cannot get so focused on the task, the mission, or outside distractions that we place responsibility for our safety on technology. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has warned that we are "addicted" to technology. The worry is that our basic airmanship skills have degraded, that we are becoming "direct-to-and-go pilots."

Tomorrow, 4.26.17 marks 13 months without a fatal HEMS crash in America.

We can never let our guard down.

Image courtesy Belfast Telegraph.

Click here to read full story from the Belfast Telegraph

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