FORDEC is an acronym for decision making. It is the model used by the EU/EASA/JAR NOTECHS (non-technicals) Behaviour Marker CRM Skills measurement system and is required to be assessed during recurrent simulator training (LPC/OPC) as part of CRM.
F – Facts (what is the problem)
O – Options (hold, divert, immediate landing etc.)
R – Risks/(Benefits sometimes included) (what is the downside of each option, what is the upside, i.e. a runway may be further away but is longer)
D – Decide (which option)
E – Execute (carry out selected option)
C – Check (did everything work/go to plan, what else needs to be done)
Facts is the first step to solve a problem or make a decision. It is necessary to find out what is has happened, what is wrong (i.e. define the problem) and if possible what causes it. Often an aircraft’s computers (EICAS – Boeing, ECAM – Airbus) will diagnose the fault but it is important to confirm and to avoid “confirmation bias”. The Facts stage involves determining and confirming the problem.
Options is determining what choices you have given the problem and circumstances. Not all faults are urgent or require immediate action. If action is required, such as a diversion there may be choices in airfields such as one where there is engineering or company support, length of runway given the fault(s).
Risks is assessing the potential downsides and benefits of each viable option. Often there are several choices available and there needs to be a reasonable decision made. This is normally associated with airport and runway choice but there are other scenarios as well. Even the act of diverting requires risk assessment and it may be less risk adverse to continue (short runways, bad weather etc.) When all options are equally safe, an airport with maintenance or company support has greater benefit.
Decide is choosing the best option available to you. In a modern cockpit environment this should be discussed with both crew members.
Execution is carrying out the appropriate action and to assign tasks to people who are to execute them.
Check is a constant process, not solely when the actions are complete. It is needed to ensure that everything is proceeding according to plan, and the desired safe outcome is likely. If this is not the case the process can be started again to fact check what has changed or what is not working and then adapt as necessary.
There is also time critical FORDEC and non-time critical FORDEC. The difference is when evaluating the risks and benefits you are looking for the best option with no time constraints. When you have time constraints you need to choose the quickest suitable option, which may not be the most desirable.