Communication has long been suggested as a critical issue in all aspects of human interaction, which is reported to be the major contributing factor into aviation accidents. Communication is essential for organizational and managerial performance and success in any endeavour, including aviation environment. In order for decision makers to arrive at the best possible decisions from a set of alternative decisions, accurate information is a necessity and this is the important of communication, which requires attention of aviation management to establish and implement best ways of remedying communication problems.
Effective communication is a basic human requirement and in the aviation operational contexts, communication is an essential pre-requisite to safety. If aviation industry manage to find ways of handling all these communication problems, aviation will be free of accidents. However, due to the fact that humans are still operators and are prone to making mistakes, human factors will still be exist. Nevertheless with the successful implementation of the recommended solutions discussed hereunder may contribute to the minimizing of the existing communication problems. Hence the importance of communication may then be optimized.
This discussion will focus on the two types of communication, Verbal and Written1 communication, the main objective here is to highlight some ways of fine tuning these two types to optimize the importance of communication in Aviaton which is increasing level of safety in operational contexts. Furthermore some innovative ways of improving these two types of communication in aviation field are also included
Written communication involves any type of interaction that makes use of the written word. Communication is a key to any endeavor involving more than one person. In fact, written communication is the most common form of communication in aviation through the use of SOPs, flight manuals, flight plans, checklists, operational bulletins and more between management and operational personnel. These documents are used to convey information and instructions needed by the organization to be performed by operational personnel. More importantly these documents are vital to aid decision makers when encountering problems during operations, therefore they are expected to provide the most precise, concise and direct information or instructions directly related to the situation encountered.
However, flight crews and operational personnel found it difficult to read all these excessive documented manuals due to improper and excessive wording, especially in emergency scenarios which could impair decision making leading into serious incidents. Therefore to improve written documents the following websites provide important information into effective writing for any business field including aviation;
If the skills mentioned in the sites provided are incorporated during writing a more efficient and concise document would be produced, and the importance of communication in aviation industry will be achieved and maintained.
This is another important way of communicating within the aviation operational context, between ATCO and Pilots, management and operational personnel. Being able to communicate effectively will contribute to the reduction of aviation accidents. Verbal communications is one major media for communicating within the aviation operational context, and needs to be improved along the practical drift for all employees. According to many reports, communication error between ATCOs and Pilots is a major contributing factor into aviation disasters, therefore should be considered with great concern.
Aviation industry has been developing some innovative ways that could be employed in the system to increase level of improvement to communication, especially between ATCOs and Pilots. The website given herewith are among the many that discussed problems associated with communication in aviation operational context including the possible solutions of dealing with those problems.
- http://aviationknowledge.wikidot.com/aviation:english-as-the-official-aviation-language an English proficiency language for NON-NATIVE SPEAKERS which should be considered as a serious issue within the aviation operational context to improve air-ground communication, hence reduce the likely development of accidents. The site discussed some possible ways of dealing with the problems associated with communication between native speakers and non-native speakers of English which will assist organizations to improve level of communication among their employees.
- http://aviationknowledge.wikidot.com/asi:communication-error-between-atc-and-oilot This is another site describing problems associated with verbal communication between ATCOs and Pilots. The problems discussed can be used as lessons to find ways of remedying them to improve communication.
- http://aviationknowledge.wikidot.com/aviation:better-communication-between-atco-and-pilots With this one, problems of communication are discussed as well as possible solutions into them, therefore this site can give important information regarding improvement of communication between ATCOs and Pilots to minimize problems arising from communication.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Next_Generation_Air_Transportation_System#cite_note-3 This website will elaborate more on the use of the new system known as Next Generation including its elements and several benefits. Among the benefits of this new system is the benefit of communication which found to improve communication between ATCOs and Pilots. Implementation and installation of this new system on all aircrafts and airports will increase level of improvement to communication, thus safety is enhanced.
- http://www.acss.com/products/Pages/SafeRoute.aspx This is an innovative way of improving movement of aircrafts on the airport and in the air; the new system will allow pilots to detect other traffics within the vicinity which could cause collision with them. Having this system on aircrafts will contribute to the improvement of communication as aircrafts can make their own separation at the safest and efficient interval without depending too much on voice communication; again level of safety is increased.
- http://www.anglo-continental.com/en/uk/courses/Aviation/aviation-english-division.htm This website provides links to English Training courses which can be carried out to ATCOs and Pilots within individual organization to train the concerned personnel to the required level recommended by ICAO. If these operational personnel attain the required level, communication will be enhanced during operation not only within the concerned States but throughout the industry.
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
Other important facts to be considered which could contribute to the improvement of communication in aviation operational context;
- Leaders/Captains should be trained to have the ability of establishing a shared mental model among the team members. In this case a common understanding of what is going on in the cockpit, tasks are shared and coordinated precisely, essential information is being shared among the crew members, these can only be achieved through effective communication
- Creating a culture that supports subordinates to question decisions of their superior and superiors to listen
- Encourage team members to routinely announce what they intend to do, for instance in a cockpit a co-pilot may say, “I am taking over to commence descent”
- Always remind staff in aviation operational context, such as engineers, Air Traffic controllers, etc to write down information regarding any work that need to be completed by the next shift, if not verbally communicated
- Completing the flight documents is another important issue to be addressed to ground staff, as it contains essential information for flight crews regarding weight on board. It should contain every detail regarding passengers and cargoes being loaded onto the aircrafts for flight crews’ information
- To be sure that all employees in some way have a chance to undergo CRM training as communication is among the courses given in the training to ensure that staff understand importance of communication
The importance of communication in aviation is paramount as it affects safety; therefore it is essential that remedial actions are implemented that would contribute to increasing the level of improvement of communication. It is the responsibility of every aviation organization to proactively create safety nets that would prevent employees from becoming a contributing link to the chain of communication problems that could lead into accidents. For instance mechanics or engineering department, quality assurance inspectors, and supervisors demonstrated a lack of compliance with the approved procedures. Departures from approved procedures included failures to solicit and give proper shift-change turnover reports, failures to complete report forms and these are indications of poor communications which need to be considered appropriately.
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