Basics of Human factors ignored.

In some part of Asia, one instructor had to demonstrate the spin on the particular aircraft. This instructor had thousands of hours on a certain type of aircraft. On top of that, he had significant knowledge about aerodynamics. He found that the Center of gravity ( COG) for this particular aircraft was bit aft. He was instructed by a senior staff to take that aircraft to demonstrate the spin. This instructor who had thousands of hours did not do the exercise and told his senior that he will not fly this aircraft which has a limitation outside the allowed margin i.e. it’s COG is little bit aft and would be dangerous for the maneuver ( spin) that he was doing

On the other hand, another instructor was asked to do the same thing. Despite knowing the problem, this person did not refuse to fly the aircraft like his colleague did and he told himself he will let his senior officer know of the problem on Monday. This person did not decline as he did not want to upset his senior officer as they were having a senior official’s party on Saturday and he wanted to impress him. He said to his colleague who declined to fly, I will be fine as I have flown thousands of hours and I can recover from the Spin easily and COG being a little bit aft wont affect me as I have done it so many times. He went flying. When aircraft entered spin he could not recover from the spin. He died. There was no party on Saturday. He was not alive to convey the problem to his senior officer on Monday like he thought he could, instead, a funeral had to be organized for him as he was killed doing the maneuver.

First of all there was a good airmanship shown by the officer who declined to fly the a/c as it was little bit outside the limitation. He knew the a/c well and it was a good decision made by him. On the other hand, his friend made a fatal decision. First of all he was advised not to fly this aircraft. His hazardous attitude of anti authority did not help. Also his hazardous attitude of invulnerability cost him his life. See Read more on1.

According to Kern’s airmasnhip model 1996

“Kern represents airmanship as based on a solid foundation of discipline, skill and proficiency, from where five pillars of knowledge rise -knowledge of oneself, the aircraft, the team, the environment and the risks- to support the ultimate and more visible outcomes of situational awareness and judgment while operating the aircraft”.

With this officer, the very first bedrock principle of the airmanship model - discipline – was very weak. He failed to minimise the risk of COG aft by shifting it. It is sad to see professionals have forgotten the basics of hazardous attitudes that they have learned at the start of their flying caeers. He should have conveyed the problem and should not have waited until Monday. As this happened in a country where there is high power distance ( steep authority gradient), the officer hesitated to tell his senior that he do not want to do this exercise and relay the problem to his senior officer. The introduction of Hofstede’s culture dimensions in their training would be helpful. For more information check2 and3.

Also, the pilot did identify the threat i.e he knew that COG was a little bit aft however, he did not do anything to manage this threat. Threat is “ anything that increase operational complexity and if not managed properly, may decrease the safety margins”. He could have tried to move weights around and see if COG could be moved forward so it would be ideal for the flight.

All pilots should be aware of hazardous attitudes. Accidents can happen even if you have thousands of flying hours. As you are the Pilot in Command ( PIC), you are responsible for the final safety of the aircraft and final say as to whether you are going to take the aircraft on flight or not. If you are pressured by seniors or do not want to do certain flights, let them know why and let them know the problem sooner than later. Do not wait until its too late for the message to be passed across like this pilot wanted to wait until Monday. It might be too late.

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