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The Crew Resource Management


The Crew Resource Management (CRM) is a training discipline that aims at preparing airline workers for handling both daily duties and emergencies. The paper discusses the CRM in general and considers the examples of good and bad CRM implementation. The instance of effective implementation is the flight 1549 of U.S. Airways, which experienced an engine trouble that was successfully dealt by the crew due to the appropriate cooperation. In contrast, the crew of Airbus320 faced the situation of the onboard fire that led to the death of 23 passengers because of the lack of the information and communication. This paper considers the CRM in details, analyzes both accidents in order to demonstrate the significance of CRM in the aviation industry, and suggests the recommendations for the future.

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The Crew Resource Management

Almost each job requires the interaction of people. Communication is quite significant for all professions, but for some of them it is vital for executing the operations and managing the situations. The interaction and quick decision making is essential for cabin crew workers, who usually experience stressful situations that require immediate reactions. The aviation employees utilize the Crew Resource Management in order to handle such situations. CRM is a significant tool for increasing and maintaining safety during the flights, which is of the highest priority for the aviation sphere. The paper analyses the efficiency of the Crew Resource Management during the flights on the example of diverse situations that has happened during the time of flying.

From the start of the aviation industry, the in-flight safety has created constant concerns. It underwent the improvements through the development of the whole aviation industry. However, a number of repeated accidents encouraged the aviation management to consider the issues of the in-flight interaction and decision-making in emergency cases in detail that has led to the creation of Crew Resource Management (CRM). Pilots, stewards, and the other staff completed the course on the CRM during their university studies or re-training. This course teaches to make rapid decisions, to be able to correct errors quickly, to conduct all the actions automatically, and to react adequately to the situations and people. However, the core element of the course is dedicated to the effective in-board interaction among the crewmembers, namely in cases of the emergency (Dahlström, 2008).

The CRM aims at the effective utilizing of all the resources, achieving safety, and conducting efficient on-board operations. The management claims that the problem solving requires the application of all possible and available tools. The course professors teach the aviation crew to ensure that there is a cohesive teamwork as well as to acquire new communication and problem solving skills. Moreover, the crew also studies operating philosophy, which promotes cooperation, maintains legal authority, and encourages the proactive prevention of accidents (Baron, n. d.).

Participation in the CRM training brings advantages to both the cabin crews and the pilots. It is necessary for these personnel categories to be able to cooperate efficiently, so that the emergencies as well as routine duties are safely managed. The pilots are located in a limited space, so although they have access to diverse monitoring systems, they possess limited opportunities for gaining any information beyond the one, provided by technical tools in the aircraft. Thus, the things, heard, seen, or smelled by the cabin crew in certain situations, including smoke, engine problems, or fires can be of particular significance for the solutions that the pilots make. Moreover, the passengers and the cabin crew are entirely dependent on the pilots’ decisions and assessments, for example, in cases of the engine trouble or unpleasant weather conditions. The interaction is also important for dealing with the violence of passengers or a their medical problems. Thus, the CRM training can aid in improving cooperation between the cabin crews and the pilots in order to handle the emergencies (Baron, n. d.).

Many planes depart and land every day in various airports all over the world. Quite often some accidents happen due to the technical troubles or a lack of sufficient interaction between the crew. Some of these accidents have good results, while others lead to negative consequences. The best instance of the CRM effective implementation is safe landing of the aircraft that happened on January 15, 2009. The flight 1549 of U.S. Airways, ruled by Captain Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger, departed near New York’s Hudson River. During the takeoff, the plane hit a flock of geese, which occurred in New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Both engines on the Airbus A320 were completely blocked. However, Captain Sullenberger’s training and experience of more than 19 thousand hours of flight time as well as the CRM training helped him to prepare for the most responsible decision of his life. The cooperation among the crew played a crucial role during the accident, because flight attendants heard very strange noises in the engine and announced the news to the captain, who took immediate actions.

The captain and the crew were taught to react quickly, thus the problem was eliminated in less than three minutes. First, the captain requested an approval to return to the LaGuardin, and the crew of land managers approved of it, as it was a rather normal procedure. Second, the pilot performed the procedure of engine restart, but it was not successful. Therefore, he decided to ask for the extra airport landing in New Jersey in order to avoid the strong populated area near LaGuardia. Finally, the pilot and the copilot made a decision to land near the Hudson River, and the copilot provided the data regarding the altitude and airspeed to the pilot so that he could direct the aircraft correctly, and thus they managed to save all the onboard passengers.

Sully admitted that effective crew cooperation and CRM training played a crucial role in the successful landing. He added that all previous flights were just preparation for this one. Despite of his experiences, the captain mentioned that the CRM training helped him to orient and react properly to the situation. Moreover, the cooperation with the copilot, the onboard crew, and the land team solved the accident. Sally describes the CRM training as crucial for avoiding plane crashes and directing the aircraft in the routine as well as extreme situations. The driving idea of the CRM is to teach aircrews the effective interaction skills in order to minimize the chance of errors and maximize coordination. According to the crew, the pilot, and the copilot, CRM is one of the most precious safety tools that the aircraft industry possesses today. It has greatly contributed to the prevention of the crew and pilot error accidents, because due to this program many airplanes and lives were saved. The chief tenets of the CRM are to decrease, avoid, and mitigate the consequences of the accidents that result from poor solutions. Thus, following the rules of the CRM management is essential (Mulenburg, n. d.).

The accident of an Air Canada DC-9 that happened in 1986 illustrates another problem in the communication process. The steward saw fire in the lavatory, but he could not define the details such as the area of the fire and the exact origin of its flame or smoke. Thus, due to the lack of interaction between the crewmembers, the accident happened. The inappropriate spread of the information between the pilots and the steward contributed to the death of 23 onboard passengers. Four minutes were misspent before the initial announcement about the fire was made to the captain. The flight attendant discovered the flame and made a try to extinguish it. However, due to the smoke, she could not locate the source. She called the other flight attendant and asked her to make a report to the purser. However, the purser, in turn, could only report to the captain about the fire that was discovered and did not tell the details. The pilot did not worry about the problem, because maybe he did not hear all the information. Therefore, the bad crew interaction caused an accident, which led to the loss of humans’ lives (Dahlström, 2008).

This four-minute delay caused the accident, and the effective work of the crew could have helped people to survive. This example shows how important the CRM training and its implementation during the work is. Communication between the pilots and the flight attendants is the main element of the strategy that can save people’s lives, namely in emergencies. The information needs to be accurate and timely, so that the pilots can make an informed evaluation of the problem in order to start the remedial procedure as soon as possible.

In conclusion, the Crew Resource Management is a significant training course, which aims at preparing the crew of the aircraft for handling the routine duties and emergencies as well as for interacting effectively under any conditions. The pilots and the flight attendants go through these preparations in order to work as a powerful team during the flights. However, not all crews manage to rule the aircraft in case of an emergency as successfully as Captain Sullenberger managed to do during the engine trouble. The crew of the Air Canada DC-9 failed to handle the situation, as they did not cope with the fire emergency, which led to the loss of the passengers’ lives. Thus, the lack of the interaction between the crew always leads to accidents. Therefore, following the CRM is essential for successful handling of the emerging troubles. The new technologies are progressing together with the development of the CRM trainings and preparation of the airline crews. In future, the CRM can be applied to solve the situations of passengers’ rudeness and violence as well as to provide first aid and extra landing in cases of medical troubles that the passengers may face.

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