Avionics News May 2017 - 4
Yes, We Can
all me crazy, call me insane - I don't care. I
traveling down a highway toward zero accidents.
truly believe we can achieve zero accidents
We may not know how long the trip is going to
in the helicopter industry. Maybe not tomorrow, not
take, but we can post mile markers during the
in the next few years, or not even in my lifetime.
journey and identify various milestones of accident
But ultimately we can and will accomplish this goal.
reduction while making adjustments as necessary to
At a recent safety forum, I was challenged by
speed our journey.
an audience member who expressed his opinion
Some elements that will assist in creating a safer
that any time humans engage in the
environment and help achieve our goal
operation of machinery, in this case with
of zero accidents include technological
helicopters, it is a statistical certainty
advancements, enhanced reliability of
that an accident will occur.
equipment and systems, appropriate
Well, there we have it. Let's all pack
training, and more operations conducted
up our tents, go home, and just wait for
under instrument flight rules. However, I
the inevitable accident to happen.
believe our greatest challenge in achieving
Just checking to see if you were
zero accidents is our industry culture. We
paying attention. I am not ready to
must change the philosophy of "Safety
surrender - not now, not ever. There is
First, Above All Else" from a slogan to
only one safety goal we should work
a reality that is practiced every day, for
toward, and that is zero accidents in the
Decision-making and risk assessment must focus
With this thought in mind, I think we should
on one question: Can we complete this operation
reconsider how we set safety goals. Does it really
safely? Stop worrying about disappointing the boss
make sense to say "let's reduce accidents by 20
or customer, risking the contract, or even saving a
percent?" That's just another way of saying "we
life - let's just focus on conducting a safe operation.
had five accidents this year, and next year we want
The only plan worth sticking to is a plan to conduct
to have four." While improving safety is always a
a thorough preflight, assess and mitigate flight
commendable goal, we are indirectly stating that we
risks, and practice good aeronautical decisionare willing to accept a certain number of accidents - making, with a safe landing as the goal.
and that is a statement I am never willing to make.
Continued on page 64
The way I see it, our industry is on a journey,