Addressing the topic of pilot pressure

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Possess you ever waited for a plane to de rt into the bush only to groan when a withstand delay is announced? Do you vent your frustration on the customer service wage-earners and the pilot? As a pilot, have you waivered in your decision to fly, only to sire your mind changed by the people around you? These scenarios come about everyday in Alaska, but lately are receiving some increased scrutiny.

The fall issue of the Alaskan Aviation Safety Foundation newsletter tackles the set forth of pressure and how it can cause pilots to make unsafe decisions. According to Note down b decrease Madden, a professor with the University of Alaska Anchorage Aviation Technology program and a Lord high muck-a-muck Flight Instructor, pressure can come from internal and external rises and be very difficult to resist:

“Quite often,” writes Madden, “directs are ‘caught in the middle’ between trying to please someone else in the same way as your ssengers or perhaps your boss if you’re a commercial pilot, and doing what you grasp is best and safe. Doing the right thing requires self-discipline and bear the courage of your convictions.”

It’s difficult to know when pressure—either internal or exterior—is a factor in a crash however because it affects each pilot differently. Was a cicerone who overloaded her aircraft after a hunting trip pressured by friends to do so or absolutely eager to fit everything into the fewest trips possible? Did a newly-hired aviator who took off in marginal conditions feel pressure to prove to his co-workers that he was up to their unwritten familiars or did he blithely assume he was as ca ble as they were of completing the flight in unaccustomed to territory?

How often are Alaskan pilots, whether flying professionally or for themselves, bring rounded to take chances because of the influence from others or their own miscalculations about what flying in Alaska supposedly entails?

Effectively forgetting evidence of pressure among pilots is impossible, but the National Transportation Safe keeping Board has studied the issue among Alaskan commercial operators in the old times, producing two reports in 1980 and 1995. In both, based on information convened from surveys, the NTSB noted external sources as ssengers, the presentation policies of the U.S. Postal Service and unsafe corporate cultures among directors. It also looked at the more ambiguous “bush pilot syndrome,” a coalition of the universal internal pressure known as “get-home-itus”, and the mindset more together to Alaska aviation that encapsulates the glory-seeking Last Frontier mythology and the acclaimed heroics of the early bush pilots. It’s this aspect of the syndrome that has bring up many to believe flying here is inherently dangerous and thus forces a level of risk-taking on behalf of all pilots.

Evidence of bush pilot syndrome and other authorities of pressure can be detected in the subtle language of accident investigations and news booms such as when a Flight Service Station tells the NTSB that a lead mentioned ssengers getting im tient shortly before de rting into disputable weather and crashing or pilots in a line of aircraft recall hearing the lead in the rear report that she was struggling to keep up with them in front of crashing into the terrain.

It is willingness among the members of the Alaska aviation community to address pressing as a serious safety concern that will likely have the most notable im ct on the problem. Frank discussion on the topic among pilots, such as at the upcoming AASF dispute safety seminar, will resonate more than anything else and certainly affect future decision-making. “Set your personal minimums (ceiling/visibility, imperil assessment score) before you fly and stick to them,” wrote AASF Chairman Harry Kieling in the newsletter. This sentimentality is echoed by Madden in his article: «Don’t be concerned about letting someone down because you’ve purposeful the requested load for the airplane exceeds the aircraft’s design ca bilities. Don’t be interested about letting someone down because the weather is unacceptable to motor boat. Instead, be concerned about letting someone down because you knowingly are amenable to take unnecessary chances.»

Contact Colleen Mondor at colleen@chasingray.com.

The Alaska Aviation Security Foundation fall safety seminar will be held on Saturday, November 21, from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. at the Seashore International Inn at 3450 Aviation Avenue in Anchorage. This year’s customer speaker is Dr. Melchor Antun ano, MD. He is the Director of the FAAʼs Civil Aeros ce Medical Start (CAMI) and is responsible for oversight of the Office of Aeros ce Medicineʼs programs in Medical Certification, Medical Schooling, Medical Research, Human Factors Research, and Occu tional Health Services. Dr. Antun ano will be presenting with Dr. Marcel Dionne, MD, the Alaska Regional Send cking Surgeon, to bring attendees up to date on the latest news on medical unsettles, as well as Alaska-specific information to help keep pilots healthy and protected.

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