Are crews empowered with all the resources needed to successfully address an inflight emergency? Checklists, a necessary but insufficient tool
Although safety in aviation has increased exponentially in recent decades, sadly, plane crashes will always be associated with the operation of the aviation world. The efforts should be directed towards the pursuit of “zero accidents”, providing aircrews with the necessary resources to minimize risks. One of the most important flight operation resources used in aviation is the checklist. However, when faced with an emergency, the crew cannot always make use of them, either because the huge diversity of potential emergencies does not allow to collect all of them in these manuals, or because the time available to react is so short that it makes it impossible to utilize them. This paper shows how aircraft checklists are a necessary but insufficient tool to solve complex, unpredictable, and novel emergencies. Furthermore, based on successfully solved critical events, the authors suggest the implementation of specific techniques for the learning and development of problem-solving programs focused on innovation and divergent thinking to decision making, as part of flight training, in order to increase the crews’ capability to face such emergencies.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Burke, C. S., Stagl, K. C., Salas, E., Pierce, L., & Kendall, L. (2006). Understanding team adaptation: A conceptual analysis and model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(6), 1189-1207. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.91.6.1189
Degani, A., Heymann, M., & Shafto, M. (1999). Formal aspects of procedures: The problem of sequential correctness. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 43(20), 1113–1117. https://doi.org/10.1177/154193129904302012
Degani, A., & Wiener, E. L. (1990). Human factors of flight-deck checklists: The normal checklist (NASA Contractor Rep. 177549). Moffett Field, CA: NASA Ames Research Center.
Degani, A., & Wiener, E. L. (1997). Procedures in complex systems: The airline cockpit. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, 27(3), 302-312. https://doi.org/10.1109/3468.568739
Dietz, A., Driskell, J., Sierra, M., Weaver, S., Driskell, T., & Salas, E. (2017). Teamwork under stress. In E. Salas, R. Rico, & J. Passmore (Eds.), The Psychology of Team Working and Collaborative Processes (pp. 297-315). West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Gordon, S., Mendenhall, P., & O’Connor, B. B. (2013). Beyond the checklist: what else health care can learn from aviation teamwork and safety. New York, NY: Cornell University Press.
Helmreich, R. L. (1999). Building safety on the three cultures of aviation. In Proceedings of the IATA Human Factors Seminar (pp. 39-43). Bangkok, Thailand, August 12, 1998. Retrieved from http://www.pacdeff.com/pdfs/3%20Cultures%20of%20Aviation%20Helmreich.pdf
Helmreich, R. L. (2006). Red alert. Flight Safety Australia, 10(5), 24-31.
Helmreich, R. L., Klinect, J. R., Wilhelm, J. A., & Jones, S. G. (1999). The line/LOS error checklist, Version 6.0: A checklist for human factors skills assessment, a log for off-normal events, and a worksheet for cockpit crew error management (Tech. Rep. No. 99-01). Austin, TX: University of Texas, Human Factors Research Project.
Helmreich, R. L., Merritt, A. C., & Wilhelm, J. A. (1999). The evolution of Crew Resource Management training in commercial aviation. International Journal of Aviation Psychology, 9(1), 19-32. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327108ijap0901_2
Helmreich, R. L., Wilhelm, J. A., Klinect, J. R., & Merritt, A. C. (2001). Culture, error, and crew resource management. In E. Salas, C. A. Bowers, & E. Edens (Eds.), Improving teamwork in organizations (pp. 305–331). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Hennessey, B. A., & Amabile, T. A. (2010). Creativity. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 569-598. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.093008.100416
Heymann, M., Degani, A., & Barshi, I. (2007). Generating procedures and recovery sequences: a formal approach. In Proceedings of the 14th international symposium on aviation psychology (pp. 252-257). Dayton, OH: Association for Aviation Psychology.
International Air Transport Association (2015). Annual Review. Miami, FL: Author. Retrieved from https://www.iata.org/about/Documents/iata-annual-review-2015.pdf
Klinect, J. R., Murray, P., Merritt, A. C., & Helmreich, R. L. (2003). Line operation safety audits (LOSA): Definition and operating characteristics. Proceedings of the 12th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology (pp. 663-668). Columbus, OH: The Ohio State University.
Luzik, E. V., & Akmaldinova, A. N. (2006) Psychological aspects of ensuring flight safety in civil aviation, Aviation, 10(1), 25-35.
Marshall, D. (2010). Crew resource management: from patient safety to high reliability. Denver, CO: Safer Healthcare Partners.
Mosier, K. L., Palmer, E. A., & Degani A. (1992). Electronic checklists: Implications for decision making. Proceeding of the Human Factors Society 36th Annual Meeting (pp. 7-11). Atlanta, GA: Human Factors Society.
Muñoz-Adánez, A. (2006). Métodos creativos para organizaciones. Madrid, España: Pirámide.
Muñoz-Marrón, D. (2018). Human Factors in Aviation: CRM (Crew Resource Management). Papeles del Psicólogo, 39(3), pp. 191-199. https://doi.org/10.23923/pap.psicol2018.2870
Norman, D. A. (1990). The design of everyday things. New York, NY: Doubleday.
Pettitt, M. A., & Dunlap, J. H. (1997). Cockpit leadership and followership skills: Theoretical perspectives and training guidelines. Washington, DC: Federal Aviation Administration, AAR-100.
Rantz, W. G., Dickinson, A. M., Sinclair, G. A., & Van Houten, R. (2009). The effect of feedback on the accuracy of checklist completion during instrument flight training. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 42(3), 497–509. https://doi.org/10.1901/jaba.2009.42-497
Reason J. (1990). Human error. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139062367
Sculli, G. L., & Sine, D. M. (2011). Soaring to success: taking crew resource management from the cockpit to the nursing unit. Danvers, MA: HCPro, a division of BLR.
Sine, D. M., & Sculli, G. L. (2010). Just checking: using team briefings to improve patient safety. Healthbeat, 9(3), 4-6.
Stachowski, A. A., Kaplan, S. A., & Waller, M. J. (2009). The benefits of flexible team interaction during crises. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(6), 1536-1543. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016903
Wieringa, D., Moore, C., & Barnes, V. E. (1992). Procedure writing. Piscataway, NJ: IEEE Press.
Young-Xu, Y., Fore, A., Metcalf, A., Payne, K., Neily, J., & Sculli, G. (2013). Using crew resource management and a ‘Read-and-Do Checklist’ to reduce failure-to-rescue events on a step-down unit. AJN, American Journal of Nursing, 113(9), 51-57. https://doi.org/10.1097/01.NAJ.0000434178.06223.45
Zhou, J., & Hoever, I. (2014). Research on workplace creativity: A review and redirection. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 1, 333-359. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-031413-091226