Chapter 9. Risk Management

Hazard List for Aviation Technicians

AMTs should learn about risk management early in training, also. Instructors tasked with integrating risk management into instruction can turn to hazard assessments that identify the safety risks associated with the facility being used, the tools used in the procedure, and/or the job being performed.

The process for identifying hazards can be accomplished through the use of checklists, lessons learned, compliance inspections/audits, accidents/near misses, regulatory developments, and brainstorming sessions. For example, aviation accident reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) can be used to generate discussions pertaining to faulty maintenance that led to aircraft accidents. All available sources should be used for identifying, characterizing, and controlling safety risks.

The 3P model can also be adapted for use in a nonflight environment, such as a maintenance facility. For example, the AMT perceives a hazard, processes its impact on shop or personnel safety, and then performs by implementing the best course of action to mitigate the perceived risk.

Pilot Self-Assessment

Setting personal minimums is an important step in mitigating risk, and safe pilots know how to properly self-assess. For example, in the opening scenario, the aircraft Mary plans to fly may have a maximum crosswind component of 15 knots listed in the aircraft flight manual (AFM), but she only has experience with 10 knots of direct crosswind. It could be unsafe to exceed a 10 knots crosswind component without additional training. Therefore, the 10 knot crosswind experience level is Mary’s personal limitation until additional training with Daniel provides her with additional experience for flying in crosswinds that exceed 10 knots.

Pilots in training must be taught that exercising good judgment begins prior to taking the controls of an aircraft. Often, pilots thoroughly check their aircraft to determine airworthiness, yet do not evaluate their own fitness for flight. Just as a checklist is used when preflighting an aircraft, a personal checklist based on such factors as experience, currency, and comfort level can help determine if a pilot is prepared for a particular flight. The FAA’s “Personal Minimums Checklist” located in Appendix D is an excellent tool for pilots to use in self-assessment. This checklist reflects the PAVE approach to risk mitigation discussed in the previous paragraphs.

Worksheets for a more in-depth risk assessment are located in the “FAA/Industry Training Standards Personal and Weather Risk Assessment Guide” located online at This guide is designed to assist pilots in developing personal standardized procedures for accomplishing PIC responsibilities and in making better preflight and inflight weather decisions. CFIs should stress that frequent review of the personal guide keeps the information fresh and increases a pilot’s ability to recognize the conditions in which a new risk assessment should be made, a key element in the decision-making process.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is the accurate perception and understanding of all the factors and conditions within the four fundamental risk elements that affect safety before, during, and after the flight. Maintaining situational awareness requires an understanding of the relative significance of these factors and their future impact on the flight. When situationally aware, the pilot has an overview of the total operation and is not fixated on one perceived significant factor. Some of the elements inside the aircraft to be considered are the status of aircraft systems, pilot, and passengers. In addition, an awareness of the environmental conditions of the flight, such as spatial orientation of the aircraft and its relationship to terrain, traffic, weather, and airspace must be maintained.

To maintain situational awareness, all of the skills involved in ADM are used. For example, an accurate perception of the pilot’s fitness can be achieved through self-assessment and recognition of hazardous attitudes. A clear assessment of the status of navigation equipment can be obtained through workload management, and establishing a productive relationship with ATC can be accomplished by effective resource use.

 ©AvStop Online Magazine                                                                                                                                                      Contact Us              Return To Books

AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine

Grab this Headline Animator