Crew Resource Management (Aviation)

Topics: Miami International Airport, Eastern Air Lines, Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 Pages: 6 (1976 words) Published: October 10, 2011
In this day 'Crew Resource Management' (CRM) is strongly evident within the aviation industry. Having developed a positive reputation over the years of its application, it is highly recognised as an icon for safety practices among many major operators. Airline operators and wider aviation industries adopt CRM, on a global scale, to attain the desired goal of influencing flight crew members to operate more safely and effectively as one co-operative unit (rather than as individuals). The positive application of crew resource management envisages minimised risks and consequently, safer skies for all. One common definition of CRM can be expressed as the effective management of all available resources available to the operators; including software, hardware and liveware, to achieve the goal of safe flight operations (Jenson, 1995). Recognition of crew resource management (CRM) is relatively new. This statement is true in comparison to the centenary history of aviation, whereby crew resource management strategies were intentionally implemented and widely accepted just short of thirty years ago, at the onset of the 1980’s Unfortunately, accumulating events of disastrous air crashes (predominantly in the mid-1960's and 1970's) resulting from primary causes including poor pilot management and the lack of utilising multiple resources available to the crew. These particular causes or insufficiencies consequently served as ''triggers'', bringing to attention the realising significance of CRM, and its need for application in flight crew practices (Murray, n.d.). Eastern Airlines Flight 401, Everglades (Florida):

Although there are several instances of past aviation accidents which have enhanced the idea of introducing CRM in aircrew operations (i.e. Tenerife 1977 or Portland, Oregano's DC-8 crash in 1978), this discussion will focus on only one key example, namely, the disaster of "Eastern Airlines Flight 401", typically known as the crash at Florida, Everglades in 1972. This accident will be briefly reviewed, specifically identifying the major issues (expressed by the NTSB report) which corresponds to the initiation of CRM as the solution for preventing and minimising such causes. A brief overview:

Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 was a Lockheed L-1011 jet en-route from New York: John F. Kennedy Airport, inbound for Florida: Miami International Airport. The site of the crash took place near the vicinity of the destination airport (approximately 18 miles west-northwest of Miami International) into the Florida Everglades on December 29, 1972, at local time 2342. On board Flight 401 were 163 passengers and an operational crew of 13. According to official findings 94 passengers and 5 crew members received fatal injuries. Other occupants also received a range of minor to severe injuries. (NTSB, 1973). The series of issues commenced when the flight firstly diverted from its approach to Miami. This diversion resulted from the observations of First Officer, Stockstill, rightly acknowledging what seemed to be a fault with the nose-gear improperly set in the lock-down position (after the landing gear handle was set in the GEAR DOWN position for landing ). This fault was indicated due to the absence of the 'GREEN' indicator lock-down light.

The aircraft climbed to 2,000 feet mean sea level and followed a clearance to
proceed west from the airport at that altitude. During this time, the
crew attempted to correct the malfunction and to determine whether or
not the nose landing gear was extended.
The aircraft crashed into the Everglades shortly after being cleared
by Miami Approach Control for a left turn back to Miami International
(NTSB, 1973, p. 1)

Initially first officer, Stockstill, took manual control of the aircraft and followed ATC directions to fly at 2000 feet and circle away from Miami airport until the...
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