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The Accident Rate

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Transport Canada has recently instituted Safety Management Systems in order to further reduce the accident rate in Civil Aviation. The following excerpt is from TC's website.


Considerably, the steady improvement in the accident rate was attributable to improvements to technology, such as the introduction of more reliable engines and navigation systems. However, the majority of today’s accidents can be attributed to human or organizational factors. With a few notable exceptions, there is little opportunity for technological solutions to the types of accidents. Safety management systems, on the other hand, offer the most promising means of preventing these types of accidents.


TC has concluded that human or organizational factors contribute to the majority of today's accidents. The SMS is designed to address this situation.


But should not Transport Canada be the real and only safety management system? Does it not promote a conflict of interest to charge the same people whose primary interest is making money with a system that costs them money? It is TC's job to protect the flying public. If rules and regulations need to be made to this end then TC should make them. It smacks of the influence that the Owner's Club (HAC) has with TC. It is an error to make sweeping generalizations and it is certain that there are many fine upright individuals in TC who are immune to influence, but because the civil servants in TC are largely drawn from the ranks of former engineers and pilots, it must sometimes be quite difficult for them to be impartial when they are dealing with former colleagues and friends.


An observation must be made regarding organizational factors. Aside from the larger companies and even in some of those, most helicopter operations are managed by former engineers and pilots with little or no formal training in the science of management. In the case of pilots, there is no educational requirement to be licensed. For the most part, engineers at least have had formal training at a technical institute where they are required to engage in some intellectual activity. So we have ignorant individuals in important and responsible positions that beg for someone who is knowledgable in subjects like human resource management, organizational behavior, organizational theory, business strategy and policy, and industrial and labour relations. Before the howls of protest, threats of lawsuits and physical violence and infantile name calling begin over the use of the word 'ignorant', it should be pointed out that it means only lacking in knowledge or understanding. It does not mean unintelligent or incapable of learning. TC would be well advised to require that operations managers be persons with at least a bachelor's degree in management science. To parry another expected objection from those who will insist that only an engineer or pilot could appreciate the intricacies of aviation, an academic would easily and quickly grasp the rather simple logistics of helicopter operations.


An observation must also be made regarding human factors. The rules and regulations regarding duty times for pilots and the work ethic woven into the helicopter culture to which engineers must submit do not produce the happy, well-adjusted, family oriented individual who is almost certain to be a more safety conscious person than one who is not. These rules need to be changed. Workers need schedules that are fit for human beings not machines. No engineer or pilot should have to spend more than half his time on the job. Work to live. Do not live to work.


TC has also created CAESN. The following is an excerpt from TC's web site.


The safety management philosophy presupposes that executive managers are ultimately responsible for aviation safety in our respective companies and organizations. In order to continue responding to the multiple challenges facing civil aviation, Transport Canada established the Canadian Aviation Executives’ Safety Network (CAESN) as an annual assembly for Canadian aviation leaders.


It is suspected that these aviation leaders are the same group as the Helicopter Association of Canada, also known as the Owner's Club. Where in the name of all things democratic are the voices of engineers and pilots in all of this? TC has admitted the fox into the hen house. This sort of thing will not reduce the accident rate one iota. In fact, it might even cause it to increase.


We have experts at the controls of helicopters and we have experts who maintain them. Should we not have expert administrators as well?


Should not the civil servants who compose TC be similarly well educated? It would be wise for a very large majority if not all of TC's civil servants to be people who have no connection with the industry at all, but are impartial academics.


These two changes would go a long way to promoting the culture of safety in Canadian aviation.


Some professional gentlemen of this forum need to be reminded that these are only words. No insults have been hurled. No personal names have been mentioned. Reference has been made in previous posts to a few judicial summaries which, after all, are in the public domain. Nothing has been done. The status quo is intact. Of what are you afraid? Words are the bricks with which the bastions of democracy are built. We need them. We depend on them. The words will be read, and the readers will decide what the consequences will be. Do not fear these challenges. They may just vanish like wisps of vapour as though they were never even there.


Democracy is utterly dependent on the free and unrestricted flow of ideas. If you are confident in your positions on matters, if you have faith in your philosophies, you will not be afraid. But if you have doubts, you will be angry.


A wise man gets more use from his enemies than a fool from his friends.

Baltasar Gracian

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Sissy; Safety Management System, Fatigue Risk Management for AME's was all mentioned last year after I attented a meeting with the "meatheads" involved.


You can imagine Brian Jenner from "HAC" ers, was representing the Owners Club.


Other than myself the only other AME's that were there were from WestJet and Air Canada and one ame from VIH, plus the union rep for the flight attendants.


As has been said before I am retired and no longer work as a P/E, so it does not effect me, but it sure as **** will effect the AME's and Pilots still in the industry.


It may be good or really bad.




There is nobody speaking or lobbying on behalf of YOU.



Enjoy life, Don

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Blackmac, Sisyphus


You participation in the process of creating the "Good List" could be a step in organizing at least 1 additional , impartial, democratic information gathering system. Let's see where it goes?


I will pay for the independent website to make it a reality, but like anything your suggestions and a simplified list of questions is required.


Organize yes, but participate is just as important.

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You have made some very good observations. I would agree with lots of them, but I halt, skidding in my tracks when you mention TC personel in charge of writing regulations that are not of an aviation background. Too many of the assinine reg's we try to work with have come from those same people that have no clue of how this industry ticks. Granted, some kind of trained managerial people need to have some influence at the company level, but for god's sake, no more idiots at TC, please! I totally agree that older pilots don't have the training to be managers, but some do...but alas, most don't, and they are the ones perpetuating the past mistakes of their preadesesors.


In the US, a lot of companies encourage with finacial incentives, the schooling to create qualified aviation management professionals...and they are training aviators. Pilots and engineers that want to learn how to be managers and have the proper background in our industry to know what, how, and why some ideas may or may not work. Its time to stop promoting the oldest guy in the company to ops mgr. just because he is there. Why not get the "old guy" started on somne kind of formal education in business or human resources? When he has shown he can learn a few new tricks, then give him the job? To that end, why not start a related field of study at AME schools to train people to be DOM's?


Just my thoughts...and as always, feel free to comment..

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Arctic Front


As usual you have come to the point and offered good suggestions.


I agree with you whole heartedly! With the advent in modern education I too am surprised that it is in fact the younger generation that is coming up with the best ideas. Especially in the creation and amendments of those matters surrounding Civil Aviation Safety and Security. You are correct in you assessment of "the Older Guy getting the Job". I was also amused to find out that what my son is learning in grade 7 today at school is what I learned 27 years ago when I graduated High school.


I think we have to adopt an exponential attitude to learning. After all is is cumulative!


May have something to do with mid life crisis!



"Youth is wasted on the young"

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