Team Assessment, Stress
Captain Jim Wright sent a wonderful comment on his impression and correlation between aviation and maritime with lessons learned in The Pilot Factor. Today is day two of that assessment.
Team AssessmentYour novels (Flight For Control and Flight For Safety) suggested that “team assessment” in aviation begins in the airport crew room before boarding the aircraft. A “Flight for Safety” incident described a Captain who did not adopt the best techniques for inspiring a sense of “team confidence” in his abilities. Additionally, his disinterest in assessing the FO’s flying skills worked against CRM principles. The net result was that overall team performance was less than it could have been.
“Assessment” with regard to maritime pilotage is a two-way street. Upon entering the wheelhouse the pilot begins an assessment of the “bridge team” at the same time that the “bridge team” is assessing the pilot. Many years of experience with this “waltz” has convinced me that the pilot should considered him/herself as a stage actor with the wheelhouse being the stage and the bridge team as the audience. Just as Lawrence Olivier successfully convinced theater audiences to accept him as “Hamlet” so the pilot should instill confidence in the “bridge team” to trust him/her with the conduct of their vessel.
Team CommunicationsAlthough English is the compulsory language for maritime pilotage (and presumably for aviation), the “Pilot” and the “Team” often speak different languages which can be quite challenging. The challenge increases when individual members of the “team” speak different languages and occasionally do not communicate well with each other.
An additional communication problem in both aviation and maritime can arise when a response to a question is not the expected answer. Taking action on the expected response rather than the actual response appears to have been the cause of the Tenerife collision between the Pan-Am and KLM 747’s.
When discussing stress in BRM-P classes we compare “eustress” (good stress) with “distress” (bad stress) and look at how each condition affects decision making. Empirical evidence has shown that “eustress” enhances SA and “distress” diminishes SA. Airline pilots probably experience the same feeling of “eustress” when approaching the runway threshold as marine pilots feel when 3 or 4 ship lengths from the berth. Advice given to me in my early piloting days illustrates that concept..
“If the ship is not where you want it to be then get it there (Eustress) and if you don’t know where you want the ship to be (distress) then you shouldn’t be in this line of work."