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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A World of Threats

CRM, communication, workload management, standard phraseology, planning, and decision making, are a few of the buzz words tossed about in the world of aviation. Terms that every pilot should be intimate with. 

A couple weeks ago I was involved in decision making testing... and pilots are needed. If you're a pilot, and haven't checked it out yet, please do so. This is the type of testing that creates procedures, technologies, and standards. You can make a difference.

The CRM concept, Crew Resource Management, has recently grown into threat and error management in the commercial aviation world. For those who desire to achieve a career with a major airline, or anyone who desires to fly a safe aircraft, this concept must be understood and lived. We cannot discuss this enough.

The core of threat and error management is this: We live in a world of threats. In the aviation world these threats include anything that could increase operational complexity such as, lack of familiarity with an airport, weather, new equipment, fatigue, or any potential distraction. Write your own list and think about the impact, every time you step into your airplane.

The fact is that we are human, and humans make mistakes. Our goal, as pilots, is to be proactive and identify the potential threats before they turn into errors. Remember an error is something that has already happened that we manage, after the fact. A threat is something lurking beyond, and with proper management will not turn into an error. Be aware of the threats and mitigate their risks.

Distraction surrounds our world. Due to the current economy, furloughs, bankruptcies, mergers, worries about training, or terrorism, we live in an ocean of stress. Make sure you step out of that ocean and focus on the task at hand, managing your flight, before you step into your aircraft.

“Never point your airplane someplace your brain hasn’t been five minutes before.”

There has never been “one” error that has caused a crash, but multiple errors that led the pilot down the wrong path. Get off that path. Look into the future. Learn from past mistakes.

What can you do 
to mitigate accidents in your world 
of threats?

In the back of Flight For Control, I've listed numerous questions on how to increase safety. The answer to safety is within your reach. This Saturday, June 9th, I will be in Jacksonville Florida, discussing this with fellow aviators. Come back tomorrow for more information.

If you want to be an extra in the movie...
send an email to

Enjoy the Journey!
XOX Karlene


  1. As the saying goes, "The only two things you need to know in instrument are the next two things." I think that's true of flying in general, even recreational flying. Planes have a way of going off on their own if you're not paying attention.

    Also, movie! So exciting! I still want to be one of the controllers. :D I'm learning proper phraseology and everything.

    1. YOU are going to be my controller~ And... I have another assignment for you. Homework for school. I like that saying, "The only two things you need to know in instrument are the next two things."
      I'd never heard that before.
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Karlene, outstanding post. There are so many components to stress in order to be safe but what you have mentioned above is most important. I have linked this on my Facebook site.

    1. Thank you so much Jeremy! I really appreciate your support. There has never been just one thing. It's always something.


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