in Air Transport / Training / People

Aviation Africa: Emirates highlights why it focuses on human factors

Posted 11 May 2015 · Add Comment

Dr. Nicklas Dahlstrom, director of human factors for Emirates Airline, addressing the Aviation Africa conference in Dubai today, told the audience that human factors training is essential, especially when people from different cultures work together.

Dr. Nicklas DahlstromWith an amusing and informative presentation with serious undertones, he described cultural traits and the importance of telling stories rather than just focusing on numbers.
 
In order to address aviation safety in Africa, he suggested looking at the problem as one of comparative risk.
 
“Aviation will get safer as safety of the whole society gets safer,” he said.
 
“If we’re going to understand the risk in African aviation we’re going to have to put it in the context of society as a whole.”
 
Within an airline environment, others need to have training too, not just pilots – so you need integration of human factor training for all parties.
 
Discussing pilot error, he referred to the cockpit of the B17, where there were two big switches, one for the gear and one for flaps – “looking exactly the same and close to each other.”
 
Thus gear-up landings were common.
 
“Is it the pilot’s fault?” he asked. “No, it’s the signs… so [the industry] put a wheel on the undercarriage lever and a flap on the flap lever –and the problem [to a great extent] went away.”
 
Five Pillars
He said the pillars of crew resource management (CRM) are Communications, Leadership, Decision Making, Situational Awareness and Workload Management. “CRM is for pilots as well as air traffic controllers and others – but does it work?” he asked.
 
“The answer is yes – but you have to keep doing it or the errors creep back in,” he said.
 
And remember, he added, “Culture is reflected by everything beyond immediate physiological needs. But how does culture affect behaviour?”
 
Turning back to Emirates, he said, “We’re a very multicultural company with 4,000 pilots from more than 120 countries.
 
“It’s a very big mix of people, so how do we make this work? We do CRM for flight crew, cabin crew, combined CRM, train the trainers, dispatchers and ATCOs all have CRM too.”
 
It’s not only about safety – it’s about safety and efficiency if you do it right, he said.
 
Dahlstrom showed an internal survey that illustrated that almost all of Emirates’ pilots said that professional culture (as a pilot) overrides national culture, and that “I feel respected and valued by fellow crew members”.
 
He listed the Five Pillars of a Safety Culture as:
 
Informed, Reporting, Just, Flexible and Learning
 
Do Tell Stories
Dahlstrom then stressed how effective stories/anecdotes are, and how Africa has a great tradition of storytelling. “Too often when we train we only show numbers, and there is a fine tradition of stories in Africa,” he said.
 
“You have a fabulous effect from telling stories and they hold meaning. You can talk engine parameters, but story of an engine failure gives it context. We must use stories more.”
 
He also said that airlines and other stakeholders: “Need to learn from things that go well – we can scare people with the bad stories and yes that has a function, but we need to learn from what goes right.”
 
You also need to have warning signs for things. He gave the analogy of turkeys: all the data tells them it’s safe, life is great, and then they get cooked!
 
“So don't ask ‘should be fine, done it before’, ask ‘what might go wrong today’ – that’s a safety culture,” said Dahlstrom.
 
“So the promise of aviation in Africa can be fulfilled but I think human factors training will be a very important component of that.”
 
A Q&A session followed. Victoria Moores, air transport editor of “African Aerospace”, asked why after the LAM Mozambique Embraer 195 accident there wasn’t a response to ensure there were two pilots in the cockpit at all times, whereas EASA was quick to react after the Germanwings' accident.
 
Dahlstrom saw the point, but also said: “We have come to believe that accidents won’t happen at all. But they will when you’re dealing with complex systems.
 
“There is a risk that more risk is presented through acting in a certain way after one rare event.
 
“You can introduce another higher risk – so we need to see the limitations of what we do.”
 
 
* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Turbulence ahead on the route to a national carrier

Just like his nine predecessors, Nigeria's Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, has started championing a process of creating a national carrier capable of filling the void left by the liquidation of Nigeria Airways in 2003. But, as Chukwu

NAS launches new Pearl Lounges at Marrakech Menara Airport

National Aviation Services has launched its Pearl Lounges at the Marrakech-Menara Airport in Morocco reinforcing capacities at the newly renovated airport.

CEO of Airbus to step down

Airbus has announced that its CEO Tom Enders will be leaving the company in April 2019, reports aerotime.

Flydubai touches down at Kilimanjaro International Airport

Flydubai's inaugural flight touched down today at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), increasing capacity to Tanzania and further expanding its network in Africa to twelve destinations.

Proflight Zambia female pilot clocks 1000 hours flying time

The career of Proflight Zambia's youngest female pilot Besa Mumba has taken off after clocking up 1,000 hours of flying time.

Colas UK secures construction deal for new Ugandan Hoima International Airport

Colas UK has revealed its new direction as a transport infrastructure company able to compete for the largest projects both in the UK and overseas.

Aviation Africa SK18418
See us at
Aviation Africa BT18418