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The Book Trade
On March 27, 1977 at Los Rodeos airport in Tenerife, 583 people were killed when two Boeing 747s collided. According to investigators, poor flight-deck teamwork contributed to the disaster. Shocked by the unprecedented loss of life the airline industry set about equipping pilots and flight engineers with teamworking skills. The industry's teamwork training programme, commonly known as Crew Resource Management (CRM), has helped make aviation one of the safest forms of transportation. CRM's migration into military aviation has helped reduce mishaps by 50% - 81%. According to academics Robyn Clay-Williams, David Greenfield, Judy Stone and Jeffrey Braithwaite, in health care CRM has helped secure "modest improvements in levels of patient safety". This monograph makes the case for teamwork training. Case studies, for example of the salvaging of a crippled DC-10 by Captain Al Haynes and his crew, show the benefits of teamworking. The monograph also promotes leadership skills: in the final analysis, every team requires a leader who can set the right example, inspire, canvass, co-ordinate, appraise and represent. Finally, the monograph makes the case for creative thinking and active learning. Teams should be crucibles for new thinking. A team whose leader encourages reflection and creativity has the potential to change the status quo for the better. Witness how Apollo 13’s Flight Director, the legendary Gene Kranz, inspired an occasionally fractious group of ground engineers (fatigue affects performance and mood) to improvise an air purifier from log-book covers, spare filters, hoses and duct-tape. Kranz’s ability to organise, lead, cajole and inspire saved the lives of the Apollo 13 astronauts. Kranz’s leadership and focus ensured his engineers realised their potential.
About the Author
Simon Bennett has degrees in politics and communications, and a PhD in the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (Brunel University, Middlesex). He directs the Civil Safety and Security Unit (CSSU) at the University of Leicester. CSSU has over 300 MSc students. As a human factors consultant to the airlines and the military, Dr Bennett uses action research and participant observation (ethnography) to improve communication and teamwork. He has spent circa 1,350 hours on the flight deck, and is familiar with the Boeing 737 and 757 and Airbus A300, A319, A320 and A321. His books include Human Error - by design? (Palgrave-Macmillan), A Sociology of Commercial Flight Crew (Ashgate), Innovative Thinking in Risk, Crisis and Disaster Management (Gower) and How Pilots Live (Peter Lang).