Threat and Error Management: Sixth generation CRM?

In the aftermath of accidents and incidents, inevitable questions arise: Why did the crew NOT see the obvious? Why did a professionally trained team commit the error?

A traditional perspective has been to analyse the incident/accident from outside and with hindsight.

The other perspective is to view the event from inside and in context, accepting that operational threats are inherent to, and manifest themselves within, operational environments.

The T.E.M. perspective proposes that threats and errors are pervasive in the operational environment within which flight crews operate. Threats are factors that originate outside the influence of the flight crew but must be managed by them.

Flight crews must manage an ever-present ‘rain’ of threats and errors, intrinsic to flight operations, to achieve the safety and efficiency goals of commercial air transportation. Sometimes these goals pose an apparent conflict. Nevertheless, safety and efficiency should not be presented as an x/y axis, but as a continuum line. While efficiency overarches the raison d’être of all commercial endeavors, safety goals reinforce the survival of commerce. The articulation of this concept to flight crews forms the bedrock of T.E.M. training.

And CRM is the training tool to achieve the objective of T.E.M..

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