Single crew

Wermlandsflyg Turbo Commander

The content of SRM is similar to that of CRM training, except the topics relating to pilot crews are excluded (ex. captain and co-pilot communication). Examples of topics included in SRM training are situational awareness, workload management, automation management, and aeronautical decision making

BAM Beech B200

CRM isn’t only for airline crews. CRM training makes you aware of what can hurt you—the human factors that can cause you to make a mistake or a bad decision. Because CRM has proven over the years to be a powerful tool to help pilots avoid, trap, and mitigate risk, it stands to reason CRM is a tool as useful for the single pilot as it is for multi-crew.

Wermlandsflyg Twin Commander 690C

Situational awareness (SA) is misperceiving what is going on around you and carrying that perception forward to what you expect to happen in the future. According to NASA research, SA is cited in 85 percent of aircraft accident and incident reports.

Pilots learn early in their training that swift reactions are essential, but getting ahead of the aircraft is much better. Staying ahead of the aircraft is best. Situational awareness can help you stay ahead.

Wouldn’t it be beneficial if pilots knew the common factors contributing to the loss of SA? NASA has done the work for us in their research of the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) database. The common factors leading to loss of situational awareness are:

1. High workload
2. Distractions
3. Lack of communication
4. Execution of an improper procedure
5. Lack of experience
6. Weather
7. Fatigue

Fiskflyg Eurocopter-EC120B

Cues which may indicate loss of situational awareness are: 

1. Ambiguity – information from two or more sources that don’t agree
2. Fixation – focusing on any one thing to the exclusion of everything else
3. Confusion – uncertainty or bafflement about a situation
4. Failure to fly the aircraft – being focused on non-flying activities
5. Failure to look outside – everyone with heads down
6. Failure to adhere to SOPs
7. Failure to comply with limitations, minimums, etc.
8. Failure to resolve discrepancies, contradictory data or personal conflicts
9. Failure to communicate fully and effectively – vague or incomplete statements

Research has concluded there is a minimum of four links to an error chain, with the average number being seven. If you are a single pilot who has had CRM training and you remain aware, stay vigilant, are always on the lookout for factors which can cause you to lose SA, and recognize early on any of the nine cues that you may be losing SA, you can immediately address them and thus break a link in an error chain forming.

Wermlandsflyg Twin Commander 500S

What helps enhance Situational Awareness?

  1. Your past experiences or what you have read
  2. Expectations – The more you are prepared, the greater the chance of handling the situation.
  3. Self-Briefing – This prepares and focuses your mind by preparing and reviewing what is expected in the future.
  4. Communication – Proper communication between team members and ATC plays a large part in effective situation awareness.
  5. Vigilance – Active monitoring of instruments, air traffic, deteriorating weather, and possible wires and obstructions