Crew Resource Management


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Cabin crew forms an important part of flight operation. They take the responsibility of the people aboard an aircraft. For a long time, cabin crews have been criticized for taking causal approach to aircraft safety leading to death of thousands of people. It is due to increased incidences of human error in aircraft accidents that led to development of Crew Resource Management (CRM) concept. Thanks to CRM, today’s flights and cabin crews are quite different from those of early days of commercial aviation. The captain in the aircraft was once taken to be the “God” during flight had his decisions and commands were not questioned. There was very little input from pilots because it was assumed that captain knows all and it would appear disrespectful to question the decision of the superior. This kind of relationship did not go well with civilian cockpits and the number of accidents which could be attributed to cabin crew errors increased. Airline accidents that were related to pilot errors claimed hundreds of lives and the knowledge of cabin crew on handling flights came to be questioned. For example in 1978, United 171 ran out of fuel flying over Portland and unfortunately, this was not noticed even by the cabin crew until it was too late. In 1982, Air Florida 90 failed to be properly de-iced and it crashed shortly after it had taken off from Washington. It was also revealed that all the standard operating procedures had been violated by the cabin crew. It’s a series of such accidents that could be attributed to human errors that led to implementation of Crew Resource Management in a bid to empower them with skills on how to handle flights. In 1980, United Airlines formally instituted a training program that  came to be known as Crew Resource Management (CRM) which was aimed at equipping the whole cabin crew, including pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, dispatchers, and others with personal and interpersonal skill to handle flights with safety. CRM mainly emphasizes on the principles and concept of improving crew performance and flight safety. Although it has been criticized by some people in the sense that there has been accidents attributed to human errors despite its existence for more than three decades, it has generally been acknowledged that CRM cannot solve all the problems related to human errors but it goes an extra mile to equip pilots and cabin crew members with important safety measures they need to observe during a flight. It is a not a panacea of aircraft accidents but it can make a huge impact on mitigation human related aircraft accidents.