Well it’s that time of year again when Reserve and National Guard aviators plan and execute their annual training plans. Many commercial pilots are members of the Reserve components and take time off of their flying jobs to “switch hats” and put on the green flight suit to serve their country. The difficulty with keeping current and proficient within the active duty flight regulations requires breaking the training into blocks around weekends and a two-week period. Keep in mind that Reserve Component aviators have the same flight requirements as their active duty counterparts. The challenge for annual training is that there is a lack of continuous training time in a highly technical/tactical skill environment that makes it a more difficult-to-manage risk. This is even more important for the pilots who do not fly full-time. Good leaders remind their aviators that they are accountable for their actions and self-disciplined performance to standards that can have the greatest impact accident prevention. Planning with safety in mind is a sure-fire prerequisite for successful training.
The first step is to develop a command climate that permeates safety throughout the organization. Make it clear that standards must be adhered to and that supervisors have to enforce them. This safety philosophy starts at the top and flows downward, and then back up. Take for example, Army Field Manual 100-4 Risk Management, which states that risk management must be integrated into mission planning, preparation and execution. Leadership must continually identify hazards and assess both accident and tactical risks, then develop and coordinate control measures.
Tough, realistic training conducted to standard is the cornerstone of any military operation. This type of mission demands high-intensity field training in a realistic combat environment, and the potential for accidents is high. Supervision is key to accident prevention.
Rules to Remember
First, no unnecessary risks should ever be accepted. The leader who has the authority to accept a risk also has the responsibility of protecting their soldiers.
Second, risk decisions must be made at the appropriate level. The leader who is going to answer to his superiors if things go wrong is the leader who should make the decision to accept or reject the risk.
Finally, the benefits of taking the risk must outweigh the possible cost of the risk. Leaders must understand the risks involved and have a clear picture of the training benefits to be gained from taking the calculated risk.
Advantages of Risk Management
• Detect risks before losses
• Quantify risk
• Provide risk control alternatives
• Better decision-making
• Greater integration of safety
• Increased mission capability
Risk management is, in reality, a smart decision-making process, a way of thinking through a mission to balance training needs against the risks in terms of accidents and losses. Once understood, it is a way to put more realism into training without paying a price in deaths, injuries and damaged equipment. If our Reserve Component aviators follow these guidelines, they will have a safer and more enjoyable Annual Training event and can bring the benefits of this experience when returning to their civilian flying jobs. Fly Safe!
Related: Safety & Training News