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.