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What is The Ultimate Risk Assessment


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#1 Spike

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 13:42

Let’s forget about the FAA’s suggested Risk Assessment or your company’s, or any other institutional method for that matter. If YOU had the opportunity to create the ultimate Risk Assessment, what would it be?


Edited by Spike, 05 August 2016 - 13:43.


#2 Wally

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 13:58

When in doubt, chicken out.


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Just a pilot (retired, so I have a LOT of time)...


#3 r22butters

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 14:02



The human body comes standard with its own risk assessment!
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The only dream I have left is to live long enough to see the pilot shortage. Its been about fourteen years since they first told me it was coming, so,...

Aaaaaaaany day now! :D

#4 Hand_Grenade_Pilot

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 17:39

Risk Assement Form - To be completed by all pilots prior to flight

Are you confident the flight can be completed safely?

1.) Yes
- Proceed with flight

2.) No
- Do not proceed with flight


My personal opinion is that company mandated risk assement forms are bullshit. Check yourself. Check the equipment. Check the weather. Gather all supplemental info available. Then make a professional decision based on your past experiences and gut feeling.

Tallying a bunch of numbers for a go, no-go decision doesn't work with highly subjective criteria. The threshold for the go / no-go decision depends on pilot experience (in the area, operation being performed and aircraft flown) and can vary greatly between pilots in the same company/organization. Even if you have a form that tries to factor each pilot having different limits, you're left with an over complicated mess that hinders the pilot by adding time, while doing nothing to increase safety. The EMS industry is a shining example of the procedure not working. And the 'perfect risk assessment form' wont fix it. That sector of the industry will be plagued by accidents until they offer better pay to attract experienced pilots, rather than folks fresh out of the military or with a background doing nothing but sightseeing tours.

Edited by Hand_Grenade_Pilot, 05 August 2016 - 20:22.

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Aviation is a cruel mistress. When she's not taking your money, she's coming up with creative ways to kill you.

#5 rotormandan

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Posted 05 August 2016 - 23:47

So what you're sayinh is the assesment should be...Do you get paid well? Yes? Ok, go fly if you'r comfortable then.

Sounds good to me

#6 Eric Hunt

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 02:23

The most important person on the aircraft is YOU.

 

If you can bring YOU back home safe'n'sound, then go. The rest of the self-loading ballast can sit back and enjoy the ride.


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#7 dolphindriver

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 11:44

Having been a pilot for over 25 years, I have been in all types of organizations. Some required a risk assessment for a simple hover check and others didn't require it for even the highest risk operations one can do.

 

I have been on the pilot side, the management side, the maintenance side, and have also tried to look at it from a different perspective as a safety guy. The answer to the best risk assessment tool question? Whatever someone will actually use.

 

The truth is that a good risk assessment looks at things you would already consider. So why do one? Because our brain is great at identifying risk, but it is also great at compartmentalizing.

 

Quick example. We can easily identify that scud running is a bad idea and people get killed doing it, but we still do it. Why? Because when we make the decision to do it we conveniently leave out other parts of the equation. When was the last time we flew instruments? When was the last time we flew at night? Will there be suitable landing areas if the weather comes down too low? What are the obstacles along my route? 

 

We could take every one of those questions and justify a way to mitigate a risk or two such as low clouds at night. But when we add in the next risk, we often drop the ball. Instead of  noting all of the risks, we only use one or two of the risks to make our assessment.

 

A flight that you may have made comfortably 100 times may not be so comfortable if one or two factors change. Will it be the same if it is night instead of day? What if you were up all night? What if you are stressed due to a divorce? We don't take all of the factors into consideration normally as we can only work with one or two variables at a time.  

 

That is what a risk assessment tool is for, to correlate a bunch of random factors into one complete review. Don't use the tool as a check off sheet to see if you can go or not, use it as a tool to identify factors that may affect your flight and figure out how to manage them. If you can manage them, you will be able to have a nice plan to make it work, If you can't, then don't go.



#8 rotornut67

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 22:49

For what it's worth, here is mine: 

 

Would I accept the flight with my wife and kids in the back?  (and yes I love my wife and kids... ;) )

 

If the answer is no then I don't go



#9 Spike

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 21:16

Having been a pilot for over 25 years, I have been in all types of organizations. Some required a risk assessment for a simple hover check and others didn't require it for even the highest risk operations one can do.

 

I have been on the pilot side, the management side, the maintenance side, and have also tried to look at it from a different perspective as a safety guy. The answer to the best risk assessment tool question? Whatever someone will actually use.

 

The truth is that a good risk assessment looks at things you would already consider. So why do one? Because our brain is great at identifying risk, but it is also great at compartmentalizing.

 

Quick example. We can easily identify that scud running is a bad idea and people get killed doing it, but we still do it. Why? Because when we make the decision to do it we conveniently leave out other parts of the equation. When was the last time we flew instruments? When was the last time we flew at night? Will there be suitable landing areas if the weather comes down too low? What are the obstacles along my route? 

 

We could take every one of those questions and justify a way to mitigate a risk or two such as low clouds at night. But when we add in the next risk, we often drop the ball. Instead of  noting all of the risks, we only use one or two of the risks to make our assessment.

 

A flight that you may have made comfortably 100 times may not be so comfortable if one or two factors change. Will it be the same if it is night instead of day? What if you were up all night? What if you are stressed due to a divorce? We don't take all of the factors into consideration normally as we can only work with one or two variables at a time.  

 

That is what a risk assessment tool is for, to correlate a bunch of random factors into one complete review. Don't use the tool as a check off sheet to see if you can go or not, use it as a tool to identify factors that may affect your flight and figure out how to manage them. If you can manage them, you will be able to have a nice plan to make it work, If you can't, then don't go.

 

While the input is appreciated, for most of us, the general purpose and theory behind RA’s is absolutely understood. The question was targeted to those who are required to use RA’s, and for this forum, this means quite of few pilots who have more than 25 years of experience and, have had various positions throughout the commercial sector.

 

Either way, from your post, your ultimate RA is simply one that you will use. Therefore, does that mean I should as well? And, if I don’t find it useful, am I negligent for not using it?

 

Pilots were once trained to prepare for their next flight at end of their last flight. At minimum, as soon as you rise in the morning, you prepare for the days flight by gathering all of the external information the world and nature provides. The pilot is good to go (IMSAFE), the machine is good to go, the pilot monitored the environment for which he or she going to operate in and have considered all of the possible scenarios.  This was all done in their heads, based on their training and experience. 

 

Now, some 35 years later, they need to check a box to acknowledge what they already know, and therein lies the problem.  What’s going to get them is the unknown which cannot be forecasted in a RA matrix. We plan and prepare to the best of our abilities but as the statistics show, no matter what is done, people will still make the ultimate mistake and no matrix will prevent it. This is why I asked the question. To have experienced operators go beyond the obvious. To think out-of-the-box and get away from the status-quo RA’s, which by the way, are basically reproduced from other industries, or the Military. 

 

We can make this as simple as some have already suggested, or we can complicate things and turn them into an obscene bureaucracy.

 

Lastly and most importantly, the ultimate RA starts in the HR department. Primarily during the hiring phase of all the applicants associated with the operation/business because, that is where the first error is often made.


Edited by Spike, 25 February 2017 - 21:18.

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#10 dolphindriver

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 12:57

Spike,

 

I am not new to the game, I have well over 25 years of experience. I am on this forum and I have to use risk assessments so I think I meet the criteria of who you are asking the question to in the discussion.

 

I have to disagree with your presumptions because history just doesn't support it. You noted the following: 

 

"The pilot is good to go (IMSAFE), the machine is good to go, the pilot monitored the environment for which he or she going to operate in and have considered all of the possible scenarios.  This was all done in their heads, based on their training and experience."

 

"What’s going to get them is the unknown which cannot be forecasted in a RA matrix. We plan and prepare to the best of our abilities but as the statistics show, no matter what is done, people will still make the ultimate mistake and no matrix will prevent it."

 

First, people are not getting into trouble because of the unknown. Most occur with things that are known before they take off. Second, if they considered all possible scenarios, nobody would ever crash unless they chose the scenario in which they crashed.

 

Can you provide a recent helicopter crash that occurred due to something that couldn't have been forecast? You may not be able to predict an exact event at a specific time but you can forecast potential issues with a risk assessment if used correctly. If you just check boxes looking for a good number and then go, you are right, it is a waste of time. But if you use it as a tool as intended, then it can work well.

 

Look at the HEMS crashes. Most of the crashes are flight into bad weather where they go IIMC and then crash. Was the weather unknown? Nope. They either knew and went anyway or never checked the weather. Why?

 

You are right, if you hire good pilots you have a lower chance of having a major event but there are a lot of good, dead pilots so that isn't a foolproof plan. 

 

You may not be able to predict an exact event at a specific time but you can forecast things with a risk assessment but it has to be used correctly. If you just check boxes looking for a good number and then go, you are right, nothing is accomplished. But if you use it as a tool as intended, then it can work well.

 

So, what is the ultimate risk assessment? Who knows. If I did I would be too busy counting my money to be on this site. But here is what I think it should contain how it should be used:

 

Items that need to be addressed:

 

1. Physiological considerations

2. Proficiency considerations

3. Aircraft considerations

4. Environmental considerations

 

Look at those four items and make sure they correlate the way they should. 

 

I make a personal assessment and realize I am tired since I didn't sleep well last night but I am still ok to fly. It is a risk but I will mitigate it by taking things a bit slower and double checking things as I go.

 

I have flown 40 hours during the day this month, I feel proficient in flying but how proficient am I at night since I haven't flown at night in 45 days?  That is a risk, I will fly a little higher, only accept a larger landing area, take things a bit slower. The risk assessment just helped.

 

On that same flight, I see the weather is just above mins at the areas reporting weather in the area but where I am going there is no reporting source but I am familiar with the area so I make an educated guess the weather will be the same or higher. I am a VFR only pilot so what do I do to mitigate it? Perhaps I will review obstacles in the area just to make sure if I have to be a little lower than normal I can still safely fly. My risk assessment just helped.

 

I mitigated my individual risks but now, I look back at my risk assessment. I wanted to fly higher because it was night and I didn't want to hit any obstacles. It was also bad weather so I realized I might have to fly lower, that might be an issue one way or the other. Since it is night time, I have a greater chance of inadvertently flying into a cloud and it will be much darker because of the cloud cover. Plus, since I am a bit tired and only fly VFR, if I go into the clouds I don't have a really good chance of getting out of that situation alive. Perhaps now would be a good time to take another look at the list of the hazards I noted and see if there is a better way to mitigate them collectively. If not, maybe I shouldn't go.

 

Can a good pilot correlate all of that in their head? Sometimes, but not every time. If you have a risk assessment tool that lets you identify hazards and look at all of them collectively to make a better decision, that is a good thing. It doesn't have to give you license to go or not to go, it just lets you review your options and adjust as necessary.  

 

 

 

 

  

 

 


Edited by dolphindriver, 02 March 2017 - 13:02.


#11 Spike

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 11:44

Spike,

 

I am not new to the game, I have well over 25 years of experience. I am on this forum and I have to use risk assessments so I think I meet the criteria of who you are asking the question to in the discussion.

 

I have to disagree with your presumptions because history just doesn't support it. You noted the following: 

 

"The pilot is good to go (IMSAFE), the machine is good to go, the pilot monitored the environment for which he or she going to operate in and have considered all of the possible scenarios.  This was all done in their heads, based on their training and experience."

 

"What’s going to get them is the unknown which cannot be forecasted in a RA matrix. We plan and prepare to the best of our abilities but as the statistics show, no matter what is done, people will still make the ultimate mistake and no matrix will prevent it."

 

First, people are not getting into trouble because of the unknown. Most occur with things that are known before they take off. Second, if they considered all possible scenarios, nobody would ever crash unless they chose the scenario in which they crashed.

 

Can you provide a recent helicopter crash that occurred due to something that couldn't have been forecast? You may not be able to predict an exact event at a specific time but you can forecast potential issues with a risk assessment if used correctly. If you just check boxes looking for a good number and then go, you are right, it is a waste of time. But if you use it as a tool as intended, then it can work well.

 

Look at the HEMS crashes. Most of the crashes are flight into bad weather where they go IIMC and then crash. Was the weather unknown? Nope. They either knew and went anyway or never checked the weather. Why?

 

You are right, if you hire good pilots you have a lower chance of having a major event but there are a lot of good, dead pilots so that isn't a foolproof plan. 

 

You may not be able to predict an exact event at a specific time but you can forecast things with a risk assessment but it has to be used correctly. If you just check boxes looking for a good number and then go, you are right, nothing is accomplished. But if you use it as a tool as intended, then it can work well.

 

So, what is the ultimate risk assessment? Who knows. If I did I would be too busy counting my money to be on this site. But here is what I think it should contain how it should be used:

 

Items that need to be addressed:

 

1. Physiological considerations

2. Proficiency considerations

3. Aircraft considerations

4. Environmental considerations

 

Look at those four items and make sure they correlate the way they should. 

 

I make a personal assessment and realize I am tired since I didn't sleep well last night but I am still ok to fly. It is a risk but I will mitigate it by taking things a bit slower and double checking things as I go.

 

I have flown 40 hours during the day this month, I feel proficient in flying but how proficient am I at night since I haven't flown at night in 45 days?  That is a risk, I will fly a little higher, only accept a larger landing area, take things a bit slower. The risk assessment just helped.

 

On that same flight, I see the weather is just above mins at the areas reporting weather in the area but where I am going there is no reporting source but I am familiar with the area so I make an educated guess the weather will be the same or higher. I am a VFR only pilot so what do I do to mitigate it? Perhaps I will review obstacles in the area just to make sure if I have to be a little lower than normal I can still safely fly. My risk assessment just helped.

 

I mitigated my individual risks but now, I look back at my risk assessment. I wanted to fly higher because it was night and I didn't want to hit any obstacles. It was also bad weather so I realized I might have to fly lower, that might be an issue one way or the other. Since it is night time, I have a greater chance of inadvertently flying into a cloud and it will be much darker because of the cloud cover. Plus, since I am a bit tired and only fly VFR, if I go into the clouds I don't have a really good chance of getting out of that situation alive. Perhaps now would be a good time to take another look at the list of the hazards I noted and see if there is a better way to mitigate them collectively. If not, maybe I shouldn't go.

 

Can a good pilot correlate all of that in their head? Sometimes, but not every time. If you have a risk assessment tool that lets you identify hazards and look at all of them collectively to make a better decision, that is a good thing. It doesn't have to give you license to go or not to go, it just lets you review your options and adjust as necessary.  

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Again, I appreciate your input. However, I didn’t pose the question to debate, or preach, the usefulness of a RA. I simply asked for suggestions in ways to improve and/or create an RA that will actually make a difference in accident reduction. Not to hear the same old story why we need to use one.  Crashes still happen and RA’s will have little to no effect on this fact. Once the statistics show this over time, then maybe someone else will make another attempt to build the better mousetrap…..

 

Thank you and have a great day.


Edited by Spike, 03 March 2017 - 12:14.





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