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Same old, same old!


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Do routines help to avoid mistakes? Yes.


Do routines lead to complacency? Yes.



In my mind routines are good to have, so long as doing the routine doesn't become routine. If you do the routine and expect to find something out of the ordinary, odds are you'll see it. If, however, you go through a routine expecting to find everything the same, odds are you'll miss the glitch and it was a pleasure to know you.



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Question is as the title. Do routines help to avoid mistakes or lead to complacency? This came up in a recent HF / CRM course I attended.




Hi Joker,


I absolutely agree with Westcoaster.


Yes and Yes


I guess routines which become routines are a reason why the accident rate rises in the middle of your career. It´s the same in other professions. I know it positively about scuba diving. A Diver with 200 dives has statisticly more accidents than a diver with 50 dives.

And that´s because you know your routines so well that you start no paying attention to them.

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I think something to add would be habits. Habit is what we go to when the "fit hits the shan". When an actual emergency happens our brains tend to go into auto and whatever habits you have will allow you to deal with an emergency. Habits I suppose are routines that are engrained during training. In this respect routine may save your arse.


Regarding routine, I tend to fly the same routes. Main reason is search and rescue. If I have a problem and go down out here in Alaska, my co-workers know to search a certain route (i.e. Juneau to Petersburg I travel Mainland Coastline...). If I stray from routine and have a problem my rescue may be a long ways away due to them having to search all of creation to find me. As a wise pilot friend says, "Boring is safe."


I think complacency happens all the time. One trick I use is to remind myself that everytime I go up I have a high potential to crash and die. I don't want to die too soon so I keep a vigilant eye out for the grim reaper pushing down on the helicopter (downdraft or settling with power) or him throwing tree branches at me (confined area downwash sucking over trees). If you remember that flying can kill you, complacency stays in check.


If you are afraid, complacency has little room to enter your head. Fear is what saves you. No fear is what kills you. Not sure if that is really related to routine but ...

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