Cracking the whip breaks the human, as safety culture reaches the nadir due bureaucratic handling of safety.

A trainer aircraft met with an unfortunate accident on 8th June 2020 killing a trainer and a trainee. A very sad event.

Accidents in flying training have an element of human factor too. None of the past accident investigations have touched upon human factor as a cause since there are no experts in the regulator or investigator team.

No incidents

No incidents have been reported in flying training yet the number of accidents are on the rise.

Safety in flying training is a concern in India where the aviation sector had been booming pre-COVID19. The primary concern being poor infrastructure at the foundation stage. Human factor has been the primary cause in majority of accidents yet the awareness is very low.

Accidents in flying training

The flying schools have been mushrooming and closing. Out of the 30 flying training schools half are not functional for various reasons. There is no check on the standards of flying training imparted and safety culture is non-existent.

The regulator’s website does not show any incidents reported by the flying training institutes where as the number of accidents have increased in the past two years.

Accidents in training

A habit of audit

The bureaucratic handling of safety in India is a causative factor of accidents. When human factor is ignored and safety culture is non existent, it shows the thinking of the top brass of aviation. Cracking the whip can only crack the system as far as safety is concerned.

A safety audit is ordered post accidents and it has become a matter of routine. If there is an existing system of audits, then the question that arises is that there is a serious deficiency in the current auditing process that it is not able to detect any anomalies that special audits are required.

The cosy relationship that the regulator and operator enjoy ensures that that serious issues are conveniently brushed under the carpet till an accident takes place.

These are indications of pathological safety culture, which is the lowest level in the hierarchy.

Safety chant by regulator

The regulator has been chanting the ZERO accident mantra but that alone cannot improve the system. Verbalising safety cannot ensure safety. Actions have to precede the words. A safety culture with the tenets of just culture will make each individual responsible for safety of self and others. A reporting culture will ensure that each event is tracked and investigated to determine the root causes and fix them.

mindFly analysis

Aviation safety in India is at the lowest ebb with each individual determined to hide their flaws & weakness. Therefore when the system is under stress the fragility comes to fore and accidents take place. Investigations are mere formalities and the recommendations remain on paper. In such a system where human factor is neglected, there is very little hope for improvement till the whole system is revamped.

About Capt. Amit Singh

I think therefore I am Airlines Operations and Safety balance expert. A former head of operations/training and safety of successful LCC's in India. An experienced member of the startup teams of these airlines has hands-on experience in establishing airlines systems and processes.

1 Response

  1. Sudipt

    In such a system where human factor is neglected, there is very little hope for improvement till the whole system is revamped.- question is how will it be done and who will do it?

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