March 22, 2010 | Mark Paradies

Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Flying to the Scene of the Crash

Some airports are more forgiving than others. They have longer runways, better approaches, and less challenging weather conditions.

The video below is from London City Airport, a more challenging approach, especially when there is a stiff crosswind.

(.mp4 format video – click to play)

This wasn’t an accident but one could say it was a near-miss (look how close the tail came to hitting the runway and how close the plane came to flipping).

When faced with a challenging approach, pilots must make a last minute decision – land or go around and try again. If they decide wrong, the mistake can be called “Flying to the scene of the crash” because they should have judged that they didn’t meet the criteria to land and then quickly decided to add power, pull up, and go around.

What helps the pilots make the right decision? Training/experience, instrumentation (good human factors), and the company culture (do the pilots get ribbed if they have to go around?).

Now let’s think about your company.

Most readers aren’t at airlines. But do your employees have to make decisions about production vs. safety under pressure? What do you do to help them make the right decisions?

This can be an interesting lesson learned.

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