12 septembre 2018 | International, Aérospatial

Air Force: High ops tempos, lack of aircraft, inexperienced maintainers among mishap risks

By:

A series of one-day safety stand-downs across all flying and maintenance wings has given the Air Force several clues on how to correct a string of troubling — and sometimes fatal — aviation crashes and other mishaps, the service said Monday.

In a news release, the Air Force said the review identified six potential risks to aviation safety: stress caused by high operations tempos; a lack of time to properly focus on flying basics, mission activities and training; pressure to accept risk; a culture that pushes airmen to always execute the mission; decreased availability of aircraft; and the potential for airmen to become complacent when carrying out routine tasks.

The full report summary, provided at Air Force Times' request, also raised concerns about the increasing requirements on maintainers, and low experience in some operations and maintenance personnel.

The summary also cited “perception of ineffective training” as another area of concern.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein ordered the stand-down in May, after several high-profile mishaps including the May 2 crash of a WC-130 Hercules that killed the nine Puerto Rico Air National Guardsmen aboard.

“The review proved tremendously helpful as we continue to seek both high levels of safety with intense and realistic training,” Goldfein said in the release. “As air superiority is not an American birthright, our training must continue to be challenging and meaningful. But I also want commanders to have the decision authority to determine how far to push.”

The service has distributed those findings to the field, the release said, and flying and maintenance leaders are using those findings to help guide their decisions.

The summary also cites the aging fleet of Air Force aircraft as a problem contributing to increased maintenance requirements and decreased aircraft availability.

The summary said that major commands provided the Air Force Safety Center with their aggregate feedback after completing their safety stand-downs, so senior leaders could find out what issues and concerns were identified across all wings.

The Air Force has already started putting plans into place to address airmen's concerns, including adding more support back to squadrons, reducing additional duties, “enhancing information processes for aircrew mission planning” and cutting staff requirements, according to the release.

Full article: https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/09/11/air-force-high-ops-tempos-lack-of-aircraft-inexperienced-maintainers-among-mishap-risks

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