Human Factors vs. Common Sense – Not So Common!

The study of Human Factors is the cornerstone of understanding Crew Resource Management.  Human Factors (HF) is often characterized as just common sense.  This is not accurate.  Human Factors is a science with experimentation and hard data as its underpinning, while common sense is, well, just not that common. A primary driver for asserting the […]

My First Podcast: Automation Overload

Interview with Patrick Mendenhall: Automation & Technology Management I recently sat down with TrainingPort Lead Technical Advisor, Brent Fishlock, to discuss a number of Crew Resource Management issues.  Chief among them was a very timely topic of Automation Overload.  Automation and technology have certainly made our lives better, but they have not come without a […]

Threat Management: “Expected” Threats

“Thinking” as an Antidote to Complacency… Threat and Error Management is the cornerstone of Crew Resource Management.  So much so that it is the only training element that the new Transport Canada Contemporary CRM guide (Transport Canada AC 700-042) will require it to be presented annually as opposed to the other training elements which are […]

It is Always Better to Manage the Threat than to have to React to It!

On October 12th of last year, we were dispatched on a flight from Atlanta to Portland.  The remnants from Hurricane Matthew had finally cleared in the Southeast at least, but the forecast for our 7:00 PM arrival in Portland was pretty much at Category I minimums.  With a couple of decent alternates available and some […]

How a Retailer has Adapted HRO Principles with Great Results

My wife and I recently downsized to a brand spanking new condo.  Along with fresh paint and a few other personal touches, purchasing new window treatments was high on our list of move-in priorities.  After diligent consumer research (and yes, influenced by a fairly intense advertising campaign), we chose to deal with that task.  […]

Can we Fly and Talk at the Same Time? – PLEASE?

Lessons from Asiana 214: What All HROs Can Learn In the July 15, 2013 edition of Aviation Week and Space Technology, John Croft comments that “…over-reliance on automation systems appears to have trumped basic flying skills and crew resource management [CRM] in the crash of Asiana 214…”  Like a child learning to walk, the aviation […]

See Something? SAY SOMETHING! as seen on

The Crucial Importance of Open and Honest Communication to High Reliability Organizations Carmine Gallo of notes that the crash of Asiana flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport has put aviation safety back in the spotlight.  Mr. Gallo interviewed Beyond The Checklist: What Else Healthcare Has to Learn from Aviation Safety and Teamwork co-author […]

Breaking News: Nothing New to Report!

In its May, 2013 issue, Consumer Reports (CR) tells us that “Safety still lags in U.S. hospitals – our ratings show most hospitals need to improve.”  The good news in the article is that more hospitals are reporting their errors (such as hospital acquired infections, readmission & complication rates and overuse of certain procedures). Without […]

Meet Risk Management Consultant Patrick Mendenhall

Recent Interview with Blogger Marguerite Giguere What is your background in aviation? I started flying when I was 16 and got my private license at 19. I majored in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Washington, worked for Boeing in flight testing then went into the navy to fly fighters. I was active duty for […]

What Denzel Washington’s “Flight” can teach us about Patient Safety & CRM

 When my fellow author, Suzanne Gordon, recently suggested that we do an opinion piece or blog post about the movie Flight, my first response was, “I just don’t think there’s anything there that we could effectively relate to the subject of our book” (applications of the aviation safety model to healthcare, that is). Then […]