Military Aviation Authority Error Management Programme gets underway - Baines Simmons
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Military Aviation Authority Error Management Programme gets underway

The Military Aviation Authority’s (MAA) new aviation safety improvement investment programme commenced in September 2011 and is now well underway. The safety programme will ultimately benefit the entire UK defence aviation community, as the MAA continues to work with Baines Simmons to implement a pan-Defence Aviation Error Management System (DAEMS) that is driven by the recommendations of the Nimrod Review Report*.

Baines Simmons has been selected to work alongside the MAA to provide collaborative technical and expert safety support for the introduction of this ground-breaking DAEMS programme. Already nearing completion are the following elements:The Defence Systems Approach to Training (DSAT) alignment

  • Development of tailored training material, designed to meet the needs of the single service environment
  • The creation of the generic implementation template for DAEMS
  • Construction of the Advanced Error Management Course for military key stakeholders
  • Development of the Training and Learning Needs Analysis (TLNA) for the military environment
  • Development of TLNA-driven bespoke courses

February saw more than 220 group staff brought up to speed with a two-week training session at RAF High Wycombe that was designed to ensure comprehensive understanding and awareness of the AEMS at all levels of the organisation. The outcome was that personnel in command were empowered to engage actively with the process and to maximise the exploitation of data to enhance objectivity in decision-making.

Military Aviation Authority

Military Aviation AuthorityTraining started at RAF Leuchars at the end of January with highly visible commitment from senior management emphasising the importance of the programme. Not only was personal ownership of the project demonstrated by Air Commodore Parker (who is also Air Officer Scotland), but explicit ‘active’ safety leadership was established as all courses were opened or closed by members of the executive. The RAF AEMS at RAF Leuchars now conforms to the ‘4 world’ model of error management that includes operations, engineering, air traffic control and battle space management and direct support. Already, reporting has increased significantly, generating some extremely high-value material, including aircrew suffering interrupted sleep as well as insufficient and unsuitable foul-weather clothing. These reports have initiated some proactive investigations, as RAF Leuchars fully embraces the transition from reactive to proactive safety management.

Typical comments from the training sessions that have run to date include: “Very sceptical to start with but have now changed my viewpoint,” and “Spot on – really knew the topic,” as well as, “Fantastic trainer – very knowledgeable.”

States Air Commodore Parker: “Our senior management has had an extremely positive experience working with Baines Simmons consultants to establish a robust framework that supports the Safety Management System (SMS). This is enabling us to develop a more sustainable approach to error management and thus hazard visibility, control and reduction.”

Steve Harriss, Principal Consultant at Baines Simmons, comments: “Baines Simmons is proud to be operating in true partnership with RAF Leuchars and RAF Flight Safety in moving forward the desire for real improvement in safety management, the open minded and enthusiastic adoption of the ‘4 world’ approach is hugely encouraging and will enhance the risk picture significantly at RAF Leuchars”.

Over three and a half years, the DAEMS programme will engage with 18,000 aviation specialist personnel, working across the Royal Navy (RN), the British Army, the Royal Air Force (RAF), and Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S). It is the largest of its kind to be undertaken anywhere in the world.


* In the review of the circumstances surrounding the loss of Nimrod XV230 in 2006 in Afghanistan, Mr Charles Haddon Cave QC made 84 recommendations in the Nimrod Review Report (published 28 October 2009). The recommendations were for actions to be undertaken by the MOD to improve both air safety and wider aspects of safety across the MOD.