What is CRM?

What is Crew Resource Management (CRM)?

CRM definition and the non-technical skills that encompass it

What is CRM (Source UK CAA CAP 737)

In essence, CRM is used by flight crew (and others in a safety critical role within aviation) to enhance the safety of every flight. It promotes the use of non-technical skills, like teamwork and decision making to ensure sound situational awareness and problem solving.

Crew Resource Management (CRM) is defined by the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority as:

“A management system which makes optimum use of all available resources (equipment, procedures and people) to promote safety and enhance the efficiency of flight operations”

It encompasses a wide range of knowledge, skills and attitudes including, communication, situational awareness, problem solving, decision making and teamwork. CRM is concerned with the cognitive and interpersonal skills to manage the flight within an organised system. Cognitive skills are defined as the mental process used for gaining and maintaining situational awareness for solving problems and for making / taking decision.

When is CRM used?

CRM is used from the moment the crew enter the crew room all the way through to checkout at the end of the day and constantly in between. From the pre-flight decisions in the crew room, through to taxiing to stand after landing, how the crew interact with others and perceive their environment is critical to flight safety. Promoting this self awareness and realising that humans are susceptible to error are critical elements to CRM.

What is Situational Awareness?

The UK CAA define Situational Awareness as:

“One’s ability to accurately perceive what is in the flight deck and outside the aircraft, comprehend the meaning of these
elements and be able to project their possible status in the near future.”

This requires continuos refinement of perception, the need to understand the meaning of your perception and understanding that it is quite possible for crew to have an incorrect perception of reality.

In essence, Situational Awareness is correctly understanding the current state/configuration of the aircraft, the environment in which it is in and project these factors into the future. It is said that Situational Awareness takes a long time to build up but only a few seconds to loose.

It is quite possible that the crew believe they have an accurate perception of the current circumstances, but in fact have a inaccurate perception. For example, believing they are lined up with the runway to land when in fact they are lined up with the parallel taxi-way. It is therefore necessary to regularly question whether your perception of current circumstances are accurate.

What are Non-Technical Skills (Notechs)?

Non-Technical skills refer to skills that are not concerned with the physical operation of the aircraft, rather the management of it. Generally speaking, Notechs are split into four subsections:

  • Decision Making
  • Leadership & Management
  • Crew Cooperation
  • Situational Awareness