Lex Rock Heemstra

Crew Resource Management – Time for a Revisit

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Lex Rock Heemstra

Lex Rock Heemstra has been involved in the design and delivery of CRM for over 30 years and presented CRM and safety courses in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He has a military aviation background of 29 years having flown fixed wing and helicopters, as pilot, maintenance test pilot and Category A Flight Instructor. He held the post of Human Factors Specialist at Emirates Airlines for just over eight years before joining Qatar Airways as the Vice President Human Factors. He has presented papers on Human Factors at more than 30 international conferences. In 2018 he went of semi-retirement, but is still actively involved in human factors projects worldwide. 

Crew Resource Management – Maybe Time for a Total Revamp

Crew Resource Management (CRM) was proposed 40 years ago. Slow to start and met with resistance by old and bold captains, airlines slowly started introducing the course in the late 80’s. Today it is a requirement promulgated by most civil aviation authorities. However, is it being taken as seriously as it should and if not, why not? In a recent survey (Heemstra – June, 2019), 72 airlines from 35 countries worldwide, provided varied results in the overall conduct and acceptance of CRM. The initial CRM course is conducted between one to five days, dependent on the operator. The classroom hours allocated to the initial course varied from six hours to over fifteen hours. Even through EASA proposes not less than sixteen classroom hours for the initial CRM, 16 out of 21 operators (75.7%) from 11 European countries were conducting initial CRM in less than sixteen hours, some managing to complete the proposed syllabus in under six hours.

Regarding the annual recurrent CRM, courses ranged from less than four hours to over eight hours. The configuration of the annual recurrent was either pilots or cabin crew on their own; pilots and cabin first doing their own CRM and then combining in the afternoon; and finally, only combined CRM.

The global aviation environment should allow flight and cabin crew to be interchangeable throughout the world, however, with CRM not being standardised or regulated sufficiently, this increases the training workload of each individual operator. 

The goal of this paper is to address:

– Detailed results of the June 2019 survey (97 respondents from 35 countries)
– Current CRM syllabus – is it still fit for purpose?
– The benefits of international standardisation, amongst airlines
– Why CRM must support and develop EBT competencies
– The positive and negative aspects of classroom configurations
– The need to enhance the skills of CRMI’s.