Is the Study of Accidents the Same as Mishap Prevention? Are the Two Related or Is Mishap Prevention More?

Recent publications of the Boeing Statistical Summary of Commercial Airplane Accidents, The ICAO Safety Review,  The EASA Annual Safety Review and the UK CAA Global Fatal Accident Review cause me to react this way: These are documents of failures, of human failures, of failures despite the best efforts of many government and commercial organizations.

I understand that the logic is mainly deductive reasoning, let’s discover what went wrong and study it. Then let’s use our logic to try to figure out why what went wrong and let everyone know.

Then let’s take a break and hope that someone can tell us how to keep this from re-occurring.

Is reviewing previous mishaps events, the same thing as coming up with procedures to prevent mishaps from ever occurring in the first place? Is there some sort of bizarre human logic that says until people die in a mishap, there is no reason to make change?

Do we have a tendency to focus on the failures and try to figure out who was at fault?  To promote safety, could we rather be spending our time and energy trying to look ahead and see the hazards that are present in our operations right now?  could we present ourselves with resolutions these same hazards before, yes before, not after we have another crash?


How many of you reading this, believe that this is possible? How many of you think that perhaps you can play some role in that effort? If so, I would encourage you to work in that effort with all your imagination and resourcefulness. You may well have a favorable outcome.

Remember that every time you resolve a safety hazard to your operation, you prevent an incident or possibly an accident or mishap.  The quicker you work, the sooner the hazard becomes resolved and the fewer operations occur with the hazard in place.

Be imaginative.

Published by Capt. Paul Miller

Aviation safety expert with 43 years in the sky

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