As the hearings into last summer’s crash of Asiana 214 at San Francisco International Airport get underway, I can only hope that they will result in a real and meaningful look at the relationship between today’s pilots and their modern aircraft. I expect though, the result will once again be platitudes like “over reliance on automation” and the obligatory mandate for stricter policy and more procedure. Standard operating procedure (SOP) is essential in airline operations, however, it should be used as a tool and SOP compliance should never be viewed as THE objective in establishing a safe operation. The system will try to legislate and regulate effective decision-making through narrowly targeted training scenarios, more SOP and increased spending on airport navigation aids. It will succeed in giving the appearance of making the airline industry safer while actually failing to address the root cause of this type of accident, ineffective threat identification and mitigation.
Kaffee (Tom Cruise): I think I’m entitled to them.
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can’t handle the truth!