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Monday, December 26, 2011

Some body could die on this airfield in 2012

Some body could die on this airfield in 2012.... because they did not consider that what they were going may have dangers. In fact, right now I am preparing for the staff meeting on Monday morning. The 'return to work' for the main crews. (Avtech students will start back a week later).

My annual 'state of the airfield' speech is not a heartwarming one. It begins with 'Some body could die on this airfield this year...' , people do not like it. I will get told 'You must not say that' or 'that is not a good approach'. But, as an aviator I know thatm recognition of a risk is preparation for the risk and, in many cases, the best way of preventing the potential negative outcomes of that risk. The approach at Kpong Airfield, across all three entities - Medicine on the Move, AvTech Academy and WAASPS, is one of  'aviation-centric safety'. As a pilot we start each flight by planning for a disaster! What we will do 'if something goes wrong'? What is the option, do we have enough EXTRA fuel to cope with a weather or other issue? Do we have a suitable safety pack? Do we have first aid, water, food, cash and a mobile phone in case we have to land in the bush somewhere inhospitable? Do we have a rope to climb out of a tree in case we land in a tree? Do we have a life preserver or the life raft if we are going near 'such risk areas'? Is the engine safe and sound? (we remove the top cowl at least once every day that we fly a cowled aircraft - most cowled engines only get a cowl off inspection every 50 hours - why? because we expect the worst... .and check for it!). Bruce Landsberg, president of the AOPA Foundation recently made the statement that "Complacency remains the enemy of safety"

Interestingly, in the 'developed' world, we condition our children for the dangers of the road 'Look left and right before you cross or you could be crushed to death by a car' is the basic rule, and that 'fearful respect' works in reducing the accident rate of children crossing roads. However, when was the last time you went out to your car and said 'Well, today we could all have a fearful accident in this car, let us all check the wheels, engine, and make sure we have no loose objects that could fly around, all loads secured, and all wear our seat belts BEFORE we start the engine - BECAUSE we understand the risks? Perhaps, in the kitchen we should start by stating 'Salmonella kills, and we want to have a safe meal - and those knives could cause a nasty accident, so let us make sure we have a stocked first aid cabinet BEFORE we use them'....

As we prepare to embark on flight #2012, we should, perhaps, ask ourselves 'are we complacent about safety in 2012?' and 'what can we do to make it a safe year?' and whilst we are in the that frame of mind, please if you can, ask 'can I help to make life a little better for the folks that Medicine on the Move are reaching out to?'

Let us not HOPE for a safe 2012, let us not be COMPLACENT about safety in 2012 - let us all WORK towards a greater SAFETY AWARENESS and SAFETY RECORD by being aware of the RISKS that 2012 has in store, and MITIGATE against them...

Have a great day - enjoy the rest of 2011!

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