Crew Resource Management

CRM is a concept involving three main elements:

  • Indoctrination and awareness training
  • Practice, feedback and recurrent training
  • Continuing reinforcement

This CRM course and manual utilize plain language in a non-technical format. Individual participation is imperative to gain maximum benefit from the course.

The key to the success of a CRM program is the mutual respect and confidence that is created among crew members which fosters an environment that is conducive to openness, candor, and constructive critique. The result is a more professional performance due to the synergy that is achieved in the cockpit, thereby decreasing the risk of an accident or incident.

Course Objective

  • To gain a greater awareness of the concepts, philosophies and objectives of resource management training
  • To enable students to utilize more resource management tools
  • To enhance students abilities to utilize their most valuable resource – THEMSELVES


Today’s flight and cabin crews are much different than they were during the early years of commercial aviation. The captain of the aircraft was once considered “God” and his decisions were always the “right” ones. There was little, if any, input from the other pilots because they assumed the captain knew what he was doing. It was also considered somewhat disrespectful to question the decisions of a superior. Part of this thinking had its genesis from the military. At one time the military was the biggest producer of pilots, and along with military training came a good dose of machismo, ego, and autocratic decision-making processes (many military fighters were single pilot aircraft and therefore lacked the redundancy of, and decision inputs from, another crewmember). This attitude did not transfer well into civilian cockpits. The problems began to manifest in pilot error related airline accidents that claimed hundreds of lives:

  • 1978, United 171 ran out of fuel over Portland, Oregon and no one noticed until it was too late.
  • 1972, Eastern 401 gradually descended into the Everglades as all three crewmembers became fixated on a landing light indication and the autopilot became disengaged.
  • 1982, Air Florida 90 was not properly de-iced and crashed shortly after takeoff from Washington, D.C. In addition, standard operating procedures were violated by an inexperienced flight crew.
  • 1985, Delta 191 was caught in an unreported windshear on final approach to the Dallas/Fort Worth airport.

It was obvious that something needed to be done to address the human aspect of flying an aircraft. Airlines were noticing that although pilots were technically competent, their people skills were deficient. In other words, the captain could fly a perfect Instrument Landing System (ILS) approach, but could not work in a synergistic environment to effectively accomplish tasks. This can create a potentially dangerous and antagonistic situation.

Crew Resource Management (CRM) was developed as a response to new insights into the causes of aircraft accidents which followed from the introduction of flight recorders and cockpit voice recorders into modern jet aircraft. Information gathered from these devices had suggested that as many as 70% of accidents had little to do with technical aspects of flying; it appears instead that they were caused by the inability of crews to respond appropriately to the situation in which they find themselves.

The result of this research led to the first workshop on CRM; this was sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1979

CRM Defined

CRM encompasses a wide range of knowledge skills and attitudes including communications, situational awareness, problem solving, decision making and teamwork. The elements which comprise CRM are not new but have been recognized in way or another since aviation began, usually under more general terms such as (but not limited to) Airmanship, Captaincy, and Crew Co-operation. These terms have not previously been defined in a formal way and now CRM can be seen as an attempt to rectify this deficiency.

CRM can therefore be defined as a management system that makes use of all available resources ? equipment, procedures and people to promote safety and enhance the efficiency of flight operations.

CRM therefore involves:

  • Flight Crew
  • Cabin Crew
  • Engineering
  • Operations
  • Ramp Workers
  • Air Traffic Control etc.

The resources that we have available are:

  • Ourselves
  • Others
  • Our Aircraft

CRM is not limited to multi-crew pilots; CRM is a concept affecting the way you think and the way you act, it is intended to heighten attitudes and behaviour, not change personalities. All pilots whether they be in a multi crew environment or single pilot along with cabin crew, operations , engineering and Air Traffic Controllers can all benefit from CRM training.

What CRM IS and IS NOT


  • A comprehensive system for improving crew performance
  • A process addressing the entire crew and other related staff
  • A system that can be extended to all forms of air crew training
  • A concentration on crew member attitudes and behaviors and their impact on safety
  • An opportunity for individuals to examine their behavior and make individual decisions on how to improve cockpit teamwork
  • A utilization of the crew as the unit of training
  • Active participation training that focuses on safety improvement
  • Is self-convincing


  • A quick fix that can be implemented overnight
  • A training program administered to only a few specialized or “fix-it” cases
  • A system that occurs independent of other ongoing training activities
  • A psychological assessment or personality profile
  • A system where crews are given a specific prescription of how to work with others on the flight deck
  • Another form of individually-centred crew training
  • A passive lecture-style classroom course
  • An attempt by management to dictate cockpit behaviour

The following video is an example of what CRM is NOT!

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