The Human Factors Of The Bestiary

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Pablo Edronkin

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The study of the incidence of human factors in accidentology, survival and aviation should not be limited to the environment defined by the crew or passengers; instead, it should encompass even very ignorant people capable of perpetrating accidents on their own despite their apparent lack of connection with the system.

In order o do things well and triumph we often have to see things differently, under the surface and beyond the horizon, thinking and acting before others, and also, try to place ourselves in the pants of our rivals or just other people, to understand how they think.

Anyone who knows how to do this will succeed, no matter what, in occasions in which other people might just quit before starting. This rule can be applied to any kind of activity, including gaming and gambling, and going from search and rescue missions to business: for example, especially in Africa but also anywhere in the world where humanitarian catastrophes associated with local wars happen, members of organisations like the United Nations, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent must think ahead and like the locals in order to be able to carry on with their missions.

One problem that frequently arises is that of the markings that their aircraft use: A red cross, red crescent or the letters 'U.N.' written over a white surface seem self-evident to us; that is no belligerent aircraft indeed. But for an illiterate recruit, nervous and fatigued who sees things looking like bombs in an aircraft carrying markings that are for him unreadable, the fact that those ' Weapons' are really external fuel tanks might make no difference at all. So, there have been a number of shooting incidents involving peaceful aircraft on humanitarian missions.

Pilots and other people participating in these missions must stay ahead, think differently and act creatively in order to carry on without unnecessarily risking their lives. In the same token, in all sorts of activities, including gaming, winners and successful entrepreneurs must be able to think and act quickly, seeing beyond what is visible for the common people.

Another example of ignorance-related negligence is that of fuel tampering: This is something that has become routine in rag-tag, third world nations and is mostly seen at gas stations for regular land vehicles like cars and trucks. The damage that contaminated fuel could caus to them is serious, but this also happens with aircraft with one difference: In the case of flying machines this could be fatal.

I witnessed how technicians disassembled the Pratt & Whitney turbine of a Pilatus PC-12 that belonged to the Gendarmeria Nacional of Argentine (Border Rangers) that just arrived at Campo de Mayo military base near Buenos Aires from a flight that began in Haiti and with a fuel stop-over in Venezuela; the machine, assigned to a U.N. contingent, neary crashed in the Amazon due to fuel contamination and the engine had to be repaired. The bill was, indeed, enormous and the occupants of the turboprop could consider themselves lucky, because the sanitary evacuation plane could easily had disappeared in the middle of the jungle.

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