However, the accident experienced by United Airlines Flight 173 brought the need to change the cockpit culture. The Crew Resource Management was, therefore, introduced as a new way of cockpit management. It was meant to improve the ability of crew members in handling complex flight situations that require emergency response (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, FAA, 2013).
Latest findings by “National Transportation Safety Board” in the commercial aviation sector show that human error attributed to the occurrence of flight accidents rather than mechanical failure. A good example is United Airlines flight 173, which crashed and killed 8 passengers and 2 crew members out of the 189 passengers on board. The rest suffered serious injuries. The accident occurred in December 28, 1978 about 1815 Pacific Standard Time within a populated area of suburban Portland, Oregon (Wiener, 1993).
Most of the human errors, during a flight, happen due to poor human resource management. Often, this happens due to poor training, especially, on how to make proper decision in a given flight situation. The “National Transportation Safety Board” realized that the probable cause of the flight 173 crash was the captain’s failure to monitor aircraft fuel state (National Transportation Safety Board, 1978). Furthermore, he did not respond properly to the low fuel state and advice given to him by fellow crew members. His attention was rather directed towards the malfunction of a landing gear and preparations for a landing emergency.
A workshop held in 1979 by “national aeronautics and space administration” also arrived at the same conclusion made by “National Transportation Safety Board”. The research presented, placed human error as the major cause of accidents. It was discovered that there was poor communication and lack of leadership, among the crew members, in making proper decisions (U.S. Dept. of Transportation, FAA, 2004).
After such loss of life caused by