Crew Resource Management (CRM) is the effective use of all available resources for flight crew personnel to assure a safe and efficient operation, reducing error, avoiding stress and increasing efficiency.
CRM was developed as a response to new insights into the causes of aircraft accidents which followed from the introduction of flight data recorders (FDRs) and cockpit voice recorders (CVRs) into modern jet aircraft. Information gathered from these devices has suggested that many accidents do not result from a technical malfunction of the aircraft or its systems, nor from a failure of aircraft handling skills or a lack of technical knowledge on the part of the crew; it appears instead that they are caused by the inability of crews to respond appropriately to the situation in which they find themselves. For example, inadequate communications between crew members and other parties could lead to a loss of situational awareness, a breakdown in teamwork in the aircraft, and, ultimately, to a wrong decision or series of decisions which result in a serious incident or a fatal accident.
The widespread introduction of the dynamic flight simulator as a training aid allowed various new theories about the causes of aircraft accidents to be studied under experimental conditions. On the basis of these results, and in an attempt to remedy the apparent deficiency in crew skills, additional training in flight deck management techniques has been introduced by most airlines. Following a period of experimentation and development, the techniques embraced by the new training became known collectively as CRM. The importance of the CRM concept and the utility of the training in promoting safer and more efficient aircraft operations have now been recognised worldwide.
CRM encompasses a wide range of knowledge, skills and attitudes including communications, situational awareness, problem solving, decision making, and teamwork; together with all the attendant sub-disciplines which each of these areas entails. The elements which comprise CRM are not new but have been recognised in one form or another since aviation began, usually under more general headings such as ‘Airmanship’, ‘Captaincy’, ‘Crew Co-operation’, etc. In the past, however, these terms have not been defined, structured or articulated in a formal way, and CRM can be seen as an attempt to remedy this deficiency. CRM can therefore be defined as a management system which makes optimum use of all available resources - equipment, procedures and people - to promote safety and enhance the efficiency of flight operations.
CRM is concerned not so much with the technical knowledge and skills required to fly and operate an aircraft but rather with the cognitive and interpersonal skills needed to manage the flight within an organised aviation system. In this context, cognitive skills are defined as the mental processes used for gaining and maintaining situational awareness, for solving problems and for taking decisions. Interpersonal skills are regarded as communications and a range of behavioural activities associated with teamwork. In aviation, as in other walks of life, these skill areas often overlap with each other, and they also overlap with the required technical skills. Furthermore, they are not confined to multi-crew aircraft, but also relate to single pilot operations, which invariably need to interface with other aircraft and with various ground support agencies in order to complete their missions successfully.
(The above paragraphs were taken from a paper by the CRM Standing Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS))
Classroom training in CRM must be provided in conjunction with simulator revalidation training. Of particular importance is its integration with Line Oriented Flight Training (LOFT), which involves response to realistic scenarios where the application of CRM principles will usually be the road to sucessfully coping. LOFT details have become a standard component of most commercial operator aircraft type training.
CRM originally was referenced as "cockpit resource management," but the term was later broadened to encompass the entire crew.
ICAO and EASA Regulations
An operator shall establish and maintain a ground and flight training programme, approved by the State of the Operator ... The training programme shall ... include training in knowledge and skills related to human performance ... (ICAO Annex 6 Part 1 Chapter 9 Para 9.3.1)
All flight crew members are required to complete CRM training at various stages of their careers, including initial and recurrent training and on appointment to command. Training must be carried out by approved instructors and must follow approved syllabi, which must be detailed in the Company Flight Operations Manual. (See IR-OPS ORO.FC.115 and ORO.FC.215; see also Acceptable Means of Compliance and Guidance Material to IR-OPS ORO.FC.115 and ORO.FC.215). (For EU-OPS see Sub-part N: EU-OPS 1.940, succeeding paragraphs and associated supplementary material)
In late 2017, EASA published Safety Promotion material on CRM Training Implementation. The purpose is to share recommended practices and information on CRM and promote the development of CRM training for both Air Operators having CRM training responsibilities and Competent Authorities having oversight responsibilities.
- ICAO Human Factors Digest No 2 Circular AN/217 (1989) republished in its original form by UK CAA as CAP 720 (2002)
- ICAO Doc 9683 - Human Factors Training Manual
- EU-OPS 1 Commercial Air Transport (Aeroplanes)
- JAR-OPS 3 Commercial Air Transport (Helicopters)
- EASA Safety Promotion material on CRM Training Implementation, 2018
- Flight Safety Foundation ALAR Briefing Note 2.2 - Crew Resource Management
- A paper by the CRM Standing Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS - 1999)
- U.K. CAA Standards Document 29: Guidance Notes for Accreditation Standards for CRM Instructors and CRM Instructor Examiners, Version 5
- UK CAA Standards Document No. 80, Version 1, Alternative Training and Qualification Programme (ATQP), July 2013
- Culture in the cockpit - CRM in multicultural world, an article by Michael Engle, NASA, published in Journal of Air Transportation Worldwide, vol 5, no.1 - 2000
- Airbus Flight Operations Briefing Note 'CRM aspects in Incidents and Accidents'(1994)
- FAA "Lessons Learned from Transport Airplane Accidents"