The following are two case study examples from NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), in the original text submitted, including grammatical errors. The reader will see traces to the different components of individual human performance, professionalism, and the components of the CRM Pyramid model. Finally, we will consider the case of a solid CRM positive example in the case of JetBlue Flight 292.a
Ramp Operations: Example of Disregard for Authority
On gate and time for push back, the push crew said that they would take the brakes and hold the push waiting for clrnc from ramp. There was an acft behind us, so the wait was extended. Without prior coordination, the forward cargo door opened, and bags were loaded. I asked the tug driver who had given clrnc for the pit to be opened. He said that we were just sitting there, and he had told the rampers to throw the bags into the pit. I reminded him that the capt was the one who gave permission to open the doors after the brakes have been released. This opening the doors without coordination has become common with the rampers.
The tug driver then stated that they could do this if we were waiting for clrnc. I then said, ‘not without talking to the crew.’ He then said, ‘so write it up.’ I then stated that he should read up on the procs. At this point we had been given permission to push and I informed the tug driver. He started the push by pumping the accelerator on the tug and bunching the tow bar against the nose gear several times. At least four times. I then directed him to stop the push, without a response at first. I had concern for the acft nose gear and for the flt attendants standing in the aisle doing their demos. Only after the second command to stop the push did the tug driver stop. Not wanting him to continue the bumping of the acft and realizing that he was mad at me, I directed a return to the gate and then directed for another push crew. We informed ramp of the problem and informed coordination ctl.
The coordination ctlr was of no help in the sit and became very unprofessional and abusive to the crew insisting that the push crew was qualified to do the push and thus should be allowed to do it. She stated that we were being very unprofessional for keeping the pax waiting and that we should accept the push crew and go. The coordination ctlr made these statements without knowing what was going on. The ramp lead got on the headset and informed me that I had ‘no right’ to request another crew. I informed him that I had every right to protect the acft and the crew and that I would not accept an individual who takes his irritation out on the acft. He informed me that it would be five to ten minutes before they could get another crew, and I said fine. Soon after, the ramp supervisor arrived and had the jet bridge pulled back, and we discussed the sit. He said that he would look into the prob and requested a rpt be filed. I told him I would file the rpt and forward it to him. We pushed back with the new crew and departed. Ramp personnel opening the cargo doors without clrnc from the flt crew, tug drivers not using the proper terminology, or improper pushes have become a problem. Intentionally taking frustration out on an acft cannot be accepted.
Question for the reader: How can an airline encourage the concept of professionalism known as empowered accountability among employees who are paid minimum wage or close to minimum wage?