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CNATT Aims to Help Increase Readiness, Reduce Mishaps Through Human Factors Training

06 February 2020

From Jerron K. Barnett

The mission: increase warfighting readiness and help reduce aviation maintenance mishaps through training. How can training assist? Well, by helping humans understand why they are...human.

The mission: increase warfighting readiness and help reduce aviation maintenance mishaps through training. How can training assist?  Well, by helping humans understand why they are…human.

The leadership of the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training’s (CNATT) training directorate is excited about the evolution of their efforts to help reduce aviation maintenance mishaps across the Navy through its Rising Tide Aviation Maintenance Never Events training course.

CNATT’s Director of Training Terry Williams and his staff have centered their focus on training Sailors at all experience levels to be able to identify and address various “human factors” that contribute to preventable aviation maintenance mishaps in the fleet.

“Some of the common human factors that contribute to maintenance mishaps are lack of communication, distractions, stress and fatigue,” Williams said.

CNATT is taking a “phased” approach to implementing and possibly sustaining this type of training across the command. Currently, a few dozen instructors throughout the CNATT domain have attended the Convergent Performance’s Rising Tide human factors training course in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“As more CNATT instructors get trained and certified, they will continue to train the maintainers at the wings they support as part of the sustainment plan,” Williams said. “Convergent Performance continues to train maintainers in CNATT locations such as Lemoore and Miramar, California; Oceana, Virginia; Whidbey Island, Washington; and Atsugi, Japan, with more locations being identified to be trained in the future.”

Since this training began, CNATT has trained approximately 8,600 Sailors and Marines.

“Our goal is to train all Navy maintainers in human factors,” Williams said.

Looking forward, CNATT sees benefits in training new-accession Sailors on the effects of human factors in their day-to-day aviation maintenance routines.

“I’ve always prided myself on being a maintenance officer who tried to make sure we are doing things correct and safe,” Cmdr. R.C. Hirn, CNATT’s deputy director of training,  said. “I think we can make a difference (in mishap occurrences) if we teach young Sailors to follow procedures.”

Williams and his learning standards officer, Tony Catanese, have attended the Rising Tide course personally and both vouched for its quality.

“The training emphasizes things you should be doing before a task, and things you should be doing after a task,” Catanese said. “That is what is being presented to the maintainers.”

Part of the future sustainment plan also involves forging partnerships between CNATT and key officials within the Naval Aviation Enterprise. On Jan. 27, Captains Al Worthy and William Murphy, CNAP and CNAL Force safety officers, visited CNATT to discuss the way ahead.

After meeting with CNATT command and training leadership, the safety officers met with a small group of instructors who have been certified in the training. The purpose of the meeting was to understand what type of feedback they are getting from the Sailors they teach. Several of the instructors said that they have received positive feedback from their students, who expressed plans to incorporate what they’ve learned into their day-to-day maintenance operations.

The overall effort was described as a “cultural shift” in naval aviation maintenance by several experts during the meetings, an idea Worthy defined in a different way.

“What we are really trying to do here is to change behaviors in order to foster a culture of excellence,” Worthy said. “Risk management is something we’ve always done, but not as well codified for the aviation maintenance community.”

At the end of the day, Worthy and Murphy agree that increasing warfighting readiness is the driving force.

“We looked all the factors that affect readiness, and one of those was safety,” Worthy said. “We found that the majority of ground mishaps are driven by human factors. We want every individual Sailor, regardless of rank, to have the knowledge and tools to make the right decisions on the flight line.”


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