The iceberg principle

KISS dives off into the next round and brings light under the water surface!
Threats and risks are often hidden

We all know that it was not the visible spurs under the surface of an iceberg that caused the Titanic to sink within a very short time. It was the invisible ones and the Titanic was considered unsinkable!

What does this have to do with flight safety?

We know that the visible part of incidents or accidents is only the tip of the iceberg.

But it is the part under the surface of the water that is much bigger and that we have to try to influence – to circumnavigate. And the deeper under the water surface, the darker it is. So we have to look more closely or illuminate better in order to recognise an impending accident and to anchor the lurking dangers in our consciousness.

Sounds difficult – but it’s easy. Because the number of possibilities is almost infinite!

Under the water are not only the “near accidents”, but all the small mistakes, unsafe actions and the “Oops, what was that?“-moments.

At the same time, we are also talking about the error pyramid. The numbers vary, but today it is assumed that for every 10-15,000 of these small errors, an accident follows.
15,000 carelessnesses, perceived only 3,000 times – in the best case!
If we manage to minimise this number, we simultaneously reduce the likelihood of letting a more serious mistake reach the water’s surface. Allowing an accident to arise from a moment of carelessness! How insignificant these initial errors can be is underpinned by the fact that we only actively experience about 20% of all errors. This means that for every error we observe (in ourselves, or) in our fellow pilots, about four other errors precede it!
Know the threats, recognise the threats!
What of all this did the observer on the Titanic, who was supposed to look out for icebergs, know? Did he know the architecture of an iceberg? And could he alone survey all this? With today’s knowledge, one would not operate at full speed in high-risk areas, merely nominating an observer who would only look for what is visible. One would gather all available means in order not to end up at the tip of the iceberg sooner or later. Flight safety concerns ALL of us, so let’s also ALL work on improving it step by step. Let’s ALL take the “diving lamps” and illuminate the area under the water together.
And where it is still too dark, we reduce thrust!

Kerstin Mumenthaler – aim4safety

Kerstin’s heart beats for safety and crisis management.

In addition to her training as a commercial pilot, Kerstin therefore completed a Master of Science in Air Safety Management and attended various courses in business continuity and also project management. As a former airline pilot, her logbook contains more than 6,000 flying hours on the Airbus A320.

Today she is an official member of the Business Continuity Institute (MBCI) and offers services and consulting for business continuity, crisis and safety management through her own brand aim4safety. She is currently studying Change & Innovation Management at the University of St. Gallen.