Lack of Recency a Risk for Flight Departments

 - August 22, 2022, 2:07 PM

In 2021, nearly a third of AviationManuals’ clients identified lack of recency as a risk factor for their operations, according to data analyzed by the flight department manual and safety services specialist. Lack of recency among pilots occurs when they haven’t been flying for a period and may miss performing tasks once they return to the flight deck. “It’s just basic things like memory items,” AviationManuals senior adviser Kevin Honan told AIN, “and they need a little bit of refreshing to get back up to speed and make sure everybody’s safe.” He suspects that much of the lack of recency issue centers around the Covid-19 pandemic, which idled a lot of Part 91 and 135 aircraft for several months.

Data for the analysis came from AviationManuals’ flight risk assessment tool that is a part of the company’s ARC safety management system (SMS) software. Specifically, the information was culled from 17,000 risk assessments submitted through the system. “We worked with operators and pulled the information from our risk-assessment tool to see general trends on this data, see where we could help them come up with mitigations for it,” Honan added.

Some flight departments have policies to pair less-experienced captains with more-experienced pilots to overcome lack of recency. “It’s almost like a mentorship program. They come up to speed under that experience,” he said.

But not all flight departments have the same resources. For smaller operators, another means to alleviate lack of recency is to climb onto the flight deck and run through departure and arrival procedures in a simulated environment. There are other steps that flight departments can implement as well. One is to plan daytime departures and avoid flying at night “when there’s a circadian low,” Honan said. Another is to take extra time on preflight briefings, spending “a lot more time to just make sure you’re checking all the boxes.”