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ACCent.

Wow! Another year drawing to a close, and it has been a wild one. Fiscal year 2018 was an unusually tragic year across the Air Force, and ACC was not spared the loss of 19 valued Airmen. An uptick in mishaps across all services, including some high-visibility events with multiple fatalities caught the attention of all of us as we worked to investigate what happened and how to break the mishap chain. We completed an Air Force chief of staff-directed operational safety review to pause and examine all aspects of flying and maintenance operations, focusing on "gaps and seams" that might lead to mishaps. Wings took time to reflect on leadership engagement, training, mission planning, risk management and experience levels, and provided candid and meaningful feedback up the chain of command. Turn to page 10 to learn more about the results of the operational safety review.

We in ACC Safety also looked at mishaps across the board to see where we could make any required adjustments to improve our mishap prevention efforts. In most areas, ACC mishap numbers have remained fairly constant, with minor increases or decreases in almost all categories over the last five years. We experienced a slight increase in Class C aviation ground operations mishaps and automobile mishaps, and a decrease in sports and recreation mishaps. Our aviation rates actually declined slightly, although with the acknowledged increase in aviation fatalities.

The operational safety review highlighted concerns over issues including manning, high operations tempo, training, lack of time to focus on basics, and a cultural tendency to always execute the mission. These challenges continue to remain part of our operating environment. A look at ACC's Class A aviation mishaps reinforced the point that bird strikes, hazardous weather and foreign object damage are threats that must be respected and honored on each and every mission. Human factors also continue to play a role in all of our mishaps to some extent. ACC Safety recently hosted a training event to hone skills in that important role of mishap investigation and analysis. To learn more, turn to page 20 and read "Human Factors."

As this year draws to a close, please take time to conduct your own review. Involve all your personnel, supervisors and subordinates alike. Focus on your own people and your own mission, and don't forget to emphasize the basics. And as our commander, Gen. Mike Holmes, has said, "Work to make sure we are doing ordinary things extraordinarily well." Enjoy the holiday season, and fly safe.

Col. Steven G. Owen

Director of Safety

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Author:Owen, Steven G.
Publication:Combat Edge
Date:Sep 22, 2018
Words:425
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Next Article:Still Alive and Well Today: Part three of a four-part series that will explore non-military aviation mishaps.
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