HomeNewsArticle Display

Air Force releases operational safety review findings

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force units across all levels of command are addressing the issues identified by an Air Force-wide operational safety review, initiated this spring by the Air Force Chief of Staff.

“The review proved tremendously helpful as we continue to seek both high levels of safety with intense and realistic training,” said Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein. “As air superiority is not an American birthright, our training must continue to be challenging and meaningful. But I also want commanders to have the decision authority to determine how far to push,” he said.

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson agrees.

"We lean forward every day to get the mission done – it’s what we do – but we must also know when risks associated with leaning forward outweigh the benefit," she said. "Gen. Goldfein and I will continue to empower leaders to take care of their people as we build the ready force we need."

Air Force safety officials said the review identified several factors that require commanders’ continued focus. The Air Force disseminated the findings to the field and flying and maintenance leaders at every level are addressing the issues and using the findings to inform their decisions.

The review pointed to several potential safety risks: Stress posed by high operations tempos; a lack of time to properly focus on flying basics; mission activities and training; the pressure to accept risk; cultural tendencies to always execute the mission; decreased aircraft availability; and the potential for complacency during routine tasks.

"We're taking necessary steps to ensure our Airmen operate as safely as possible in an inherently dangerous business," Goldfein said.

Goldfein recounted a story from Operation Desert Storm in 1991 that he said helps calibrate his approach to training and safety.

“On my first combat mission in Desert Storm as a captain and F-16 (Fighting Falcon) flight commander, we crossed into enemy territory and the first thing we saw was anti-aircraft fire. Then we had a few surface-air-missiles launched at us. Then an F-15 (Eagle) shot down a MiG-29 and I watched it descend and hit the desert and explode,” he said.

“I’ll never forget that moment in combat. I realized that nothing I was seeing was new. It was the same formation, the same radio calls, the same threats, just real this time. I realized at that moment that I can do this. I had trained for it and it was just like Red Flag,” he said.

Whether flying fighters, bombers, tankers or engaged in high-tempo ground operations of weapons loading or aircraft maintenance, Goldfein said he wants all Airmen to train so realistically that their preparation, experience and discipline protects them and the mission in both peace and in combat.

With this mindset, Air Force leadership provided wing commanders with focus areas to facilitate safety review discussions. The review examined leadership and supervision engagements; training; mission planning, briefings and debriefings; risk management; flightline operations; experience in the force; and fundamental focus.

According to Maj. Gen. John Rauch, Jr., Air Force Chief of Safety and Commander of the Air Force Safety Center, the Air Force sought to help commanders identify gaps and seams in each focus area. Commanders then provided feedback through each major command, to ensure senior leaders were aware of concerns across the force.

The Air Force has already initiated efforts to address some of the concerns, to include adding support capabilities back into the squadron, reducing additional duties, enhancing information processes for aircrew mission planning, and reducing staff requirements.

"This review gave commanders the opportunity and time to focus on ensuring operations were safe by identifying hazards that could lead to mishaps," Rauch said. "Our commander-led forums identified our Airmen’s unique concerns.”

Safety statistics in the past decade show Air Force Class A and B aviation mishaps trended downward. However, the manned aviation mishap rate increased since the beginning of fiscal year 2018.

"So I want to train hard and I want commanders to push themselves and their Airmen to achieve high levels of readiness. Sometimes the right answer is knock it off ... sometimes it is push it up,” Goldfein said. “Confidence in the air, safety on the ground and in the air, it’s commander business.”

He also said that anyone on the team, no matter the rank or experience, can make that safety call without fear of reprisal. The safety review reinforced that message and continued to help integrate safety into the Air Force culture.

This review is an example, Rauch said, of Airmen taking care of Airmen to ensure operational safety and operational effectiveness.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
DYK: Aircraft have lifespans! Like humans, they require check-ups in the form of maintenance inspections to prolong their ability to fly. These "checks" prevent in-flight system failures which ultimately protects aircrew and passengers. Learn more from the 86th Maintenance Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany on what it takes to correct issues so aircraft can stay airborne.
WATCH: United States Air Force pilots talk about the importance of Exercise Saber Strike 18 as they refuel over the Baltic Sea on June 18, 2018. Saber Strike 18 is a long-standing training exercise designed to enhance interoperability between the U.S. and our allies. The training focused on improving land and air operational capabilities between the U.S. and our NATO allies. (U.S. Air National Guard video by: Master Sgt. Wolfram M. Stumpf)
Check out some shots from yesterday's All-Star Armed Services Classic Championship softball game in Washington, D.C. This event, part of MLB’s All-Star Week, pays tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. Washington Nationals U.S. Army
Air Force and U.S. Army coed softball teams render military honors during the playing of the National Anthem during the All-Star Armed Services Classic Championship softball game, Washington, D.C., July 13, 2018. This event, part of MLB’s All-Star Week, pays tribute to the men and women of the Armed Forces. Washington Nationals
Great way to lead by example!
The United States Air Force is facing a pilot shortage. To help solve the challenge, the Aircrew Crisis Task Force was recently created to provide strategic direction and actionable recommendations to senior leaders on how to solve the aircrew manning crisis. FULL STORY: https://go.usa.gov/xUb3z
Your United States Air Force news: ✓ A B-52 crew assists in a search and rescue operation off the coast of Guam ✓ An Afghan pilot class graduates in the Czech Republic ✓ The Air Force is using innovative approaches to training pilots to make the process faster and more efficient
Now that’s how weathermen work! Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters fly weather reconnaissance missions into Tropical Storm Chris and Tropical Storm Beryl. http://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1569944/hurricane-hunters-fly-tropical-storms-beryl-chris/
The F-22 Raptor's combination of stealth, supercruise, maneuverability, and integrated avionics, coupled with improved supportability, represents an exponential leap in warfighting capabilities. The F-22 cannot be matched by any known or projected fighter aircraft. Maintaining these aircraft can involve a bit of a learning curve. Airmen at KadenaAirBase use past technology to help learn how to work with the undefeated Raptor. FULL STORY: http://www.kadena.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1567295/hard-to-raptor-head-around/
Help us out! Can you caption this photo?
The B-52 Stratofortress has sniper pods that provide improved long-range target detection/identification and continuous stabilize surveillance for all missions, including close air support of ground forces. Air Force Global Strike Command crew members on a B-52 were able to spot a historic Pacific Island style canoe so that the U.S. Coast Guard could rescue the six passengers!
For the past 60 years, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has continually helped us maintain a technological edge against our advarsaries. Together with the Air Force Research Laboratory - AFRL, a fusion of ideas is leading to newly highlighted innovations.
SOUND ON! Celebrate freedom with the sound of freedom! Happy Independence Day!
During #ASC18, our #Airmen asked: How do you see multi-domain command & control integrating with our allies?… https://t.co/GzyNIWKaWg
RT @AFResearchLab: Our team is showing off how fantastic our booth is this year! So come meet us at #booth601 for knowledge on what we do a…
RT @US_Stratcom: Gen Hyten: “All of our oaths start the same way, we swear an oath to the #Constitution, to a set of ideals written down on…
#ICYMI: @SecAFOfficial discussed the significance of the 70th Anniversary of the #BerlinAirlift during a commemorat… https://t.co/MLP7m1A1d1
.@SecAFOfficial: In his time, Billy Mitchell was the advocate for the #USAF we need. Now it's up to us -- all of us… https://t.co/5nfk096dpw
.@SecAFOfficial: I want to thank all of you for what you are doing to build a more lethal & ready #USAF, to field t… https://t.co/dVv7UUM3RI
.@SecAFOfficial: Over the past 6 months, #USAF acquisition has striped 56 yrs out of planned schedules in our acqui… https://t.co/6FgjTGUeVn
.@SecAFOfficial: By December of this year we will have closed that gap to zero. #ASC18
.@SecAFOfficial: In September of 2016, the #USAF was short 4,000 maintainers. #ASC18
.@SecAFOfficial: We have an obligation to our countrymen. To tell them, as those before us have done in their time,… https://t.co/xYAyI4NPe5
.@SecAFOfficial: The #USAF we need to implement the National Defense Strategy has 386 Operational Squadrons. #ASC18 https://t.co/tuoryyPTXF
.@SecAFOfficial: So, What will it take? 386. #ASC18
.@SecAFOfficial: The #USAF is too small for what the nation expects of us. 312 Operational Squadrons is not enough. #ASC18
#LIVE: @SecAFOfficial talks the "Air Force We Need" during the 2018 Air, Space and Cyber Conference. #ASC18https://t.co/F67IXy9mQQ
.@SecAFOfficial kicks off #ASC18 w/ a State of the #AirForce update at 10:30 AM EDT. Watch live:… https://t.co/WrKBpoAzLF