Military aviation is one of the most complex elements of the military system. Thus, proper training and adherence to safety standards are essential for specialists in this field. Recently, there has been a large number of aviation incidents causing the deaths of soldiers or loss of aircraft, classified as class A incidents. This report will review the issue of aviation crashes and often recommendations for addressing this problem.
In recent years, there have been several military aircraft crashes, which have prompted new concerns about the existing safety and training for all armed divisions. Six service soldiers lost their lives in two Southern California crashes in June: a F/A-18E pilot died in an aviation crash on June 3 in San Bernardino County, and five Marines from Camp Pendleton lost their lives due to a collision 8 in Imperial County (Dyer, 2022). Hence, the army has lost its soldiers in two incidents that happened subsequently, which prompts a question of aviation safety standards.
Moreover, following these incidents, the command launched an investigation. Data from the Naval Safety Command, which monitors accidents involving the Navy and Marine Corps, reveals an increase in “class A mishaps” thus far this fiscal year. A mishap is classified as “class A” if it results in a fatality, a permanent total disability, or damage totaling more than $2.5 million (Dyer, 2022). Thus, there is an evident problem in the current system causing a high number of class A incidents.
The MH-60 Seahawk helicopter from San Diego crashed in Imperial County the following day, June 9, but all those on board were able to flee with just minor injuries (Dyer, 2022). The Marine Osprey collision was the second fatal collision of this kind this year. When their Osprey crashed in Norway during a training exercise in March, four Marines died. Following the crashes, which the Pentagon described as mishaps, the Navy and Marine Corps instructed aviation units to stop operating for one day following the crashes. The Pentagon described these cases as “mishaps” to undertake further training and review protocols (Dyer, 2022).
Investigations into the crashes’ causes are still ongoing. Both the Marines and the Navy haven’t made any changes to the aircraft or operations aside from the training breaks (Dyer, 2022). However, after the investigation is over, the Navy will integrate any recommendations from the reports into their operations to avoid further class-A accidents. These changes often take months to implement, as previous examples show. Therefore, the Navy command should consider more immediate actions to target the training quality and safety standards that their soldiers are using.
Based on the report, the increase in the number of military aviation may be linked to the negligence and improper training of military professionals. In aviation, the military uses the ratio of accidents before undertaking any action. According to Priscilla Kirsh, a representative for the Naval Safety Command, the accident rate, which is determined by the total number of flying hours and the number of accident events, has increased during the past nine months of data (Dyer, 2022). A rate between the higher and lower intervals would not be statistically significant since the Navy calculates its rates using an upper and lower confidence interval. One recommendation is to review the standards for the ratio to require the command to take action when a smaller number of class A accidents happen. Additionally, the standards of security protocols should also be reviewed and redone to address the existing hazards. Finally, the recommendations from the report that the investigators will produce must be integrated into the operations immediately.
Some investigators have already produced the results of their work, citing the lack of flying hours for the pilots as the main cause of incidents. These professionals report that the crashes were taking place because they were not getting enough training flights and did not get spare components to keep the planes in the air by pilots, crews, and maintainers (Copp, 2022). Additionally, less experienced instructors train the following generation of pilots and maintainers as a result of the loss of competency. Therefore, more attention should be dedicated to training the flying instructors and ensuring that they have enough experience for this job.
Ultimately, the command should follow the recommendations of the investigators to address the safety concerns. The panel made numerous recommendations in its efforts to stop collisions in the future. One of the most important of these was that the Pentagon should prioritize aircraft safety by improving accident reporting and safety oversight (Copp, 2022). The second-highest civilian position at the Pentagon, the deputy defense secretary, would serve as the head of a joint safety council to achieve this. Therefore, the Military has already taken some actions to address the potential safety concerns and ensure that the aircraft is well-prepared and the pilots are well-trained. Thus, now the command should focus on monitoring the process of implementing these standards into work.
Dyer, Andrew. 2022. “Aviation Crashes Are Again on the Rise. Are Ongoing Safety and Training Issues to Blame?” Web.
Copp, Taya. 2022. “As More Aviation Accidents Pile Up, Key Safety Recommendations Remain Undone”. Web.