Over the past decade or so, the Royal Air Force has been going through a cultural evolution. In this episode, Ian and Avril give us an insight into how the implementation of Human Factors and the attitudes to safety has evolved and the positive impact it has had on the organisation.
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Ian enjoyed a highly varied 15 years in the Royal Air Force as an engineering Officer. Initially this was running maintenance teams maintaining vehicles, manufacturing aircraft components, painting aircraft and installing electrical power grids in remote locations. Ian then managed aircraft maintenance workshops undertaking deep maintenance on helicopter components before moving to flight line helicopter operations. He then spent several years developing methods to transport incredibly large or heavy equipment by air, whether it be inside transport planes, hanging those same items underneath helicopters or even being dropped them by parachute. This was followed by time working within the Defence industry liaising with helicopter manufacturer's regarding maintenance procedures and testing of new defence equipment, before moving into an HF centred role as a Safety Adviser for Chinook helicopter operations. He is now employed by the Royal Air Force as the head of the RAF Human Factors Safety Investigation Team and is the RAF Safety Centre lead for Error Management.
HF Training SME
Avril is currently serving in the RAF as an Air Traffic Controller but has been working in the RAF Safety Centre for the last 6 years in the Safety Promotion department and also acts as their HF training SME following being an HF facilitator for over 13 years.
Having completed a BSc (Hons) in Oeanography and a MSc in Environmental studies, she went on to work with Thames Water working as a Geographical Information Systems technician. However in 2003 she joined the RAF as an Officer and then on to JATCC to become an Air Traffic Controller. It was on her first tour of duty at RAF Odiham that she started her journey with HF becoming one of the first RAF HF Facilitators. Continuing delivering training and facilitation of HF on all of her subsequent tours, it was her posting to the RAF Safety Centre that saw her expanding her role in HF to become the RAF HF policy writer a role typically held by an officer 2 ranks above her. As member of the Defence Aviation HF Working Group she respesents the RAF and influences regulatory change. She also represents the RAF Safety Centre not only at a Stn level but also on the RAF Road Safety Strategy Working Group. In addition to this she supports interfacing organisations including the NHS and Pinnacle (who is an MOD contractor) and other air forces across the world including Royal Saudi Air Force and Uruguay Air Force.
Coming towards the end of her career in the RAF she is currently studying for a MSc in Human Factors and Ergonomics with Derby University with the view to move in consultancy work in the near future. In her spare time she is also a Garden Designer in which she uses her knowledge of HFE to help create dream gardens for her clients.