The United States Air Force has released the results of a branch-wide operational safety review, which identified a series of safety risks for Air Force flight crews. The report pinpointed stress posed by high operations tempos, a lack of time to properly focus on flying basics and decreased aircraft availability as potential safety concerns in current Air Force operations. It also found the pressure to accept risk and a cultural tendency to always execute the assigned mission created possible safety issues. In addition, the report warned against complacency while performing routine tasks.
“The review proved tremendously helpful as we continue to seek both high levels of safety with intense and realistic training,” said Air Force Chief of Staff General 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.”
According to the Air Force, it is taking steps to address the issues raised by the report. “We lean forward every day to get the mission done—it’s what we do,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, “but we must also know when risks associated with leaning forward outweigh the benefit.” The safety review was initiated last spring by the Air Force Chief of Staff in the wake of aseries of military aircraft accidents, including the fatal crash of an Air Force Thunderbird.