Wire strike expert visits Australia

Bob Feerst and Lynette Sims of Utilities Aviation Specialists.

Winter in Australia means the annual visit of wire strike avoidance expert Bob Feerst. The US-based founder of Utilities Aviation Specialists has been coming down under with his message of wire avoidance tips and techniques since 2004.

Feerst’s message is multilayered but built on simple foundations. At Canberra Helicopters today he spoke about the vital importance of developing crew resource management (CRM) specifically for low level operations.

‘There is an urgency in the low level environment that is very different from airlines where many of the threats they face have been engineered out,’ Feerst said.

‘The core of low level CRM is recognising hazards and speaking out at once, regardless of inhibition or perceived rudeness,’ Feerst said. ‘Mitigated speech is disastrous. The way to speak assertively is to make it about what’s right, not who’s right,’ he said, adding that this concept of CRM covers all crew members on the helicopter, in addition to flight crew.

Utilities Aviation Specialists seminars on survival in the wires environment are scheduled for Brisbane on Friday, Townsville on 8 August and Melbourne on 11 August. Flight Safety Australia will look in detail at wire strike avoidance in its November–December issue.