CRM Tool Eastern Airlines Flight 401

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CRMTool: Eastern Airlines Flight 401

TheEastern Air Lines Flight 401 was involved in the crash of LockheedTristar jet in Florida in 1972. The accident resulted in 101 deathsand 75 survivors. Poor communication and detection of mechanicalproblems resulted in the crash. In particular, the crew failed tonotice the disconnection of autopilot, which made the aircraft losealtitude. The staff concentrated on a burn-out landing gear indicatorwithout knowing that the aircraft had another problem. The crash isamong the deadliest in the U.S history. Over time, the industry hasinstituted measures to eliminate the likelihood of accidents, as wellas enhance the aircraft safety. Coordination and effectivecommunication could have enabled the flight crew to detect errors andthreats moments before the crash.


Theaviation industry has embraced various initiatives meant to reducedeadly crashes through crew training and utilization of technology.One such intervention is the utilization of CRM tool that improvescommunication between the crew members. The tool is effective inenhancing effective communication and coordination between the crewmembers whenever a problem arises in the course of a flight.Communication is essential in aviation as it enhances safety andresponse to problems. Flight crew and traffic controllers communicateand coordinate their activities to ensure safe landing and in-flight(Gordon, Mendenhall, &amp O`Connor, 2012).

Investigationsconducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealedthat the accident happened due to a pilot error. The autopilot wasaccidentally switched from altitude hold to control wheel steeringmode. The NTSB report, however, indicated that the crew failed toscrutinize the flight instruments a few minutes before the crash. Thecrew also did not recognize the sudden drop in altitude at theappropriate to prevent deadly impact and crash. The malfunctioninglanding gear distracted the attention of the crew hence failed torealize other problems (Cookson, 2016).

Crewresource management (CRM) training is essential to enhance efficientresolution and communication of a problem within the cockpit(Cookson, 2016). It also reduces the unwarranted distraction of theflight crew besides enabling coordination of activities. The crash ofEastern Air Lines Flight 401 underscores the significance of teamtraining to detect response measures after experiencing a mechanicalproblem during a flight. Investigations reveal that the crew remainedunaware that aircraft had lost altitude moments before crashing. Infact, preoccupation with the landing gear made the crew forget tocheck other contributing factors.

Theflight crew had enough time to detect and coordinate theircommunication. Investigations by the NTSB assert that the pilot errorcontributed to the crash significantly. The lead member, CaptainRobert Loft, is heard questioning the decisions made by other staffmembers. The issue is a reflection of coordination between the teamsin addressing the mechanical problem. The CRM tool can enhancedecision-making process because of its efficiency and dependability.The crew gets skills on how to respond effectively whenever a problemoccurs during a flight (Alexander, 2016).


TheEastern Air Lines Flight 401 crash arose due to pilot error andcontrol into a terrain. The NTSB report reveals details on poorcoordination efforts and non-detection of mechanical problems. It isconsidered that CRM tool can improve the crews’ skills in makingimportant and timely decisions whenever in a difficulty. Aviationindustry players need to utilize tools and knowledge continuouslythat improves decision-making mechanism among the crewmembers.


Alexander,D. (2016). The genesis of crew resource management: The NASAexperience. In TraumaTeam Dynamics(pp. 3-7). New York: Springer International Publishing.

Cookson,S. (2016). Culture in the Cockpit: Implications for CRM Training. Inadvancesin cross-cultural decision making(pp. 119-131). New York, NY: Springer International Publishing.

Gordon,S., Mendenhall, P., &amp O`Connor, B. (2012). Beyondthe checklist: What else health care can learn from aviation teamworkand safety.New York: Cornell University Press.

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