Directorate for Bundeswehr Aviation Safety
Directorate for Bundeswehr Aviation Safety
Ensuring Aviation Safety within the Bundeswehr
The Directorate for Bundeswehr Aviation Safety is responsible for policy matters and the technical control of measures at the German Military Aviation Authority to ensure aviation safety within the Bundeswehr. The range of tasks includes, among others, performing aviation safety inspections and/or information visits at all Bundeswehr units that conduct military flight operations, Bundeswehr-own maintenance facilities, and training centers. The examination and inspection results obtained are evaluated and subsequently serve to prepare recommendations and establish requirements to improve the aviation safety situation. These recommendations and requirements will then be made available to all Bundeswehr units. The Director of Bundeswehr Aviation Safety is also responsible for the verification and supervision of all regulations and provisions issued for aviation safety, and for the issuance and amendment of rules for safety during flight operations. Moreover, two further main tasks are the responsibility of aviation safety training within the Bundeswehr, and the cooperation in both national and multinational aviation safety committees. In addition, the Director of Bundeswehr Aviation Safety conducts projects, such as national and international aviation safety seminars for command personnel, aviation safety expert meetings, and international aviation safety forums.
Flight Accident and Incident Investigations
A core task is the investigation of incidents within military Bundeswehr flight operations, including cooperation with the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation in investigations of civil-military incidents. Within the task area of incident and accident investigations, the Director of Bundeswehr Aviation Safety works autonomously and is not bound by instructions. Besides an aviation safety database for the analytic evaluation and statistic acquisition of accidents and incidents involving Bundeswehr aircraft, the Directorate for Bundeswehr Aviation Safety also runs a flight recorder and flight data evaluation center as well as a voluntary reporting system for the trustful disclosure of insights that are important to aviation safety.
The Directorate’s own editorial office prepares publications for print media and videos, in which articles having a present context or general character are reviewed and published for the expert audience. These publications are intended to sensitize all personnel involved in aviation and increase the awareness for aviation safety.
All publications can be read on the intranet portal of the Directorate for Bundeswehr Aviation Safety at “flsichhbw.svc” and downloaded from there.
The Voluntary Reporting System
“Nobody is fond of errors. But we are obliged to learn from them. Although it is our natural tendency to forget or even conceal errors. By doing so, we are wasting a precious good—the good to learn from errors.”
Quote: Dr. Alan Diehl, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), USA
As an additional component of the manned and unmanned Bundeswehr aircraft flight operations safety culture, the Directorate for Bundeswehr Aviation Safety runs a voluntary reporting system. The reporting system is intended to ensure that observations, peculiarities, and incidents that might jeopardize the safe conduct of flight operations are collected and processed in a management system on the basis of voluntary reports. The objective of this system is to learn from the insights obtained and consider them in own future actions. It is intended that all persons directly or indirectly involved in Bundeswehr flight operations and all other Bundeswehr members performing observations related to flight operations contribute to the voluntary reporting system.
The voluntary reporting system is based on the trustful handling of reports of incidents and/or shortcomings that are non-conforming and/or relevant to aviation safety, and requires superiors and all personnel involved in Bundeswehr flight operations to maintain an error culture that focuses on learning from errors rather than penalizing incorrect behavior. Thus, the reporting system depends on a culture of mutual trust that encourages all Bundeswehr members to report pieces of information relevant to aviation safety, which are not obtained via the existing incident reporting system.
Reports to the voluntary reporting system may be anonymous. However, names and personal data of the persons reporting will only be forwarded from the system if the person concerned agrees expressly.
The focus of the voluntary system is on human behavior, not on technical malfunctions.