Information technology continues to integrate into all facets of aviation operations. It makes things easier, provides checks, and provides a wealth of information to make aviation operations safer. It provides many risk mitigations but can also generate risks.
- What happens if this technology is unavailable and the mitigation it provides is removed?
- What happens when the data is corrupt, out of date, or just simply entered incorrectly?
- How robust are procedures to prevent, or detect this?
Numerous bits of technology directly impacting on flight operations already have redundancy and procedures to control any issues, but what about other systems that are connected, or share data? It is important to appreciate how interconnected all these are, even in the most basic of operations. There is a need for all to understand and consider:
- How does one part of a system impact on another?
- What happens when a system is down, and is there an alternative?
- How competent are staff using this alternative?
- If things are going to slow down, can you be assured this can be done safely?
The cascade effect and impacts of an IT issue are often not fully appreciated until it happens and can result in the first link in an accident chain.
This becomes even more critical where capacity or resource is limited, and a simple glitch can lead to significant problems.
It is worth taking time out every now and again to explore the ‘what ifs’ and recovery actions.
Information technology will continue to grow, and with this so will the threats.