Episode 90- Threat and Error Management (TEM) and Free Flight


THREATS. Strategies. Resist. Resolve. CONSEQUENCE. ERRORS.

TEM stands for “Threat and Error Management.” It was developed in the commercial airline industry in the early 90’s as a result of a series of accidents that happened because of human error. TEM is a simple system that helps pilots identify threats so they don’t lead to errors which if they multiply could lead to an “undesirable aircraft state.” It’s simply an awareness protocol laid out through a series of checklists and procedures that become built-in threat mitigation.  Threats in all forms of flight are ubiquitous- internal and external threats are everywhere. So how can we use this remarkably successful program in free flight to reduce risk? And how can we make safety a bigger part of our free-flight culture? The parallels with commercial flight and free flight are  similar and if we as a flying community even have a basic understanding of TEM accidents in our sport would plummet. In this episode we talk about the four basic tools you can develop (avoidance, passive safety, defensive safety, active and reactive safety)  to build your resilience to threats and risk; the chess analogy and the Art of War; how understanding TEM consciously will allow our subconscious to keep us safer; the critical phase of flight; the difference between TEM and risk management and a lot more things that you NEED to hear. Listen to this one! Fly safe!

To read all about TEM and get the distilled version go here.

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Show Notes:

  • TEM- what is it, where it came from and how it helps pilots mitigate risk
  • The four tools of TEM
  • The chess analogy- offense and defense
  • “The chess we play is against mother nature”
  • “Many threats in our sport are invisible”
  • The critical phase of flight and the “sterile cockpit” procedure
  • Using TEM forensically- working the accident backwards
  • Using TEM on the fly
  • What’s the difference between TEM and Risk Management?
  • How can we use this system, and why we need to
  • Fear and TEM.
  • Safety audit
  • Rick Brezina’s Dust Devil and TEM


Mentioned in this episode:

Red Bull X-Alps, Foundation for Free Flight, Rick Brezina, Cross Country Magazine, Matt Beechinor, Nate Scales, Rob Sporrer, Mitch Riley, Chris Santacroce, The Art of War, Kelly Farina, USHPA, Brad Gunnuscio, Reavis Sutphin-Gray 

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