Overview of The Five Generations of Crew Resource Management

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 915 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Apr 2, 2020

Words: 915|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Apr 2, 2020

Table of contents

  1. First Generation Crew Resource Management
  2. Second Generation Crew Resource Management
  3. Third Generation Crew Resource Management
  4. Fourth Generation Crew Resource Management
  5. Fifth Generation Crew Resource Management

First Generation Crew Resource Management

In this very first generation, infant steps to construct new programs in CRM training took place. It’s the beginning of the ‘’story’’ and the point where there is a connection between previous incidents and the need of the aviation industry to enhance safety. The findings of the air disaster of United Airlines in 1978, revealed useful evidence. According to the National Transportation Safety Board in 1979, the cause of the fatal accident was the refusal of the aircraft’s commander to accept co-pilot’s inputs during flight and the lack of assertiveness by the flight engineer. After this incident, United Airlines was the first company to conduct a comprehensive program in CRM training. The main target was to indicate the appropriate managerial style by alleviating authoritarian behaviour, usually found in captains and enhancing assertiveness in first officers. These programs were totally based in psychology with a focus on interpersonal skills and leadership. The programs included theoretical courses and practical sessions in the flight simulator-LOFT (Line Oriented Flight Training). For the first time, it was instituted an annual training in CRM for pilots. Till then, the need for CRM training would take place only once in a pilot’s career. Despite all the advantages, CRM was still considered by many aviators as an attempt to manipulate their personalities.

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Second Generation Crew Resource Management

By the time second generation began to emerge in the aviation world, many airlines around the world had already incorporated the CRM in their daily training. The difference between the first and the second generations, was basically that the second focused on pure aviation problems dealing with flight operations, therefore became more modular and team oriented. Trainees accepted the second generation as an improved form of CRM but still the criticism was intense. Once again, the reason was that according to trainees the courses were ‘’psycho-babble’’ oriented. The first company which implemented those courses was Delta Airlines. At that time CRM finally renamed to Crew Resource Management instead of Cockpit. Courses in the form of seminars were teaching concepts such as team building, how to make a thorough preflight briefing, situational awareness and stress management. The foundationsestablished during this generation are until now the main body of the modern CRM.

Third Generation Crew Resource Management

This generation emerged in the early 1990’s. During this period it was given particular emphasis on crew members apart from pilots. CRM began to apply to other specialities of an airline such as flight attendants, maintenance staff, dispatchers and airport personnel. It was found that in order a safe flight to be ensured, a proper communication between pilots and the rest crew members was imperative. By means of training, joint pilots-flight attendants scenarios began to emerge. For instance, an emergency ground evacuation procedure thoroughly analysed and practised in a very short time. Moreover, CRM adapted in the modern cockpits, in order to instruct pilots to acquire specific skills in conjunction with flight automation. Meaning that CRM integrated with technical training would make pilots even more effective in a contemporary environment.

Fourth Generation Crew Resource Management

In the fourth generation, a decisive step to mitigate human errors took place. This was attempted by using CRM as an integral part of the flight training. Furthermore, many airlines around the world instituted in their CRM’s training policy the national and organizational culture. The first initiative was made by FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) by using the AQP-Advanced Qualification Program. This was a pioneering program allowing carriers to adapt and customize their training, with integrated CRM concepts, according to their needs. Nevertheless, in order to acquire this flexibility, carriers were obliged to provide CRM and LOFT to all flight crews and to integrate CRM principles in the technical training by adding prescribed behaviours to the standard operating procedures. Additionally, it was crucial for the carriers to introduce a detailed analysis of training for each aircraft, to develop programs which focus on human factors and finally to implement a special course of training for people in charge with certification of crews. These requirements had to be placed in a specific framework of Line Operational Evaluation in the form of simulation. However, during this generation it was believed that there was a deviation from the principle of making explicit CRM training.

Fifth Generation Crew Resource Management

The primary idea of this generation is the Human Error. Merritt & Helmreich strongly believed that what makes CRM so distinct is the Error Management. It is well known that Human Errors are in the man’s nature however, errors may turn to a valuable source of collecting information. After collecting and analysing this information, an effective way of reducing the errors, must be chosen. The most effective manner found was the so called error management troika. According to troika, there are three steps of defence: avoid error, trap error before occurring and mitigate the consequences when an error has occurred or not trapped.

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From organization’s standpoint, a recognition of human errors and a non-punitive policy for the errors (except wilful violations) was imperative. Human performance was also the central interest in the Fifth Generation. Special emphasis was given on cognitive errors and stressors which affect human performance such as fatigue, task saturation and emergencies. Despite the severity of human error, this generation didn’t last long. Helmreich believes that this fact can be justified by a pilot’s statement: “I feel insulted being labelled as an error management. It implies that my job is to screw up and then correct mistakes”.

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Overview of the Five Generations of Crew Resource Management. (2020, April 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 13, 2024, from
“Overview of the Five Generations of Crew Resource Management.” GradesFixer, 02 Apr. 2020,
Overview of the Five Generations of Crew Resource Management. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 13 Jun. 2024].
Overview of the Five Generations of Crew Resource Management [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Apr 02 [cited 2024 Jun 13]. Available from:
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