Thanks for success, remember safety

  • Published
  • By Col Mike Callan
  • 71st Flying Training Wing
Team Vance -- our daily mission of training tomorrow's leaders is inherently a dangerous undertaking.
Before I discuss our mission, allow me to thank all of you who contributed to the overwhelming success of April 2nd's Special Olympics!
Col Wade Johnson and my wife reviewed the events of the day with me and they echoed one theme -- your support to this great event was amazing and we brought a lot of joy to some deserving Americans. Colonel Johnson wanted me to specifically thank 1st Lts Paula and Eric Bissonette and all of the volunteers -- the flyover by the way was also mentioned to be great!
As some of you are aware, the Air Force lost a T-6 Saturday. It unfortunately resulted in our Air Force losing two pilots and destruction of the aircraft. This accident highlights one often-overlooked fact -- completion of our mission is inherently a dangerous business and we must continue to take our jobs seriously and pursue it with safety always on our minds! While flying an aircraft can be a dangerous endeavor, through strict adherence to procedures, the aircraft performing up to its design specifications and objectively weighing the risks affecting our planned flight, it can be flown very safely, and we do so everyday.
Since the early days of manned flight, as aircraft performance and reliability continued to improve, statistics indicate that "human factors" are often cited as the major factor that contribute to most of today's aircraft accidents. We don't know what caused last weekend's T-6 accident, but the U.S. Air Force Safety Investigation Board will determine what went wrong and take the necessary steps to hopefully ensure it doesn't happen again. Please stay vigilant to what you do for Team Vance -- whether it's instructing a student pilot in one of our aircraft, working a heavy piece of equipment, or ensuring our personnel get taken care of in billeting, everyone must ensure they are sticking to the books and weighing the daily risks to determine if a given activity can be done safely. If this equation proves to be yes, then proceed with caution. If not, stop and wait for conditions to improve before you hurt yourself or someone else. We cannot succeed as a team without each one of you -- please stay vigilant and never let safety drift from your crosscheck. Have a great and safe weekend!