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33 FW conducts Operational Safety Review

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Peter Thompson
  • 33rd Fighter Wing

The 33rd Fighter Wing implemented a one day pause in flying operations to conduct an Operational Safety Review May 18, 2018, at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The OSR was directed by Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein to address the recent increase in Class-A mishaps across the Air Force.

To begin the OSR, U.S. Navy Capt. Max McCoy, 33 FW vice commander, addressed members of the wing to direct their focus at a full mission comprehensive review where every Airman was given the opportunity to speak openly about concerns that may lead to safety violations. 

"This is not about being safe today,” said McCoy. “This is about making sure we are doing everything professionally and asking the right questions while applying operational risk management every day."

Emphasis for the OSR was placed on flying and maintenance operations. Open forum conversations were held in small groups throughout the wing, to facilitate the flow of information from the bottom up. The OSR provided an opportunity to address issues that may have been hidden or overlooked in the past.

“We can’t fix what we don’t know about,” said Lt. Col. Jon Snyder, 58th Fighter Squadron commander. “It’s critical that the feedback process is continuous. Awareness is the first key, so once we are aware of a problem we can actively engage and work to solve the problem.”

“In order to not repeat the past we need to not repeat how we have ‘fixed’ the problem in the past,” said Lt. Col. Tyler Schroeder, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. “When it comes to safety, from Airman to officer, every perspective is valuable because there is no small safety concern that we can afford to overlook. “

Fortunately, the 33 FW hasn’t experienced a Class-A mishap in several years, an achievement that Snyder partially attributes to the wing’s role in creating and sharing a safety minded culture throughout its pilot training mission.

We have the responsibility to build the foundation of safety,” said Snyder. “We are reinforcing the safety practices that we have here while we indoctrinate (pilots) into the F-35 and how we do business, while ensuring we are providing the appropriate supervisory oversight as they are making the transition.”

The wing took a step past examining flying and maintenance operations by facilitating talks across the entire wing, to include all support functions.

“Our focus was on how we execute safer flying operations, with an end state goal of recognizing the many support aspects that are critical to us safely flying the aircraft,” said Snyder. “We didn’t want to focus solely on pilot’s flying procedures, but really holistically look across the supporting aspects as well.”

The wing will absorb and learn from the information provided at each discussion level. Cumulatively, the wing will route findings to higher headquarters, then on to Air Force level. From there, every Airman’s input has the ability to impact safety across the Air Force.

“Their input is valuable to solving this greater issue and they have a place in changing the course of the current mishaps,” said Schroeder. “By asking everyone's opinion and allowing them to have a voice in the process, it brings them into the ‘fight’ against an unsafe culture starting at the ground level. The more we talk about it and the more involvement every single person has, the more apt we are to make long lasting changes.”