A pilot looks at an aircraft discrepancy book before every flight, thoroughly reviewing any issues the aircraft faces. It is the pilot’s responsibility to refuse to accept an aircraft that is not safe to operate. In cases with faulty aircraft and equipment, lower-level leaders are empowered to decide that short-term operational goals are not worth the risk to personnel and equipment. In 2017, after noting safety issues in the T-45 Goshawk trainer jets, several instructor pilots refused to take the aircraft and their students up in the air. The incident drew the attention of high-ranking admirals within naval aviation, and all T-45 aircraft were grounded across the fleet while engineers and pilots completed a safety review. The grounding of the T-45 fleet halted a critical training pipeline and drew a significant amount of press attention.
Listen to Junior Leaders to Prevent Accidents in the Fleet
By Lieutenant (j.g) Yash Khatavkar, U.S. Navy