Hot Tub Therapy and Boomerangs

Early forms of CRM training were not always the great success that they had the potential to realise. For some, they were overly

‘psychological’ in nature, and rather than providing real practical implications for the task of flying an aeroplane, they were dismissed by some as being nothing more than ‘hot tub therapy’.

This rejection of early CRM programs is of significant importance to our quest to design the very best non-technical skills training programs. Several key factors were identified that led to success or failure of the early programs. First, while the classroom-based seminar was the overarching delivery platform for CRM training, the degree to which training concepts were made relevant to the actual task of flying a commercial airliner was essential. Pilots were often critical of role-playing and teamwork games that bore little resemblance to their real-world jobs.13 Second, there was the suggestion that CRM was not for everyone, and that particular personality traits might well be associated with a rejection of CRM concepts by individuals. Regardless, those who rejected CRM training were viewed as ‘boomerangs’ - they kept coming back exactly the same.14,15

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