[Ref AVIA4004 Lecture Notes]
- Clarify the problem
- Look for information and share ideas
- Evaluate options
- Act on your decision
- Review How is it working?
Clarifying the problem is the process of defining exactly what the problem is. It’s important to ensure that the problem is defined correctly from the outset and avoids leaping from the problem straight into action. In terms of crews, ways of clarifying the problem may include using the Aircraft Systems Display, QRH, FCTM, MEL, and AML.
Next, looking for information and share ideas – what options are available to us?
After that, evaluate the different solutions identified above. These need to be evaluated and the best option selected. This may involve being critical and considering the consequences of any possible solution. This is essentially a risk assessment and management phase. However, don’t try to consider the problem from every possible angle, you may well be wasting time that you don’t have.
Sooner or later you will have to act – put the plan into effect. Don’t rush into an action that has not been properly briefed or fully thought through. Basically, brief it to all relevant parties before taking action – communication and leadership skills are critical at this point. In terms of a crew, ways of acting may include building the flightplan to destination arrival, communicating your decision (ATC, PM, crew, passengers and company), briefing both normal and non-normal procedures (CTWO+/QRH/ECAM) and completing checklists. Only ACT when you and all other agencies are fully ready.
Review – Has your plan solved the problem? If not then it is highly likely that you have not correctly identified / clarified the problem. If this is the case, return to the start of the process and begin again.
The CLEAR model aim to provide a “generic” problem solving tool. Rightly, it’s particular useful for cockpit crews and cabin crews in aviation industry. It provides a structured means by which a crew can analyze a problem and work through a series of defined steps to achieve a safe outcome.
The brain is a single channel processor. It can only do one thing at a time – so don’t overload yourself by trying to do several things at once. High levels of stress or workload may overload your single channel processor, which could give result of :
- Tunnel vision (or fixation) – focusing on one input to the exclusion of other vital data
- Unconscious rejection of conflicting data
- Slowing down of your decision making or, in the extreme, inability to make any decisions at all
- Impulsiveness – the desire to restore control makes you leap into action too early