At an air show this year, a performer had a very “exciting” moment during a routine that has underscored the benefit of doing the same thing every time in every performance – even the smallest things. At many air shows, performers are given wristbands to signify what areas of the show site to which they are granted access. For the sake of anonymity, we’ll call this performer Dan. Dan had made a habit of putting his wristband on his right hand for every performance and had never had an issue; however, Dan took his wristband off one night after a successful performance to avoid the hassle of wearing it in the shower. The following morning, when Dan put his wristband back on to go to the air show, he put the wristband on his left hand without a second thought and went on with his day.
When Dan got into his aircraft to perform, he had done everything the way that he did the day before with the exception of his wristband now being on his left hand. As Dan went into his sequence, everything proceeded as planned until he pulled back on the controls and made a turn to the left. Because Dan uses his left hand to control the aircraft, his left hand – wristband included- was now in his lap. As he began to neutralize the controls, the wristband had snuck its way around part of his seatbelt latch and unfastened the seatbelt! Upside down, with an unfastened seatbelt, Dan quickly and expertly leveled the aircraft and refastened his seatbelt.
Fortunately, “Dan” was quick and aware enough to rectify the problem, so that the lesson he learned could be passed on to the rest of the community. This example serves as a clear example of how repetition and consistency play such major roles in hazard management and safety in general. Even the smallest changes to what we consider to be routine actions have profound consequences that can impact our lives in the most unexpected ways.