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A typical example of an organisational threat according to the TEM model would be:
  • A
    Heavy workload and minimum legal breaks for relaxation.
  • B
    Missing or confusing marking on taxiways and runways.
  • C
    Wrong power setting during take-off.
  • D
    Taxiing on the wrong taxiways.

The components of the TEM model

Threats are defined as “events or errors that occur beyond the influence of the flight crew, increase operational complexity, and which must be managed to maintain the margins of safety”. During typical flight operations, flight crews have to manage various contextual complexities. Threats can be grouped under two basic categories derived from the TEM model.

  • Environmental threats occur due to the environment in which flight operations take place. Some environmental threats can be planned for and some will arise spontaneously, but they all have to be managed by flight crews in real time.
  • Organizational threats, on the other hand, can be controlled (i.e., removed or, at least, minimised) at source by aviation organizations. Organizational threats are usually latent in nature.
Table 1. Examples of threats (List not inclusive)
Environmental Threats Organizational Threats
  • Weather: thunderstorms, turbulence, icing, wind shear, cross/tailwind, very low/high temperatures.
  • ATC: traffic congestion, TCAS RA/TA, ATC command, ATC error, ATC language difficulty, ATC non-standard phraseology, ATC runway change, ATIS communication, units of measurement (QFE/meters).
  • Airport: contaminated/short runway; contaminated taxiway, lack of/confusing/faded signage/markings, birds, aids U/S, complex surface navigation procedures, airport constructions.
  • Terrain: High ground, slope, lack of references, “black hole”.
  • Other: similar call-signs.
  • Operational pressure: delays, late arrivals, equipment changes.
  • Aircraft: aircraft malfunction, automation event/anomaly, MEL/CDL.
  • Cabin: flight attendant error, cabin event distraction, interruption, cabin door security.
  • Maintenance: maintenance event/error.
  • Ground: ground handling event, de-icing, ground crew error.
  • Dispatch: dispatch paperwork event/error.
  • Documentation: manual error, chart error.
  • Other: crew scheduling event

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