In the world of aviation, people tend to worry about failures. After all, when things go wrong in the air, the outcomes can be severe. When you think of a system failing, what comes to mind? For many, the first thought is of the engine quitting. Maybe you think about fire or electrical failure. But the system that proves most likely to fail time and time again is the human system - the pilot.
That doesn't mean that there is something wrong with the pilot population, or that the training is flawed, although we can all stand to be constantly learning and improving. It does mean that as humans, we are inherently fallible. But by reinforcing the links in the human chain that we know tend to break, we can expect to get a chain that is less likely to break. One way to do this is to follow the concept of "trust but verify." Originally a Russian proverb adopted by President Reagan in his foreign relations, the aviation world has a lot to benefit from it as well. Here are a few times that I've found it's good to trust but verify.
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