Meet Risk Management Consultant Patrick Mendenhall

Recent Interview with Blogger Marguerite Giguere

What is your background in aviation?
I started flying when I was 16 and got my private license at 19. I majored in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Washington, worked for Boeing in flight testing then went into the navy to fly fighters. I was active duty for 8 years. The last three years on active duty, I worked in operational flight test for the navy where I did a lot of human factors integration research. That definitely piqued my interest in the human factors aspect of aviation, like why people make decisions, and what’s intuitive and what’s not.

And you’re currently a pilot with a major airline and a partner in Crew Resource Management LLC?
I work for a major international carrier and I’ve flown mostly international routes since being hired in 1989 – almost my entire career. I joined the partnership for CRM LLC in 2006.

Where did you start to really see the importance of Crew Resource Management?
When I first started with the airline they were all three person crews. It was interesting to see what remarkably different results that the leaders got depending on their approach towards their crew. I started noticing different styles in fact, to the point that (I’m not alone in this) a lot of people actually bid to not fly with certain people because they didn’t like them or in some cases, felt unsafe.

Was that happening because it was a less pleasant working experience or because it was less safe?
Both. Generally they would go hand in hand. That’s the part of CRM that is so interesting. It really does make a difference. Leadership is so important. In the last 30 years, the aviation industry has started to realize, “Oh my gosh. The way this guy treats his crew really makes a difference in how they respond during an emergency.”

What is the advantage of the training curriculum offered by Critical CRM LLC via
All the courses are simple. They get right down to the core of what you need to know. Scott, the founder of consulted with human factors experts and educators to determine the length that people can sit in front of a computer and maintain their focus.

This is why the modules are 15-20 minutes long?
Yes. If you want to sit down and do three or four units that’s fine, it’s your choice. So it’s very achievable. All the courses are simple, they get right down to the core of what you need to know. You’re not bored with droning on and on about something and reading a ton of text.

What’s been the feedback?
It’s been excellent! Our first attempt at placing a CRM topic online was with Threat and Air management. People loved it. They loved that it was succinct, got right to the point, and then you move on. We got direct feedback from users asking, “Do you have anymore?”
That’s what inspired us to move on and create the entire library of courses. It made us believe that teaching Crew Resource Management online was a viable concept. I still believe that when a flight department is doing training they should still do a certain amount of it as a group. When they complete the course they should still sit down and say, “Let’s talk about this.”
Learn more about the CRM LLC courses here, and find out more about our new courses in Maintenance Resource Management (MRM) and Single Pilot Resource Management (SRM)!