Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers: Air Crash

(You can see on one single page all of management games and icebreakers authored by me and continually updated on the site if you refer:

(Refer our High Quality Management Encyclopedia “Management Universe” at:

“Air Crash” is a highly loaded management exercise. It is very participative and is conducted as a group exercise. It also proves to be a good energizer and motivator.

You, the faculty member or the program facilitator or the workshop leader can use it for sessions on values, paradigms, perceptions, intra-group and inter-group communication and discussion, conflict resolution or conflict management, team work and team building, consensus building, effectiveness etc. This is best suited to emphasize that every human being is unique and this uniqueness is the result of not only the differing perceptions of the people but because of their entire integrated makeup- the concept and the term which Shyam Bhatawdekar uses to describe as people’s HSoftware (Human Software). (You may like to read Shyam Bhatawdekar’s articles on HSoftware at and It also leads to show the correlation between the HSoftware of an individual and his effectiveness in personal, home, professional and social life.

To start conducting the “Air Crash” exercise, first distribute the printed exercise brief (given below) to all the participants of your program and request them to read it carefully. Draw their attention to the question given at the end of the write-up which each participant has to answer individually (in writing). Ask them not to discuss with anyone anything unless told by you.

Exercise Brief for “Air Crash” exercise:

Exercise brief starts here:

An airplane with 73 passengers on board developed engine trouble while flying over the jungles of Assam. The pilot managed to send out an S.O.S. message just before the plane crashed into the jungles. It was around 3 PM.

All members of the crew were killed except the pilot and there were in all seven survivors. You are one of them. There are two women survivors, one of them is badly injured and is losing blood fast.

The plane exploded shortly after crashing but some of the survivors had managed to retrieve some items before the explosion. They could not, however, retrieve any food or water. The pilot had taken a bearing just before the engine trouble developed. He reckons that the plane crashed about 100 kilometers from the nearest inhabited area. To reach it would mean marching through thick forest with heavy undergrowth, crossing streams and fending off wild animals that abound in these jungles.

After recovering from the shock, the survivors began discussing what to do. Should they stay put? Should they march towards the nearest civilization?

It soon became apparent that no agreement was being reached by the survivors. In fact there seemed to be a struggle for leadership, some friction was developing and the group realized this might jeopardize all of them.

Since you had remained the most calm and objective, the group agreed that it would abide by your decision as to who should be the leader. It was also agreed that you could not choose yourself as leader.

Given below are some details about your co-survivors. Read them and then decide whom you would choose as leader:

Captain Sunder: is the pilot of the crashed airplane. He had managed to retrieve some maps before the aircraft exploded. He is 44 years old and takes his duties very seriously. He feels that as a captain of the plane, the survivors are his responsibility and should listen to him. He hopes that his S.O.S. was heard and wants every one to remain near the aircraft wreckage till a rescue team arrives.

Miss Moses: is 22 years old, a botanist who had studied the flora of Assam. She is a gentle person, not comfortable with the friction being generated and a bit of a pacifist. She has managed to retrieve a first-aid kit and some tarpaulin from the aircraft. She has been a girl guide at school.

Raj Kumar: comes from an aristocratic family. He is 35 years old and kept himself very fit by playing polo. He has captained his polo team to many victories. He was going to Assam on a fishing trip and has managed to save his rods and fishing tackle from the flames. He is very sociable. He believes that “leaders are born” and assumes that the others will listen to him. He would like the group to march on to the nearest village under his guidance.

Shanti Lal: is 48 years old, a bit stout and likes his food and drinks. He has managed to retrieve his bottle of brandy, cigars and lighter from the aircraft. He is a self-made businessman who had managed to gradually develop a vast business empire. He is humorous but can be also very tough. Being used to commanding and coordinating, he also tried to get the group listen to him.

Mahinder Singh: is a hunter by profession and has been asked by the Assam Government to track down a rogue elephant that was destroying crops. He is 28 years old, generally quiet but capable of losing his temper violently. He has managed to retrieve his rifle and some cartridges and wants the group to head for civilization.

Whom would you choose as leader?

Exercise brief ends here.

After everyone in the program has read this brief, ask them to choose their leader from among the possible candidates described in the exercise brief. Each participant should write down his own answer giving his choice for the leader on his note pad or against the question given in the brief.

Now divide the entire participants in groups of around 7 to 10 persons in each group. Select the members in a group randomly (the method for random selection of the participant in a group is given in the management exercise “Pass the Message” at ).

Ask members of each group to sit together in a circle or around a table and discuss together in the group to arrive at the consensus candidate for the leadership position. Each group will be given 20 minutes for this. If they request for additional time, you may decide to allot 5 to 10 minutes more.

Now bring all the groups together as one single group though the members of each group will keep sitting together as a group. They should discuss together now as one complete group to once again arrive at the new consensus candidate for leadership position.

Now, request the participants for their feedback, observations and experiential learning.

Wind up the exercise by giving you own dissection of what happened throughout the exercise. Fill them in with supplementary inputs. Explain the learning points.

Get Hold of the Related Books

You can order the following books on “management games and icebreakers” as printed books and eBooks from Amazon online:

  1. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  2. Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers (Volume 2)
  3. Classic Team Building Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers
  4. 101 Classic Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers

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You may like to enjoy reading all the “Management Anecdotes” authored by Shyam Bhatawdekar at: or

And don’t miss to read his “Do This Today”

For Musings of Shyam Bhatawdekar on various topics refer

For “out of box thinking” articles by Shyam Bhatawdekar, refer: (Out of Box Ideas)


About Shyam Bhatawdekar

35 years’ industrial/business experience as a top executive & 35 years’ parallel academic/consultancy experience in general management, behavioral sciences & technology. Areas: general management, production, human resources, industrial engineering, systems, MIS, computers, corporate planning, audit, sales/marketing. Penchant for information technology & behavioral sciences; integrated with conventional technology makes him unique thought leader. Conversant with academic theories & realities of business, fuses the two into practical approaches. Was associated with Tata Motors, Hindustan Motors, Hindustan Aeronautics & ThyssenKrupp; held top positions as highflier executive. Presently Chairman & Managing Director, Prodcons Group associating with 250 organizations; providing management & I T consultations & conducting seminars/workshops. Been a faculty for IIM’s, TMTC, Railway & HAL Staff Colleges, Symbiosis. Speaker with 35000 hours’ experience benefitting more than 100,000 people. Published 35 articles in Economic Times, Indian Management & Computers Today. Authored 27 books. Invited as key speaker in seminars by AIMA, HRD Network, NIPM, QCFI, CSI, NPC. Widely traveled. Education: Engineering & Management.
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9 Responses to Management Games, Exercises, Energizers and Icebreakers: Air Crash

  1. Kerellane says:

    great blog.

  2. Garretot says:

    Interesante (Interesting).

  3. Taynwor says:

    Hey thanks for the info.

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  6. Games says:

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  9. Manav says:

    Good.. But who is better leader as per you

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