Risk management boosts aviation safety

 - May 5, 2010, 6:21 AM

The European Union last year experienced the lowest number of fatal accidents on record, but the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) was quick to point out that even one fatal accident can overshadow a good safety record. It is for this reason that many operators are choosing to be proactive, rather than reactive, in addressing aviation safety.

Among Gulfstream operators, a growing number are enrolling in the manufacturer’s Flight Operations Risk Management Service (Forms), a turnkey service that “objectively and accurately” measures exposure to known risks, such as unstable approaches, system operating limits and adverse runway operations. Forty-four Gulfstream aircraft are currently enrolled in the service.

Forms consists of two components: a quick access recorder that collects data using a removable compact flash drive, and a monitoring service provided by Texas- based Austin Digital to analyze the data. The system monitors the aircraft’s takeoff, climb, cruise, descent, approach and landing parameters, and identifies and analyzes the conditions present when the parameters have been exceeded. The information can then be used for training purposes.

“With Forms, there’s no guess work, just a quantifiable assessment of the crew’s performance and the potential for risks,” said Randy Gaston, vice president, flight operations, Gulfstream. “We can then use that information to create real-world training that mitigates those risks. It really is a cutting-edge safety enhancement.”

In-service analysis has indicated that operators using the system have had fewer unstable approaches than operators who don’t use the system, Gaston said. “Feedback to pilots during the training program, and directly via their own safety stand downs, ensures adherence to standard operating procedures, which greatly improves operating safety.”

The system is available through an aircraft service change for the Gulfstream G550, G500, G450, G350, G400, G300, GV and GIV. Installations are under development for the G200, G150, GV and GIV.