Washington Report: Waterproofing Bizav

 - October 4, 2007, 7:26 AM

In response to requests from corporate aviation managers, the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) has compiled “Waterproof Flight Operations,” the current 664-page issue of Flight Safety Digest, which it says contains information that has not been readily available for corporate, fractional, on-demand and commuter operators.

“We recognize that water-contact accidents, including ditchings, are relatively uncommon,” said Stuart Matthews, FSF president and CEO. “Nevertheless, the risk of ditching is not negligible, and corporate aviation managers asked the foundation to synthesize current thinking about such ‘unthinkable’ subjects as ditching a transport-category aircraft, how to select life rafts, how to use the required survival equipment and what might be expected from search-and-rescue resources in various parts of the world.”

The foundation said the publication is timely for many aircraft operators because of scheduled changes to the requirements for ELTs, which are essential in the worldwide SAR system; a trend to reduce the requirements for over-water survival equipment based on the proven reliability of turbine engines (although the role of human factors cannot be overlooked); the utility of long-range corporate jets that support growth in over-water operations; ongoing improvements in helicopter operations by the offshore energy industry; and accidents involving fare-paying passengers during near-shore operations in nonturbine-powered airplanes. Many of the articles also offer valuable insights to offshore mariners, it added. The FSF said the issue punctures long-held misconceptions, such as the belief that ditchings are a relic of the past. It cited several recent events, including:

•    A businessman-pilot ditched his CitationJet off the northwest U.S. coast after an apparent pitch-trim problem; the two people aboard survived.

•    A Falcon 20 was ditched in a U.S. river during a cargo flight when both engines flamed out on an instrument approach; both pilots survived.
Copies of “Waterproof Flight Operations” are available from FSF in CD or print form at (703) 739-6700, extension 102, or through www.flightsafety.org.