Flight Department Says FOQA Delivers

 - February 15, 2007, 9:57 AM

Jeffrey Sands, director of flight operations for Altria, disclosed results of his company’s participation in a Flight Safety Foundation demonstration of a flight operational quality assurance (FOQA) program. Altria has two years of results from its three Gulfstream IV-SPs, using data downloaded from the airplane’s quick access recorder (QAR) sent to data-analysis vendor Austin Digital. Data showed during 2005 that 6 percent of approaches were unstable, and Altria was able to cut this in half, to 3 percent last year. Data also revealed occasional exceedance of SOP bank limits, likely when passengers weren’t on board. The chief pilot discussed results with his pilots, but not who was violating SOPs. Since then, bank exceedances are almost zero. Cost was about $7,000 per airplane for QAR hardware, and $10,000 annually per airplane for data services. “It should be lower as we get more aircraft [on board],” Sands said. These results were released at a White Plains, N.Y. meeting last week of flight department managers and pilots.