Borrowing a page from the commercial airline industry, Gulfstream has developed a flight data monitoring/flight operations quality assurance (FDM/FOQA) program to enhance flight safety.
For the airlines, FDM/FOQA analysis has resulted in significant reductions in the number of unstable approaches, while improving compliance with the pilots’ standard operating procedures.
According to Gulfstream, its flight operations risk management service (FORMS) analyzes and accurately measures exposure to known risks, including unstable approaches, limiting events of aircraft and maintenance issues. The program is the first of its kind to be offered by a large-cabin business jet manufacturer, the company said.
FORMS is now available for all in-production Gulfstream business jets as well as out-of-production GIV/GIV-SPs and GVs. With the number of in-service Gulfstream business jets surpassing 1,600, and combined with the fact that five Gulfstream models share common pilot type ratings, this type of research data can provide statistically significant findings to operators, resulting in even safer flight.
“Gulfstream FORMS builds upon the safety tools already employed in the flight deck,” said Pres Henne, Gulfstream senior vice president of programs, engineering and test. “By evaluating risk exposure, FORMS provides aircraft owners and operators with solid data that identifies areas for improvement for pilots, air traffic controllers and aircraft maintenance. This awareness allows operators to enrich their internal and external training programs to address these types of issues before they become more serious.”
The FORMS program comprises the installation of a quick access recorder (QAR) via an aircraft service change; a FORMS service subscription; and a tailored implementation and operations plan. The QAR captures flight data recorder information and gets uploaded periodically onto a secure server for analysis. Operators choose data access protocols in advance to satisfy privacy requirements.
Gulfstream has partnered with Austin Digital, a leading FDM/FOQA analysis company, to supply FORMS services. Austin Digital currently provides services to a number of major commercial carriers, including American, Continental, Lufthansa, Northwest, Southwest and United Airlines.
The FORMS participants receive quarterly reports in a customer-friendly graphical format that features analysis of their aircraft operations. At the end of the year, they receive a comparison of their aircraft’s performance in relation to that of the entire reporting fleet. FORMS information can also help identify areas for improvement with air traffic control procedures. In such cases, Gulfstream will apprise the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.