Paul Comtois knows why safety is a tough business for some people to comprehend: “Because it’s difficult to prove that what you’ve implemented actually had any effect.” Comtois, a former fighter pilot, is director of advanced pilot training programs at ETC, a Southampton, Pa.-based training company focused on upset prevention and recovery.
AINsafety » April 1, 2013
An Air France A340-300 nearly crashed while on approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) on March 13 last year because the crew failed to understand the danger cues the aircraft’s flight systems were showing them. The aircraft was already above the recommended altitude for glideslope intercept–with speedbrakes deployed–as it was being vectored for the Runway 8R Cat III ILS at CDG. On low-visibility approaches at CDG, ATC procedures also require aircraft to be slowed to less than 180 knots within 15 miles.
For years, experts have wondered about the correlation–or the lack of one–between pilots’ flight-time experience and how they perform in the cockpit. Two Australian human-factors researchers–Matthew Thomas and Melanie Todd–have tackled the question.
As thunderstorm season approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s worth remembering how weather-radar technology has improved in the past three decades. Southern Airways Flight 242, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, crashed in Pauling County outside Atlanta on April 4, 1977, after flying directly into a severe thunderstorm, calling attention to the then little understood issue of radar signal attenuation in areas of heavy precipitation.
A TSA inspector at McGhee-Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville, Tenn., confiscated a loaded .38-caliber handgun from a woman on March 21 after removing it from her carry-on luggage. The TSA officer noticed the weapon as the bag passed through the X-ray screening machine. The weapon’s owner was carrying an expired gun permit and told officials she had forgotten she was carrying the weapon. The TSA confiscated 16 firearms from people attempting to board aircraft at TYS last year.
Aircare Solutions Group has developed a critical incident response program it plans to offer to the business aviation community at no charge. The company is offering this because it believes mental health-related trauma surrounding catastrophic events, especially those involving loss of life, can significantly reduce a person’s ability to function at work and play if not dealt with quickly.
The FAA will soon begin managing E-STMP slots for IFR aircraft arriving for this year’s U.S. Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga., between April 8 and April 15 from 6 a.m. local time through 11 p.m. local time daily for Augusta Regional Airport (AGS), Daniel Field (DNL), Aiken Municipal (AIK) and Thomson-McDuffie County Airport (HQU). Parking reservations are also required at Augusta between April 1 and April 15.
PilotWorkshop.com says its free training app is the number-one download for the iPad and iPhone under “pilot training.” The app features 20 free training videos and audios that include topics such as single-pilot IFR, ATC communications, aviation weather, emergencies and airmanship, all produced in 10 to 15-minute segments.
The recently issued FAA Notice JO 7110.616 “adds the detection of sulfur gases (H2S and SO2) in the aircraft cabin,” to questions briefers might ask pilots when soliciting for Pireps. H2S, also known as sewer gas, has the odor of rotten eggs, while SO2 is identifiable as the sharp, acrid odor of a freshly struck match. The FAA plans to report volcanic activity when pilots do not see an ash cloud but do smell sulfur gases within the cockpit and or cabin.
India has announced plans to start reallocating its airspace, which is now controlled mostly by the military, to take more account of civil air transport growth. The agreement between India’s Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Civil Aviation will begin with approval of seven city-pair routings, including the heavily traveled Mumbai-Delhi route.