The NTSB has had longstanding concerns about the lack of cockpit voice recorder (CVR) information following reportable accidents or incidents. And although there are requirements about retaining CVR information–FAR 135.151(c) and 121.359(f)–the Safety Board wants the FAA to take stronger action by requiring deactivation of the CVR after an incident or accident and requiring a functional check of the device before each flight of the day.
News and information on safety procedures and concerns.
Amsafe, the Phoenix-based company producing an inflatable seat restraint certified for the CRJ700 and CRJ900 regional jets last year, expects to certify a version for general aviation aircraft by next summer. The Amsafe Aviation Inflatable Restraint (AAIR) resembles a normal three-point seatbelt in size and shape but contains an airbag that deploys away from the body upon sensing a sudden impact. The system is independent of aircraft power.
If the CEO of a corporation should suddenly ask the aviation department manager, “What are we doing to ensure the highest level of safety in our flying operations?” that manager should be prepared to outline the elements that constitute the company’s aviation safety program.
Flash cards, a decidedly low-tech teaching tool, are being revived by the FAA and the AOPA’s Air Safety Foundation (ASF) to help prevent runway incursions. The FAA Office of Runway Safety has selected ASF to produce a new runway incursion training program in conjunction with a change in the practical test standards for private and commercial pilot licenses.
Like all high-tech industries, aviation has hardware, software and wetware. The last is a euphemism for the gray matter between a pilot’s ears (or a controller’s, mechanic’s or any other operator’s, for that matter). Over the 10 decades of powered flight, we’ve vastly improved aircraft engines and airframes. In the past two decades or so, computer processors and databases have left their indelible imprint on avionics.
Aviation insurance rates can be affected by the vagaries of the stock and investment markets, insurance claims unrelated to the aviation industry and historic peaks and valleys in policy pricing. And further cost pressures are added because the number of aviation insurers continues to decrease.
After the tragic collision between a Russian Tu-154 and a DHL cargo Boeing 757 at 35,400 ft over southern Germany on July 1, AIN questioned whether regulations, or any other body of accepted procedures, clearly state which command took precedence–that of the onboard traffic alert collision avoidance system (TCAS) or that of the human controller.
West Bend, Wis.-based EMS-Link, with help from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, and other partners, plans to introduce a program for remote monitoring of the vital signs of passengers or crew of corporate aircraft. According to CEO Paul Egan, EMS-Link allows real-time transmission of a patient’s vital signs over any standard narrow-band telephone connection.
The FAA and aviation industry have formed a Runway Safety Council to examine root causes of runway incursions and make recommendations about runway safety. The group includes 12 to 15 industry representatives and held its first meeting in late March.
The last few months have been difficult for a number of aviation players. First, there were several whistleblower complaints from FAA aviation safety inspectors who risked their futures to make serious allegations against their management in the southwest region. These allegations had been under investigation for some time when the U.S. Congress decided to hold hearings and have FAA senior management respond to them in a public forum.