Day 2 of EASA Safety Conference: “Staying in Control – Loss of Control (LoC) – Prevention and Recovery”

October 5, 2011

EASA Conference Day 2

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) today, October 5, opened the second day of their third aviation safety conference. The conference was  attended by 250 professionals from the aviation industry.

The theme for the two-day conference is “Loss of Control”. A topic well chosen because Loss of Control (LoC) accidents are considered a safety priority by many organisations.

The U.K. CAA for instance named LoC as one of the “Significant Seven” issues that affect airline safety. The CAA’s efforts with regards to LoC focus on training and assessment of pilot monitoring skills, use of aircraft automation and maintenance of manual flying skills.

These issues were also raised by several other speakers. Several industry-wide committees and working groups are working actively on all fronts – Prevention, Detection, and Recovery with regards to LoC.

One of those joint efforts was to make a generic procedure for pilots how to handle a stall at low altitude. Past training focused to prevent altitude loss, many times leading the pilot to add maximum thrust as the first step for recovery. The new focus however is on CRM, making it a team effort to recover from stall instead of a pilot flown maneuver. An industry-wide group completed a new and generic procedure that has been verified and validated by Airbus and Boeing.

The stall recovery template as presented by Boeing and Airbus

Simulator training

Also, there is a  need for changing flight simulator training in relation to key issues involved in LoC accidents. Simulators today are satisfactory for teaching upset prevention but can cover an estimated 1/3 of what they need for teaching upset recovery.

For instance, events caused by atmospheric disturbances and flight control issues can be replicated in simulators. Disorientation though is harder to replicate. And for icing and stalls simulators are not up to the full job. Yet, those two account for a large amount of Upset accidents; almost half of all accidents according to research.

Research is being done in the European SUPRA projects with enhancing motion cueing in existing flight simulators and a new advanced simulator at TNO labs which can simulate continuous g-loads and even inverted flight.

Something to which everyone agreed is that is no single solution to Loss of Control; only a multifaceted approach to Prevention, Detection, and Recovery will reduce LoC  accidents.

There is a vital role for instructors. Also general aviation instructors should use this guidance in their training for future airline pilots.

The conference presentations will be published on the EASA conference website.

Meanwhile, a video of Dr. Sunjoo Advani’s excellent presentation during a previous conference is available online:

Presentations held during Day 2 were:

Stall Recovery: New international Standard
Claude Lelaie, (Flight Test Pilot, Airbus retired) and Philip Adrian, 737 Chief Technical Pilot, Chief Pilot Regulatory Affairs, The Boeing Company

Upset Recovery Training
Philip Adrian, 737 Chief Technical Pilot, Chief Pilot Regulatory Affairs, The Boeing Company and Capt Marc Parisis, VP Training and Flight Operations Support, Airbus

FAA Stall and Upset Recovery Training Initiatives
Capt Robert Burke, Aviation Safety Inspector, Air Carrier Training Branch, FAA

Flight Simulator for Upset Recovery
Dr Jeffery Schroeder, Chief Scientist and Technical Advisor for Flight Simulation Systems, FAA

Loss of Control: Significant Threat – Significant Actions
Capt David McCorquodale, Head of Flight Crew Standards, UK CAA

The ICATEE Programme
Dr Sunjoo Advani, Royal Aeronautical Society / Chairman of the ICATEE

Supra Project
Dr Eric Groen, SUPRA Technical Coordinator, TNO and Lars Fucke, SUPRA Dissemination Lead, Boeing R&T Europe

NASA Research on LoC
Dr Christine Belcastro, Chief Scientist, NASA

Summary – Way Forward and Conclusion
John Vincent, Deputy Director for Strategic Safety & Head of Safety Analysis, EASA


Day 1 of EASA Safety Conference: “Staying in Control – Loss of Control (LoC) – Prevention and Recovery”

October 4, 2011

EASA's safety conference

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) today, October 4, opened their third aviation safety conference. The conference is being attended by 250 professionals from the aviation industry.

The theme for the two-day conference is “Loss of Control”. A topic well chosen because Loss of Control (LoC) accidents are considered a safety priority by many organisations.

This was again confirmed by speakers today. EASA research of airliner accidents over the past decade showed that 25% of all fatal accidents are caused by Loss of Control. Additionaly, ICAO data supports the conclusion that LoC accident account for most fatalities. It is one of four safety priorities for ICAO.

And alarmingly, the LoC accident rate is not decreasing.

But how to decrease the number of LoC accidents? ICAO suggests that it should be a global approach with harmonization of efforts. Meanwhile several organisations are involved in research in relation to (aspects of) LoC. Some speakers noted that the monitoring skills of the ‘pilot monitoring’, or ‘ pilot not flying’ should be strengthened. With enhanced monitoring skills a copilot could be even better prepared to anticipate and recognize signs that, for instance a stall is imminent.

But not it is not just monitoring skills.  A French study in 2008 reported that many copilots felt that they were not adequately prepared for surprising situations.

It should be considered to take these kind of situations into account during pilot training. Especially given the growing automation on today’s flight decks. It is getting harder to anticipate all different failure modes in these automated systems. More so since several systems like Electronic Flight Bags do not go through the same certification processes as aircraft systems.

However, a slight change in training would not be sufficient, according to Jean Pariès. He even suggested a paradigm shift for training as a whole to, “”recognize real world unpredictability.. and to maintain/develop resilience features”.

 

Several LoC accidents were mentioned by different speakers. These accidents were:

23 Aug 2000 – A320 at Bahrain: nose down input by the captain during a night time go around; crash into the sea.

22 Dec 1999 – B747F near London-Stansted: captain lost control when his ADI failed.

23 Sep 2007 – B737-300 near Bournemouth, UK. Unrecognized disengaing of autothrottle during final approach.

14 Sep 2008 – B737-500 near Perm, Russia:  loss of spatial orientation of the crew during night time approach, pilot not familiar with Western ADI’s.

25 Feb 2009 – B737-800 near Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport: Stall following undetected autothrottle thrust reduction during final approach.

 

Day 1 of the conference featured the following speakers:

Welcome Speech – Opening Remarks
John Vincent, Deputy Director for Strategic Safety & Head of Safety Analysis, EASA

Keynote Speech
Patrick Goudou, Executive Director, EASA

EASA Rulemaking Forewords
Jean-Marc Cluzeau, Head of Flight Standards Department, EASA

EASA Safety Review – Loss of control accidents in numbers
Ilias Maragakis, Safety Analyst Expert, EASA

Accidents in Commercial Aviation Transport: Review and lessons learned
Capt Bertrand de Courville, Air France Corporate Safety Manager, ECAST Co-chair

Loss of Control Examples
Margaret Dean and Andrew Blackie, Senior Inspectors of Air Accidents (Operations), AAIB UK

Crew Resource Management
Jean Pariès, President, Dédale SAS

Flight Path Management Systems: Policy, Training and Operational use
Dr Kathy Abbott, Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor, Flight Deck Human Factors, FAA

EASA Automation Policy
Dr Michel Masson, HF Expert / Safety Action Coordinator, EASA

ICAO Activities in relation to LoC
Henry Defalque, Technical Officer, Licensing and Operations, Flight Operations Section, ICAO


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