ASN releases airliner safety statistics 2011

January 1, 2012

The Aviation Safety Network today released the 2011  airliner accident statistics showing a total of 507 airliner accident fatalities, as a result of 28 fatal multi-engine airliner accidents.

The year 2011 was a very safe year for civil aviation, Aviation Safety Network data show. The second safest year by number of fatalities and the third safest year by number of accidents. Also, 2011 marked the longest period without a fatal airliner accident in modern aviation history. This record period now stands at 80 days and counting (by January 1).

Over the year 2011 the Aviation Safety Network recorded a total of 28 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 507 fatalities and 14 ground fatalities. The number of fatalities is lower than the ten-year average of 764 fatalities.
The worst accident happened on January 9, 2011 when an Iran Air Boeing 727 crashed while on approach to Orumiyeh, Iran, killing 77.

The number of accidents involving passenger flights was relatively high with nineteen accidents as compared to the ten-year average of 16 accidents.

Seven out of 28 accident airplanes were operated by airlines on the E.U. “black list” as opposed to six out of 29 the year before. The E.U. added a total of nine airlines to the “black list” and removed three airlines based on improved safety records.

In 2011 Africa showed a continuing decline in accidents: 14% of all fatal airliner accidents happened in Africa. Although this is still out of sync compared to the fact that the continent only accounts for approximately 3 percent of all world aircraft departures. Russia suffered a very bad year with six fatal accidents.

The Aviation Safety Network is an independent organisation located in the Netherlands. Founded in 1996. It has the aim to provide everyone with a (professional) interest in aviation with up-to-date, complete and reliable authoritative information on airliner accidents and safety issues. ASN is an exclusive service of the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF). The figures have been compiled using the airliner accident database of the Aviation Safety Network, the Internet leader in aviation safety information. The Aviation Safety Network uses information from authoritative and official sources.

More information:

Harro Ranter
the Aviation Safety Network

Study: Regulation of ground de-icing and anti-icing services in Europe

June 20, 2011

EASA has published its Final Report on the study carried out on the regulation of ground de-icing and anti-icing services in EASA member states.

Born out of a large number of events of stiff or frozen flight control systems during the winters of 2005 and 2006 and the subsequent Safety Recommendations made by the UK Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB) and the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU), followed by the conclusions of a 2006 Industry-wide ERA/JAA Winter Operations Workshop which addressed the issues surrounding fluid residues and de-icing/anti-icing standards, an study commissioned by EASA was carried out.

The Study’s scope was to investigate and recommend the means by which Aviation Authorities manage matters with respect to the certification of service providers and the availability of de-icing/anti-icing fluids.  Its aim was to make recommendations for improvements of service provision and the availability of Type I fluids.

EASA considers that the Study has been successful overall with regard to practical recommendations to raise standards and improve safety, but it falls short of recommending provision of Type I fluid, claiming that further data collection is required due to some conflicting survey results.  However, service providers are encouraged to provide Type I and/or two-step procedures if demanded by operators.  Equally, direct regulation of service providers has been excluded at this stage but may be considered as a future option.

The report presents 26 Recommendations that have been assessed for their impacts concerning safety, economic, environmental, social and the regulatory framework.  If adopted, EASA states that the Recommendations would generate a beneficial reduction in the risks associated with de-icing/anti-icing and that the improvements to the regulations would have a positive effect on the safety of other ground handling activities.

The Study recommends that EASA develops a targeted work programme which, if undertaken, would see generally higher de-icing/anti-icing operational standards within two years, harmonized more broadly across Member States. The six areas recommended for actions are:

  • improving coordination between Industry and the Aviation Authorities;
  • collecting more safety data and analyzing the existing risks;
  • ensuring regulations and guidance for air operations are comprehensive, unambiguous and practical;
  • conducting oversight activities to ascertain whether regulations are being harmoniously and consistently applied across Europe;
  • consider alternative regulatory means to support operators to achieve acceptable service levels from their providers, and to facilitate aerodromes and service providers in ensuring this;
  • engaging with all stakeholders to ensure that more focused research is conducted, and data gathered, into fluid qualities and performance.
More information:

Bird strikes increase after extension of runway at Tokyo-Narita, Japan

June 6, 2011

The number of cases of bird strikes near Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, Japan increased significantly since one of the runways was extended in late 2009, according to The Mainichi  Daily News.

Bird strikes avereaged 5.8 a year from 1991 to 2002. The airport just operated a single runway during that period. In 2002 a second parallel runway, 16L/34R, was opened. The runway, also known as “Runway B” was 2,180 m in length, compared to 4,000m long runway 16R/34L.

The number of bird strikes increased to an average of 26.3 cases per year from 2003 to 2008. Then, in October 2009, “Runway B” was extended to 2,500 m.  In the area of the extension,  noise protection embankments covered with trees were used to curb the noise.

To curb the noise, trees were planted in the area.  The number bird  strikes incidents rose to 46 in 2009 and 82 in 2010. The number of aircraft movements in 2010 was 191,459. For comparison, Los Angeles International Airport, CA, suffered 87 reported bird strike incidents in 2010 for a total of 433,452 aircraft movements.

The rise in bird hits seems attributable to the grow in airport traffic and the fact that the area near the runway extension has become more quiet and inhabitable for birds.



OIG to audit FAA on its efforts to enhance airline safety following Colgan Air accident

May 23, 2011

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) plans to conduct a follow-up review of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and industry efforts to enhance safety in response to the 2009 fatal crash of Colgan Air flight 3407. 

OIG is conducting this review at the request of the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Aviation.
Several safety initiatives were introduced following the Colgan Air crash through FAA’s Call to Action on Airline Safety and Pilot Training and subsequently became requirements under the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010.
Effectively implementing these requirements in a timely manner is critical to enhancing safety for the traveling public.  Accordingly, the audit objectives are to:

  1. examine FAA and industry progress in implementing elements of the Act; and
  2. identify any challenges to completing these actions.
More information:

Slight rise in U.K. airprox incidents in 2010

May 12, 2011

The latest report from the UK Airprox Board (UKAB) shows an improvement during the first six months of 2010 in the most serious airprox incidents involving commercial air transport aircraft, with no reported events at all concerning passenger airlines in the highest risk categories. There had been one category B incident during the first six months of 2009.

There was, however, a small overall increase in reported airprox incidents between January-June 2010 compared to the same period the year before. There were a total of 79 incidents in the first half of 2010 involving commercial, military and general aviation aircraft, in contrast to 60 during January to June 2009.

General aviation aircraft were involved in ten more incidents than in the same period the year before – 44 compared to 34. These included two category A incidents, an increase on the single category A incident during the same period in 2009.

Today’s report shows that the causes of airprox incidents remain predominantly late sightings and non-sightings of aircraft by pilots. The majority of these occur in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace where pilots have the responsibility to see and avoid other aircraft.

More information:

Report: UK CAA publishes task forces’ recommendations on 7 top safety risks

March 28, 2011

The U.K. CAA launched a task force initiative in June 2009 to address the seven top safety risks.

The Paper pubsihed by the CAA consolidates the findings and recommendations of the task forces into one document.

The ‘Significant Seven’ safety risks cover:

  • loss of control;
  • runway overrun or excursion;
  • controlled flight into terrain (CFIT);
  • runway incursion and ground collision;
  • airborne conflict;
  • ground handling operations;
  • airborne and post-crash fire.

More information:

Report: UK Safety Performance detailing U.K. safety statistics 2000-2009

February 9, 2011

The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) published a statistical review of aviation safety, titled “UK Safety Performance” (CAP 800).

The document provides statistics on the safety of UK aviation between 2000 and 2009, covering reportable and fatal accidents, serious incidents and occurrences as a whole.Information is provided for UK public transport, UK non-public transport, UK airspace and UKaerodromes, large and small aeroplanes, helicopters, airships, balloons, gliders, gyroplanesand microlights.

There were 113 reportable accidents involving large UK public transport aeroplanes between 2000 and 2009. The most common type of accident was a ramp incident, followed by abnormal runway contact or runway excursion. Three accidents involved fatalities to aircraft occupants, with a total of five fatalities. One accident involved a third party fatality.

The reportable accident rate over the period as a whole was 9.8 per million flights, and the fatal accident rate was 0.3 per million flights. Grouping aircraft into jets, business jets and turboprops, the group most commonly involved in a reportable accident was jet aircraft, but they had the lowest accident rate at 9.1 per million flights. By contrast, business jets were involved in the least number of reportable accidents but had the highest accident rate at 19.4 per million flights.

In addition to the five on-board fatalities and one third-party fatality, there were 15 serious injuries and 44 minor injuries.

There were 179 serious incidents, of which aircraft technical failure/malfunction was the most common type of serious incident, followed by in-flight fire/smoke/fumes. The serious incident rate was 15.7 per million flights, and was highest for turboprop aircraft at 20.1 per million flights.

Overall, there were 49,000 occurrences involving large UK public transport aeroplanes and the annual number of these occurrences increased by 20% in the ten year period. Accidents and Serious Incidents form less than 1% of the total number of occurrences.

More information:

Study: Aircraft loading occurrences July 2003 to June 2010

December 23, 2010

Incorrect unloading can cause an aircraft to pitch up (photo: ATSB)

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) published a study (AR-2010-044) on aircraft loading occurrences from July 2003 to June 2010.

The report documents the number and types of safety occurrences involving loading of high capacity aircraft to raise awareness within the aviation industry of the associated issues.
Incorrect loading of containers, pallets or bags into aircraft can result in them being outside of weight or centre of gravity operating limits, and this may influence aircraft controllability. Most high capacity aircraft loading occurrences are relatively minor, with cargo locks not being raised being the most common. More serious occurrences have involved shifting cargo and unlisted cargo being loaded onto aircraft. Aircraft performance has been affected in a small number of cases, and the result has been rejected takeoff, extra stabiliser trim, or aircraft control difficulties.

The study concluded that the following practices can help to guard against common loading errors:

  • Perform cross-checks between the mean aerodynamic chord and stabiliser trim setting, for all LIRs.
  • Perform a cross-check of the aircraft weight, as recorded in the aircraft manual –  with the load report weight, and ensure the aircraft registration details are correct on the loadsheet.
  • Flight crew should not accept a loadsheet while the aircraft is being loaded.
  • Incorporate rules within load  control software that stop incorrectly configured aircraft loadsheets from being generated.
  • Remove off-loaded/rejected containers or loads from next to the aircraft where they can potentially get reloaded in error.
  • Use on-board aircraft weight sensors as a cross-check against weight and centre of gravity calculations.


Study: Steady increase in Australian birdstrikes

June 30, 2010

A new report released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) highlights ways to manage the risks posed by aircraft hitting birds and reveals that the reported number of  birdstrikes in Australia has steadily increased over the past eight years.

The report, which provides aviation birdstrike and animal strike occurrence data between January 2002 and December 2009, shows that in 2009 alone there were 1,340 birdstrikes reported to the ATSB.

The increase in the number of birdstrikes, however, is consistent with the increase in the number of high capacity aircraft movements over the period as well as a greater willingness of people in aviation to report safety occurrences to the ATSB.

Most birdstrikes occur within the confines of aerodromes (less than 5 km). Major and regional towered aerodromes had significantly higher rates of reported birdstrikes than General Aviation Airport Procedures (GAAP) aerodromes, and had considerably increasing rates from 2002 to 2009. GAAP aerodrome birdstrike rates do not appear to have changed.

Engine ingestion makes up 11 per cent of all birdstrike occurrences in high capacity air transport for the 8- year period, and the highest number of damaging birdstrikes occurs in high capacity air transport. Birdstrikes causing multiple parts damaged were not common throughout the period. General aviation had the highest proportion of damaging birdstrikes, with almost 24 per cent of birdstrikes causing damage. Aeroplane wings and helicopter rotor blades are the most commonly damaged aircraft components across all operational types, particularly in general aviation. There have been eight occurrences from the period of 2002-2009 that have resulted in serious aircraft damage, and four that have resulted in injury.

The most common types of birds struck by aircraft were lapwings/plovers, bats/flying foxes, galahs, and kites. Not surprisingly, larger birds were more likely to result in aircraft damage.

Animal strikes were relatively rare. High capacity air transport had the highest average with 11.5 animal strikes per year, with general aviation having the second highest average with 9.3 animal strikes per year. The most common animals involved in strikes were hares/rabbits, kangaroos, wallabies, and foxes/dogs. Damaging strikes mostly involved kangaroos, wallabies and livestock.

Bird hazard control at aerodromes was found to be mostly related to the control of grass height (short or long) and growing specific plants or grass, and the daily or weekly use or auditory deterrents, especially car horns and shotguns.

Study: Factors influencing misaligned take-off occurrences at night

June 30, 2010

ATSB pilot information card to help flight crew identify factors that could increase the risk of a misaligned take-off or landing.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) published a study into factors influencing misaligned take-off occurrences at night. This report examines both Australian as well as relevant international occurrences
where pilots have misperceived their lateral position on runway due to darkness and a combination of individual influences, runway, weather and task conditions.

The study was iniated following several occurrences that involved aircraft commencing takeoff on the runway edge lighting. All five recent Australian misaligned take-off and landing occurrences involved aircraft with weights greater than 5,700kg and three of the six occurrences involved scheduled regular passenger transport operations. The remaining two occurrences involved charter operations.

After reviewing the Australian and international occurrences, eight common factors were identified that increased the risk of a misaligned take-off or landing occurrence. The factors included:

  • distraction or divided attention of the flight crew;
  • confusing runway layout; displaced threshold or intersection departure;
  • poor visibility or weather; air traffic control clearance/s issued during runway entry;
  • no runway centreline lighting;
  • flight crew fatigue; and
  • recessed runway edge lighting

To foster safety awareness, knowledge and action, the ATSB developed a pilot information card to help flight crew identify factors that could increase the risk of a misaligned take-off or landing.

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