ASN releases preliminary airliner safety statistics 2011

December 28, 2011

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

Caveat: This press release shows the figures as of December 27, 2011. Final statistics will be released on January 1, 2012.

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 75 days and counting (by December 27).

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

Report: Poor CRM, violation of procedures caused fatal A321 accident in Pakistan

December 22, 2011

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) completed its investigation into the accident involving an Airblue Airbus A321 in July 2010 that killed 152 all occupants.

Flight ABQ202 had departed Karachi International Airport (KHI) on a domestic service to Islamabad, Pakistan. Weather at Islamabad was poor with deteriorating visibility. A PIA flight had landed on the third attempt to land and a flight om China had returned. ABQ202 was cleared for a Runway 12 Circling Approach procedure. During the approach the captain descended below Minimum Descent Altitude (MDA) (i.e. 2,300 ft instead of maintaining 2,510 ft), losing visual contact with the airfield. The captain then decided to fly a non-standard self-created PBD-based approach, thus transgressing out of the protected airspace by an distance of 4.3 NM into the Margalla Hills area.
The captain did not take appropriate action following calls from Air Traffic Controller. He also did not respond to 21 EGPWS warnings related to approaching rising terrain and pull up.
The airplane flew into the side of a mountain. The First Officer remained a passive bystander in the cockpit and did not participate as an effective team member failing to supplement and compliment or to correct the errors of his captain assertively due to the captain’s behaviour in the flight. The report said that during initial climb, the captain tested the knowledge of the First Officer and used harsh words and a snobbish tone, contrary to the company procedure/norms. The question/answer sessions, lecturing and advices by the captain continued with intervals for about one hour after takeoff. After the intermittent humiliating sessions, the FO generally remained quiet, suffered from underconfidence, became submissive and subsequently did not challenge the captain for any of his errors, breaches and violations.

Source:  Dawn,  The Express Tribune, The News International

FAA issues final rule on pilot fatigue

December 21, 2011

The U.S.  Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule that overhauls commercial passenger airline pilot scheduling to ensure pilots have a longer opportunity for rest before they enter the cockpit. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was pleased with the new rule but also voiced concerns on the limitation to Part 121 carriers.

Fatigue has been on the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements since 1990. The Department of Transportation identified the issue of pilot fatigue as a top priority during a 2009 airline Safety Call to Action following the crash of Colgan Air flight 3407. The FAA launched an effort to take advantage of the latest research on fatigue to create a new pilot flight, duty and rest proposal, which the agency issued on September 10, 2010. This proposed rule is now final.

The NTSB reacted in a statemtent, saying that, “while this is not a perfect rule, it is a huge improvement over the status quo for large passenger-carrying operations. Yet, we are extremely disappointed that the new rule is limited to Part 121 carriers. A tired pilot is a tired pilot, whether there are 10 paying customers on board or 100, whether the payload is passengers or pallets.”

The estimated cost of this rule to the aviation industry is $297 million but the benefits are estimated between $247- $470 million. Covering cargo operators under the new rule would be too costly compared to the benefits generated in this portion of the industry. Some cargo airlines already have improved rest facilities for pilots to use while cargo is loaded and unloaded during night time operations. The FAA encourages cargo operators to opt into the new rule voluntarily, which would require them to comply with all of its provisions.

Key components of this final rule for commercial passenger flights include:

Varying flight and duty requirements based on what time the pilot’s day begins.
The new rule incorporates the latest fatigue science to set different requirements for pilot flight time, duty period and rest based on the time of day pilots begin their first flight, the number of scheduled flight segments and the number of time zones they cross. The previous rules included different rest requirements for domestic, international and unscheduled flights. Those differences were not necessarily consistent across different types of passenger flights, and did not take into account factors such as start time and time zone crossings.

Flight duty period.

The allowable length of a flight duty period depends on when the pilot’s day begins and the number of flight segments he or she is expected to fly, and ranges from 9-14 hours for single crew operations. The flight duty period begins when a flightcrew member is required to report for duty, with the intention of conducting a flight and ends when the aircraft is parked after the last flight. It includes the period of time before a flight or between flights that a pilot is working without an intervening rest period. Flight duty includes deadhead transportation, training in an aircraft or flight simulator, and airport standby or reserve duty if these tasks occur before a flight or between flights without an intervening required rest period.

Flight time limits of eight or nine hours.
The FAA limits flight time – when the plane is moving under its own power before, during or after flight – to eight or nine hours depending on the start time of the pilot’s entire flight duty period.

10-hour minimum rest period.
The rule sets a 10-hour minimum rest period prior to the flight duty period, a two-hour increase over the old rules. The new rule also mandates that a pilot must have an opportunity for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep within the 10-hour rest period.

New cumulative flight duty and flight time limits.
The new rule addresses potential cumulative fatigue by placing weekly and 28-day limits on the amount of time a pilot may be assigned any type of flight duty. The rule also places 28-day and annual limits on actual flight time. It also requires that pilots have at least 30 consecutive hours free from duty on a weekly basis, a 25 percent increase over the old rules.

Fitness for duty.
The FAA expects pilots and airlines to take joint responsibility when considering if a pilot is fit for duty, including fatigue resulting from pre-duty activities such as commuting. At the beginning of each flight segment, a pilot is required to affirmatively state his or her fitness for duty. If a pilot reports he or she is fatigued and unfit for duty, the airline must remove that pilot from duty immediately.

Fatigue Risk Management System.
An airline may develop an alternative way of mitigating fatigue based on science and using data that must be validated by the FAA and continuously monitored.

In 2010, Congress mandated a Fatigue Risk Management Plan (FRMP) for all airlines and they have developed these plans based on FAA guidance materials. An FRMP provides education for pilots and airlines to help address the effects of fatigue which can be caused by overwork, commuting, or other activities. Airlines will be required to train pilots about the potential effects of commuting.

Required training updates every two years will include fatigue mitigation measures, sleep fundamentals and the impact to a pilot’s performance. The training will also address how fatigue is influenced by lifestyle – including nutrition, exercise, and family life – as well as by sleep disorders and the impact of commuting.

The final rule has been sent to the Federal Register for display and publication. It is currently available at:, and will take effect in two years to allow commercial passenger airline operators time to transition.

This week marked the longest period without a fatal airliner accident

December 17, 2011

This week marked the longest period without a fatal airliner accident 1) in modern aviation history. As of today, Saturday December 17, 2011 , there have been no fatal airliner accidents since October 13.  An accident-free period of 65 days and counting.

On October 13 a DHC-8 turboprop airplane crashed in a forest near Madang, Papua New Guinea, killing 28 passengers. Three crew members and one passenger survived the accident. This accident marked the start of the longest period without a fatal airliner accident since 1945 according to Aviation Safety Network data.

The previous longest period was in 1985. Sixty-one days passed between a Fokker F-27 turboprop accident in Burma (4 fatalities) on October 12 and the December 12 tragedy involving a McDonnell Douglas DC-8 of Arrow Air that crashed on takeoff from Gander, Canada, killing all 256 on board.

The average period between two fatal airliner accidents since 2002 is twelve days.


1) ASN defines an airliner accident as: “An occurrence associated with the operation of a commercial multi-engine airplane model, with a certificated maximum passenger configuration of 14 or more passengers,  which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight until such time as all such persons have disembarked, in which a person on the airplane is fatally injured and the airplane is damaged beyond repair.



Polish ATR-42 takes off from taxiway at Wroclaw

November 18, 2011

On November 15, an ATR-42 passenger plane inadvertently took off from a taxiway at Wroclaw, Poland according to a report by Polish news channel TVN24.

Eurolot Flight 012 took off from a closed taxiway at Wroclaw-Strachowice Airport (WRO/EPWR), Poland. Visibility was poor (400 m) due to fog at the time of the incident. Wroclaw has a single runway (11/29) with a parallel taxiway. The taxiway was NOTAMed closed.

Weather reported at the time of the incident (06:00 UTC / 07:00 local):
METAR EPWR 150600Z VRB01KT 0600 R29/0800 FZFG OVC002 M00/M01 Q1027=
METAR EPWR 150630Z VRB02KT 0150 R29/0350 FZFG OVC002 M00/M01 Q1027=

Following the incident the following NOTAM was issued:

More information:


Portuguese scuba divers rediscover Swiss plane wreck off Madeira

October 25, 2011

HB-ICK pictured here at Genève-Cointrin Airport (GVA) in 1975

Portuguese divers have rediscovered the wreckage of a Swiss Caravelle jetliner that crashed and sank off Funchal, Madeira, in December 1977.

Flight SATA 730 was an international charter service from Zurich to Funchal Airport, Madeira, Portugal via Geneva, Switzerland. The Caravelle aircraft landed at Geneva at 14:30 UTC, December 18, 1977. Departure was delayed because a hydraulic pump had to be replaced. The flight deck crew consisted of two captains. A new captain was in the left-hand seat and was piloting the aircraft. The other captain (who was in the right-hand seat) performed the duties of pilot-in-command, pilot responsible for the initiation to Funchal, route check pilot and co-pilot. Initiation of the new captain was necessary because of the difficult approach and landing at Funchal. However, this initiation ought to have been made by day.
The aircraft took off at 16:26. The flight then progressed in accordance with the flight plan. At 19:57 the crew contacted Funchal approach control, which stated that runway 06 was in service and cleared the aircraft to descend to 3500 ft.
After being cleared for the approach the crew descended below the 720 ft altitude permitted during circling, even though they had lost sight of the runway. The pilots, had lost sight of the runway lights at the end of the downwind leg and at the beginning of the base leg, when the aircraft was already flying below 200 ft. The radio altimeter had probably been preset to 200 ft, but the pilots did not check its indications. The aircraft touched the sea soon after the base leg turn. The landing gear and flaps (20°) were out.
It was determined that the accident was caused “by an involuntary ditching during the approach. The fact that the aircraft was flying below the descent plane may have been due to a lack of co-ordination between the pilots and a sensorial illusion on the part of the crew, when it was preoccupied with the search for visual runway references.”

Some media reports suggest that the wreckage was finally discovered after 34 years. However, the location of the wreckage was known to rescue parties and investigators at the time of the accident.


More information:


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

Sports teams involved in fatal plane crashes

September 7, 2011

On September 7,  2011, members of the professional Russian ice hockey team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl were killed in a plane crash near Yaroslavl.  The following is a list of other fatal aircraft accident involving sports teams, compiled from the Aviation Safety Network files. Individual sportsmen and -women involved in accidents are not included.

4 May 1949
An ALI Fiat G.212 crashed into Superga Hill near Turin, Italy, killing all 31 on board. The plane was taking home the Torino FC football team after a match in Lisbon against Benfica. (ASN Accident Description)

6 February 1958
A British European Airways Airspeed Ambassador plane crashed on takeoff from München-Riem Airport, Germany, killing 23 of the 44 occupants. The aircraft was being used to fly the Manchester United football team to Belgrade. (ASN Accident Description)

3 April 1961
A LAN Chile DC-3 plane crashed between Temuco and Santiago, killing all 24 on board. The airplane carried the Green Cross football team. (ASN Accident Description)

29 October 1960
A chartered Curtiss C-46 plane crashed immediately after takeoff from Toledo-Express Airport, OH, killing 22 of the 48 occupants. The airplane carried the California State Polytechnic College football team. (ASN Accident Description)

26 September 1969
A Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano Douglas DC-6 passenger plane crashed during a domestic flight from Santa Cruz to La Paz, Bolivia. The airplane carried 16 members of Club The Strongest, from Laz Paz, a football team from Bolivia’s top division. (ASN Accident Description)

2 October 1970
A chartered Martin 4-0-4 passenger plane crashed near Silver Plume, CO, killing members of the Wichita State University football team. (ASN Accident Description)

14 November 1970
A Southern Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31 passenger jet crashed near Huntington, WV, killing members of the Marshall University football team and coaching staff. (ASN Accident Description)

31 December 1970
A Rousseau Aviation Nord 262 passenger plane crashed in the Mediterranean Sea, killing members of the Algerian Air Liquide football team. (ASN Accident Description)

13 October 1972
A Uruguayan Air Force Fairchild FH-227 was carrying the Old Christians Club rugby union team from Montevideo, Uruguay, to play a match in Santiago, Chile when it crashed in the Andes Mountains. Survivors were found and rescued after two months. (ASN Accident Description)

13 December 1977
A chartered DC-3 plane crashed at Evansville-Dress Regional Airport, IN, killing the University of Evansville Purple Aces basketball team. (ASN Accident Description)

11 August 1979
Two Aeroflot Tupolev 134 passenger jets collided in midair near Dneprodzerzhinsk, Ukraine. Among the casualties was the Soviet (now Uzbek) football team FC Pakhtakor Tashkent. (ASN Accident Description)

8 December 1987
A Fokker F-27 Friendship of the Peruvian Navy crashed into the sea off Lima, Peru. The military transport plane carried the Alianza Lima football team. (ASN Accident Description)

7 June 1989
A DC-8 passenger plane, operated by Surinam Airways, crashed while on approach to Paramaribo-Zanderij International Airport, Suriname. Several members of the Kleurrijk Elftal (Dutch professional football players of Suriname descent) were killed. (ASN Accident Description)

27 April 1993
A Zambia Air Force de Havilland Canada DHC-5D Buffalo crashed in the Atlantic Ocean, off Gabon, killing all 30 on board. The military transport plane carried the Zambian national football team for a World Cup qualification match against Senegal. (ASN Accident Description)

18 September 1994
An Oriental Airlines BAC One-Eleven crashed near Tamanrasset, Algeria, killing 34. The jet had been chartered to fly Nigerian football team Iwuanwanyu from Tunis back to Lagos after a match for the Africa Cup. (ASN Accident Description)

17 June 1995
An Angolan Air Force CASA C-212 Aviocar crashed near Catumbela, killing members of a local football club. (ASN Accident Description)

Peruvian Airlines grounded for safety reasons

August 22, 2011

The Peruvian Ministry of Transport and Communications decided to temporarily suspend the operations of the Peruvian  Airlines as of August 18, 2011 for safety reasons.

The suspension comes after an audit by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) of Peru in April 2011. This audit revealed several safety shortcomings and resulted in an ten corrective actions that needed to be accomplished by the airline.

Also, one of the aircraft was grounded. Boeing 737-2T2 registration OB-1823-P was grounded because of insufficient maintenance.

A new inspection by DGAC in August, 2011 again revealed a deterioration in the airlines level of safety. Consequently, the AOC was suspended for 90 days.

More information:

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