Safety violations found at Kogalymavia

March 16, 2011

Following the fire-accident involving a Tupolev Tu-154 of Kogalymavia in January 2011, the Ural Transport Prosecutor’s Office audited the airline regarding safety.

It was established that the airline violated the requirements of aviation and fire safety. For example, the emergency response plan did not meet the requirements, and a fire extinguisher was not working.

Also, a set of jet engine fan blades were discovered that were manufactured by the Moscow Machine-Building Plant “Vlered”.
However, the passport of the unit contained a forged stamp and fake signature of an employee.
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Indonesia grounds airline SMAC over safety concerns

February 19, 2011

The Indonesian Directorate General of Civil Aviation suspended the AOC of Sabang Merauke Raya Air Charter (SMAC) following the fatal accident of a CASA C-212 Aviocar operated by SMAC on February 12, 2011.

The CASA Aviocar operated on a test flight from Batam Airport (BTH), Indonesia to Tanjung Pinang (TNJ) after the replacement of an engine. Preliminary investigation results indicated that:

  1. The pilot in command was not qualified for this kind of flight;
  2. No permission was obtain to carry out this test flight; and
  3. A spare engine was carried on board during the test flight.

These findings led the DGCA to suspend the airline’s AOC as a “preventive action”, according to the official statement. The DGCA will conduct a special safety audit of the airline and the airline will remain grounded until further notice.

The airline was added to EU list of banned air carriers on July 4, 2007.


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.

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Air France acts on Independent Safety Review Team recommendations

February 9, 2011

Air France has acknowledged the recommendations on flight safety in a report submitted by the Independent Safety Review Team.

Set up in December 2009, the independent safety review on flight safety comprised eight acknowledged independent experts of international standing chosen to combine French and Anglo-Saxon mindsets. The review team looked into all the internal operating modes, decision-making processes and practices that might have an impact on the safety of Air France flights, by combining a systematic viewpoint on safety with practical experience in running operations at airlines comparable in size to Air France. On this basis, following an inquiry that ran throughout 2010, the experts made proposals that will serve as drivers for our continuous safety improvement process.

The independent safety review’s work mainly focused on listening to employees’ accounts and observing the airline’s operating methods. These observations were analysed by the safety review team’s eight experts: safety systems and safety management in aeronautical sectors or other sectors, “resilience” of the organisations and human factors. The findings primarily concern the Company’s organisation, its corporate culture and the individual behaviour of its staff, managers and unions.

The safety review team presented 35 recommendations with a view to helping the airline pursue its ongoing flight safety improvement process.

According to Aviation Week, the ISRT found amongst others that Air France’s safety governance structure is “overly complex, leading to an overlap and blurring of the lines of responsibility.” Stating that the airline needs to change the “governance arrangements starting at the top,” the panel recommends the introduction of a board subcommittee for safety. Also, the review found that in many departments the safety culture is mainly event-driven, being reactive where it should be proactive.

Air France has already implemented the preliminary recommendations of the independent safety review such as the creation of the Flight Safety Committee within the Air France Board of Directors and the launch of an in-flight observations campaign, the LOSA (Line Operations Safety Audit), following the example of other airlines in the U.S., Asia and Australia, implemented for the first time by a major European airline.

Most of the recommendations will be rapidly implemented in line with a schedule to be defined shortly and monitored in the groups concerned. The adaptation, postponing or non-acknowledgement of any of these proposals will be subject to discussion and validation by these groups.


Audit: FAA needs to improve risk assessment processes for Air Transportation Oversight System

December 21, 2010

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) issued a report on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Air Transportation Oversight System (ATOS).

FAA uses ATOS to conduct surveillance of nearly 100 airlines that transport more than 90 percent of U.S. airline passenger and cargo traffic. While ATOS is conceptually sound, prior OIG reports have found that FAA needs to strengthen national oversight of the system.
Following safety lapses at a major airline in 2008, the Senate Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure asked OIG to assess weaknesses systemwide. An audit was carried out and objectives were to determine:
(1) whether FAA has completed timely ATOS inspections of air carriers’ policies and procedures for their most critical maintenance systems;
(2) how effective ATOS performance inspections have been in testing and validating that these critical maintenance systems are working properly; and
(3) how well FAA implemented ATOS for the remaining Part 121 air carriers and what, if any, oversight challenges FAA inspection offices face.

While FAA has worked to continuously improve ATOS, it was found that FAA inspectors did not complete ATOS inspections of air carriers’ maintenance policies and procedures or systems performance on time.
In addition, FAA transitioned all of its Part 121 inspection offices to ATOS at the end of 2007, but–due in part to training gaps–some inspectors for smaller air carriers had difficulty adapting ATOS to those carriers’ operations. OIG made seven recommendations to FAA to improve its data, training, and risk assessment processes for ATOS. FAA concurred with four of our seven recommendations and partially concurred with three.


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.

India to establish Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council

May 27, 2010

In the wake of the serious accident involving an Air India Express Boeing 737 at Mangalore, the Civil Aviation Minister decided to establish the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council (CASAC).

The Council will work directly with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and recommend steps for improving air safety.

The proposed Council will constitute of pilots, air traffic controllers, airport operators, the air force and medical specialists. Also representatives from manufactures like Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier will be special invitees to the Council.

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