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Another Training aircraft crash highlights regulatory failure

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India has witnessed an increasing number of training aircraft accidents over the past few years. Flight schools are the foundation of pilot training. The airlines and other operators depend on these institutions to churn out high caliber professional to assure safety and efficiency in air transport. Unfortunately, these very institutions are facing the wrath of a crumbling regulatory setup. The safety systems are dependent on proactive and reactive measures to assure safety. The regulator has demonstrated inadequate oversight of activities and poor standards/quality. The investigation from which the industry learns to prevent future accidents is unable to perform due to poor quality of accident investigation reports.  Commercials has clearly been given precedence over safety. A number of investigations are motivated to shield the operator and/or poor infrastructure. An example is the comments in the attached clip. The system is a closed setup and does not encourage collaborative decisi

Strong winds & poor visibility can shut down Calicut airport operations

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The airport at Calicut has witnessed 1 accident & 2 serious incidents in the past 3 years where the aircraft have departed the runway surface. The runway is constructed on a tabletop, has hills in close proximity, and experiences heavy rainfall. This makes it a challenging runway to operate to and from. One would expect, additional safety buffers in terms of facilities and infrastructure. Unfortunately, commercial gains have taken priority over safety issues. If we analyze the runway strip at this airport, one will get an idea of where the safety is headed. Denial is the first step post an accident and the same is the case here. However, the authorities are aware of the safety concerns but have not acted to build safety barriers is a matter of grave concern. Runway strip as defined in the DGCA, India Civil Aviation Requirement, is a defined area including the runway and stopway, if provided, intended: a) to reduce the risk of damage to aircraft running off a runway; and b) to prote

AirIndia Express Co-Pilot's life & others lost probably to a failed emergency response plan

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  The crash of the Boeing 777 on July 6th 2013, at San Francisco killed two and injured more than 180. The first police and fire personnel arrived at the crash scene in about two minutes, and local officials said brave rescue efforts and effective triage of the many wounded likely saved lives.  A stark contrast was the Air India Express IX1344 accident at Calicut airport where the aircraft plunged 35 meters killing 21 people including the pilots. The victims were transported to various hospitals in ambulances and private vehicles. While ambulances are equipped with life saving medical equipment, the Co-Pilot was rushed to a hospital 25km away an hours drive on the backseat of a private car thereby depriving him of the critical life saving equipment. While it was a helping gesture but who ever decided this inhumane treatment to the co-pilot did contribute to the sad demise of the young pilot. The airport emergency response plan which is mandatory and is rehearsed periodically failed mis

Toxic Cabin air may be causing neurological problems in airlines crew

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On 2nd Feb 2012, an aircraft took off from Stockholm/Bromma airport for a scheduled flight to Malmö/Sturup. After approximately five minutes the commander was affected by dizziness and nausea and therefore handed over the controls to the co-pilot. The flight was discontinued and the aircraft diverted back towards Bromma. Captain Andrew Myers, worked for JetBlue for 15 years but then in 2017 he became ill with a number of alarming health conditions, including toxic encephalopathy, which is a neurologic disorder, and neurocognitive disorder as well as visual difficulties, which could be permanent.The State of Oregon Workers’ Compensation Board in August 2020, ruled in favour of Myers, which in essence establishes the fact that Myers did indeed fall ill from toxic cabin air. This decision is significant because for years, the airline industry has denied the existence of what is known as aero-toxic syndrome, or exposure to toxic cabin air. Myers will now be paid several years of compensat

Qatar Airways avoids potential traffic collision with a crossing aircraft over Iran

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  A Qatar Airways newly acquired Airbus A-350-1000 series aircraft had a close call over Iran on 12th April when it came into close proximity with another crossing aircraft. The airliner equipped with the state of art technology and traffic collision avoidance system was seen climbing by about 500ft while cruising at 34000ft on a flight from Doha, Qatar to Los Angles, USA.           Flightradar24 plotted aircraft track The automated TCAS detects an incoming aircraft and if it identifies the other aircraft on a potential collision trajectory, she arms the traffic collision avoidance system. When the intruder crosses a pre-set threshold , the system automatically initiates an avoidance maneuver to provide the minimum safe separation between two aircrafts. Altitude increase/ Speed decay due to traffic avoidance In this incident the Qatar Airways A350 registration 97-ANO dropped its speed by almost 35km/hr while cruising at 888km/hr. This drop in speed at an high altitude is not safe since

A virtual reality solution for the accident prone helicopters

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A virtual reality based flight simulator may provide the solution to the helicopter industry for pilot training and other safety aspects. EASA has approved the first virtual reality based flight simulation device. “This is a significant milestone in the evolution of Flight Simulation Training Devices,” said Jesper Rasmussen, EASA Flight Standards Director. “The Agency is pursuing the modernisation of its regulation for training devices to reflect their actual capability and technology advancement. This evolution will make a wider range of cost-effective training devices available to complement Full Flight Simulators and is being driven in part by training needs for new Vertical Take Off & Landing (VTOL) aircraft. Robinson Helicopter Crash History The Robinson helicopters have been notorious worldwide with the R44 model accounting for 1.6 accident per 1000,000 hrs. Robinson Helicopter Company began in 1973 as a helicopter manufacturing company, based in Southern California, which pr

Psychology of why COVID19 didn't create fear in people till it rained havoc ?

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  The definition of Fear is highly subjective. When COVID19 virus began to spread in the late 2019 originating from China, the world couldn't care less and life was normal around the globe. A pandemic was declared and the freedom of movement was curbed, for passengers to fly strict S.O.P. was put in place. Soon, people began to take the S.O.P. casually, drop their masks, disregard social distancing while traveling as they couldn't see the effects of the virus and refused to take the vaccines. Passengers began to defy the curbs and a second wave hit a few nations where people began see death up close. This is the stage when fear set in. The question arises, why didn't fear set in the first time when it was evident that the virus will take its toll?  To understand this, we need to define fear. Fear is subjective in nature and every person will define it a bit differently depending upon the perception. One of the definition is "Fear is the natural, and therefore reasonabl

IATA Travel Pass, the safest solution to reopen international borders amidst the COVID19 pandemic

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  COVID19 is here to stay. Its been over a year and the globe is still reeling with the effects of death and destruction caused due to the on going pandemic. Aviation industry has been affected the most and the recovery is predicted to be cautious and slow. Despite all the precautions being taken by the aviation industry the governments are apprehensive to open up borders to normalize flight schedules. The governments have initiated COVID19 vaccine drive but it will take over an year before a substantial percentage of the world's population has been vaccinated. IATA the international body promoting air travel which has a membership of 290 airlines from 120 nations, has taken up the initiative of helping reopen the borders. To re-open borders without quarantine and restart aviation governments need to be confident that they are effectively mitigating the risk of importing COVID-19. This means having accurate information on passengers’ COVID-19 health status. Informing passengers on