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Showing posts with the label Life

Air India Express accident at Calicut was facilitated by the regulator, how?

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  Air India Airbus Landing at Port Blair (Source Dr Puneet) Blaming the pilots alone for an accident is like addressing the symptom rather than the root cause. The root cause of the Calicut accident of IX1344 on 7th Aug 2020 is the poor safety culture prevalent in India and the ineffective regulatory oversight. This landing(YouTube video) can be categorized as a deliberate attempt to endanger the lives of passengers and crew. This is not the Calicut landing but a landing at another critical airport where most of the year the airport experiences tailwinds. Since the airport has a unidirectional runway ( landing from one direction only), the flight crew has no option but to land in tailwinds. The situation worsens during the monsoons when there is a tailwind and the runway is wet and braking action reduces. Action has not been taken either by the regulator or by the airline safety. Why? What is the role of the regulator? The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the regulatory

Air India Express accident at Calicut was facilitated by the regulator, how?

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  Air India Airbus Landing at Port Blair (Source Dr Puneet) Blaming the pilots alone for an accident is like addressing the symptom rather than the root cause. The root cause of the Calicut accident of IX1344 on 7th Aug 2020 is the poor safety culture prevalent in India and the ineffective regulatory oversight. This landing(YouTube video) can be categorized as a deliberate attempt to endanger the lives of passengers and crew. This is not the Calicut landing but a landing at another critical airport where most of the year the airport experiences tailwinds. Since the airport has a unidirectional runway ( landing from one direction only), the flight crew has no option but to land in tailwinds. The situation worsens during the monsoons when there is a tailwind and the runway is wet and braking action reduces. Action has not been taken either by the regulator or by the airline safety. Why? What is the role of the regulator? The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the regulatory

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

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

Aviation ministry sits on INR1450 Cr in the backdrop of unpaid salaries & COVID crisis

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  Un-utilised funds COVID19 crisis has crippled the aviation sector which has witnessed salary cuts and job losses to stay afloat. In this time of crisis the civil aviation ministry has managed to overlook utilization of budgetary allocation of a staggering INR1450 Cr FY 2020-21.  This has been recorded in the report of the Parliamentary committee on transport tabled  in March 2021. The report in para 8.1 states the following "The Committee is distressed to note that the Ministry has been able to spend only 64.9% of the enhanced RE allocation of ₹4131.63 crores, which means that the Ministry has to spend ₹1450.78 crore in the remaining two months of the Financial Year 2020-21 .  The Committee apprehends significant underutilization of the budgetary funds available with the Ministry. At a time when the Government was facing major financial troubles on account of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry received a considerable boost of 8.8% at RE 2020-21 , as compared to BE 2020-21. 

First autonomous cargo flight, gate to gate

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The future of aviation is going to change soon with drones and now autonomous aircraft making its debut after the demonstration flight. Xwing, a USA based company has completed its first gate-to-gate autonomous demonstration flight of a commercial cargo aircraft. The company said Thursday it has raised $40 million at a post-money valuation of $400 million. The company is setting its sights on expansion — not only tripling its engineering team, but eventually running regular fully unmanned commercial cargo flights. Xwing has developed technology to automatically detect and avoid other aircraft and obstacles, integrating radar, ADSB, optical cameras and lidar. The sensor system is designed to be easily added to existing aircraft, along with navigation and control systems that allow the plane to go from taxi to landing by itself, deciding on the most efficient flight path and adjusting to any issues along the way, while coordinating with air traffic controllers. "Our software integra

Spicejet bends all rules to fly to Gangtok airport risking lives, in the wake of Calicut accident

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Approach at Pakyong airport The cosy relationship between SpiceJet and the Indian aviation regulator stands exposed when each day passengers and crew fly to and from from Pakyong airport built on a table top with hills on one side and a deep valley on the other. Whereas passengers are oblivious to the risks involved with the flight that they are traveling on, the crew are living on a prayer that they come back safely. Gangtok is the capital of Sikkim which is the home to glaciers, alpine meadows and thousands of varieties of wildflowers. Steep paths lead to hilltop Buddhist monasteries such as Pemayangtse, which dates to the early 1700s. Access to Gangtok has always been by road which takes five hours to reach from the nearest airport, which is Baghdogra. Sikkim is also of strategic importance due to its location. The construction of an airport at Pakyong near Gangtok would therefore would hold much importance and with the inauguration of the airport by the Prime Minister in Sept 2018,

Seconds away from disaster, IndiGo pilots react swiftly using well trained maneuver

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  IndiGo ATR 6E7972 IndiGo ATR-72 taking off from Shillong airport 0n 27th Feb 2021was seconds away from disaster when the enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) alerted the crew that the flight path that they had chosen to fly would end up flying into a hill ahead. 30 seconds from impact IndiGo ATR The crew were alerted approx. 30 seconds before impact with mountains, by an automated visual and audio alert "TERRAIN AHEAD PULL UP". The crew reacted instinctively as per well rehearsed training procedures to steer the aircraft away from danger. Everyone is prone to errors and there are warnings too but it is a well trained crew who is able to react in a timely manner to prove the effectiveness of training. ‘Saves’ – An accident avoided.(Source ICAO) The industry has recorded a number of ‘saves’ where EGPWS provided a timely alert to the crew to avoid an accident; some of these events were sufficiently serious that national authority investigations were required, repor

Slippery runway & more so the safety area at Kozhikode may be a leading cause of the Air India Express crash

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RESA  The entire state machinery is on overdrive to defend the Calicut Airport stating that it was completely safe for flight operations. There are two significant points to focus on while determining the causes of the accident.  1. Previous safety audits have pointed to vegetation on the runway end safety area (RESA). 2. The rubber deposits at the ends of the runway may have been a contributory cause of the accident. Comparison A comparison of the runway friction values indicates a possibility of higher rubber deposits or poor runway friction levels at both ends of the runways. A friction level below 0.47 requires maintenance action as per the Indian Aeronautical Information Publication. The combination of runway friction and vegetation on the RESA may have been a significant factor that may have caused the Air India Express 1344 runway overrun at Kozhikode on 7th Aug 2020. Must note that the runway has a pronounced crown close to the middle and drops more than 25 feet on either side.

Observe for 48 hours, FAA permits Pilots & ATCO's COVID19 vaccine

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Pilot & ATC Following the Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Pfizer, Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine, the FAA has determined that pilots  may receive the vaccine  under the conditions of their FAA-issued airman medical certification. FAA Air Traffic Controllers, who are subject to FAA medical clearance, may also receive the vaccine. To maintain the highest level of safety in the National Airspace System, the agency will require aviation professionals with medical certifications or medical clearances to observe a period of 48 hours following the administration of this vaccine before conducting safety-sensitive aviation duties, such as flying or controlling air traffic. Because the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses, 21 days apart for maximum effectiveness, this waiting period applies after each dose. The FAA anticipates taking no additional measures to ensure safety after the initial window for side effects closes. However, the agency’s medical profess

Does food taste different inflight, at 35000 feet? Here is why.

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In-flight meal(Courtesy CC Commons)   Passengers in general love the in-flight meals. There may be a scientific reason behind the way in-flight meals taste. The humidity in the air at 30,000feet is less than 12% which is drier than that in the desert. The altitude of the cabin is equivalent to that at 8000feet even though the aircraft is flying high. This is possible due to pressurised air maintaining sufficient breathable air under pressure. Under this combination of low pressure, dry air and high speed of the aircraft, the taste buds and sense of smell changes. The sensitivity of the tastebuds reduces by almost 30%. The latest research shows that loud noise suppresses our ability to taste sweetness and saltiness, while other studies show that the background buzz in airplanes actually enhances the taste of umami (one of the five basic tastes). A number of airlines offer tomato juice or bloody mary which contains umami rich tomatoes. Some food expert advise not to have Champagne even i

Privacy laws missing, there is a need to regulate the Drones hovering overhead

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  The Civil Aviation Ministry has vowed to keep up with the developments in the unmanned air systems or drones but unfortunately suffers from myopic vision. The projects are driven not for public welfare but to foster business or personal interests of a few.  Drone Aircraft Privacy and Transparency Act of 2017 In the name of creating a roadmap, a cut ,copy ,paste document has been put out in the public domain for comments. The National Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS)Traffic Management Policy has been released by the Civil Aviation Ministry.  Public participation The concept of public participation is missing in the document. The proposed role of the general public is limited to availability of data on a need to know basis to report a UAS not complying regulations or breaching their privacy. Privacy rules India does not have explicit rules governing personal privacy. P ersonal data is protected through indirect safeguards developed by the courts under common law, principles of equity a