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Aviation Safety

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  1. -06-09-09 Allegation: Qualifications and Working Conditions for Many Pilots Are Poor (CNN News)
      " 'In the past it's been a very attractive career for people to join, and the airlines, even the regional airlines, have been able to select from a very qualified applicant pool. That's not happening any more, and we're having to hire down to the FAA minimums, which most pilots have always considered to be very substandard.' "

      "Skiles also confirmed the complaints of other pilots about working conditions. Many are forced to work grueling schedules with little sleep between shifts and low pay. Testimony at last month's NTSB hearing into the Buffalo crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 revealed that pilots can work as long as 16 hours straight, with as little as 4 or 5 hours of sleep, before getting back into the cockpit."

      " 'That is true,' Skiles said. 'The current fatigue rest rules are less restrictive than truck drivers work under. Once you've been on duty for 13 hours, you are about 500 percent more likely to make an error, and once you've been on duty for 16 hours, you have the response rate of somebody who is legally drunk.' " 06-09

  2. -12-30-09 Dutch to Use Full Body Scans for U.S. Flights (CNN News)
      "Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport will begin using body scanners on all passengers taking flights to the United States following the attempted terrorist attack on a U.S.-bound flight on Christmas Day, the Dutch interior minister said Wednesday."

      "The millimeter-wave body scanners will be in place in about three weeks, Dutch Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst told a news conference at The Hague."

      "Ter Horst said Dutch authorities did not know that AbdulMutallab had raised any security flags, and she called for a global watchlist for all suspect travelers in the future." 12-09

  3. 09-05-09 AmeriJet Jets Fail to Provide Lavatories (CNN News)
      "None of the cargo carrier's eight Boeing 727s have lavatories, pilots say, forcing the pilots and crews to use plastic bags for all their elimination needs." 09-09

  1. -Editorial: Aviation Safety Improving by New Piloting Roles (ABC News)
      "Today, in other words, we don't tolerate airline captains unwilling to listen to their co-pilots or utilize their expertise. And, we also no longer tolerate subordinates who are reluctant or afraid to speak up."

      "And that is the major reason it's been an amazing 3 years since the last major airline accident in the United States." 05-06

  2. -Editorial: Pilot and First Officer Training Standards Need Improvement (
      "The Airline Safety Act toughened rules about hiring more experienced pilots and preventing pilot fatigue. But as the recent hearing made clear, many of the requirements set forth by the act have not been met. Indeed, Calvin L. Scovell III, the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation, testified: 'The Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] has not met timelines for raising pilot training standards, implementing mentoring programs, providing enhanced leadership skills to captains, and increasing minimum pilot qualifications.'

      "Those are strong charges. Yet the industry immediately voiced opposition to a new FAA proposal that all first officers, or co-pilots, secure a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time prior to certification. At the hearing, Tom Hendricks of the trade group Airlines for America balked at this as a 'quantity vs. quality' issue and expressed concerns about the 'need to avoid the unintended consequence of this rule becoming a significant barrier to recruiting airline pilots. But many experts agree with Capt. Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger, who performed so admirably landing a disabled plane on the Hudson River in 2009, and who has frequently spoken out against the current requirement of just 250 hours for co-pilots as being 'unbelievably low.' " 04-12

  3. -Fire Detectors on Planes Still Inadequate (
      "But for Learmount, if a short circuit fire is to blame, one thing is for sure: 'We have to look here for the lessons we got from that [Swissair flight],' he says. 'Airplanes should have heat and smoke detectors all over them ... so that if a fire started anywhere you would know immediately', he adds. 'That has not been implemented by any of the world's leading aviation authorities, not by the [U.K.'s] Civil Aviation Authority, the French DGAC, or the American FAA.' " 06-09

  4. -Speed Sensors May Have Been Involved in French Air Crash (ABC News)
      "Arslanian of the BEA cautioned that it is too early to draw conclusions about the role of Pitot tubes in the crash, saying that 'it does not mean that without replacing the Pitots that the A330 was dangerous.' " 06-09

  5. Emergency Inspections of Airplanes (CNN News)
      "Just days after a Boeing 737 flown by Southwest Airlines made an emergency landing with a hole in its fuselage, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a press release Monday that it will mandate operators of about 175 specific older Boeing 737s to conduct inspections for wear and tear."

      "The FAA said the 'emergency directive' it plans to issue on Tuesday would affect about 80 U.S.-registered 737-300s, 737-400s and 737-500s, mostly operated by Southwest. The remaining 95 or so aircraft are registered outside the United States. Each of the 175 or so planes in question have taken off and landed more than 30,000 times and will receive repetitive electromagnetic inspections at regular intervals for fatigue damage." 05-06

  6. How to Survive a Crash (BBC News)
      "From 1983 to 2000, according to government reports, nearly 96 percent of passengers involved in U.S. plane crashes survived. When studying the 26 most extreme crashes, the government found more than half of passengers and crew survived."

      "Aviation experts say it's most important for passengers to know the location of the nearest emergency exit even the number of rows it takes to get there." 8-05

  7. Medical Helicopters Have Bad Safety Record (CBS News)
      "The last l5 months have been the deadliest yet: 18 helicopter ambulances have crashed since October 2007, including 11 fatal accidents that left 36 people dead. 'The current accident record is unacceptable, and it has to improve,' says Robert Sumwalt, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates air crashes."

      "The National Transportation Safety Board first investigated the medical helicopter industry's crash epidemic in 1988. It found low visibility, often caused by bad weather, accounted for 61% of all crashes. 'Weather-related accidents are the most common and the most serious type of accident experienced by EMS helicopters,' the 1988 report found, 'and are also the most easily prevented.' " 02-09

  8. Parachutes May Save Small Planes (CBS News)
      "The company's most advanced parachute right now can accommodate nearly 4,000 pounds. While small planes can weigh up to 2,000 pounds and cruise about 175 miles per hour, regional jets weigh 80,000 pounds and fly at more than 600 miles per hour." 12-04

  9. Staying Alive in a Plane Crash (ABC News)
      "So what can you do to avoid being in the 5 percent fatalities?" 11-06

  10. Surviving an Airplane Crash (CNN News)
      "Most commercial aviation accidents occur on take-off or landing -- when aircraft are closer to the ground flying at relatively low speeds. Because the aircraft in these survivable accidents are still close to the airport, pilots often have more maneuverability to land the aircraft safely."

      "The key to surviving a commercial aviation crash is remaining conscious during "the golden time" -- the critical 90 seconds immediately following impact. In a survivable crash, fatalities occur not only from the impact of the aircraft hitting the ground, but more frequently from smoke inhalation and fire when passengers cannot escape the aircraft quickly." 12-09

  11. Worst Airlines List Published by Swiss (BBC News)
      "Swiss aviation authorities have published a partial list of airlines some of whose aircraft have been banned from Swiss airports." 8-05


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