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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
International Aviation Safety and Security Conference
International Aviation Safety and Security Conference
Keywords: Aviation, Safety, Conference
Held at Olympia, London in conjunction with two related events, the IASS Conference and Exhibition 2003 took place over 3 days. The speakers addressed a variety of issues, the first day being concerned with the state of the industry; the second day with human factors and the final day discussed technology and design in safety.
Among a distinguished panel of speakers, Hugues van der Stichel, Airbus Experimental Test Pilot, detailed the company's initiatives for safety and security with particular reference to the A380. A review of the most frequent accident categories has led the company to ten right things to do first. For aircraft design: prevent loss of control in flight, know where you are anywhere in the world, know where the obstacles are, know where the other aircrafts are, and know where the hazardous weather is. Aircraft operation should enhance pilot knowledge, skills and abilities; mandate the use of stabilised approaches; and enhance the maintenance programme. In the domain of data and sharing of lessons learned, it is important to implement flight standards, and put the data sharing concepts in place.
The large amount of experience gained by the company on the A320 and A340 families means that the A380 cockpit will have the benefits of the technology available together with advanced features incorporated with respect to the basic pilot's tasks distribution: to fly, navigate, communicate and monitor systems. The function keys allow direct access to dedicated windows or pages. In the cockpit and cabin, various video displays are incorporated including the cockpit door and passenger surveillance, while others are for the cargo fire warning and external monitoring. The overall cabin design favours inter-crew communication. A new facility under study is the provision of a dedicated medical area for passengers who need attention during flight.
Security – cornerstone of aviation safety
On this theme, Geoff Watt, Director Safety Security and Risk Management, British Airways, began by remarking that it had been an interesting 2 years. We have had security breaches, temporary suspension of flights to Nairobi, Iraq war, tanks at Heathrow, passenger found with a grenade, and temporary suspension of flights to Saudi Arabia. Customer reassurance was needed after 11 September 2001 and the reinforced and locked cockpit door provided a tangible reassurance that things had changed.
We needed to build on and increase customer confidence and the security initiatives implemented included 100 per cent hold baggage screening, customer blacklists, launch of yellow cards on the ground, roll-out of phase two locked cockpit doors, closed circuit television, criminal record checks, and a ban on sharp objects. In general, prevention is better than cure and the key to security in the air is security on the ground. Measures include security experts travelling around the world auditing the airports that we fly to and where necessary, implementing additional security. In Germany, additional checks were established on staff going airside and in the USA, additional baggage screening was implemented. A wide range of anti-missile technologies is being evaluated.
The question is “who pays for security ?”. This is a valid question since American carriers are subsidised by the government. Ultimately, the terrorist must not win and a balance must be struck between security measures and the impact on customers. Industry and regulators need to work together to ensure consistency, since when travel is prohibitive, the terrorist wins.
Harmonisation of safety regulation
In another session, Peter Hunt, Director Operating Standards CAA, discussed how the safety record is doing, why harmonisation is necessary and what are the factors influencing achievement, and how is harmonisation proceeding?. These regulations cover fixed wing jet and turboprop aeroplanes for which a variant has maximum take-off weight greater than 5,700 kg or 12,500 lb. This includes passenger, cargo, ferry/positioning, commercial training, business (including private jet use), fire fighting, navigation and calibration, and parachute flights, but excludes piston engine aircraft and all helicopters.
Aviation continues to strive to do better and one part of how to achieve this is by trying to identify the best practices and exporting it for the benefit of all – in other words, harmonisation. This is supported by regulators and all the constituents of the business of air transport and brings both safety and economic benefits.
Factors influencing harmonisation include willingness, size, diversity and maturity of the industry, cultural issues, and people to do the job. The fact of harmonisation is not new, witness the ICAO Standards and Recommend Procedures (SARPS); also the various joint aviation authorities. The current state of “how are we doing ?” can be realised by the fact that JAA harmonisation is at least 10 years old, having developed considerably over this time. The JAA could not enforce agreements however, so in Europe we now have the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) which enables common safety requirements to be imposed and compliance ensured. It is too soon to tell whether EASA is a success, but the principle has to be right.
Asking the question Are We Safe?, Isaac Yeffet, President Yeffet Security Consultants USA quoted several significant steps taken around 11 September 2001. These included the importance of using technology versus using qualified and well tried personnel, the importance of government intelligence and the airlines' security department intelligence, and the government's responsibility for aviation security and the airlines' responsibility for their security. Profiling is also important. There is a danger of routine in aviation security and the importance of a proactive system versus a reactive system cannot be over-emphasised. Budgets for security are of course, a vital necessity.
The theme of current and future challenges for aviation security was enlarge upon by Niki Tompkinson, Director of Transport Security, Department for Transport, TRANSEC. He spoke of coming in terms with the new normal after 11.9.01 and beating the human factor. For terrorists, passengers and improving the performance of security staff there are different perceptions of the threat in various parts of the world but a threat to one is a threat to all. A strong UK example is set for working with others for international pressure. The way to meet the challenges is by creativity and ingenuity, government and industry partnership, and international effort.
An address by Ken Smart, Chief Inspector of Air Accidents, AAIB, on the second day, included the fact that in many respects, the subject of human factors embraces all the safety and security topics addressed at the conference. The broad term human factors cover many areas including physiology and psychology and the design and man/machine interface issues generally lumped together under ergonomics, and area referred to as social psychology.
The list of topics embraces all the complexities and frailties of individuals and organisations. It is said that “there is nothing new under the sun” and we have been talking about human factors in our industry currently for several generations. Throughout the 1970 s and 1980 s the subject of human factors was discussed in a pseudo-academic way. Training at that time was very much based on the assumption that an understanding of the theory would prevent human factors related accidents occurring in practice. Accidents continued to occur however and it was not until the 1990 s that human factors started to be embedded into everyday operations.
One area of intense activity for some considerable time has been Crew Resource Management (CRM), training for which is an appreciation of social psychology. This was initially based on the academic approach, but it became evident that it did not fully address the individual airlines needs. Over time, however, this has been adapted to consider the factors such as national characteristics and culture.
Another very important topic is Flight Operations Quality Assurance (FOQA), which programmes have allowed us to gain an early identification of some of the issues raised by flight crews human performance in line operations. Flight data recorders have proved invaluable. It has opened our eyes to what has been happening in line operations and has almost naturally led to the development of Line Operations Safety Audits (LOSA) as an additional tool torn help understand how and why.
Developed by ICAO, the flight safety foundation and industry, the Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) education and training aid was one of the first attempts to develop tools to address the specific categories of human performance related incidents. This successful effort led to the Approach and Landing Accident Reduction (ALAR) toolkit that addresses the second most prevalent category of accident causes.
Although human factors initiatives were originally associated with flight crew, they naturally evolved into the area of aircraft maintenance. One developed a few years back by Boeing was their comprehensive maintenance error decision aid (MEDA).
Developed from this approach and other initiatives have been initiatives such as Maintenance Error Management Systems.
Other areas have seen encouraging developments in air transport operations and it is important that those with direct responsibility for operational safety adopt the role of ensuring that these tools are as a means of embedding best practice into an organisation. Social psychology is all about working together and let us make most of the opportunities.
Mental health and aviation safety
This topic was explored by Professor Graham Lucas, Postgraduate Medical Scholl, University of Surrey, who mentioned that of the total in- flight psychiatric emergencies, 90 per cent were primarily acute anxiety, the remainder being more serious, with just 3 per cent necessitating flight diversion. The cabin is a captive environment and the safety of aeroplane health of all on board depends directly on harmony between everyone. The crew are specifically trained and particular stressors for the passengers include reason for journey, first time flier anxiety, getting to the airport, baggage, check-in and delays, etc.
Sleep disturbance is important for crew and passengers and can lead to anxiety, as can physical illnesses such as asthmatic attack, cardiac symptoms resembling panic, diabetes or the possibility of DVT. The ageing passenger requires special attention because of hypoxia, mobility impairment, etc., and the ability to change impaired. Alcohol and drugs pre- and in-flight can lead to the promotion then impairment for the former and sudden alteration of behaviour for drugs. Disruption on board is a particular concern and threatens security and has the risk of acute stress reaction. The legal outcome may conceal psychosis. Acute stress reaction and post traumatic stress disorder is a vulnerability to crew and passengers.
Aircrew/pilot fatigue – safety considerations
Given by Mick Spencer, Principal Scientist QinetiQ, this dealt with the background to fatigue and aviation, short-haul operations, time-zone transitions, long single sectors, and regulations. The modern operational demands of the aviation industry (shift work, night work, irregular and unpredictable work schedules, and time zone changes) have possible consequences for aircrew such as, impaired judgement and difficulty in remaining awake. There are two basic mechanisms that determine the levels of sleepiness and fatigue. Sleep and the circadian pacemaker or body clock.
For short-haul operations the main issues are high levels of workload associated with multiple sectors, and irregular roster patterns. Early starts and late finishes as well as some overnight flights also contribute to the effects experienced. For flights involving time-zone transitions, after such an event, the body clock is temporarily out of synchrony with the local environment and readjustment can take several days. During this time, sleep may be disturbed and alertness/ performance may be badly affected. These problems tend to be more severe after an eastward than after a westward flight. On long single sectors, the main issues are: the long periods with very low work load, involving a risk of high levels of sleepiness; the maintenance of alertness during the critical period at the end of the flight; the requirement for augmented crews; and the provision of in-flight rest facilities.
The regulations consider all these factors which also involve the number of consecutive duty days and the number of pilots and the general pattern of duty. In the current situation however, the regulations vary widely between individual nations, including for example, the maximum flight duty time can be between 15 and 24 h. This practice is largely governed by industrial agreements and attempts to harmonise the regulation within Europe have been continuing since the early 1990 s. The way forward indicates that information is at present available from a large number of studies of aircrew fatigue and hence, computer programs can provide an instant assessment of the fatigue implications of specific duty rosters.
Human performance assessment
Sue Burdekin of the University of New South Wales, Australian Defence Force Academy, spoke QU this topic with regard to military aviation. She detailed the Bridging Course which aims to give a baseline level of standardised training across Navy, Army and Air Force prior to embedding CRM in all phases of flight training. Threat and error management are identified and CRM evaluated. The multiple assessment approach is adopted with participants rating their appreciation of the course and content in survey format. The transfer of training from classroom to cockpit is followed closely and flight operations monitored.
There is a closed feedback loop with evaluation, analysis and dispatch. Evaluation issues include the fact that light data recorders reveal what happened but not why it happened. Evidence is needed of behavioural changes and a review of line operations safety audit (LOSA) and non-technical skills (NOTECHS) is needed. LOSA is defined as being designed as critical organisational strategy aimed at developing countermeasures to operational errors and NOTECHS as pilots' attitudes and behaviours in the cockpit not directly related to aircraft control and technical consequences. Mission operations safety audits (MOSA) are also conducted which is an experimental study to determine if pilots are capable of self- reporting their own behaviour. MOSA I was conducted on a F/A-18 Hornet and MOSA II on a multi-crewed aircraft. The analysis of the results was very informative and it is concluded that a mature MOSA system would provide behavioural measures that would form part of a multiple assessment approach to CRM.
Operational aviation security and performance monitoring
The Associate Director, MPD Group Ltd, Richard Garner, spoke of security threats and the need to set and measure performance standards. The threats can include hijack, sabotage, extortion, insurance, medical, theft, air rage, revenge, suicide, smuggling, act of war, illegal immigration, and carriage of people in custody. Performance standards to combat these are passenger and baggage screening and equipment, access control, aircraft protection, identification systems for cargo and mail, aircraft catering, provision of security equipment, emergency planning and training.
Human aspects, in other words profiling, are very important as well as security staff recruitment. For the latter, selection qualifications and background checks provide the best guidelines. Human aspects regarding security training should include compliance and commitment and audits and records. Human aspects for motivation and management have a range of essential topics including salaries, career prospects, pressure/testing/work patterns, repetition, responsibility, recurrent training, leadership, teamwork and feedback.
Beyond the numbers – some human aspects of recorded flight data
Captain John Savage of British Airways detailed the value of recorded data with numerous examples showing that although it is usually seen as cold, hard impersonal fact, it is really highly personal and such flight data can explain pilot behaviour and lead to greater safety. Examples include data which showed handling technique on a Boeing 737 as over-enthusiastic on the take-off roll, or, on the Airbus A319 fleet, still using the Boeing technique on the A319. Other showings of the equipment include high threshold speeds in strong winds, low pitch on landing, and apparent early rotation.
One particular concern addressed by flight data recording is inadvertent take off go-around (TOGA) activations and remedial action which can include aircraft modification and considerations of pilot awareness. Go-around training includes 200 ft with engine out. In fact, there are few go-arounds at 200 ft and fewer still engine out. Some consequences of unexpected go-arounds can be flap speed exceedance, incorrect sequence of flap/gear or temporary loss of control. A simulator programme to raise pilot awareness is of great value.
Making a safe industry even safer
Stuart Mathews, President and CEO of Flight Safety Foundation, began his discussion with the real need to improve on a good record which is essential to business with the public demanding not less than this. Since the introduction of jet aircraft into service, the commercial accident rate has reduced dramatically and although the trend is downwards the rate has only been further reduced by marginal amounts. Predictions of increased traffic in the future make the reduction in accident rate vital.
Statistics show that the major risk is during approach and landing. We also know the type of accidents that cause the most loss of life. In about 85 per cent of all accidents, someone has made a mistake. Consequently, even if every other cause were to be removed, we would still have to contend with the human element. Certain areas of the world have horrendous accident rates compared with North America, Europe and other parts of the developed world. The main problems on which the FSF and other organisations have concentrated in recent years are flight crew errors, approach and landing, CFIT and loss of control.
Various efforts have been taken using accident data and statistics and safety improvement efforts are under way internationally, for example, the JAA's Joint Safety Strategy Initiative (JSSI). A strategic safety plan details 46 priority safety enhancements of which 20 have already been implemented. It is believed that by full implementation of the currently approved Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) recommendations for safety enhancements, it will currently be possible to significantly reduce numerous accident categories.
John Fletcher, Chief Engineer Adour Rolls- Royce, addressed the company's research and technology management strategy “vision” for near term, next generation and future generation activities utilising university technology centres and the global research base. Some examples include the ANTLE programme using the Trent 900 as the baseline programme with new technologies incorporated, the JSF lift system and various Adour developments.
Developing technologies include the electric engine concepts with all engine accessories electrically driven, intelligent sensors for advanced engine health monitoring, distributed controls, the generator on fan shaft providing power to airframe under both normal and emergency conditions, and the internal starter motor/generator replacing conventional gearboxes. Applied technology advances to the F136 engine include a 2nd generation hollow SPF/DB blisk fan, vaneless C/R LPT, corrosion resistant bearings, lamilloy HPT nozzle, tri-pass diffusor, and single annular lamilloy combustor.
The Adour engine that has extensive military experience and life enhancement measures, which takes proven technology from a number of sources, includes military demonstrator programmes, design features common with the EJ200 and Trent such as improve materials and reduced emissions. Also, in the Adour 951 auto surge recovery logic will detect engine surge by monitoring pressures, and confirm surge within 0.5 s and provide a cockpit audio surge warning as well as quick recovery of the engine to throttle demanded NH rpm.
Safe ATM systems
The Boeing approach to this topic was aired by Dr Richard J Kennedy of the company's Research and Technology Centre in Spain. It is considered that air traffic management may change in the coming years with advances including satellite-enhanced communications and aircraft systems data link connected to ground and this will promote a safety-oriented culture and establish safety management thinking. The safety requirements will align assessment approach with industry best practice and develop models and tools to support this.
The key documents in this approach will be the ATM safety assessment methodology and the safety assessment lifecycle. An ATM document issued in 2002 on Safety Benefits lists worldwide and US airline fatalities 1992-2001 by accident type. Emerging aircraft technologies to enhance safety include vertical situation display, navigation performance scales, integrated approach navigation, GPS landing system, head-up display, surfaced guidance system, and enhanced vision system. Continuous learning is gained from feedback from in-service performance. The Boeing system will result in a fully integrated, safe and efficient global air transportation system.
Terminal 5 heathrow
John Bullen, Terminal 5 Head of Integration, described the health, safety, security and environment construction of the new terminal, which will feature the key issues including quality working environment, fire safety, manual handling, and noise. There is a process for audit of design proposals as well as risk assessment and risk mitigation within the health and safety plan.
Security (design) systems will include CCTV, security search, access control, integrated lounge/facial recognition, guard patrol, and hold baggage screening. These are in response to the security challenges of effective search, efficient process and excellent customer service. Environmental (design) priorities include water and air quality, waste management, use of resources and materials, and local environmental quality (including planning conditions). Planning conditions also include fixed electrical ground power, limitation on aircraft ground running, safeguarding for alternatively fuelled vehicles, and 40 per cent public transport, Piccadilly line and Heathrow Express extensions, NW/SW rail safeguarding. Overall, energy saving and efficiency is an essential feature.
Managing safety in an aircraft maintenance organisation
The Engineering Manager-Stansted FLS Aerospace, Dave McCormick, defined maintenance and aviation safety as knowing the job and knowing what needs to be done. One must be able to manage error and use quality as a tool – in other words, get it right first time! One needs commitment to aviation safety everywhere and it must not happen by accident, but be actively managed with a systematic plan.
The MRO is a key part of the aviation system and has to be an integral part of aviation safety management. Objective investigation of discoveries and occurrences has to be made and the aim is the prevention of recurrence. If one is asked a safety question, do not just give a right answer – give a right answer that can be applied to everyone's benefit.
P.J. Noad of the UK CAA described the role of the CAA's Safety RegulaUion Group (SRG) as ensuring that UK civil aviation standards are set and achieved in a co-operative and cost- effective manner. SRG must satisfy itself that aircraft are properly designed, manufactured, operated and maintained; that airlines are competent; that flight crews, air traffic controllers and aircraft maintenance engineers are fit and competent; that licensed aerodromes are safe to use and that air traffic services and general aviation activities meet the required safety standards.
These activities embrace all aspects of operation and maintenance of aircraft, aerodromes, and personnel. Continual operational airworthiness is achieved by putting in place the systems of regulatory control that cover the processes from design to operation in services. The future of these efforts will be in the new EASA.
Details of IASS 2004 available from: IIR. Tel:+44 (0) 20 7915 6659; Fax:+44 (0) 20 7915 5001; E-mail: email@example.com