Flight Safety Pty Ltd
February 2010
Safety Alert
News from Flight Safety Pty Ltd
In This Issue
Recurrent Finding Analysis
Accident Investigators Sign Criminalization Resolutions
Global airline accident review of 2009
Next generation technology to improve flight safety in the mountains
Oil companies testify at N.L. chopper inquiry
Helicopter market in Asia Pacific set to take off
Proposed battery restirctions in aviation
Global Aviation Safety Roadmap
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Dear Colin,

This month we cover several rotary wing and helideck issues, along with a look at progress against the Global Aviation Safety Roadmap.

Future editions of Safety Alert will alternate between an analysis of Service Provider audit results and Helideck inspection results, to effectively expand the scope of the bulletin to include offshore operations.


Colin Weir

Colin Weir, Managing Director
Flight Safety Pty Ltd
Audit Finding Analyses - Helidecks

Helideck Inspection Findings - General Overview

The following information, sampled from a cross-section of Helideck inspections carried out, provides some interesting data. There were 142 records of non-conformances, findings and recommendations across 16 different Helidecks recently inspected :-
  • 20  Lighting issues: perimeter/obstacle/colours/flood lighting/status lights etc 
  • 16  Crash kit discrepancies 
  • 15  Helideck Markings/errors/repaints/dimensions 
  • 14  Obstructions/infringements
  • 9  Manual related findings including - CAP 437/HLO/Training files
  • 8  Fire extinguisher serviceability issues 
  • 8  Emergency diagrams/drills/ERPs 
  • 7  Calibration of scales 
  • 7  Windsock deficiencies
  • 7  Radios/Radio log/licences 
  • 6  DG training 
  • 6  Perimeter net issues 
  • 6  Helideck drains 
  • 5  Protective clothing discrepancies 
  • 4  Foam concentrate issues/testing 
  • 4 Pre-flight briefing and baggage handling technique issues
This sampled analysis clearly indicates the critical importance of the formal CAP 437 - Helideck Inspection process, as an essential safety oversight requirement.

In keeping with previous Service Provider audit finding analyses, individual Helideck inspection findings will be detailed in future editions.
Accident Investigators Sign Criminalization Resolutions
Judge's gavelThe Flight Safety Foundation says the International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI) has signed the Joint Resolution Regarding Criminalization of Aviation Accidents, a document that was originally published in the fall of 2006.

"The safety of the traveling public is endangered by overzealous prosecutors attempting to criminalize aviation accidents, which can have a chilling effect on cooperation with accident investigators ," said FSF President & CEO Bill Voss.

"We welcome these safety professionals joining in our statement of principles and urge judges, jurors, and prosecutors, like those involved in the unfortunate Concorde criminal case soon going to trial in France, to pay close attention. We cannot afford to let the desire by some for vengeance or publicity to come at the expense of safety for all. We need to learn from accidents to prevent them, not criminally punish well-meaning professionals and thereby risk a repeat of tragedy."

Read full article at the Air Safety Week >>
Global airline accident review of 2009

Wright brothersFollowing on from the Aviation Safety Network article we highlighted last month, in which 2009 was judged "safest in sixty years", Flight Global have published an excellent in-depth analysis of airline accidents in 2009 in comparison with the past decade. The news is both good and bad.

Airline safety in 2009, judged by the number of fatal accidents, was a little better than the average for the decade. Better still, this first 10 years of the 21st century, taken as a whole, has seen the lowest accident rates in aviation history by a considerable margin.

The bad news is that the constant improvement in safety that has taken place each decade since the Wright Brothers is now stagnating. This shows in the fact that, judging by fatal accident numbers, there was a step change in safety performance around the year 2000, but there has been virtually no improvement in safety in the 10 years from 2000 to 2009.

In 2009 there were 28 fatal airline accidents and 749 fatalities across all sectors of the global airline industry, which compares respectively with 34 and 583 for the previous year. But since the beginning of the decade, and particularly since 2003, the number of annual fatal airline accidents has almost levelled out, and 2009 figures continue this trend.

Read the full article at Flight Global >>
Next generation technology to improve flight safety in the mountains

WAMA new aircraft surveillance system in Colorado is the first of its kind in the United States.

The program is providing air traffic controllers with the ability to better track planes around mountain airports. It is one part of technology the Federal Aviation Administration plans to use across the country over the next decade to replace traditional radar.

Training sessions with wide area multilateration (WAM) are being held at an FAA facility to provide air traffic services for parts of nine states and all of Colorado. WAM is a new tool in the arsenal to keep the skies safe in geographically difficult areas like the mountains.
"It really does enhance efficiency by giving us eyes in places we've never been able to see before," Travis Vallin of the Colorado Department of Transportation said.

Currently, radar cannot track planes through mountains, but the new system can.

Read full article at 9News.com >>
Oil companies testify at N.L. chopper inquiry
Reconstructed HelicopterThe inquiry into a deadly Newfoundland helicopter crash resumed Monday, as a lawyer representing oil-company workers asked to question executives why it took nine years to equip such aircraft with emergency underwater breathing devices.

Randy Earle, a lawyer for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union asked to question the executives on a nine-year interval to install underwater emergency breathing apparatuses in such helicopters

The devices can offer a minute or two of oxygen. Last May they became standard equipment for workers flying to or from oil platforms. The offshore regulator had requested they be installed more than nine years earlier.

Retired judge Robert Wells is leading the inquiry into the helicopter's tragic end.

Since taking helm of the inquiry, the commissioner has gained some understanding of the lives of oil workers, having taken offshore flights himself to learn about the process.
In one instance, he returned to shore by helicopter and saw family members waiting for their oil industry-employed loved ones to return home safely. He calls it a "defining moment."

Read full article at CTV News >>
Helicopter market in Asia Pacific set to take off

Eurocopter Helicopter manufacturers are optimistic about growth in the Asia-Pacific region, despite the adverse impact on private helicopter orders during last year's financial downturn, believing that sales in key segments such as homeland security, military and search and rescue missions will continue to increase.

Last year's economic recession had dragged down orders in the private sector, but manufacturers say other growing segments have compensated for the loss.

"As far as Asia Pacific is concerned, we were less affected than any region in the world," says Norbert Ducrot, Eucocopter's senior vice-president Asia Pacific. "We certainly see a drop in private orders, but the oil and gas, and search and rescue segments have been growing, so they have compensated for the fall in the private and commercial market," he adds.

Read on at Flight Global >>
Proposed battery restrictions could crimp e-commerce, air travel

Laptop batteries Buying your next laptop computer or smartphone online could suddenly get a lot more expensive if a little-known U.S. Department of Transportation proposal to tighten rules around the shipment of small, battery-powered devices by air goes through, says an industry group opposing the move.

Airline passengers would be affected too, as rules banning spare lithium-ion batteries in checked-in luggage would also be extended to alkaline and nickel metal-hydride batteries, argues George Kerchner, executive director of the Washington D.C.-based Portable Rechargeable Battery Association.

"It will be a nightmare for passengers," Kerchner said.

Read full article at Computerworld >>
Committee leaders evaluate progress in implementing Global Aviation Safety Roadmap

Roadmap The members and observers of the Top Level Safety Team of the Middle East Aviation Safety Roadmap held their summit on 14 January 2010, key focus included progress evaluation of the steps outlined to implement the Global Aviation Safety Roadmap.

Read on at AMEInfo.com >>

In the interest of establishing a single level of aviation safety worldwide the Global Aviation Safety Roadmap was produced and developed by the Industry Safety Strategy Group (ISSG). The ISSG's members include; the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Airbus, Boeing, Airports Council International (ACI), the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) and the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations (IFALPA).

There are two essential components within the Roadmap:

Part 1 -  A strategic action plan for future aviation safety:
Part 2 - Implementing the Global Aviation Safety Roadmap:
The completed Global Aviation Safety Roadmap marks the first unified and coordinated accident reduction initiative developed by both governments and industry.