Aviation Safety News Roundup | November 2020

Aviation Safety News Roundup | November 2020
Claire Ealding
Nov 28, 2020

Flight Departments Should be Prepared for Aviation Cyberattacks

  • The issue of aviation cybersecurity was thrown in the spotlight this summer when Garmin was the victim of a cyber attack. Some aircraft that rely on Garmin technology were also reportedly affected by the hack (1).
  • “Scheduling, flight planning, maintenance, and even the operation of the aircraft itself can be corrupted by malware.”
  • Passengers can become the “weak link” in aircraft cybersecurity. Policies should address what types of devices can be used on your aircraft.
  • Know how your vendors use the information you supply to them and be sure they know your expectations regarding information protection.
  • For crews the advice is to avoid free wifi, and use VPN’s.
  • Most importantly, cybersecurity comes from the top down. Management investment in technology and policy is crucial.


Pilots' Brains are Wired Differently, According to a Research Study

  • A group of flight instructors and airline pilots were given resting-state MRI scans to monitor brain activity.
  • Pilots demonstrated more “cognitive flexibility” than the non-pilot participants, as well as better connections to the central executive network. These connections are what help brains synthesize data into meaningful information.
  • “Pilots are always working in complex, dynamic environments. Flying is now not so much a ‘physical job,’ but a high-level cognitive activity,” the study said. “The pilot should be completely aware of all conditions in real-time, and be ready to deal with various potential emergencies.”
  • A follow-up study is needed to validate these findings using a larger pilot group.

AvWeb (Or read the scientific journal article here: PLOS One)

You could theoretically fly every day for 500 years before experiencing an accident, according to new safety data from IATA

  • “The global aviation industry continued its 10-year trend of declining accident rates and fatality risks in 2019, according to new data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA).”
  • There were 50% fewer fatalities in 2019 compared to 2018
  • 1 major accident per 6.6 million flights, compared to the 5-year average of 1 per 4.1 million flights.
  • IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said, “Based on the 2019 fatality risk, on average, a passenger could take a flight every day for 535 years before experiencing an accident with one fatality on board. But we know that one accident is one too many.”

Flight Safety Foundation

SpaceX is now responsible for astronaut safety to a degree no private business ever has been before

  • SpaceX has been approved by NASA and the FAA to shuttle astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS).
  • NASA is ensuring that SpaceX employees don’t forget the perilous nature of their work.
  • “SpaceX employees have received briefings about the aftermath of the two space-shuttle disasters, which killed 14 astronauts, as well as a launchpad fire during the Apollo program that killed three. They’ve heard from veteran NASA employees about the mistakes the agency made and how to avoid them”.
  • Before SpaceX, astronauts have flown to the ISS on Russian shuttles, which launch out of Kazakhstan.

The Atlantic

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