Aviation Safety News Roundup | December 2020

Aviation Safety News Roundup | December 2020
Claire Ealding
Jan 10, 2021

The End of “Cookie-Cutter” Flight Training? ICAO Endorses “Evidence-Based Training” (EBT) as the Future of Pilot Assessments.

  • Traditional crew training scenarios may no longer meet the needs of the aviation industry” and could soon be superseded by the recently developed “Evidence-Based Training” (EBT).
  • Initially introduced in Europe in 2015, EBT focuses on scenario-based events and technical failures relevant to current operations. Individuals are assessed on “core competencies'' rather than performance on individual events or maneuvers.
  • EBT states that operators should update training programs based on real-world evidence from the operation, industry events, and safety management system (SMS) data.
  • Without a robust SMS, it is extremely difficult to use EBT. “The SMS remains at the heart of this new training system, as it feeds the database to ensure that the training provided during the year can refer to incidents or problems encountered in the airline to improve flight safety and ensure the best performance from the crews.
  • EBT has been rolled out in Europe in several phases. “The adoption of the EU (European Union) rules by the Commission and Member States is expected before the end of 2020,” according to EASA.
  • In Europe, airline pilots will now be revalidating licenses based on “competencies” rather than traditional methods. The EBT integration into command (upgrade) training is expected to follow.

Flight Safety Foundation

Adapt to the “New Normal” Using Change Management | And don’t forget to document all your hard work in your SMS!

  • Change management - typically reserved for adding a new aircraft type or growing the flight department - is a fitting process for coping with the “new normal” thanks to COVID-19.
  • According to one flight department Vice President, “With COVID-19, we’ll see change management plans active for multiple years.”
  • As we adapt to the changes that need to be made because of the pandemic, change management fits right in. It’s important for our industry to know that we have many tools to help us get through this, and change management is one of those tools.
  • Change management relies on clear lines of communication. For small operators, change management outcomes could be as simple as a pre-flight briefing. Or it could involve reaching out to other stakeholders, such as catering companies, FBO’s and other service providers, and setting expectations about procedures going forward.


ICAO Inaugurates 2021 as “The Year of Security Culture”

  • International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu noted that the over-arching goal of 2021 - “the Year of Security Culture” - will be to raise security awareness in aviation operations and have the entire global industry thinking and acting in a security-conscious manner.
  • The sheer pace of innovation, in terms of hardware and machine learning and other advances, were recognized by the ICAO Secretary General as “accelerating to such an extent that no one can rest idly in their assumptions of how aviation security may look or function in even ten years’ time.”
  • 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States, and the dawn of the modern aviation security era.


Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers Approved by the FAA to Take COVID-19 Vaccine

  • This month, the FAA authorized pilots and air traffic controllers to receive the Pfizer, BioNTech, or the Moderna vaccine, administered in two doses over 21 days without compromising the validity of their medical certificates.
  • Caveats state that pilots and controllers must not fly or conduct safety-related duties 48 hours after receiving doses.
  • The FAA said it “will monitor the patient response to each vaccine dose and may adjust this policy as necessary to ensure aviation safety.”
  • Major US airlines have petitioned for airline employees to be prioritized along with other frontline workers when allocating the vaccine.
  • Earlier this month, the FAA sent guidance to airports to prepare for vaccine distribution.


Heads Up | December Has Been a Busy Month for Taxiway Excursions

  • An Embraer 175 operated by American Eagle (Envoy) veered off the taxiway into the grass at Dallas Fort Worth Airport.
  • They had just landed and were taxiing to the gate when they experienced an “issue”. There are no other details into the cause of the excursion.
  • No one was injured, and passengers were deplaned on the grass and taken to the terminal.


  • A maintenance crew, who were taxing an Air Canada Boeing 787 Dreamliner from the hangar to the main terminal, inadvertently taxied the nose of the aircraft into the grass at Vancouver airport.
  • The aircraft had been scheduled to operate to Montreal later that day. The flight was canceled.
  • The cause of the excursion has not been released at this time.
  • This is not the first taxiway excursion this year at Vancouver. A FedEx B767 crew fell victim to the same fate back in June.

Simple Flying

  • A Spirit Airlines A320 slid off the taxiway after landing at Baltimore airport.
  • The aircraft’s nose departed from the taxiway when the aircraft was slowly rounding a turn. The airline has initially attributed this to slick conditions following a winter snowstorm.
  • There were no injuries and the passengers deplaned via stairs.

ABC News

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