Aviation Safety News Roundup | January 2022

Aviation Safety News Roundup | January 2022
Claire Ealding
Jan 31, 2022

Accident Spotlight | Spoiler Issue Suspected In Recent GIV-SP Crash In The Dominican Republic

  • On December 15th, 2021, a Gulfstream IV-SP crashed in the Dominican Republic, killing six passengers and three crew. A preliminary report released this week points to a flight control issue stemming from uncommanded spoiler deployment.
  • Before departure, the aircraft had the right-wing spoiler actuators replaced. CCTV shows that when pilots completed a flight control check, the right-wing spoilers did not retract back into the wing. Eye witnesses saw the aircraft taxiing for departure with three spoilers deployed on the right wing.
  • After takeoff, the crew experienced difficulties controlling the aircraft and declared an emergency. The crew decided to divert to Las Americas, where they crashed into the terrain to the right of the runway when attempting a landing.
  • The investigation is ongoing.


Safety First | Cell Carriers Voluntarily Delay 5G Rollout And Agree To Limit 5G Near Certain Airports

  • AT&T and Verizon have said they will limit 5G networks near airports where the potential interference from which could jeopardize aviation safety.
  • During this delayed rollout, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has identified 50 airports where they deem the threat to aircraft safety warrants a buffer zone.
  • Dozens of aircraft systems rely on inputs from radio altimeters. The Boeing 787s could even be affected on the ground, as 5G interference might prevent their engine and braking systems from transitioning to landing mode.
  • A letter to the FAA has requested that 5G be implemented “everywhere in the country except within the approximate 2 miles [4 km] of airport runways at affected airports.”

Federal Aviation Administration (The 50 Airports)
Flight Safety Foundation

Europe Released Its Safety Plan For The Next 4 Years, And It’s Three Volumes Long

  • The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published the 11th edition of the European Plan for Aviation Safety (EPAS) for 2022-2026. EPAS identifies the main risks affecting the European aviation system and defines the necessary actions to mitigate them.
  • The most critical risk areas identified for part NCC (noncommercial) aircraft were airborne collisions (traffic advisories not followed by pilots), runway excursion, and loss of control in flight (LOCiF).
  • A focus point was making a safe return to operations following the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report, projections are that full recovery may take a minimum of 3 more years due to grounded aircraft, personnel skill degradation, and mental well-being, among other factors.
  • Other areas highlighted in this plan include environmental protection and physical and mental well-being. Initiatives include actions to increase CO2 efficiency, prepare for electric and hybrid propulsion technology, sustainable aviation fuels, carbon offsetting, and develop an “environmental label.” EASA has also launched a well-being resource hub for all aviation professionals to access.

European Union Aviation Safety Agency

Fitness To Fly | Medical Exam May Not Catch Issues Leading To Pilot Incapacitation In Older Pilots, According To European Study

  • A study on European pilot age and health conditions sought to identify health related "red flags" that could potentially lead to in-flight incapacitation. This study comes as EASA explores the risk factors involved in increasing the mandatory retirement age.
  • The study evaluated over 80,000 pilots. Predictably, the study found an association between advancing age and grounding for medical reasons, with the greatest rates of unfitness occurring in the 51-60-year-old age range.
  • The most common health reason for grounding was cardiovascular problems (19%), followed by psychiatric issues (11%), neurological issues (10%), and psychological issues (9%).
  • Even relatively fitter older pilots cannot be guaranteed not to experience incapacitation. Previous studies explain that 50 and 70 percent of in-flight incapacitations are “barely preventable” because it is not guaranteed to predict them during a routine medical screening.
  • The report recommends that aviation medical examiners (AME’s) include individual counseling about preventing cardiovascular disease as part of every aeromedical examination. “Early prevention of cardiovascular disease is considered to reduce the number of pilots at risk of acute in-flight incapacitation and thereby improve flight safety.”
  • Where EASA stands on increasing the pilot retirement age is still undetermined.

Flight Safety Foundation

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