Aviation Safety News Roundup | June 2021

Aviation Safety News Roundup | June 2021
Claire Ealding
Aug 1, 2021

Business Aviation Accidents Declined in 2020. But Safety Might Not Be The Reason

  • Data shows there were 50% less business aviation accidents in 2020, compared to 2019.
  • However, Mark Milliam, Flight Safety Foundation’s vice president, remarks that the decline in actual accident numbers in 2020 was not an indication of improved safety but a reflection of the downturn in flying because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The most common business aviation accident type is runway excursion, followed by loss of control in-flight (LOCiF).
  • “[Excursions] continue to happen, and they continue to happen in ways we know about… They land long, they land fast, they have a tailwind, the runway’s contaminated. We know the causes. So it’s just a matter of making people aware and reducing the risk.”
  • Safety experts believe that the business aviation sector can help reduce accidents by working together as a community.
  • According to Captain Dan Ramirez, “commercial aviation has experienced the same accident types, but the commercial response has been better. Data sharing has helped them identify the causes of in-flight problems and upgrade training to address those issues.”

Flight Safety Foundation

Is Your Data Secure? | Digital Passports And Third-Party Travel Health Apps Are Becoming The Norm When Crossing Borders

  • Many health and travel apps have been introduced since the pandemic in an attempt to reopen the world's borders while also minimizing the spread of COVID-19.
  • Through these apps, vaccination or testing status can be presented to government officials or transmitted electronically during travel. However, these third-party apps have triggered apprehension about data leaks, who can see private personal information, and how it's being used.
  • The International Air Transport Association (IATA) are developing their own travel pass platform “with a decentralized identity management system, to ensure all the passenger’s private information and data is stored only on their phone, never externally.”
  • Alan Hayden, IATA head of passenger and security products, says, “The idea behind this app is to open up aviation again; it’s not to build up a database or intelligence. We have purposely gone to the other extreme where we want nothing to do with passenger data.”
  • The app also promises to have a registry of all government-recognized test centers in each country and provide information regarding which measures a person will need before travel.

Airport Technology

Robert Sumwalt Talks Safety, Risk Management, And Business Aviation

  • One of the National Transportation Safety Boards (NTSB) longest-serving members, Robert Sumwalt, retires in June following 15 years of service and four years as chairman.
  • In an interview with AINonline, he describes how the safety landscape has changed since he first began working at the NTSB. Concepts like “SMS” and safety culture were still not fully understood.
  • He recalls a time when ‘professionalism’ made it on the NTSB’s Most Wanted List after a series of fatal crashes. The Bedford, MA crash was an accident that stuck with him.
  • “That was a flight department that looked like they were really doing all the right things. They were going for their IS-BAO Stage 3 audit. The captain had been there like 27 years. They had really good comments in their last audit, yet they weren't even doing basic things [such as preflight checklists].”
  • Sumwalt admits that the NTSB really only deals with a small percentage of safety issues: “The board only looks at accidents, really. I'm not sure that the lack of accidents necessarily means that there are no problems out there. We just look at the tip of the iceberg. It’s what is going on underneath that we don't really know.”
  • In closing he remarked that he hopes to see business aviation continue to flourish, but that “we want to make sure that it is done safely and by properly managing risk.”


Safety Management Systems Can Be Personalized To Fit Even The Smallest Aviation Departments, Safety Experts Say

  • Any flight department of any size can tailor and simplify a Safety Management System (SMS) to suit their needs.
  • According to safety experts at the recent Flight Safety Foundation’s Business Aviation Safety Summit (BASS), this is even the case for single-aircraft, single-pilot operations.
  • Depending on what data the operator wants to gather, departments can scale an SMS to fit their operation. Steve Bruneau, vice president of aviation services with Polaris Aero, says that the data from an SMS “is useless if you don’t use it and act on it.”
  • He also mentioned that everyone within a company should be engaged in the company’s SMS, “not just the safety guys.”

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