Aviation Safety News Roundup | May 2022

Aviation Safety News Roundup | May 2022
Claire Ealding
May 30, 2022

Failing Safety Measures | Data Shows Pilots Are Avoiding EMAS

  • EMAS, or ‘Engineered Materials Arresting System,’ is a way of using drag to stop an airplane during a runway overrun safely. It is made of an arresting material that stops a plane with minimal damage to the nose wheel. In the U.S, there are 100 runways with this safety-critical system installed.
  • But recent data shows that pilots elect to swerve off of the side of the runway rather than continue into the EMAS. IFALPA believes there are two reasons for this behavior: 1) knowledge (or lack of) about EMAS and why it is there, and 2) in the moment, pilots did not know it was there.
  • EMAS pads are short (150 m), so buildings, trees, and other obstacles past the pad can look unnervingly close, heightening the tendency to swerve. Also, EMAS is only indicated on taxiway diagrams and not approach charts, making it easy to miss during a brief.
  • Regulators in the US and abroad a urged to do more to enhance awareness of this valuable safety-critical system.


Battle For Control

  • Last month the pilots of an Air France Boeing 777 reported the plane as out of control and unresponsive on final approach. An investigation has revealed that the pilots were both pulling the yoke in opposite directions.
  • France's air accident investigation agency said the two pilots "simultaneously made inputs on the controls.” The report said, "The captain held the control column in a slightly nose-down position while the co-pilot made several, more pronounced, nose-up inputs."
  • If opposing forces on the two yokes pass a specific limit, the link between them is broken in the case of one side getting jammed. The pilot’s fight for control had caused the controls to decouple.
  • “The pilots did not notice that they had made contradictory inputs nor that the columns had become decoupled,” the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety said.


Crashed Planes + Revoked License | Three General Aviation Pilots Lose Licenses Over Unsafe Stunts

  • Just weeks after a YouTuber had his license revoked for purposely crashing his plane, two other pilots attempted but failed to make a “plane swap” in midair, resulting in one plane crash.
  • In the first incident, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revoked the pilot license of a YouTuber who posted a video of his light aircraft crashing while he parachuted to safety. Several onboard cameras mounted to the aircraft show the moment it impacts a California mountainside. The pilot made no attempt to restart the engine or find somewhere to land before bailing out.  
  • He shared the misadventure in a video posted in December 2021 entitled “I crashed my plane,” which has received over 2.5 million views.
  • The second incident was a failed midair “plane swap,” which was sponsored by Red Bull. The pilots from two planes nose-diving towards the ground were supposed to jump out and re-enter each other’s planes. Only one pilot made it to the other plane while the other parachuted to safety.
  • It transpires that the FAA had denied a request from organizers to get an exemption that would allow them to perform this stunt. Nevertheless, they illegally proceeded anyway.


New Guidance For Operators Using Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS)

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has updated its regulatory guidance allowing operators to obtain approval to use enhanced flight vision systems (EFVS) to fly instrument approaches to 100 feet above the touchdown zone elevation.
  • Changes clarify the regulatory requirements for operators to meet the enhanced flight visibility requirement “the entire way to the runway and through rollout.".
  • The AC also cautions that it does not provide information for the use of an EFVS for situational awareness during other aircraft operations such as taxi, takeoff, or approach operations that do not require its use. Nor does its contents necessarily apply to conducting EFVS operations outside the U.S.

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