Aviation Safety News Roundup | November 2021

Aviation Safety News Roundup | November 2021
Claire Ealding
Dec 22, 2021

Hazardous Airspace | Flights Over And Into Ethiopia Are Currently Considered Dangerous

  • Since the conflict between the Ethiopian military and opposition forces has intensified, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has published a new airspace warning for Ethiopia, cautioning against overflights of the HAAA/Addis Ababa FIR below FL290.
  • According to the background information note, there has been no threat to U.S. civil aircraft. However, there is the potential for the risk of misidentification or miscalculation. Particularly for aircraft operating below FL290.
  • “U.S. civil aviation operating in or near contested areas in the Addis Ababa FIR (HAAA) at altitudes below FL 290 could be exposed, directly or indirectly, to tactical air operations, ground weapons fire, and surface-to-air fire.”
  • The U.S., the UK, Germany, and France have all issued security warnings advising their citizens to leave immediately.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Black Boxes To Be Required In Helicopters, After NTSB Unable To Identify The Probable Cause In More Than A Dozen Crashes

  • A recently introduced Helicopter Data and Voice Recorder Requirement Act would require the installation of flight data and cockpit voice recorders in most U.S.-registered helicopters.
  • The high-profile crash in which basketball star Kobe Bryant and eight others lost their lives has spotlighted the need for these additional safety measures. The helicopter contained neither a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) nor a flight data recorder (FDR).
  • Anthony Brown, one of the congressmen that passed this legislation and a former helicopter pilot, said, “From 2005 to 2017, the NTSB estimates there were 159 crashes involving helicopters with no recording equipment. Of the 159 incidents, the NTSB was unable to determine probable cause for 18 of those crashes.”
  • He also stated that “Adding black boxes to helicopters raises accountability for pilots and allows investigators to give families closure in their time of need.”


Fighting Fatigue | Eye-Tracking Technology To Be Used In Flight Decks To Detect Pilot Fatigue

  • Collins Aerospace and Seeing Machines - a leader in eye tracking and driver safety - are collaborating to develop technology to detect pilot fatigue. The technology will sense levels of fatigue and alertness visible in a pilot’s eyes.
  • According to Collins, this technology provides another level of safety. It intends to be used alongside current processes for tracking fatigue, such as safe scheduling and self-evaluation, not as a replacement.
  • “Our work with Collins to deploy eye-tracking technology for pilots aims to deliver a scalable implementation model across the aviation industry,” said Paul McGlone, chief executive officer of Seeing Machines.
  • Once completed, the technology will be available to aircraft manufacturers and operators as both forward-fit and after-market solutions.

Collins Aerospace

Just For Fun | Your Next Side Hustle? Almost 100 Pilots Fly Down The Streets Of New York City

  • Last Thursday morning, almost 100 pilots flew down the streets of New York City. These pilots were not in aircraft, but at the controls of 16 Thanksgiving parade balloons, including Hello Kitty, Snoopy, and a five-story tall Paddington Bear.
  • While anyone can volunteer to be a balloon pilot, there is some training required. 15-year balloon pilot Kathy Kramer says that Macy’s “offer three field training sessions a year… We offer the pilots and captains the chance to go around the field a couple of times with the balloon and practice the instruction and guidance. We also have classroom training.”
  • Like aviators, they must pay close attention to the weather conditions and performance characteristics. “We know how high we are supposed to fly depending on what the wind is. Each balloon has a different matrix that they call the flight matrix. It stipulates how high you can fly depending on the size of the balloon, the volume of helium, and gross weight, and the winds.”
  • It is physically demanding - the balloon pilots walk the entire 2.5-mile route backward and with no restroom breaks once the parade begins.
  • Contrary to what some might think, there is no chance that a balloon caught in a gust could sweep all the pilots away!

Vanity Fair

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