Aviation Safety News Roundup | October 2021

Aviation Safety News Roundup | October 2021
Claire Ealding
Nov 1, 2021

Jeopardizing Safety | Boeing Chief Technical Pilot Faces 100 Year Prison Sentence, Accused Of Providing "False" And "Incomplete" Information On MCAS.

  • Former chief technical pilot for Boeing, Mark A. Forkner, has been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on fraud charges and accused of deceiving the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in connection with its evaluation of the Boeing 737 MAX.
  • On Thursday, a federal grand jury alleged that Forkner "provided the [FAA] with materially false, inaccurate, and incomplete information about a new part of the flight controls for the Boeing 737 MAX called the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system (MCAS)."
  • Airplane manuals and pilot-training materials lacked any reference to MCAS. MCAS was featured in two fatal crashes of the 737 MAX in 2018. Contributing factors were design flaws in the MCAS system and lack of pilot training and systems knowledge on coping with such abnormalities.
  • Forkner faces a 100-year sentence. "Forkner is charged with two counts of fraud... which, if convicted, could result in a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on each count, and four counts of wire fraud, with a maximum penalty, if convicted, of 20 years in prison on each count."

Flight Safety Foundation

Diluting The Service | The Charter Business Is Booming, But Can The Industry Keep Up?

  • Driven by health concerns and the COVID-19 pandemic, the private jet industry has seen a record number of new fliers. But in an industry geared for slower growth, a boom in business is beginning to cause supply chain issues and aircraft shortages.
  • According to Argus, July 2021 was the busiest month for private jet flights, and October was set to break that record.
  • However, according to industry executives, "a shortage of new and used planes, delays getting aircraft parts, crew and pilot shortages, catering snafus, and air traffic problems are combining to create a growing number of delays and cancellations."
  • Customers pay five or six-figure values to avoid delays, compromises, and logistical complications. But a Private Jet Card Comparisons survey of private jet fliers found that more than 20% had experienced a service issue in recent months.
  • Doug Gollan, the founder of Private Jet Card Comparisons, said that "while customers may complain about service issues, none of the 300 it surveyed said they planned to go back to commercial airlines."


Good To Know | Business Travelers And Frequent Flyers Favor Natural Measures For Reducing Jet Lag

  • Researchers find that most international business travelers prefer natural, non-pharmacological measures to fight jet lag, such as timed exposure to bright light and darkness, diet, and exercise. The findings from the study highlighted the importance of comfort, appropriate cabin lighting, and hydration during flight.
  • Respondents were asked what they do before, during, and after a flight to minimize jet lag. During the flight, 78% claimed to drink water to stay hydrated, 62% napped, 60% used noise-canceling headphones, 37% walked or did stretching exercises, 37% changed clothes, and 34% refrained from drinking alcohol. Only 12% said they consumed alertness-promoting products, such as caffeine.
  • Pharmacological countermeasures (that were less favored according to the study) include medications that induce sleep, stimulants such as caffeine, and medications that resynchronize the body's sleep-wake cycle.
  • The study noted that "on average, international business travelers are away from home for 12 consecutive days during which they typically are expected to be highly productive." While jet lag can't be eliminated, it must be minimized.

Flight Safety Foundation

CJP Introduces New "Safe To Land" Procedures

  • To help reduce the rate of runway mishaps, the Citation Jet Pilots Owner Pilot Association (CJP) is launching a "Safe to Land" initiative. The Safe to Land initiative, designed for single-pilot operated aircraft, involves a series of new callouts and standard operating procedures (SOP’s) to help enhance safety during visual and instrument approaches.
  • Building on already established airline procedures, these SOP’s were developed in a rigorous process that surveyed 200 pilots, received input from the Flight Safety Foundation and involved hundreds of approaches in the simulator.
  • The research also involved collecting data on decision-making processes during both stable and unstable approaches.
  • Astronaut Charlie Precourt, who chairs the CJP Safety and Education Foundation’s Safety Committee, says "We anticipate full integration of these new SOPs, including training with a new curriculum for our simulator sessions, to take the next 12 to 18 months," he explained. "We believe the ‘Safe to Land’ initiative could be a real game-changer for the light jet community.


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