Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Industry, Government Form New Indian Safety Council


AWIN First Jun 02 , 2010
Neelam Mathews

An Indian Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council has been created following the crash of a Boeing 737-800 operated by Air India Express on May 22 to address issues relating to safety oversight of airline operations, aerodromes, air navigation and human performance.

The first meeting of the safety council will be chaired by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), and will have 28 members belonging to both government and private bodies, including representatives from ICAO, FAA, Boeing and Airbus, which are all special invitees.

The DGCA says a “reassurance drive” includes adherence to approved maintenance programs by airlines, availability of approved minimum equipment lists and an annual airworthiness review. The drive also includes spot checks on the tarmac, maintenance hangars/stores, night inspections and inspection of all critical airports.

As part of the drive, airports identified as critical and needing inspection on a priority basis include Leh, Kullu, Shimla, Port Blair, Agartala, Lengpui, Calicut, Mangalore, Jammu, Patna and Latur.

DGCA presently has 32 flight operations inspectors and one test pilot, and it will be adding 427 technical positions and 129 non-technical support staff. An FAA audit in 2009 made 19 findings of improvements, all of which were made.

India continues to retain the status of Category 1.

Meanwhile, new directives on standard operating procedures to all scheduled, non-scheduled and general aviation operators have been issued.

DGCA says a large number of incidents and accidents occur during the approach and landing or take off phase of flight. This is also the phase where there is transition from automated flight to manual flight, instrument to visual reference and vice versa.

Based on feedback, DGCA says pilots need to be aware that achieving a particular “G” (“G” is the acceleration constant for gravity) value on touchdown is no measure of a good landing.

“Landings should be judged not by how soft it has been, but if it has been made at the correct speed and touchdown zone on the runway. The airplane manufacturer lays down limits of “G” values for landing, and certain operators need to guard against imposing much lower values in their FOQA programs,” says the directive on ‘correct’ landings.

In the case of an unstabilized approach, a “go-around” is recommended, giving pilots another opportunity to conduct another safe approach.

A directive on standard operating procedures for approach and landing reiterates that strict adherence for landings be made “acceptable within the limitations of the aircraft without compromising stopping distance requirements.”

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