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Incident: Spirit A319 at Detroit on Sep 18th 2017, engine shut down in flight

Category : News

A Spirit Airlines Airbus A319-100, performing flight NK-569 from Detroit,MI to Atlanta,GA (USA) with 135 people on board, departed runway and was climbing through about 5000 feet when the crew declared emergency reporting they had “lost the second engine”. The crew stopped the climb at 5000 feet, shut the right hand engine (V2524) down, requested the longest runway available, when told to expect the RNAV approach to runway they changed their mind and opted for the ILS equipped runway. The aircraft returned to Detroit for a safe landing.  The crew requested emergency services to check the right hand side for any fire/burning stating they had a constant fire indication. Emergency services reporting seeing no trace of fire and no trace of leaks.

The FAA reported metal debris was found in a number of backyards underneath the departure path of the aircraft.

A passenger reported there was a huge bang and a fire ball followed by sparks from the right hand engine.

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How International, Indian Air Carriers Joining Forces To Leverage India’s Aviation Market

Category : News

Earlier this month, Japan Airlines (JAL) and India’s new premium airline Vistara signed an MoU to pursue commercial opportunities that combine the synergies of both airlines. Only recently in August, the Californian online marketer and hospitality player Airbnb made its first airline partnership in India by tying up with Jet Airways. These deals in the Indian aviation space followed a series of other recent collaborations such as Qatar Airways’s interline partnership with Vistara and Jet Airways’s code share agreements with Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Delta Air Lines inked in July.

Yes, it’s time for strategic alliances in India’s airline industry now. Close on the heels of a big boom that is predicted in Indian aviation sector, it is witnessing a host of cross-border partnerships and strategic alliances between the industry players and other stakeholders.

Aiming at a larger share in the world’s fastest growing air travel market, several foreign airlines have already signed or in the process of signing business collaborations. While pioneers like Air India and Jet Airways are already operating several partnership with local and foreign peers and are looking for more, new entrants such as SpiceJet, Vistara and AirAsia too are lured by foreign peers to float unique alliances to get connected to the world’s fastest growing aviation market.

Dual Trigger

Crowded skies and the rising competition in India’s aviation sector, set to be the third largest aviation market by 2026, is forcing domestic players to attain maximum operational efficiency and deliver best customer satisfaction through collaborations. “While India offers a high growth market for everyone in the international arena, delivering satisfying and cost-effective service to customers is a compelling need for the domestic players,” says a senior aviation industry expert. So, this is a dual trigger that prompts the increased number of cross-border partnerships in the sector, adds industry consultant, who doesn’t want to be identified as his organisation is currently working on certain deals in the sector and thus need to maintain client confidentiality. “Excellence in operations and exceptional service to customers is the new mantra in the Indian air travel sector now as competition is on a rise,” he adds.

Unique Models

According to industry experts, each of these new partnerships is unique as every players aims to introduce differentiated service experiences to passengers.

For instance, the partnership between Vistara and JAL is aimed at providing greater convenience to their joint customers travelling between India and Japan, and through Japan to points beyond. This alliance will also help them pursue significant cooperation in areas such as code sharing, frequent flyer programme, allowing them to leverage each other’s network, expertise and assets. Vistara and JAL had, earlier this year, entered in an ‘Inter-Airline Through Check-In’ (IATCI) partnership enabling customers to enjoy a seamless through-check-in facility.

“The strengthened partnership with Vistara represents a significant milestone for the two airlines to provide customers better access to destinations,” said Japan Airlines’ executive vice-president Tadashi Fujita, while announcing the deal in India.

According to Vistara CEO, Phee Teik Yeoh, his airline and Japan Airlines share a great deal in common and key among these common values is the focus on excellence in operations and delivery of exceptional service to customers. “We believe that this is only the beginning of many other great offerings to come,” Teik Yeoh said.

Industry data says demand for air travel between Japan and India has grown over the recent years. Therefore, JAL, which currently operates a daily non-stop service between Tokyo and Delhi, has been planning for strengthening its presence in the country through a suitable partner to help boost connectivity between Japan and India, connecting through Delhi.

Similarly, Qatar Airways’s interline partnership with Vistara too will allow Qatar Airways’ passengers to travel seamlessly to and from a wide range of cities within India across Vistara’s network, via Qatar Airways’s existing 13 Indian gateways under a single ticket.  “This exciting new partnership will bring enhanced connectivity and increased convenience to our passengers travelling within India on an  expanding premium carrier,” said Qatar Airways group CEO Akbar Al Baker in a recent statement. “The Indian market is very important to us, and this new partnership expands Qatar Airways’ presence in India,” he added.

Airbnb’s maiden partnership in the Indian aviation space is also unique. This deal will help Airbnb to strengthen its footprint in the Indian market by focusing on establishing a deeper connect with the new age Indian travellers who seek unique travel experiences.

“Millennials are seeking newer, interesting ways to travel and are keen to break away from the conventional means to seek authentic experiences,” says Amanpreet Bajaj, country manager- India, Airbnb.

Low-Cost Driven Market

World’s top aircraft maker Boeing recently estimated a demand for 2,100 new airplanes worth $290 billion in India by 2030. The fast increasing passenger volume combined with a strong exchange rate, low fuel prices and high load factors will be key to lifting the market in the near future. India is a price conscious market and these aspects will help boost the prospects of a low-cost driven market, predict industry experts. Besides, the government’s rural connectivity scheme and plans to develop infrastructure in small and micro cities will further boost the sector. But, since it’s a price conscious market, a low-cost but volume-based business will continue driving the market.

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Incident: Spicejet B738 at Mumbai on Sep 19th 2017, overran runway on landing

Category : News

A Spicejet Boeing 737-800, performing flight SG-703 from Varanasi to Mumbai  with 183 people on board, landed on Mumbai’s runway 27 in heavy rain at 16:27Z  but overran the end of the runway and came to a stop with all gear on soft ground. There were no injuries, the passengers disembarked onto soft ground. Passengers were evacuated using the emergency chute and taken to the arrival hall.

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Officials to Investigate Air India Plane’s Collision With GSE

Category : News

No one was injured when an Air India aircraft collided with a piece of ground support equipment at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, on Friday 15th Sept 2017.
According to the report, the inbound plane from Vadodara landed in Delhi, and was taxiing toward a parking bay when the accident occurred. The report stated one of the plane’s engines collided with a truck carrying a ground-based cooling unit.
The airline has constituted a two-member high-level committee to investigate the incident, according to the report, noting a similar incident occurred last month when one of the wings of Ethiopian Airlines hit an Air India flight.

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Fire breaks out at Kolkata Airport, non hurt

Category : Top News

A fire broke out in one of the UPS rooms at the “International Departure” section of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport’s terminal building in Kolkata on Thursday, 14th Sept 2017.

However, there was no report of any injury to anyone or damage to property as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) stepped in immediately to bring the situation under control. “The incident took place at 4.15 PM. The primary reason behind the fire appears to be the bursting of a capacitor of one of the split air-conditioners in the UPS room near Gate No. 12,” a release issued by the airport director, Atul Dikshit, said. There was no injury to anyone and the flight operations were also not affected, he said, adding that an internal inquiry would be carried out to ascertain what caused the fire.

Dikshit said as the fire alarm rang and the door of the room was opened, a gust of smoke came out and spread to the entire “International security hold” area, triggering panic among the passengers. The flames were doused with the help of fire extinguishers and passengers evacuated from the “International security hold” area, he said, adding that boarding continued simultaneously through a remote gate. Smoke exhaust fans were switched on and a thorough examination of the entire “International security hold” area and adjoining areas was carried out.

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Air India flight hits ground cooling unit truck at airport

Category : News

In n a freak incident, an Air India flight hit ground cooling unit truck on its way to the Taxi bay at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).
The incident happened on 15 September night but all passengers were safe. No casualties were reported.
One engine of the Air India flight 319 received minor damage.

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Anxiety grips flyers as glitch forces GoAir flight back to Pune

Category : News

The 141 passengers on board a Pune-Bengaluru GoAir flight faced anxious moments mid-air on Friday 15th Sept 2017 after the pilot suddenly announced that the aircraft had experienced a technical glitch and would return to the Pune airport.

The flight was scheduled to depart from Pune at 1.25am but took off around 40 minutes later. It returned to the Pune airport at 3am.

A passengers, said, “We faced some uneasy and anxious moments. After 20 minutes of flying, the pilot announced that there was a technical problem and that the flight would have to return to Pune. This caused some commotion. The flight was already facing a lot of turbulence since it took off. ” He said the landing at Pune airport was not a smooth one. ” After landing, the aircraft was taken to the bay area where a team of engineers got in and checked it for around 30 minutes. The passengers were in the aircraft during this time.Finally , at around 3.30am, the airline officials announced that the flight would not be going to Bengaluru and that we had to deboard.”

At the airport, the airline officials were giving different versions of the incident, adding to the passengers’ frustration

A GoAir spokesperson said the flight had to return because of a minor technical glitch in the aircraft. “Flight with 141passengers returned to Pune due to a minor technical glitch after being airborne for 20 minutes this morning. Post landing, all passengers were taken care off and accommodated on alternate flights onwards to Bengaluru this morning. The glitch has been rectified and the aircraft is currently operational,” the statement from the spokesperson read.


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Government seeks to set ground rules for Gyroplanes

Category : News

It’s a bird… It’s a chopper…. It’s a plane… It’s a gyroplane.
Plane spotters in India may soon have something to look up to. Literally so, with the
government coming out with a draft policy to regulate the operations of gyroplanes, or aircraft that combine the features of an aeroplane and a helicopter and are popular among the rich and famous in Europe and the United States. In India, though, gyroplanes are set to debut as a mode of personal transport rather than an air taxi.
Gyrox Aviation, the Gurgaon based company which plans to assemble gyroplanes in India from original equipment sourced from Poland’s Celier Aviation, is also eyeing paramilitary forces, state police forces and local government officials for selling the nearly Rs 1.77 crore machines for surveillance along the border and other areas in the country.
“Corporates and high-end individuals can use a gyroplane as it can travel up to 600 km on a single tankful of petrol,” Gyrox Aviation founder Colonel (Retd) RP Suhag told Aviation Safety India.
Seven conditions have been spelt out by the government in its draft policy on  gyroplanes released on Friday after years of consultations between the ministries of home and civil aviation.
Many Restrictions
For instance, these two-seater planes, which are designed like helicopters, will not be allowed to fly at night, carry a passenger or property for compensation or hire, fly higher than 2,000 feet above ground level or enter controlled airspace without a valid radio telephony operator licence. Pilots will need a licence and a certificate of airworthiness. However, gyroplanes will not be allowed to operate when flight or surface visibility falls below 5,000 metres.
The government has sought public comments on the draft policy, which will take final shape next month.
Col Suhag said his company had made presentations to the Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force suggesting the machines be used for patrolling the borders and for surveillance in areas affected by Left-wing extremism. “There is tremendous use of this machine in India,” he said. Gyroplanes made their debut in Europe and are use in China, the US and Canada. The aircraft is essentially a rotorcraft whose rotors are not engine-driven, except for starting. It is made to rotate by action of the air when the rotorcraft is moving and its propellers are independent of the rotor system, making it different from a helicopter. It needs a runway to take off and land, albeit much shorter than that for a plane.
“A gyroplane weighs just 600 kg and is crash-safe as it glides to safety and does not drop from the air like a chopper in case of engine failure. A chopper is also too big for reconnaissance purpose,” Col Suhag said. “A gyroplane can be used for highway patrolling and urban policing and many state police forces have shown interest. Government officials can also use it to survey a district in quick time to check on various development works.”
Some aviation experts have, however, said that gyroplanes are exorbitantly priced for India since a second-hand chopper costs less. “At 1.5 crore plus goods and services tax, it would cost Rs 1.77 crore. I do not think it fits into the aviation sector in any way. At most, it is a leisure machine. Yes, if it is available at Rs 60 lakh or so, there could be takers,” said Capt Vibhuti Singh, founder of Jaipur-based Microlight Aviation.
Poland-based Raphael Celier conceived the new-age gyroplanes in 2006 and his company Celier Aviation has been supplying these machines across the world.

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The Tragic Crash of Flight AF447 Shows the Unlikely but Catastrophic Consequences of Automation

Category : Post

The tragic crash of Air France 447 (AF447) in 2009 sent shock waves around the world. The loss was difficult to understand given the remarkable safety record of commercial aviation. How could a well-trained crew flying a modern airliner so abruptly lose control of their aircraft during a routine flight?

AF447 precipitated the aviation industry’s growing concern about such “loss of control” incidents, and whether they’re linked to greater automation in the cockpit. As technology has become more sophisticated, it has taken over more and more functions previously performed by pilots, bringing huge improvements in aviation safety.

Loss of control typically occurs when pilots fail to recognize and correct a potentially dangerous situation, causing an aircraft to enter an unstable condition. Such incidents are typically triggered by unexpected, unusual events – often comprising multiple conditions that rarely occur together – that fall outside of the normal repertoire of pilot experience. For example, this might be a combination of unusual meteorological conditions, ambiguous readings or behavior from the technology, and pilot inexperience – any one or two of which might be okay, but altogether they can overwhelm a crew. Safety scientists describe this as the “Swiss cheese” model of failure, when the holes in organizational defenses line up in ways that had not been foreseen. These incidents require rapid interpretation and responses, and it is here that things can go wrong.

Our research, examines how automation can limit pilots’ abilities to respond to such incidents, as becoming more dependent on technology can erode basic cognitive skills. By reviewing expert analyses of the disaster and analyzing data from AF447’s cockpit and flight data recorders, we found that AF447, and commercial aviation more generally, reveal how automation may have unanticipated, catastrophic consequences that, while unlikely, can emerge in extreme conditions.


Loss of AF447

AF447 was three and a half hours into a night flight over the Atlantic. Transient icing of the speed sensors on the Airbus A330 caused inconsistent airspeed readings, which in turn led the flight computer to disconnect the autopilot and withdraw flight envelope protection, as it was programmed to do when faced with unreliable data. The startled pilots now had to fly the plane manually.

A string of messages appeared on a screen in front of the pilots, giving crucial information on the status of the aircraft. All that was required was for one pilot (Pierre-Cédric Bonin) to maintain the flight path manually while the other (David Robert) diagnosed the problem.

But Bonin’s attempts to stabilize the aircraft had precisely the opposite effect. This was probably due to a combination of being startled and inexperienced at manually flying at altitude, and having reduced automatic protection. At higher altitudes, the safe flight envelope is much more restricted than at lower altitudes, which is why pilots rarely hand-fly there. He attempted to correct a slight roll that occurred as the autopilot disconnected but over-corrected, causing the plane to roll sharply left and right several times as he moved his side stick from side to side. He also pulled back on the stick, causing the plane to climb steeply until it stalled and began to descend rapidly, almost in free-fall.

The AF447 tragedy starkly reveals the interplay between sophisticated technology and its human counterparts. This began with the abrupt and unexpected handover of control to the pilots, one of whom, unused to hand flying at altitude, made a challenging situation much worse. A simulation exercise after the accident demonstrated that with no pilot inputs, AF447 would have remained at its cruise altitude following the autopilot disconnection.

With the onset of the stall, there were many cues about what was happening available to the pilots. But they were unable to assemble these cues into a valid interpretation, perhaps because they believed that a stall was impossible (since fly-by-wire technology would normally prevent pilots from causing a stall), or perhaps because the technology usually did most of the “assembling” of cues on their behalf.

The possibility that an aircraft could be in a stall without the crew realizing it was also apparently beyond what the aircraft system designers imagined. Features designed to help the pilots under normal circumstances now added to their problems. For example, to avoid the distractions of false alarms, the stall warning was designed to shut off when the forward airspeed fell below a certain speed, which it did as AF447 made its rapid descent. However, when the pilots twice made the correct recovery actions (putting the nose-down), the forward airspeed increased, causing the stall alarm to reactivate. All of this contributed to the pilots’ difficulty in grasping the nature of their plight. Seconds before impact, Bonin can be heard saying, “This can’t be true.”

Implications for Organizations

This idea – that the same technology that allows systems to be efficient and largely error-free also creates systemic vulnerabilities that result in occasional catastrophes – is termed “the paradox of almost totally safe systems.” This paradox has implications for technology deployment in many organizations, not only safety-critical ones.

One is the importance of managing handovers from machines to humans, something which went so wrong in AF447. As automation has increased in complexity and sophistication, so have the conditions under which such handovers are likely to occur. Is it reasonable to expect startled and possibly out-of-practice humans to be able to instantaneously diagnose and respond to problems that are complex enough to fool the technology? This issue will only become more pertinent as automation further pervades our lives, for example as autonomous vehicles are introduced to our roads.

Second, how can we capitalize on the benefits offered by technology while maintaining the cognitive capabilities necessary to handle exceptional situations? Pilots undergo intense training, with regular assessments, drills, and simulations, yet loss of control remains a source of concern. Following the AF447 disaster, the FAA urged airlines to encourage more hand-flying to prevent the erosion of basic piloting skills and this points to one avenue that others might follow. Regular, hands-on engagement and control builds and maintains system knowledge, enabling operators, managers, and others who oversee complex systems, to identify anomalies, diagnose unfamiliar situations, and respond quickly and appropriately. Structured problem-solving and improvement routines that prompt one to constantly interrogate our environment can also help with this.

Commercial aviation offers a fascinating window into automation, because the benefits, as well as the occasional risks, are so visible and dramatic. But everyone has their equivalent of autopilot, and the main idea extends to other environments: when automation keeps people completely safe almost all of the time, they are more likely to struggle to reengage when it abruptly withdraws its services.

Organizations must now consider the interplay of different types of risk. More automation reduces the risk of human errors, most of the time, as shown by aviation’s excellent and improving safety record. But automation also leads to the subtle erosion of cognitive abilities that may only manifest themselves in extreme and unusual situations. However, it would be short-sighted to simply roll back automation, say by insisting on more hand-flying, as that would increase the risk of human error again. Rather, organizations need to be aware of the vulnerabilities that automation can create and think more creatively about ways to patch them.

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Incident: British Airways A321 at Amsterdam on Sep 12th 2017, engine shut down in flight

Category : News

A British Airways Airbus A321-200, performing flight  from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to London Heathrow,EN (UK), was climbing out of Amsterdam’s runway when the crew declared PAN PAN PAN reporting the right hand engine (V2533) had failed. The crew requested to level off, worked the severe engine damage checklist, shut the engine down and returned to Amsterdam for a safe landing about 35 minutes after departure.

A passenger video showed sparks flying off the engine.

The aircraft had departed with a delay of about 4 hours following arrival in Amsterdam on schedule.

Passengers reported they were told the aircraft had received a bird strike into the right hand engine on arrival into Amsterdam, the engine had been inspected and cleaned causing the delay. After departure there was a loud bang, sparks were seen flying off the engine, and they returned to Amsterdam.

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