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April 9, 2015  -  No. 069

In This Issue
FAA Calls Out 'Systemic' Hazard at United
NTSB Issues Safety Alerts Focusing on Improving General Aviation Safety
American Airlines jet makes safe emergency landing in Utah
Airplane's engine explodes on runway at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport
EU agency noted 'non-conformity' with Germany's air safety rules before Germanwings crash
Pilot Workload at Emirates Under Question
Why Pilots Still Matter
Nigeria: Increasing Number of Pilots in Cockpit Not Solution to Germanwings Experience
Lagos Military Helicopter Accident Caused By 'Hydraulic Failure'
Test flight delay puts pressure on Japan's regional jet plan
Adios, Top Gun: The End of the Fighter Jet?
Australia buys new C-17 military aircraft for disaster relief
Siemens' electric airplane motor
Asia Pacific Airline Training Symposium...15-16 September 2015
2015 NSC Aviation Safety Committee Meeting...Meeting Dates: May 13-14, 2015
6th Pan American Aviation Safety Summit
Book Review:..."Jet Blast"
Upcoming Events
JOBS AVAILABLE (New Positions)
Curt Lewis & Associates, LLC - Services
FAA Calls Out 'Systemic' Hazard at United

Repeated violations regarding pilot qualification, scheduling requirements prompt regulator to step up oversight

United Continental said it supplied the FAA with 'a full outline of our corrective actions' on March 25. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES


Federal aviation inspectors stepped up oversight of United Continental Holdings Inc. two months ago, citing risks from repeated violations of mandatory pilot qualification and scheduling requirements.

The Federal Aviation Administration's decision was spelled out in a Feb. 6 letter from a high-ranking agency official to United's top safety officer.

The letter, which called for a thorough overhaul of parts of United's process for qualifying crew members, represents the most detailed indication yet of FAA worries about United's internal safety oversight.

The FAA letter, viewed by The Wall Street Journal, followed a safety warning sent in January to United pilots by the airline 's top safety officials.

That warning in January was prompted by four recent and separate "safety events and near misses."

The alleged infractions in the FAA letter don't involve those incidents, but rather cover areas such as pilot records and crew-member qualifications.

The letter doesn't specify the violations, but those terms could mean issues like aviators not undergoing requisite, periodic check rides overseen by examiners within the required time, or the airline lacking records to document completion of such proficiency checks.

The letter also cites problems with scheduling, which could include flying longer than the FAA allows. The FAA approves airlines' systems governing such matters, and carriers are required to comply with those rules.

The No. 2 U.S. airline by traffic said it provided the FAA "a full outline of our corrective actions" on March 25, and considers the situation "resolved."

An FAA spokeswoman said the agency is evaluating the airline's response. She declined to elaborate.

The FAA letter is unusual because the airline previously reported each of the problems on its own. Such disclosures long have been encouraged by the FAA as a way to unearth budding safety problems and have the carriers voluntarily fix them. Airlines and pilots who file such reports typically avoid enforcement actions or other adverse moves by regulators.

In this case, according to the FAA letter, voluntary reports of 12 apparent violations in 13 months stemming "from the same or similar set of circumstances" indicate a "systemic" hazard, requiring United to conduct "a complete review of your processes associated with crew member qualification" and develop an "action plan...to mitigate this hazard."

As a result, the FAA stopped accepting additional voluntary disclosures involving those issues, Hugh Thomas, the agency's principal operations inspector for United, told Michael Quiello, United's vice president for safety, in the letter.

It couldn't be determined if United's fixes have been fully implemented. A United spokeswoman said the FAA didn't take action to design its own system to step up surveillance, as the letter threatened, and that the FAA hasn't proposed any financial civil penalties. She added that United fully supports the FAA-led safety management program.

The FAA spokeswoman declined to say if the voluntary-disclosure ban has been lifted.

The move by the FAA came amid broader pilot problems at United, including discontent among some of its unionized aviators. In the company's internal safety warning in January, it said that personnel shifts affecting pilots-including retirements, new hires, and transfers to different aircraft types-"introduces significant risk to the operation." That letter highlighted incidents including one in which pilots had to execute an emergency pull-up maneuver to avoid crashing into the ground and another in which a plane landed with less than the mandatory minimum fuel reserves.

United said the episodes raised questions about poor cockpit communication and coordination.

Several pilots knowledgeable about safety issues characterized the FAA's February letter as "serious" and one said it was a "wake-up call" for United. They said the airline needs a better process to systematically minimize errors. "The company may be saying this is no big deal, but it's serious," said one of the pilots.

Union leaders of United's 12,000 pilots, who are members of the Air Line Pilots Association union, in recent weeks have raised complaints with the Chicago-based company about issues including pay, training, scheduling, crew meals and alleging "pilot pushing," or encouraging aviators to skirt existing contractual or FAA rules.

In a March 27 memo to United pilots, ALPA leaders called on United to fully comply with the pilot contract approved in December 2012. "Until such time as the company is willing to address their deficiencies in honoring our contract," the union's leadership "will no longer entertain overtures from management to fix their operational problems," the memo said.

United Airlines and Continental Airlines merged in 2010 and the pilots agreed on a first joint labor contract two years later. A merged pilot seniority list was adopted in 2013, a big achievement in joining the two groups and allowing United to mix and match most pilots and planes in its scheduling.

The United-Continental merger has been perhaps the rockiest of the four big ones that have transformed the U.S. airline industry in recent years. United still hasn't reached joint labor contracts with its mechanics and flight attendants, and the melding of its systems in 2012 was widely criticized by customers as poorly handled and disruptive. But integration problems have receded since mid-2013 and United hasn't suffered any more major IT glitches.


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NTSB Issues Safety Alerts Focusing on Improving General Aviation Safety

The alerts are intended for pilots and mechanics.

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued four safety alerts to general aviation pilots and mechanics highlighting safety issues identified in several recent accident investigations.

According to NTSB's news release, three of the safety alerts are geared toward pilots and address mountain flying skills and survival equipment considerations; transition training before flying an unfamiliar aircraft with different flight characteristics or avionics; and performing thorough and advanced preflight checks on aircraft that have just received flight control or trim system maintenance. The safety alert aimed at mechanics discusses flight control and trim system misrigging problems.

Each safety alert includes accident summaries from recent and past investigations and the role the safety issue played in those accidents. The safety alerts also provide general guidance on how to apply the lessons learned from each accident and where pilots and mechanics can find free educational resources to learn more about prevention strategies.


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American Airlines jet makes safe emergency landing in Utah

An American Airlines jetliner made a safe emergency landing late Wednesday night at Salt Lake City International Airport.

The airline's Flight 504, en route from Phoenix to Vancouver, British Columbia, reportedly experienced a warning light related to its hydraulics systems as it entered Utah air space and the pilot decided to make an unscheduled landing at Salt Lake City.

An airport spokeswoman confirmed the incident, but would only say the landing was reported due to "a mechanical issue." She referred further questions to American Airlines.

None of the 130 passengers and five crew members were hurt, and passengers soon were loaded onto another aircraft to complete their flight.


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Airplane's engine explodes on runway at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency

An engine of an Iranian airway's airplane exploded and caught fire while on the runway of Istanbul's Atatürk Airport early April 10. There were no injuries reported in the incident, which saw parts of the airplane's engine scattered on the ramp.

The right engine of the Qeshm Air airplane en route to Tehran exploded as it was accelerating on the runway for take-off around 4:30 a.m., April 10. The airplane, which had finalized its departure, was in the take-off lane when the engine exploded and caught fire.

The pilot managed to stop the airplane without causing any injuries. Fire fighters and ambulances were dispatched to the scene, while the passengers were taken to the terminal. The passengers were later able to travel to Tehran on another airplane.


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EU agency noted 'non-conformity' with Germany's air safety rules before Germanwings crash

A EUROPEAN Union agency had "pointed out several cases of non-conformity" in regards to Germany's air safety rules before the tragic Germanwings plane crash, it has been reported.

Rescue workers and investigators working at the site of the Germanwings crash

The concerns over "non-conformity" were said to be especially on air crew health monitoring, a spokesman for The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) reportedly said.

Confirming earlier reports, EASA spokesman Dominique Fouda continued: "On the basis of the EASA recommendations the European commission launched, in late 2014, a process calling for accountability from Germany."

The comments came after 150 people were killed when Germanwings flight 4U9525 from Barcelona to Düsseldorf crashed into the French Alps last month - in the worst of such disaster on French soil in decades.

The aircraft's co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, is suspected of deliberately accelerating the plane into the mountainside.

Reports suggest that the 27-year-old was diagnosed with depression some years ago while training to become a pilot.

Germanwings said last week it was unaware Lubitz had suffered depression while training, despite parent company Lufthansa having records of it.

Responding to recent reports, Lufthansa chief Carsten Spohr called Lubitz "100 per cent airworthy" and said the airline were unaware of any health issues that could have compromised his fitness to fly.

Andreas Lubitz is suspected of deliberately accelerating the plane

Meanwhile, German prosecutors said that the co-pilot had researched online for information about suicide and cockpit doors just 24 hours before the devastating Germanwings crash.

Medical records showed that Lubitz was also taking medicines for depression, anxiety disorders and panic attacks.

The co-pilot is alleged to have lied to doctors telling them he was on sick leave rather than flying commercial planes.

He had also sought medical help to try to cure an eye condition, according to German newspaper Bild.

Although Lubitz had informed doctors of his job as a pilot, and in some cases about his employer Germanwings, he deliberately concealed that he was still working.

According to Saturday's edition of the Wall Street Journal, "EU officials said Germany's air-safety regulator suffered from chronic staffing shortfalls that could undermine its ability to run checks of carriers and crew, including medical checks."

An EU commission spokesman said that, based on the EASA findings, it had "told Germany to get its aviation industry in conformity" with the rules.

"Germany's responses are currently being evaluated," he said - adding that it is "part of a continuous system of supervision".


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Pilot Workload at Emirates Under Question

Airline's policies pose a further challenge to the carrier

United Arab Emirates's airline regulator is to investigate allegations by current and former pilots that state-owned Emirates isn't fully reporting pilot duty hours. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

DUBAI-Emirates Airline faces questions from regulators and staff over whether it overworks pilots, adding to challenges for the carrier that include criticism of its expansion abroad and discontent among cabin-crew staff.

According to current and former pilots, Emirates, the world's largest airline by international traffic, underreports time on duty to the aviation regulator in the United Arab Emirates, meaning pilots at times exceed daily-duty limits that exist to protect their health and the safety of flights.

Ismail Al Balooshi, director of aviation safety affairs at the General Civil Aviation Authority, the U.A.E.'s airline regulator, said in an interview he would now investigate allegations that state-owned Emirates isn't fully reporting pilot duty hours. He added, though, the airline is monitored closely and there have been no significant complaints about safety, including via an anonymous system for reporting such issues.

Concern over pilot health has elevated in the wake of the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525. The plane's co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, had a history of depression and appears to have deliberately crashed the jet into the French Alps, killing himself and 149 others onboard. There is no indication work stress contributed to Mr. Lubitz's actions.

Emirates said in a statement responding to the allegations it never compromises on safety and fully complies with its regulator's mandates. The state-owned carrier, which wouldn't make executives available for this article, also said it had a "proactive" fatigue-management procedure.

Emirates acknowledged discontent among its more than 3,700 pilots, though it called those speaking out an unhappy "vocal minority." It urged them to engage with management, adding it had set up an open forum for pilots to provide input.

Pilots and airlines in Europe and the U.S. often spar over duty hours as airline managements seek greater flexibility in scheduling cockpit crew.

At Emirates, mandatory preflight briefings occur before the airline reports the pilot as officially on-duty, according to current and former pilots who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. That policy can sometimes lead to duty times being exceeded on daily return flights to destinations in the Indian subcontinent, Africa and Europe, allowing Emirates to operate those flights without extra staff, these pilots said.

Pilots also say Emirates routinely requires them to work into a period known as "discretion," a procedure that exceeds normal work hours. Regulators allow such leeway in unforeseen circumstances such as delays and only if the pilot deems duty time extension safe.

Emirates said discretion is a tool available for use on the day of operations if the captain "assesses that it is safe to do so and provided it is in accordance with state-approved regulations."

Mr. Al Balooshi said reporting requirements for duty time should be "black and white" and begin when a pilot is expected to report for work and finish when his or her last flight taxies into the gate. Emirates said it abides by state-approved flight-time limitations.

Emirates is deemed one of the safest carriers in the world, with a seven-star rating by Airlineratings.com, a website that tracks and rates safety. It has achieved that strong track record amid rapid growth. The airline has increased the annual number of passengers it carries fourfold over the past decade, to 44.5 million last year.

The pilot discord comes as Emirates already is battling criticism on multiple fronts. U.S. and European rivals accuse the Persian Gulf carrier of relying on market-distorting state subsidies to fuel its growth, a charge Emirates denies.

At home, cabin-crew employees have voiced concerns over work conditions, prompting the airline to hold a series of meetings with staff. It also suspended a review process for cabin-crew staff that drew particular ire.

For years, U.S. and European pilots flocked to Dubai to seek cockpit jobs at rapidly expanding Emirates as other airlines restructured and retrenched. Emirates offers generous expatriate packages that include accommodation, education and medical benefits. It flies some of the most modern jets, including Boeing 777s and Airbus A380 superjumbos that are coveted assignments.

But some pilots now are returning home to the U.S. and Europe as they view overall benefits have diminished, while workload and their cost of living have increased, according to pilots and recruitment firms. Emirates said it was seeking to recruit around 500 pilots in the current financial year and that it saw "little change" in turnover rates.

Emirates said its pilot pay is "among the highest and most competitive in the industry." Over the past seven years, salaries increased every year except in 2009, when Dubai was hit hard during the global financial crisis, the carrier said. Accommodation allowances have risen even when housing costs in Dubai have fallen, it said.

A dozen current and former Emirates pilots and U.A.E. aviation officials, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, said pilots are flying more hours than before and are subjected to onerous procedures to report sickness or fatigue, discouraging them from doing so. Safety regulators rely heavily on pilot self-reporting of medical conditions that might not be detected by annual medical screenings.

Adel Al Redha, chief operations officer at Emirates, who oversees pilots and other staff, said in an email the airline was setting up an internal portal for any operations personnel to air grievances with management. Given the "expansion of the airline and the growth of employees," Mr. Al Redha said in the email dated April 2, viewed by The Wall Street Journal, "it is vital we maintain close communication links."


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Why Pilots Still Matter




SOMERVILLE, Mass. - IN the two weeks since the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, there has been no lack of commentary about the failures and future of piloted aviation - much of it frustratingly ill informed. Planes are already so automated, consensus has it, that it's only a matter of time before pilots are engineered out of the picture completely. And isn't the best way to prevent another Andreas Lubitz to replace him with a computer, or a remote pilot, somewhere on the ground? Cue the aeronautics professor or university scientist who will blithely assert that yes, we are well on our way to a pilotless future.

The problem with this line of thought is that it begins with a false premise: the idea that jetliners today are super-automated machines whose pilots serve merely as backup in case of an emergency. Indeed, the notion of the automatic airplane that "flies itself" is perhaps the most stubborn myth in all of aviation. According to one recent story, pilots on a typical flight spend as little as seven minutes manually piloting their planes. Another story had it at three minutes! Statements like this are highly misleading.

True, these days pilots spend only a short amount of time with their hands on the control column or stick. But that does not mean we aren't controlling the airplane throughout the entire flight. Our hands might not be steering the airplane directly, as would have been the case in decades past, but almost everything the airplane does is commanded, one way or the other, by the crew. The automation only does what we tell it to do. On the 767 that I fly, there are multiple ways to set up and command any routine climb, descent or change of course. Meanwhile, more than 99 percent of landings, and a full 100 percent of takeoffs, are performed manually.

People might be surprised at how busy a cockpit can become on the most routine flight, even with all of the automation running. There are stretches of low workload during which, to the nonpilot observer, it would seem that very little requires the crew's attention. But there are also periods of very high workload.

The other day I piloted a flight from the Caribbean to New York. We had bad weather the whole way, followed by a low-visibility approach into Kennedy Airport. The autopilot was on pretty much the entire time, but there were numerous altitude, course and speed changes to coordinate; holding, arrival and approach patterns to set up and fly; and all of the requisite communicating with air-traffic control, company staff and cabin crew. By the end of the flight, my voice was hoarse.

The best analogy, I think, is modern medicine. Cockpit automation assists pilots in the same way that robots and other advanced medical equipment assist surgeons. It has improved their capabilities, but a plane no more flies itself than an operating room performs a hip replacement by itself.

Such wishful thinking is perhaps symptomatic of our infatuation with technology and gadgetry, and the belief that we can compute our way out of every problem. The proliferation of drone aircraft also makes it easy to imagine a world of remotely controlled passenger planes. In fact, Boeing has acquired a patent on a sophisticated, remotely operated autopilot system.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
But for now these things exist only in the experimental stages. A handful of successful test flights does not prove the viability of a system that would carry up to four million passengers every day around the world. And remember that drones have wholly different missions from those of commercial aircraft, with a lot less at stake if one crashes.

More than 415 large drones flown by the American military have crashed in accidents since 2001, a record that is acceptable, if expensive, for remotely controlled aircraft, but that would be disastrous for civil aviation. A flight is subject to so many potential problems and contingencies. Even minor malfunctions can be complicated; the idea of trying to handle a serious emergency from a room thousands of miles away is about the scariest thing I can imagine.

And aside from the tremendous safety and technological challenges, we'd also need a more or less full redesign of our aviation infrastructure, from developing a fleet of highly expensive, currently nonexistent aircraft to a new air-traffic-control system. Each of these would cost tens of billions of dollars and take many years to develop. And in the end, you'd still need pilots to operate these aircraft, albeit from a remote location.

Many of you are thinking: Here's this Luddite pilot who can't bear the prospect of seeing his profession go the way of the Teletype operator. Sure, I'm biased. It's also true that, unlike many of those who might counter my assertions, I have a solid understanding of the complexities of commercial flying, and of the complications that these futuristic endeavors would entail.

I'm less concerned about the future than I am about the present: Should pilotless air travel become a reality, so be it. Until then, however, we're living in a world in which almost everybody travels by air, and the public deserves to have an accurate sense of how planes actually fly, and what we pilots actually do for a living.



Nigeria: Increasing Number of Pilots in Cockpit Not Solution to Germanwings Experience 

Lagos - The Assistant General Secretary of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Comrade Olayinka Abioye has said that increasing the number of pilots in the cockpit of aircraft is not the solution to the Germanwings experience.

Recalled that a co- pilot of the Germanwings aircraft allegedly locked out his pilot when he went to use the toilet and deliberately crashed the airplane in France killing the entire 150 persons on board.

"I don't think it is the number of personnel in the cockpit that is the matter, what matters is their mental stability before, during and after the flight because we have read stories severally about the co -pilot who locked his pilot out of the cockpit and allegedly deliberately crashed the Germanwings aircraft in France killing all the 150 passengers on board," Abioye said in exclusive interview at NUATE secretariat at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, while fielding questions on suggestions by experts and stakeholders in the global aviation industry.

He said that the configuration of every aircraft entails two personnel; the captain and the first officer, adding that in some other bigger aircraft especially in the past, there is what is called a navigator within the same cockpit but that modern engineering technology has gone beyond those things.



Lagos Military Helicopter Accident Caused By 'Hydraulic Failure'

Nigerian Air Force HelicopterThe Nigerian Air Force says the accident reported earlier involving its Super Puma Helicopter was due to hydraulic failure while on taxi to the Hanger.

According to the Air Force, the accident occurred at about 10:00am on Friday at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos State while the helicopter was returning to the Apron after the completion of the training exercise.

"The helicopter suffered a severe damage due to hydraulic failure while on taxi to the Hanger," the spokesman for the Air Force, Air Commodore Dele Alonge, said in a statement..

There was no casualty recorded.

But the main Rotor debris caused damage to some ground equipment, the statement further read.

A source within the airport community had earlier told Channels Television that the blade of the aircraft came off in flight.

Consequently, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal AN Amosu has ordered immediate investigation to unravel the circumstances that led to the accident.

The last time an aircraft accident occurred around the airport in Lagos was in October of 2013, when an aircraft operated by Associated Airlines, crashed as it had barely taken off from the domestic wing of the MMIA.




Test flight delay puts pressure on Japan's regional jet plan

* Mitsubishi Aircraft says test flight delayed, now before end-Oct

* Says ANA delivery on schedule, in June 2017

* Delay not due to any major unexpected problem - executive

NAGOYA, Japan, April 10 (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Aircraft said on Friday it will delay the maiden test flight of Japan's first commercial jet in half a century, squeezing further an already tight schedule to begin deliveries in two years.

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) will make its first flight by the end of October, the company said in a presentation. The Japanese company had planned to conduct the MRJ's maiden flight before the end of June. ANA Holdings, it said, is still slated to get the first MRJ in June 2017, three years later than initially planned.

"We are still planning to deliver to ANA in the second quarter of 2017, so we don't see the delayed test flight as having any serious impact," Hiromichi Morimoto, president of Mitsubishi Aircraft, said at a press briefing in Nagoya in central Japan, close to the MRJ's assembly plant.

Mitsubishi Aircraft did not specify the reason for the delay. It was "not the result of any major unexpected problem", said the company's vice president, Nobuo Kishi.

The Mitsubishi Heavy Industries subsidiary that includes Toyota Motor Corp as an investor is building the $42-million regional jet, with just under 100 seats. It aims to supplant Canada's Bombardier as the world's second biggest maker of 100-seat regional jets, behind Brazil's Embraer .

"The in-service date is still feasible; two years, or even 18 months is enough time, if there are no more significant delays," said Richard Aboulafia, vice President of the Teal Group. "But the history of this program shows a pattern of unexpected delays."

Mitsubishi Aircraft has said it wants to sell more than 2,000 of its jets, a target aviation analysts view as ambitious.

Mitsubishi has so far won 223 firm orders from customers, including U.S. regional groups Trans States Holdings and SkyWest Inc, and ANA's local rival Japan Airlines Co.

Japan's last attempt to build a successful commercial aircraft was in the 1960s, with a 64-seat turboprop dubbed the YS-11. Only 182 planes were built by a consortium that included Mitsubishi Heavy.

The MRJ's biggest selling point, Mitsubishi says, is its ability to burn a fifth less fuel than aircraft of similar size, thanks to new-generation engines from Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

After the MRJ came into the picture, Embraer said it would upgrade its E-Jets with the same fuel-efficient Pratt & Whitney engines under the name E2. These will be delivered from 2018 only a year after the delayed MRJ.

Mitsubishi has a better chance of displacing Bombardier, which is focusing on breaking into the market for 150-seat aircraft at the expense of its smaller CRJ regional jets. (Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)



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Adios, Top Gun: The End of the Fighter Jet?

Maverick and Goose would be terribly unhappy with this new CSBA study.

Is the old dichotomy between fighter jets and bombers becoming obsolete in air forces across the world? Yes, according to a new study, which argues small and highly maneuverable air-to-air combat planes may indeed be on their slow way out to be replaced by a new multi-role, stealthy, long-range aircraft the size of a bomber.

Yesterday, Breaking Defense reported on a new provocative paper, "Trends in Air-to-Air Combat - Implications for Future Air Superiority," which analyzed "over 1,450 air-to-air victories" in the last 50 years across the globe. The report concluded that new technology "has fundamentally transformed the nature of air combat."

"Aircraft performance attributes essential for success in air-to-air combat during the gun and early missile eras such as high speed, good acceleration, and maneuverability are much less useful now that aircraft can be detected and engaged from dozens of miles away," according to John Stillion, who is a former U.S. Air Force officer and a fellow at the Center for Budgetary and Strategic Assessments.

The paper notes that superior situational awareness (SA) still holds the key to victory in aerial combat. "The building blocks, however, of superior SA, information acquisition and information denial, seem to be increasingly associated with sensors, signature reduction, and networks," Stillion argues in the study.

"Looking forward, these changes have greatly increased the proportion of BVR [beyond visual range] engagements and likely reduced the utility of traditional fighter aircraft attributes, such as speed and maneuverability, in aerial combat," he continues.

The most provocative observation is the following:

The increased importance of electronic sensors, signature reduction, RF [radio frequency] and IR [infra-red] countermeasures and robust LOS networks in building dominant SA [situational awareness], and the potential reduced tactical utility of high speed and maneuverability could mean that, for the first time, the aerial combat lethality of large combat aircraft may be competitive or even superior to more traditional fighter aircraft designs emphasizing speed and maneuverability.

[I]t is possible that the desirable attributes of future air-to-air platforms may be converging with those of long-range ISR/strike platforms, or that at least large aircraft with good low observable (LO) characteristics may be able to give a good account of themselves in aerial combat. If this is true, then a sixth-generation "fighter" may have a platform that is similar to a future "bomber" and may even be a modified version of a bomber airframe or the same aircraft with its payload optimized for the air-to-air mission.

What are the implications of this? According to the author, the Pentagon needs "to cast a much wider net in the development of future air combat operational concepts, sensors, weapons, and platforms, which would include examining 'radical' departures from traditional fighter concepts that rely on enhanced sensor performance, signature control, networks to achieve superior SA, and very-long-range weapons to complete engagements before being detected or tracked by enemy aircraft."

Breaking Defense quotes a defense industry insider who thinks that Stillion's analysis is spot on:

Why invest in the sixth generation fighter to create a 'super F-22? Such an aircraft will only offer marginal improvements over the F-22 at great cost. But it will still be fairly short-ranged (at least considering the operational distances in the Pacific and other theaters). Wouldn't it be better instead to focus on a bigger aircraft?

The insider could envision a future fleet of around 400 bomber-like multi-role aircraft constituting the core of America's airpower in the 21st century: "What I find most compelling is the idea that we could develop a single, large, long-range, big payload, stealthy aircraft that would comprise the future United States Air Force's combat arm."

Perhaps the new long-range strike bomber (LRS-B) program (see: "What Do We Know About the US Air Force's New Bomber?") could be the nucleus of such a future force. The design and capabilities of the new bomber remain unknown, outside of some obvious characteristics: the bomber is purported to have stealth capability, to carry both conventional and nuclear weapons, and will, in all likelihood, be optionally manned.



Australia buys new C-17 military aircraft for disaster relief

Australia's ability to respond to humanitarian disasters has greatly increased after Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Friday the purchase of two additional Boeing strategic lift aircraft.

The acquisition of the latest pair of C-17A Globemaster III aircraft brings the number in the Royal Australian Air Force's ( RAAF's) possession to eight.

C-17s had been integral to recent Defense Force operations in the Pacific and across the world, Abbott said on Friday.

"Since they were first acquired at the initiative of the Howard government, C-17 aircraft have transformed the ADF's (Australian Defense Force's) capacity to transport large loads over long distances and to deploy its vehicles, helicopters and heavy equipment within Australia and overseas," Abbott said in a statement.

The aircraft were used to delivery equipment, aid pallets and personnel during relief efforts in the Operation Pacific Assist in the wake of the cyclone that devastated Vanuatu.

Relief assistance has also been provided to Japan after the 2011 tsunami, New Zealand after an earthquake ripped through Christchurch and closer to home in Queensland during numerous major floods.

Both aircraft would be ready to use by January 2017.

"Australia has worked closely with the United States Air Force to acquire the first aircraft within six months of the initial order and the second aircraft within 10 months of the delivery of the first. This will mean that the ADF will gain additional operating capability within a short time-frame."

Upgrades to the RAAF facilities at the Amberley base 50 kilometers southwest of Brisbane will cost almost 240 million US dollars bringing significant work opportunities to local industry.



Siemens' electric airplane motor

Siemens motorSiemens has developed a 50kg electric motor that can produce 260kW at 2,500rpm - slow enough to drive a propeller without a gear box.

Weight saving has come from several directions.

For example, the stator is of cobalt-iron alloy for high magnetisability, and the permanent magnets of the rotor are in a Halbach array - a way of stacking magnets to get all the flux on one side of the stack - so flux is directed with minimal use of material.

Conductors are cooled directly by an electrically non-conductive cooling liquid - silicone oil, or Galden.
Support structures have been on a finite element analysis diet. The aluminium 'end shield', for example, which supports the motor end bearing and takes all the propeller forces, went from 10.5 to 4.9kg.
Siemens motorThis took a specially-optimised algorithm integrated into finite element analysis programme NX Nastran.

"In the course of countless optimisation loops, the software is able to identify the elements that are barely subject to stress and are therefore dispensable," said Siemens. The result was a filigree structure that met all the safety, stiffness and stability requirements. Now there is a prototype carbon fibre-reinforced polymer end shield prototype that weighs 2.3kg.

The motor could be used as part of a turbine in the aeroplane equivalent to a hybrid car, where the company calculates it could reduce fuel consumption by around 25%. "Combining an electric motor and a combustion engine can use turbines that not only are significantly smaller than those of today but can also be continuously operated at peak efficiency during flight," said Siemens. On its own "the electric motor is relatively powerful, quite racy for a four-seater aircraft and not far short of being sufficient to propel a regional airliner. Somewhere between 500kW and 2MW would be enough to fly a handful of business travellers across Germany."

"If the engineers succeed in developing electrical motors that are even lighter and even more powerful, the first 60-100-seater aircraft with a hybrid electric drive could be taxiing for take-off as early as 2035," added the firm.




AllPoints Jet acheives ARGUS Platinum Rating and ISBAO Stage 1 Certification

AllPoints Jet Achieves Coveted ARGUS Platinum Rating and IS-BAO Stage 1 Certification

ARGUS International, Inc. (ARGUS) and T3 Private Jets Asia are pleased to recognize AllPoints Jet's accomplishment as a new Platinum Rated Operator during a special presentation at the ABACE Convention. During AllPoints Jet's combination audit, they also earned IS-BAO Stage 1 certification. The Platinum Rating is the highest ARGUS Operator Rating and is awarded only to those air charter operators who have demonstrated successful implementation of industry best safety practices relative to

their operations and maintenance.

"Our achievement of the ARGUS Platinum Rating means that AllPoints Jet meets the world's highest level of safety management within the business aviation industry," said Wenbin HU, Chairman of AllPoints Jet. "This is a great milestone for Allpoints Jet's global development. Based on the achievements of 2014, we will go forward with the international highest safety standard for business jet operation, in order to maintain steady and healthy development."


"I would like to congratulate and welcome AllPoints Jet to the elite and esteemed group of ARGUS Platinum Rated Operators," said Joseph Moeggenberg, ARGUS International, Inc. President and CEO. "Recently, we've seen an increase in the number of international Platinum audits, and we are pleased to celebrate AllPoints Jet's achievement at an international aviation event, and particularly, in their home country. 

AllPoints Jet has built an incredible operation rooted in safe operations and flights for their clientele." Mr. Moeggenberg and Mark Thibault, Managing Partner of ARGUS's strategic partner, T3 Aviation Solutions, will present AllPoints Jet with their Platinum plaque at booth #P712 on April 14th at 14:00 CST.

"AllPoints Jet's Platinum Rating achievement should not be understated," said Mr. Thibault. "It is important that operators understand the significance and value that the ARGUS Rating brings to their operation, both in the eyes of their customers and their competition. We will continue supporting the ARGUS Ratings in the Asian market and are proud to take part in AllPoints Jet's celebration at ABACE this week."

ARGUS PROS (Partners and Resources for Operational Safety), a wholly-owned subsidiary of ARGUS International, is the only audit organization that has developed its own industry-leading audit standard for charter operators and also holds authorizations from two world-recognized standards organizations. ARGUS PROS is authorized by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to perform the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and is also authorized by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) to perform IS-BAO and IS-BAH audits. ARGUS PROS is uniquely capable of providing audits worldwide for fixed-wing and helicopter operators and each audit is tailored to reflect the specific needs
of a corporate, charter, fractional or airline operation.

About AllPoints Jet

Founded in 2011, AllPoints Jet is a business aviation company based in Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, China.

AllPoints Jet is a distinctive business jet operator that achieved CCAR-135, CCAR-145 and CCAR-91 certificates in Western China and provides services including: aircraft charter, aircraft management, aircraft maintenance and airport VIP ground services. AllPoints Jet operates and manages large business jets such as the Gulfstream 550&G450.

About ARGUS International Inc.

ARGUS International, Inc. (ARGUS) is a specialized aviation services company whose mission is to provide the aviation marketplace with data and information necessary to make informed decisions and manage risk. ARGUS provides world-class aviation software and business management solutions, including AVMOSYS business management software, TRAQPak, CHEQ, and ARMOR SMS. ARGUS Charter operator ratings are the most recognized and requested independent source of overall operator quality. TRAQPak provides industry leading market intelligence data and research services, as well as expert aviation consulting.

Mana Boonyong
T3 Private Jets Asia Limited
66 83 187 8497






Asia Pacific Airline Training Symposium


15-16 September 2015 * Centara Grand Convention Center, Bangkok, Thailand


Call for Papers 


The Journal for Civil Aviation Training (CAT) is now accepting presentation abstracts for the world's largest  aviation training event in the Asia Pacific region. A limited number of speaker slots are available at the 12th APATS event, to be held 15-16 September, 2015, at the Centara Grand Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand.


Over many years the challenges in aviation training have evolved, and increasingly detailed research has helped to develop a better understanding of the issues. Many conferences have provided an excellent platform on which to reveal the type and extent of the problems, but frequently the optimum solutions to these have been more difficult to discern.


The challenge for APATS 2015 is to identify and present practical solutions to some of the current headline topics in the aviation training world. The overall theme of APATS 2015 is "Training Solutions".

Presentation abstracts are invited to present best practice in the following areas, and the conference will be shaped by those abstracts.


How do we:

1. Recruit and retain new aviation professionals?
2. Select ab intio pilots, experienced crews and captains?
3. Adapt to cultural issues in the cockpit?
4. Deliver effective CRM?
5. Ensure that ICAO Level 4 Aviation English is properly examined?
6. Train to improve situational awareness?
7. Implement Evidence Based Training?
8. Train for Upset Prevention and Recovery?
9. Train to deal with lithium battery fires?
10. Deliver balanced assertiveness training for cabin crew?


Preference will be given to air carriers and training organisations with real world insights and "Lessons Learned" information. In no case will sales presentations be accepted. Actual presentations must fit into the APATS format which is 20 minutes, followed by a Q&A period. Longer presentations may be accepted if an in-depth explanation is required. In each case we are looking for two or three clear take-away ideas, so that those who deliver training, or who need certain capabilities can leave the conference with some specific plans to improve training. 


To propose a presentation for the APATS conference, please send a maximum 200 word abstract by 30th April, 2015. Abstracts are required to be accompanied by a short biography of the speaker which should include contact information, titles, positions and employers, academic background and any conference presentation experience. Authors of accepted speaker proposals will be notified by 31st May, 2015. Abstracts can be sent to Chris Long, Conference Chair, at chris.long@halldale.com. File a copy to fiona@halldale.com and put "APATS 2015 ABSTRACT" in the subject block.


For more information about APATS 2015, please visit www.halldale.com/apats  


Best regards,

Chris Long
APATS 2015 Conference Chair



2015 NSC Aviation Safety Committee Meeting


Meeting Dates: May 13-14, 2015
Meeting Location:
Embassy Suites Charleston Area Convention Center
5055 International Blvd
North Charleston, South Carolina 29418

Hotel Reservations:  *Hotel cutoff date has been extended one more week.


The preferred method is to book your hotel room online 

For phone reservations call 1-800-362- 2779 and mention the National Safety Council

Registration Form 


View Meeting Agenda


Highlights of the meeting include:

* Tour of Boeing's Boeing South Carolina Facility. In Charleston, Boeing fabricates, assembles and installs systems for aft (rear) fuselage sections of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and joins and integrates midbody fuselage sections. The site is also home to the company's newest 787 Dreamliner final assembly and delivery facility.

* OSHA Discussion - Updates and discussion on topics affecting each one of us.

* Learn New Ideas - Participate in discussions and grow your skills

* Networking and Benchmarking Opportunities

Should you have any questions, please contact Tammy Washington, NSC Staff Representative at tammy.washington@nsc.org or 630-775-2227.


6th Pan American Aviation Safety Summit

The Regional Aviation Safety Group - Pan America (RASG-PA), the Medellin Tourism Bureau and the Colombian Civil Aviation Authority in partnership with the International Civil Aviation
Organization (ICAO) and the Latin America and Caribbean Air Transport Association - ALTA, will be sponsoring the 6th Pan American Aviation Safety Summit and the 8th RASG-PA Annual Plenary Meeting.


This year the Summit will be held June 22-26th in Medellin, Colombia at the Intercontinental Medellin Hotel.

For additional information please visit: http://www.alta.aero/safety/2015/home.php


Book Review:  "Jet Blast"

Jet Blast 

by Stephen Carbone


A wide-body jet is nearly lost in the Pacific Ocean, the cause: unknown. Since there was no accident, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) management decides against an investigation.




John Goglia

"Yes, this book put me right back into those days at the NTSB. It is by far the most realistic rendering of how aviation accident investigations are handled, the politics, the pressures, the infighting. And how there are still some dedicated, heroic and unsung heroes in those agencies, fighting the good fight to make air transportation as safe as possible for the flying public."


-John Goglia, former NTSB Board Member from the Foreword for Jet Blast


Back To The Top

Upcoming Events:


ERAU NextGen 101 Seminar
April 21-22, 2015.
Washington D.C.



FAA Helicopter Safety Effort

three-day safety forum 

April 21-23, 2015 

Hurst, Texas



ERAU OSHA & Aviation Ground Safety Seminar

Daytona Beach, FL

Apr.13-17, 2015



ERAU Aviation Safety Program Management Seminar

Daytona Beach, FL

Apr.20-24, 2015



Fundamentals of IS-BAO

April 23, 2015

PCAT Safety Smackdown, San Antonio TX  USA



IS-BAO Auditing

April 24, 2015

PCAT Safety Smackdown, San Antonio TX  USA




Safety Smackdown
Partnership for Corporate Aviation Training
San Antonio, TX
April 20-22, 2015


WATS 2015
21-23 April
Orlando, Florida, USA


ERAU Aircraft Accident Investigation Seminar

Daytona Beach, FL

Apr. 27-May 1, 2015



ISASI MARC Meeting/Dinner

April 30, 2015

Herndon, Virginia



GWBAA Safety Standdown
April 30th
NTSB Academy


ERAU Advanced Aircraft Accident Investigation Seminar

Prescott Campus, AZ

May 4-8, 2015



IATA Cabin Operations Safety Conference
May 5-7, 2015
Paris, France


ERAU Aviation SMS Seminar

Daytona Beach, FL

May 12-14, 2015



Aircraft Accident Investigation - Fire and Material Failures

New course offered by BlazeTech Corp.

Woburn MA USA

19-21 May 2015



Fundamentals of IS-BAH

June 15, 2015

St. Hubert, Quebec  Canada



IS-BAH Auditing

June 16, 2015

St. Hubert, Quebec  Canada



6th Pan American Aviation Safety Summit
June 22-26th
Medellin, Colombia



Vice President of Operations:

Director of Safety:


Curt Lewis & Associates, LLC - Services



Curt Lewis, PhD, CSP, FRAeS


PH:    1-817-845-3983

Web:  www.curt-lewis.com


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"Flight Safety Information" is a free service of:   

Curt Lewis, PhD, CSP, FRAeS
(Targeting Safety & Risk Management)  

PH:  817-845-3983

Fax: 682-292-0835

Twitter:  curtllewis01

Skype:  curt.lewis2


Curt Lewis & Associates, LLC is an international, multi-discipline technical and scientific consulting firm specializing in aviation and industrial safety. Our specialties are aviation litigation support, aviation/airport safety programs, accident investigation and reconstruction, safety & quality assessments/audits, system safety (PRA), human factors, Safety Management Systems (SMS) assessment/implementation & training, safety/quality training & risk management, aviation manual development, IS-BAO Auditing, airfield/heliport lighting products, patent infringement/invalidity expert testimony and Technical Support.