Issue 82 - UKFSC

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The official publication of the United Kingdom Flight Safety Committee ISSN 1355-1523
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:23 Page 1
Editorial 1
Chairman’s Column 2
Making Airports Safer - Runway incursions 3
by Eurocontrol
Runway Incursions 5
by Captain Graham Croft
So you want to be an Emergency Response Manager 8
by Ian Marshall
TCAS II on Helicopters 11
by BALPA Flight Safety Department
Leadership skills of the Airline Captain 13
by Katherine Senko
Atlantic Crossing 15
by Dirk Böhme, FFSO
Safety and Service: Cabin Crew Training Priorities 18
by Terence Gerighty
Jet Fuel Contamination with FAME 20
by Marie Froment
Members List 24
Front Cover Picture: Flight deck of an Air Contractors Hercules courtesy of Felix Goetting©
FOCUS is a quarterly subscription journal devoted
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must be emphasised that FOCUS is not intended
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focus spring 11
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:23 Page 2
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Commercial operations in Class G –
Even if you know when you are in uncontrolled airspace,
do you have an accurate picture of the threat?
Irecently accompanied delegates fromone of our flight safety courses on a visit
around the hangar at the Air Accidents
Investigation Branch at Farnborough. My
attention was immediately drawn to the
remains of eight aircraft which had been
involved in four mid-air accidents that
have occurred in uncontrolled airspace
over the past couple of years. These sad
and stark reminders have forced me to
reflect upon one of the major aviation
safety concerns which we regularly discuss
at our Safety Information Exchange
meetings: the threats and risks involved in
operating in and around Class G or
uncontrolled airspace.
With commercial and business airlines
increasingly expanding their flying operations
out of regional airports which are often
adjacent to Class G airspace and with others
seeking fuel-efficient routes through
uncontrolled airspace in the UK, the need for
a thorough understanding of who else is
sharing that airspace is absolutely
fundamental to achieving an effective and
realistic risk assessment and a safe operation.
But do we really know?
A number of initiatives have been employed
over recent years to try and get to grips with
this threat; some have been useful but still
have their limitations. For example, about two
years ago, a number of commercial operators
sat together with the military and air traffic
controllers to undertake a joint risk
assessment of a short route through Class G
airspace.This intense and revealing process did
succeed in providing a more comprehensive
list of hazards and a reasonable assessment of
the threats, all be that the process was
somewhat complex, difficult and timeconsuming. Of course, the precise risks and
the available mitigations can only be derived
by each individual business or operator for
themselves since each has differing roles,
training regimes, equipment and SOPs.
More recently the Directorate of Airspace
Policy has just completed a wide-ranging
survey amongst users of a small but busy
Class G area. The data gathered is currently
being analysed in concert with the area radar
tapes. The outcome should be one of the
most comprehensive analyses of the use and
users of uncontrolled airspace, all be it a
limited area. Nonetheless, this methodology
could be exploited to great effect in other
high risk uncontrolled airspace across the UK,
from which commercial users could build a
much improved risk assessment for their
individual operation.
The introduction of ATSOCAS nearly 2 years
ago is another recent important initiative
which aimed at improving the situational
awareness for all Class G airspace users
generally, while seeking to clarify the level of
control being provided by the controller and
to better establish the responsibilities
expected from the pilot. Although a
concerted investment in education, training
and information across the entire pilot and
controller communities was undertaken,
some misunderstandings on the service being
provided demonstrates the need for constant
re-iteration and education. Equally, there
remains the major challenge of making
visiting pilots aware of the services provided
under the ATSOCAS scheme.
But there is an equal concern about how well
the rules and responsibilities are understood
among UK-based commercial pilots when
operating in uncontrolled airspace. Whenever
aircraft of any type transfer from controlled
into uncontrolled airspace, if the pilot listens
carefully he or she may just pick up the slight
sigh of relief in the controllers voice as they
pass over their responsibility for separation to
the flight crew.This assumes, of course, that the
pilots realises that they have left controlled
airspace and are operating in Class G in the first
place. Some pilots believe that there is some
agreement, either implied or explicit, that
regardless of IFR or VFR conditions, commercial
passenger aircraft will be getting some form of
priority service over other users – nothing
could be further from the truth.
Of course, the controller may helpfully ask
what type of service the commercial pilot
would like from the ATSOCAS menu as he
enters uncontrolled airspace – but if not, it is
a wise move for the pilot to ask for the best
service available. Although the controller may
not be able to provide it due to other
priorities or constraints, he should always
explain why only a reduced service can be
offered; even this exchange can contribute
towards an enhanced appreciation of the
situation from which the pilot can review his
priorities and available mitigations.
So what else is being done to address this
major safety concern? Well, a working group
has formed under the auspice of the NATS
Safety Partnership to identify and develop
other initiatives. The first move under
consideration is for airline operators and the
air traffic control service providers to get
together with other users of uncontrolled
airspace, including the military and GA, to
share their respective hazard register from
operating in common airspace regions. The
aim here is to establish a comprehensive and
common knowledge base from which their
individual risk assessments can be enhanced.
Each stakeholder can then plan and
implement their most effective risk
mitigations to best suit its own operations
and circumstances. Later on in this process, if
may be possible to share best practice risk
mitigations between operators.
Second, it was thought valuable to produce a
single page summary of ATSOCAS which
identifies the key features of the system for
both pilots and the controllers, particularly for
irregular uncontrolled airspace users to
reinforce and refresh their knowledge. In
addition, NATS has recently produced a useful
instructional video on uncontrolled airspace
to educate their controllers which is already
being used by at least one airline to similarly
educate its pilot community. In future, this
may be made available to all operators
utilising this airspace.
Knowledge of the hazards and consequent
risks involved in operating in uncontrolled
airspace needs to be regularly reviewed.
Numerous useful mitigations already exist
and new ones are being developed. But as
commercial and business aircraft increasingly
use this type of airspace, it is essential that
the hazards that lurk within it and the
procedures and mitigations involved are wellknown and effectively applied. But more work
is needed to obtain a more accurate picture of
the threats from which a best risk assessment
possible can be produced and all available
mitigations are identified and exploited.
by Rich Jones, Chief Executive UKFSC
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Changing Times
by Capt. Tony Wride, Monarch Airlines
If you are of a certain age you mayremember the singer Bob Dylan and a song
called “The Times They Are A-Changin'”. It
could be argued that this song is quite
appropriate in the Aviation industry right
now as we face an uncertain future primarily
driven by the economic situation and the
unrealistic expectations of the public. The
financial pressure is possibly the biggest
threat to Safety and one I fear will soon
prove disastrous, if it hasn't already done so!
The recent tragic crash in Cork has come as a
timely reminder that whilst flying an aircraft
is generally safer than driving a car, accidents
are still happening and people are still being
killed. The full details are not out yet but the
aircraft crashed on its third attempt at landing
in poor visibility and the end result is not a
pretty sight. I sincerely hope that once the
investigation findings are published there will
not be any causal similarities to the Colgan
crash of February 2009. Somehow I suspect
that pilot error will be cited but if that is the
case then hopefully an in depth investigation
will also highlight the contributory factors
that led to that error. Certainly it was the
crew's error that caused the Colgan crash but
behind that were a number of other factors
that one could argue were definitely
contributory in setting the crew up to make
the fatal error.
In my 22 years in the Commercial airline
environment I have witnessed the gradual
shift that has taken place which I fear may be
laying the foundation for future problems.
Previous experience was something valued by
companies and they were prepared to pay for
that experience. Nowadays the experienced
staff, be they Pilots, Engineers, or indeed any
other aviation related role, are viewed more on
a basis of the fact that they cost more. It is
interesting to note that in most critical
management positions companies do value
experience. No company is going to put a new
University graduate as Chief Executive or in a
senior position! The company will want
someone with experience and a proven track
record. However, take a look at what's
happening with the pilot workforce.
New pilots, who have spent close to £100,000
to get their licence and type rating, are
employed on short term contracts flying
complex airliners and paid peanuts! It could
almost be classed as exploitation since these
new pilots are desperate to get experience
and with no alternative are forced to accept
the contract. Admittedly these pilots do end
up after six months with the additional
experience but all too often it doesn't help
them much because next year the airline will
take another batch of new pilots rather than
hire the ones with the experience. This leaves
this group of pilots still with a huge debt and
no means of earning enough to pay off the
debt. Coupled to this is the fact that the very
experienced people, from say the military or
for instance a turbo prop commuter airline, do
not have a career progression route because
they are being leapfrogged by the new pilots.
Whatever happened to the more traditional
approach where pilots ‘cut their teeth’ on
smaller aircraft doing lots of sectors and
gaining the valuable experience before
progressing onto a larger jet aircraft. Surely it
makes more sense to have inexperienced
pilots flying the smaller less complex aircraft
and experienced pilots flying the larger ones,
but that’s just my opinion.
It still amazes me that insurance companies
are not heavily loading premiums for airlines
that employ pilots with 250 hours to fly say an
Airbus A320 or Boeing 737. Have you ever
tried to get car insurance for a 22 year old on
a sports car? Think of the worst case scenario.
It's a horrible night flying to a Greek island
with limited navigation aids, and on minimal
fuel when the captain becomes incapacitated!
You now have a young inexperienced pilot
with maybe only 300 hours responsible for
everybody on board. I think that “Compare The” would refuse to even quote!
Another area of concern that I have is in
regard to the changes in Flight Time
Limitations about to happen as the UK
CAP371 gets superceded by new EU
regulations. BALPA is quite understandably
running an intensive campaign to try and
change the proposed EU regulations to be
more in line with CAP371 since they believe
that the new regulations pose a serious threat
to safety. Personally I wholeheartedly agree
with the BALPA position on this.
CAP371 has been in use for many years and
established a realistic set of limits on how
much a commercial airline pilot could safely
work. It was based on some fairly extensive
scientific research with the premise that pilots
should not be fatigued while operating an
aircraft. The sceptics out there would have us
believe that pilots have an easy life just sitting
in the cruise reading the paper, see my
previous Chairman’s Column. These sceptics
obviously have never tried to do the job or
seen the effects on individuals of an intensive
flying programme. All too often pilots are
required to do multiple sectors or long
sectors, sometimes with time zone changes,
and still be able to perform safely in the event
of a serious problem. It’s not just a case of
doing that on one day but doing similar things
for 5 or 6 days in a row! I have witnessed the
effect on work colleagues during the busy
summer months who had flown right to the
CAP371 limits and they even looked fatigued.
There are mechanisms in place, including a
Fatigue Risk Monitoring System, and the
option to report fatigue via that system. All
too often pilots are reluctant to file a fatigue
report because for some reason they feel that
they are to blame or are frightened to raise
their head above the parapet.
Fatigue is cumulative and unfortunately pilots
sometimes find it hard to recognise that
they’re fatigued. Currently no airliner has a
‘Fatigue Detection System’ unlike some of the
modern cars being built, like one of the new
VWs. It would present an interesting dilemma
if an aircraft did have a fatigue monitoring
system because what would you do if
ECAM(Airbus) or EICAS(Boeing) suddenly
generated a “Pilot Fatigued” warning, pull into
the next Service Station!!
Why should we be so worried about fatigue?
If fatigue was not an issue why would one of
first things that the AAIB look at following an
accident be what the crew had done prior to
the accident? I can guarantee that it will be
considered in the Cork crash. Fatigue is not
the sole possession of pilots. Anybody can
suffer from fatigue and an Engineer is just as
capable of making a serious error whilst
working when fatigued as a pilot.
So there you have it. The times are definitely
changing and I have highlighted just a couple
of areas that concern me.
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Making airports safer –
Runway incursions
by Eurocontrol
EUROCONTROL’S Airport Programme ishaving an impressive effect on safety
at Europe’s busy airports. Jill Taylor finds
out what has been achieved so far.
A LOT HAS happened this decade since the
fatal accident at Milan Linate in 2001, when
two planes collided on the main runway in
thick fog. Many of Europe's airports now have
a Local Runway Safety Team made up of
representatives from that airlines, airport
operators and air traffic control. Hundreds of
teams have sprung up in the European Civil
Aviation Conference area since the European
Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway
Incursions was approved in 2004, and severe
runway incursions are on the decline.
On average, there are three runway, incursions
every day in Europe. In 2008, 955 incidents
were reported, of which 15 were Class-A (less
than 30 metres separation). While this is
higher than the 12 reported in 2007 and
2006, it still represents less than 0.001 per
cent of traffic and, more importantly, is
moving in the opposite direction to traffic
growth. “We have succeeded in generating a
no-blame culture,” explains Philippe Joppart,
deputy head of the Airports Unit of
EUROCONTROL. “Awareness of incidents and
knowledge of causal factors has improved
because the reporting of runway incursions
has improved.”
EUROCONTROL’s Working Group for
Runway Safety is now focused on making the
area where aircraft move about on the ground
at airports even safer, in particular by
improving situational awareness for pilots and
vehicle drivers when approaching a runway.
The Single European Sky ATM Research Joint
Undertaking launched several projects in mid2009, and EUROCONTROL is working closely
with the US Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) to share programme findings.
The FAA first began trials using Runway Status
Lights (RWSL) on runway centrelines at Long
Beach and Dallas Fort Worth in 2006. Linked
to the surface movement surveillance system,
the lights provide automatic visual warnings
to other traffic entering the runway. By 2009,
the FAA had announced a programme to
install the technology at all major US airports.
Meanwhile, Paris Charles de Gaulle airport
announced plans to install a similar system in
the 2010 to 2011 period and the UK's
National Air Traffic Services began simulation
work on behalf of EUROCONTROL to validate
the FAA concept and investigate further
potential enhancements. “RWSL provides
additional alerts that require no interaction
from the controller,” says Matthis Birenheide,
EUROCONTROL project manager for
Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and
Control Systems (A-SMGCS). “The aim is to
have a similar, global approach to using the
system so that pilots do not find different
procedures in operation, for example in
Europe and the US.”
Enhanced lighting is not new, warnings such as
flashing amber Wig-Wag lights and red stop
bars are used by many airports to alert pilots
when they reach the runway. “What does not
exist is a harmonised approach to operating
stop bars,” says Joppart. The International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO) clearly states
that aircraft shall hold at lighting stop bars and
may only proceed further when the controller
has switched the lights off. While some
airports operate red unidirectional stop bars
around the clock, others only use them in lowvisibility conditions, leading to ambiguity over
their usage.
In some cases, the light switches off for a few
seconds and returns to red before the pilot
has had time to cross. Runway safety
manager Yvonne Page says: “Encouraging a
pilot to cross a red light only serves to
reinforce bad practice that may fail the pilot
or driver one day.”
Improving situational awareness
The International Federation of Airline Pilots'
Associations would like to see runway
crossings avoided whenever possible, for
example by constructing perimeter taxiways.
Airports such as Amsterdam Schiphol and
Milan Malpensa have succeeded in removing
all crossings, but few European airports have
the space to achieve this. For the majority,
improving situational awareness on the
airfield is the first priority. “In a 50 per cent of
runway incursions, the pilot is unaware that
he/she is lost or has not received a clearance
to enter the runway,” adds Page.
EUROCONTROL is examining ways to use
technology and has begun trials to
incorporate the alerts generated by the ASMGCS into electronic flight progress strips on
the ground controller's display.The electronic
data includes flight-planning information that,
in turn, allows pre-tactical de-confliction
possibilities. The information contained in the
electronic flight strip can be used by the
controller to resolve potential conflicts.
A-SMGCS is still primarily a surveillance tool,
but its role as a guidance and control system
is slowly making headway. In March 2009,
ICAO gave its approval for the A-SMGCS
synthetic display to be used to identify
aircraft, without visual observation, in low
visibility conditions. “This is a major step
forward to maintaining capacity in Visibility 2
conditions and we are expecting the ICAO
approval for Visibility 3 and 4 conditions in
the course of 2010 as well,” says Birenheide.
Airlines are also looking at new technology,
both Air France and Lufthansa have installed
Honeywell's Runway Awareness Alerting
System (RAAS) in the cockpit. RAAS provides
a moving map of the airfield, based on GPS
data, to improve pilots' situational awareness.
The airlines say the system has reduced
ground navigation errors to near-zero.
Cost is an issue at many smaller airports, and
EUROCONTROL is examining low-cost
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:23 Page 5
focus spring 114
surveillance technology that can enhance
controllers’ situational awareness without
investing in costly A-SMGCS technology. The
Agency is validating work being carried out by
the DFS to simulate non-cooperative sensors
at a generic aerodrome. The aim is to define a
concept and investigate whether the use of
information from non-cooperative sensors
can provide the required level of safety at a
small airport. The work includes a range of
different technologies, including surface
movement radar, optical sensors and
induction loops.
Meanwhile, trials at Bordeaux have
demonstrated that airfield vehicles equipped
with a moving map and radio link lead to
improved driver situational awareness.
EUROCONTROL is working on a panEuropean concept that is designed to alert
drivers to location errors and does not rely on
ASMGCS data.
“Increasing the situational awareness of only
one actor is beneficial for safety,” says
Birenheide. Furthermore, understanding ICAO
standard phraseology is essential for these
drivers who need to hear, and be heard by, the
air traffic controller.
Keeping the number of driver licences to a
minimum has proved a successful way to
ensure all drivers adhere to standard practices.
At Munich, only 11 licences are in use, while
Frankfurt has reduced its licences from more
than 2,000 down to 200.This has led to lower
training costs and improved airfield safety.
By establishing the main functionality of these
low-cost safety nets, smaller airports can opt
for the most appropriate technology according
to traffic-type and complexity. Joppart adds:
“Once the awareness is there, and the
understanding of the issues, the local situation
may not call for high-end expensive solutions.”
Indeed, introducing a basic level of surface
movement guidance at Europe's smaller
airports would go a long way towards raising
safety standards across the whole region.
Reprinted with kind permission to
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42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:23 Page 6
focus spring 11 5
The CAA has identified Ground Collisionand Runway Incursions as one of seven
significant issues in its latest safety plan
and the FAA places great emphasis on
reducing Runway Incursions in its Next
Generation Implementation Plan covering
2012 to 2018.
As part of BA’s Safety Management System
requirements, the company has developed a
Safety Plan for all of the main operational
departments.There are six main areas of focus
within the Flight Operations section of the
Safety Plan, one of which is Runway Incursion
risk (both active and passive).
We often fly with passengers who are nervous
flyers. Few are likely to be known as ‘whiteknuckle-taxiers’ and most will be unaware, or
will have forgotten, that the worst accident in
aviation history was a runway collision – 27th
March 1977, KLM 747 and Pan Am 747,
Tenerife North, with 583 fatalities.
Over the past few years there have been a
number of significant incidents which are
considered runway incursions and here are
just a few:
9th June 2005, BOS, Aer Lingus A330 and
US Airways B737
Near collision at the intersection of RW09 and
RW15R. Because of an air traffic control
coordination error, both pilots were issued
nearly simultaneous takeoff clearances. The
aircraft passed through the intersection at
flying speed with about 170 feet of lateral
separation. The A330 was airborne, and only a
quick decision by the B737 crew to delay liftoff and pass beneath the Airbus prevented
what could easily have been a terrible
There have been 14 runway incursion related
events at Logan since October 2004.All of the
runways BA uses at Boston intersect with at
least one other.
ATC at Logan and elsewhere in the US is
equipped with the FAA’s Aircraft Movement
Area Safety System (AMASS), which is
intended to warn of potential surface
collisions. The AMASS software is not
configured to detect conflicts between aircraft
operating on converging runways at Logan or
any other airport. It is also worth noting that
this equipment suffers from attenuation from
water droplets during poor visibility.
6th July 2005 JFK, B767 & DC8
The B767 was instructed to taxi to RW22R via
taxiway H, and then turn left onto taxiway B.
The B767 did not turn left onto taxiway B and
crossed RW22R without authorization. A DC8
freighter, had been cleared for take off on the
same runway.
The two aircraft’s closest proximity was less
than 100 feet (vertical).
AMASS did not alert the controllers to the
mistake that was made by the pilot because it
was raining heavily at the time. Under such
conditions, the radar that supplies surveillance
data to the AMASS processor generates
excessive amounts of false targets because of
the precipitation. To compensate for this,
AMASS is placed into “limited mode,” which
disables much of its conflict detection and
warning capability in order to prevent
nuisance alarms.As a result, the system was of
little use when it was needed most.
19th August 2004, LAX
A B747 and a B737 nearly collided after the
tower controller mistakenly instructed the
B737 to taxi onto the runway in front of the
landing 747.While on very short final, the 747
crew saw the conflict and initiated a goaround, making a low pass directly over the
737. The AMASS system at LAX activated a
warning in the tower about 10 seconds before
the two aircraft would have collided; probably
too late for effective ATC intervention.
Runway incursions are not of course limited to
the US and wherever in the world we operate
the potential for error exists.
October 2001, Milan-Linate
Scandinavian Airlines Flight 686, an MD-87
plane carrying 110 people and headed to
Copenhagen, collided on take-off with a
Cessna Citation II carrying four, heading to
Paris. All 114 people on board the two aircraft
were killed, as were four on the ground; a
further four people on the ground were
injured. The accident occurred in thick fog,
with visibility reduced to less than 200 m. The
Cessna Citation was instructed to taxi from
the western apron along the northern taxiway
(taxiway R5), and then via the northern apron
to the main taxiway which runs parallel to the
main runway, a route that would have kept it
clear of the main runway. Instead, the pilot
taxied along the southern taxi route (taxiway
R6), crossing the main runway toward the
main taxiway which lay beyond it. The SAS
MD-87, under the control of a different
controller from the Cessna, was given
clearance to take off from runway 36R; 53
seconds later, the SAS aircraft, travelling at
about 146 kts, collided with the Cessna.
A British Airways incident:
January 2006, CDG
After landing on runway 27R the aircraft
vacated via Z3. The visibility was about
Captain Graham Croft, Boeing 777 Training Standards Captain, British Airways
Runway Incursions
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:23 Page 7
6 focus spring 11
1500m. The Tower controller cleared the
company aircraft to cross runway 27L and call
ground. The crew were not aware of any
aircraft departing 27L. As the aircraft crossed
27L, the crew were aware of an aircraft which
appeared to be stopping.The other aircraft (an
Air France A340) had rejected its take-off run
because of the BA aircraft crossing. The
captain queried the situation and the
controller eventually admitted that the A340
had aborted its take-off run. It transpired that
the Tower controller had cleared the A340 to
takeoff (in French) just after clearing the BA
aircraft to cross the runway; he then ordered
the A340 to stop (“annuler le décollage”) and
told the BA aircraft to expedite the crossing.
The aircraft missed by about 500m
ATC error, pilot error and system shortfall all
play a part in these incidents. Flight-deck
situational awareness must be at a high level
to mitigate potential shortcomings.
Critical phase of flight
The current generation of aircraft are highly
automated and complex systems which have
allowed preparation and programming of the
total flight on the ground. This has resulted in
flight deck workload peaks being shifted from
the previous critical flight phase to the ground
phase of aircraft operations.
Consequently the taxi phase should be
treated as a “critical phase of flight”.
Consideration could be given to adopting the
sterile flight deck concept whilst taxiing.
Sterile flight deck definition:
Any period of time when the flight crew
should not be disturbed, except for matters
critical to the safe operation of the aircraft.
Some of our company procedures (for
example ACARS Loadsheet late close-out)
may conflict with the ideal sterile flight deck
and require us to manage distractions during
the taxi phase. Handing over control when the
aircraft is under motion and confining these
tasks to low workload moments are
recommended. The taxiing pilot must
maintain a good look out.
Planning for taxi operations
The key-point in the prevention of runway
incursions, is to apply better preventative
measures during the taxi phase.
Airport familiarisation
Departing from or arriving at an airport can be
prepared in advance. Planning for taxi operation
is essential. This preparation should be done at
the gate or prior to starting descent.
■ Prepare the necessary charts for taxi.
■ Take some time to study the airport
■ Use ATIS and previous experience to
determine possible taxi routes.
■ Review NOTAMs for work-in-progress or
taxiway/runway closures. Visualise this
information on the charts.
■ Standard taxi routes are used more often
at busy airports. Review the routes you
can expect.
■ Some airports publish the location of
HOTSPOTS. These are unique or complex
intersections and runway crossings where
runway incursions have taken place in the
past. The next edition of the BOS taxi
chart in the EAG Aerodrome Booklet will
include HOTSPOTS. In shorthaul, many
airfields already publish HOTSPOTS.
■ Know which runways you will encounter
between where you are and where you
are going.
■ Plan timing and execution of checklists so
that no distractions occur when
approaching and/or crossing runways; i.e.
all eyes outside during this phase.
■ Conduct detailed briefing for all flight
crew members, especially during night and
low visibility operations i.e. include “extra
eyes” where available.
The briefing in the Before Start Check-List
should be simplified as much as possible.
Several taxi items can be covered during the
briefing. During taxi attention will need to be
drawn to items which have been altered since
the briefing. This should also be done during
the descent briefing.
The before-start and descent briefing should
also contain a complete review of the
expected taxi routes with special attention to
any HOTSPOTS and work in progress. During
this part of the briefing, refer to the airport
charts and visualise all available information.
Local knowledge is useful and may be
available from other crew members or
contained in the Route Information Manual.
A quiet time during the outbound sector might
be an ideal time to familiarise yourself with the
departure procedures for the return sector.
Our memory is “constructive”. That means
that we have the tendency to fill in the blanks.
Ensure that you follow the clearance or
instruction that you actually received, and not
the one you expected to receive.
Be aware that the expectations established
during the pre-taxi or pre-landing planning
can be significantly altered with a different
and unexpected clearance.
The receipt of any clearance and the taxi
phase itself requires the complete attention of
all flight crew on the flight deck.
Resolve any uncertainties about your
clearance or your position on the surface
before the start of taxi.
Consider using the increasingly-common
practice of using the FMC scratchpad as a
handy way to record taxi instructions as they
are received from ATC.
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Public address announcements
PA announcements can be a cause of
distraction and error. Also calls on the
company frequency cause the other pilot to
be isolated on the flight deck. These calls and
announcements should be avoided when
approaching the active runway.
Taxi Best Practices
1. The NHP has the important task of
monitoring the taxi and assisting his/her
2. Postpone checklist activity when crossing
and entering runways.
3. Never cross red stop bars unless a
plausible explanation is received.
4. When entering any runway, check for
traffic using all available means e.g. all
eyes, TCAS, ATC exchanges etc.
5. Do not rush. Taxi defensively. Be prepared
for others to make mistakes.
6. When you receive a clearance to taxi to a
point beyond a runway, this clearance
does not automatically include the
authorisation to cross that runway. Each
taxi clearance beyond a runway shall
contain an explicit clearance to cross the
runway or an instruction to hold short of
that runway.
7. Use your aircraft lights to help controllers
and other pilots to see you.
8. Check your audio box and volume
adjustment whenever a frequency change
is made.
9. Ensure all flight crew are on the
appropriate frequency.
10. When the aircraft has vacated the active
runway, be prepared to stop to resolve
any questions about the ATC clearance or
about the aircraft position.
11. Anytime you feel uncertain about the
location of the aircraft position on the
movement area, STOP the aircraft, advise
ATC, and ask for clarification. Take the
question out of the flight deck.
12. If necessary request progressive taxi
instructions. Useful at an airfield with
which you are unfamiliar when short
chunks of instructions might be easier to
translate to your immediate surroundings
as you progress across the airfield.
13. Never stop on a runway unless
specifically instructed to do so.
The following may assist with best practice
■ If necessary write down taxi route
■ Ensure all crew members progressively
follow aircraft position on chart
■ Consider Sterile Flight Deck during taxi
■ Be alert for Mandatory Signs / Markings /
Stop bars and Runway guard lights
■ Look for visual aids (Taxiway location
information and destination signs)
■ Use STANDARD radio phraseology
■ Receive explicit clearance before crossing
any runway
■ READBACK all runway crossing or
hold short clearances using correct
■ DO NOT ALLOW flight crew to be rushed
by any party (ATC or Company)
■ LISTEN to clearances issued to other
■ NEVER cross red stop bars when entering
or crossing a runway unless resolved
■ Before entering or crossing any runway
■ No checklist activity crossing any runway
■ Ensure correct understanding of the ICAO
phraseology “Taxi to holding position”
■ When in receipt of a Conditional
Clearance, take particular note of the
traffic being the subject of the condition,
and positively and accurately identify
that traffic before carrying out any further
manoeuvres onto the runway. Always
read back in full the conditional clearance
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When you were little, day dreaming ofwhat you wanted to be when you
grew up, you of course disregarded the
obvious delights of a career as an engine
driver, footballer, or wag. Sorry I’m not sure
what the male equivalent of wag is but you
can see where I’m going with this! No, not a
life of ideal decadence for you, although I
can recommend the engine driving bit, but
a worthy calling as an aviation Emergency
Response Manager. O.K. in reality you
probably did not see the task coming and
therefore did not duck fast enough. I was
minding my own business in Quality when
asked to audit our emergency response
plan.You can guess the rest!
So here we are, a nice new title, maybe an
office, maybe not and the sudden realisation
what responsibility has been put on your
shoulders. Let’s not beat about the bush to
quote a well know Sci Fi television
programme you are ‘the last best hope’ of
keeping your company in business. Handle an
accident badly and in these days of citizen
journalists (people with posh phones) the
public will not forgive you. Don’t be
complacent if you work for a small operator,
I’ll bet you code share with the big boys, or if
you’re in the corporate jet business, think of
the net worth of the individuals you are
carrying!! Thanks to alliances I’ve got two
Airbus A380s daily to worry about.
Anyway this is meant to be a cheery guide to
the basics of this fab job. So let’s begin at the
beginning, with the ultimate fundamental you! Is this your cup of tea, let’s find out: Do
you honestly, like adults, children, and pets? I
fake the children bit but you must like people.
Your job is to rescue them from one of the
worst possible situations they’ll ever
experience and attempt to make their lives
bearable again. You can plan as much as you
like but if you can’t be there for these folks, do
something else.
Be independent of spirit. Whilst your job is
designed to be a sort of corporate safety net,
you achieve this delightful result by using
your common humanity. Many departments
will regard what you do as slightly morbid and
often you need to fight for what’s right. Once
again no shrinking violets need apply. Lastly,
but vitally, you must have a good, if not
slightly warped, sense of humour. This is your
personnel resilience policy. If you go potty
under the strain, then you’ll be no good to
man or beast.
Well that sorted that out so we are all jolly
passive extraverts or something like that.
What legislation frame work are we working
under? Well the predominant laws within the
UK are contained within the Civil
Contingency Act 2004 and the rest of the
world is loosely based on the US Families
Assistance Act. The EU has a few ideas which
concern supplying a passenger manifest to
someone in Brussels within the hour, (not
possible) and interim compensation
payments (which is!).
The UK Act classes agencies into two
categories of responder. Both must have plans
and the resources available to conduct the
recovery phase. Airlines are not included in
either list hurrah!
But before you get too ecstatic and start
contemplating that aforementioned ‘Life of
easy decadence’ bear in mind, who is going to
be paying for all this and whose reputation is
on the line. Not, I fear, a matter that either the
police or the local Borough Council will lose
too much sleep over? Talking about local
authorities, under the Civil Contingency Act
they have the responsibility of looking after
your passengers and crew not to mention any
individual you may have landed on. Be nice to
these people they could pull the rug from
underneath your feet before you ever get
Under the US legislation you have to prove
that you have the wherewithal in country to
handle all aspects of the aftermath including
cleaning up the mess. In reality unless you
have this level of resource available wherever
you fly, you are not going to have many
One last complication, within the UK
local authorities contingency planning
departments tend to operate up through the
Department of Culture, Media and Sport. No I
don’t know why, but they do. The aviation
So you want to be an Emergency Response Manager.
(A Simple guide on how not to make a complete idiot of yourself!)
by Ian Marshall, Chair United Kingdom Aviation Emergency Planners Group
London 1 – Crashing here will cause a few problems
ERC 1 – Some people have nice Emergency
Response Centres
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:23 Page 10
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community works with the Cabinet Office
Civil Contingency Department, Cobra and all
that’ which sounds oh so much more manly,
confusing isn’t it! Oh and while we are here
let’s throw in the Association of Chief Police
Officers: As any accident is a scene of crime,
Mr Plod rules and you will be a fool to forget
it! Having said that at one major UK airport’s
annual exercise, the incident commander
commented to me that he did not see what
the fuss was all about. He stated that as
everyday at EGXX was a disaster what
difference would a plane crash make!! I’d love
to tell you where this was along with the
location of an airfield whose operations
manager said he’d block his runway if he knew
a crippled aircraft was coming in!
So we have looked at you and touched on the
law, so what are you going to most need to
handle an accident? Friends that’s what! Not
Monica, Rachel, and Joey or whatever they were
called but other airlines, airports, senior fire,
police and ambulance officers as well as your
own team of volunteer care givers. That’s just a
start, government in all its forms, the Red Cross,
the charitable sector, mental health
professionals, legal and insurance folk and
regrettably mortuary and undertaking operators
will all feature highly in your consciousness.
I told you that you had to be a sociable sort!
Luckily within Britain the United Kingdom
Aviation Planners group can help with a lot of
these relationships. I’m chair of this seriously
useful organisation so you did not think I
wouldn’t get a plug in somewhere!
Now let’s look closer at some of these friends,
starting with the unpaid ones. Within your
company you will find some fantastic people
who will readily volunteer to be care givers.
Why, when economics require us to squeeze
our staff until they sing, these folks come
forward I really can’t say, but they do! With
them come precious skills; languages, first aid,
administration, leadership, and enormous
amounts of compassion will all be found
within the ranks of your team.
The charitably sector can help. The Salvation
Army have a great mobile canteen and the
Red Cross has enormous man power.The only
issues are command and control and
indemnification. There will be hell to pay if a
voluntary organisation accidently re
traumatises victims by perhaps a well
meaning act. Crashing into a tree whilst
ferrying victims or their relatives around in
volunteer cars is a good one! Apart from
anything else their car will not be insured for
this work nor will yours. Oh Joy!
Now we need to think about wicked
capitalism with the introduction of paid
friends. That is emergency response service
providers not ladies and gentlemen of the
night! Vendors can and will save your bacon.
Services you may need range from the
provision and equipping of hotels to house
survivors and their families, to the
organisation of travel and logistics, the
provision of call centres, and the
establishment of passenger reconciliation
facilities. In addition you are going to need
help with crisis communications, the
identification and restoration of personnel
effects, care of the mentally traumatised and
body identification and repatriation.
I am frequently asked which disaster
management company I would recommend.
Well frankly they are all pretty good people.
Some are stronger in training and others are
better at logistics. In my dream world, in
which I prefer to live, I would hope that in the
event of an accident they would forget
commercial differences and all work together
for the common good, i.e. me the client.
Anyway the vendors all know each other well
so it’s not quite such a pipe dream. But once
again I must emphasise that for heaven’s sake
maintain control of your own accident
response because it is your company at stake.
Oh well where shall we go next? I know, how
about a little technology? As in all parts of
society there are folks within the emergency
response community obsessed with digital
stuff. So how far you should go down this
route is really up to how much technology
you think your corporate culture will take.
What you really really need is an automated
telephone/text call out system! If you think
you can get your team together using a
manual phone cascade you are only fooling
yourself. I know because that’s how we were
BMS Global 2 – Paid Help – Someone has to clean up the mess
A380 – Due to alliances I have to worry
about two of these a day
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for three years. Get a system that is cheap
enough to use on a day to day basis and can
handle conference calls. The price per call is
vital as if it’s too expensive you will never test
the thing. Use the system to handle everday
management calls as well as business
continuity. If the balloon does indeed go up at
least someone in your organisation will know
how the blooming thing works!
The problem of user currency is also the major
factor if you employ an emergency response IT
tool. Unless you can figure out how to
integrate any such system into the company’s
technological infrastructure then the first act
upon activation will be reading the hand book.
The other slight snag is none of these digital
wonder systems talk to each other, so sooner
or later someone will have to revert to e-mail
or fax - I know we can go to the moon but!
The Media are your friends - honestly. What’s
the point of being a good and kind caring
organisation if nobody knows about it? Also it’s
a brilliant method of distributing basic
information, comforting those not involved and
directing others down the correct path into the
humanitarian care program. So set up a media
call centre. Have some press release templates
ready, and be ready for a joint press conference
with the airport and emergency services. Oh by
the way having a TV or two in you Crisis
command centre is a pretty good idea.
What are you going to do with the dead? You
can’t exactly pour them a nice cup of tea and
tell them things will get better! Post air crash
bodies tend to be just a trifle yuck! Sub
contract out victim identification and body
repatriation as quickly as possible. You may
well have to explain to grieving relatives why
identification takes so long but please do it
gently. Sorry but your brother is in fifteen
pieces is perhaps a little insensitive and DNA
processing is a lot slower than on CSI!!
Finally write your plan. Keep it as short and as
concise as your organisation will allow. Much
to your surprise you will find your fellow
managers are somewhat reticent about using
their brains in an emergency. Where is my
check list and what shall I do, you will hear
them cry! The total abdication of their
responsibilities as senior managers to you and
whatever you have conjured up as a plan is a
bit of a shock at first. Mind you, have they
read your step by step guide to all things
gruesome? Have they heck! In one exercise
wash up a Director wrote the comment ‘I had
to use my day to day knowledge to complete
my tasks’ If I didn’t need his skills base sure as
hell he wouldn’t have been there. Still all this
allows you to boss the CEO around for a bit
and fun like that doesn’t come often!
Please Please Please persuade someone to
keep running the airline whilst all this
nastiness is going on. One aircraft down is a
horror but the others have to be kept flying.
You would be surprised how often this rather
basic concept is forgotten.
Well if you have gotten this far then well
done! How about a few anecdotes to finish
on? How about the airline who forgot about a
care giver, leaving her living with a family for
six months? Or the airline crash where the
survivors were nearly drowned in a nearby
river by the rescuers (it pays to know which
gears are forward and backward in a bus!). Or
indeed the police who would not feed
passengers stranded in a terminal for over
nine hours because, you never know one of
them may have been a terrorist!
Come to one of my lectures sometime and
maybe I’ll name names and expose the guilty.
I’m sorry I haven’t covered everything.
Training, command and control, team
selection, and crisis centres will have to wait
for another day. The title of this piece of
nonsense promised that you would not look a
complete idiot in your new career. Drop some
of the info mentioned in this article into your
conversation and you’re sure to be walking
the walk and talking the talk. Enjoy the role,
honestly it’s the best job in the aviation, and I
do hope we don’t ever meet professionally!
Unpaid help company volunteers
Survivors 1 – Never forget what it’s all
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Atraffic collision avoidance system(TCAS) II has been standard
equipment on fixed-wing aircraft for many
years and is justifiably regarded as a safety
enhancement. Larger helicopters often
operate IFR and until now have not been
afforded the same protection as the
general belief was that TCAS II would not
work on helicopters as they were too slow
and lacked the required climb performance.
FAA Initiative
A TCAS II is one implementation of the
system that is generically known as an aircraft
collision avoidance system (ACAS). It is a
system designed to reduce the occurrence of
a mid-air collision, by monitoring adjacent
aircraft fitted with transponders and alerting
the crew if certain thresholds are breached.
The system is independent of air traffic control
or other ground-based systems.
TCAS began as an FAA initiative and was
developed from the 1950s to the 1970s. In the
early 1980s the USA Congress issued a
mandate for an aircraft collision avoidance
system. The FAA developed the standards for
TCAS for regulators via ICAO and for
manufacturers via the Radio Technical
Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA).
In an attempting to reduce the risk of collision,
a number of manufacturers and operators
fitted TCAS I.
A TCAS II system provides both traffic
advisory (TA) information and resolution
advisory (RA), the former being a warning to
the crew of adjacent traffic, the latter being
guidance on avoiding a collision by
commanding a manoeuvre in the vertical
plane.TCAS I systems currently fitted to some
helicopters can only provide TA information.
TCAS II fitted to fixed-wing aircraft has proved
to be a significant safety enhancement and
TCAS II v 7.0 is now mandated in Europe for all
public transport aircraft weighing more than
5.7 tonnes or carrying more than 19
passengers. Version 7.1 is in the process of
being introduced.
There was a generaI perception, supported by
some in the Regulating Authorities that TCAS
II would not work on helicopters and in fact
could be detrimentaI to fixed-wing TCAS II
systems. Some of the arguments raised were:
■ TCAS II algorithms would not cope at low
airspeeds (less than 100 knots).
■ The main gearbox and rotors would
degrade the TCAS II antenna patterns.
■ Helicopters are incapable of meeting the
RA profiles, in particular the requirements
of a climb RA.
■ If a large number of helicopters were
operating in an area, this would increase
the traffic density and possibly degrade
the range of fixed wing TCAS II systems.
■ Helicopter profiles, such as winching and
underslung load work are incompatible
with TCAS II.
The Problem
Helicopters, particularly those operating in
support of oil and gas exploitation around
the world, have been subjected to a large
number of AIRPROX in recent years.This is
due to the operating environment, normally
in unregulated (class G) airspace with limited
or non-existent radar services. In an attempt
to reduce the risk of collision, a number of
manufacturers and operators fitted TCAS I, as
it was generally believed that TCAS II would
not work on helicopters. Additionally, the
operational regulations governing
commercial air transport helicopters in
Europe, JAR OPS 3, specifically stated that
TCAS II would not work on helicopters.
Unfortunately TCAS I systems mandate that
the crew sight the intruder aircraft before
TCAS II on Helicopters
In 2006, Bristow fitted a trial installation of TCAS II onto a Super Puma Mk1
by BALPA Flight Safety Department
The Helicopter Study Group explains why it’s not fixed-wing aircraft that can benefit from traffic collision avoidance systems.
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:24 Page 13
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manoeuvring in accordance with the rules of
the air and so are not suitable in IMC, at night
or where the intruder comes from a blind arc,
such as the rear.
AIRPROX Report 008/04 was a catalyst for a
number of safety initiatives, including the
investigation of fitting TCAS II to helicopters.
In this case a Super Puma returning from an
offshore installation came very close to
colliding with a Tornado. The Tornado
approached from the rear and so TCAS I
would not have prevented the AIRPROX.
AIRPROX Report 154/06 showed the need for
TCAS II even when operating under a radar
service. In this case a Super Puma and Nimrod
aircraft were only separated by 200 feet
vertically when their radar returns merged on
the radar screen.This AIRPROX occurred due to
a breakdown in coordination between two ATC
units which resulted in conflicting clearances
being given to the two aircraft involved.
Trial Installation
After a feasibility study in 2006, Bristow
Helicopters fitted a trial installation of TCAS II
onto a Super Puma Mk1.
The TCAS II system monitors the airspace
surrounding the aircraft by interrogating the
transponders of other aircraft. Replies to the
interrogation enable TCAS II to compute the
following information:
■ Range of intruding aircraft from own
■ Relative bearing to the intruder.
■ Altitude and vertical speed of the
intruder, if it is reporting altitude.
■ Closing rate between the intruder and
own aircraft.
Using this data, TCAS II predicts the time to,
and the separation at, the intruder's closest
point of approach. Should TCAS II predict that
certain safe boundaries may be violated, it will
issue a traffic advisory (TA) to alert the crew
that closing traffic is in the vicinity.
If the intruder continues to approach, TCAS II
will issue a resolution advisory (RA) to obtain
or maintain safe vertical separation between
your aircraft and the intruder. TCAS II bases
the alarms on a five second crew reaction time
to begin the separation manoeuvre: increase
or reversal of an RA requires a reaction in two
and a half seconds. Time to go to the closest
point of approach is normally used to trigger
TAs and RAs. When the closure rate is low or
less predictable, a distance modulation
function ensures an appropriate alert when
certain range boundaries are crossed: this is
why TCAS II can work on helicopters even if
they have a slow closure rate.
Using this data, TCAS II predicts the time to,
and the separation at, the intruder’s closest
point of approach.
The specification of TCAS ll requires that it
provides reliable surveillance out to a range of
14 nautical miles, but Ionger ranges are
usually provided in low traffic densities. For
en-route airspace,the maximum intruder
relative closing speed for TCAS II is 1,200
knots, which is ideal for protecting against
even the most energetic military jets. TCAS II
provides reliable aircraft collision warning in
aircraft densities up to 24 transponderequipped aircraft within five nautical miles of
the TCAS II aircraft. With traffic densities
greater than 0.3 aircraft per square nautical
mile TCAS II provides protection from other
aircraft having a closing speed up to 500
knots: with an aircraft density of 0.06
transponder-equipped aircraft per square
nautical mile or less protection from relative
closing speed up to 1,200 knots is provided.
“This installation of TCAS II brings the proven
safety benefits enjoyed by fixed-wing aircraft
to the rotary sector, further enhancing safety
by significantly reducing the risk of airborne
collision,” says Denny Helgeson, VicePresident and General Manager, Business and
Regional Systems for Rockwell Collins. “The
safety and operational benefits this brings
will be appreciated by all rotary wing
operators, especially those operating in
IFR/IMC situations. We look forward to
working together with Bristow and Shell
Aircraft to apply TCAS II capability to other
helicopter types.”
The next step
TCAS II has been operating successfully on
the Super Puma Mk1 for a few years now.
Other types will shortly be equipped with
TCAS II, and manufacturers are looking at
installing TCAS II during manufacture, in a
similar way to EGPWS and other safety
systems inherited from the fixed-wing world.
So, it does work on helicopters after all!
Reprinted with kind permission to The LOG
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Aproblem exists in that there are manydifferent definitions of leadership. An
even bigger problem is the failure to define
captaincy as a set of trainable leadership
behaviors. This article reviews the current
understanding of leadership, describes
work undertaken to develop a matrix of
observable leadership skills and suggests
training options for airlines when training
pilots for the role of airline commander.
Regulatory guidelines loosely point to a
leadership skill set. For example, both FAA and
EU-OPS guidelines make reference to concepts
such as authority and assertiveness, providing
and maintaining standards, planning and
coordinating and workload management.
While these attributes will qualify one to be a
safe and efficient captain they hardly establish
a great leader.The question remains, what does
the airline captain need in the way of
leadership skills to successfully lead the crew to
accomplish the mission?
A search of the academic literature found no
specific study where pilots were asked about
the skills of leadership: the perceptions of
those active in the field were missing from
published research.We set out to address this
shortcoming. Questioning captains on
leadership begins to build a foundation of
expertise in the aviation leadership field.
To find out what makes one a great leader as
opposed to just a good pilot, flight managers
from five airlines provided a list of captains
whom they considered exemplary leaders.
Volunteers from this sample were
interviewed. Characteristics such as stable,
relaxed, confident, practical, outgoing, easy to
get along with, natural, conscientious, realistic
and spontaneous were all used to describe
leadership. These attributes are similar to
general leadership characteristics mentioned
in descriptions of charismatic and
transformational leaders. Social factors form
the “character” of a person and are considered
a core value of leadership. These social factors
are important for airline captains, but as the
captains expressed their leadership
perceptions several other themes and skills
emerged from the data. The results revealed
five core areas: (a) communication, (b)
teamwork, (c) knowledge, (d) self-awareness,
and (e) leader as mentor.
The most widely mentioned leadership
theme mentioned was not surprisingly,
communication. Specific skills included
ensuring clear and precise information is
given and active listening is practiced.
Verbal communication included asking for
and receiving feedback. In addition to
explaining procedures sharing information
communication was used to foster a
relationship, establish roles and to motivate
the flight crew. Features of communication
include tone, standard wording and style.
The effective leader incorporates all aspects
of communication altering tone and style
when necessary.
The second strongest theme was teamwork. In
this category “people skills” were mentioned
repeatedly. People skills included willingness to
accept information, having a non-judgmental
outlook and openness to both information and
critique. While these social skills facilitate a
sense of ease and belonging to a team, heavy
emphasis was placed on creating a team early
in the flight process.
Literature differentiates between teams, a
small number of people with complimentary
skills and a common goal, and working groups,
an assemblage of people with individual
functions and no common goal. Although at
times the captain and the rest of the flight
crew do have independent duties and
seemingly do not have a common goal. The
flight attendants have the passenger duties;
the first officer has specific seat duties. The
leadership skill was to ensure all flight crew
shares the common goal of a safe and
efficient flight. The captains stated it is the
commander's duty to set goals and
communicate during the pre-flight briefing so
all have a shared vision rather than allowing
each crew to carry on their duties
The third theme is categorized as knowledge.
Obviously the captain should be
knowledgeable. However, responses here
indicate that technical, regulatory and systems
knowledge is as important as the ability to use
and apply that knowledge to different
situations. The captains also said knowledge of
company goals and visions were not adequately
trained. Because company goals were not
Leadership Skills
of the Airline Captain
Leadership is about earning trust, setting a vision and applying boundaries.
Image credit: Lufthansa/Martin Jehnichen.
While the captain is generally recognized as the leader in an airline crew, the concept of leadership skills in an aviation context
is poorly understood. Guest author Katherine Senko explains how captaincy training is an important part of all pilots’ career
development, but airlines differ in the approaches taken to meet this goal.
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:24 Page 15
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clearly defined the captains' felt burdened by
making incorrect decisions for the company For
example, in a situation where a malfunction in
the airplane leaves the pilot the choice of
landing or continuing on with some discomfort
to the passengers, the captain must know if the
overall goal of the company is passenger service
or cost savings. The observable skill here can be
considered the broad actions necessary during
flight deviations.
Self-awareness, or emotional intelligence, is
ones' awareness of his or her behaviour on
others. Interestingly, self-awareness in the
airline captain is probably one of the most
misunderstood or least acknowledged, yet
was something all the captains interviewed
mentioned. In addition to being aware of
one's demeanor other attributes mentioned
include confidence, having a"presence",
enthusiasm, energetic, visionary and
continuously focused on improvement. Also
various leadership styles must be employed,
so in training a little looking into oneself
would be needed. Emotional intelligence is
one way to describe this theme.
Specific skills falling under the self-awareness
theme include, genuine concern for others,
professional demeanor, flexibility, calm
attitude, confidence and self-efficacy. While
some may consider these descriptors and not
skills, the pilots described the observable
behaviors associated with each. Concern for
others was described in all examples; putting
the crew, the company, and the passengers
before self shows it. Professional demeanor is
how the captain carries him or herself, the
appearance and bearing of the person.
Flexibility permits a control change
empowering the crew. Calm attitude helps
manage situations and confidence assures
others of knowledge and skill.
The skills of self-awareness are more subjective
than other leadership skills. Concern for others
and professional demeanor is difficult to
pinpoint and express, and therefore they are
difficult to set as objectives. Throughout the
interviews stories of concern, demeanor, dress
and behaviors were described a leader. The
frequent occurrences of these stories stipulate
inclusion in a leadership definition. The
significance to leadership is that appearances
and actions matter for the leader. All are
watching the leader therefore one must look
and act the role of leader.
Finally all of the pilots interviewed mentioned
how important it was to teach others. Advice
repeated by several captains included “tell the
first officer why you are doing something”
and most mentioned they tell the FO to “take
what you like about me and discard the rest;
build yourself on the best of those around
you”. The captains mentioned that it was
important to teach first officers and indicated
that avoiding mentorshlp meant lessons
would not be learned. Several times the
captains cautioned that leadership behaviors
were not taught in the classroom but only on
the flight line.
When airline captains were asked what
leadership training they have had throughout
their flying careers, responses suggested
leadership training is lacking. While they all
admitted technical flight training was
adequate or very good, most expressed a wish
to have more meaningful crew resource
management or human factors training. The
pilots did not criticize training idly and most
acknowledged the airline dilemma of limited
resources. However, most still thought nontechnical training could easily be incorporated
into existing training methods and processes.
Leadership training is currently considered to
be part of CRM or human factors but possibly
needs to be incorporated in all parts of the
training footprint. Developing leadership skills
for the airline captain initially should involve
defining an overall concept of leadership
including the airline's mission. The theoretical
aspects can be delivered in, for example,
computer based training courses. The context
of leadership is, however, more easily shown
through demonstration and example. The
information should then be discussed using
case studies, accident report analysis and
videos. Finally, practical application of
leadership can be demonstrated through the
simulator LOFT sessions.
When a pilot upgrades from the first officer to
commander position, additional responsibility
is incurred. Therefore additional preparation is
needed. Leadership training should be
incorporated into all aspects of the captaincy
upgrade training. An ongoing assessment of
real or simulated situations focuses awareness
and fosters the emotional intelligence needed
for leadership.
The findings from this study showed that
airline captains consider leadership to be
much more than establishing roles and
communicating appropriately. The findings
indicated that differentiating between
assertiveness and aggression are not the only
skills for effective leadership. A leadership
definition more appropriate for aviation
contains the nuances of dealing with the
people, examining oneself, establishing goals
and caring for the crew.
Captaincy training must contain the pilot
practicing interacting with others and should
include self-evaluations. Captaincy training
should have the pilot establish and
communicate flight goals and provide various
examples of communication styles. Overall
leadership is about earning trust, setting a
vision and applying boundaries. It involves
ensuring action, motivating and caring for
others. These leadership skills can form the
structure for better captaincy training
throughout the airline industry.
About the Author
Dr. Katherine Senko has specialized in aviation
training for over ten years. She specializes in
instructional design. She holds a masters
degree in education and a doctorate in
leadership. Dr. Senko has worked with several
aviation companies throughout the world
auditing and designing training programs for
pilots, maintenance technicians, flight
attendants and gate agents. She is based in
the United States.
Reprinted with kind permission CAT Magazine
Issue 6/2010
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Usually it all seems to be rather straightforward, although there are a few
traps lurking in the background. Checking,
cross-checking, double-checking, and rechecking is the motto of each flight, but
mistakes will of course always be a
possibility - we’re only human after all.
This article will discuss some points about
Trans Atlantic crossing, namely Gross
Navigational Errors (GNEs), Large Height
Deviations (LHDs) and Strategic Lateral
Offset Procedures (SLOP).
Gross navigational errors
The ICAO definition of a GNE is A Gross
Navigation Error with a lateral deviation of
25nm or greater from cleared route.
In our day and age of safety as much data as
possible is being collected, shared, analysed and
presented in pretty graphs of real and statistical
value. Same with GNEs; when a position report
–either CPDLC or voicecontaining a future
position differs from the flight profile held, the
appropriate report is submitted.
There are three different kinds of reports: a
‘GNE’ report will be filed when an aircraft has
actually deviated more than 25nm from its
cleared track; an 'Intervention to Prevent a
GNE' report when the error was picked up in
time and corrected before any off-track
situation was allowed to develop; and
'Another' report will be filed for actual lateral
deviations of less than 25miles.
Who is collecting then?
There are 2 key information sources
■ STAR-The NATS internal reporting system
(Safety tracking and regulation)
■ NATCMA-The CMA, the Central Monitoring
Agency, analyses incident data NAT-wide
(NY, Santa Maria, Reykjavik, Gander and
Bodo).The CMA is part of ICAO.
In 2009 STAR recorded a total of 68 events
(Illustration 1) which is an improvement on
the previous year where there were 73 events
(NATCMA had 97 events in the same period).
November for example -the worst month last
year- had 11 Shanwick interventions to
prevent GNE/Lat deviations, and 2 Lateral
deviations of less than 25nm. No trend is
attributable to this however.
Of the westbound events 50% were actual lateral
deviations (14 Lateral deviations /14
interventions/2 GNE's), eastbound there were
very few actual deviations and no GNEs. The
majority of events were ATC interventions which
did not develop into a deviation as time factor
allows for Controller to act upon receipt of any
erroneous position report received. By the way,
CPDLC reporting accuracy is not affected by the
Strategic Lateral Offset Procedure (SLOP); the
waypoints are reported as entered into the FMC,
not the 1 or 2 mile abeam position. Or in other
words CPDLC does not report the offset as a
deviation, but because it reports the next position
you are going to as per the FMC, ATC can detect
when you are deviating or are about to deviate.
More about SLOP later.
Crew navigational errors
are predominantly located
at the eastern landfall and
boundary position. RESNO
seems to be a ‘popular’ one
and gets mentioned in 14%
of events; Human factors
might play a role there as
those eastbound re-routes
take place in the early
hours of the morning, and
it is a busy exit point. The
area south of SOMAX
is another hotspot:
approximately half of all
GNEs/ Interventions occur
there.An explanation might
be that it is the interface
between Santa Maria,
Madrid and Brest which requires many reroutes for traffic to fit.
Illustration 2 shows a breakdown of some of
the most common pilot causes for GNEs.
Where are we (as in 'You' and 'I') most likely to
commit mistakes? As there is no definite
answer to this question the way forward is to
try and avoid them- stick to SOPs religiously
especially when it comes to re-clearances and
re-routes. CPDLC is a brilliant tool in this respect
as well. With its automated position reporting
potential errors can be picked up, queried and
corrected a long way before you would head
towards a wrongly entered lat/long position.
You'd still make it into the statistics, but luckily
only the 'Intervention to prevent a GNE' one.
Large height deviations
A large height deviation is an altitude
deviation of 300 ft or more from the
cleared level.
Although some Oceanic LHDs are included in
the existing level bust statistics they are not
exactly handled the same way, e.g. aircraft
entering Shanwick at an incorrect flight level
will be recorded as a LHD but not a level bust.
Similarly aircraft that are at an unexpected or
an uncleared level in Shanwick will be
included in the LHD data but may not be
included in the level bust data as the aircraft
has not technically bust its level.
Atlantic crossing
by Captain Dirk Böhme, FFSO
Quite a number of us have crossed the Atlantic as operating flight crew a few times now.
Q: Where does the Shanwick Oceanic Clearance begin?
A: At the Shanwick OCA boundary (entry) point.
Q: Where does the Oceanic clearance end for an eastbound flight?
A: Eastbound flights are cleared to landfall position (not to a
Shanwick eastern boundary point, unless Shannon re-route on
1st contact).
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According to NATS these are mainly ATC
errors as random flights require more level coordination compared to OTS flights
(especially concerning Oceanic interface with
Brest airspace and Madrid). These are often
‘sandwiched’ together at a higher density
with less opportunity for climbs.
Causal Factors identified are:
■ ATC Coordination errors (System/Human)
■ Crew misinterpretation of clearance
■ Contingency manoeuvres (Emergencies
and MET)
How can flight crew help reduce the LHD risk
Before entering Shanwick OCA from a
domestic agency
■ Ensure you are in receipt of an Oceanic
■ Ensure the Oceanic Clearance Flight Level
is being maintained prior to OCA entry
■ If unable to reach Oceanic Cleared Flight
Level prior to entering Shanwick advise
domestic agency as soon as possible and
make a new request for an Oceanic
■ Request for Ocean clearance to be made
between 30 and 90 minutes from the
OCA boundary
■ If in receipt of an Ocean clearance,
however have not been given clearance to
climb to the cleared oceanic level -Advise
Domestic agency (in good time… at least
5 minutes prior to Boundary). This will act
as a safety net… the domestic controller
may have failed to issue the level expected
by or hold different details than Shanwick.
■ Never enter the OCA at a level other
than the Oceanic cleared level.
Illustration 3 compares the total minutes aircraft spent at wrong whole
flight levels. The blue curve represents random tracks, the red one OTS.
Data collected was from a similar number of aircraft on the Organized
Track as for the Random Track System (as random tracks are 24 hours
where NAT tracks have a set validity time). The rolling total from May
08 to May 09 was 335 minutes to 38 minutes. This means that we are
more than 10 times more likely to fly at a wrong level on a random
route than on an OTS one! And because we are operating on random
routes only we are subjected to a greater risk of being involved in a LHD.
Some clearances include a 15West
position, which predominantly
affects the latitudes 48-45N.
For example two flights –BEDRA to
49N02OW and ETIKI TO 48n020W
– are not laterally seperated unless a
015W position is included.
Flight DHK919 has been cleared to climb to FL390, at pilot's discretion, to be level
before it reaches 20 West. The flight can commence its climb clearance immediately
upon acknowledgement (WILCO). Alternatively the pilots can elect to delay the climb so
long as the cleared level FL390 is attained before reaching 20 WEST. And this might be
yet another trap; in case due to aircraft performance it is not possible to climb to FL390
straight away upon receipt of the climb clearance, pilots must have something in place
to remind themselves of this clearance for when they are able to climb. Possibilities are
the /FL390S entry against the appropriate line on the LEGS Page, or a time entry in the
FIX page.
Controllers expect acknowledgement of a CPDLC clearance within five minutes of
receipt, and for the flight to initiate its manoeuvre so that the clearance limit is
complied with.
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:24 Page 18
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How SLOPPY are you?
The Strategic Lateral Offset Procedure (SLOP)
allows pilots to fly centreline or 1NM or 2NM
to the right of the centreline within North
Atlantic (NAT) Oceanic boundaries without
informing ATC. It is designed to be a standard
operating procedure specifically used to spread
aircraft out laterally about their tracks, in order
to minimise the chance of collision given an
operational error or contingency procedure
(wake turbulence avoidance plays a role as
well). SLOP may be used by aircraft capable of
being programmed with automatic offsets and
applies to both OTS and non-OTS flights.
An important feature of SLOP is that the
offset is chosen so as to randomise the offsets
across the NAT population.
Data is taken from the Oceanic Gateway
system which contains non-rounded current
and predicted next positions of ADS aircraft
(e.g. 5458.1N, 2958.6W).
To calculate SLOP usage at mid-ocean
waypoints (30°W) the reports at 20°W, 30°W
and 40°W are linked in order that the latitude
changes before/after 30°W can be taken into
account and thus offsets classified using
thresholds applied to aircraft with the same
latitude changes. For example, one would
expect that aircraft with zero latitude change
between 20°W and 40°W would pass directly
over the intended 30°W waypoint, but
aircraft with large lateral changes between
waypoints are legitimately seen further from
the waypoint.
On behalf of the ICAO NAT Mathematicians'
Working Group, the UK
regularly analyse the
proportion of ADS-equipped
aircraft using SLOP since its
introduction in 2004.
The use of lateral offsets in
mid-ocean by ADS-reporting
aircraft has improved steadily,
with around 47% of these
aircraft now choosing to fly to
the right of track centreline
(Illustrations 4&5).
If aircraft were to be
distributed evenly across the
three offset options, this would
achieve the optimal reduction
in the probability that two
aircraft which are on the same
track are in lateral overlap; a
further increase in routine
SLOP usage is needed to derive
the optimal safety benefit.
But now, towards the end of this article, it gets
interesting yet again - how does DHL score?
Compared to our past performance where
more than 50% of flights remained on the
centreline this has reduced to 9% during the
period April/June 2010, with 47% 1nm and
44% 2nm right of centreline; an excellent SOP
compliance and welcome trend!
Illustration 7 compares us to our fellow
crossers. Our compliance has increased from
just over 50% at the end of last year to over
90% by the end of June in the SLOP statistics,
placing us number 2 in the overall rating!
Although crossing the Atlantic does seem rather
straight forward during most of the times, there
are traps mainly in the form of Gross
Navigational Errors, Large Height Deviations a
incorrect SLOP procedures, and it is not that
difficult to fall victim to any of them. Although
we are frequently tired especially on the
westbound sectors, try to stay alert and, most
of all, stick to the SOPs which are in place to
guard you against those potentials.
As always, happy and safe flying!
Reprinted with kind permission of DHL
Safety Digest Autumn/Winter 2010
Illustration 4: Use of SLOP by all ADS reporting aircraft in NAT for April – June 2010
Total traffic % Centreline %1NM Offset % 2NM Offset %Other %Left
32535 52.6% 32.3% 14.8% 0.0% 0.2%
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:24 Page 19
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The professional training of cabincrew/flight attendants is dominated
by the priority of safety at all costs, and
the high standards of service and
communication skills are inter-dependent
on safety procedures. Proficiency in using
English for cabin crew must reflect this
strong priority. ICAO has established a
testing and certification process for all pilots
and air traffic controllers because of safety
concerns in international travel. Nothing
less should be demanded of cabin crew.
The Hudson River incident - among many
others - showed the real priorities for cabin
crew training. The three flight attendants
onboard had less than four minutes to seize
the urgency, hold the attention of the
passengers, dictate action, execute it, and
ensure a safe evacuation as the plane landed
on water.
Too often the public perception of 'the best'
depends on the uniform, the smile and the
ready and friendly manners of flight
attendants. In fact, they are there to ensure
passenger safety and to care for the general
wellbeing of all inside that pressurised metal
tube travelling at 39,000 ft. That's why Crew
Resource Management (CRM) has become so
important. It's all about ensuring smoother
communication between crews on board,
improving the efficiency of care, sharpening
leadership and decision-making under
pressure and establishing crews as the safety
professionals of the skies.
Service standards of the highest quality are a
must, but should never be at the expense of
safety. They are clearly important, but
passenger security should be uppermost in
dictating a safety culture on all flights.
Welcoming passengers on board, hitting the
right note between insisting on regulations
and helping people relax in an often stressful
environment calls for careful training to say
the right word in the right way.
The topic of the size of hand baggage and
storing it in the smallish overhead lockers
(especially on short haul 737s) is a perfect
example. Safety dictates that bags must be in
the lockers or underneath the seat in front of
the passenger. Both are often impossible and
the flight attendant is in the middle, wanting
to help but aware of the safety implications.
What the flight attendant says and how it is
said can make the difference between
aggression and resentment at these stressful
moments in the boarding process. ‘Let me
help you’, ‘Could you put it here’, ‘Let's try
putting it this way’ rather than ‘You can’t do
that’ or ‘It’s far too big, we can't accept it’
It’s the same with the pre-takeoff safety
instructions. This is the key announcement of
the whole flight and airlines have shown lots
of ingenuity to get passengers attention
throughout what is a long list of safety
guidelines. Sometimes it’s a video
presentation, sometimes a straightforward PA
announcement with flight attendants
demonstrating exits, floor level lighting, life
vests and masks, and sometimes it can even
be a zany, rap-style show, anything to get the
passengers’ attention. But we still have to ask
- are passengers aware of the safety culture
on board? Are they aware that all those
nagging checks and controls and more checks
again carried out by the cabin crew (fasten
your seatbelt, tray table up please, armrest
down, bags in the lockers, nothing on the floor
and so on) are all in the interests of the safety
of everyone?
Why don't airlines make an announcement
something like this to start with:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is most important.
Please listen carefully Yes, stop talking or
reading (Pause Thank you. We, the cabin crew,
are here for your safety and all we tell you now
is for that reason. We will certainly check and
double check things from time to time during
the flight. Please understand, this is for your
This will help to create a culture of safety
among the travelling public which seems to
be lacking. How many know where the
nearest exit is in case of an emergency? Do
Safety and Service:
Cabin Crew Training Priorities
Airlines have shown lots of ingenuity to get passengers attention throughout the pre-takeoff
safety instructions. Image credit: WizzAir
Saying the right words in the right manner is one of the most important skills a flight attendant must have. The safety onboard
the aircraft can depend upon it. Guest Author Terence Gerighty explains.
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:24 Page 20
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we really know how to put on a life vest? Do
we even know where it is? And what about
the oxygen mask? How many know how to
release the flow of oxygen? In fact, how many
read the all-important safety instructions card
in the pocket in front of every passenger?
Cabin crew training for safety is known as
excellent, right down to sliding into cold water
and swimming to dinghies to practise
ditching. Flight attendants can even expect to
be asked questions about safety features in
pre-flight briefing and when they are seated,
strapped, and waiting for take-off, landing or
during turbulence, they are advised to 'think
safety', what first actions to take in an
emergency, etc. What is perhaps not so
excellent are their skills in communicating to
passengers the importance and urgency of
safety features onboard, and the challenge for
many is doing this in English.
Communicating on international flights
where English is the dominant language (even
though multi-lingual cabin crew is
increasingly the norm) is also considered a
must. Yet the language is codified,
stereotyped, an amalgam of set phrases and
expressions. Or is it?
What happens when there is a medical crisis,
excessive turbulence, a violent obnoxious
drunk, sudden decompression or lots of other
minor events calling for the ability to simply
say the right thing - always with the wellbeing
and safety of everyone in mind. Everything
that happens onboard impinges on safety.
Safety is the controlling factor at every level
of training and if communicating in English is
so important, it is because it is linked
inextricably to safety factors relating to the
general good. 'You can't do that', 'you have to',
'you must', 'not now' are not intended to spoil
life onboard, but fit into the overall
perspective of ensuring safety.
But above all, it's the ability of cabin crew to
deliver those instructions and crisp
commands spoken in safety related moments:
■ During turbulence: remain seated please,
sorry, you'll have to wait
■ With disruptive passengers: stop now,
don’t shout, sit down and calm down,
■ During a serious medical incident: sit
down please, make room, help me lie him
■ During a decompression: pull down the
oxygen mask, put it over your nose and
■ In the last 10 minutes before normal
landing: sorry, not now, wait till we land
■ In an emergency landing: stay in your
seats, remain calm, get ready for Brace
position, leave everything
These are all potentially key safety moments
when crew communication should be clear
and unambiguous, when firm orders must be
delivered without aggression with everyone's
safety in mind.
There are plenty more occasions where flight
attendants need to use simple, clear English:
■ Settling people in the flight: Is everything
alright? Don't worry, you'll be fine
■ Dealing with passenger problems: Leave it
with me, I'll get one for you, I'll see to it
■ Demonstrating: This is how it works, first
you… then… is that OK?
■ Treating sickness: Are you feeling dizzy?
Where's the pain? Are you on mediation?
■ Saying sorry: I do apologise, I'm afraid not,
sorry about that, I'm really sorry
■ Handling complaints: I do understand,
You're quite right, What can I do to help?
■ Serving meals: Here you are, Bon appetite,
What would you like to drink?
It is doubtless true that cabin crew training is
also concerned with teamwork skills and
passenger behavioural patterns, but in the
face to face world of passenger contact there
is no area of such importance as saying the
right word in the right manner - all within the
general culture of safety onboard. This is the
key to the cabin crew / passenger rapport
which all airlines are seeking to establish. It
guarantees good relations and ensures the
correct climate and awareness of the
importance of safety onboard.
About the Author
Terence Gerighty, author of 'English for Cabin
Crew' (Cengage), co-author of 'English for
Aviation' (OUP).
Reprinted with kind permission of CAT
Magazine Issue 3/2010
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:24 Page 21
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This article explains the impact of FAMEcontamination in jet fuel, the on-going
studies for aircraft clearance with higher
levels of FAME concentration and the
operational recommendations. FAME fuels
are manufactured from biomass and have
properties that are similar to petroleum
diesel. This fuel makes a good fuel for road
transportation means but is not appropriate
for air transport, due to lower energy
content and higher freezing point.
For a few years, the awareness of the human
impact on climate change and ways to reduce
it, have been identified. One of the key areas
being pointed at is the use of fossil fuel-based
energy sources. This, added to the global
increase of fuel prices and the threat of oil
depletion has led a drive to develop and use
alternate fuels in the transport industry.
Worldwide, governments are regulating the
introduction of bio-fuel components in ground
transportation fuels. For example, Europe has
mandated that automotive diesel must include
a 5% bio-fuel component (Directive
2003/30/EC). Similarly, in the U.S.A., bio-diesel
use has been increasing (following Energy Policy
Act of 2005). The bio-fuel component usually
added to diesel fuels are Fatty Acid Methyl
Esters (FAME).
What are the bio-fuel components?
The term ‘bio-fuel’ is used for any fuel derived
from a biomass source through a conversion
process which can be biological, thermal,
chemical, or a combination of these, to form
one or more products. The most common biofuel components currently available in the
transport industry are: Bioethanol, bio-diesel
from transesterification of vegetable oils and
fats, and bio-gas from anaerobic digestion.
The bio-fuel component, Fatty Acid Methyl
Ester (FAME), is manufactured using a chemical
process called transesterification.
This reaction for bio-diesel component
production is shown in figure 1. In this reaction,
one molecule of oil or fat reacts with three
molecules of a low carbon number alcohol in
the presence of a base catalyst.Three molecules
of fatty acid esters and one molecule of
glycerine are produced. The low carbon number
alcohol is usually methanol, but can also be
ethanol or higher alcohols. The 'R' represents
the fatty acid carbon chains associated with the
natural oil or fat.
Manufacturers have the methanol react with an
oil (triglyceride) such as vegetable oil (typically
derived from sunflower or rapeseed oil), animal
fat or used cooking oil to produce FAME and
glycerol. The final properties are similar to
petroleum diesel, which makes them good
alternate fuels for road transport.
The blends (mixture) are commonly referred to
as ‘Bx’ where ‘x’ designates the volume
percentage of FAME.As an example, B5 contains
5% FAME and B10 contains 10% FAME.
Jet fuel contamination with FAME
(Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) – World jet fuel supply
by Marie Froment, Fuel Systems Engineer, Airbus Customer Services Engineering
Rapeseed Sunflower
Figure 1: Example of the FAME manufacturing process by transesterification
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:24 Page 22
In organic chemistry, transesterification is
the process of exchanging the organic group
R” of an ester with the organic group R’ of an
alcohol. These reactions are often catalysed
by the addition of an acid or base catalyst.
Worldwide, multi-product supply systems such
as pipelines, trucks, trains and ships often
transport different grades of fuels and fluids,
using protective measures that are designed to
minimize cross-contamination. However, as
FAME has the property to 'stick' to surfaces,
small traces of FAME can be found in jet fuel;
this contamination having been picked up by the
jet fuel when following a batch of fuel
containing FAME in the same transport system.
There is also the possibility of carry-over of bioblended-diesel (containing FAME) at the product
interfaces, which occur in multi-product
pipelines (refer to figure 2) which can then lead
to jet fuel (JET A1) contaminated with FAME.
The most common bio-fuel types, currently in
use in road transport, are not suitable for use as
aviation fuels because they do not meet jet fuel
specification requirements (e.g. freezing point,
thermal stability, etc.)
The current situation for air transport
In response to concerns about FAME
contamination of jet fuel and the possibility of
airport supplies becoming contaminated, both,
EASA (SIB N°2009-1) and FAA (SAIB NE-09-25)
have issued information bulletins on this issue.
Operators have been informed about the
potential issue of jet aviation fuel being
contaminated by FAME and that limited FAME
contamination of airport fuel supplies has
FAME (from bio-blended-diesels) in jet fuel can
have the following issues which are of concern
for aircraft operations:
■ Corrosion - formic and acetic acids, glycerine,
water and methanol can be present,
■ Cracking or softening of Elastomer seals,
■ Presence of alkaline earth metals with an
effect on engine components,
■ High freezing point (freezing at -5C),
■ Thermal stability polymerisation can occur,
leading to a filter blockage.
To minimize the potential impact of FAME
contamination on jet fuel supply, the global jet
fuel specification Defstan 91-91 was amended
to permit up to 5mg/kg (5ppm - parts per
million) of FAME content, being the lowest
detection limit of current measurement
methods (refer to the 'FAME current existing
measurement methods' paragraph). For
example, one litre of B5 in 10,000 litres of jet
fuel renders the jet fuel 'unfit for use'.
As the use of bio-fuel components increases,
the current level of 5ppm will be difficult to
manage. Consequently, if contaminated fuel
(above 5ppm) is detected on an aircraft, then at
the present time operators have to defuel, then
refuel the aircraft, to ensure no FAME
contamination of aircraft systems.As a result of
this risk, engine, APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) and
aircraft manufacturers, have agreed that up to
30ppm, FAME contamination may be
permitted, subject to stringent limitations.
There is a limitation allowing two subsequent
fuel uplifts reaching up to 30ppm (operation
with two refuels allowed at airframe level).After
these two fuel uplifts, then the fuel on-board
will have to be below 5ppm of FAME.
Current testing with FAME in aviation jet fuels
A specific programme has been put in place in
order to provide emergency clearance of
100ppm contamination of FAME in jet fuel.This
programme is led by the Energy Institute and is
sponsored by airframe, engine manufacturers,
21focus spring 11
Figure 2: Multi-product transportation
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:24 Page 23
23 focus winter 102 spring 1
oil companies, pipeline companies, government
ministries, bio-fuel producers and military
agencies. The aim is to perform and analyze all
the testing requirements in order to confirm the
compatibility in terms of the specification of jet
fuel with FAME contamination up to 100ppm.
For example, an engine endurance test has
started at the beginning of September 2009
and has completed several hundred cycles. It is
expected that the testing will be analysed by
the middle of 2010.
No significant differences at 100 and 400ppm
levels have been noticed in the fuel freezing point
with either the manual freezing point method
(ASTM D2386) or any of the automatic methods.
Similar results have been noted regarding the
effect on the water solubility properties.
The testing showed no incompatibility
problems between FAME and approved biocides
or additives (such as anti-icing).
The influence of FAME on microbiological
contamination development (refer to FAST 38)
has also been studied. The impact linked to
concentration (increased up to 400ppm) have
been tested and preliminary conclusions show
it does not have a significant impact to any
additional microbiological development.
The programme includes the FAME material
compatibility with an exhaustive list of materials.
The results of this testing will determine the
clearance of 100ppm due to the impact of FAME
on aircraft systems. If any results are not suitable,
maintenance plans would need to be introduced,
or other contingency measures taken, on a
material by material basis.
Testing results should be available by the end
of 2010.
Due to effects on exposure of the engines
and APUs to high FAME concentration,
further recommendations, as provided by
the appropriate engine and APU
manufacturer, will also need to be applied to
allow the aircraft operation.
Figure 3
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:24 Page 24
23focus spring 11
ASTM International is the industry
organisation that defines the consensus on
fuels. ASTM standards are the minimum
accepted values for properties of the fuel.
AIRBUS recommendations in case of jet fuel
contamination when FAME is detected
In the event of a fuel uplift of jet fuel, where
FAME contamination with a concentration
higher than 5ppm is detected (refer to
paragraph ‘Current testing with FAME in
aviation jet fuels’), then it is advised that Airbus
be contacted for further dispatch.
The dispatch limitations detailed below and the
test requirements are still being refined and
reviewed as further data becomes available
from industry testing.
Operation with aircraft fuel contamination
levels up to 30ppm is allowed at airframe level
for up to two refuels but would require:
■ Samples of fuel to be taken in the aircraft
tanks (sample volume in the order of 5 litres)
■ Confirmation of gauging system operation
(due to potential deposits on the probes)
by verifying the max wet capacitance
values (confirmation of correct gauging),
■ Lack of external fuel leaks.
After the two refuels, if the aircraft fuel is
contaminated with FAME above 5ppm, the
aircraft would then have to be defueled down
to 'unpumpable' before refuelling.
If uplifted fuel still contains more than 30ppm
FAME, then no dispatch will be accepted and
the tanks must be flushed by defuel/refuel
operations. This may involve more than one
defuel/refuel cycle, before the dispatch will be
allowed (refer to figure 3).
FAME current existing measurement methods
One of the current difficulties encountered,
linked to the 5ppm limitation, is the ability to
test for the presence of FAME at this level. Since
5ppm is barely detectable, only very
sophisticated laboratory instruments are able to
detect such levels.
A specially configured gas chromatograph (GCMS method) is currently used as one of the
industry accepted methods for detection. The
development of this test method was
coordinated by the Energy Institute, however, it
is a difficult and expensive process and there are
only a few laboratories in the world which are
able to run this analysis.
One part of the programme, being led by the
Energy Institute, is to develop a rapid detection
method that can be used in the field. One
method, under study, is based upon the Fourier
Transform Infra-Red (FTIR) technology and
might become an adapted method which could
be adopted if a higher FAME limit is introduced.
Globally, there are four means of testing under
development (GCMS, SPE-FTIR, SPE-NMR and
HPLC) to meet the objective to have rapid and
portable means of testing.
Information test methods under development
■ GC-MS method IP PM-DY/09: selective ion
monitoring/scan detection method precision at 5 mg/kg (5ppm)
■ Flow analysis-FTIR rapid screening method
IP PM-DT/09: Flow analysis by Fourier
Transform Infra-Red spectroscopy method precision down to 20 mg/kg (20ppm)
■ HPLC-ELSD method IP PM-DV/09: HPLC
Evaporative light scattering detector method
■ SPE-GC method IP PM-EC/09: Solid phase
extraction and gas chromatography method
Laboratories carrying out the GC-MS
method IP PM-DY/O9 test: for FAME down to
5ppm level
■ Intertek - Sunbury (UK)
■ Intertek - Thurrock (UK)
■ Intertek - Antwerp (Belgium)
■ Intertek - Le Havre (France) Intertek Sydney (Australia)
■ Intertek - Singapore (Singapore) SGS Rotterdam (Netherlands)
■ SGS - Le Havre (France)
■ SGS - Lavera (France)
■ Petrolab - Speyer (Germany)
Due to the increase in the potential of FAME
contamination occurring in jet fuel, above the
currently allowable limit of 5ppm,Airbus is actively
supporting the industry work on several aspects to
minimize the potential impact of higher levels of
FAME contamination.
Areas of research include the increase of the
clearance levels up to 100ppm, the
development of a quick means of field testing
to determine the levels of FAME contamination
and operational recommendations in the event
of uplift of jet fuel contaminated with FAME.
Updates and findings of the research are
documented (Airbus SIL 28-091) and it is
expected that additional recommendations will
be available by the beginning of 2011.
Contact Details
Fuel Systems Engineer
Airbus Customer Services Engineering
Tel: +33 (0)5 61 93 61 98
Fax: +33 (0)5 61 93 36 14
Reprinted with kind permission Airbus FAST 46
August 2010
42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:24 Page 25
focus spring 1124
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42591®Flight Safety iss 82 17/3/11 14:24 Page 26
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