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12 Dicas para Melhorar Operações Noturnas

Fonte: Piloto Policial/ Rotorcraft Pro

 

Como o uso da tecnologia de Sistemas de Visão Noturna (NVIS) continua amadurecendo e crescendo em todos os ramos, gerentes, pilotos e mecânicos devem trabalhar muito para acompanharem as tendências que impactam a gestão operacional e os treinamentos desses sistemas.

 

A Rotorcraft Pro pediu a vários especialistas em treinamento de visão noturna que dessem as suas principais dicas para melhorarmos as operações de helicópteros com NVIS.

 

Aqui estão as 12 dicas dadas pelo Night Flight Concepts, Bell Training Academy e Aviation Specialties Unlimited:

 

1 – Leia, entenda e siga as regras e os regulamentos estabelecidos que governam a posse, o uso e a operação de óculos de visão noturna (NVGs).

 

2 – Identifique alguém responsável por garantir que os inventórios dos NVGs da organização sejam feitos regularmente por números de série, como itens sensíveis, inspecionados para navegabilidade aérea contínua a cada 180 dias e sejam tratados apropriadamente. Recomenda-se identificar as responsabilidades específicas do guardião do NVG por escrito e colocar estas informações nos procedimentos operacionais padrões da organização ou em alguma outra carta de política formal.

 

3 – Desenvolva um programa interno que incentive o compartilhamento de lições aprendidas com todos na organização. Faça anotações sobre os aprendizados e discuta-os em grupos. Aprenda estas lições e desenvolva protocolos tanto para mitigar as ocorrências negativas como para reforçar as positivas.

 

4 – Peque pelo excesso de segurança. Os NVGs não significam um “S” no seu peito. Você não tornará repentinamente o Super-homem (ou a Mulher Maravilha)que salvará o mundo. Se seu cabelo atrás do pescoço estiver arrepiado, confie na sua intuição. Sempre voe com um pé atrás e confirme o que você vê.

 

5 – Reforce o uso adequado de NVGs por meio de treinamentos de qualidade. A organização economizará em reparos excessivos e melhorará a eficiência operacional antecedendo inatividades injustificadas de NVGs devido a falhas de equipamentos.

 

6 – Na relação entre moeda e proficiência, a moeda não se iguala a proficiência. A moeda é uma exigência legal; a proficiência é uma exigência/ capacidade de manter-se vivo. As operadoras devem oferecer apoio às tripulações para que possam manter-se proficientes. Os resultados podem ser catastróficos se as tripulações não forem habilitadas a uma posição de missão.

 

7 – Os NVGs e os conhecimentos técnicos relacionados a eles são altamente regulados pelo Departamento de Estado dos EUA e são considerados “jóias da coroa” pelo Departamento de Defesa dos EUA. De tal forma que qualquer operador de NVGS deva estar ciente dos interesses de segurança nacional dos Estados Unidos e deve proteger, a todo o custo, esse equipamento e os conhecimentos relacionados a ele de caírem nas mãos erradas. Uma boa prática para todos os operadores de NVGs é desenvolver e integrar um plano de controle de tecnologia e estar ciente das violações de exportação não autorizadas.

 

8 – Use todas as luzes a seu favor. Ilumine as áreas das quais você se aproxima quando a acuidade visual estiver baixa. O uso de white landing/farol de busca pode ser muito útil em noites escuras e também pode ser útil ao aproximar de luzes fortes que afetam adversamente os NVGs. Os faróis de busca de pouso podem, na verdade, reduzir os efeitos das luzes fortes.

 

9 – Você deve entender os efeitos das condições ambientais na questão de visibilidade. Saiba como reconhecer quando a visibilidade está diminuindo. Saiba como evitar uma entrada inadvertida por condições meteorológicas por instrumento (IMC) entendendo aqueles itens que indicam perda de visibilidade. Utilize as visões com ajuda e sem ajuda sempre e compare-as umas com as outras.

 

10 – Recuperação de IMC: Não se limite a apenas dizer, mas faça também. (Dito o suficiente!)

 

11 – Entenda e esteja ciente sobre as Instruções para Navegabilidade Aérea Contínua (ICA) associadas com a iluminação dos NVIS. No mínimo, instruções recomendadas para NVIS são fornecidas por RTCA DO-275, caso não exista uma ICA. Um sistema de iluminação de NVIS que funciona adequadamente assegura o desempenho máximo dos NVG e fornece à tripulação a melhor imagem disponível.

 

12 – Mantenha os padrões de desempenho do NVG com o nível mais baixo possível de luz baseado no RCTA D0-275: Padrões de Desempenho Operacionais Mínimos para Equipamentos Integrados de Sistema de Imagem de Visão Noturna. Por conta das melhoras técnicas contínuas em equipamentos NVG, os operadores de NVG devem atualizar constantemente o seu conhecimento, treinamento e implementações operacionais assim como melhorar constantemente os produtos NVG, principalmente nas áreas de desempenho de baixo nível de luz que aumentam a segurança dos voos. Tais áreas de melhoras contínuas estão na resolução/ no contraste aumentado, na resposta ao sistema aumentada (proporção sinal-ruído aumentada), no campo de visão aumentado, melhorando os níveis da qualidade de imagens, e capacidades com um alcance dinâmico mais amplo (operações de níveis de luz mais baixos a mais altos).

New additive to lower aircraft crash impact

Fonte: Business Standard (04/10/2015)

 

Researchers have discovered a new polymeric jet fuel additive that can reduce the intensity of post-impact explosions that occur during airplane crash.

 

Before embarking on a transcontinental journey, jet airplanes fill up with tens of thousands of gallons of fuel. In the event of a crash, such large quantities of fuel increase the severity of an explosion upon impact.

 

Researchers at California Institute of Technology and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have discovered a polymeric fuel additive that can reduce the intensity of post-impact explosions that occur during accidents.

Preliminary results show that the additive can provide this benefit without adversely affecting fuel performance, researchers said.

 

Jet engines compress air and combine it with a fine spray of jet fuel. Ignition of the mixture of air and jet fuel by an electric spark triggers a controlled explosion that thrusts the plane forward.

 

However, the process that distributes the spray of fuel for ignition - known as misting - also causes fuel to rapidly disperse and easily catch fire in the event of an impact.

 

The additive, created in the laboratory of Julia Kornfield, professor of chemical engineering, is a type of polymer - a long molecule made up of many repeating subunits - capped at each end by units that act like Velcro.

 

The individual polymers spontaneously link into ultra-long chains called "megasupramolecules."

 

Megasupramolecules, Kornfield said, have an unprecedented combination of properties that allows them to control fuel misting, improve the flow of fuel through pipelines, and reduce soot formation.

 

Megasupramolecules inhibit misting under crash conditions and permit misting during fuel injection in the engine.

Other polymers have shown these benefits, but have deficiencies that limit their usefulness.

 

The Velcro-like units at the ends of the individual chains simply reconnect when they meet, effectively "healing" the megasupramolecules.

 

When added to fuel, megasupramolecules dramatically affect the flow behaviour even when the polymer concentration is too low to influence other properties of the liquid.

 

When an impact occurs, the supramolecules spring into action. The supramolecules spend most of their time coiled up in a compact conformation.

 

When there is a sudden elongation of the fluid, however, the polymer molecules stretch out and resist further elongation.

This stretching allows them to inhibit the breakup of droplets under impact conditions - thus reducing the size of explosions - as well as to reduce turbulence in pipelines.

New effort launches to cut TFR violations

Fonte: Aopa (29/09/2015)

 

AOPA is working with the military, government agencies, and providers of flight planning services in a stepped-up effort to help general aviation pilots avoid violating temporary flight restrictions (TFRs).

 

Concern about the rate of TFR violations led NORAD Commander Adm. Bill Gortney to reach out to AOPA in advance of the association’s recent regional fly-in at the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport in Colorado for help in expanding channels of distribution of TFR information and intercept procedures.

 

AOPA President Mark Baker; Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of operations and international affairs; and George Perry, senior vice president of the Air Safety Institute, met with NORAD leadership and representatives from several government agencies to discuss ways to help cut the number of TFR violations by GA pilots. One question raised by NORAD was whether major flight planning providers would be open to making AOPA’s TFR avoidance and intercept procedures available as a download.

 

“That seems like a reasonable request. Let me see what we can do,” Perry responded to NORAD.

 

AOPA then reached out to several major flight planning providers and posed the question. Flight planning app provider ForeFlight and aviation technology leader Garmin were the first to respond, and agreed to work on a solution.

AOPA is working with the military, government agencies, and flight planning service providers to help general aviation pilots avoid violating temporary flight restrictions.“Action on the problem literally happened within an hour of the meeting,” Perry said.

 

Since Sept. 28, ForeFlight has made available for download the NORAD TFR avoidance and intercept procedures card. The one-page kneeboard card informs pilots how to check for TFRs during preflight planning, directs them to other planning resources, and presents the intercept procedures used by NORAD and the FAA—including how an intercepted pilot is expected to respond. On Sept. 28 ForeFlight also released a blog update notifying subscribers that the information is now available.

Garmin informed AOPA that it would include the information in a future release of Garmin Pilot.

 

“This really is a win-win,” said Perry. “AOPA’s Air Safety Institute focuses not only on keeping pilots safe, but also helping them stay out of trouble. Flight planning providers' willingness to respond quickly and incorporate this information was just phenomenal!

 

“No GA pilot deliberately flies through a TFR, but it still happens about 500 times per year. Through making information available and having everyone (NORAD, AOPA, and flight planning providers) work together, we believe it will help decrease the the frequency of TFR violations.”

 

AOPA also provides several tools to help, including a TFR email alert system and flight planning tools. “Having ForeFlight and Garmin make information more readily available to pilots is a good thing.” Perry said. “The world has changed for GA since 9/11. As pilots we have to do our part to keep the skies safe.”

 

Perry also noted that trends in TFR violations may vary but the underlying reasons are often the same. “A typical TFR violation involves a pilot who has not performed adequate preflight planning, who is flying under VFR, not using radar flight following, and without such in-cockpit aids as a portable tablet equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast In information.”

 

“Enhancing the availability for pilots to access TFR and safety data should increase the likelihood that a bad situation can be avoided,” said Baker. “It’s great when AOPA’s Safety and Government Affairs divisions are able work so closely with the military and commercial vendors to find commonsense, simple solutions that improve safety.”

Runway Risk: How to Cut the Hazards

Fonte: Flying Magazine

 

On Sept. 29, 2013, a Cessna Citation CJ2 landing at Santa Monica Airport near Los Angeles suddenly veered off the runway and crashed through a hangar, bursting into flames and killing all aboard.

 

Three months later, on Jan. 5, 2014, the pilots of a Challenger 601 landing with a strong, gusting tailwind in Aspen, Colorado, lost control and crashed next to the runway, killing one of the crew members and critically injuring two others.

Then, this past May 31, a Gulfstream IV departing Hanscom Field outside Boston failed to rotate on takeoff and careened off the end of the runway before crashing in flames in a field, killing the crew and all three passengers.

 

While safety educators have placed increasing emphasis in recent years on runway incursions, defined as incidents in which airplanes come into conflict with other aircraft or vehicles on the ground, there is a growing realization that pilots aren't receiving adequate training for runway excursions — which, although they occur less frequently, are far more likely to lead to serious injuries or fatalities.

 

How do you train for something that happens so rarely — and for which a pilot's actions immediately after the excursion has started might not make much difference in what happens next anyway?

 

Nightmare Scenario

Based on the details that have come to light so far, the Hanscom Gulfstream crash is especially troubling. While the accident investigation has only just started, what we do know is the crew was probably facing a serious, almost unfathomable mechanical problem. At about 9:40 p.m., the pilots swung the big private jet onto Hanscom's Runway 11 and smoothly advanced the power, catapulting the airplane down the runway for what should have been a routine flight. What happened next was anything but routine.

 

As the speed built, the pilot in the right seat made the rote call-outs that seasoned corporate and airline pilots practice and execute time and again, until it's second nature. "V1," he said, followed a moment later by "Rotate." This is one of the most critical times in any flight. If something goes wrong now, the pilots must react instantly, relying on their training, instinct and hopefully a good pre-departure briefing to handle the emergency safely.

 

But the Gulfstream crew never trained for this. The pilot in the left seat, with his hands wrapped around the yoke, pulled back to raise the nose into the air — and found that he couldn't. For some reason, the controls were jammed. The pilots quickly discussed the problem and sprang into action. By this point the airplane had reached a speed of 165 knots, hurtling toward the end of the runway. According to information gleaned from the flight data recorders, the pilots pulled the power levers into full reverse thrust and stood on the brakes. But it was too late.

 

The Gulfstream departed the end of the 7,011-foot-long runway at a speed of more than 100 knots. The landing gear dug into the soft earth and collapsed as the jet's momentum carried it for another 1,800 feet before finally coming to an abrupt stop in a ball of flames.

 

In its preliminary report the National Transportation Safety Board noted that the elevator was deflected downward during taxi and the takeoff roll, as if the Gulfstream's mechanical gust lock were engaged. Investigators also found that the flap handle was in the 10-degree detent, but that the crew had set the flaps to 20 degrees for the takeoff. It's not clear what roles, if any, these anomalies might have played in the crash, but investigators did note the pilots never performed a control check prior to departure as called for on the GIV's checklist.

 

Managing the Risks

Just because the pilots were unprepared for the emergency doesn't mean this tragedy could not have been prevented. Recognizing the danger of runway excursions and the fact that they can be unavoidable, the FAA designates Runway Safety Areas (RSA) at many airports as a way to increase the margin of safety in the event of an overrun or veer-off. RSAs also provide easier access to the crash scene for emergency first responders.

 

At airports built before the FAA began recognizing the special hazards of runway excursions, the agency has been installing EMAS (Engineered Material Arresting System) beds composed of high-energy-absorbing concrete blocks similar in concept to the emergency truck ramps made of sand on mountain roads. These beds are being installed at runway ends to stop jets from traveling beyond the RSA. To date, EMAS beds have been installed at 47 U.S. airports, with another 15 scheduled to receive them before the end of next year.

 

So far the EMAS beds have stopped nine airplanes from overrunning runways, with no reported serious injuries or fatalities. The most recent happened just days after the deadly Santa Monica Citation crash when the EMAS bed at West Palm Beach, Florida, stopped a Citation Sovereign overrun that very well could have led to fatalities.

 

While EMAS beds were initially installed at large commercial hubs, more recently they have been appearing at smaller airports, including some of the newest coming to Ohio's Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport, Trenton-Mercer Airport in New Jersey and Elmira-Corning Airport in upstate New York. If you're wondering whether your home airport or an airport you fly into has an EMAS bed, its location and size would be specified on the airport diagram and the FAA maintains a list on its website.

 

Unsettling Data

Some of the facts and figures surrounding runway excursions might surprise you. For instance, excursions usually happen in good weather when the runway surface is dry, even though a wet runway and darkness ratchet up the risk. An excursion on takeoff is less likely than one on landing, but it's far more dangerous, resulting in many times the injuries and fatalities.

Overall, from 1995 through 2010, there were more fatalities worldwide caused by runway excursions than either loss of control or controlled flight into terrain. Most troubling of all is the fact that even though only 10 percent of runway excursions in this 15-year time frame were fatal, these crashes accounted for an astonishing 1,121 deaths.

 

Obviously a runway excursion involving a large corporate jet or airliner is going to draw a lot of attention, but overruns and veer-offs are an even bigger safety problem in light general aviation. The four major factors leading to runway excursions for all types of operations are excessive speed on approach, strong wind, incorrect threshold crossing height and improper braking. What's so unnerving about runway excursions is that there's often very little time to react. The sequence of events leading to an offshoot or overrun can happen seemingly without warning.

 

"A crosswind coupled with a wet runway, for example, is a recipe for a runway excursion," says Al Gorthy, assistant manager of the FAA's central region runway safety office. "But the fact is there are not many predictors."

 

Gorthy, who has been holding a series of runway excursion safety seminars around the country, says those occurring during landing are easier to predict, but he agrees that by the time the pilot gets himself into the situation leading to the excursion it's often too late to do much if anything about it. Something to keep in mind during takeoff or landing when runway excursion risk factors exist is that multiple risks, such as a wet runway combined with a strong crosswind, will more than double the risk, he says

 

Excursion Red Flags

According to studies of runway excursions by the Flight Safety Foundation and International Civil Aviation Organization, clear risk patterns have emerged. On takeoff in a jet, for example, the biggest danger is in trying to reject a takeoff too late in the takeoff roll. The go/no-go decision really needs to be made before V1, experts say. A whopping 45 percent of takeoff excursions occur when the pilots try to stop after reaching V1. That's because by the time pilots reach V1, realize it and begin reacting to the emergency, the airplane is already traveling much faster.

 

Red flags on approach, meanwhile, include failing to recognize the need to perform a go-around. Our built-in "normalcy bias," Gorthy notes, prevents us from preparing for an event that so rarely happens, causing many pilots to decide subconsciously they are going to land no matter what. "Runway excursions often come with warnings, but you must listen for the signs to know what they are," he said.

 

General aviation pilots, and even bizjet crews, are much more likely to fall into the trap of not conducting a go-around when prudent, Gorthy adds. The reasons for this aren't clearly understood, but it could be the mindset among certain pilots to always finish an approach with a landing, or a company culture that implies "we don't do go-arounds." GA pilots may also lack the procedures and training so prevalent in the airline world, where if an approach is unstabilized, the crew is taught to immediately initiate a go-around.

 

The whole world, of course, saw what happens if an airline crew fails to recognize the symptoms of a botched approach when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco International Airport in July 2013. The captain flying the approach became confused about the Boeing 777's automated systems. Perhaps affected by the fatigue of a long, intercontinental flight, the crew initiated a go-around far too late to prevent the jetliner's tail from striking a seawall short of the runway and cartwheeling on the runway, killing three passengers.

 

A big lesson here is that one of the first steps we can take to prevent a runway excursion is to avoid the missteps that can lead to them in the first place. Failing that, we should follow a time-tested mantra of military pilots: Hit the softest, cheapest thing you can find as slowly as possible. It's not a joke, either. As you may know, at high speeds impact forces increase by the square of velocity.

 

When to Go Around

If we're going to mitigate the risks of landing excursions that result from an unstabilized approach, our whole thought process concerning landings needs to change, experts say. We really need to be thinking about an unstable approach as a malfunction, Gorthy advises. It's a failure situation for which there is no published checklist. When an approach deteriorates to the point that we can no longer say with confidence that it is stable, it's often too late to fix it. It's time to push the power up and go around.

 

What constitutes an unstabilized approach? The answers will vary from airplane to airplane and pilot to pilot, but generally an approach becomes unstabilized when our speed, descent rate and/or vertical/lateral flight path fall outside of expected norms. Generally, an approach is considered stable when the aircraft is on the correct flight path; only small changes in heading/pitch are required to stay on path; speed isn't more than VREF+20 or below VREF; and sink rate isn't greater than 1,000 feet per minute. If an approach becomes unstabilized below 1,000 feet in IMC or below 500 feet in VMC, it's time to execute an immediate go-around.

 

That all sounds good in theory, but in the real world pilots too often allow parameters to fall well outside these numbers as they vainly try to coax and cajole their aircraft back on course. According to a Flight Safety Foundation study released last year, 96 percent of unstabilized approaches flown by nonairline crews never lead to the initiation of a go-around. Instead, pilots try to fix things, literally on the fly.

 

Besides failing to recognize the need to go around, the biggest risk factors for a runway excursion during landing include touching down long, approaching too fast or too high, and touching down hard, accident statistics show.

 

While these can all result from flying an unstabilized approach, very often the fault can lie with an air traffic controller who gave us that "slam-dunk" arrival from a higher than expected altitude. Here's the simple truth about ATC that you may or may not have come to realize: A controller may not know enough about the characteristics of individual airplanes to understand whether an instruction he gives you is going to be 100 percent compatible with our performance in every instance. All he knows is that he needs us lower, he needs us faster, and he needs both right now.

 

In fact, a report by the Flight Safety Foundation found that many controllers lack an awareness of the importance of stabilized approaches; they often fail to allow aircraft to fly appropriate approach speeds; they don't always assign the proper runway based on wind speed and direction; they sometimes make late runway changes inside the final approach fix; and they sometimes fail to pass on runway condition information and wind conditions. As a result, the FAA has become more proactive through training about making controllers aware that there are vast differences between the capabilities of a C-130 and a C-150.

 

Know Your Stuff

That said, controllers are trained from day one to assign published arrival procedures and keep speeds realistic. In the real world, ATC may have to delay your descent because of crossing traffic, give you an unexpected or shortened final approach, or assign a landing runway with a strong crosswind or a tailwind. It's your job as pilot in command to refuse any clearance that you feel is beyond the capabilities of your airplane, or of yourself as the captain of your ship, for that matter.

 

This, of course, leads us into a discussion of understanding the performance of our airplanes inside and out. After all, if we don't know the capabilities of our aircraft, can we really expect controllers to? How well do you know your airplane? For example, how much longer will you land if you touch down at VREF+10 versus at VREF? How will a wet runway combined with a tailwind impact your ability to stay on the runway? How will a hot day coupled with a heavy load of passengers and fuel affect your ability to take off from a short runway? These are all questions we need to know the answers to long before we're sitting in the left seat trying to decide whether to accept the controller's slam-dunk descent clearance or an approach to a different runway that will require a 45-degree banked turn to the left.

 

According to the Flight Safety Foundation, one way the FAA and manufacturers could assist pilots is by creating standardized takeoff and landing data for all aircraft and all runway conditions, as well as rethinking how runway condition reports are created and disseminated.

 

We can help ourselves, meanwhile, through better preflight planning. For instance, if we know it'll be raining at our destination and the winds are forecast to be strong, maybe we can choose to land at another nearby airport with longer runways. Planning for the landing, after all, really should begin well before the takeoff so we're aware, say, of whether the runway has a VASI or precision approach, if there is an adverse runway slope that could impact performance, and whether terrain or obstacles might necessitate a steeper than normal approach.

 

Finally, keep in mind that while automation such as an autopilot can be a fantastic tool to lighten your workload, an airplane with an abundance of technology can be flown like a regular airplane too if need be. If the automation isn't doing what you anticipated, or if you become confused about what it's doing, immediately revert to flying by stick, rudder and throttle.

You might not be able to prevent every imaginable scenario that could lead to a runway excursion — such as a blown tire or a deer running across your landing path — but with some forethought about possible scenarios, proper preflight planning and adequate training, you should be able to cut your risk by a comfortable margin.

Voando pelas Nuvens: Controlando Ofuscamento e Obscurecimento Parcial

Fonte: AOPA Hover Power/ Piloto Policial

 

Quando estou pousando helicópteros em condições visuais obscurecidas, utilizo duas técnicas que têm funcionado bem para mim ao longo dos anos.  Independente do distúrbio no ar provocado pelo rotor levantar a terra solta e causar um obscurecimento parcial ou levantar a neve e causar um ofuscamento, as técnicas utilizadas para mitigar a visão obscurecida são parecidas.  Embora seja melhor evitar estas condições alocando um pessoal em solo para recolher a neve, umidificar a área empoeirada ou até encontrar uma outra área de pouso, há maneiras de administrar o risco.

 

A menos que você tenha um helicóptero com rodas e uma superfície para um pouso seguro, provavelmente precisará de pousar com velocidade zero em relação ao solo. Isto pode ser feito com segurança utilizando uma dessas técnicas, sem correr o risco de perder as referências visuais e basicamente entrar em Condições Meteorológicas por Instrumentos (IMC) em um voo pairado.

 

A Aproximação Rasante

A aproximação rasante é o meu método preferido em terrenos mais planos e grandes áreas sem obstruções.

Antes de discutir a aproximação por si só, o “ponto de contato do distúrbio no ar provocado pelo rotor” deve ser entendido. Este é o ponto onde o distúrbio no ar se encontra com o solo e a visão torna-se obscurecida. A sua posição, relativa à aeronave, é uma função da velocidade da aeronave em relação à massa de ar, da inclinação do disco do rotor e dos ventos de superfície.

 

Todas essas variáveis influenciam onde no solo o obscurecimento se formará e onde se acumulará depois de ser formado. Por exemplo, a redução da velocidade em relação ao ar ou a mudança do controle cíclico em direção à cauda mudarão o ponto de contato do distúrbio no ar para mais perto e para uma posição mais abaixo da aeronave. O piloto pode controlar a posição da nuvem causadora do obscurecimento administrando a velocidade em relação ao ar e a posição do disco do rotor em relação à proa/ cauda.

 

À medida que a aproximação é feita, permita à aeronave diminuir a velocidade gradualmente à medida que você se aproxima da área de pouso.  Ao olhar para o lado, você verá a nuvem causadora do obscurecimento acompanhando por trás à medida que você diminui a velocidade. Deixe o arrasto natural da aeronave causar a diminuição da velocidade e não, a mudança do controle cíclico em direção à cauda. Qualquer uso do controle cíclico em direção à cauda moverá rapidamente para a frente o ponto de contato do distúrbio no ar provocado pelo rotor e, assim, a nuvem causadora do obscurecimento.

 

Com a prática, é possível realizar uma aproximação rasante ao seu exato local de pouso sem controle cíclico em direção à cauda, resultando em um pouso com o obscurecimento alcançando exatamente a área do mastro. Uma advertência, porém: é preciso estar certo da sua área de pouso; este não é o momento para um pouso em declive ou para dúvidas quanto à adequação da área para o pouso. O procedimento é pousar assim que a velocidade da aeronave em relação ao solo alcançar zero, sem jamais ter a inclinação do disco do rotor à cauda da horizontal.

 

O vento pode ser benéfico ou prejudicial, portanto certifique-se de fazer a aproximação no vento, mesmo que esteja somente a alguns nós. O vento contrário ajudará a manter o obscurecimento à cauda tanto quanto possível e ajudará a reduzir a velocidade do helicóptero em relação ao solo a zero sem controle cíclico em direção à cauda. Se o vento for forte você pode até conseguir pairar, mantendo a nuvem à cauda.

 

Se houver necessidade de reduzir a velocidade um pouco mais rápido durante a aproximação, use um pedal pequeno para sair das condições do ângulo de voo e aumentar o arrasto. Se eu estiver em um voo solo usarei o mesmo pedal do lado no qual me sento para ter uma visão melhor da nuvem causadora do obscurecimento atrás. Se houver outra pessoa a bordo, usarei o pedal oposto para que eu possa ver melhor a área de pouso, enquanto a outra pessoa observa a nuvem.

 

Para fins de treinamento, já voei sobre um campo nevoso a 50 pés e pratiquei a passagem da nuvem nevosa causadora do obscurecimento da proa à cauda, utilizando o controle cíclico, mas sempre mantendo-a atrás. Com a prática, você consegue posicioná-la e mantê-la exatamente onde quer à medida que faz a sua aproximação. Pense nisto como se estivesse voando dois objetos, o helicóptero e a nuvem.

 

A Aproximação Íngreme

Esta é uma boa técnica quando a área não permite uma aproximação rasante, quando há incertezas sobre a área de pouso propriamente dita ou quando há um fundamento sólido de terra ou neve bem embaixo do material solto.  Esta técnica realmente necessita de um desempenho maior por parte da aeronave do que a técnica de aproximação rasante e um período de tempo prolongado pairando fora do efeito de solo. Realisticamente falando, utilizo essa técnica cerca de 80 porcento das vezes e a técnica de aproximação rasante aproximadamente 20 porcento.

 

Faça uma aproximação lenta e íngreme à sua área de pouso, mantendo a velocidade de descida a menos de 300 pés por minuto; assentando considerando a potência. Conclua com um voo pairado, tipicamente entre 20 e 100 pés, no primeiro sinal de uma condição visual obscurecida formando na superfície.

 

A altura que isto acontece é um bom indicador do potencial do obscurecimento. (Eu tinha uma regra geral quando voava um EMS à noite: qualquer coisa acima de 75 pés era inaceitável e optaria por outro LZ.) Mantenha o voo pairado à medida que o obscurecimento se dissipe. Se houver um fundamento sólido abaixo da terra solta ou neve, a situação vai melhorar. Ajuste a sua altitude à medida que houver necessidade para permanecer em cima e livre da condição visual obscurecida. Em condições sem vento, pode ser necessário alguns minutos para o obscurecimento se dissipar.

 

Se o obscurecimento se dissipar e você acreditar que pode pousar com segurança, tente achar um objeto bem perto do seu local de pouso para usá-lo como referência visual, preferencialmente apenas a alguns pés em frente de você ao lado direito. Pode ser uma rocha, um arbusto, um galho; qualquer coisa que não possa ser levada pelo vento. Se o distúrbio no ar provocado pelo rotor inesperadamente levantar mais terra ou neve durante o pouso, esta pode ser a sua única referência para controlar o helicóptero.

 

Se alguma vez você se encontrar em condições de voo por instrumentos durante um voo pairado devido a uma desorientação em função de terra ou neve em suspensão, você tem basicamente duas opções não muito boas. Se ainda estiver bem acima do solo, puxe a potência ao máximo e torça para voar fora da condição visual obscurecida sem perder o controle ou se estiver próximo ao solo, abaixe o controle coletivo e torça para pousar sem rolar o helicóptero. Esteja seguro e lembre-se: é melhor usar o seu excelente discernimento, evitando a necessidade de usar as suas excelentes habilidades.

FAA warns against bizjet drone encounters

Fonte: Ain Online (24/08/2015)

 

Pilots from NetJets, XOJet, JetSuite and numerous other business aircraft operators are among those who have reported drone sightings over the last 10 months, according to a new list of reports of potential unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) encounters released by the FAA on Friday. Release of the report, which details sightings from Nov. 13, 2014, to Aug. 20, 2015, followed an August 20 Washington Post article citing a lack of available data on the encounters. The FAA earlier this month reported drone sightings had skyrocketed from a total 238 in all of 2014 to 650 through early August this year.

 

In releasing the latest report, the FAA reiterated it “wants to send a clear message that operating drones around airplanes and helicopters is dangerous and illegal.” The list contained 765 entries, including reports from pilots of small general aviation aircraft, helicopters, business aircraft and large airliners.

 

In a May, an operator of Gulfstream (identified as a GLF5) reported seeing a UAS pass 100 feet below their aircraft in Santa Ana, Calif. In a July incident, a Novajet Learjet 45 and NetJets Hawker 800 pilot each “encountered” a UAS at 2,000 feet outside of Teterboro Airport. Meanwhile, in late June, an XOJet Challenger 300 pilot reported a “near midair” with a UAS at 2,100 feet on final to Runway 28 at Traverse City, Mich. Also, a JetSuite Phenom 100 pilot spotted a UAS at 1,000 feet about two miles from San Jose Airport in California.

The art of instrument approaches - 7 tips for proficient flying

Fonte: Air Facts

 

Instrument training is demanding, but at its most basic the goal is quite simple: keep the wings level and the needles crossed. Do that a few times with an examiner and you can pass the checkride. But if your goal is to use your instrument rating for real (and do it safely), there’s a lot more to consider.

 

As usual, it’s the little things that count, and many of them aren’t found in the FAA textbooks. Do them all and instrument flying becomes a safe, smooth and downright graceful experience – more art than science. Do none of them and you still might find the runway, but the safety margins will be awfully thin.

 

Instrument approach G1000

 

You found the runway – but the work isn’t over.

 

Here are seven of my favorite tips for better IFR approaches.

 

1. Be comfortable at the final approach fix or go missed. Descending from the final approach fix towards the runway is a critical time in the life of an instrument pilot, since you are deliberately flying low to the ground without any visual references. Before you cross that fix and start the descent, take a deep breath and be absolutely certain that all is well. Are the avionics set up just right? Do you know your MDA or DH? Are the needles reasonably steady? Do you feel like you’re in control of the situation? If the answer is no to any of these questions, execute the missed approach and get things squared away before trying it again. It’s far easier and safer to go around at 3000 ft. than 300 ft.

 

2. Have a heading hypothesis and test it – don’t chase needles. When you’re flying an instrument approach, ultimately the goal is to keep the needles crossed, but the polished instrument pilot doesn’t blindly chase the gauges. Instead, he will start the approach with a hypothesis in mind: “given the strong wind from the west, I’m going to start with a 15 degree wind correction to the right of the 190 inbound course.” He will fly that heading and see what the result is, then adjust his hypothesis given the new evidence. Too much of a correction? Try cutting that angle in half. This approach is subtly different compared to the needle chaser, but it’s supremely important when the weather really stinks. Fly a heading you think will work, and observe the trend – you’ll learn a lot.

 

3. Make small heading changes with rudder only. Inside the final approach fix, most heading corrections are small (see above). If you’re only taking out 5 degrees of crab angle, try a little rudder pressure instead of rolling into a bank, then rolling out. Most airplanes respond quite well to this trick, it’s more stable and it will prevent you from over-controlling. This is especially true as you get close to the runway on an ILS – a one dot correction is tiny.

 

4. Know your profiles. This goes right along with the advice about having a heading in mind before you start the approach: don’t chase airspeed and sink rate. Instead, you should know the profile ahead of time (power setting, flaps/gear configuration, sink rate and airspeed) for both a non-precision approach and a precision approach. Start with that known profile, then adjust as needed. Strong headwind today? Add an inch of manifold pressure or 100 RPM. But don’t be a throttle jockey.

 

RNAV approach minimums

 

MDA or DH? Make sure you know before you start down.

 

5. Brief every approach – even if it’s to yourself. 400 ft. AGL is no place to be reading an approach plate. Take the time in cruise to read over the chart and memorize (or at least highlight) important numbers: minimums, missed approach procedure and minimum safe altitude. This is especially true for WAAS approaches, where the type of minimum (precision approach with a DA or non-precision with an MDA) is critically important. If you have a co-pilot or passenger, talk this through with your right seater. If not, brief yourself out loud.

 

6. When you break out, do nothing for a second. After a well-executed approach, there’s no better feeling than seeing the runway lights emerge from the gray. But many pilots get so excited at the sight that they duck under the glide path and get perilously close to trees or other obstacles. It’s a hard reaction to fight, so the best advice is to do nothing for just a second. If you flew a good approach, your airplane should be on glide path and on speed – so why mess with it?

 

7. Practice missed approaches – after using the autopilot. Lots of pilots practice flying missed approaches, but most often this is after a hand flown approach. A more realistic scenario is one where the autopilot flies the approach but you have to take the controls at minimums when you start the missed approach (most autopilots won’t fly a coupled go around). Do you know how your autopilot reacts? Do you know what it feels like to punch off the autopilot and start hand flying at low level? It’s worth practicing.

 

There are dozens of other “little tips” that go into a perfect instrument flight, from a thoughtful weather briefing to smooth level-offs. But it’s the approach where things matter most.

If you're a GA pilot, here's a pro tip that could save your life

Fonte: Forbes (04/08/2015)

 

The FAA and general aviation community have launched a “Fly Safe” summer flying campaign to focus on the leading cause of accidents among private pilots.  With 450 people killed annually, the general aviation accident rate has remained stubbornly high, with loss of control accidents being the leading cause.  According to the FAA, a loss of control accident often happens because the aircraft “enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelope and may quickly develop into a stall or spin.”  Recovering from an unexpected stall or spin can be very difficult especially for a pilot without a lot of flight time or without a lot of recent experience handling stalls or spins.

 

Contributing factors can include ” poor judgment/aeronautical decision making, failure to recognize an aerodynamic stall or spin and execute corrective action, intentional regulatory non-compliance, low pilot time in aircraft make and model, lack of piloting ability, failure to maintain airspeed, failure to follow procedure, pilot inexperience and proficiency, or the use of over-the-counter drugs that impact pilot performance.”  Often times, the emergency situation that leads to the loss of control could have been prevented if the flight’s potential hazards and safety risks had been adequately assessed before take off.

 

Which brings me to this month’s pro tip from the FAA and its Flying Safe campaign partners, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the National Business Aviation Association: utilizing so called FRATs, Flight Risk Assessment Tools.  These decisionmaking tools are used routinely by commercial aviation entities to help them decide in a structured, data-driven manner what a flight’s risks are and whether, if they are too high, they can be mitigated sufficiently to allow for a safe flight.  Links to FRATs developed by the FAA, AOPA and NBAA are listed here.  So if you’re a GA pilot, you can use one of these FRATs to help you make the go/no go decision each and every time you fly.  And possibly save your – and your passengers – lives.

 

According to the FAA, “using a FRAT to put everything on paper allows you to graphically depict risk limits free from the pressure of an impending flight or maintenance task. It also provides perspective on the entire risk picture and sets the stage for managing risk through proactive mitigation strategies that are documented. There are many FRAT options available for mobile devices and apps for flight planning, weather briefing, and flight monitoring/tracking. More robust, complex apps can also help you think through a more complete range of hazards and risk factors.”  The most important aspect of the tool, I believe from my years of investigating GA accidents and their causes, is that it gives you a systematized approach in which “you will create realistic, numerical thresholds that trigger additional levels of scrutiny prior to a go/no go decision for the flight.”  The FRAT should have three possible score ranges:

 

Green: ready to fly.

Yellow: caution, mitigation of some high-risk items advisable.

Red: no-go.

 

So if you fly as a private pilot, definitely look into using a FRAT before each and every flight.  And if you’re married to a GA pilot, make sure he or she is aware of these tools and encourage their use.

Reporte de ocorrência entre aeronaves e animais ajuda a prevenir acidentes

Fonte: Revista Flap (27/07/2015)

 

O Centro de Prevenção e Investigação de Acidentes Aeronáuticos (CENIPA) registrou em 2014 mais de 4 mil incidentes envolvendo animais e aeronaves no Brasil. O registro das ocorrências, reportadas por operadores de aeronaves, aeródromos e controladores de tráfego aéreo, contribui para a avaliação do risco da fauna e norteia as ações de prevenção de acidentes.

 

Estima-se que somente uma em cada quatro colisões com fauna no Brasil seja efetivamente reportada. No Brasil, todas as ocorrências envolvendo aeronaves e animais, como colisão, quase colisão e avistamentos, devem ser reportadas ao CENIPA e os casos são tratados como incidentes aeronáuticos.

 

As informações reportadas são uma espécie de raio-x do problema em cada aeródromo, porém, devem ser complementadas com dados coletados in loco. O material funciona como guia para que os problemas sejam resolvidos ou minimizados. O CENIPA oferece o serviço para nortear as ações preventivas, que devem ser feitas pelos próprios operadores de aeródromos, de aeronaves, de controle de tráfego aéreo, além dos mecânicos de aeronaves.

 

No caso específico do risco de fauna, as informações servem ainda para que o Comando da Aeronáutica (COMAER) participe do processo de licenciamento ambiental de empreendimentos dentro da Área de Segurança Aeroportuária (ASA) de aeródromos, emitindo o parecer aeronáutico. Este parecer determina se a iniciativa, sob o ponto de vista do setor aéreo, oferece ou não risco à aviação.

ANAC: Região de Informação de Voo (FIR) Accra, África

Fonte: ANAC (20/07/2015)

 

Levando em consideração a recente publicação da Agência para Segurança da Navegação Aérea da África e Madagascar (ASECNA) em nome de Benin e Togo, do Suplemento AIP 51/A/15GO, efetivo a partir de 25 de junho de 2015, promulgando uma mudança no arranjo do espaço aéreo dentro da FIR Accra, que está sob responsabilidade de Gana, e a intenção daqueles países em prover serviços de tráfego aéreo (ATS) dentro de uma porção deste mesmo espaço aéreo, a ANAC chama a atenção para a existência de riscos à segurança de voos civis internacionais.

 

De 13 a 15 de julho, a OACI realizou uma reunião de coordenação com os Estados envolvidos, e com efeito imediato, ficou definido que o serviço ATS sobre o espaço aéreo marítimo dentro da FIR Accra e sobre territórios de Gana serão providos pela Autoridade de Aviação Civil de Gana (GCAA). Ainda, o serviço ATS sobre os territórios de Benin e Togo serão providos pela agência ASECNA, em nome dos países Benin e Togo. Procedimentos de coordenação, inclusive cartas de procedimentos entre a GCAA e a ASECNA dentro da FIR Accra serão ativados em 28 de julho de 2015 às 00h01UTC. Procedimentos de coordenação entre a ASECNA e o provedor de tráfego aéreo na FIR Kano, a agência Nigeriana NAMA, foram ativados em 16 de julho de 2015 às 00h01UTC.

 

A ANAC solicita a devida atenção, em especial a operadores da Aviação Geral e Executiva, na avaliação de riscos à segurança de voo ao realizar planejamento de voo dentro da FIR Accra.

Alert for use of materials not designed for aircraft

Fonte: Ain Online (07/07/2015)

 

When the forecast calls for high summer temperatures it is tempting to keep the inside of your aircraft cabin as cool as possible. But Glenn Heil, director of aftermarket sales for an aerospace company, cautions against using materials not designed for aircraft because they might cause a bigger headache than they’re worth.

 

According to Heil, most of the windows manufactured for pressurized aircraft are constructed from a material known as stretched acrylic. Part of the manufacturing process includes heating the acrylic material to a pliable melting temperature of more than 230 degrees and pulling it in all directions (stretched) to about three times its original size. The acrylic is then cooled, machined and polished to correct optical standards. The process greatly increases strength and rigidity, making the material ideal for aircraft windows. However, once installed if it gets too hot it will try to shrink back to its original shape.

 

“To avoid mistakes like this we would like to point out some things to avoid using on your aircraft windows. While it might seem like a great idea at first, automotive window tint was not designed for aircraft windows; it could cause your windows to absorb excessive heat to the point of shrinking back to its original size. If the window is clamped in it could fall out of the aircraft. Some windows are fastened in and when the material starts to shrink all it can do is tear. Another problem with automotive window tint is that it is designed to be applied over glass; the adhesive that is used on the tint could have an adverse effect on the acrylic, leading to premature failure,” Heil said.

Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control Accidents

Fonte: Ain Online/ FAA (06/07/2015)

 

The FAA and general aviation (GA) groups’ #Fly Safe national safety campaign aims to educate the GA community on how to prevent Loss of Control (LOC) accidents this flying season.

 

What is Loss of Control (LOC)?

A Loss of Control (LOC) accident involves an unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight. LOC can happen because the aircraft enters a flight regime that is outside its normal flight envelope and may quickly develop into a stall or spin. It can introduce an element of surprise for the pilot. Contributing factors may include: poor judgment/aeronautical decision making, failure to recognize an aerodynamic stall or spin and execute corrective action, intentional regulatory non-compliance, low pilot time in aircraft make and model, lack of piloting ability, failure to maintain airspeed, failure to follow procedure, pilot inexperience and proficiency, or the use of over-the-counter drugs that impact pilot performance.

 

Did you know?

Approximately 450 people are killed each year in GA accidents. Loss of Control is the number one cause of these accidents.

Loss of Control happens in all phases of flight. It can happen anywhere and at any time.

There is one fatal accident involving LOC every four days.

 

Message from FAA Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker:

The FAA and industry are working together to prevent Loss of Control accidents and save lives. You can help make a difference by joining our Fly Safe campaign! Each month on faa.gov we’re providing pilots with a Loss of Control solution developed by the team of experts. They have studied the data and developed solutions – some of which are already reducing risk. We hope you will join us in this effort, and spread the word. I know that we can reduce these accidents by working together as a community.

 

Current topic: Managing Unexpected Events

 

What is an unexpected event?

Unexpected events – especially those occurring close to the ground – require rapid appropriate action. However, humans are subject to a “startle response” when faced with an unexpected emergency situation and may delay or initiate inappropriate action in response to an emergency.  Examples of situations which can catch a pilot by surprise:

partial or full loss of engine power after takeoff

landing gear fails to retract after takeoff, or fails to extend when ready to land

bird strike

control problems or failures

 

Did you know?

Fatal general aviation accidents often result from inappropriate responses to unexpected events.  Loss of aircraft control is a common factor in accidents that would have been survivable if control had been maintained throughout the emergency. In some cases, pilot skill and knowledge have not been developed to prepare for the emergency. In other cases, an initial inappropriate reaction begins a chain of events that leads to an accident.

 

Unexpected events often happen close to the ground or during a transition from one configuration or phase of flight to another. There may be no time to use a checklist. A pilot has a much better chance of success if he or she thinks about the abnormal event ahead of time. Practice and preparation can improve a pilot’s reaction time.

 

What can GA pilots do to best manage an unexpected event?

Don’t let an unexpected event become an unexpected emergency! Training and preparation can help pilots manage the startle response and effectively cope with an unexpected event.

 

Tips for pilots

Think about abnormal events ahead of time! Practice your plan! Brief your plan prior to takeoff, even when flying solo!

Have a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) join you to train and plan for emergencies.

 

Review emergency procedures for your aircraft on a regular basis – don’t wait until you need a Flight Review.

 

Sit in your aircraft or a properly equipped Aviation Training Device and practice abnormal and emergency procedures, touch the controls, and visualize your aircraft’s cockpit.

 

Review and practice “what if” scenarios.

 

Vocalize takeoff, approach, and landing expectations: aircraft configuration, airspeed, altitude and route emergency options.

 

Sign up for the WINGS Pilot Proficiency program and have your hours with the CFI count toward a WINGS level.

 

Learn more

AOPA’s Safety Spotlight on Aeronautical Decision Making includes two courses, several videos, and publications.

 

AOPA’s Safety Spotlight on Emergency Procedures features videos and online courses.

 

The FAASafety.gov website has Notices, FAAST Blasts, online courses, webinars and more on key general aviation safety topics.

 

Check out the 2015 GA Safety Enhancements (SEs) fact sheets on the main FAA Safety Briefing website.

 

The November/December 2010 issue of the FAA Safety Briefing addresses how to handle abnormal and emergency situations. Articles include:

 

• When the best made plans go away - tips on planning for abnormal and emergency situations.

• Between a rock and a hard spot – how to handle a partial-power takeoff.

• The right way back to right side up – learning to recover from upsets and extreme unusual attitudes.

• Survival 101 – tips on how to survive an aviation emergency.

•  When the lights go out – what you should know about aircraft electrical systems.

 

FAA Risk Management Handbook (FAA-H-8083-2) – Chapter Five.

The WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program helps pilots build an educational curriculum suitable for their unique flight requirements.  It is based on the premise that pilots who maintain currency and proficiency in the basics of flight will enjoy a safer and more stress-free flying experience.

 

The Fly Safe campaign partners are: Air Bonanza Society (ABS) Air Safety Foundation, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), FAA Air Transportation Center for Excellence (COE) for General Aviation, FAASTeam, GA Joint Steering Committee, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Lancair Owners and Builders Organization (LOBO), 1800wxbrief/Lockheed Martin, National Air Transportation Association (NATA), National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI), National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA), Soaring Society of America (SSA), Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE), and the U.S. Parachute Association (USPA).

U.S. Panel Aims to Shield Planes From Cyberattack

Fonte: The Wall Street Journal (28/06/2015)

 

EU.S. aviation regulators and industry officials have begun developing comprehensive cybersecurity protections for aircraft, seeking to cover everything from the largest commercial jetliners to small private planes.

 

A high-level advisory committee set up by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration—including representatives of plane makers, pilots and parts suppliers from around the globe—was scheduled to meet for the first time this month amid rising concern over potential industry vulnerability to computer hackers. The panel’s meetings are private.

 

On June 21, operations were disrupted at Warsaw Chopin Airport by what an airline said was a cyberattack on flight-planning computers. Ten the company flights were canceled and some 15 others were grounded for several hours, affecting roughly 1,400 passengers. Though airline officials said safety was never affected, the chief executive was quoted saying that such a cyberattack “can happen to anyone, anytime.”

 

The goal of the FAA initiative, according to Jens Hennig, the panel’s co-chairman, is to identify the seven or eight most important risk areas and then try to reach consensus on international design and testing standards to guard against possible cyberattacks. “The industry needs a set of graduated requirements,” he said in an interview, based on the types of software and various aircraft models.

 

The overall level of concern is reflected in an american multinational corporation aerospace development and defense’s decision to pay outside experts dubbed “red hat testers”—essentially authorized hackers—to see if built-in protections for onboard software can be defeated. Mike Sinnett, vice president of product development for company’s commercial-airplane unit, said certification of the flagship 787 Dreamliner required them to purposely allow such teams inside the first layer of protection to demonstrate resilience.

 

When it comes to protecting flight-critical software from hackers, Mr. Sinnett said, the systems can accept only “specific bits of information at specific preordained times, and it is all preprogrammed.” As a result, he added, “there’s no way for the flight-control system to pull in something” from an unauthorized source.

 

Such software and cockpit interfaces aboard commercial jets are tested extensively and have such a wide array of embedded safeguards that they are considered virtually impregnable to direct attack by industry outsiders, according to these experts.

Yet that hardly means airliners are beyond the reach of hackers. The biggest current risks, experts believe, stem from aircraft links to ancillary ground networks that routinely upload and download data when planes aren’t flying—including information used for maintenance, sending various software updates and generating flight plans before takeoff like those that affected the airline earlier this month.

 

“Where we are weak,” says Patrick Ky, executive director of the European Aviation Safety Agency, is in ensuring that a maintenance or air-traffic control system can’t be hacked and used as a conduit to get at aircraft. “What is not being done today,” he said, “is to have a view of aircraft operations in their entirety,” recognizing all the potential outside hazards.

 

An european corporate sector and most of its suppliers continue to rely on a secure computer platform to protect their manufacturing operations, with some European experts advocating more aggressive efforts to expand the network to additional companies. “Every time you introduce another connection” in the form of a new supplier, “it’s another way to potentially attack the aircraft itself,” says Alain Robic, a partner in Deloitte Consulting’s French unit who works with industry clients on data security.

 

Mr. Robic says that ideally all of the different levels of security among suppliers to these two would conform to an information-system policy self-regulated by industry leaders.

 

Neither the airline nor Polish authorities have identified the source of this month’s disruption. Prosecutors may also be looking at internal-software failures or other explanations for the problem, which was resolved after roughly five hours.

Whatever the exact cause, the incident points to the kind of computer problem that security experts worry about most in aviation and consider among the hardest to prevent: Attacks on maintenance or air-traffic control systems, which routinely interface with aircraft, as opposed to direct intrusions by outsiders on computers aboard planes.

 

Ground-based computer networks, including those between traffic-control operations, are considered less secure against hacking than those installed on aircraft, largely because onboard flight-critical systems have more internal protections and multiple redundancies to filter out intrusions. Hardware used for passenger Wi-Fi connections and entertainment options, for example, is physically separated from onboard-safety-system servers, and even electrical conduits are designed so that information doesn’t bleed between the two.

 

In interviews at the Paris International Airshow days before the Warsaw incident, more than a dozen international cyber experts and industry officials stressed that despite various high-profile and public allegations, they weren’t aware of a single verified instance of hackers breaching flight-control or engine-control systems on any modern jetliner while it was in the air. The current system is “working pretty well” and aviation software generally has been “pretty difficult to infiltrate,” Mr. Hennig, vice president of operations for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, said.

 

But most cyberprotection systems for planes are certified using case-by-case risk assessments requiring regulators to expend a lot of resources, rather than the industrywide technical standards the FAA and Mr. Hennig foresee. European regulators are expected to eventually create a similar advisory board to coordinate future standards.

 

Still, with cybersecurity issues gaining more prominence throughout aviation, various initiatives are already under way. Michael Huerta, who heads the FAA, is stressing the importance of sharing details about cyber events the same way specifics of safety incidents are now distributed and analyzed world-wide. “One of the things that is absolutely critical is to have very robust mechanisms for information sharing” among regions, including threats, potential incidents and mitigations, Mr. Huerta said in an interview. “The specifics of the cyber threat require us to be sharing on a broader scale than we have done in the past.”

 

Industry officials at all levels are increasingly vigilant about chasing down any suspicions or allegations of unauthorized attempts to penetrate computer systems.

 

Today, “people try to get in your cellphone ... they like to test the security of all kinds of electrical devices,” according to Carl Esposito, a senior aerospace official, who emphasized that aviation designs understand that trend.

 

A major question is whether the global industry, which relies on software development cycles that sometimes stretch into years, can remain nimble enough to stay ahead of hackers who can shift quickly from region to region and work on much shorter timelines.

 

“I see a lot of sharing [of data security threats], maybe not between countries but at least within countries,” said Marc Darmon, head of a cybersecurity unit, which helps safeguard banking and a huge chunk of the world’s credit-card transactions. In the past, he said, aircraft makers and airlines believed it was enough to ensure that safety systems were isolated from accidental intrusions, but now almost every industry has adopted identification and responses to cyberattacks as major design criteria. “That was not the case 10 years ago,” he said. “It has to be the case today.”

É seguro voar single-pilot?

Fonte: Aeromagazine

 

Em meio ao debate sobre a utilização de veículos aéreos não tripulados, alguns deles autônomos, a realidade se sobrepõe às tendências. No transporte aéreo de passageiros, a questão ainda é outra. A pergunta que usuários da aviação executiva se fazem corriqueiramente ao planejar a operação de sua aeronave, ou de sua frota de aeronaves, diz respeito não à presença, mas à quantidade de tripulantes. Na prática, donos de aviões ou helicópteros querem saber: devo ou não voar com apenas um piloto a bordo?

 

Em aeronaves de pequeno porte, essa condição é quase que premissa para o voo, pois os assentos disponíveis já são muito limitados e adicionar um piloto pode ser inviável. Além da questão da disponibilidade de assentos, a prática é também muito aceita pelo mercado, ainda que alguns passageiros exijam em circunstâncias especiais a presença de um piloto extra mesmo que isso não seja exigido em lei. Nunca é demais repetir este “mantra” formulado por Richard Collins: “Nem tudo que é legal é necessariamente seguro”.

 

O fato de se ter apenas um piloto na cabine não representa um risco em si. Tanto que uma fabricante brasileira está desenvolvendo um projeto para que, no futuro, aviões comerciais possam ser pilotados por somente um tripulante a bordo. Evidentemente, essa questão ainda será colocada em discussão e envolverá não somente autoridades do setor como, também, a percepção dos passageiros em relação à proposta.

 

VFR ou IFR

Na aviação privada, em que os proprietários muitas vezes optam por voar somente com um piloto a bordo, pode-se discutir o assunto partindo de perguntas básicas: “É seguro?”, “Determinei todos os riscos?”, “O risco é aceitável?”. Para uma avaliação correta (independente do tipo de aeronave), o ideal é dividir a questão em duas frentes: voos sob as regras VFR (referências visuais com o solo) e voos sob as regras IFR (com o auxílio de instrumentos e sem referências visuais externas).

 

O voo single-pilot bem-sucedido tem muitos ingredientes, mas entre os mais importantes estão o planejamento, a organização e a gestão de recursos de cabine (CRM) por parte de seu piloto, que deve evitar distrações e manter a consciência situacional.

 

A maioria dos voos VFR, normalmente realizados em aeronaves de pequeno porte, ocorre em condições single-pilot por variados motivos, que vão da quantidade de assentos e a simplicidade da operação até o custo de se ter mais um piloto. Esse tipo de voo tem uma característica menos complexa do que um voo por instrumentos, porém deve-se considerar o voo em espaços aéreos com alta densidade de tráfegos VFR (como em São Paulo e Rio de Janeiro) e a “aviação inimiga” das esquadrilhas de urubus voando sempre nos mesmos caminhos. É vital para a segurança da operação que seu piloto voe com um olho no painel e o outro através do para-brisa.

 

Evitar que seu piloto se distraia é mais uma regra fundamental para quem voa com apenas um tripulante. Na aviação executiva, ao contrário da aviação regular, você pode interagir diretamente com seu piloto em comando, compartilhando o mesmo espaço de cabine, conversando amenidades ou fazendo perguntas complicadas e técnicas, muitas vezes sem se dar conta de que ele necessita se concentrar. Nesse sentido, a recomendação de que todos os pilotos, particularmente aqueles que voam sozinhos, adotem a regra de companhias aéreas, batizada “cockpit estéril”, proibindo quaisquer conversas estranhas ao voo durante os períodos de alta carga de trabalho, como decolagem ou pouso e voo abaixo de 10.000 pés de altitude, mostra-se bastante válida. Isso, claro, não deve impedir que os passageiros transmitam informações importantes como a presença de outra aeronave por perto ou uma luz acesa no painel.

 

Mas e se...

A próxima pergunta é inevitável: “E se um sinal de alerta soar na cabine?”. O gerenciamento de panes requer do piloto uma enorme concentração em sua solução ou nas medidas da manutenção segura do voo até o ponto de pouso. Sim, se houver alguém devidamente treinado ao lado do piloto para auxiliá-lo, a chance de tudo ocorrer da melhor e correta maneira aumenta.

 

Mais uma pergunta clássica que se faz para o piloto voando sozinho: “Se você passar mal e desmaiar, o que acontecerá comigo?”. Desconsidere a hipótese de voar e pousar em segurança uma aeronave sem nenhuma orientação, ainda que sentado ao lado do seu piloto e com os comandos ao seu alcance: acredite, seria mais fácil ganhar numa loteria acumulada. Na verdade, esse tipo de pergunta deve ser feita sempre antes da decolagem, pois, diante de um imprevisto, há uma chance maior de se tomar uma decisão preventiva.

 

Ainda que a carga de trabalho seja menor em voos VFR, dividi-la com outro piloto a bordo incrementa os níveis de segurança. Certa vez, um grande empresário do setor financeiro justificou a presença de dois pilotos a bordo de seu helicóptero monoturbina VFR modelo Esquilo com um raciocínio coerente: “É o melhor, mais efetivo e barato seguro que posso fazer!”.

 

Voo por instrumento

E quanto aos voos por instrumentos, será que os riscos são os mesmos? Segunda a AOPA (Associação Americana de Pilotos), praticamente nenhum outro tipo de voo requer mais habilidade e concentração do piloto, impondo-lhe as maiores cargas de trabalho e estresse mental ou extraindo as mais altas penas para erros. “Pilotos recém-habilitados para voos por instrumentos, que completaram suas primeiras viagens solo, frequentemente relatam extremo cansaço mental, e não físico”, escreve Kevin D. Murphy, vice-presidente de educação para a segurança para a Fundação de Segurança Aérea da AOPA.

 

Instrutor há mais de 30 anos com pelo menos 5.000 horas de voo sem acidentes, Kevin diz que pilotos lidam muito bem com os desafios de voos por instrumentos, considerando que acidentes relacionados exclusivamente ao clima foram apontados em 12% das ocorrências registradas entre 1950 a 2010. “Grande parte dos acidentes não acontece aos pilotos habilitados para esse tipo de voo, diante de condições adversas de tempo, mas, sim, aos pilotos que insistem em voar em condições meteorológicas por instrumentos (IMC), com aeronaves não certificadas para esse fim, tentando manter contato visual com o solo e julgando mal a condição do voo sem poder debater com outro piloto as consequências de seguir por um ou outro caminho justamente por estar só”, escreve o especialista da AOPA. Às vezes, uma segunda opinião é muito bem-vinda.

 

Tablets a bordo

Para o dono de uma aeronave, um aspecto importante a ser considerado é a organização de seu piloto na gestão dos recursos de cabine. Com a publicação da IS 91-002 pela Anac, permitindo o uso dos EFB (os famosos tablets) a bordo de aeronaves em substituição a cartas de papel e outros documentos importantes para o planejamento dos voos, a quantidade de itens que os tripulantes devem ter à mão diminuiu consideravelmente e possibilitou ao piloto ter acesso a ferramentas antes indisponíveis ou inutilizáveis do ponto de vista operacional mesmo estando presentes a bordo.

 

Muitas aeronaves têm pouquíssimo espaço de cabine e carregar todos os itens passíveis de consulta é fisicamente impossível. Nos tablets, o piloto consegue inserir checklists, manuais da aeronave, mapas, procedimentos, softwares de análise de performance, enfim, toda e qualquer ferramenta que julgar necessária para a realização de seu voo, sem deixar de manter as informações atualizadas, evidentemente. Tê-las à mão de forma simples, organizada e rápida é inequivocamente condição para aumento da segurança de voo.

 

Consciência situacional

Não perder o foco representa mais um requisito de segurança para seu tripulante, conforme enfatiza a AOPA. Desde o início de sua formação, o piloto aprende a desenvolver a consciência situacional, geralmente em contextos em que precisa responder a perguntas latentes como “onde estamos exatamente?”. Parte da consciência situacional, porém, significa pensar à frente, no próximo evento, e se preparar para ele. Considere uma aproximação por instrumentos como exemplo. Nela ocorre uma série de eventos, em uma ordem particular, como a chegada e o ajuste à órbita do procedimento, a intercepção, o momento exato de início de uma descida e por aí vai. Quando há um evento diverso, o piloto precisa imediatamente fazer o que é necessário e isso só é possível com o total entendimento da situação de momento. Com dois pilotos a bordo, as tarefas são divididas e mais situações podem ser avaliadas com mais rapidez, dando a chance de se procurar a melhor situação para evitar uma condição difícil para o voo, seja por mau tempo ou por problemas técnicos.

 

Sem mais delongas, já se pode responder a pergunta-chave: “Afinal, é seguro voar IFR com somente um piloto a bordo?”. Sim, certamente pode ser seguro voar single-pilot em condições IFR. Contudo, é preciso considerar que no voo por instrumentos, principalmente no período noturno, ocorrem fenômenos no organismo humano que podem aumentar ainda mais os riscos a que seu piloto já está se submetendo. Os riscos mais comuns e que já mataram muitos pilotos experientes e devidamente habilitados em voos por instrumentos pilotando aeronaves equipadas e modernas são a desorientação espacial e o “black-hole”.

 

Desorientação espacial

Nas palavras do comandante Sergio Koch, tenente-coronel aviador da FAB, a maioria dos pilotos reconhece que a desorientação é uma das ilusões mais comuns mesmo para quem já está voando por algum tempo. “A desorientação espacial (com a sensação de estar em curva) responde por cerca de 10% dos acidentes da aviação civil”, escreve Koch.

 

Uma investigação do NTSB sobre o desempenho humano sugere que a solução mais útil para evitar a desorientação espacial é uma educação para os pilotos voltada para temas sobre a fisiologia e as causas psicológicas da desorientação. Na mesma investigação ficou constatado que as distrações durante curvas à noite, ou em IMC, têm sido comuns a todos os casos recentes de desorientação grave que causaram acidentes aéreos fatais.

 

Muitos se acidentam enquanto se engajam em tarefas que canalizam suas atenções para longe dos instrumentos de voo. Outros, mesmo percebendo um conflito entre seus sentidos corporais e os instrumentos de voo, acabam se acidentando porque não conseguem definitivamente resolver esse conflito (o instrumento diz uma coisa e a sensação em seu corpo é outra).

 

Os olhos são os principais responsáveis pela orientação do piloto durante o voo, uma vez que órgãos de equilíbrio nos ouvidos (chamados de canais semicirculares) e órgãos otólitos não são muito eficazes como sensores de orientação durante o voo. Voando IMC, o piloto perde a sensação de equilíbrio e de orientação fornecidos pelos olhos, que têm no “horizonte” a mais importante referência. Em outras palavras, e considere isto um fato, todo piloto que voar em IMC, por mais experiência que tenha, vai sofrer em algum momento ou em alguma intensidade o problema de desorientação. É impossível evitar a ilusão completamente. Tudo o que ele pode (e deve) fazer é evitar que as ilusões causem problemas. Para prevenir riscos por desorientação, a recomendação é que o piloto se concentre nos instrumentos, minimize movimentos da cabeça e, se possível, voe em linha reta e nivelado durante um minuto ou mais. Isso criará condições para que se dê um “reset” dos mecanismos de equilíbrio e estabilização do corpo, reforçando a fé do comandante nos instrumentos da aeronave (não por acaso, um dos pontos de apoio no horizonte artificial chama-se “linha de fé”).

 

Estudos de caso indicam que, diante da impossibilidade de se evitar as ilusões sensoriais, o que pode ajudar o piloto a reconhecer o início da desorientação e se preparar para enfrentar tais ilusões é obter informações e estar atento ao tema.

 

Black-hole

Black-hole, explica a Abul (Associação Brasileira de Ultraleves), é uma ilusão de ótica ocasionada pelo formato de uma pista ou heliponto no período noturno. Ilusão ótica por definição é a percepção de algo diferente de sua aparência real. Vale enfatizar que estudos da Boeing mostraram que essas ilusões nada têm a ver com imagens elaboradas por alucinações nem, tampouco, com irregularidades e, sim, com interpretações lógicas do que realmente observa um piloto, explicadas e previstas por conceitos de engenharia.

 

A pergunta que deve estar em sua mente neste momento é “por que no período noturno?”. Por causa unicamente do horizonte, que não está visível. As ilusões óticas nesse caso são predominantes.

 

Visibilidade restrita

Nas aproximações noturnas e com baixa visibilidade, o piloto pode se considerar em altitude mais elevada do que a que realmente está. As imagens refletidas são os principais fatores para percepção de profundidade. A ausência de imagens provocada por restrição de visibilidade confunde o piloto. Tendo em vista que ele não discerne as variações de cores e referências topográficas que normalmente avista em uma determinada altitude, tende a interpretar a altitude como sendo mais elevada do que realmente é. Esse efeito é notado durante os pousos noturnos e varia em cada pessoa, modificando-se conforme a intensidade e a clareza da iluminação da pista ou do heliponto.

 

O piloto tem a sensação de estar “mais alto” e mais distante da pista quando a iluminação externa está “fraca”. O cansaço também é um fator importante e que contribui para que esse fenômeno exponha mais o piloto e os passageiros ao risco. Numa aproximação direta em noite clara, a aeronave fica mais distante da pista do que parece estar. Podem ocorrer ilusões como a sensação de que a pista está se mexendo ou que a aeronave está derivando. E quando o piloto percebe tratar-se de uma ilusão, pode ser tarde demais.

 

Portanto, voar por instrumentos com apenas um piloto a bordo é uma questão de atitude, disciplina e aceitação de riscos elevados. Não há dúvida de que a presença de dois pilotos na cabine reduz drasticamente os riscos ao voo. Mas um piloto capaz de aprender com os erros do passado e se valer de estudos de caso para aplicar no seu dia a dia as soluções, muitas vezes simples, será capaz de evitar tragédias mesmo se estiver sozinho a bordo.

 

Glossário

VFR – sigla para Regras de Voo em condições Visuais (mantendo referências com o solo)

IFR – sigla para Regras de Voo por Instrumentos

EFB – sigla em inglês que significa Eletronic Flight bag (nada mais que tablets para uso durante os voos)

NTSB – sigla para National Transportation Safety Board (órgão americano de investigação e prevenção de acidentes em meios de transporte)

IMC – sigla em inglês para Condições de Voo por Instrumentos

Company Plans Headset to Improve Jets Pilot Safety

Fonte: The Wall Street Journal (14/06/2015)

 

The next big safety improvement for jetliners, according to a French cockpit-equipment maker, may include pilots donning what appear to be oversize monocles on which images of cockpit instruments and virtual terrain can be projected.

The company’s concept of such wearable flying aids, eventually intended to be attached to the earphones of pilots of both business and commercial jets, is slated to be unveiled Monday at the Paris International Air Show. The specialized portable screens provide a link between larger helmet-mounted displays used by the military and traditional heads-up versions, which project images to a fixed portion of the windshield.

 

The same type of technology already is being used by some military crews to improve situational awareness and provide greater field of vision than traditional heads-up displays, tailored for the needs of commercial pilots.

 

For civil applications, however, the idea is still in early development and hasn’t been embraced by any commercial aircraft manufacturer or airline. It is likely to show up first in commercial helicopters, though that could take at least several years. Experts predict the design is liable to change as the company engineers undertake what could be a 10- or 15-year certification process for airliner applications.

 

Still, the device highlights the company’s focus on developing heads-up displays that weigh less, provide greater flexibility and are simpler to install on civil aircraft than those now standard on Boeing Co.’s 787 and Airbus Group SE’s A350 jets. Other commercial jetliner models also have heads-up displays.

 

The latest iteration features an innovative optical-positioning system that “determines accurately what [cockpit instrument] you are looking at,” and then automatically projects it on the eye-level display “with a simple turn of your head,” according to Gil Michelin, executive vice president for the company. A pilot can also merely look at a point on an electronic chart and the system will automatically bring up a route from the plane’s current position to that location. The pilot can then manually activate the flight plan, according to him.

 

Airlines and plane manufacturers “are very interested in the technology, and quite eager to test it,” according to Mr. Michelin.

Some proponents say it could be easier and less expensive to retrofit than traditional versions, potentially providing a safety bonus for older jetliners or even selected general aviation aircraft.

 

The device builds on traditional heads-up displays that rely on computer-generated images, and sometimes infrared sensors, to provide enhanced views of runways and their surroundings to help aircraft land in poor visibility.

 

Similar onboard heads-up systems, which also are produced by other company, have been gaining momentum and seem poised for further regulatory approvals on both sides of the Atlantic. Chinese authorities also have stressed their value in improving safety and schedule reliability.

 

With high-resolution, color depictions of runways and other features, traditional heads-up displays are designed to allow many more airports that lack the latest ground-based navigation aids to remain open in bad weather. In the U.S., the traditional displays would enable low-visibility landings that are now prohibited at scores of midsize and smaller fields.

 

Proponents say the result would be increased capacity and improved safety, because pilots would get significantly more detail about terrain or other potential obstacles

The Benefits of Whole Airplane Parachute Systems

Fonte: Flying Magazine

 

Some things you just can't understand unless you were there. So, it's fitting that a pair of crash survivors are most responsible for one of the most notable and controversial recent aviation safety innovations. They were there.

The first, Boris Popov, had his day of motorboat-towed hang gliding over Lake Owasso, Minnesota, go topsy-turvy after the boat driver misread his hand signal to slow down as "go faster." In the blur that followed — sudden acceleration, wild pitching, wing collapsing and a tumbling fall of several hundred feet, unable to disengage, unable to even move due to the G-forces — Popov could only think how stupid it was that no one had invented a parachute for this kind of situation. A fast-deploying, ballistic chute might be able to pull the sky back right side up and slow his fall to a survivable speed.

 

These thoughts rushed through his mind in the 15 seconds or so before he crashed and died. Except that he didn't die that day, entering the water in a sideways fetal position so that a few lost fillings were the worst of his injuries.

Necessity, meet the father of invention: Boris Popov, founder of BRS Aerospace and developer of the whole-airplane recovery parachute system (WARPS).

 

Eight years later and about 300 miles to the southeast, a young Alan Klapmeier was making a climbing, departure turn to the southeast from Runway 36 at an airport in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, when he heard the crunch of an unseen Piper Vagabond smashing into his plane, tearing away 3 feet of the left wing and much of the retractable Cessna 182's right aileron. Klapmeier had been wearing an instrument hood, and his instructor didn't see the other plane in the late afternoon sun. Again, time blurred: Fight the forces, full left controls and pull off an improbably successful emergency landing. The Piper pilot was killed as his plane lost control and crashed.

 

Not long after, Klapmeier decided he had to adapt Popov's new ultralight parachute for the certified aircraft that he and his brother hoped to develop from their fledgling kitplane company.

 

"I made a promise that when we manufactured aircraft, we'd have a parachute recovery system," Klap­meier told a reporter in 2004. "People don't have to die."

 

 You can argue whether the WARP systems that emerged from these two nightmares (Cirrus calls its CAPS, for the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System) represent a triumph of safety or marketing. "Real pilots don't need chutes" goes the reasoning of the anti-chutists, arguing that an airplane parachute system appeals to pilots with more disposable income than skill.

 

Then again, the naysayers weren't in the cockpit when events began to spiral out of control and the plane was going down. Would they have pulled that red lever and chosen to descend under canopy? Would they have saved the situation with their superior skills? Or might they have been another fatality in the National Transportation Safety Board's database?

Whether you believe chutes are hype or last hope, one thing you can't argue is their success. The system that emerged from Popov's and Klapmeier's nightmares has transformed general aviation. A chute has become standard equipment on the world's best-selling certified aircraft, made by Cirrus, as well as on the best-selling light-sport plane, Flight Design's CTLS.

 

Aftermarket systems have been installed on Cessnas, Van's RVs and countless experimental aircraft. And more are coming on aircraft that are in the works, such as the Icon A5 amphibious sport aircraft, the Kestrel turboprop and Cirrus' Vision jet.

If you equate every deployment with saved lives, BRS claims 312 pilots and passengers survived by using their system; the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) counts 95 chute survivors in 46 Cirrus pulls. Some of those, no doubt, were aviation knuckle­heads; others found themselves in an improbable, ­impossible situation. But they all lived.

 

In fact, there has never been a pull within demonstrated parameters — below maneuvering speed and above a minimum height above ground level — that resulted in a fatality. That's a great success rate that compares favorably with outcomes for skilled, real pilots in loss of control, disorientation and systems failure emergencies. So, why does each new report of a parachute pull result in such controversy? Could the pilot have made a forced landing or regained control of the aircraft? Would a real pilot have saved the situation?

 

It turns out humans are notoriously bad at assessing risk and skill. Psychologists have documented a basic — and necessary — human bias toward overconfidence. In a notable 1981 study, professor Ola Svenson at Stockholm University found that 80 percent of all drivers rated themselves in the top 30 percent of driving ability. Even more troubling, the worse the driver was, the more likely that person was to overestimate his or her skill.

 

Later studies have confirmed Svenson's insight with similar findings for high school students reporting their popularity and educators assessing their effectiveness. Another researcher, John Cannell, uncovered the statistical impossibility that every U.S. state had reported its educational test results as above average. Psychologists call this the Lake Wobegon Effect, after the fictional town where "all the children are above average."

 

Add to that a tendency to think better things will happen to you than another person in a similar situation, and you've got the ingredients for some cocksure and dangerous pilot attitudes.

 

So, no doubt you're a real pilot with really superior skills. But how much better would you have performed than the person who pulled the chute? What if, in the moment, your inner Sullenberger failed you as links in the failure chain clanked together? If it turned out that your self-image was formed in Lake Wobegon, how much would you have given for the extra out of that big red handle on the ceiling?

 

Increasingly, the answer is "a lot." Earlier this year, a poll of Beechcraft owners on the popular BeechTalk online forum found nearly 60 percent who said they would buy a WARPS if it were offered on their aircraft. BRS' Popov says his firm has commissioned research that shows owners would pay up to 15 percent of their plane's value to equip it with a parachute. Even in the light-sport segment, rates of acceptance are changing. Says Tom Peghiny, president of Flight Design USA: "There was initial push-back from our audience: Don't you believe in your airplane?" Now, he says, it turns out "our owners value their rear ends just the same as certified plane owners."

 

That emerging consensus reflects an awareness of the variety of situations that can lead to a deployment. The NTSB aviation accident database records the last moments of many Lake Wobegon pilots who at one time displayed satisfactory skill, judgment and knowledge to an FAA examiner. Over a five-year period, eight spatial disorientation accidents resulted in fatalities; 55 engine failures resulted in a death. Also, there were 40 fuel management fatal accidents, 28 midair collisions, one vacuum failure, 89 VFR into instrument meteorological conditions, 78 approach accidents, five induction icings and 36 medical events. Even discounting low-to-the-ground accidents where a chute might not save, such as takeoff and landing accidents, that's 340 fatal accidents over five years.

 

A scan of these fatal accidents shows plenty of events in which a skilled pilot could have made a decision to solve the problem. A little carb heat might have been just the thing for that induction icing. Still, for these 340, the sad fact is the person in the left seat didn't do the right thing, or became overwhelmed or confused, or the bad luck just piled up.

 

Some pulls would be hard to argue against. For instance, on June 8, 2009, a Cirrus pilot was in cruise flight at 6,000 feet over Mount Airy, North Carolina, when he heard a loud bang from the engine, followed by violent vibrations and streaming oil across the windshield that eliminated all forward visibility. He pulled the chute on his SR22 and descended under canopy to a farmer's field, where he was able to exit the plane and phone emergency responders.

 

Might he have successfully dead-sticked to the field that day? Well, yes. But no honest pilot would take the odds of that blind, forced landing over a sure-thing ride down under the parachute.

 

Or take Dick McLaughlin, an Alabama physician who flies his Cirrus to Haiti monthly for volunteer medical missions. A commercial pilot certificate holder and certified flight instructor with seaplane ratings and about 1,200 hours over open water, McLaughlin felt very confident flying the familiar route with his 25-year-old daughter, Elaine, aboard for the first time in January 2012.

 

Then, off the coast of Florida, beyond gliding distance from Andros Island, Bahamas, McLaughlin noticed his oil pressure falling and radioed his situation. "They asked me, 'Do you want to declare an emergency?' It was almost as if I was reminding myself as I said it," he ­remembers. "'Yes, I do have a parachute.' That wasn't at the top of my mind until I said it. Then, it was the only thing in my mind."

 

From there, the story played out more or less according to script: Complete loss of oil pressure, engine stoppage, chute pull, hard splashdown, evacuation to a life raft and Coast Guard rescue. "The plane got salt­water soaked, and we lived. What could have been a better outcome?" he says. But that's when the naysayers attacked, arguing that a real pilot could have performed a ditching and that somehow that would have been better. "It really crushed me, made me feel awful," McLaughlin says. So, he went back and looked at the crash history for water landings. "Ninety percent of pilots live through the hit, and 10 percent [of those pilots] drown. The rates under a chute are 100 percent. I could have flown the plane all the way into the crash, and you would have felt better. But would I be here?"

 

Further, McLaughlin says it surprised him how much his skill deteriorated in an actual emergency. Controllers asked him for his latitude and longitude coordinates, which were displayed on the default page of his Avidyne R9 multifunction display. "That was a pretty simple request, and I really knew the answer. But I just got stuck. If I had more complex tasks than best rate of glide and heading, I don't think I could have done it."

 

Other pulls take place in more ambiguous circumstances. Pilots have pulled the red handle after misconfiguring avionics and subsequently becoming confused. They've proceeded VFR into IMC, flown through icing conditions, botched approaches and the whole list of "not a real pilot" activities that can so easily be applied in the aftermath of a tragedy. The difference between the parachute-equipped poor pilots and the general flying population is that they suffer mere grave embarrassment instead of the very real possibility of a grave.

 

Accidents have also demonstrated some limits: Go fast enough, and the chute will separate from the airframe. Pull too close to the ground, and it may not have time to deploy. But ­Popov advocates using the system even outside of parameters as a last-gasp attempt. "The fact is, if you're headed toward some hangars or trees, what have you got to lose?" he says. "Here's our mantra: You deploy the parachute when you've lost control of the airplane and you don't feel you're capable of regaining it in time. There is no discussion about altitudes, speeds, minimums, reasons."

 

In considering the value of a chute, perhaps it's good to look to the actuaries. They value mathematical truth more than heroics. On this subject, their judgment seems unambiguous. In 2009, London Aviation Underwriters began waiving the deductible for claims in which a chute was deployed. They wanted to encourage pulls: It's cheaper to deal with a ruined fuselage than an estate. Since then, many of the other major aviation insurers have followed suit.

 

Likewise, the Cirrus community has begun to promote a philosophy of "pull early, pull often," a phrase that Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association safety Chairman Rick Beach coined after reviewing several cases in which indecision or a reluctance to deploy the parachute ended up costing the pilot his or her life.

 

By training pilots to think about — and drill — their parachute system the same way they would any other piece of equipment on the plane, Cirrus and COPA have created a dramatic change in that plane's accident rates. Since 2011, when Cirrus fatalities peaked at 33 deaths (at one point with three fatal crashes in a 24-hour period), chute pulls have steadily climbed, and fatalities have plummeted. Through mid-November 2014, in a fleet of nearly 6,000 planes flying about 1 million hours per year, there's been three fatal accidents. With training and awareness, pilots are pulling more and dying less.

 

Following the insurers' and Cirrus' logic, what's the harm in a pre-emptive pull, even if the situation might be salvageable? Pilots who have chosen to dead-stick a landing instead of pulling the chute argue they were concerned about landing on an innocent bystander or descending into a building, since the path of the plane is all but random once it's under canopy.

 After 15 years of data, there's never been a case of a chute descent injuring folks on the ground. The initial deployment draws a lot of attention, with the percussive bang of the rocket firing through the fuselage and the unfurling of a more-than-50-foot diameter, orange and white parachute. Then, the plane floats down at less than 20 knots — slow enough for those on the ground to move away.

 

Given the success of Cirrus' CAPS system, why hasn't WARPS equipment caught on more in general aviation? As with so many flying decisions, the key factors seem to be size, weight and cost.

 

Consider the weight of an airframe chute system. Popov says a rough formula for the required chute is 1 square foot of material per pound of weight. As a result, his BRS WARPS installation on a Cessna 172 adds 79 pounds. On a brand-new Skyhawk with a 599-pound full-fuel payload, that last-chance safety feature you're hauling around in the baggage compartment reduces the carrying capacity to just three FAA-standard-weight people and 19 pounds of extra stuff. Which is just as well, since the installation takes up about half of the baggage compartment, anyway.

 

Face it: To be a plane owner is by definition an exercise in compromise. Desire nearly always outpaces the pocketbook. In a world of flat-panel displays, noise-canceling headsets, and downlinked satellite radio and weather, that parachute system that most likely you'll never use is a pretty unsexy allocation of flying dollars.

 

In the Skyhawk, a BRS system costs $13,499 plus cost of installation. Then, every 10 years there's a required inspection and repack of the chute at $4,500. That's equivalent to a whole lot of avgas.

 

That said, the owner of N759ZS, one of the handful of Cessna owners to have a BRS parachute system installed, was pleased to have made that trade-off when his engine quit shortly after takeoff from Holly Springs, ­Missouri, and he successfully pulled the chute and descended to a thicket of trees. He was injured in the landing after deploying the chute at only 300 to 400 feet above ground level.

 

In the United States, a Flight Design pilot has never deployed a parachute (there have been four overseas deployments, with three saves and five survivors), though examination of the accident history shows that, by far, the most common mishaps in that plane are hard landings and failure to ­maintain directional control during takeoffs and landings. Those accidents wouldn't be appropriate for a BRS pull, and they've typically resulted in little more than bent airframes and bruised egos. A chute likely wouldn't have changed the outcome in the sole Flight Design fatality, a 2013 landing accident in New Mexico.

 

Still, it's interesting to note that 11 Flight Design pilots have successfully made forced landings in Flight Design aircraft, opting for a farmer's field over a parachute descent; there have been no fatalities resulting from unsuccessful dead-stick landing attempts. It's a tough comparison: At about 40 percent of an SR22's weight and a stall speed just over half that of the Cirrus, there's a lot less energy feeding into a Flight Design forced landing.

 

It will be interesting to see how that comparison works the other way around. If the Cirrus Vision jet ships to customers in 2015 as currently intended, it will provide an opportunity to show how a chute system adds value to larger, faster aircraft. Prior to the 2008 recession and aviation retrenchment, BRS had planned products not just for the Cirrus jet but also for ­then-proposed turbine planes.

 

In these applications, BRS tested a two-stage chute that would be applicable to planes in the 5,000 to 8,000 pounds mean takeoff weight range and at cruise speeds up to 350 knots. An initial drogue chute would slow aircraft in this category to 175 knots or less. Then, a second chute would bring airspeed to zero and manage the actual descent.

 

How the idea of whole-airframe parachutes scales to larger planes and applies to the existing designs remains to be seen. One thing is clear, though: The debate over the effectiveness of airframe parachutes is over. When Flying first wrote about the controversy in 2004, there had been only four pulls in certified aircraft. With such a small data sample, the Cirro-scenti, the Lake Wobegon pilots and the anti-chutists were all entitled to their opinion.

 

Ten years and 42 more successful pulls later, it's awfully hard to argue against 100 percent success and 92 lives saved in Cirrus aircraft alone. In all, one in every 110 BRS chutes has been pulled over 34 years, from 29,000 systems sold. Popov says the ratio holds for all applications, from hang gliders to LSAs and the top-of-the-line SR22T. "We have a statistical solid fact, undisputable," he says. "That's a pretty startling number if you think about it. You put 110 pilots in a room and tell them, 'One of you is going to deploy a parachute.'"

 

In other words, think what you will of those pilots who choose to pull their chute in an emergency. But those people were there, in that situation, and you weren't. Then again, maybe someday you will be.

Pesquisadores desenvolvem material que visa impedir congelamento do pitot

Fonte: Instituto Ciência Hoje (29/05/2015)

 

Pesquisadores brasileiros estão na reta final do desenvolvimento de um material que visa tornar mais seguro o sensor que mede a velocidade dos aviões durante o voo. Trata-se de uma superfície de revestimento que protege a peça do congelamento que pode ocorrer em condições atmosféricas extremas – situação que pode levar ao descontrole da aeronave e causar acidentes.

 

O material, que está sendo estudado no Instituto Alberto Luiz Coimbra de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa de Engenharia (Coppe) da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), deve ser usado para revestir o bico do tubo de pitot, sensor responsável por medir e informar aos pilotos a velocidade do avião enquanto ele está no ar. Quando a aeronave passa por nuvens com gotículas de água super-resfriadas ou cristais de gelo, esse sensor corre o risco de congelamento. Congelado, o pitot deixa de funcionar corretamente e os pilotos que estão no controle do avião ficam às cegas.

 

“Sem as medidas de velocidade, o piloto perde uma informação muito importante, vital, para o controle da aeronave”, explica o engenheiro Renato Cotta, coordenador do projeto. “É como se você dirigisse seu carro em uma estrada escura, sem saber se está rápido ou lento; só que, em um avião automatizado, é muito mais complicado sentir a sua velocidade”, compara.

Em 2009, uma das causas da queda do avião AF 447 foi exatamente o congelamento nos tubos de pitot da aeronave, que passava por uma área de turbulência no exato momento e, por isso, acabou caindo no oceano Atlântico. O acidente não deixou sobreviventes.

 

Avesso à água

O novo material anticongelamento alia duas características principais: é nanoestruturado e hidrofóbico. “O gelo se forma porque a água gruda no tubo de pitot”, explica a engenheira de materiais Renata Antoun Simão, coordenadora do Laboratório de Engenharia de Superfícies da Coppe. “Então é preciso revesti-lo com superfícies bastante rugosas em escala nanométrica e com propriedades químicas adequadas para que a água não ‘goste’ dessa superfície, tornando-a hidrofóbica.”

 

Para chegar ao revestimento ideal, os pesquisadores vêm trabalhando com superfícies de alumínio cobertas por uma camada rugosa composta de materiais como o politetrafluoretileno (mais conhecido como teflon), um polímero sintético com características que impedem a absorção de água. Essas propriedades, aliadas à rugosidade da superfície, tornam o material superhidrofóbico.

 

Um dos desafios dos pesquisadores é obter um material com alta resistência mecânica. Os tubos de pitot ficam localizados na parte externa do avião e, por isso, são constantemente expostos a impactos de partículas flutuantes no ar em altíssimas velocidades. Para tornar o revestimento mais resistente, os pesquisadores cogitam colocar em sua composição nanopartículas de óxidos de titânio e alumínio.

 

“Nós já vimos em laboratório que ele funciona bem quimicamente e realizaremos em breve os testes mecânicos”, conta o engenheiro de materiais Meysam Keley, que vem desenvolvendo a nova superfície de revestimento em seu doutorado. “Iremos expor esse material a arranhões, impactos e atrito para ver se ele permanece hidrofóbico ou se perde a propriedade”, completa.

 

Após todos os testes em laboratório, a ‘prova final’ será realizada em um túnel de vento inaugurado no ano passado na universidade. No aparelho, é possível simular condições extremas, com temperaturas de 20 graus negativos e velocidades equivalentes a um terço da velocidade do som. “É o último passo, onde testaremos a condição mais extrema possível para garantir a durabilidade da superfície nas condições mais próximas da realidade”, explica Renata Simão.

 

Caso o material passe no teste, Keley acredita que o revestimento dos tubos de pitot dos aviões seja algo simples de se colocar em prática. “O bico do pitot é muito pequeno, um cone de cinco centímetros de altura, o que torna a aplicação razoavelmente fácil de fazer e barata”, diz.

 

Além de proteger os sensores de velocidade, o revestimento com a superfície nanoestruturada pode ser utilizado em outras partes do avião que também estão sujeitas ao congelamento.

 

“É uma pesquisa muito mais abrangente, que pode funcionar para toda a estrutura do avião sujeita à formação de gelo, como as asas”, explica Renato Cotta. “Nesse caso, podemos ajudar a resolver um problema de segurança e econômico, pois o congelamento das asas modifica toda a aerodinâmica do avião e leva a um aumento no consumo de combustível.”

FAA to Pilots: Keep Transponders On While Taxiing

Fonte: FAA/ Ain Online (02/06/2015)

 

Safety Alert for Operators 15006 was published by the FAA last week to ensure that pilots realize the need to keep their aircraft transponders turned on to the altitude-reporting mode even when operational on the ground in airport movement areas. The FAA uses runway safety systems, such as airport surface detection equipment model X (ASDE-X) and advanced surface movement guidance and control system (A-SMGCS), at many airports in the U.S. to determine aircraft and vehicle locations when operating on an airport surface.

 

Both of these systems use data from transponders to obtain accurate aircraft and vehicle locations to increase airport surface safety and efficiency. Nationwide, the agency said that airports with ASDE-X report an average of 20 non-compliance transponder events per day, even with explicit airport diagrams or ATIS notification, or both, directing pilots to operate with transponders on. To address these problems, aircraft operating on all airport movement areas at all airports—not just those that are ASDE-X equipped—must taxi with their transponders on in the altitude-reporting mode.

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