For many years the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has identified deficiencies in standard operating procedures (SOPs) as contributing causal factors in aviation accidents.
The ICAO has recognized the importance of SOPs for safe flight operations. ICAO Annex 6 and PANS-OPS Document 8168, Vol I, establish that each Member State shall require that SOPs for each phase of flight be contained in the operations manual used by pilots.
One size doesn’t fit all, therefore the SOP’s must be critically analysed, developed and disseminated. The intent of the procedure must be clear since a particular SOP has the desired objective. If in a particular situation the desired outcome is not achievable, then using good CRM practices and background knowledge, the SOP can be bypassed considering all risks.
Background of Safety Enhancement Initiative (SEI)
Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are universally recognized as being basic to safe aviation operations. Effective crew coordination and crew performance, two central concepts of crew resource management (CRM), depend upon the crew’s having a shared mental model of each task. That mental model, in turn, is founded on SOPs.
A study of CFIT accidents found almost 50 per cent of the 107 CFIT interventions identified by an analysis team related to the flight crew’s failure to adhere to SOPs or the AOC holder’s failure to establish adequate SOPs.
James Huntzinger, the former Vice President of Safety, Security & Compliance at Korean Air has been credited with coining the terms procedural intentional noncompliance (PINC) and procedural unintentional noncompliance (PUNC) (Agur, 2007). Quite simply, these acronyms are used to label behavior as pilots’ unintentional or intentional deviation from company-prescribed SOP. The Air Safety Foundation (2007) reported that a review of accidents involving professionally flown aircraft shows that four out of five events included PINC or PUNC by pilots.
Additionally, ‘‘PINCs and PUNCs are reduced dramatically when an effective safety culture exists.’’
To achieve consistently safe flight operations through adherence to SOPs that are clear, comprehensive, and readily available to flight crew members.
Which ones of these are recommendations and which ones mandatory?
2. The above seven elements are further reinforced by effective Crew Resource Management (CRM) skills, such as task sharing and communication, as well as a disciplined approach towards checklist philosophy. A process of continual open feedback, review and modification of all procedures will serve to enhance the organization’s overall level of safety.
With a thousand-fold rise in commercial airline flights over the North Pole in the last 10 years, exposure to radiation has become a serious concern.
This health news is fact checked.
People who work on commercial airline flights are technically listed as “radiation workers” by the federal government – a classification that includes nuclear plant workers and X-ray technicians.
Exposure to radiation has been shown to increase health risk, according to numerous studies. Space radiation on the ground is very low, but increases significantly with altitude. At 30,000 to 40,000 feet, the typical altitude of a jetliner, exposure on a typical flight is still considered safe – less than a chest X-ray.
Exposure is considerably higher, however, over the Earth’s poles, where the planet’s magnetic field no longer provides any shielding. And with a thousand-fold rise in commercial airline flights over the North Pole in the last 10 years, exposure to radiation has become a serious concern.(https://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/science/polar-radiation.html)
FAA Advisory circular AC No: 120-61B gives the guidance material on exposure to radiation. Whereas USA federal government categorize crew members as radiation workers, other countries including India does not do the same. The exposure limits are the same as those in the FAA advisory circular. The Indian Atomic Energy Regulation Board limits are given below.
DGCA India recently put out an Operations circular 2/2019 based on the FAA AC.
Recently, a meta-analysis reported an increased incidence of melanoma in pilots and cabin crew, which was possibly due to occupational exposures.1 Cabin crews’ exposure to cosmic radiation was assessed in different studies and always found below the allowed dose limit.2However, the cumulative exposure of pilots and cabin crew to UV radiation, a known risk factor for melanoma, has not been assessed to our knowledge.
Airplane windshields are commonly made of polycarbonate plastic or multilayer composite glass. UV-B (280-320 nm) transmission through both plastic and glass windshields was reported to be less than 1%. However, UV-A (320-380 nm) transmission ranged from 0.41% to 53.5%, with plastic attenuating more UV radiation than glass.3
Intrigued by our findings and the clinical observation of pilots developing melanomas on sun-exposed skin, we measured the amount of UV radiation in airplane cockpits during flight and compared them with measurements performed in tanning beds.
The pathogenic role of UV-A in melanoma is well established. UV-A is capable of causing DNA damage in cell culture5 and in animal models. Pilots flying for 56.6 minutes at 30 000 feet receive the same amount of UV-A carcinogenic effective radiation as that from a 20-minute tanning bed session. These levels could be significantly higher when flying over thick cloud layers and snow fields, which could reflect up to 85% of UV radiation. Airplane windshields do not completely block UV-A radiation and therefore are not enough to protect pilots. UV-A transmission inside airplanes can play a role in pilots’ increased risk of melanoma.
If NASA’s Chris Mertens has his way, weather forecasts and airplane cockpits of the future will include measurements of hazardous radiation in the atmosphere.
Mertens, a senior scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., is developing a system to predict radiation entering Earth’s atmosphere from space. The goal is to provide high-flying commercial airline passengers and crew with real-time information about the radiation they will be exposed to in flight.
“Aviation occupational radiation exposure currently is not monitored, measured and quantified,” says Mertens. “This will be the first model of its type to do that.”
Better be safe than SORRY.
Try this experiment. Focus your attention on the cross for a while. As you concentrate hard to focus on the cross in the centre, the background slowly begins to disappear.
This could be a possible explanation why crew of AC759 flew over 4 aircrafts at San Fransisco with noticing them.
The Troxler Effect is named after Swiss physician and philosopher Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler (1780-1866). In 1804, Troxler made the discovery that rigidly fixating one’s gaze on some element in the visual field can cause surrounding stationary images to seem to slowly disappear or fade. They are replaced with an experience, the nature of which is determined by the background that the object is on. This is known as filling-in.