Devil or the deep blue sea, is “MayDay” call appropriate? : mindFly


SpiceJet flight SG-8956 departed Srinagar airport on 23 May 2019. While approaching New Delhi airport that evening, there was a thunderstorm in the vicinity of the airport. The aircraft was cleared for an ILS approach for runway 27.

The approach to this runway is in close proximity of the prohibited area VIP-89. Once the aircraft is established on the approach, there are two runways and their approaches to the left and the prohibited area to the right. The only escape is the missed approach procedure straight ahead.

ILS 27 Approach DELHI

Sandwiched between the approach for other 2 runways on the left and prohibited area on the right, the SpiceJet aircraft probably detected a hazard in the form of a thunderstorm ahead. The choice is limited to either the devil or the deep blue sea. SG decided to turn right thereby infringing the prohibited airspace.

Flight path in green through the prohibited airspace
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Relief from info overload, Digital NOTAM gives the pilot need and risk-based information: mindFly

Info Overload

A NOTAM is a notice, distributed by means of telecommunication. The NOTAM contains information about a change in aeronautical facilities, services, procedures or hazards, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations. NOTAM was created more than 60 years ago. It is based on structured messages with a free text component. An example is provided below:

Example of NOTAM

The Problem

Due to the currently limited information filtering capabilities of the text NOTAM format, PreflightInformation Bulletin (PIB) that pilots have to consult before the flight is in the range of 10-50 pages for a flight. In consequence, most info given in flight paperwork is a hazard for the user. Yet the probability of pilots not being aware of important and pertinent NOTAM is increasing.

Number of NOTAM issued world-wide (EAD data)
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Boy lift operator, Girl and finally AI, Aviation follows same trend: mindFly

Elevator girls

Lifts were skill based and operated by boys. Girls started operating 1929 onwards and gradually became fully automatic. Aviation is witnessing a similar trend. Mostly men flying the machines heavier than air. There is a recent push for more women to fly the big birds and there are murmurs of artificial intelligence taking over. There was passenger apprehension about safety and reliability when the lift operators were replaced with autonomous automatic controls. Similarly, currently there is a debate on pilotless passenger aircrafts.

History of lifts

Archimedes is generally credited with inventing the lift in around 236 BC. The Ancient Egyptians used a form of lifts consisting of rope-driven hoists powered by humans, animals or water to build pyramids and temples and irrigate crops.


1880 – Werner von Siemens invented the electric lift

1894 – Push-button controls appeared

1900 – Completely automated lifts but passengers wary of ‘lift sickness’!

1945 – Lift operator strike, automated voice, emergency buttons/telephones

1950 – Manned lifts became thing of the past

Skill based

Elevator operation was moved from a skill based human to autonomous control in the early 1950.Being an effective elevator operator required many skills. Manual elevators were often controlled by a large lever. The elevator operator had to regulate the elevator’s speed, which typically required a good sense of timing to consistently stop the elevator parallel to the floor. In addition to their training in operation and safety, department store later combined the role of operator with greeter and tour guide, announcing product departments, floor by floor, and occasionally mentioning special offers.

From boy to girl lift operator

Prior to 1929, elevator operators were men. In 1929, the Ueno Branch of Matsuzakaya department store hired women to operate the elevators in its new facilities. In the same year, Prior to 1929, elevator operators were men. In 1929, the Ueno Branch of Matsuzakaya department store hired women to operate the elevators in its new facilities. At first, female elevator operators had to perform the same functional tasks as male operators, operating levers and closing elevator doors. As elevators became automated, the role shifted to greeting customers, advertising sales to customers, and making announcements.ran an article calling elevator operation the new occupation of Japanese women, commenting on the experiences of the first elevator girls.

The technology changed over time and from hand brake lifts, destination button lifts evolved. From 1950 onwards, the lift operator gradually reduced and eliminated over time.

Artificial Intelligence

Undoubtedly, automation has been linked to aviation in the past. However human control and intervention have always been at the center, in the form of pilots and Air Traffic Controllers. Although other industries experiment, there has not been comparable growth in artificial intelligence as terrain transportation. The ticketing process has already been redeveloped by some airlines. The advancements on the horizon related to delay prediction and mobility enhancing. However, one of the biggest advancements will stem from the cockpit.

The announcement, ISASI 2019 Hague Program: mindFly

Program release

Speaking on day 1. My presentation is on Inattentional Blindeness during visual approach. What caused the A320 lineup and descent to a lowest of 60ft over a taxiway. This could have been the worlds worst air disaster.

My paper is accessible from my shop

Most Airlines uplift less fuel, miss the missed approach fuel requirement: mindFly

Missed Approach

The minimum fuel that a commercial flight must uplift is defined in the regulations, ICAO Annex-6. The fuel required is what is expected to be used from departure to destination, if unable to land then fly the missed approach procedure and then fly to the alternate. When the aircraft reaches the alternate airport, the aircraft needs fuel to hold over the alternate for at least 30 minutes before commencing the approach to land.

While most airlines uplift minimum fuel as per regulatory requirements, there are a few airlines which depend on statistical analysis and have a pragmatic approach to the fuel requirement. One such airline that I flew with was IndiGo, in India. The flight operation setup was established and managed by a seasoned aviation professional. While airlines, in general, do not quantify the cost of a diversion because they are not able to assign a value to the intangible cost, IndiGo worked on a fixed percentage of diversions which were acceptable.

 As per ICAO, where a destination alternate aerodrome is required, the amount of fuel required to enable the aeroplane to:

i) perform a missed approach at the destination aerodrome;

ii) climb to the expected cruising altitude;

iii) fly the expected routing;

iv) descend to the point where the expected approach is initiated; and

v) conduct the approach and landing at the destination alternate aerodrome

It all seems safe and logical. Have you ever wondered what this missed approach is? How much fuel is required for the missed approach segment? Do the airlines carry enough fuel for this segment, especially when it is long?

Missed approach procedure in Red
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