Monthly Archive: January 2011

Project Get Out and Walk – A Story of Perseverance

When the chips are down and there is no way but to pull, the ejection handle in a combat jet, has helped save so many lives around the world, that Michael C. “Mike” Bennett had to tell this gripping story of survival. It is Mike’s labour of love that has resulted in what is known …

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Ah! Piloting in the arms of Bacchus

Drinking occasionally or regularly by the pilots, but restricting it to couple of small pegs, remains a matter of individual choice and social acceptance. But aviation safety and alcohol do not go together. In an interesting instance at Heathrow Airport, a Delta Airline pilot forgot what his destination was! His blood alcohol levels were found …

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Increasing Safety or Risking Lives – Airport Body Scanners

All this while, it has been the cabin- or the check-in luggage which is x-rayed as part of the airport security. But the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of USA intends to undertake whole body scanning of public traveling by air. The intent of using low density x-rays, delivered at high speed, both in front and …

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Lost Sleep – Compromised Safety

One of the often neglected but vital predisposing physiological factors in aviation is sleep, rather lack of sleep. The commercial pilots are governed by their duty schedule and the military aviators have the uncertainties of the operational deployment to blame for the loss of sleep. Although there may be regulations and guidelines, including FDTL to …

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Boeing and the Checklist

In 1930s, Boeing was successful in offering their Model 299 to the US Army Air Corps, winning against Martin’s Model 146 and Douglas’ DB-1 aircraft. On the fateful day of 30 October 1935, the aircraft stalled during climb after take off. The test flight crew consisted of Major Ployer Hill and Lieutenant Donald Putt, as pilot and …

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Blame it on the Pilot!

The CIS Interstate Aviation Committee has released the final report on the crash of the Polish TU-154. This Russian built aircraft, piloted by Polish Air Force pilots, crashed while attempting to land in poor visibility conditions at Smolensk North Airport in Russia  on 10 Apr 2010. The report found that ‘pilot error’ was the cause …

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The Naysayers and LCA

It is indeed a proud moment for the Indian aerospace community when the Light Combat Aircraft – Tejas (LCA) attained its Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) on 10 January 2011. The Indian Defence Minister formally handed over the ‘Certificate of Release to Service’ to the Indian Chief of Air Staff, thus setting the stage for the …

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Reality Check – CRM in Single Cockpit

Human Error in combat flying continues to the greatest cause of accidents [1], with the trends remaining, more or less, stagnant. Commonest causes for aircraft mishap are [2]:- (a) Loss of situational awareness (LOSA): LOSA leads to disorientation, mid-air collision, flight into terrain, getting lost and running out of fuel, wheels up landing, flight into bad …

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The inevitable is here – Medical Informatics

Considering that the practice of Aviation Medicine is focussed at the pilots, use of emerging technology in healthcare is inevitable for those who fly technologically the most advanced systems. One such development shall be the personal health record (PHR). PHR is the medical information in possession of an individual about (her-)himself. Presently it is mostly …

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Teamwork – The essence of Safe Operations

Aviation is no more the domain of an ‘individual’ pilot. The commercial sector has multiple crew – both flight and cabin. The military operates in formations (and twin-cockpits too), where the pilots are physically separated, yet coordinate their flight to attain a common objective. The errors and accidents here result from individuals failing to perform …

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