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Safe 2011 – Looking Back

The year gone past – 2011 – should be considered reasonably safe as per the statistics released by Aviation Safety Network [1]. It is heartening to note that third lowest number of fatalities (507, excluding 14 on ground) occurred due to a total of 28 fatal airline accidents, the second lowest number in aviation history …

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Lyle Prouse’ Final Approach

This is the story of Lyle Prouse. He was the first airline pilot ever arrested and sent to prison for flying under the influence of alcohol. He was fired by his airline, stripped of his FAA licenses, tried, convicted, and sent to Federal prison. It had never occurred before… But in the end, Lyle retired honorably …

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An Appeal for Safe Flying : BALPA on Tired Pilots

Cabin Pressurisation – Hazards of Rapid Decompression

Incidence of failure of cabin pressurisation in military aircraft, even in peace time, is higher than commercial aviation. The commonest cause of loss of pressurisation in military aviation, especially in fighter flying, is engine flameout.

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Cabin Pressurisation – If Lost?

On 10 Jun 1990, on BA flight 5390, Captain Tim Lancaster was sucked out halfway out of the aircraft, when an improperly installed windscreen pane failed. While the first officer made an emergency landing in Southampton, the cabin crew firmly held on to Tim, bringing him down safely [*].

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Cabin Pressurisation – The Mechanism

It is not practical to maintain sea level conditions in flight. For example, a cabin differential pressure of 1 Kg/sq cm (nearly 1 ATA) generates more than 1,000 gm/cm2 pressure on the cabin wall and the transparency. If the cabin altitude of 2,500 m (8,000 ft) is accepted,the pressure differential would now be reduced by …

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Cabin Pressurisation – An Introduction

On 26 January 2011, a Qantas Boeing 737-400 made an emergency descent of about 8000m [*], when the aircraft lost cabin pressure after about 30 minutes of flight. This flight, with 99 passengers, from Adelaide to Melbourne had oxygen masks dropping in the cabin, causing a scare amongst its 99 passengers. 



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Decompression Sickness in HA Reconnaissance Aircraft

Pilots flying high altitude (HA) reconnaissance sorties are vulnerable to decompression sickness (DCS) due to, exposure to “pressure equivalent up to 29,500 ft (8992 m) of altitude for over 8 h” [1]. Cruise altitude of such HA reconnaissance aircraft viz. U-2 [2] and MiG 25 [3] is 70,000 ft and 74,000 ft, respectively. There are two …

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Are SD accidents not so Common in Aviation?

Accidents due to Spatial Disorientation (SD), in military and general aviation, reportedly vary between 2.1 to 31% [1 – 11]. Despite of physiological limitations of the ‘human’ operator, accident statistics do not correctly reflect SD as a cause, as commonly as expected, especially in the military aviation. In fact, in a review of accidents due …

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Loss of Control: Human Factors in Air France Flight 447

Investigating the crash of Air France Flight 447 [1], from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, into the Atlantic Ocean on 01 June 2009, the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA = Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile) released an interim report on 29 Jul 11. This …

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