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Author Archive | David Learmount


The A380 shows off Airbus’ clever new kit

This group has just disembarked after a 27 May A380 flight from Airbus’ Toulouse base. The flight was mounted to demonstrate two really clever and seriously useful avionic advances that Airbus is just about to see certificated. One will make airborne collision a little less likely, the other will prevent runway overruns. Overruns are the most common type of aircraft accident, and one of the most […]

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Missing Air France A330

Air France has just admitted that it cannot hold out hope any longer of re-establishing contact with flight AF447. By now, the company says, this Airbus A330-200 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris would have run out of fuel if it were still airborne. At present, information is very sparse. According to the airline, the last report […]

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Preparing pilots for googlies

As flight deck automation becomes more reliable – to the point of hardly ever failing - it is becoming more of a human factors problem. The UK Air Accident Investigation Branch makes this clear in its report on the Thomsonfly Boeing 737-300 that stalled and was momentarily out of control during its approach to Bournemouth two […]

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Digital versus delightful

What makes manufacturers who are considering a new aircraft choose fly-by-wire or traditional control systems, sidestick or control yoke? Of course, for a big-jet it’s no contest any longer: it’ll be FBW, but there will still be a wrangle over the pilot’s cockpit control. Most planned new business jets and some of the latest regional […]

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Contaminated air: it’s not just aeroplanes…

This is about a comment that was appended recently to my blog “The toxic subject that won’t die”. It doesn’t matter, it seems, whether the gas turbine powers a ship or an aeroplane. It can, as Troy Moeller says, “blow atomised synthetic lube oil all over you”. And then you lose your job and your health. […]

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Beyond pilot training

With its free-of-charge Safety Standdown seminars at Wichitaw and EBACE Geneva, Bombardier takes civil pilots into realms way beyond the “aviate, navigate, communicate” arts of flying they are traditionally exposed to. You have to go to one to find out what I mean, because you don’t know what you don’t know until somebody shows you. […]

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Toxic cabin air is more poisonous than reckoned

Neurotoxic poisons in bleed air is not a new subject on this blog, but the more information we get on it, the more serious looks the aviation industry’s studied decision to ignore the dangers associated with contaminated cabin air, or to obfuscate.   To read about the human misery caused by cabin air contamination in airliners, go to The toxic subject that won’t […]

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It’s the northern spring now, but…

 …if you want to be ready for the winter, your senior management pilots would do well to go to Toronto later this year. Icing is only one of the issues on the winter agenda but, along with human factors, it remains one of aviation’s most vulnerable areas.   The International Winter Operations Conference is where you can […]

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Crew duty hours up for manipulation

Flight time limitations (FTL) regulation is a subject that seriously affects airline pilots, cabin crew, and their employers, so it matters that Europe is considering changing its existing FTL rules in the light of scientific evidence on the causes and effects of fatigue. The airlines like the existing FTLs, known unattractively as EU Ops Sub-Part Q. The scientific answers to European […]

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Fatal distraction

Recently we have learned from studies by the NTSB and NASA that distractions in cockpits can be fatal, and certainly represent a considerable risk that has not been properly acknowledged. The NTSB’s senior human performance investigator Dr William Bramble finds that all the recent fatal airline accidents caused by pilot disorientation were preceded by crew distraction […]

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