Your views about the aerospace industry and our reporting.

Airline safety is in excellent health

I wonder what your anonymous contributor would write if his son had become a doctor and not a pilot (Flight International, September 2023)?

Would they be writing to complain about junior doctors working dangerously long hours, and senior doctors only working on weekdays, and the consequent effects on patient safety?

Aviation has made major advances in safety since before the jet age, including several decades of research and rule-making in relation to flight time limitations, crew rest requirements and fatigue management.

Major studies have been completed and reports published, for example by the British Airline Pilots Association, European Cockpit Association, and Air Line Pilots Association. This work, which continues, has resulted in a substantial reduction in hull losses and deaths over the past six decades.

Lauda A320

Source: Ilie Silviu Alexandru/Shutterstock

Industry’s good record is the result of decades of research and rule-making

This aviation ‘fairy dust’ has not rubbed off on the medical profession: we are more likely to die in a hospital by medical error than in an aeroplane.

In a 40-year career as a pilot, with four airlines, flying short-, medium- and long-range, including 10 years at a major low-cost carrier, I observed the steady improvement in safety from technical advances, but I am particularly proud of the contribution made by the pilot profession to the spectacular record we have today.

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Schools out

Having read your article about UK training school failures (Flight International, September 2023), it should be clarified that Bournemouth Commercial Flight Training (BCFT) did not go bust: the company threw the towel in, and everybody got their money back. The only alternative for BCFT would have been to soldier on, and then go bust.

FTA and Tayside Aviation battled on, as many in the business do. They try their best to stay afloat, but ultimately fail.

Right now, virtually every UK flight training organisation is in zombie territory, and others are likely to go under.

BCFT was one of the best schools in the UK, and yet nobody batted an eyelid when it closed – but there is supposed to be a growing pilot shortage?

Perhaps you should do an article exploring why all these schools are going under? It might be an idea to speak with the airlines and end users and ask them why they stay well clear of them, because ultimately they are the reason.

The schools are doing their best, but it’s a bit like Oliver Twist with his begging bowl: please sir, I want some more!

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Slide away

Regarding your report of a United Airlines Boeing 767 losing an evacuation slide (, 18 July 2023): from my memory of flying the type for BA, United had an ‘off wing’ escape slide for the over-wing emergency exits.

This was stowed in the wing/body fairing adjacent to the trailing edge, meaning that a slide could detach either through a failure of the retaining mechanism or because someone tried to open the over-wing emergency exit.

Doug Brown

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