Safety listing was wrong again Your safety review (Flight International, 25-31 January) contained the following text regarding the forced landing of an Austrian Airlines Fokker 70 (OE-LFO) : "Late selection of engine anti-icing in the descent towards Munich airport led to ice breaking off the Rolls-Royce Tay engine fan blades, causing some of the ice impact protection panels in the air intakes to break off and partially block the intake..." This text was also included in a previous safety review listing (Flight International, 3-9 August 2004), which resulted in a letter from the manager, flight safety, of Austrian Airlines, highlighting that these were not the facts and that the engine anti-ice equipment was operated according to procedures published in the respective flightcrew operating manual. This is supported by the preliminary report, which is publicly available on the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Investigation website. It is disappointing that the text was resubmitted without appropriate amendments being made, something that has not gone unnoticed by the Austrian Cockpit Association, which participated in the investigation through one of its IFALPA-accredited accident investigators. It also highlights the importance of the written word when used to describe accidents or incidents, especially in a world where the assignment of criminal liability is increasingly taking precedent over accident investigation, hindering accident prevention. Bruce D'Ancey Executive director, IFALPA, Chertsey, Surrey, UK Editor's reply: We got it wrong and are happy to set the record straight

Helpful human resources It was interesting to read the letter "Do HR departments really help?" (Flight International, 18-24 January). The writer's argument is that when there was a surfeit of job applicants, human resources took candidates for granted; now with the number of candidates dwindling, HR is failing the employer - and by extension the industry. So the right question to ask would be: "is HR relevant?" The answer to that is an unequivocal yes. In the first place there has never been a time when there was a surfeit of candidates. Every ad for a pilot's position invariably returned a surfeit of applicants; but the number of candidates matching the required hours on aircraft type was always limited. One of the key roles that HR plays is working with media specialists to get the ad noticed by more discerning applicants. The other is working with personality profiling and behavioural specialists to better match the candidate with the position. If an HR department rejects candidates on the flimsy grounds quoted, obviously you have the wrong types in the department. But don't throw away the baby with the bath water. Try running a crew selection programme with no assistance from the HR department and then you will know the criticality of this function. HR departments are continuously adding value to their contribution through more modern recruitment techniques. The industry needs them more than ever. Sudhakar Nair Doha, Qatar

Are we in the right area? In your interesting cover story (Flight International, 25-31 January), you mention the concept of "safety culture" and the "top-down" system ("the management would always back the pilot's decision"). It is definitely how things should work. But are we really moving in the right direction in "safe" countries in Europe when some low-cost carriers * discipline the crew for having too many sick days a year (is it better to have an unhealthy crew, trying to make sound decisions?) ; * reprimand the pilots for thinking safety first, eg bringing 30min extra fuel, if they consider it is necessary for the specific flight (is it better to risk having aircraft landing with less than final reserve fuel?) ; * lecture the pilots if, for example, an approach has been 1min slower than optimum, when reasons sometimes are beyond their control? The development and competition in the aviation industry over the past years is good, but we can not allow economics to overrule flight safety. Ulf Gelberg Stockholm, Sweden

Stating the obvious In reading Graeme McLeod's disdainful comparison between the apparent safety of his own car and the ill-fated Flight AA587 (Flight International, 8-14 February), it struck me that the two had more in common than he might think. While his car instruction manual contained "no reference to possible problems which may be caused by unnecessary and excessive inputs to his steering wheel", if he were to actually try doing so then I am sure the inevitable result would be a spectacular loss of control! So is Mr McLeod's point that the Airbus flight operations manual should be revised to state the blatently obvious in the vain hope this will prevent structural failure, or that his steering wheel should be limited to 30¡ of movement? It is easy enough to blame such accidents on "pilot error", but it is equally simplistic for a bad workman to blame his tools. The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Andy Woolford Reading, Berkshire, UK

Source: Flight International