30 Oct 09 Proposed safety management systems spark questions

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By AOPA ePublishing staff
The FAA’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) on safety management systems is raising so many questions that AOPA has asked the agency to step back and take another look. Safety management systems create a “structured-risk based approach to managing safety” through safety policies, safety risk management, safety assurance, and safety promotion.
The ANPRM stems from a December 2007 endorsement of an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) proposal to require safety management systems for international aircraft operators, aircraft manufacturers, and maintenance facilities. As of right now, the proposal does not mention Part 91 operators, only Part 21, 119, 121, 135, 142, 141, and 145.
AOPA is concerned about the proposal because it has the potential to undercut the rulemaking process by eliminating public input and cost benefit analysis. Certificate holders could be in a position of never ending problem recognition and solving regardless of cost to the operator. Under safety management systems, it could be that operators would have to address issues that normally would not make it through the rulemaking process.
“AOPA is concerned that SMS puts into place a continuous cycle of problem identification and resolution that may have unintended consequences,” AOPA Director of Aircraft and Environment Leisha Bell told the FAA in formal comments on the proposal. Bell also called on the FAA to define its role in a safety management system and to identify who would have jurisdiction over it. Until then, AOPA maintains that the FAA should not move forward with the proposal
FMI: AOPA

Fly Smart,
Kent


15 Oct 09 Honeywell announces first FAA EGPWS approval

Careflite
Careflite
Honeywell has announced that it has received technical design and production approval from the FAA for its latest Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) for use by helicopters.
Honeywell’s Vice President, Program Management, TK Kallenbach, said that the technology “ensures that all helicopter pilots can have EGPWS in their cockpits today to help avoid terrain and obstacles such as towers.”

Editor's Note: This is one of many steps that must be taken to build a safe low altitude infrastructure for the helicopter community, one that has the same weather reporting, instrument approach, and air traffic control capabilities that fixed wing pilots enjoy.

Fly Smart,
Kent


14 Oct 09 Runway Incursions Down 50 Percent in FY 2009

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FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt announced last week that serious runway incursions were down 50 percent for the most recent 12-month period compared to the previous year. A serious runway incursion is one in which a collision was narrowly avoided, or there was a significant potential for collision that resulted in the need to take quick corrective action.
“Teamwork helped us get where we are today,” said Babbitt, referring to the many collaborative efforts focused on improving runway safety. Among them were enhancements made to runway markings and lighting, as well as an educational outreach campaign that used videos and training aids to raise awareness of the dangers of runway incursions.
“While the reduction is remarkable, there is still much work to be done,” continued Babbitt. As part of an ongoing effort to focus on runway safety, FAA is hosting its first-ever runway safety seminar Dec. 1-3 in Washington, DC. For more details, go to:
http://events.aaae.org/sites/ 091107/ .

Editor's Note: Flying hours are down too, so keep that in mind. One way to approach the taxi phase is to consider it a critical phase of flight. One statistic that surprised me when I reviewed a recent NASA study on runway incursions was that most happened during the taxi out! I would have guessed that they happened on the way in, when pilots "are heading to the barn." Well, that is not the case. There are a few reasons, but the major one might be that pilots are unfamiliar with the airport AND in a hurry to get airborne, trying to minimize the fuel burn and excited about flying. The focus also could be on upcoming aviation duties.

So how can we improve? I recommend that when on the ground we focus is to Navigate and Communicate, Aviate will happen soon enough. Make sure you have an airport diagram (free from the FAA and AirNav) and you stay in the loop with ATC (or CTAF). Ask for progressive taxi help, get some vectors on the ground. They are free and it could save a LOT of paperwork for everyone. And I have never heard of anyone getting lost or violated during a progressive taxi :) On an airliner flight deck, we have two pilots focused on safe taxi. If you are single pilot, use resources from the FBO for local knowledge and expand your "team" to get ATC's help. Everyone will have a nicer day when we do. There is never a reason to do anything fast in the air, and even less reason on the ground. One other best practice is to stop if you need to fiddle with aircraft systems, especially the automeation in newer cockpits. And lastly, don't forget to include Flight Service in your planing. They may have some key airport surface info that will make our taxi ops safer.

Now get out there and have some fun in the cooler weather!


Taxi Smart,
Kent

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