Flight Safety Information [December 20, 2018] [No. 257]

Flight Safety Information
Top Flight Safety Information   

December 20, 2018  –  No. 257


In This Issue
Incident: Arabia Maroc A320 at Amsterdam on Dec 18th 2018, flock of birds
Incident: Stobart AT72 at Groningen on Dec 19th 2018, stubborn landing gear
Incident: THY A333 at Johannesburg on Dec 18th 2018, rejected takeoff due to open cockpit window
Incident: Lufthansa A343 over Atlantic on Jun 24th 2018, powerbank catches fire
EVAS – Cockpit Smoke Protection
Boeing 777 – Hydraulic Leak (Japan)
LIBIK Fire Suppression Kits for the Cabin and Flight Deck
Japanese transport ministry to mandate alcohol tests for pilots after spate of drinking incidents
Major UK Airport Grounds All Flights for Hours After Some Idiot Reportedly Flies Drones Near Runway
Landing mode changes snared 777 go-around pilots
Iono Blob holds back air safety advances
Korean Air ‘nut rage’ flight attendant awarded $18,000
Etihad Aviation Training Is the First UAE Training Organization to Be Awarded EASA Certification
How IS-BAH Registration Benefits FBOs
FAA Warns of Red Flags Pointing To Rogue Operators
NTSB to Determine Cause of Rejected Takeoff Incident
Boeing lifts India aircraft forecast to 2,300 jets
Houston, we have a solution: Technology helps new pilots better communicate with air traffic control
A cargo jet company that leases to Amazon buys 20 more Boeing 767s
Soyuz Crew Returns to Earth After a Memorable 6 Months in Space
ERAU Expand Aviation Short-Courses for 2019

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Incident: Arabia Maroc A320 at Amsterdam on Dec 18th 2018, flock of birds
An Air Arabia Maroc Airbus A320-200, registration CN-NMI performing flight 3O-122 from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to Nador (Morocco), was in the initial climb out of Amsterdam’s runway 18L when the crew declared PAN PAN, PAN PAN, PAN PAN reporting they had multiple bird strikes and their engines (CFM56) were vibrating. ATC advised to remain on frequency, all runways were available to the aircraft. The aircraft levelled off at 4000 feet. The crew requested to remain near the aerodrome while troubleshooting. The crew subsequently reported that their engines were operating normally although with vibrations, the landing would be normal. The crew requested all emergency services to be deployed, they had a bird strike into the right hand engine but the readings of the engine were still good, they weren’t sure whether the landing gear was okay. The aircraft landed safely on Amsterdam’s runway 18C about 25 minutes after departure.

The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground in Amsterdam about 26 hours after landing back.


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Incident: Stobart AT72 at Groningen on Dec 19th 2018, stubborn landing gear
A Stobart Air Avions de Transport Regional ATR-72-212A on behalf of Flybe, registration EI-FMK performing flight BE-6031 from Groningen (Netherlands) to Southend,EN (UK), was climbing out of Groningen’s runway 23 when the crew requested to stop the climb at 3000 feet due to a problem with the landing gear. The crew subsequently reported they couldn’t retract the landing gear, it remained down and locked all the time. They needed to return to Groningen but expected a normal landing. The crew positioned for ILS approach to runway 23, just upon intercepting the localizer the crew indicated they had just managed to retract the landing gear and lowered it again, a normal landing back would occur. The aircraft landed safely on Groningen’s runway 23 about 20 minutes after departure.

The flight was cancelled.

The aircraft was able to return to service after about 7.5 hours on the ground.


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Incident: THY A333 at Johannesburg on Dec 18th 2018, rejected takeoff due to open cockpit window

A THY Turkish Airlines Airbus A330-300, registration TC-JNK performing flight TK-43 from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Istanbul (Turkey), was accelerating for takeoff from Johannesburg’s runway 21R when the crew rejected takeoff at high speed (about 130 knots over ground) due to an open cockpit window. The aircraft slowed safely, the crew declined assistance offered by tower, stopped briefly on the runway, then vacated the runway via taxiway H about 2000 meters/6600 feet down the runway and returned to the apron.

A passenger reported the aircraft sustained a blown tyre and some damage to the landing gear. The passengers were taken to hotels.

The occurrence aircraft is still on the ground in Johannesburg about 18 hours after the rejected takeoff.


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Incident: Lufthansa A343 over Atlantic on Jun 24th 2018, powerbank catches fire
A Lufthansa Airbus A340-300, registration D-AIGV performing flight LH-489 (dep Jun 23rd) from San Jose,CA (USA) to Frankfurt/Main (Germany), was enroute over the Atlantic Ocean in Canadian Airspace, when a powerbank in the cabin of the aircraft suffered a thermal runaway and caught fire. Cabin crew quickly extinguished the flames and cooled the device down before securing it in a safe container. The aircraft continued the flight to destination for a safe landing without further incidents.

On Jul 24th 2018 the Canadian TSB reported Germany’s BFU notified the TSB of the occurrence, the BFU have retrieved the power bank.

On Dec 19th 2018 the BFU released their June Bulletin (usually due mid August) briefly stating the occurrence is being investigated by the BFU. After about 4 hours enroute an accessory battery stored in a passenger’s rucksack inflamed emitting lots of smoke. The cockpit crew donned their oxygen masks, cabin crew used halon fire extinguishers, put the fire out, cooled the battery down and kept it under surveillance for the remainder of the flight. About 30 minutes later the flight crew removed their oxygen masks and continued the flight to destination. Two passengers were treated for shock after landing in Frankfurt.



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Boeing 777 – Hydraulic Leak (Japan)

Date: 19-DEC-2018
Time: 19:42 LT
Type: Boeing 777-289
Owner/operator: Japan Airlines
Registration: JA8979
C/n / msn: 27638/107
Fatalities: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 338
Other fatalities: 0
Aircraft damage: Minor
Location: Osaka International Airport/Itami (ITM/RJOO) –    Japan
Phase: Landing
Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport: Tokyo International Airport/Haneda (HMD/RJTT)
Destination airport: Osaka International Airport/Itami (ITM/RJOO)

The flight crew of JAL/JL133 from Tokyo/Haneda to Osaka/Itami, operated by a Boeing 777-200, received an indication of hydraulic problem en route at ca. 19:00 LT. After landing on runway 32L of Itami at 19:42 LT, oil leak was found from the airplane staying on a taxiway. The runway 32L was closed until 20:25 LT for cleaning, causing three other commercial flights to be diverted and another to be cancelled. The plane could taxi by itself, and arrived at the terminal at ca. 21:00 LT.

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Japanese transport ministry to mandate alcohol tests for pilots after spate of drinking incidents

The transport ministry said Wednesday it has decided to introduce new rules including mandatory alcohol tests for pilots after a number of services were disrupted due to drinking by flight crew members.

The ministry will set legal limits for pilots of 0.09 milligrams of alcohol per liter of breath or 0.2 grams of alcohol per liter of blood, while requiring pilots to take tests in the presence of staff from other departments to prevent cheating.

Under the current system, flight crew members are prohibited from drinking within eight hours of starting work, but there is no legal limit for alcohol consumption and breath tests are not required.

Japanese airlines conduct alcohol tests according to their own rules, in contrast with the United States and Europe where legal frameworks are established, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.

A Japan Airlines Co. co-pilot was arrested in Britain before a flight at the end of October when he was found to be around 10 times over the country’s legal limit. The co-pilot, 42-year-old Katsutoshi Jitsukawa, who was later dismissed, was sentenced to 10 months in prison by a British court.

In another case, a pilot of an All Nippon Airways Co. unit disrupted five flights in Okinawa in October when he called in sick after drinking heavily the night before.

JAL and ANA have since introduced more stringent alcohol tests for pilots, as well as new testing equipment.

In Japan, the legal limit for drivers is set at 0.15 milligrams of alcohol per liter of breath.


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Major UK Airport Grounds All Flights for Hours After Some Idiot Reportedly Flies Drones Near Runway

Gatwick Airport

Drones! People can’t stop flying ’em, whether they’re harmless hobbyists, police looking to expand their surveillance powers, criminals looking to evade them, corporate profiteers, failed assassins, or dumbasses who violate airspace restrictions or interfere with emergency operations out of ignorance, recklessness, or outright malice.

It’s that last category that is presumably the cause of a major disruption in the UK, according to Reuters, which reported that sightings of two drones flying over airways at the UK’s second-busiest airport grounded all flights and turned away landings for hours beginning late Wednesday evening local time:

Flights at London’s Gatwick airport remained suspended early on Thursday, five hours after the UK’S second-busiest airport halted them to investigate reports of two drones flying over its airfield, inconveniencing passengers days before the Christmas holiday period.

Planes were unable to depart, while a number of flights scheduled to land were diverted to other airports, Gatwick said in a statement.

Per the AP:

Passengers complained on Twitter that their flights had landed at London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham and other cities. Other flights were sent to France and the Netherlands.

Flights eventually resumed at around 3:00 a.m. local time on Thursday, according to the Guardian, but the airport wrote on Twitter nearly two hours later that further sightings of the drones had forced them to again close the runway.

“We will update when we have suitable reassurance that it is appropriate to re-open the runway,” the official Gatwick Airport LGW account wrote. “…We apologise to any affected passengers for this inconvenience but the safety of our passengers and all staff is our foremost priority.”

Eurocontrol, an international organization which coordinates air traffic across Europe, posted in a “tactical update” that flights at Gatwick were expected to be grounded at least 9:00 a.m. local time. (The use of the word “tactical” here is not meant to connote any military meaning.)

According to Reuters, the UK Airprox Board recorded a tripling of near-misses between commercial jets and unmanned aerial vehicles from 2015 to 2017, with 92 such incidents reported in 2017.

Drones are potentially capable of causing much more serious damage to aircraft in flight than birds, which have been associated with numerous airline disasters over the years. (The Federal Aviation Administration writes on its website that “There have been about 194,000 wildlife strikes with civil aircraft in USA between 1990 and 2017,” resulting in hundreds of deaths and fatalities.) A helicopter crash landing in Charleston, South Carolina earlier this year was attributed to a drone sighting, while a 2017 collision between a U.S. Army helicopter and a DJI drone in New York was blamed on an operator who flew his drone out of sight.

There’s no word on whether UK authorities have any leads on who is flying drones near Gatwick Airport or why, though it’s a sure bet that anyone found responsible for the delays will wish they hadn’t.

According to Trusted Reviews, recent changes to UK drone laws stipulate that anyone found guilty of flying a drone above 400 feet or within about 0.62 miles (one kilometer) of airport boundaries can be charged with “recklessly or negligently acting in a manner likely to endanger an aircraft or any person in an aircraft,” which can result in a fine of about $3,160 (£2500) or up to five years in prison.


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Landing mode changes snared 777 go-around pilots

German investigators’ findings from the Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER excursion at Munich, showing the crew was snared by landing mode logic, indicate parallels with the Emirates 777-300 accident at Dubai five years later.

The SIA aircraft was affected by ILS interference as it flared for landing on 1 November 2011, drifting to the left as a result.

While the crew was prepared for an automatic go-around, the touchdown of the main landing-gear switched the jet to ground mode, inhibiting the take-off/go-around switches which would have commanded full thrust.

The same logic similarly disengaged these switches on an Emirates 777-300 which touched down at Dubai in August 2016, before its crew attempted a late go-around.

United Arab Emirates investigators found the pilots had received a warning that the aircraft had landed long.

The crew attempted to execute a go-around but the aircraft became airborne with only idle thrust, rather than the full thrust which would have been provided through the take-off/go-around switches.

With no manual intervention to advance the thrust levers, the Emriates 777 sank back to the runway and was destroyed by fire. All those on board the jet survived.

Investigators have yet to reach final conclusions over the Emirates accident, and determine the precise crew response, but the inquiry has already pointed out that the take-off/go-around switches are inhibited once the aircraft is on the ground.

German investigation authority BFU states that flight-data recorder information, plus a sonogram intended to identify sounds in the cockpit, indicates the SIA 777 crew “simultaneously” pushed the take-off/go-around switch as the left-hand main landing-gear contacted the runway.

“The crew anticipated that the go-around mode would initiate a go-around, but nothing happened,” it says.

SIA was training its crews on three 777 simulators, one manufactured by Thales and two by CAE.

All three used the same system logic as features in the 777 in order to activate the ground mode, and all three demonstrated that the go-around switches were ineffective if ground mode was active.

BFU says the Thales simulator switched to ground mode “a little later” than the CAE simulators once the main landing-gear made contact, without elaborating.

The inquiry says both the SIA captain, being an instructor pilot, and the experienced first officer were sufficiently familiar with the go-around procedure.

But it nevertheless is recommending that additional go-around guidelines be implemented, and that crews should have improved simulator training on go-around procedures after the aircraft has switched to ground mode.


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Iono Blob holds back air safety advances

Where have all the SBAS gone?

Space Based Augmentation Systems (SBAS) – known in North America as the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) – have been fully operational in one form or another for several years. The FAA’s incremental improvements to integrity, accuracy and reliability in WAAS have brought the system to a point where we have precision en-route navigation for aircraft, and we can also land aircraft using WAAS signals at thousands of airports in the US and in Canada.

Why not Mexico, which also benefits from the same WAAS coverage? More on that later, as we piece together the many parts of the complex SBAS mosaic.

SBAS precision approach coverage, May 2016. Graphic: FAA Tech Center, Lockheed Martin, GMV

Europe benefits from high-accuracy en-route navigation, and there are also hundreds of operational approaches using the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) SBAS.

In India, the GPS Aided Geo-Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system provides accurate en-route navigation and approach capability. However, ionospheric disturbance may limit some aspects of performance.

Japan established the Multi-functional Satellite Augmentation System (MSAS) SBAS, and has benefited from improved en-route navigation, but it’s possible that the more limited geographic distribution of GPS ground reference stations has restricted improvements to approach capabilities.

But what happened to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) concept from 2007, supported by all the ‘aviation-going’ countries of the world, that SBAS would evolve and eventually multiple national systems would provide coverage around the rest of the world, maybe even by 2016?

Countries in Asia, South America, Africa and the continent of Australia all appear to have looked closely into establishing their own SBAS, but nothing seems to have come out of these investigations. Technical issues, cost, and political obstacles have all hindered global SBAS progress.

The ionospheric challenge. Graphic: GMV and Lockheed-Martin

Technical Issues. Ionospheric scintillation problems around the Equator seem to be at the root of most technical problems for SBAS. Getting to the required level of probable, bounded system error is hugely difficult. The iono disturbance ‘blob’ follows the sun around the Equator and wipes out any chance of satisfactory system performance when it passes over Equatorial countries.

As total electron count (TEC) increases, the ionospheric grid, which most SBAS use to predict ionospheric variation across their geographic area between fixed reference stations, well, it just doesn’t work anymore.

Cost. The capital cost of building a satellite-based augmentation system and the on-going cost of maintaining a bunch of geographically distributed reference sites, building and launching GEO satellites or renting transponders on someone else’s orbiting asset, establishing, operating and maintaining redundant uplink stations, redundant terrestrial data links, and setting up control systems that collect and create the SBAS uplink message – it all adds up. Millions and maybe even billions of dollars or equivalent, in total, have been spent by those select countries who could afford their own SBAS. Others named above have lesser financial resources upon which to draw.

Political Obstacles. One of the trickiest issues is sovereignty: the need for a country to control its own navigation and landing system. This has likely been the source of most resistance to more SBAS systems being set up and shared by bordering countries around the world.

For a large number of smaller countries, SBAS would only make sense if it was shared across a number of neighboring countries, but that means relinquishing sovereignty to some degree. In several regions of the world a number of geographically adjacent countries don’t particularly like each other, never mind thinking of such sharing/collaboration.

National sovereignty, by the way, isone of the main reasons that existing satellite navigation systems underpinning SBAS, such as Galileo, GLONASS, IRNSS (now NAVIC), QZSS and of course BeiDou have all been put in place.

Another problem with potential SBAS sharing across adjacent countries stems from responsibility for liability. Should something not work and an accident ensues from such a malfunction, who’s liable? Mexico seems to have adopted the view that since the US provides WAAS on what could be called an ‘as-is’ basis, then the potential liability issue seems to trump using the system.

Solutions? Technical issues with the ionosphere may soon be resolved by using dual-frequency L1/L5 airborne receivers that directly calculate their own ionospheric corrections, rather than using the computed SBAS iono grid. If we add in dual-frequency E1/E5a signals from Galileo, things start to get even better. New requirements and prototype equipment are already being developed for dual frequency multi-constellation airborne receivers. Airbus anticipates equipping aircraft with such receivers around 2025. Could this solve the SBAS technical issue for Equatorial countries?

ARINC (now a UTC/Rockwell Collins company) and SITA (in Europe) have been providing commercial aircraft with operational communications services on a pay-for-use basis for a number of years, and this is notarized as an accepted means of compliance within ICAO policy/requirements:

From ICAO Doc. 9161, Sec. 3.99: “A group of states or a regional organization might also undertake to operate the augmentation satellite service required, either by themselves or by contracting a commercial or government organization to do so on their behalf.”

ARINC en-route coverage. Graphic: ARINC

Aireon has partnered with NAV CANADA, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), Enav, NATS and Naviair, as well as Iridium Communications and Harris Corporation to provide real time ADS-B data (GPS position output from aircraft) to air-traffic control providers. Aireon’s payloads on the new Iridium NEXT Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation will receive aircraft ADS-B messages and relay them to Air Traffic Controllers in real-time.

There are 66 Iridium NEXT satellites in operation, with significant overlap and redundancy built into the system to enable this safety-of-life service to be provided on a pay-for-use basis to the aviation industry. We could at last know the location of every suitably equipped aircraft in the air, in almost real-time. The ICAO requirement is for an update rate of 15 minutes.

Inmarsat ADS-C is a similar service available to aircraft on a contracted, pay-for-use basis via Inmarsat GEO satellites.

Market Solutions. If a substantial company showed up with a worldwide distributed SBAS solution and offered it on a fee for service basis, why wouldn’t countries that are already accustomed to ARINC and SITA pay-for-use communications? The Aireon international aircraft tracking system, to be provided on the same basis, adds to the credibility of such a pay-for-use service.

So why wouldn’t these accepted services demonstrate to those countries concerned about control and national sovereignty that an SBAS service could be provided on this basis?

The liability for provision of service sits with the providers, so user countries/airlines would have someone to turn to about liability issues, and there presumably could be contract terms to provide system performance guarantees.

No huge capital costs, no system to construct, nor staff to operate or maintain, and yet a level of control similar to that which has been around for commercial aircraft communications for decades.

Would this be of interest to countries that have not yet jumped on the SBAS bandwagon? A definite ‘maybe,’ we could imagine? What’s not to like?

The punch line to all this is that Lockheed Martin and GMV (Spain) have teamed to challenge these non-SBAS countries with a solution which may appeal.

Uralla reference test site. Photo: Lockheed-Martin

To present convincing evidence that it would work, a dual frequency GPS (L1/L2) + Galileo (E1/E5a) reference site has been set up in collaboration with Geoscience Australia and Land Information New Zealand. The reference site is located at Uralla, New South Wales on Australia’s East Coast, where it gathers data demonstrating bounded errors within the operational range which could enable GNSS approach capability.

L1 (2006) vs. DFMC (2018) SBAS at Bangkok. Graphic: Lockheed-Martin, GMV

Another test site in Bangkok, Thailand has demonstrated that existing L1-only SBAS in this area cannot manage this performance (all current SBAS are L1 only), but that with dual-frequency multi-constellation (DFMC) GPS L1/L2+Galileo E1/E5a, the required performance limits could be met.

Lockheed Martin has also been using the Uralla uplink site to test the uplink and downlink of dual-frequency SBAS-like test messages.

The Moral of the Story. There are no miracles as yet, but interest in the pay-as-you-go SBAS concept appears to be growing, and the LM/GMV team continues to work to bring their approach to market.

A large number of countries could well benefit from the high accuracy, integrity and continuity of SBAS service if this all comes together.


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Korean Air ‘nut rage’ flight attendant awarded $18,000

The Korean Air “nut rage” incident sparked a national debate about the Korean business system

Korean Air has been ordered to pay nearly $18,000 (€16,000; £14,000) to a flight attendant who was subjected to abuse in a “nut rage” incident.

Park Chang-jin was forced to apologise on his knees after he served nuts to the daughter of the airline’s chairman in a bag rather than a bowl in 2014.

He was then ejected from the plane, which was about to take off.

Mr Park, who was also demoted over the incident, had sued Korean Air for “physical and psychological suffering”.

He also claimed that his demotion to an ordinary cabin crew position was unfair punishment for speaking out about the incident to the media.

On Wednesday, he was awarded compensation by a court in Seoul for his treatment on the day of the delayed flight in December four years ago.

However, the figure was less than Mr Park had demanded, and the court also backed Korean Air’s decision to demote him.

The “nut rage” incident involving Cho Hyun-ah, the eldest daughter of the airline’s chairman Cho Yang-ho, made headlines around the world.

Ms Cho, known as Heather in English, flew into a rage when the macadamia nuts arrived in a packet and not on a plate on board a Seoul-bound flight from New York.

The case attracted intense attention in South Korea, reopening a national debate about the Korean business system, which is dominated by family firms known as chaebols.

The incident was eventually brought to trial, and Cho Hyun-ah was convicted of violating aviation safety, coercion and abuse of power in 2015.

She served five months in prison over the incident.

In a separate incident in April this year, Mr Cho’s youngest daughter, Cho Hyun-min, was forced to apologise after she allegedly splashed water in a colleague’s face during a company meeting.

She said she had been “foolish and reckless”.

Both daughters left their positions at the company following the incidents.

Their brother, Cho Won-tae, remains president and chief operating officer of Korean Air.


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Etihad Aviation Training Is the First UAE Training Organization to Be Awarded EASA Certification

Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group with H.E. Hamad Abdulla Al Shamsi, Vice Chairman Etihad Aviation Group Board of Directors, Capt. Paolo La Cava, Director & Accountable Manager, Etihad Aviation Training and Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Aviation Group announcing the EASA certification at the impressive simulator facility in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Etihad Aviation Training, part of Etihad Aviation Group has accomplished the significant milestone of becoming the first full European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Approved Training Organisation (ATO) for the transport category in the United Arab Emirates.

This significant achievement reinforces the organisation’s position as a world-class aviation training centre, located in the Middle East.

The certification is a clear indication of the quality and standard that has been developed at the training organisation as well as the cooperation between the UAE Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Etihad Aviation Group over the last few years.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “Etihad Aviation Training is an ambitious enterprise, pursuing its mandate to provide outstanding training services to a global audience. The growth of the business will mirror the expansion of the global training market and the entire group is excited about the expanding portfolio of programmes and products.

“The support of the wise leadership and the forward-thinking strategy that has been adopted in Abu Dhabi has fast tracked this achievement. Abu Dhabi will now be able to welcome and train pilots globally, wishing to achieve EASA type rating.”

Etihad Aviation Training’s EASA ATO approval covers the Airbus A320, A330 and A340, with ambitions to extend this certification to include the Boeing fleet as well as the Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) and Multi-crew Pilot Licence (MPL) courses in 2019.

Based at two locations in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, Etihad Aviation Training is a commercially-focused business open to external customers, while retaining the operational and safety values that have underpinned Etihad’s training services to date.

This full EASA ATO certification will enable the organisation to take advantage of the increasing global demand for aviation training. EASA’s globally recognised certification is expected to attract clients from Europe, as well as demand from the GCC, Africa, Indian sub-continent and South-east Asia.

Captain Paolo La Cava, Director Etihad Aviation Training, said: “The organisation is always looking for ways to expand its operations and activities, and this new approval is the perfect platform for growth.

“EAT operates two facilities, one adjacent to Abu Dhabi International Airport, and a flight training facility based in Al Ain. The Al Ain facility is our ab-initio school teaching cadets, while Abu Dhabi is a training academy primarily responsible for delivering advanced flight training for airlines.”

The recent EASA approval builds on the success of the existing Part 147 Approved Maintenance Training Organisation achieved for technical training in aircraft maintenance. The Part 147 Technical Training is delivered in state-of-the-art classrooms by a team of highly qualified instructors, including the Airbus Technical Competency Training classroom.


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How IS-BAH Registration Benefits FBOs

The summer of 1984, fresh faced, with a full head of hair, I started my business aviation journey. One of my earliest memories in the first few months of starting was helping with a departing Gulfstream III – the owner turned up in his Ferrari Testarossa planeside, threw me the keys and told me to go and park it. It wasn’t a pretty sight though, bunny hopping and stalling past a variety of multi-million-dollar aircraft to park outside the FBO with a raft of other high-end cars. Thankfully I didn’t hit anything, I guess I got lucky that day.

Looking back over the following 34 years, luck has played an important role for many of those. Ask yourself, how lucky do you feel day today?

July 1, 2018, saw the release of the latest version of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH). The 2018/19 version, approved by the industry lead Standards Board at the annual meeting in May, brings a much-refined document suite including improved implementation guidance. The Standard remains fully scalable, presenting a progressive step-by-step approach to implementing an integrated management system which is built around a safety management core.

Since its initial launch is 2014, the IS-BAH has been well received by a wide variety of global business and general aviation ground handling service providers. The standards and recommended practices contained within use a proactive approach to managing workplace safety to prevent hangar rash incidents and workplace injuries.

Traditional approaches are often reactive, where problems are addressed only after an incident or accident has happened, a new standard or regulation is published, or a third party finds a problem that must be fixed. The IS-BAH recognizes that finding and fixing hazards and associated risks before they result in losses is a far more effective approach, so “luck” no longer plays such a significant role in airside activities as it may have previously.

Why is it Needed?
Currently, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 19 on Safety Management Systems requires States (National Authorities), as part of their oversight of “service providers” (Including commercial aircraft operators, aerodromes and international general aviation operators of large or turbojet airplanes), to implement a Safety Management System (SMS).

As the SMS matures, these aircraft operators and aerodromes, will start to consider the possible impact their interfaces with suppliers and vendors has with the effectiveness of the performance of their SMS. In addition, some States are considering the inclusion of Ground Handling Service Providers (GHSPs) into the full scope of their safety plans, including requirements for SMS.

The IS-BAH provides a reliable benchmark against which performance can be judged as meeting or exceeding the customer’s expectations. It also helps heighten awareness of safety issues among employees.

The SMS component allows an IS-BAH registered GHSP to gain recognition, for having in place a well-founded safety management development process. Maturity of the organization’s SMS is a critical factor in the long-term recognition of the use of industry best practices that conform to ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs).

What’s Wrong with the Way Things are Now?

Statistics and data show we have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty Claims Review 2017 states that “… the majority of loss events were caused by vehicles on the tarmac. At 31 percent, they account for almost one in three losses. More than half of these events are due to collisions with pushback tractors, baggage trolleys, aerial work platforms or washing systems (56 percent).”

The European Aviation Safety Agency claims “accidents related to ground handling constitute the fourth biggest accident category in the period of the last 10 years.”

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Safety Committee Survey 2016 showed a total of 48 percent of respondents reported having one to three ground handling incidents or close calls in the last three years, while 8 percent reported having four to nine incidents or close calls. Ground handling remains a top priority for the NBAA Safety Committee for 2018.

Data gathered by IBAC over the past 18 months from various sources shows 93 percent of accidents result in aircraft damage, 71 percent where the aircraft comes into collision with either GSE, other aircraft or static objects (trees, lamp post, hangars etc.) and 57 percent are happening when the aircraft is parked and under the control of the ground handler.

Potential Hurdles
GHSP owners and managers need to have an adequate understanding of the IS-BAH implementation and registration process and of the standards themselves. You need to find an appropriate balance between the documentation requirements and attending to the fundamental business of running a company. The implementation process must bring value to the organization and directing company’s resources toward IS-BAH registration with a thorough understanding will be beneficial.

Some organizations may reluctantly be moved toward the acceptance of the IS-BAH and others for “me too” or marketing reasons. In both cases, the key objective has been to obtain the registration certificate which is subsequently displayed prominently in the facility and advertisements.

What may result from this type of situation is that firms may have two systems. One being what they really do, and the other being the one they show to the auditor.

In this type of a situation the firms pay all the costs for registration, but they do not benefit from it. This situation leads to a dilution of the intention of safety departments and personnel within them may not consider safety issues to be as important.

Senior management should be genuinely committed to achieving and maintaining a high level of safety and give employees motivation and the means to do so as well. Create a culture where safety is a commitment made by your management and board. If you can do this, you will show your employees and customers that their welfare is your priority.

It is better to have employees working with you to manage their own safety, in that way they feel more responsible for the safety of not only themselves, but their co-workers as well.

If the IS-BAH is introduced for the right reasons, registration becomes a secondary consideration.

I’ve Been Doing it this Way for Years – Why Should I Change?
Conforming with the IS-BAH can provide a competitive advantage and could well be a deciding factor when a customer has a choice between two, or more, comparable suppliers. By seeking and securing IS-BAH registration, organizations can provide their customers with the opportunity to tout their suppliers’ dedication to safety in their own business dealings.

If conformity cannot be supported in this way, customers only have the suppliers’ word regarding their services.

People are motivated differently. If you make an honest attempt to conform to the requirements of getting IS-BAH registration, you’ll learn more about your business. Change will happen with or without you. It is better for you to control the change, rather than have change forced on to you.

Change is about improvement. To work smarter, not harder. Change is best made with small incremental steps, not complete overhauls. Change is not a quick fix. What change does require is leaders who embrace it.

The registration process may expose shortcomings in operational areas. When these problems are brought to light, the company can take the appropriate steps to improve its processes. Thus, further benefiting from the auditing process internally.

Reduction in the number and scope of rapidly increasing second-party audits by customers (aircraft operators may use the registration and assessment process as a tool for risk management of their suppliers); and the use of registration as a marketing tool to demonstrate a clear organizational commitment to safety.

Can I Do It?
To start, begin to recommend better ways of doing what you already do. There’s always time to do things safely.

The process requires documentation and self-assessment that many organizations can see benefits in an increased understanding of the company’s overall direction and processes as a significant benefit.

Take your time and make the link between what you do on a day-to-day basis and how that can support the overall change initiative. Take the opportunity to change your own attitude, behaviors and beliefs. Show dedication and demonstrate that you want to do it right and you can drastically increase your chances of success. Keep focused on the task at hand, ask yourself how you can help build a better organization.

Safety is an investment, not a cost. Rush through the early stages and, you might find yourself derailed, killing momentum when it is needed most.

Are We Making a Difference?
Currently 142 IS-BAH registered locations globally think it’s worthwhile to have achieved Stage I, 20 have moved through to Stage II with the maiden Stage III – American Aero FTW – was announced during NBAA-BACE 2018. Not bad going for a voluntary program.

Will I Win or Lose?
Implementing through to registration the IS-BAH shows you are ahead of the game and not playing catch up to the competition. Adapting early to change and being an ally for it is one of the simplest and most visible ways of leading change. The nice thing about being an ally and early adopter is that you aren’t seen as someone who is just giving face time to the change; you are doing it and helping to spread enthusiasm among your peers.

If you can make a single change to improve the safety of your operations, what would it be?


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FAA Warns of Red Flags Pointing To Rogue Operators

The FAA, highlighting its efforts to combat illegal charter, is warning the public of red flags involved in illegal operations. The agency also released a list of certified operators to enable consumers to verify their charter companies. Those warnings came as the agency has worked with industry organizations such as NATA and NBAA to step up its efforts to curtail illegal activity.

In a new statement, the FAA notes it is working “aggressively to identify and shut down rogue operators,” saying they pose a serious threat to safety. Legal charter operations meet a higher level of training, maintenance, and operational requirements, and are more frequently inspected, the FAA statement reminds.

The agency outlined various forms of illegal charter activity such as a lack of certification, use of unauthorized aircraft, use of unqualified pilots, ride-sharing offers, and transference of operational control to the customer, among others.

Numerous actions are ongoing to crack down on illegal operations, the FAA added, including the formation of a special-focus team to investigate complex cases. Also, the agency has partnered with industry to identify illegal operations, the agency said, adding it is standing up a new team to collaborate with industry trade associations to educate pilots and operators.

In addition to furnishing the list of licensed operators, the agency advises that customers can ask to see the company’s operating certificate and specifications that list the approved aircraft.

Additionally, the agency listed potential red flags, such as an attempt to transfer operational control to a customer; a lack of federal excise tax charge: “if the price is too good to be true, it probably is;” lack of safety briefing or briefing cards; evasive answers to questions or concerns; and an attempt to coach passengers on what to say if an FAA inspector is present.

“The FAA encourages people to thoroughly research operators they are considering hiring, and to report any suspected illegal activities to the agency,” the statement said, adding, “If a member of the public has a concern about the legitimacy of a charter operator, they should contact their local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).”

The agency pointed to resources of industry groups, its own guidance, as well as the toll-free illegal charter reporting hotline at 888-SKY-FLT1 (888-759-3581).


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NTSB to Determine Cause of Rejected Takeoff Incident

One passenger suffered a minor injury; there was no fire, but the aircraft was substantially damaged in the March 2017 incident. The airplane was chartered to carry the University of Michigan men’s basketball team to Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va.

The National Transportation Safety Board will meet Jan. 15, 2019, to determine the probable cause of the March 8, 2017, runway excursion accident involving a chartered jetliner that occurred during a rejected takeoff at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Mich. All 109 passengers and seven crew members evacuated the Boeing MD-83 aircraft via escape slides after the plane came to rest about 1,000 feet past the end of runway 23L.

One passenger suffered a minor injury; there was no fire, but the aircraft was substantially damaged. It was Ameristar Air Cargo Inc. flight 9363. The airplane was chartered to carry the University of Michigan men’s basketball team to Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., in order to play in the Big Ten tournament in Washington, D.C.

The pilot, Mark Radloff, 54, told authorities later that he realized during the takeoff roll that the plane was unable to climb, forcing him to abort the takeoff. The plane’s landing gear collapsed as the aircraft plowed through a chain-link fence, across an airport road, and over a small ditch. The players, cheerleaders and the rest of the team’s travel party evacuated, with the sole injury being a five-stitch cut on the leg of senior co-captain Derrick Walton Jr., The Detroit News reported.

The Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing, and Ameristar are parties to the NTSB investigation. The meeting will take place in the NTSB Boardroom and Conference Center, 420 10th St. SW, in Washington, D.C., and is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.


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Boeing lifts India aircraft forecast to 2,300 jets

Boeing is forecasting that India will require 2,300 new aircraft over the next 20 years, raising the figure from last year’s forecast of 2,100 aircraft, and 2016’s 1,850 aircraft.

The airframer says the 2,300 aircraft set to be delivered by 2037 will have a market value of $320 billion. Of these aircraft, 1,940 are narrowbodies and 350 widebodies. Only 10 regional jets, with 90 or fewer seats, will be required in the Indian market.

2017’s forecast accounted for 1,780 narrowbodies, 310 widebodies, and 10 regional jets.

The airframer pointed to an “unprecedented domestic passenger traffic, and rapidly expanding low-cost carriers”, as the driving need for more jets in India. In 2018, more than 10 million passengers travelled within India on average each month.

“To meet this increased domestic air traffic growth, we see the vast majority of available airplane seats coming from LCCs,” says Dinesh Keskar, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ senior vice-president of sales for Asia-Pacific and India.

According to its Commercial Market Outlook, renamed from Current Market Outlook, India’s commercial aviation industry has achieved 51 consecutive months of double digit growth.

It also expects more than 5% of the world’s fleet to be operating in India by 2037, thus driving the need for commercial services such as flight training, engineering and maintenance, as well as digital analytics.

For the entire South Asia region, which includes India, Boeing is forecasting a commercial services market valued at $430 billion over the next 20 years.

“The Indian economy is projected to grow by nearly 350 percent over the next two decades to become the third largest economy in the world,” adds Keskar.

“This will continue to drive the growth of India’s middle class and its propensity to travel both domestically and internationally, resulting in the need for more new fuel-efficient short- and long-haul airplanes.”


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Houston, we have a solution: Technology helps new pilots better communicate with air traffic control, increase safety

Two Purdue University alumni have come up with simulator technology to help new pilots master radio communication skills.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Learning to speak a new language can be difficult in any setting. Now, imagine trying to learn the language of the sky as a new pilot, while also navigating the instrument panel and learning to fly the plane safely.

Two Purdue University alumni have come up with technology to help new pilots master radio communication skills to better interact with air traffic control operators.

Muharrem Mane, an alumnus from the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Eren Hadimioglu, an alumnus from the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, created and developed PlaneEnglish.

It is an aviation radio simulator to help new pilots acquire radio communication skills becoming proficient in aviation phraseology and communication, developing advanced skills in realistic environments, and giving instantaneous feedback through voice recognition and speech analysis.

The app-based tool also aims to help new pilots reach Federal Aviation Administration and International Civil Aviation Organization standards for English language use, put in place to ensure safety in the sky.

“We’ve gotten feedback that this is something very different and very new in the area of flight training,” Mane said. “It’s a combination of ease of access – train on the go – the way we’re doing the speech analysis, and feedback to the user that is something that doesn’t exist out there.”

PlaneEnglish is an aviation radio simulator to help new pilots acquire radio communication skills. 

PlaneEnglish has more than 50 lessons accessible at any time. Lessons guide users through simple and complicated interactions with air traffic control on every phase of flight from taxi out, to takeoff, to airspace entrance, to approaches, to taxi in.

Each simulation includes visual clues that show altitude, distance from an airport and direction. A variety of airports can be selected or one will be randomly selected for the user.

Users are required to respond properly in specific situations, using the correct phraseology, speech rate and other factors. There can be as many as five or six exchanges back and forth with “air traffic control.” Then users are graded on those responses.

“Every time you do a lesson, there is going to be something that changes,” Mane said.

“You can’t just memorize.”

Mane also said the technology comes at a time when the FAA has put an increased focus on English language proficiency for pilots, and started asking instructors to test their students on their speaking and communication abilities.

PlaneEnglish is available for Android, and the next step is developing it for iOS. A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to help toward that goal.

The work aligns with Purdue’s Giant Leaps celebration, celebrating the university’s global advancements in space exploration as part of Purdue’s 150th anniversary. This is one of the four themes of the yearlong celebration’s Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.

The creators of PlaneEnglish are working with the Purdue Research Foundation as they develop their technology.

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue’s intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park and Purdue Technology Centers. The foundation received the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Innovation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org.

Writer: Chris Adam, 765-588-3341, cladam@prf.org

Source: Muharrem Mane, muharrem@planeenglish.net


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A cargo jet company that leases to Amazon buys 20 more Boeing 767s

Amazon.com Inc. leases Boeing 767 freighters from cargo carriers and Air Transport Services Group and Atlas Air.

One of the two cargo aircraft companies that lease Boeing 767 freighters to Amazon.com has signed a deal to acquire 20 more 767s jets.

Air Transport Services Group Inc. will buy the 767 passenger jets from Texas-based Jetran LLC and gradually convert almost all of them into freighters to “meet strong e-commerce-driven demand for mid-size freighters,” ATSG said in a news release.

Terms were not disclosed. ATSG aircraft leasing subsidiary, Cargo Aircraft Management, will manage the conversions before leasing out the 20 aircraft.

Wilmington, Ohio-based ATSG – which already leases 20 767s to Amazon – declined to answer questions about whether it would lease more jets to Amazon, which has grown its Amazon Air cargo jet fleet to more than 40 jets in just a few years.

Amazon became ATSG’s largest customer in 2017, accounting for 44 percent of its total revenues, according to a securities filing. (Amazon also has agreements to acquire up to 20 percent of ATSG.)

ATSG President and CEO Joe Hete said despite a slowing economy, discussions with “several” unidentified customers about leasing multiple 767-300s give the company “confidence that the market will remain strong.”

Rena Lunak, a spokeswoman for the Seattle-based Amazon, declined to comment.

The 767-300s acquired by ATSG are currently operated as passenger jets by American Airlines, ATSG said.

Boeing made the 767 aircraft between 1993 and 2003, and they’re powered by General Electric CF6-series engines.

New Boeing 767 freighters go for $212 million at list price, but older, used passenger 767 jets can fetch between $9 million and $50 million each.

ATSG said it expects to begin modifying and converting six of the 20 767-300s into cargo jets during 2019. Nine more will be converted during 2020, with the final five completed in 2021.

ATSG projects it will own at least 59 767-300 freighter aircraft by the end of 2021, up from 39 at the end of 2018.

ATSG said it also owns six other passenger 767-300s now operated by its recently acquired passenger airline subsidiary Omni Air International and it may choose to refurbish and lease one or more of the jets as 767 passenger jets to its Omni Air.


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Soyuz Crew Returns to Earth After a Memorable 6 Months in Space

European Space Agency astronaut Alex Gerst raises his fist in the air after being pulled out of the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft on Dec. 20, 2018.
Credit: NASA/Roscosmos

Three space station crewmembers returned to Earth today (Dec. 20) after a remarkably eventful stay aboard the orbiting laboratory.

NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, German astronaut Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev safely touched down on the snowy steppe of Kazakhstan at 12:02 a.m. EST (0502 GMT), one minute ahead of schedule. The trio spent a total of 197 days in space working as part of Expeditions 56 and 57.

“The Soyuz MS-09 stuck the landing on the eve of the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first voyage to the moon,” NASA TV commentator Rob Navias said during a live webcast of the landing, referring to the Apollo 8 mission that launched on Dec. 21, 1968.

After their Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft landed on a blanket of snow, European Space Agency astronaut Alex Gerst (left) and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev get checked out by medics.
Credit: NASA/Roscosmos

The astronauts returned to Earth in the same Soyuz crew capsule that brought them to the International Space Station (ISS) in June – and the same spacecraft that sprang a mysterious air leak almost halfway into the crew’s mission. After finding and sealing the air leak, the crew may have dealt with enough unexpected drama for one mission. But just six weeks later, a harrowing aborted launch of two of their intended Expedition 57 crewmates threw them for a loop.

Both the leak and the aborted launch served as a reminder that the now-seemingly routine job of an astronaut is still inherently risky and that it’s good to be prepared for anything that can happen while in space. Thankfully, the leaking Soyuz posed no threat to the passengers on their way home. The hole was located in the spacecraft’s orbital module, which separates from the crew capsule and burns up in Earth’s atmosphere before landing.

A Russian Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft is seen shortly after undocking from the International Space Station to return three members of the Expedition 57 crew to Earth on Dec. 19, 2018.
Credit: NASA TV

Since the leak was discovered, on Aug. 29, NASA and Roscosmos – the Russian space agency that builds and launches Soyuz spacecraft – have yet to figure out exactly how the tiny, 2-millimeter (0.08 inches) hole got there. Because the hole looked like it could have been drilled, Roscosmos suggested that human error or even sabotage could be to blame.

While the Roscosmos chief implied that the incident may have occurred during the spacecraft’s assembly, there was widespread speculation that one of the crewmembers could have drilled the hole while in space. But NASA astronaut Drew Feustel, the ISS commander at the time, was quick to shoot down that idea and defend the integrity of his crewmembers.

With the Soyuz leak investigation still underway, the ISS crew was gearing up for the arrival of two new roommates – NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin – when their next big nightmare happened. A couple minutes after the duo lifted off in their Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft, the Soyuz rocket failed and triggered the emergency abort system. The launch failure sent the crew capsule falling ballistically toward Earth.

Hague and Ovchinin survived the emergency landing. Unfortunately, the incident left the ISS short two crewmembers, which meant that there would be fewer hands on deck to work on the hundreds of science experiments going on at the orbiting lab. The crew was short-handed for about seven weeks, until the next crewed Soyuz mission arrived, with NASA astronaut Anne McClain, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko and Canadian Space Agency astronaut David Saint-Jacques.

While the crew of the Soyuz MS-09 had to endure some stressful experiences in orbit, their mission also had its highlights. Gerst turned out to be an avid photographer during his time in space, capturing some spectacular photos and videos while in orbit. His space-photography portfolio now includes some amazing auroras, multiple hurricanes and even rockets launching into space.

Prokopyev successfully completed two spacewalks with his Russian crewmembers. During his first spacewalk, in August, he and Oleg Artemyev tossed small satellites into orbit and installed some science equipment outside the station. Then, on Dec. 3, Prokopyev went back outside the station, this time with Kononenko, to inspect the patched-up Soyuz hole – a process that involved dramatically stabbing the spacecraft with a large space knife.

During Expedition 56/57, the International Space Station received a total of six cargo shipments packed not only with science experiments, but also with plenty of goodies like ice cream and the “world’s strongest coffee.” The most recent delivery, a SpaceX Dragon capsule, brought along some Christmas goodies, too. Another SpaceX Dragon, which arrived at the ISS shortly after the MS-09, brought along a special artificial-intelligence robot called CIMON, which is short for “Crew Interactive Mobile Companion.” Gerst had the privilege of being the first person to talk to CIMON in space.

As per protocol, the astronauts on these missions got to take most holidays off from work to relax, phone their families and participate in traditional holiday activities, like eating turkey on Thanksgiving, putting an elf on the shelf before Christmas and even dressing up like Darth Vader for Halloween. Now that the crew is back on the ground, they’ll spend the holidays like Earthlings again.


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Curt Lewis & Associates, LLC is an international, multi-discipline technical, scientific and research consulting firm specializing in aviation and industrial safety. Our specialties are aviation litigation support (Expert Witness), aviation/airport safety programs, accident investigation and reconstruction, safety & quality assessments/audits (ISO-9001/AS-9100), system safety, human factors, Safety Management Systems (SMS) assessment/implementation & training, safety/quality training & risk management, aviation manual development, IS-BAO Auditing, technical writing & editing, airfield/heliport lighting products, patent infringement/invalidity expert testimony and Technical Support.