Incident investigations have long been a key part of Safety Management System activities that a good airport operator is expected to undertake.
Just a short post today* about a recent High Court of Australia decision on the topic of which safety agency should prosecute safety breaches involving an aviation organisation preparing for a flight. Quick answer: it could be an agency other than the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) depending on the circumstances of the breach.
* I don’t want to became an aviation law blog. Really, I don’t but I do enjoy ready this stuff.
Safety reporting is the life-blood of a modern safety management system. In the early days of implementation, a great deal of effort was (and still is) expended in increasing the reporting of safety events (incidents and other occurrences) and hazards. As an industry, we’ve discussed and debated no-blame and just cultures. We’ve promulgated policies and waved flags, telling our team members that we can’t manage what we don’t measure. And we’ve implemented safety occurrence reporting systems to capture all this information.
If we’ve been successful in these endeavours, we’ve then faced a new problem - what do we do with all these reports? A classic case of be careful what you wish for!
Just in case you’ve missed the news recently, drones are a big deal. It’s a billion dollar business, disrupting traditional business models and, most importantly for airport operator, just plain disrupting business. And, as you can imagine, just following the news doesn’t give you a necessarily clear or complete picture of our potential future with these aircraft.
I’d like to jump in and look at one particular area of this phenomenon and it’s relationship to airports but before we do, I feel like it is necessary to scan the field and sort through some of the complexity.
Image credit: (c) Airbus
Aviation accident are always devastating. They precipitate great suffering on those involved and those connected to the event. They are also learning opportunities and, as a discipline, accident investigation has been for a long time focussed on maximising this learning. With this in mind, I’m going to start a new category of posts looking at significant aircraft accidents and incidents that may have some lessons for airport operators. The first is a look at what happened to Aeroflot Flight 3352 inbound to Omsk Airport in the very early hours of October 11, 1984.
Image credit: (cc) Eduard Marmet
A long time ago, I was deep into the bow-tie risk assessment methodology and over the years, I have never really left it. These posts were the basis of some great work I did a couple of years ago working with BHP Billiton which I will blog about in the near future.
Image Credit - (cc) Oleg Magni
A little over a year ago, I wrote about a court case involving the owner of an aircraft claiming damages from an aerodrome operator after their aircraft collided with a kangaroo on landing. I was pretty proud of that post as I had exercised some newly developed court judgement reading skills. So, of course, the legal system would have to go an turn all that on it’s head and change its mind. It turns out that the aerodrome operator was not liable for the damage.
Let’s find out why and whether we agree with them…
Image credit: Altered photo by Scott Calleja
Last year, I was traveling around New Zealand filming “ride-along” videos with people from airport-based organisations that have personnel driving airside. This was as part of my smarter airside drivers program under the Jilly Murphy Scholarship.
As an avgeek, I love pictures and videos of aircraft coming into land low over beaches, roads and anything else that happens to be near the end of runways. But should we continue to accept injuries to and the death of people who congregate in these areas during aircraft operations?
Image credit: Richie Diesterheft
For my fourth series on New Airport Insider I took at look at airport human resources. I had been working heavily to get the best out of my team at that time and wanted to share what I had learned and experienced on the job. I was especially enjoying my work in the diversity space at the time.
I might need to update the first article though - a lot has changed since then...
In my second series of articles over at New Airport Insider, I explored the concept of safety assurance. As a "pillar" of Safety Management Systems, I thought I would take a good look at it. I was working very heavily within a highly structured safety assurance system at the time and I leveraged that experience to help me write these articles.
A long, long time ago, I almost jokingly suggested that we should be looking at Taxiway Safety as much as Runway Safety. But in the nearly seven years since I posted it, I've seen a steady stream of taxiway collisions across the world. The latest in Turkey provided some spectacular visuals and luckily no one was hurt.
Image credit: pixabay
Over the past year or so, I've written about a couple of topics that seem to have converged into this post. Airport professionalism, the application of aerodrome regulations (twice), runway strip standards and accidents were topics I recently explored and after doing so more research I stumbled across a couple of incident investigations in Australia that bring these previous articles together.
In almost a teaser to a post I have coming out on Monday, the NTSB has just released all the factual information it has collected in its investigation of an incident that occurred last year at San Fransisco involving an Air Canada A320. As you can see from the video that they released yesterday, this was a very close call. Even though there were no injuries or deaths or damage, it represents a great opportunity for examination and learning. Unfortunately, my post on Monday discusses a couple of missed opportunities.
Image by Brian Bukowski
A long time ago I wrote a rather comprehensive series on wildlife hazard management within an ISO 31000 risk management framework. It was the launch series for the New Airport Insider website and quite a bit of work on my part - but I enjoyed it. So, I thought I would repackage it as a quick blog post with links to each article.
This week, on Sunday, 14th January 2018, a Pegasus 737-800 veered off the runway at Trabzon, Turkey and came to rest on a steep slope quite close to the Black Sea. Obviously, it is way too early to speculate on the causes of the accident but as airport safety nerds, I think its okay for us to have a look at the role the runway strip played in this event. a few internet comments have questioned the compliance of the runway strip and it does look narrow. However, if Google Earth is to be believed, these comments and first thoughts might not be correct.
Earlier in 2017, the New Zealand Court of Appeal reversed an even earlier court decision and found that the NZ Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) Director had made an error in assessing the Runway End Safety Area (RESA) length requirement contain in Civil Aviation Rule Part 139 - I blogged about that decision here.
And I guess, technically, the NZ CAA and Wellington International Airport Ltd (WIAL) lost. The appeal was dismissed and costs were awarded but the reasoning included in the judgement does provide the NZ CAA with at least a partial win.
I’m not a big fan of safety tropes. They are often repeated without much thought and eventually this repetition becomes detached from the concept the trope is trying to convey. With many tropes, there are few non-trivial or non-catastrophic events that can reinforce the trope.
The saying on my mind today is “if you think safety is expensive, try having an accident”. The “accident” I often think about is something big, something catastrophic and something that happens to other people. I rarely uttered this trope because I, personally, didn’t feel the power of it.
Now, thanks to a court case in Australia, I feel the power has been returned to this saying. We know have a non-catastrophic event with quantifiable costs associated with the “safety” part and the “accident” part. Plus, I think nearly every airport safety professional out there can empathise with the operator in the case
All three on my children have been brought into the world of reading partially through the works of Dr Seuss. I can't count the number of times I have read his books. As my kids have grown older, they have turned into the reader and read these amazing books back to me.
The Bike Lesson is one of my favourites for the very nerdy reason that towards the end of the book The Berenstains provide us with a short & succinct definition of safety. It's three simple stanzas that I think encapsulate modern safety management perfectly.