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Aviation Safety Standards Decreasing in EU?

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Aviation Safety Standards Decreasing in EU?

Old 13th Oct 2016, 15:11
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Aviation Safety Standards Decreasing in EU?

Over the decades we have made many advances. I'm not here to discuss Brexit. Notwithstanding article 50, the UK will always be part of Europe and I think Europe is undoing many years of hard work to make flying safer. As more people fly and aircraft movements increase there is a strong chance that a hull loss will occur more frequently even if we simply maintain current rates per million flights. What concerns me are several European

FTLs and fatigued pilots:
With CAP371 we worked hard but it was doable. Now with EASA FTLs in force, pilots flying longer hours, fatigue on the rise, possible fatigue related near misses, long term fatigue issues, many people going part time to survive.

EU261 pressures:
Introduced by a EUrocrat sick of his Brussels flits being delayed and deliberately punitive leading to potentially corners being cut. Back in the day airlines would fix an aircraft ensuring it went fully serviceable. Now with the threat of 100,000 worth of EU261 claims aircraft are being dispatched at long as they're legal and not with the many fail safes you once had and which are designed to ensure absolute safety.

Medical standards decreasing:
Less frequent checks for pilots over 40. Europe has doubled the time between revalidations for pilots over 40. Medical conditions which were once a show stopped (with good reason) such as HIV, heart attacks, mini strokes, and migraines are now allowable conditions.

EASA saying that EC225 is safe to fly, Norway and UK say it's not:
Europe says it's safe. UK and Norway (the biggest operator of the type) say no. Politicising an important safety matter is disgusting. Protecting Airbus whilst risking hard working North Sea workers.

So, is safety going the wrong way in Euroland?
mockingjay is offline  
Old 13th Oct 2016, 15:55
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It went wrong when it formed, literally hundreds of UK AD's etc were binned, you know the play on the old saying,

It's harder to bring everyone up to the standard of the best European Countries Civil Aviation Authority, than to dumb them all down to the standards of the worst.... and so EASA was born!
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Old 14th Oct 2016, 07:38
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I'm hoping that Pace doesn't notice this thread
bosnich71 is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2016, 11:04
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So, is safety going the wrong way in Euroland? and so EASA was born!

Interesting that EASA was made a legal entity and framework, whereas JAR was a members' club with minimum guidelines. One would hope that those who design and police the legal entity were of a higher standard in knowledge & experience than those they police and expect to implement their edicts. Hm???
Standards? We all suspect that AEA had the old XAA's in their pockets. You only have to look at the way standards in certain areas slid and increased productivity and profits followed. I can't believe that happened at the initiative of the XAA's. Is the relationship with EASA any different?
Airlines, as public share companies, are in the profit business. LoCo's have squeezed them greatly. Many thought the majors trained crews well beyond the minimums. Much depended on the quality the DFO wanted. Airlines' Ops were run by pilots who understood piloting standards. They wanted top notch pilots in top notch a/c. They wanted top notch cabin service and a top notch product. An OK profit was OK.
LoCo's have squeezed every last ounce of profit out of the product and the traditional airlines will have to follow suit, to a point. Where is that line/point? It will be the financial guys who decide. Hence the pressure on standards and legal minimums and FTL maximums.
Many operators have very tight SOP's so that the a/c & crew are always well inside the envelope and have large buffers to use should the unforeseen happen. (whether they know how to use that buffer, or where the real edges are, is another discussion). However, in running the operations of a/c and crew the financial boys are running the show near the edges in all cases. That maximises profit, in their eyes. There is very little buffer to handle the unforeseen. Maintenance issues will always be legal??? but just so. Rosters of engineers & flight crew should always be legal, but just so: humane and with a balanced life style is not a remit of rostering.
Is aviation in EU safer? I would say that a/c are more reliable; ATC is more reliable; airfield infrastructure and nav aids are better. All that should equal improved safety. Are the various human links in the chain better trained? Debatable. Are they better prepared for regular continuous higher productivity? Debatable.
So the weakest links in the accident chain may not be being strengthened, but the opposite. That should be worrying.
I include engineers in this discussion. It started many years ago; the number of licensed engineers on shift has greatly reduced. The amount of experienced supervision has reduced. The basic training of engineers has reduced. Ultimately the XAA's audit focuses on correct paperwork; both of engineering & flt ops. Healthy rosters, clean working places, respect of employees etc. That was never part of their remit. All signatures in the correct boxes and everything was hunky dory. Doesn't necessarily mean the signature meant what it said. The pressures are huge and you hear stories of sign-offs before the works was finished or without thorough inspection. Flight crews have nigh impossible schedules. The roster is legal, but without discretion nigh impossible. There is even now XAA sanctioned 'controlled rest' in the cockpit. Which clown thought of that one? If it is deemed necessary then it is a plaster on a gaping wound that needs stitching.
The next 15 years will tell. Ask the AME's about the condition of crews. OH, that's another check that has been dumbed down as costs went up.
And the travelling public complain all the time about the crappy train service. If only they knew the whole story.
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Old 14th Oct 2016, 11:22
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And with the reduction in CAA staffing and the closing of regional offices the auditing also reduced to such an extent that I went through a couple of surveyors before i actually met one. Totally agree the dumbing down of standards and experience that will ultimately lead to only one outcome. One of the problems I see is a lot of the CAA now simply have not had Aviation experience prior to joining it and are simply ticking boxes.
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