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SAFETY, comfort, schedule, economy

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SAFETY, comfort, schedule, economy

Old 19th Mar 2019, 14:39
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Question SAFETY, comfort, schedule, economy

I have waded through the numerous posts to the threads related to the tragedy of the ET crash, and previously the Lion crash. I am not here in this post going to talk about MCAS, system design, engineering or piloting skills. (or any iteration of the aforementioned)

What I feel needs to be highlighted and discussed, is where our regulators, manufacturers, and even more importantly operators (airlines) are WRT SAFETY.
The threads currently appear to be on an endless loop on all things technical, and thankfully some HF input............ which is sort of where this is all emanating from.

Can anyone explain to me in relatively simple terms, where manufacturers like Boeing, regulators like the FAA, and Airlines like SWA and to be blunt - airlines ALL OVER THE PLANET - turned the priorities of flight/business on it's head, and placed ECONOMY first...?

The airline I fly for has on it's internal phone menu, when you call it, (ie: for an IT issue) - "OTP" as menu option number 1, well ahead of anything 'safety related'. How could this happen? When did this happen? Why did this happen?

Much has been said about Boeing, and yes they are in the spotlight currently, but do people think that they are the only 'kids in the orphanage?'
More seriously, why does the worlds travelling public have to succumb to an environment whereby the worlds largest manufacturer of commercial airplanes has over 100 lobbyists to Washington, and there appears to be a free trade deal between the regulator and and the manufacturer for that of 'manpower' - the revolving door? Having the onus essentially on the manufacturer to certify aspects of their products is a sure recipe for disaster, and hence the discussion threads that are so keenly followed and responded to here on PPRuNe.

How did this industry get it so wrong?





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Old 19th Mar 2019, 16:03
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How did this industry get it so wrong?
If you compare accidents levels 50 to 70 years ago, you will see that the industry did pretty good actually.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 05:52
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 06:26
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I would agree that the industry as a whole has been pretty good. It had to though, especially with the growth in traffic and projected growth into the future. Unlike car crashes every major incident gets quite a bit of press coverage.

That said, i am always a bit puzzled coming into the crew room, which sports two big posters about how the company sees itself. On the one it says that it's promise is that safety is the companies highest priority, on the other one, listing all the priorities, safety is not even mentioned. That seems to suggest that safety might be a promise, but isn't a priority, at least not commercially. And nobody keeps their promises anyway in this day and age.

Last edited by Denti; 20th Mar 2019 at 12:41.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 06:51
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When did this happen ? not at a fixed date but gradually as the safety numbers were getting better and better . The graph posted by rcsa above is basically showing you why and when .
The priority of this decade is punctuality , it was fuel a few years back , if was safety 50 years ago, when the numbers were bad and people were afraid to fly.
Today flying is like taking the train , and what the average pax wants today is running on time as well as the lowest price for their tickets . Safety is down the list, so do not expect the young MBAs on they way up the ladder that run our industry to do something else.
Safety is taken for granted by too many , and just like in a marriage, take your partner for granted , and after some years sh'es gone and you are surprised .
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 07:02
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I REALLY SHOULDN'T BE HERE
 
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Both EU airlines I have worked for genuinely have safety front and centre - no compromises.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 13:55
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Originally Posted by speedrestriction View Post
Both EU airlines I have worked for genuinely have safety front and centre - no compromises.
Of course there are compromises.

How many crew are there in the cockpit? Two, because it's cheaper.

How many engines under the wings? Two, because it's cheaper.

How many FAs are onboard? The legal minimum, because it's cheaper.

Do the FAs wear fire-resistant coveralls? No, because acrylic is cheaper. And style sells.

Are passengers seated in rear-facing seats with five-point harnesses and smokehoods? ...

The moment an APU is started at the gate is the moment safety is traded against risk. And the risk is taken to make money. Ergo, making money supercedes safety.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 17:48
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When I worked for a major European airline as a ground eng at the start of the millenium we were told that the # 1 priority was appearance.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 18:45
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Originally Posted by El Bunto View Post
Of course there are compromises.
How many crew are there in the cockpit? Two, because it's cheaper.
=> Acceptable compromise. If they are well trained and well rested and have a low Cockpit Gradient and good CRM. A third person entered into the mix won't help much if two, fulfilling the aforementioned requirements don't suffice.
How many engines under the wings? Two, because it's cheaper.
=> Acceptable compromise. If suitable performance margins and acceptable maintenance are adhered to and the Crew is well trained.
How many FAs are onboard? The legal minimum, because it's cheaper.
=> Acceptable compromise. How many Pax have died in the last 20 Years because there were not enough FAs?
Do the FAs wear fire-resistant coveralls? No, because acrylic is cheaper. And style sells.
=> See above.
Are passengers seated in rear-facing seats with five-point harnesses and smokehoods? …
=> Acceptable compromise. How many Pax would have survived if sat in such seats?
The moment an APU is started at the gate is the moment safety is traded against risk. And the risk is taken to make money. Ergo, making money supercedes safety.
=> Acceptable compromise. How many Pax have died due to APU gone wild?

The dangerous compromises are elsewhere:
Flying Schedules, Training level, Manual Flying opportunities, Stabilised Approach Criteria, Cockpit Gradient/Cultural understanding of Hierarchy, minimum Experience Level, Payment, Continued Flying with inop MEL Equipment, plus probably 20 more I didn't list....
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 21:03
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“safety” is a nominative word. It can mean anything you want. Aircraft safety is defined as the probability of death per hour flown, the current benchmark is something like twenty million hours per death. Pedants can correct me but you get the idea.

We use the science of risk management to compute the costs of achieving the benchmark.
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Old 20th Mar 2019, 21:47
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Originally Posted by El Bunto View Post
Of course there are compromises.

How many crew are there in the cockpit? Two, because it's cheaper.

How many engines under the wings? Two, because it's cheaper.

How many FAs are onboard? The legal minimum, because it's cheaper.

Do the FAs wear fire-resistant coveralls? No, because acrylic is cheaper. And style sells.

Are passengers seated in rear-facing seats with five-point harnesses and smokehoods? ...

The moment an APU is started at the gate is the moment safety is traded against risk. And the risk is taken to make money. Ergo, making money supercedes safety.
Can you point to any evidence that any of those things listed above would actually improve safety? Because I know the first two are garbage. There was a lengthy study in the late 1970s comparing 2 crew to 3 crew - they could find no evidence that the 3rd person enhanced safety ( Asiana had four people in the flight deck when they flew a perfectly serviceable 777 into the seawall in SFO).
Twin engine aircraft are statistically safer than quads or trijets.
You're probably right about the rear facing seats with five point harnesses and smokehoods - if that was enforced no one would make any money because people would stop flying...
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Old 21st Mar 2019, 08:42
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I do see where ifylofd is coming from.

The danger is precisely, that safety has become so good overall, that it is simply taken for granted. Itís priority can therefor be overlooked. There is an underlying presumption, (by those who run airlines, but have no understanding of how flying is actually conducted) that it is Ďdifficultí to have an accident. Whereas those of us at the pointy end know, itís actually very, very easy, if you fail to attend to the true priorities.
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Old 21st Mar 2019, 10:21
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I read that traffic enigineers in the UK value a human life at £1,000,000. So when looking to add traffic safety features, it needs to cost less than £1M per life saved. Don't know the timeframe, 20 years or whatever. Seems hard hearted, but I guess at some point you have to inject a price of a human to decide whether to spend money or not,

G
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Old 21st Mar 2019, 10:52
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(sigh) There are ICAO manuals on risk management that answer your questions.
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Old 21st Mar 2019, 12:44
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Who is the gatekeeper?

Finally the captain should be really responsible guardian of flight safety. My assessment is that this task is sometimes more symbolic than pro-active. There may be instances where results are beyond the capability for the captain and crew to control. In such cases it seems somewhat accepted that given some circumstances, including training standards and seriousness of major faults, loss of life is more likely than not.

Multiple instances of control difficulties on a previous flight of 737 aircraft should have prevented further flights. Captains should have taken responsibility to help ensure non-acceptance of further flight without identification of very serious safety problems. If the next crew is accessible after landing a verbal warning should accompany the detailed technical log report. Take it a step further. Have a list of mobile phone numbers of other company captains on your aircraft type. No excuse for failure to share known risk.

On any aircraft where emergency procedure calls for LAND ASAP, I seriously wonder if crews have spent a rainy afternoon at home considering the logic of their actual response to such a requirement. For instance, consider a cargo compartment fire warning with some evidence indicating the possibility that the warning is genuine and continuing, following smoke and fire procedures. In 40 years of flying significant aircraft, I never heard anyone else discuss the actual flight procedure to be followed or practice it in a sim. I find it difficult to believe that such discussions are too theoretical. Maybe we are not comfortable enough to discuss such things with other crew members.

My actual experience with a seriously damaged aircraft indicated other crews belief in the status quo and unwarranted trust in the safety culture of their airline.
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Old 21st Mar 2019, 15:51
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Originally Posted by autoflight View Post
In 40 years of flying significant aircraft, I never heard anyone else discuss the actual flight procedure to be followed or practice it in a sim. I find it difficult to believe that such discussions are too theoretical. Maybe we are not comfortable enough to discuss such things with other crew members.
If you've never practiced that in the simulator then your company's training program needs work. I've seen lots of excellent LOFT scenarios where going the process of getting back on the ground was the most complex part of the emergency - far more than the situation that caused the decision in the first place.
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Old 21st Mar 2019, 20:37
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The key is the regulator. If the designers and operators are genuinely scared of the regulator, and if the regulator is competent and independent, all will be well.

in the UK and Norway the oil companies are terrified of the regulators, because they know they will shut you down in a heart beat, the risk of being caught is high, and the consequences of being shut down are material.

its not perfect. But the moment the regulator confuses supporting the industry with policing it, and loses its teeth, itís just a question of time.

Grenfell Tower is a good example. So is Fukushima.
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Old 21st Mar 2019, 22:53
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Originally Posted by Toolonginthisjob View Post
I do see where ifylofd is coming from.

The danger is precisely, that safety has become so good overall, that it is simply taken for granted. Itís priority can therefor be overlooked. There is an underlying presumption, (by those who run airlines, but have no understanding of how flying is actually conducted) that it is Ďdifficultí to have an accident. Whereas those of us at the pointy end know, itís actually very, very easy, if you fail to attend to the true priorities.
Exactly Toolong. We can quote statistics and historical data/improvements till the cows come home (or get bigger....) - but try asking the directly affected families , loved ones etc of these two recent tragedies. Seemingly BOTH avoidable but not for corporate greed, misunderstanding, and ignorance of the true need for appropriate training/conversion training. (refer to current criminal investigation!)

IMHO those that wish to quote statistics and show us historical graphs, or quote international policy must wonder to themselves, "now we have the knowledge and skills to develop and create incredibly safe machines, what checks and balances will be in place to prevent the boardroom / executive / management types (all on big fat KPI's) from turning the graphs / data in the opposite direction?"

(Ps: not for a minute suggesting that boardroom / executive / management types are even smart or experienced enough to 'knowingly' move safety down below economy, it's just all they have ever known - economy over-rides all other aspects)

Cheers
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Old 22nd Mar 2019, 21:41
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gatekeeper

Ifylofd
I appreciate the value of your post, and I am sure there are some pilots interested in the actual matters that you raise. Technology advances are related to profit. Resultant safety improvement seem more a by-product.
My post #16 bypassed your questions and went directly to immediate solutions being in the hands of each individual captain.
It would be too much to hope that all, most or even many would look to the differences that they could make without waiting for Boeing, FAA, President of the USA, other governments and airlines to drill down through their other interests to actually make safety contributions.
I am a realist, so I am not surprised when there are those who want to keep the status quo, with safety solutions inside current simulator training and in the control of companies and institutions.
It is crystal clear to me that the safety gatekeeper is the captain. Every captain should be absolutely certain of this awesome responsibility Ö.. unlike the current reliance on others.
Embracing maximum responsibility is a heavy load.

Last edited by autoflight; 22nd Mar 2019 at 23:06.
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Old 22nd Mar 2019, 21:52
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(deep sigh) The science is known, the technology is known, the systems and procedures are known and available for every link in the safety chain (or every hole in the swiss cheese). The current systems are perfectly capable of producing relatively safe outcomes ...........if they are only applied. Jeremiads about safety are a waste of time and good electrons.
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