RAA sets out strategic safety initiative
Testifying before the US House of Representatives Aviation Subcommittee, Regional Airline Association president Roger Cohen told Congress that the industry has embarked upon a strategic safety initiative to push for new advances in aviation safety.
The multi-part initiative will look at human factors that have led to accidents in order to avoid incidents in the future. The programme will bring together safety experts and calls for several measures in partnership with labour, management, regulators, Congress and other industry stakeholders.
"Flying is the safest form of travel, and we want to keep it that way," said Cohen. "We need to take bold action to address every single issue that could possibly affect the culture of safety that is the fundamental cornerstone of the aviation industry."
RAA's strategic safety initiative has four elements.
1. Safety Board – RAA is bringing together safety professionals to review procedures and address issues that can even be perceived as a contributing factor to an accident.
2. Fatigue Study – The Association will commission an independent and scientific study, analysing the impact of fatigue and other human factors that may affect pilot performance.
3. Fatigue Awareness Management Program – RAA will create a fatigue awareness management programme for use by its member airlines.
4. Industry–Government Partnership – The industry is reaching out in partnership with Congress, across the government, and to fellow stakeholders in labour and throughout the aviation industry to explore the full range of issues which could help improve safety and prevent future accidents. Among those issues are:
• establishment of a single, integrated FAA database of pilot records
• extending the period for background checks from five to 10 years
• conducting random fatigue testing
• examining commuting
• analysis of information from cockpit voice recorders in settings other than accident investigations
• mining check ride data for trends.
"We need to take the next steps into the new frontier of information management to better track trends and analyse human factors," remarked Cohen. "This initiative will look for more ways we as an industry can reach our goal of zero accidents."
This initiative is in addition to stringent training programmes regional airlines already have in place. These include nine different FAA- and industry-approved safety programmes such as FOQA, ASAP, ASIAS, LOSA, DOD, IOSA, AQP, VDRP and ATOS.
In addition, as a common practice, the industry tests pilots every six or nine months on critical skills through check rides. Check rides are pass/fail exams the pilots must successfully complete in order to fly. When pilots take these check rides they must demonstrate 100% proficiency. This goes above and beyond what is required by the FAA.
In addition to the safety programmes, RAA member airlines also institute a variety of training programmes, follow stringent hiring practices and have fatigue management and maintenance programmes in place.