ATLANTA, GEORGIA, UNITED STATES – Our team actively participated at this year’s 75th annual International Air Safety Summit (IASS) organized by Flight Safety Foundation organization which was held in Atlanta between 7-9 November 2022.
The text is majority written by Flight Safety Foundation team.
The summit was organized at Omni Atlanta CNN Center Hotel in the center of Atlanta, capital of US state Georgia. The summit was welcomed by Dr. Hassan Shahidi, President and CEO, Flight Safety Foundation, Bobbi Wells, VP, Safety Systems, Efficiency & Compliance, American Airlines and New Chair, Board of Governors, Flight Safety Foundation and Mark Millam, Technical Programs and Events, Flight Safety Foundation.
The opening keynote had Mr Billy Nolen, acting administrator of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He told the audience Monday morning that the level of safety the industry is experiencing today is “simply unparalleled” but cannot be taken for granted. During his keynote remarks and in a fireside chat with Foundation President and CEO Dr. Hassan Shahidi, Nolen touched on some of the significant challenges facing the industry, including continued recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersecurity, climate change and safely integrating new entrants into the National Airspace System (NAS). “A new era of safety has started for us, and with it come new and unique challenges,” he said. He cited CAST (Commercial Aviation Safety Team) and ASIAS (Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing by FAA) as two of the safety efforts that the industry has gotten right over the past 25 years, but he said there is much work left to be done in implementing just cultures, healthy safety cultures and strong reporting cultures around the world.
DAY 1 – 07 November 2022
Session 1 | Post-Pandemic Approach to Aviation and Safety Operations
The session was a panel between the following panelists: Capt. Conor Nolan, Director, Safety and Security, Aer Lingus, and Chair, Board of Governors, Flight Safety Foundation, Gilberto Lopez Meyer, Senior Vice President, Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance, Korean Air, David Garrison, Senior Vice President of Corporate Safety, Security, and Compliance, Delta Air Lines and Craig Hoskins, Vice President of Safety, Security and Technical Affairs. Airbus Americas. Recruiting and training a diverse cadre of tens of thousands of new aviation industry personnel, instilling in them a passion for safety and taking into account changing views on work were among the challenges cited by a panel of industry executives at IASS 2022.
During the discussion, which was moderated by Capt. Conor Nolan, immediate past chair of the Foundation Board of Governors, David Garrison, senior vice president of Corporate Safety, Security and Compliance at Delta, said the carrier is looking to hire 15,000 new employees. Sasha Johnson, a member of the Foundation Board and vice president of corporate safety at United, said United needs to hire as many as 50,000 new employees over the next several years.
She said the industry needs to build pipelines of future employees and that those pipelines need to be filled with a more diverse group of candidates. “We can’t continue to just look for the same people.”
The world is “challenged with a redefinition of what work looks and feels like,” Garrison said. He said the workplace has changed significantly, particularly for flight attendants, who are dealing with the increased threat of workplace violence. Since the outset of the pandemic, Delta has put a heavy focus on resilience, well-being and mental health, Garrison said.
Session 2 | Building Safety Culture and Keeping It Strong
The second session was another panel with presentations such as “Relationship Between Team Emotional Intelligence and Safety Culture” from speaker Sonnie Bates, CEO, WYVERN as the presentation explored the relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Safety Culture. Research provides evidence that Emotional Intelligence improves individual and team performance, but can it improve Safety Culture too?
The following presentation was by speaker Capt. Helena Cunningham, Director of SMS, Air Line Pilots Association, International with the presentation “Guidance for Development, Promotion and Measuring an Organization’s Safety Culture”. Afterwards we had an opportunity to listen to Mr Cengiz Turkoglu, Senior Lecturer in Safety Engineering, Centre for Safety and Accident Investigation, Cranfield University with his presentation “Safety/Risk Culture in Commercial Air Transport Industry/Organizational Learning/ Weak Signal Detection” and finally Capt. John Deleeuw, Managing Director Safety and Efficiency, American Airlines with the topic of “Safety Performance Leadership Management”.
Session 3 – The Science of Human Factors and How It Informs Safety
Human factors is sometimes called the science behind designing equipment and processes. How do we build the shared body of knowledge about the principles of human/machine and work processes? This was the question behind the final session of Day 1. We had an opportunity to listen to speakers Elizabeth Mathews, Assistant Professor of Aerospace and Occupational Safety, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University about “Investigating Language Factors in Aviation Accidents”, Stephanie Moore, Human Performance Manager, American Airlines with the topic of “Risk Rating of Human Performance” and Mike Poole, CEO, Plane Sciences with “Small Country/Big Accident” which presentation demonstrated how PNGAIC investigated a major aircraft accident (B737-800) that crashed into the sea in 2018. The investigation of a major accident by a small country presented a number of challenges. PNGAIC not only conducted a full investigation, they did the replay and analysis of the sea-immersed FDR/CVR using a unique and novel new approach that has never been used before on a major accident.
DAY 2 – 08 November 2022
The opening keynote by Mr Ed Bastian, Chief Executive Officer, Delta Air Lines opened the second day of interesting presentations.
Session 4 – Pilot Health and Well-Being – Issues and Challenges
Session 4 was about mental health and fatigue risk management challenges, perceptions and realities. Speakers Dr. Martin Smith CEO/Co-Founder, Presage Group Inc. and Piyush Gandhi, Vice President, Operations and Business Development, Presage Group Inc. spoke about the challenge “Can We Admit That Mental Health Can Be Discussed?” as there are a lot of obstacles where the flight and cabin crew are discouraged to report or discuss the mental health issues from having consequences. Next presentation was by Dr. Julia Behrend, Head of Safety Innovation & Human Performance, Air France with her presentation “The Role of Rank and Sleep Need on Compound Fatigue Risk in Medium-Haul Pilots” about addressing the current and future flight safety challenges, and then focus on a particular subject related to pilots’ fatigue perception. She presented the results of research into fatigue and noted that there is no single accepted definition of fatigue. She said that fatigue can be physical or mental, that it affects people differently and that it can be a symptom of sickness. Fatigue is related to lack of sleep and increases the risk of hazard exposure. She added that the results of a survey of medium-haul pilots shows that captains may experience more fatigue than first officers, regardless of age and flight hours. She said this could be due to the need for executive decision-making and the responsibility that captains carry. The top fatigue factors indicated in the results were noise and briefings held before 6 a.m. Speaker Aaron Katz, National Human Performance Representative, National Air Traffic Controllers Association with his presentation “NATCA/FAA Collaboration on Employee Health and Well-being” talked about how the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) work collaboratively with the FAA to administer the Fatigue Risk Management Program (FRMP) and increase efforts to improve employee health and well-being.
Session 5 – Safe Integration of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)
Session number 5 was about the world of advanced air mobility and autonomous operations which is making progress. This world includes small drones, multi-rotor, fixed-wing and hybrids, single-rotor and maybe more. Panelists were David Carbon, Vice President, Prime Air, Amazon, Eric Bergesen, Director of Operations, UPS Flight Forward, Brandon Roberts, Executive Director, Rulemaking, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Conor French, Chief Regulatory Officer, Zipline and Daniel Acquah, Director-General, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority.
Advanced air mobility (AAM) is a reality but is not developing as quickly as stakeholders had imagined, according to panelists who appeared Tuesday in a session on the safe integration of AAM.
“We are delivering packages today; the future is here today,” said David Carbon, vice president at Amazon Prime Air. “Is it at the scale we had hoped it would be? No. It’s a lot harder than many thought it would be.”
Conor French, chief regulatory officer at Zipline, which operates in eight countries, including the United States, said that Zipline makes deliveries every two minutes. Zipline, along with the governments of Rwanda and Ghana, was recognized with the Foundation’s David Morrison Innovation Award at the IASS Awards Dinner on Monday evening.
One of the issues facing the development of AAM is that the word “drone” is used as if it covers everything, said Carbon. “We don’t all have the same concept of operations, and we don’t all want to do the same thing,” he said.
Another issue is the pace of regulatory development. Brandon Robert, executive director, rulemaking, at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said FAA is working hard from a regulatory standpoint. “We have creative people working on this,” he said, adding that the agency is trying to push the boundaries of allowing operations.
Daniel Acquah, deputy director-general of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, said his agency invests a lot in training so the authority’s inspectors and others are up to date on the developing technology. “We always benchmark and look at other industries’ practices and do our best to amend our regulations,” he said.
Commercial AAM stakeholders use simulation, wind tunnels and other technology to get regulators comfortable with their concepts. But French said that without actual meaningful operations completed successfully, the public and regulators are not going to get comfortable.
Session 6 – A Highlight on Safety Data and Information Sharing from Latin America
Next panel was about Safety in Latin America as panelists Virginio Corrieri, Head of Operations, Safety and Security, Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association, ALTA, Steve Jangelis, Boeing 757/767 Captain, Delta Air Lines, Industry Co-Chair for FAA Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) and Santiago Saltos, Regional Safety Director, Industry Co-Chair, PA-RAST, Airbus talked about the Latin American Region has been working on using safety data and information sharing to improve safety performance in the region.
Session 7 – Implementation and Evolution of Safety Management System (SMS) Programs
Last session of Day 1 was moderated by Chris Collins, Director of Flight Safety, Delta Airlines. First on stage was David Huntzinger, Safety SME, Laminaar Aviation Infotech Americas who talked about “SMS Implementation Strategy”. Second presentation was “Safety Leadership/SMS/Aviation Safety Action Programs (Expansion of SMS Across Aviation)” by Robert Rufli, Director of Operations, Air Charter Safety Foundation who talked about implementation of safety management systems that was rooted in airline flight operations. It’s now expanded to general aviation and will soon be a requirement for U.S. charter operators. Learn how SMS is part of a “Pathway to Safety” and how an operation of any size can successfully implement and scale a custom SMS to improve their safety.
Next was Marko Rados, Co-founder, Inxelo Technologies with the presentation “Challenges of Implementing New SMS Technologies” where Marko showcased the technology acceptance challenges any technology face, especially in the domain of SMS. Finally, the session was concluded by Luke Bowman, Senior Product Director, GE Digital, Aviation Software who talked about impact of FOQA, with real examples of safety improvements with his presentation “Leveraging Flight Data for Safer Skies”.
DAY 3 – 09 November 2022
Session 8 – Not Falling Behind on Risks That Have had a Long History in Aviation
Morning panel was about the most hazardous phases of flight: Approach and landing with runway excursions are still the top accident category. And other risks have been persistent over time. A good runway macro texture and sharp micro texture are essential to reducing the risk of excursions on wet runways, Gerard Van Es, senior advisor, flight safety and operations, at the Netherlands Aerospace Centre NLR, said on Wednesday morning during his presentation “Importance of Runway Surface Texture on the Prevention of Runway Excursions”. Other speakers include Anthony Schneider, Executive Director, the Air Traffic Safety Oversight Service, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration with his presentation “Accidents, Incidents, and Unsafe Acts: How to Leverage These to Stay in Front of Aviation Safety” and Christopher McGregor, Flight Safety Officer, ATR with his presentation “Returning to and Strengthening the Normal Training Regime Throughout the Aviation System, Not Just the Flight Deck” who talked about developing investigation techniques to quickly address contributing factors beyond the flight deck,
sharing the information and identifying pragmatic safety actions as soon as possible. As soon as possible implies ‘before the final report is published’.
Session 9 – Getting Pilots Prepared for the Rigors of Flying. What Do We Measure?
Traditional pilot training has taken a task-based approach while a competency-based approach looks at essential competencies. This session talked about do we have consistency in what these essential competencies are and how to evaluate? Panelists consisted of Capt. Vincent Durel, Captain B737NG, Flight Data Monitoring Expert, Flight Safety Officer, Transavia, Dr. Barbara Holder, Associate Professor and Presidential Fellow, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Joshua Jackson, Training and Simulation Group (AFS–280), U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.
Durel, a Boeing 737NG captain, said the tool, which is connected to the airline’s FDM system, enables access to a visualization of flight data about 24 hours after the flight concludes. To assess the tool’s impact on FDM indicator trends, Transavia focused on tail strike risk. High pitch at takeoff and high pitch rate at takeoff are strongly associated with tail strikes. The carrier looked at rates of high pitch and high pitch rate at takeoff and saw that within months of the app’s rollout, the rates started to decline. High pitch (greater pitch that recommended) events declined 85 percent in 2021–22 and high pitch rate declined 60 percent. In addition, incidences of pilots exceeding airspeed below Flight Level 100 declined 71 percent.Durel said adoption of the tool by pilots has been strong, with an average of six sessions per pilot per month recorded. A key to adoption was keeping the tool’s display simple and easy to understand. “The use of the tool must be natural for the pilot,” Durel said.
During the same session, Dr. Barbara Holder, an associate professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, discussed research she is conducting into an improved go-around procedures design. The intent is to mitigate the risk that is present in the go-around maneuver, including inattention to flight path. She said that contemporary theories in cognitive science were applied in the design of the procedure. Among the changes to the current procedure that Holder discussed were having callouts specify triggers and actions in order to focus the pilots’ attention on flight path, joint callouts to reduce single-point failures and the delegation of “cleanup” to the pilot monitoring following the maneuver in order to balance the workload and enable the pilot flying to focus on flight path management.
Early returns have been positive following simulator testing, although the pilots did not like the idea of joint callouts. Next steps include testing the procedure on a different aircraft type. On the subject of flight path management, Joshua Jackson, an aviation safety inspector and subject matter expert from the Training and Simulation Group at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said the FAA’s expected advisory circular (AC) on flight path management will be coming out before the end of the year. When pushed for more detail on when the AC could be expected, he said the target date is next month (December). Topics addressed in the AC include operational policies and procedures, manual flight operations, managing automated systems, energy management and pilot monitoring.
Session 10 – External Threats to Aviation Safety
On Wednesday afternoon, the speakers in Session 10 painted a grim picture of some of the external threats to aviation safety.
Capt. Hovad Ben-David, vice president of operations at El Al Israel Airlines, outlined some of the challenges pilots face flying into and out of airports where GPS/GNSS has been jammed, the first occurrence of which El Al saw in the summer of 2019. In one of the earliest incidents, pilots received a false “Terrain – Pull Up” warning from the EPGWS and in another, pilots of a Boeing 737NG executed a missed RNP approach due to an “Unable Performance RNP” message.
During his presentation, he showed images of what GPS jamming does to a head up display and other instruments. He said common impacts are navigation accuracy degradation, EGPWS false alarms, HUD FPV drifting, clocks running backwards, which can affect fuel indications, and ADS-B In and Out alerts at low altitudes.
One of his greatest concerns is the normalization of deviance as pilots who fly in this environment regularly may stop heeding EGPWS and other alerts that they think are triggered by the GPS signal going off and on, or start developing their own practices.
Dr. Donna Dulo, chief of cyber and software testing with the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command Test and Evaluation Squadron, outlined several basic aircraft cyber threats. She referenced a hostile takeover threat spectrum that comprises signal jamming; GPS spoofing; wireless hack threats; malware, viruses and worms; and embedded system threats.
Lastly, presentation “Traffic Flow Contingencies in the Air Traffic Arena” by Franklin McIntosh, Vice President, Safety & Technical Training, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration who talked about that FAA’s Air Traffic Organization continues to evolve their safety processes with Risk Based Safety Management as the underlying concept. The presentation highlight evolution in identifying risk with the Aviation Risk Identification and Assessment tool, adapting our procedures for space operations, and influencing mitigations on the surface and during weather events.
Session 11 – Providing a Deeper Understanding of Safety Data
The final session of three-day summit was between speakers Fred Calvert, Director, Safety Assurance, Executive Jet Management, Tzvetomir Blajev, Director, Europe and Global Operational Safety, Flight Safety Foundation and Dr. Jon Holbrook, Human Factors Discipline Deputy for the NASA Engineering and Safety Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Fred had a presentation “Safety Investigation in an SMS environment: training the next generation of air safety investigators” while Mr Blajev and Dr. Holbrook had a presentation “Learning From All Operations – the Analysis Approach”.
Once again we would like to thank Flight Safety Foundation for an interesting presentation and see you next November in Paris, France.