6-8 November 2023, PARIS (Charles de Gaulle Airport), FRANCE, Flight Safety Foundation organization organized 76th annual International Aviation Safety Summit (IASS) in the charming city of light – Paris.
The conference was held at JW Marriott hotel at Charles de Gaulle airport, some 35 km from the center of Paris. The event was well organized with interesting insights into aviation safety and our team participated as exhibitor to showcase our product ICARUS that helps airlines to manage their Safety and Compliance.
We are bringing to you an official IASS summary:
Ensuring Safe Integration of UAS
|Drones can be safely and effectively used as part of wildlife hazard assessments on or near airports, according to Dr. Flavio Mendonca, assistant professor of aeronautical science at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Mendonca’s comments came on Day 3 during a wide-ranging session on ensuring the safe integration of uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS), as drones are sometimes known.
Mendonca said that between 1990 and 2022, there were 272,016 wildlife strikes reported in the United States and that of that number, approximately 7 percent, or nearly 19,000, caused damage to aircraft. These strikes resulted in nearly 106,000 hours of aircraft downtime and $229 million in direct and indirect costs annually.
He said drones can be used to obtain data about wildlife more thoroughly and more quickly over larger areas, including over areas that are difficult to access by ground-based means. Drones can be used to observe wildlife species that do not congregate in groups and to identify habitats and land uses that affect the presence and behavior of wildlife.
Martha Romero, director of safety, quality and compliance at DRONAMICS, outlined the company’s progress in building and launching the world’s first cargo drone airline. In addition to developing the drone itself, which is called the Black Swan and is the first licensed cargo drone in Europe, the company is building an airline infrastructure. All of the remote pilots will have commercial pilot licenses. Noting that many of the company’s personnel previously worked in the airline industry, she said, “We want to make sure our operation is as safe as what we did in our previous lives.”
Kevan Reeve, principal advisor, aviation and mass transport, for mining and mineral resources company Rio Tinto, discussed the extensive role of drones, and the integration of crewed and uncrewed resources, in the company’s operations. Reeve said that the company has approximately 500 drones of various types and operates about 28,000 flights a year. Many of the company’s drone pilots are drawn from among the engineers, surveyors and other employee groups that work in the field. Remotely piloted aircraft are used for site surveys, mine pit surveys, asset inspection, monitoring tailings and underground survey and inspection, among other tasks.
“We want to get to a point where we can have drones deploy automatically,” he said, adding that “the big thing for us is taking care of the dull, dirty and dangerous stuff.”
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is working to put out a beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) rule for drones, according to Jeffrey Vincent, executive director of the FAA UAS Integration Office. Earlier this year, he said, FAA published four “precedent-setting” exemption approvals that can be leveraged by subsequent applicants looking for BVLOS exemptions.
Tom Kok Receives Laura Taber Barbour Award
|On Day 2, Tom Kok (center) was presented with the 2023 Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Award. Kok, who has led the AviAssist Foundation since 2008, was recognized for his dedication as the driving force behind AviAssist. His efforts have led to significant aviation safety improvements in Africa.|
Measuring Safety Performance
|Almost all direct insurers of the aviation market buy reinsurance protection to limit their liability, to protect themselves and the insured company against catastrophes and to increase their capacity, but the reinsurance market has been hit hard by recent losses and reinsurance capacity has tightened significantly, said Sandy Lonsbury, senior advisor with Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
Pricing in the reinsurance market is up significantly, and direct insurers are now paying more and having to retain bigger shares of losses. Lonsbury recommended that operators start the policy renewal process earlier than they have in the past, and she said that underwriters are increasingly linking risk management and the safety performance capability of clients to set the terms and conditions of policies. She said it is important for operators to provide underwriters with an understanding of the factors specific to the operator’s risk profile and its safety management system (SMS).
Capt. Didier Nicolini, executive vice president of corporate safety at Air France, talked about the carrier’s SMS and its multi-risk approach. He said the Air France SMS covers occupational safety, food safety and environmental safety in addition to flight safety. “Fueling” the SMS are data monitoring and analysis. Last year, tens of thousands of employee reports covered flight safety issues, such as fatigue, operational performance and occupational safety.
In addition, the airline is running line operations safety audits (LOSAs) for all operating departments in 2023 and 2024, and next year, pilots will be given access to replays of their own flights based on quick access recorder data. Nicolini said the replays, which will give a view of instruments and the aircraft’s trajectory, will be available within 24 hours of a specific flight’s landing.
Nicolini also talked about Air France’s Joint Unions Forum, where safety issues are discussed. The forum includes 11 of the 18 unions at Air France drawn from all operational departments. He said the forum facilitates bottom-up communications by gathering observational data, comparing procedures with real-life operations and providing feedback directly senior management. It also fosters collective intelligence by providing a space for union members to discuss safety together.
Exploring SMS Limitations
|The problem with SMSs is that they are often operated in silos, according to Dr. Ilias Panagopoulos, head of air safety for Amazon-Europe. “We know what we’re doing, but we don’t have a clue what other people are doing,” he said during Session 12, the final session of the three-day IASS. In his presentation, Panagopoulos suggested that development of an integrated management system (IMS) would enhance the industry’s total system approach to safety.
Developing disparate management systems across an organization has the potential to create organizational silos in the business. But he pointed out that management systems have a number of common characteristics, including a plan-do-check-act methodology, risk-based thinking and an emphasis on continual improvement. An IMS, which is already provided for International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) documentation, could provide an overall view of the performance of an organization, a mature management system, and a more holistic approach to managing risk, he said.
In her introductory remarks to Session 12, moderator Elizabeth Gnehm, chief of the safety management section of the ICAO Air Navigation Bureau, provided an update on ICAO’s SMS-related initiatives, including the establishment of an Integrated Risk Management Study Group. She also said that the fifth edition of the ICAO Safety Management Manual is expected to be published by the end of 2024.
Dan Freeman, vice president, safety management system, at Boeing, and Demi Coolen, senior safety engineer and SMS associate technical fellow at Boeing, updated attendees on Boeing’s SMS progress. FAA approved Boeing’s voluntary program in December 2021, and an SMS for manufacturers rulemaking is expected in 2024. They said that while each stakeholder in the aviation ecosystem is focused on safety, their systems are optimized around their roles in the value stream. Connecting the elements of the aviation value stream can help to identify and mitigate shared risks.
“I think sometimes we are too shy to say we don’t know something,” Gnehm said. “We have to be open and honest about the things we are not expert on or where we are lacking.”