Thursday, 30 September 2010


I have just spent 2 days at the AAPA Asia Pacific Aviation Safety Seminar in Manila, Philippines. There was not a lot of new stuff presented, although there were some interesting pieces on moving LOSA and FRMS into maintenance and cabin crew management. The saddest 'old news' of all was that delivered by the venerable purveyor of Flight Safety Foundation statistics (and much more besides) Jim Burin: the single biggest accident outcome is runway excursion. Technically, that is an aircraft that departs either the side or the end of a runway, meaning that it has to be on it first.

No surprises that the major contributors to excursions are unstable approach, landing long, landing fast, contaminated runways and inappropriate (late) use of retardation devices; or on take-off the seemingly obvious decision to reject above V1. We know all this; Jim and others have been telling us for some time... the evidence is out there. Why does it keep happening?

Well I don't think we have cracked two human characteristics: the desire to complete a task once commenced (the Ziegarnick effect?), and; the abhorrence of failure in front of one's peers, common amongst high achievers. These may sound esoteric and I can't tell you how to do it but we have been working on everything else for years, so why not try something new?

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