Premium On Safety - Issue 15, 2014 - 1

ISSUE 15 yEAR 2014


Best Practices: PIC While Parked 03
SMS Corner: Flight Data 05
ASI Message: Clueless Crews? 05
Lessons Learned: Does It All Add Up? 06
New Options in USAIG Performance Vector 07

Greetings! "Professionalism" is
getting renewed emphasis in aviation
safety circles. The topic anchors
the Safety Town Hall agenda at this
year's NBAA Convention. Cases of
its lacking have been so prevalent in
NTSB findings it's become a central
theme in Honorable Member Robert
Sumwalt's always-superb keynotes.
David Kenny's article in this issue
should trigger some self-reflection
about doing the right thing, the
right way, every time, whether or
not there's an audience. Details
matter, and the reasons tempting us
to cut corners have a nasty way of
turning out to matter less than the
details in standard procedures and
habit patterns. Along with steadfast
procedural compliance, pros stay
well-informed. Our lead article
discusses some escalating threats
and underscores the need for
awareness and vigilance. Enjoy the
issue. Fly smart and fly safe.

Paul Ratté
Director of Aviation Safety
Programs, USAIG

High Tech flight Hazards
UAS and Laser Encounters

Although the number of reports is no longer doubling annually, they continue to increase despite
efforts to discourage the targeting of aircraft with
lasers through new laws and educational efforts
by multiple government agencies.
The government does not take these incidents
lightly. In 2011, the FAA released a legal interpretation which found that targeting aircraft with a laser
constituted a violation of FAR 91.11, which prohibits
interference with a flight crew's operational duties,
and is punishable by a fine of up to $11,000. In
addition, part of the FAA Modernization
FAA reports of aircraft laser incidents have and Reform Act of 2012 made it a federal crime to target an aircraft with a
had a fourteen-fold increase between 2005 laser pointer, punishable by a fine and/
or up to five years in prison.
The problem is that these laws only
and 2013: from 283 to 3,960 events.
come into play when there is someone to charge with the crime, and actually locatairspace system. Gone are the days when pilots
ing the source of the laser has been a consistent
could be reasonably sure that their charts and air
traffic control would keep them clear of non-weath- challenge. Some local police departments have
taken to dispatching helicopters to areas where
er related flight hazards. These new technologies
laser incidents have been reported in hopes that
present potential flight hazards that air traffic conit will be targeted with a laser. Once targeted,
trol has little to no way to warn pilots about.
the crew will be better equipped to locate and
The danger associated with pilots being on the
respond to the source of the laser than a surreceiving end of lasers is nothing new. The probprised and potentially blinded flight crew attemptlem has been identified by the government for
ing to land at a nearby airport.
over a decade now, but seems to just keep getOftentimes when the person responsible for
ting worse. FAA reports of aircraft laser incidents
targeting aircraft with a laser is located, they are
have had a fourteen-fold increase between 2005
unaware of the seriousness of the crime and its
and 2013: from 283 to 3,960 events. For 2013,
that's an average of 11 events reported each day. associated safety hazards. Because FDA regulaTechnology changes over the last decade have
clearly had a significant impact in how we operate our aircraft these days. Considering the widespread use of GPS-based navigation and downlink weather information, most of these changes
have had a positive effect on flight safety, but
unfortunately not all of them.
The last decade has also seen declining prices
and increasing capabilities of handheld lasers
and unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), as well as
the integration of military UAS into the national

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Premium On Safety - Issue 15, 2014