Flight Safety Australia May-June 2016

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The offshore helicopter for transporting people to an oil rig
image: © iStockphoto | jodtalingchan

Flight Safety Australia’s May-June issue examines an underappreciated but pervasive threat facing offshore helicopter aviation: wildlife strike. The lead story reports on how the massive offshore structures being built to service the gas fields off northwest Australia have many of the characteristics of ideal seabird habitats. These structures are also landing sites for the heavy helicopters ferrying workers and supplies. It’s just one example of how wildlife strike is a multifaceted and evolving hazard. Wildlife experts tell how important it is to understand how different birds behave—when startled, for example, some species take off into the wind, others downwind. Despite this, wildlife strike receives much less detailed attention from pilots than other threats such as weather.

The issue finds aviation safety wisdom in an unusual place: professional cycling. British Olympic and professional cycling teams went from perpetual tail-enders to world-beaters after adopting a philosophy of continuous analysis and improvement. Health, diet and rider comfort came under scrutiny, making changes as minor as a new hand-washing policy, and teams providing their own bedding when riders stayed in hotels on multi-stage races. The principle of creating major improvement from a multitude of small detailed changes is a model for effective safety management.

Continuing the sporting analogy, contributor, Kreisha Ballantyne, writes on how general aviation pilots can use mental rehearsal, a widely used sporting technique, of proven effect, to improve their flying. A notable user of this technique is aerobatic pilot Matt Hall. Contributor Thomas P. Turner explores the similar theme of developing a repertoire of spring-loaded rehearsed reactions to in-flight emergencies.

The emphasis on realistic training continues in a look at disaster simulation and training that emphasises how realistic simulation produces deeper learning. Contributor, Adrian Park, dissects the errors, assumptions and culture surrounding a fatal helicopter crash at a police training exercise in Germany in 2013.

There’s also a preview of Out ’n’ Back II, CASA’s online video guide to flight planning and outback conditions. Aircraft maintenance is the theme of two stories: one looking at nose gear failures in the popular Cessna 210; and the other examining how a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 came to have landing gear failure the morning after its hydraulic systems had been refurbished.

The popular quiz and reader-written close calls round out a packed issue.

Flight Safety Australia’s May-June edition is now live: download the iPad app from the App Store, or the Android app from Google Play to your tablet and enjoy the interactive magazine experience, complete with video and audio. And don’t forget that these stories will also appear over the life of the issue (May-June), on www.flightsafetyaustralia.com

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