For July-August 2016, Flight Safety Australia stays on the ground, taking a look at how railways manage safety, particularly on high-speed lines. While trains and aircraft may appear to be very different, both are transport systems; safety, whether on rail or in the sky, comes from analysing and improving all aspects of the system, and developing the elusive but essential goal of safety culture.
Engineering the Future examines another down-to-earth issue. Who will fix the aircraft of tomorrow? Current trends in training, employment and average age of aircraft engineers are concerning. As often happens, there’s a distinct safety edge to this economic issue.
In The men who fell to Earth, contributor Adrian Park compares a recent tragedy, the break-up of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two, with the first deaths in aviation, of two balloonists in 1785, and finds unnerving parallels. Pushing the limits of technology is nothing new, it seems.
Contributor, Thomas P. Turner, takes heart from a remarkable piece of video footage—a young pilot soloing in a 1930s SG-38 glider. Praising the teenager, Turner is glad to see the basic stick and rudder skills of aviation are alive and well. He goes on to analyse their fundamental importance. However, a story about the state of development for optionally piloted aircraft makes the case that these skills will by no means be required for every flight. Aircraft that can deliver themselves to collect passengers, or perform dull, dangerous or dirty missions are evolving from fantasy to possibility.
A maintenance-themed story looks at vortex generators. These bestow great aerodynamic gains, but require correct fitting and consideration of the state of the airframe and any modifications. If not, they may generate unforeseen—and sometimes dramatic—aerodynamic consequences.
Contributor, Kreisha Ballantyne, considers the links for general aviation and recreational pilots, between personality, aircraft choice and safety priorities. For some, a personal aircraft is a means of transport, for others a simple source of joy. Each approach to aviation brings its own safety priorities. IFR training, for example, will be important for transport–focused pilots, but arguably less urgently needed for weekend fliers, so long as they understand their personal limits.
Après ski aviation uses the recent example of night flights into Queenstown, New Zealand, to highlight the safety benefits of CNS/ATM technology.
The popular quiz and reader-submitted close calls round out a packed issue.
Flight Safety Australia’s July-August 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, (July-August) on www.flightsafetyaustralia.com