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FOQA pilot newsletter, January 2011
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FOQA pilot newsletter, January 2011

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  • 1. Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) Program A Joint Comair/ALPA Publication U pdate January 2011 Aircraft Flight Data Monitoring FDR data will allow FOQA analysts to Arrives at Comair identify threats such as: Comair in pa partnership with the FAA and union leaders have taken a leap 1. Airports where unstabilized approaches are common forward in s rd safety trend analysis by implementing its own Flight Operational C Quality As ality Assurance Program (FOQA). 2. Conditions leading to lengthy flares and FOQA gives Comair the ability to are trained to. But sometimes the touchdowns on analyze information from aircraft performance of the aircraft does 3. Flap extension speeds flight data recorders to look for not match these standards. ALPA trends that create a safety threat Safety Committee gatekeepers 4. Occurrence of GPWS to the safe operation of the airline are not the pilot police searching events and quantify known threats. To for the “bad apple” pilot. Instead, 5. Conditions where engines accomplish this, a detailed plan for gatekeepers are more like detec- operate near limitations fid how to handle this data has been tives searching for FDR data clues signed between ALPA, the FAA that will help identify a bad system 6. Specific airport approaches and company managers to insure that lead to a high number this FDR FOQA data is not used to of go-arounds identify and discipline pilots. 7. Turbulence and wake “Having routine downloads turbulence events en Only ALPA Central Air Safety of this data is of enormous 8. Rate and amount of Committee “gatekeeper” members will be allowed access to aircraft benefit to safety analysts rotation at takeoff flight numbers, dates, times or because it allows them to find city pairs that could be used to identify individual crew members unknown threats. Currently, Not every second of every flight at tia Comair will be monitored, but the goal tied to a specific FDR event. The data is only downloaded if of the program is to collect and analyze gatekeeper occasionally may call a pilot to gather more information there is a known safety event.” as much data as possible. The FDR on about a specific flight. The goal is the CRJ 50 is capable of recording 536 to find out the why behind the data different parameters from each flight. not to lecture individual pilots. We or procedure in need of change at The CRJ 70/90 can track 546 parame- l realize that our flight crews are Comair. FOQA programs always ters. The CRJ 50 FDR records 50 hours well trained and always strive to bring to light common problems of data and the CRJ 70/90 records fly to the standards to which they being made by multiple flight crews. 250 hours. This data is downloaded by Addressing these problems is the maintenance technicians on a routine goal of the program. It is designed basis. Comair already has the ability to improve operating procedures to selectively download this data. The INSIDE… and systems. When FOQA is used in conjunction with ASAP a better FOQA program makes the download- ing and analyzing of this data routine. Having routine downloads of this data is overall picture of our operation is 1 Aircraft Flight Data revealed. The information gathered of enormous benefit to safety analysts Monitoring Arrives at Comair from these programs, both good because it allows them to find unknown and bad, is used to improve our threats. Currently, data is only download- 4 Flight Operational Quality training and procedures. It does not Please see FOQA PROGRAMAssurance Program (FOQA) FAQs seek out individual pilots. page 2
  • 2. Above is a spreadsheet that examines more than 500 parameters from each aircraft’s flight data recorder then these parameters can be C plotted on a graph as they occur in UTC time. This is flight data monitoring. The software can be programmed to analyze trends and look for specific events and flag them such as unstabilized approaches, flap overspeeds or other limitation exceedences. on FOQA PROGRAM the trust of all pilots. Big Brother Continued from page 1 No FOQA safety program is watching each flight for unusual aircraft performance and operation ed if there is a known safety related can be successful without issues; however, he doesn’t know event. FOQA Analysts can combine the participation of the who is generating this data. Fur- different parameters to track an thermore, FOQA data is protected fid almost unlimited number of different pilots and the willingness under the provisions of FAR 13.401, flight and operational issues. of management to and FAR part 139 that specifically This program is already in place at protect FOQA data from being used most U.S. airlines and, like ASAP, it understand just culture. by the FAA for pilot enforcement is a voluntary safety reporting pro- action. gram built on trust that is reinforced regional and mainline carriers when en When a gatekeeper wants to find by a detailed plan of how this data writing their implementation and out why there are problems with a is tracked and analyzed. Comair operation plan. The anonymity of the managers and union leaders studied data is the cornerstone of the pro- Please see FOQA PROGRAM other successful FOQA programs at gram and is essential in maintaining page 3 tia l A CRJ 900 turns base to final for Runway 7 in JAX beginning an unstabilized approach. The aircraft’s flight path is recreated using GPS co- ordinates from the FDR and can be superimposed over an approach plate’s map view. Flightscape animation software shows the view of the approach from the flightdeck and outside the aircraft.2 A JOINT COMAIR/ALPA PUBLICATION
  • 3. FOQA ProgramContinued from page 2specific airport approach or comply-ing with a limitation, a crew maybe contacted. But this call is onlyto help the gatekeeper learn whycertain events are commonplace,not to discipline or lecture thepilot. The FDR data and the FOQAcomputer software tracks, chartsand analyzes the data. Additionalsoftware that looks like an advancedversion of Microsoft’s Flight Simu-lator program is used to animateFDR events. It displays the posi-tion of the flight controls and showsindications on the PFD, MFD and CEICAS displays. The course of theaircraft can be superimposed overa three dimensional Google Earthmap to trace the aircraft’s flight onpath through space, touchdownpoint and taxi path to the gate. Thedata provides the What, Where and Aircraft ground tracks can be traced over Google Earth maps. This map depicts aircraftWhen of any event. But all of this ground tracks departing JFK on the Kennedy One Departure with the Carnarsie Climb offanimation and data is useless until Runway 33L. The CRI VOR has a .5 and 1.0 nautical mile ring to show the ground track useda gatekeeper pilot can discover the fid to intercept the 176-degree CRI radial.How and the Why from the pilot whowas there.No FOQA safety program can besuccessful without the participationof the pilots and the willingness of enmanagement to understand just cul-ture. All of us as pilots strive for theperfect flight. When things go wrongwe must look at the underlyingcauses that created the opportunityfor unsafe conditions. tia ALPA Central Air Safety Committee l FOQA Gatekeepers Capt. Chris Obertin Cell. 859-322-4276 Chris.Obertin@alpa.org FO Dave Westrich Cell. 859-380-9938 Dave.Westrich@alpa.org Aircraft ground tracks in this illustration show Comair crew’s are turning early enough to avoid the P56 Prohibited Area and staying on the west side of the Potomac River when departing Runway 1 in DCA.FOQA PROGRAM NOVEMBER 2010 3
  • 4. FOQA FAQs Frequently Asked Questions on If an event is witnessed by the FAA or company representative no additional evidence to support a violation or in- Flight Operational Quality Assurance fraction would be required. The FAA or line check airman have the authority to address any issues observed with crew Review Committee. Events discovered members without using FOQA data. What is FOQA data? in FOQA will not be included in ASAP. A FOQA data is data that has been If the FAA or a check pilot may, on rare occasions, be asked to airmen discover a pilot recorded on the Flight Data Recorder describe the circumstances that led to a (FDR) or Digital Flight Data Recorder deviation through a FOQA FOQA event, but they will not be asked to analysis report, can the (DFDR) and transferred to the Ground fill out an ASAP report. Data Replay and Analysis System FDR data be used as Can the cockpit voice evidence of the event? (GDRAS), and for the purpose of expla- nation will now be called FOQA data. recorder be downloaded Neither the FAA nor the company has and saved in the FOQA access to identified FOQA data. FAR What happens if a program? part 193 and FAR 13.401 protect FOQA C limitation is exceeded? data from being used in an investigation NO. section 25 of our Collective Bargain- If FOQA data is reviewed and an ex- ing Agreement limits what the company to support a possible pilot deviation. ceedance is observed then an investiga-ga- can do with recorded data. CVR informa- tion will not be initiated. However, call all If the FAA hears of a tion will never be used in FOQA. on possible pilot course and from a Gatekeeper may be initiated to ed What happens if a gate altitude deviations can the find out how or why the exceedanceance keeper discovers a crew FDR data be used as occurred. operated a flight recklessly? evidence of the event? Can the Company or t y the Neither FOQA or ASAP will be able to The FAA would have access to ATC FAA use FOQA data for an protect a pilot that exhibits an intentional radar plots to support their investiga- investigation? ? fid disregard to safety by deliberately oper- tion. No access to FOQA data would be No. However, if an event such as an vent suc ating an aircraft in an unsafe manner. The required. FAR part 193 and FAR 13.401 unstableized approach , go-around or oach go FOQA gatekeeper is under no obligation protect FOQA data from being used in aborted take-off is observed by another observ to report possible FAR violations. an investigation to support a possible crew, ATC, passenger etc., then the ssenger et pilot deviation. company and the FAA have their normal d If it is discovered through FOQA that an aircraft How is FDR data treated if en procedures to access the FDR or DFDR s exceeded a limitation and there is an aircraft as usual. Furthermore, just because . Furthermo must be inspected, how incident or accident? date is in the FOQA program, does not s FOQ does the flight remain In the event of an accident or incident exclude the date from being sought out ude anonymous? any FDR or DFDR data not in the FOQA through normal procedures by both the rough norma Maintenance would get only the ship database is available and identifiable. company or the FAA. t number and limitation exceeded to inspect tia How are FOQA and How much FOQA data can from the Gatekeeper. No date, time, or the FAA and Comair ASA ASAP different? flight number would be released. management see and how FOQA and ASAP are both voluntary a is this information de- If the company is report reporting programs established by the immediately alerted to a identified? FAA that collect safety data to be ana- significant flight safety Both are permitted free and open access l lyzed that is protected by FAR part 139 lyze event by passengers or the to de-identified aggregate FOQA data, and their respective Letter of Agreement an FAA, is that FDR data including fleet – specific trend analysis and Memorandum of Understanding. considered confidential information. This will include a quarterly However, FOQA relies on data collected FOQA data? update of FOQA trend information. Any from the aircraft’s FDR. ASAP relies on No. This data, if the event is discovered FOQA data or information shared with data collected from pilot descriptions of outside of the FOQA program, is not a the FAA shall be protected from use by an event written as a narrative on the part of FOQA and is not afforded the pro- the FAA for enforcement purposes in ac- computer ASAP reporting form. tection of FAR part 193, or FAR 13.401. cordance with 14 C.F.R. section 13.401 Will pilots contacted by If the FAA or a check and shall be protected from public dis- ALPA gatekeepers be airman is riding the closure in accordance with part 193 and asked to participate in jumpseat and sees an FAA Order 8000.81. Review of such in- ASAP? unusual flight safety event formation will be conducted on Comair’s NO. ASAP and FOQA are two separate can he or she request FDR property. Any and all documentation of programs. A FOQA gatekeeper is not data be used as evidence such information or data will remain on a voting member of the ASAP Event of the event? the airline property.4 A JOINT COMAIR/ALPA PUBLICATION