A study drafted over the course of two years and involving aviation laborers, scholars, industry leaders and the U.S. government has reached a number of conclusions about air safety. The report particularly emphasized the need for better emergency procedures. As the work of flying an airliner has become increasingly automated, pilots and crew need more and better training in how to monitor these systems and react when they fail. The report suggested that major improvements are necessary to ensure the safety of airline personnel and passengers.
Historically, radio transmissions have been the predominant means of communication between flight crews and air traffic controllers. Times are changing, however, as air traffic increases throughout the world and digital communication becomes the norm.
Thankfully, parents today accept it as common sense that children, particularly young children, should be in appropriate car seats anytime they travel in a motor vehicle. This is due in large part to strict laws regarding car seat use for children.
Because of the serious risk of aircraft accidents, it is now illegal to point a laser at a helicopter or an airplane. The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 raised the penalties for so-called "lasing" offenses, one response to the number of reported laser incidents having increased by 1,000 percent since 2005.
About 10 years ago, the Federal Aviation Administration began ramping up efforts to improve helicopter safety -- in particular for air ambulances. The ensuing four years saw a decline in helicopter crashes, but in 2008 the FAA reported a record number of helicopter fatalities.
In recent years, the Federal Aviation Administration has addressed the problem of fatigue among on-duty airline pilots. Studies have shown that operator fatigue can result in impairment similar to the effects of alcohol, and federal restrictions are currently in place to help ensure that pilots get enough sleep.
Sleep apnea is a condition that often leads to fatigue and is associated with several health problems. The Federal Aviation Administration has released an order that will lead to sleep apnea testing among many pilots and air traffic control personnel. The measure was likely taken in response to several incidents involving pilots and air traffic controllers sleeping on the job. The policy calls for sleep apnea testing for workers who have a body mass index of 40 or higher and a neck circumference of at least 17 inches. According to the FAA federal air surgeon, sleep apnea is extremely common among people who meet those criteria.
After a Boeing 787 Dreamliner caught fire at Logan International Airport in Boston last week, the National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation into the incident. Shortly thereafter, the Federal Aviation Administration decided to launch a top-priority review of the Boeing 787 due to repeated issues in its electrical systems. The review is intended to discover the root causes of the incidents with the new aircraft in order to address them before a serious accident occurs.
A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Japan Airlines suffered an electrical fire shortly after the plane landed and passengers and crew departed on Monday. The plane landed at Logan International Airport in Boston at 10 a.m. with 173 passengers and 11 crewmembers coming in from Tokyo. The passengers and crew departed and cleaning crews were working in the plane when they detected smoke coming from the cabin. Boston Logan Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting crew were called and found a fire in the electronic box and equipment bay near a battery box, according to the National Transportation Safety Board's initial report. The fire was extinguished in less than an hour.
Air travel with small children presents parents with many challenges. For some parents, air travel is made more attractive by a common policy among airlines of not charging for children under the age of 2, if the child sits on a parent's lap. This policy may confuse parents into thinking that their children will be safe in such a position. The National Transportation Safety Board has conducted accident investigations which concluded that children survived because they were seated in an infant seat with proper restraints. Despite the recommendations of the NTSB, the Federal Aviation Administration and airlines have maintained an infant seat exception which allows children less than 2 years of age to fly unrestrained or ride on a parent's lap.