Committee Corner
News from ALPA's Committees


Air Line Pilot, April 2005, p.26-28

Schooling the Safety Reps and Training the Tinkickers

Do you ever imagine using your unique experience as a line pilot--and perhaps education and/or expertise in other relevant disciplines--as an ALPA safety or security representative, accident investigator, or member of your pilot group's Professional Standards Committee or Critical Incident Response Program? Your MEC would like to hear from you. But before you make your call, you should know that ALPA doesn't send its pilot volunteers out on their chosen mission without being properly trained by peers and staff who are seasoned veterans of aviation safety work, accident investigation, aviation security, and/or human performance as it relates to the airline piloting profession. 

ALPA Engineering and Air Safety

ALPA conducts more than a dozen courses for pilot volunteers interested in stepping up to the plate to make their personal contributions to aviation safety, security, accident investigation, professional standards, or human performance: 

o Basic Safety School (BSS): The Basic Safety School provides initial training-an orientation on the ALPA Air Safety Structure, administration, communication, and elementary accident investigation-to new pilot safety volunteers. The training equips members to confidently work within the ALPA Air Safety Structure to effectively support their own pilot group and to deal with representatives from government and management. A key component of the Basic Safety School is a 4-hour overview of accident investigation. This portion is intended to provide a basic understanding of the accident investigation process until the pilot representative can attend ALPA's 4-day Basic Accident Investigation Course. 

o Safety Two School (STS): ALPA air safety representatives receive additional training in leadership, management, accident prevention, and working with the news media. After completing Safety Two School, air safety representatives should understand the relationship between managed and unmanaged hazards and their potential to cause aviation incidents and accidents. They will be able to form a committee to find and assess the safety risks associated with hazards to effectively bring the information to the attention of their MEC and company management and to facilitate corrective actions. They may use these skills in the capacity of Local Air Safety Chairman, Central Air Safety Chairman, Technical Group Leader, or Project Team Leader. 

o Basic Accident Investigation Course (BAIC): The Basic Accident Investigation Course builds upon the foundational training begun in the Basic Safety School and gives the student more details regarding NTSB and TSBC accident investigation procedures and the role ALPA plays as a participant in the accident investigation process. Completing this course equips the pilot safety representative to function efficiently, effectively, and safely as the Chief Accident Investigator for his or her MEC Central Air Safety Committee. 

o Bloodborne Pathogen Training (BBP): This is a 4-hour session taught in conjunction with the Basic Accident Investigation Course. Initial training meets the U.S. OSHA requirement to provide employees with the knowledge required to protect themselves in hazardous industrial environments. Information regarding inoculations and recurrent training is provided in the course. 

o Advanced Accident Investigation Course (AAIC): This training provides an MEC Accident Investigation Team with a thorough rehearsal of NTSB procedures, and a comprehensive examination of pre-accident plans and documents. A portion of the training is conducted on a mock crash site. The advanced course thoroughly prepares MEC Accident Investigation Team members before the need arises. 

o Basic Safety School "Air Drop" Course (BSS-AD): The safety "Air Drop" program tailors segments to the needs of a pilot group. The program draws together modules that are taught in the Basic Safety School (BSS), Safety Two School (STS), Basic Accident Investigation Course (BAIC), and Bloodborne Pathogen Training (BBP). These modules include basic and advanced safety and accident investigation information, including bloodborne pathogen training (as needed). 

o Airport Liaison Representative (ALR): The Airport and Ground Environment (AGE) Group has a goal of training and assigning an ALPA Air Safety Volunteer to act as a liaison to airports served by an ALPA pilot group. This training prepares the ALRs to effectively represent the Association to airport managers and operators, to be familiar with ALPA policy that pertains to aspects of the airport operation, and to be able to select the proper element of the ALPA Air Safety Committee to work on specific safety issues as they arise (e.g., air traffic services, ground infrastructure, and instrument procedures). Subjects covered in the ALR course also include ALPA Air Safety Structure and administration plus airport contacts and procedures. 

o Regional Safety Chairman (RSC) Training (under development): This training will provide the Air Safety Representative pilot volunteer with the information needed to perform his or her role as a Regional Safety Coordinator. The ALPA safety structure is segmented into regions similar to those that the FAA and Transport Canada have established. RSCs facilitate and coordinate ALPA safety issues within their region, working closely with ALPA airport liaison representatives in their regions. RSC activities may include, but not be limited to, specific airport, noise abatement, or wildlife issues. 

o Security Training Course: General information is provided for the benefit of new MEC Security Coordinators on how to function in their positions, an overview of ALPA administrative procedures, and other topics of interest. o International Aviation Security Academy (IASA): This highly respected course educates pilots and government and industry representatives on current aviation security issues. IASA features experts from various security disciplines who present information on a variety of topics over 4 days. A registration fee is charged for non-ALPA members. 

o Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP): CIRP training equips volunteers with a basic understanding of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and the program under which it functions. Training is conducted in a classroom lecture and a hands-on workshop by a trained facilitator. Recurrent training is also provided to allow an exchange of experiences and ideas as well as an opportunity to hone skills. 

o Pilot Assistance Training: This training teaches listening skills and helps attendees recognize interpersonal problems that pilots may be having. Additional professional help can then be provided to pilots who may need it. The training also includes extensive role-playing exercises. One of the training sessions each year places special emphasis on pilot health and rehabilitation in recognizing and dealing with substance abuse and addiction issues. 

o Professional Standards Training: This course offers an opportunity for persons who are new in professional standards activities to receive training in ALPA's peer-consultation program designed to help members who are experiencing problems or exhibiting behavior that might adversely affect their ability to perform their duties in a professional manner. Pilots who are already seasoned professional standards committee members also have the opportunity to discuss their own activities with successes and failures. Common problems are addressed. The annual conference offers a broad perspective in discussing professional standards activities. 

o Pilot Training Committee (under development): This training will provide MEC Training Committee Chairmen (TCCs) insight on individual training issues and those common to the entire airline industry. The Pilot Training Committee Manual, which was developed and is maintained by the ALPA Training Council, will be a key text. The course also will use information from other courses, such as BSS, to ensure that the TCCs understand how to use the resources of ALPA to help members. For more information on these courses, and how to become an ALPA pilot volunteer, contact your MEC or the Association's Engineering and Air Safety Department via ALPA's toll-free air safety reporting line, 1-800-424-2470.


ALPA: FAA Must Block Misuse of Safety Information 

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey announced during a news conference on February 24 that the agency is issuing a proposed rule that would require flight data recorders to retain more information and to include a more reliable backup power supply. 

"ALPA welcomes efforts to improve safety data quality," Capt. Terry McVenes, ALPA Executive Air Safety Chairman, said after the FAA announcement. 

The union "supports the proposed flight data recorder changes that increase the number of times per second that data is gathered," said First Officer Mark Solper (America West), the Association's Accident Investigation Board chairman. "ALPA has participated in a number of accident investigations in the past in which these enhancements would have been extremely helpful." 

Capt. McVenes cautioned that "the increased amount of data makes it more important than ever that the agency responds to the aviation industry's longstanding concerns about abuse and misuse of flight safety data." 

He observed that current legislation provides only limited protection against release of the collected information and that no rules exist to prevent airline managements from using data for disciplinary action against pilots, rather than for enhancing aviation safety as was the original purpose. 

Capt. McVenes added, "We know that recorded safety information has been misused and abused in the past and that these practices continue today--the need for decisive action to secure the information so that it is used exclusively for safety purposes could not be more urgent. 

"Moreover," he said, "the FAA must lead by example by setting strong standards and working toward international agreements that safeguard recorded safety information regardless of where a flight takes off or lands." 

Capt. McVenes concluded, "ALPA looks forward to working together with the FAA on these efforts to improve the quality of flight safety data and to enact protections against safety data misuse and abuse." 

ALPA's message was received loud and clear. Intense news media coverage of the FAA announcement universally referred to ALPA's concerns. 

ALPA will fully evaluate the FAA's proposal and will submit comments that reflect the Association's policies on behalf of ALPA members.


TC Revises CRJ Icing Inspection 

Transport Canada has issued Airworthiness Directives CF-2005-01, dated February 2, and CF-2005-03, dated February 8, which approved a temporary revision to the airplane flight manuals of various models of the Bombardier Regional Jet series aircraft. 

The revision emphasizes cold weather operational requirements and also requires a tactile inspection in certain meteorological conditions to ensure that the wing leading edges and upper wing surfaces are free of frost, snow, slush or ice. 

On February 17, the FAA issued a similar airworthiness directive, AD 2005-04-07, for the Bombardier Model CL-600-2B19 [Regional Jet Series 100 and 400 airplanes and Model CL-600-1A11 (CL-600), CL-600-2A12 (CL-601), and CL-600-2B16 (CL-601-3A, CL-601-3R, and CL-604)] series airplanes. The CRJ200s that ALPA members fly fall under the Bombardier Regional Jet Series 100 designation. 

These ADs are a result of several recent icing-related accidents involving Bombardier aircraft. The TC and the FAA have determined that a new AD addressing the Bombardier regional jet aircraft listed above is warranted. This new AD requires revising the airplane flight manuals to include a new cold weather operations limitation. This AD is prompted by a report that even small amounts of frost, ice, snow, or slush on the wing and leading edges or forward upper wing surfaces can cause an adverse change in wing stall speeds and characteristics, and the protection provided by the stall protection system. 

Bombardier has issued a temporary revision (TR) to the applicable airplane flight manuals. The TR includes a new takeoff limitation to emphasize the need for a clean airplane during cold weather operations. Bombardier specifies that a tactile check must be conducted to determine that the wing is free from frost, ice, snow, or slush when certain meteorological conditions exist. 

ALPA's Executive Central Air Safety Chairman, Capt. Terry McVenes, says that the Association recommends that pilots carefully review the new procedures and understand the hazards associated with contamination on leading edges and upper wing surfaces. The Central Air Safety Chairmen of all ALPA pilot groups flying these airplanes have been asked to coordinate with their companies to determine how these new procedures will affect their cold weather operations. 

The following is being added to the Chapter 2 Limitations--Operating Limitations sections of appropriate AFMs: "Even small amounts of frost, ice, snow, or slush on the wing leading edges and forward upper wing surface may adversely change the stall speeds, stall characteristics, and the protection provided by the stall protection system, which may result in loss of control on takeoff. 

"In addition to a visual check, a tactile check of the wing leading edge, wing forward upper surface, and wing rear upper surface is required during the external walkaround inspection, to determine that the wing is free from frost, ice, snow, or slush when the outside air temperature (OAT) is 5 C (41 F) or less, or the wing fuel temperature is 0 C (32 F) or less; and 

"(1) there is visible moisture (rain, drizzle, sleet, snow, fog, etc); or
"(2) water is present on the wing; or 
"(3) the difference between the dewpoint temperature and the OAT is 3 C (5 F) or less; or 
"(4) the atmospheric conditions have been conducive to frost formation. 

"NOTE: Ice and frost may continue to adhere to wing surfaces for some time even at outside air temperatures above 5 C (41 F)." 

Contact the ALPA Engineering and Air Safety Department at 1-800-424-2470 with questions and comments.