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Ready For Takeoff - Turn Your Aviation Passion Into A Career

The Ready For Takeoff podcast will help you transform your aviation passion into an aviation career. Every week we bring you instruction and interviews with top aviators in their field who reveal their flight path to an exciting career in the skies.
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Now displaying: October, 2021
Oct 28, 2021

Colgan Air Flight 3407 (9L/CJC 3407) was marketed as Continental Connection Flight 3407. It was delayed two hours, departing at 9:18 pm Eastern Standard Time (02:18 UTC), en route from Newark Liberty International Airport to Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

The twin-engine turboprop Bombardier Q400, FAA registry N200WQ, was manufactured in 2008 for delivery to Colgan. It was delivered to Colgan on April 16, 2008.

This was the first fatal accident for a Colgan Air passenger flight since the company was founded in 1991. One previous repositioning flight, with no passengers, crashed offshore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in August 2003, killing both of the crew on board. The only prior accident involving a Colgan Air passenger flight occurred at LaGuardia Airport, when another plane collided with the Colgan aircraft while taxiing, resulting in minor injuries to a flight attendant.

Captain Marvin Renslow, 47, of Lutz, Florida, was the pilot in command, and Rebecca Lynne Shaw, 24, of Maple Valley, Washington, served as the first officer. The cabin crew consisted of two flight attendants. Captain Renslow was hired in September 2005 and had accumulated 3,379 total flight hours, with 111 hours as captain on the Q400. First Officer Shaw was hired in January 2008, and had 2,244 hours, 774 of them in turbine aircraft, including the Q400.

Two Canadian passengers, one Chinese passenger, and one Israeli passenger were on board. The remaining 41 passengers, as well as the crew members, were American.

Shortly after the flight was cleared for an instrument landing system approach to runway 23 at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, it disappeared from radar. The weather consisted of light snow and fog with wind of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph). The deicing system had been turned on 11 minutes after takeoff. Shortly before the crash, the pilots discussed significant ice buildup on the aircraft's wings and windshield. Two other aircraft reported icing conditions around the time of the crash.

The last radio transmission from the flight occurred when the first officer acknowledged a routine instruction to change to tower radio frequency. The plane was 3.0 mi (4.8 km) northeast of the radio beacon KLUMP (see diagram) at that time. The crash occurred 41 seconds after that last transmission. Since ATC approach control was unable to get any further response from the flight, the assistance of Delta Air Lines Flight 1998 and US Airways Flight 1452 was requested. Neither was able to spot the missing plane.

Following the clearance for final approach, landing gear and flaps (5°) were extended. The flight data recorder (FDR) indicated the airspeed had slowed to 145 knots (269 km/h; 167 mph). The captain then called for the flaps to be increased to 15°. The airspeed continued to slow to 135 knots (250 km/h; 155 mph). Six seconds later, the aircraft's stick shaker activated, warning of an impending stall, as the speed continued to slow to 131 knots (243 km/h; 151 mph). The captain responded by abruptly pulling back on the control column, followed by increasing thrust to 75% power, instead of lowering the nose and applying full power, which was the proper stall-recovery technique. That improper action pitched the nose up even further, increasing both the g-load and the stall speed. The stick pusher activated (The Q400 stick pusher applies an airplane-nose-down control column input to decrease the wing's angle of attack (AOA) after an aerodynamic stall), but the captain overrode the stick pusher and continued pulling back on the control column. The first officer retracted the flaps without consulting the captain, making recovery even more difficult.

In its final moments, the aircraft pitched up 31°, then pitched down 25°, then rolled left 46° and snapped back to the right at 105°. Occupants aboard experienced g-forces estimated at nearly 2 G. The crew made no emergency declaration, as they rapidly lost altitude and crashed into a private home at 6038 Long Street, about 5 mi (8.0 km) from the end of the runway, with the nose pointed away from the airport. The aircraft burst into flames, as the fuel tanks ruptured on impact, destroying the house of Douglas and Karen Wielinski, and most of the plane. Douglas was killed; his wife Karen and their daughter Jill managed to escape with minor injuries. Very little damage occurred to surrounding homes, though the lots in that area are only 60 ft (18.3 m) wide. The home was close to the Clarence Center Fire Company, so emergency personnel were able to respond quickly. Two firefighters were injured; 12 nearby houses were evacuated.

The autopilot was in control until it automatically disconnected when the stall-warning stick shaker activated. The NTSB found no evidence of severe icing conditions, which would have required the pilots to fly manually. Colgan recommended its pilots to fly manually in icing conditions, and required them to do so in severe icing conditions. In December 2008, the NTSB issued a safety bulletin about the danger of keeping the autopilot engaged during icing conditions. Flying the plane manually was essential to ensure pilots would be able to detect changes in the handling characteristics of the airplane, which are warning signs of ice accumulation.

After the captain reacted inappropriately to the stick shaker, the stick pusher activated. As designed, it pushed the nose down when it sensed a stall was imminent, but the captain again reacted improperly and overrode that additional safety device by pulling back again on the control column, causing the plane to stall and crash. Bill Voss, president of Flight Safety Foundation, told USA Today that it sounded like the plane was in "a deep stall situation".

On May 11, 2009, information was released about Captain Renslow's training record. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, before joining Colgan, he had failed three "check rides", including some at Gulfstream International's training program, and "people close to the investigation" suggested that he might not have been adequately trained to respond to the emergency that led to the airplane's fatal descent. Investigators examined possible crew fatigue. The captain appeared to have been at Newark airport overnight, prior to the day of the 9:18 pm departure of the accident flight. The first officer commuted from Seattle to Newark on an overnight flight. These findings during the investigation led the FAA to issue a "Call to Action" for improvements in the practices of regional carriers.

Another press report said that the pilot had failed five prior tests, and also alleged "flirtatious" conversation in the cockpit between the pilot and the much younger first officer.

On February 2, 2010, the NTSB issued its final report, describing the details of its investigation that led to 46 specific conclusions.

One conclusion determined that both the captain and the first officer were fatigued at the time of the accident, but the NTSB could not determine how much it degraded their performance.

The pilots' performance was likely impaired because of fatigue, but the extent of their impairment and the degree to which it contributed to the performance deficiencies that occurred during the flight cannot be conclusively determined.

Among those conclusions were the fact that both the captain and the first officer responded to the stall warning in a manner contrary to their training. The NTSB could not explain why the first officer retracted the flaps and suggested that the landing gear should also be retracted, though it did find that the current approach-stall training was not adequate:

The current air carrier approach-to-stall training did not fully prepare the flight crew for an unexpected stall in the Q400 and did not address the actions that are needed to recover from a fully developed stall.

Those findings were immediately followed by the board's "Probable Cause" statement:

The captain's inappropriate response to the activation of the stick shaker, which led to an aerodynamic stall from which the airplane did not recover. Contributing to the accident were (1) the flight crew's failure to monitor airspeed in relation to the rising position of the low-speed cue, (2) the flight crew's failure to adhere to sterile cockpit procedures, (3) the captain's failure to effectively manage the flight, and (4) Colgan Air's inadequate procedures for airspeed selection and management during approaches in icing conditions.

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman, while concurring, made it clear that she considered fatigue to be a contributing factor. She compared the 20 years that fatigue had remained on the NTSB's Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements, during which no meaningful action was taken by regulators in response, to the changes in tolerance for alcohol over the same period, noting that the impact on performance from fatigue and alcohol were similar.

However, Vice Chairman Christopher A. Hart and Board Member Robert L. Sumwalt III dissented on the inclusion of fatigue as a contributing factor, on the grounds that evidence was insufficient to support such a conclusion. Notably, the same kind of pilot errors and standard operating procedure violations had been found in other accidents where fatigue was not a factor.

The FAA has proposed or implemented several rule changes as a result of the Flight 3407 accident, in areas ranging from pilot fatigue to Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate qualifications of up to 1,500 hours of flight experience for both pilot and copilot. One of the most significant changes has already taken effect, changing the way examiners grade checkrides in flight simulators during stalls.

From WGRZ:

A new rule from the Federal Aviation Administration will make it easy for airlines to share information regarding their pilots with each other.

It's the latest step to improve air safety as a result of the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 in Clarence Center 12 years ago.

The Pilot Records Database will be maintained by the F.A.A., and will require the airlines to report their pilots' employment history, training and qualifications.

The information can now be shared between air carriers, which will also be required to review records in the database before hiring pilots.

The database will include the following information:

  • FAA pilot certificate information, such as certificates and ratings
  • FAA summaries of unsatisfactory pilot applications for new certificates or ratings
  • FAA records of accidents, incidents, and enforcement actions
  • Records from employers on pilot training, qualification, and proficiency
  • Pilot drug and alcohol records
  • Employers’ final disciplinary action records
  • Pilot records concerning separation of employment
  • Verification of pilot motor vehicle driving record.

This measure was part of the push made by the families of the 49 passengers and crew who died, along with another person on the ground, when the crash occurred in February of 2009.

"I've said this before that in New York State, if you want to drive a school bus, they check their records all the way to when you got your driver's license," said John Kausner, who along with his wife Marilyn, lost their 24 year old daughter in the crash later blamed on pilot error.

"He was not qualified to fly that plane... he had failed five check rides prior to that and the airline didn't know it," John Kausner said. "And they testified at the NTSB hearing that had they known it, they wouldn't have hired him."

But while it's taken 12 years to get to this point airlines will have more than three years more to fully comply with the new rules.

"Welcome to the federal government," John Kausner said. "Yes, they have to come into compliance in 36 months. I think they have all the data collected, so why it can't be next month is beyond me but that's where we're at."

Flight 3407 families are heralding the news, however, as an important and final piece of a puzzle toward safer skies, which follows their previously successful efforts to lobby for increased and more rigorous pilot training and for mandatory rest periods between flights for air crews.

"It's a proud moment for us and we believe that the greatest legacy to our loved ones are all the lives that have been saved because they inspired us and we feel like we finished the race," Marilyn Kausner said.

Added her husband, "A lot of people don't realize that we haven't had an airline crash in the United States in 12 years. In the 20 years preceding that there was more than one crash per year on average in the United States. That was the record before the 3407 crash, and in the 12 years since there have been zero. And that's not just due to our efforts, but also due to the efforts of our congressional delegation and media which has kept these issues in the public eye."

Oct 26, 2021

The accident airplane, registration N93119 (a Boeing 747-131), was manufactured by Boeing in July 1971; it had been ordered by Eastern Air Lines, but after Eastern cancelled its 747 orders, the plane was purchased new by Trans World Airlines. The aircraft had completed 16,869 flights with 93,303 hours of operation and was powered by four Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7AH turbofan engines. On the day of the accident, the airplane departed from Ellinikon International Airport in Athens, Greece, as TWA Flight 881 and arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) about 4:38 pm. The aircraft was refueled, and a crew change was made; the new flight crew consisted of 58-year-old Captain Ralph G. Kevorkian (who had flown for TWA for 31 years and the U.S. Air Force for 9 years), 57-year-old Captain/Check Airman Steven E. Snyder (who had flown for TWA for 32 years), and 63-year-old Flight Engineer/Check Airman Richard G. Campbell Jr. (who had flown for TWA for 30 years and the U.S. Air Force for 12 years), as well as 25-year-old flight engineer trainee Oliver Krick, who had flown for TWA for 26 days and was starting the sixth leg of his initial operating experience training.

The ground-maintenance crew locked out the thrust reverser for engine #3 (treated as a minimum equipment list item) because of technical problems with the thrust reverser sensors during the landing of TWA 881 at JFK, prior to Flight 800's departure. Additionally, severed cables for the engine #3 thrust reverser were replaced. During refueling of the aircraft, the volumetric shutoff (VSO) control was believed to have been triggered before the tanks were full. To continue the pressure fueling, a TWA mechanic overrode the automatic VSO by pulling the volumetric fuse and an overflow circuit breaker. Maintenance records indicate that the aircraft had numerous VSO-related maintenance writeups in the weeks before the accident.

TWA 800 was scheduled to depart JFK for Charles de Gaulle Airport around 7:00 pm, but the flight was delayed until 8:02 pm by a disabled piece of ground equipment and a passenger/baggage mismatch. After the owner of the baggage in question was confirmed to be on board, the flight crew prepared for departure, and the aircraft pushed back from Gate 27 at the TWA Flight Center. The flight crew started the engines at 8:04 pm. However, because of the previous maintenance undertaken on engine #3, the flight crew only started engines #1, #2, and #4. Engine #3 was started 10 minutes later at 8:14 pm. Taxi and takeoff proceeded uneventfully.Flight path of TWA 800: The colored rectangles are areas from which wreckage was recovered.

TWA 800 then received a series of heading changes and generally increasing altitude assignments as it climbed to its intended cruising altitude. Weather in the area was light winds with scattered clouds, with dusk lighting conditions. The last radio transmission from the airplane occurred at 8:30 pm, when the flight crew received and then acknowledged instructions from Boston Center to climb to 15,000 feet (4,600 m). The last recorded radar transponder return from the airplane was recorded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar site at Trevose, Pennsylvania, at 8:31:12 pm.

Thirty-eight seconds later, the captain of an Eastwind Airlines Boeing 737 reported to Boston ARTCC that he "just saw an explosion out here", adding, "we just saw an explosion up ahead of us here ... about 16,000 feet [4,900 m] or something like that, it just went down into the water." Subsequently, many air traffic control facilities in the New York/Long Island area received reports of an explosion from other pilots operating in the area. Many witnesses in the vicinity of the crash stated that they saw or heard explosions, accompanied by a large fireball or fireballs over the ocean, and observed debris, some of which was burning while falling into the water.

Various civilian, military, and police vessels reached the crash site and searched for survivors within minutes of the initial water impact, but found none, making TWA 800 the second-deadliest aircraft accident in United States history at that time.

Oct 22, 2021

The aircraft, a DC-9-32, registered N904VJ, was the 496th DC-9 assembled at the Long Beach plant, was 27 years old at the time and had been previously flown by Delta Air Lines. Its first flight was April 18, 1969. Delivered to Delta on May 27, 1969, as N1281L, the airframe flew for Delta until the end of 1992, when it was retired and sold back to McDonnell Douglas. McDonnell Douglas then sold the plane to ValuJet in 1993. The aircraft was powered by two Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A turbofan engines.

The aircraft had suffered a series of incidents in the two years before the crash, including two aborted takeoffs and eight emergency landings. Engine and pressurization errors were the primary issues in several of the incidents. In May 1995, the FAA issued a re-wiring directive for all DC-9 cockpits because the wire bundles in the switch panel could cause "fire and uncontrolled smoke throughout the cockpit as a result of chafing and shorting."

In the flight deck were two experienced pilots: Captain Candi Kubeck (35) and First Officer Richard Hazen (52). Captain Kubeck had accumulated 8,928 total flight hours throughout her career (including 2,116 hours on the DC-9) and First Officer Hazen had more than 11,800 total flight hours throughout his career, with 2,148 of them on the DC-9.

On the afternoon of May 11, 1996, Flight 592 pushed back from gate G2 in Miami after a delay of 1 hour and 4 minutes due to mechanical problems. There were 105 passengers, mainly from Florida and Georgia, as well as a crew of two pilots and three flight attendants, bringing the total number of people on board to 110. At 2:04 PM EDT, 10 minutes before the disaster, the DC-9 took off from runway 9L (now runway 8R) and began a normal climb.

The NTSB quickly determined that just before takeoff, 144 expired chemical oxygen generators, each slightly larger than the size of a tennis ball can, had been placed in the cargo compartment in five boxes marked COMAT (company material) by ValuJet's maintenance contractor, SabreTech, in violation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations forbidding the transport of hazardous materials in passenger aircraft cargo holds. Failure to cover the generators' firing pins with the prescribed plastic caps made an accidental activation much more likely. The investigation revealed that rather than covering them, the cords attached to the firing pins were simply cut or duct-taped around the cans, and Scotch tape was also used to stick the ends down. SabreTech employees indicated on the cargo manifest that the "oxy canisters", which were loosely packed in the boxes that were each sealed with tape and bubble wrap, were "empty". ValuJet workers then loaded the boxes in the cargo hold in the mistaken belief that the devices that they contained were just empty canisters, thus being certified as supposedly "safe" to transport on a passenger aircraft, when in fact they were neither simple oxygen canisters, nor empty.

Chemical oxygen generators, when activated, produce oxygen for passengers if the plane suffers a decompression. However, they also produce a great quantity of heat due to the exothermic nature of the chemical reaction involved. Therefore, not only could the heat and generated oxygen start a fire, but the oxygen could also keep the fire burning. The fire was worsened by the presence of two main aircraft tires (one of them mounted on a main wheel) and a nose tire and wheel that were also included in the list of materials shipped as COMAT. Investigators determined that one of the oxygen generators was likely triggered when the plane experienced a slight jolt while taxiing. As the aircraft taxied and took off, the activated generator got hotter and hotter. Soon, the boxes and surrounding packaging ignited, starting a fire.

At 2:10 PM, the passengers started to smell smoke. At the same time, the pilots heard a loud bang in their headphones and noticed the plane was losing electrical power. The sag in electrical power and the bang were eventually determined to be the result of a tire in the cargo hold exploding. Seconds later, a flight attendant entered the cockpit and informed the flight crew of a fire in the passenger cabin. Passengers' shouts of "fire, fire, fire" were recorded on the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) when the cockpit door was opened. Though ValuJet's flight attendant training manual stated that the cockpit door should not be opened when smoke or other harmful gases might be present in the cabin, the intercom was not functional and informing the pilots of what was happening was difficult. The flight data recorder (FDR) indicated a progressive failure of the DC-9's electrical and flight control systems due to the spreading fire.

Kubeck and Hazen immediately asked air traffic control for a return to Miami due to the increasing smoke in the cockpit and cabin, and were given instructions for a return to the airport. One minute later, Hazen requested the nearest available airport. Kubeck began to turn the plane left in preparation for the return to Miami.

Flight 592 disappeared from radar at 2:13:42 PM, the exact time that it crashed. Eyewitnesses nearby watched as the plane banked sharply, rolled onto its side and nosedived into the Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area in the Everglades, a few miles west of Miami, at a speed in excess of 507 miles per hour (816 km/h). Kubeck lost control of the plane less than 10 seconds before impact. Examination of debris suggested that the fire had burned through the floorboards in the cabin, resulting in structural failure and damage to cables underneath the instrument panels. The NTSB report on the accident stated, "the Safety Board cannot rule out the possibility that the flightcrew was incapacitated by smoke or heat in the cockpit during the last 7 seconds of the flight." Interruptions in the cockpit voice recorder occurred on two occasions, one as long as 1 minute 12 seconds. The aircraft hit the water at 2:13:42 PM EDT, about 10 minutes after takeoff. The impact site was on the western edge of Florida Water Conservation Area 3B, between two levees, in an area known as the L-67 Pocket.

None of the 110 passengers or crew on board survived the accident. Additionally, recovery of the aircraft and victims was made extremely difficult by the location of the crash. The nearest road of any kind was more than a quarter mile (400 m) away from the crash scene, and the location of the crash itself was a deep-water swamp with a floor of solid limestone. The aircraft was destroyed on impact, with no large pieces of the fuselage remaining. Sawgrass, alligators, and risk of bacterial infection from cuts plagued searchers involved in the recovery effort.

According to the NTSB's report, two witnesses fishing nearby testified that "they saw a low-flying airplane in a steep right bank. According to these witnesses, as the right bank angle increased, the nose of the airplane dropped and continued downward. The airplane struck the ground in a nearly vertical attitude."

They reported seeing no external damage or any sign of fire or smoke other than the engine exhaust. A group of sightseers in a small private plane also witnessed the crash and provided a nearly identical account, stating that Flight 592 seemed to "disappear" after hitting the swamp and they could see nothing but scattered small debris, part of an engine, and a large pool of jet fuel near the crash site.

Oct 19, 2021

At some point in your flying career, either in an FAA Practical Test or in real life, you will be required to perform a visual approach to a landing. In a simulator checkride, typically the electronic glideslope and VASI (visual approach slope indicator) will be rendered inoperative.

For planning purposes, we will use 3 degrees as the desired approach path. That is a typical ILS glideslope and typical VASI glideslope. For a 3-degree descent, your descent rate (vertical speed) will need to be 1/2 your groundspeed times 10. For example, if your groundspeed is 100 knots, you will need to descend at 500 feet per minute to remain on a 3-degree glideslope.

You can read your groundspeed directly from your glass-cockpit instruments. What if you're flying an aircraft with antique gauges? That's where some mental math comes in. Your groundspeed is your true airspeed minus the headwind. You can estimate the headwind by using ATIS winds and adding a few knots for the increased winds (assumed) at approach altitude. How about your true airspeed? Calculate your true airspeed by increasing your indicated airspeed by 2 percent for every 1000 feet above sea level. For example, if you are flying the approach at 90 knots at an average altitude of 5000 feet in Colorado, your true airspeed will be 10 percent higher than your indicated airspeed. So your true airspeed will be 100 knots (actually, 99 knots, but we're doing PILOT math!). If your headwind is 10 knots, your groundspeed is 90 knots, so you will descend at 450 feet per minute.

Here's an even easier way to maintain a 3-degree glideslope: simply fly towards the runway at the glideslope intercept altitude, maintaining final approach airspeed. When you fly over the outer marker (the blue marker beacon light, or the DME for the final approach fix), simply lower the nose 3 degrees and hold that pitch. Wherever the touchdown zone appears in your windscreen, hold that sight picture all the way down. Piece of cake!

Oct 15, 2021

I was hired by United Airlines as a Flight Officer on October 16, 1978. In those days they used the term "Flight Officer" instead of "Pilot" because most new-hires were assigned as Flight Engineers. Now, of course, new-hires are all hired as pilots.

My road to the airlines:

1977: Flight Engineer written exam

1977: Airline Transport Pilot written exam - FAILED on the first attempt!

1977: Self-study for ATP written exam - PASSED with 99%

1977: Airline Transport Pilot practical test - Beech 18

1978 (March): Flight Engineer training at Arnautical, Inc.

1978 (April): Instructed Flight Engineer trainees at Arnautical

1978 (May): Updated United application

1978 (July): Interviewed with United Airlines

1978 (October): New-hire at United

1981 (June): Furloughed!

Oct 11, 2021

Brett had an early love for aviation, inspired by his uncle, a United Airlines B-747 Captain. He started flying at age 16 and attained all of his certificates while in college. He was anxious to get into professional aviation, and graduated a year early so he could get his start.

His first flying job after graduation was in the cold northeast, where the airplane engine had to be artificially warmed for two hours before flight, but the cockpit stayed frigid! He was then hired by Mesa Airlines, based in Orlando, to fly his first jet. He upgraded to Captain at JFK Airport, where he sometimes had to taxi for two hours fo a 30-minute flight. 

After about five years and being downgraded, Brett was starting to feel burned out with regional flying. He heard about a corporate flying job and went to a bar to learn more. He wanted to separate himself from the pool of pilot applicants, he had his resume produced on a cake! He didn't get the job, but got on the company's radar, and was ultimately hired.

Brett eventually worked his way up to Chief Pilot at Kroger, and is now firmly committed to the company.

From NBAA:

Since Minturn transitioned from the airlines to business aviation, the NBAA Safety Committee member and chair of the Midwest Safety Roundtable has pursued his passion – aviation safety. He is a staunch advocate for adoption of the Aviation Safety Action Program in Part 91 operations, and last year he worked with the University of Amsterdam to develop aviation safety metrics. Minturn also has helped develop in-house technology solutions for data collection. “What I love about business aviation is I really feel like I’m making the company and the industry better.”

Oct 7, 2021

The Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS) is one of a number of related software enhancements available on later-model Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems. RAAS is designed to improve flight crew situational awareness, thereby reducing the risks of runway incursion, runway confusion and runway excursions.

Runway Awareness and Advisory System uses airport data stored in the EGPWS database, coupled with GPS and other onboard sensors, to monitor the movement of an aircraft around the airport. It provides visual/aural annunciations at critical points, such as "Approaching Runway 09 Left and confirmation when an aircraft is lined up on the runway prior to takeoff: for example, "On Runway 09 Right, 2,450 metres remaining." In a scenario where a crew inadvertently lines up on a parallel taxiway and commences a take off, an aural alert “On Taxiway, On Taxiway” is provided if the aircraft speed exceeds 40 kts. On approach and after touchdown, the system continues to announce the distance to go until the end of the runway is reached.

System Description

Advisories/cautions are generated based upon the current aircraft position as compared to the location of the airport runways, which are stored within the EGPWS Runway Database.

The aurals can be grouped into two categories:

  • Routine Advisories (annunciations the flight crew will hear during routine operations) and
  • Non-Routine Advisories/Cautions (annunciations the flight crew will seldom or perhaps never hear).

RAAS provides the flight crew with five ‘routine advisories'. Three of these annunciations will be heard by the crew in normal operations, providing increased position awareness relative to the runway during taxi and flight operations. They are intended to reduce the risk of a runway incursion. The two remaining ‘routine’ advisories provide information about the aircraft location along the runway, and are intended to reduce the risk of overruns. The five advisories are:

  • Approaching Runway - Airborne advisory provides the crew with awareness of which runway the aircraft is lined up with on approach.
  • Approaching Runway - On-Ground advisory provides the flight crew with awareness of approximate runway edge being approached by the aircraft during taxi operations.
  • On Runway - Advisory provides the crew with awareness of which runway the aircraft is lined-up with.
  • Distance Remaining - Advisories enhance crew awareness of aircraft along-track position relative to the runway end.
  • Runway End - Advisory is intended to improve flight crew awareness of the position of the aircraft relative to the runway end during low visibility conditions.

In addition, RAAS provides the flight crew with several ‘non-routine’ advisories/cautions. These annunciations are designed to enhance safety and situational awareness in specific situations not routinely encountered during normal aircraft operations. Some of the RAAS advisories include distance information. The unit of measure used for distance can be configured to be either metres or feet.

  • Approaching Short Runway - Airborne advisory provides the crew with awareness of which runway the aircraft is lined-up with, and that the runway length available may be marginal for normal landing operations. If desired, an additional caution annunciation can be enabled which provides the crew with awareness that the issue has not been resolved when the aircraft is on final approach.
  • Insufficient Runway Length - On-Ground advisory provides the crew with awareness of which runway the aircraft is lined-up with, and that the runway length available for takeoff is less than the defined minimum takeoff runway length. If desired, an additional caution annunciation can be enabled which provides the crew with awareness that the issue has not been resolved when the aircraft is on the final stage of takeoff.
  • Extended Holding on Runway - Advisory provides crew awareness of an extended holding period on the runway.
  • Taxiway Take-Off - Advisory enhances crew awareness of excessive taxi speeds or an inadvertent take-off on a taxiway. If desired, this function can provide a caution annunciation in lieu of an advisory annunciation.
  • Distance Remaining - Advisories provide the flight crew with position awareness during a Rejected Take Off (RTO).
  • Taxiway Landing - Alert provides the crew with awareness that the aircraft is not lined up with a runway at low altitudes.

Each RAAS function is independently enabled based on a customer specification and, when enabled, the RAAS functions operate automatically without any action required from the flight crew.

In addition to the aural annunciations provided, visual caution indications may be activated if the appropriate criteria are met. Visual text annunciations can also be configured so they are overlaid on the terrain display for a period of time after the warning is generated.

https://youtu.be/sBSPpLE6EDY 

Oct 4, 2021

With over 20 years of experience in the aviation industry as an educator, researcher, FAA Part 141 chief instructor, airline pilot, corporate pilot, and flight instructor, Chad is versed in the kinetic and dynamic challenges and changes in the aviation industry. His passion for aviation, education, background, research, and experiences are beneficial to industry start-ups, consulting firms, and aviation companies.

Chad was instrumental in obtaining the Part 141 certificate for Metropolitan State University of Denver's Aviation Department. As a result, Program graduates are eligible to obtain their Airline Transport Pilot certificate with 1,000 flight hours, compared to the 1,500 hours normally required.

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