Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Pilots frustrated by delays on fatigue rules
Canada's largest pilots group says the federal government is lagging behind in updating regulations aimed at reducing
The Air Canada Pilots Association issued a statement earlier this week, criticizing the government for the delay in capping the number of hours pilots can be on the job.
The association was reacting to a notice of intent recently issued by Transport Canada. In the notice, the federal agency
announced it intends to make amendments to the Canadian Aviation Regulations.
The amendments include:
-reducing pilots' annual flight time limit to 1,000 hours in 365 days, down from 1,200 hours in 365 days;
-Capping the daily flight duty time of a shift from between nine to 13 hours, down from 14;
-Giving pilots 10 consecutive sleep hours between flights;
-Amending the requirements needed to receive time free from duty;
-Implementing a system to recognize and manage fatigue risk.
However, the new regulations will only be in effect for large carriers, with smaller carriers being exempt. Under Canadian
Aviation Regulations, a large carrier (referred to as 705 Airlines Operations) are carriers that are authorized to operate
planes that have a takeoff weight of more than 19,000 pounds, or which can transport 20 or more passengers.
In the notice, Transport Canada said it plans to introduce a second phase of amendments for all air operators, but gave no
specific timeline. And, with a federal election campaign underway, it's not clear what will happen to the plan.
Geoff Wall, chair of the Master Executive Council of the ACPA, said it's been frustrating for Canadian pilots, as the
updates to the aviation regulations have been in the works since 2010. He also said that the federal agency only selected
five out of 50 recommendations to act on.
"It's been a long struggle for us," he told CTV's Canada AM . "Five years ago we were brought in as the technical
experts to improve and modernize, and bring the Canadian air regulations up to a global standard.
"That's all we're really looking for, to be on par with everybody else in the rest of the world."
One of the chief concerns is the issue of "time of day sensitivity," Wall said.
Under current regulations, pilots in Canada can be scheduled to work for 14 hours. The APCA would like to see those hours
dropped to between nine to 13 hours, depending on when the work shift starts. These are the rules that carriers in the
U.S. and EU follow, Wall said.
But the Air Transport Association of Canada, a group representing 85 Canadian operators, says reducing the length of a
pilots' shift means the smaller carriers will have to hire more staff. It also says the changes are not necessary given
Canada's excellent aviation safety record.
"We have the highest safety record in the world. We are the only country with a regulated safety management system, so I
don't see why this is such a pressing issue," ATAC President John McKenna told CTV News.
Wall recognized that Canadian Airlines are already safe, noting that Air Canada already operates under rules similar to
the proposed recommendations. The pilots association is simply looking to match international standards, which are safer,
"If an American passenger can get on an American Airline, and be governed under flight duty times that are considered safe
to a global standard, why can't we expect the same for a Canadian passenger getting on any Canadian Airline in Canada," he said.
"Canadian Airlines are safe, but what we are looking for is something that's safer."
Eesha Rohida [ MBA Mktg ]
Aviation News Editor
Air Canada Pilots Disappointed and Frustrated at Government Delays in Updating Canada's Flight and Duty Time Regulations to Global Standards
Air Canada pilots today expressed their disappointment and frustration with the federal government for failing to take action to update Canada's flight crew fatigue management regulations.
The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) was responding to Transport Canada's publication on Saturday of a Notice of Intent (NOI) to amend the Canadian Aviation Regulations on Flight and Duty Time (FDT) limitations. FDT regulations dictate how many hours pilots can be on the job prior to needing rest, and how much rest they are required to have prior to going back to work. Effective fatigue regulations are essential to aviation safety.
"It is no exaggeration to say that Canada's FDT regulations are vastly outdated, and continue to be among the worst in the world," stated Captain Ian Smith, President of ACPA. "This latest proposal issued by the Government does nothing to change that fact. All this Notice of Intent does is delay the process even further, forcing the Canadian aviation community to wait even longer in the hope that the government will enact these changes. It has been very frustrating to say the least."
Air Canada pilots and other industry stakeholders have been working cooperatively with the federal government for more than five years to help craft new rules based on the known science of fatigue. During that time, the Government collected a substantial amount of information and heard testimony from leading experts on the need for substantive changes to the regulations. Yet despite all of the evidence, substantive and effective regulatory changes are still years away from implementation, according to the Government's own NOI.
"It is essential that Canada upgrade its safety regulations in order to meet the global standards stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)," Captain Smith said. "We were hoping to have the new regulations in effect by 2015, but with the latest NOI, it looks like action is still years away."
As the 2015 federal election campaign unfolds, ACPA is calling on all major political parties to commit to implementing within one year effective new flight and duty time rules, as originally proposed in the government's own Notice of Proposed Amendment, published last September.
The Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA) is the largest professional pilot group in Canada, representing the more than 3,000 pilots who fly millions of passengers across Canada and around the world on Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge.
Eesha Rohida [ MBA Mktg ]
Aviation News Editor
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The UK government has warned of potentially damaging effects of coronal mass ejections, solar flares and other severe space weather, in a new report published by the Cabinet Office.
“Solar activity can produce x-rays, high-energy particles and coronal mass ejections of plasma. Where such activity is directed towards Earth there is the potential to cause wide ranging impacts. These include power loss, Aviation disruption, communication loss, and disturbance to (or loss of) satellite systems,” says the report, called Space Weather Preparedness Strategy.
Noting that “public awareness of space weather remains low,” the report outlines the main threats from solar flares, which
are powerful bursts of energy that originate near the surface of the sun due to magnetic activity, and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are their bigger, but less intense cousins.
While these events are caused by the sun’s activity, “there is no clear pattern on when these eruptions happen. The sun has an approximately 11 year cycle of activity, with the current cycle peaking in early 2014.”
As its model for the worst case scenario, the report has chosen the 1859 Carrington Event, which combined flares and CMES, and created spectacular auroras for those observing from Earth. According to the paper, such an event has a 1 percent annual chance of reoccurring, while a 2013 study by Lloyd’s of London estimated the damage from such an event today at up to $2.6 trillion, just in the United States alone.
While “impacts are difficult to predict and are best assumptions” the report says that a similar occurrence would cause:
– Localised power outages;
– Disruption of satellite operations, including to Global Navigation Satellite System outages (GPS) and SATCOM disturbances;
– Disruption to High Frequency communications;
– Increased radiation to Aircrew and passengers in flight, particularly over polar regions; and
– Further disturbances to small-part electronic systems.
The electrical grid and satellite networks would have just hours to prepare for the impact, though authors say that “due
to degradation in the satellite capability available to forecasters” any forecast could be off.
“Generally speaking, the faster the ejection, the greater the potential impacts. The Carrington Event, for example,
travelled to Earth in as little as 18 hours. It is therefore likely that our reasonable worst case scenario would only
allow us 12 hours from observation to impact,” warn the authors.
The authors admit that even with awareness of the incoming geomagnetic storms, there is a limit as to what those on the
surface of the planet can do to mitigate their effects, but note that “the advancement of technology and the increases in
interdependence of some systems means that infrastructure has become more vulnerable to its impacts in last few decades.”
The report does promise that UK power lines and mobile phones would still work in case of hostile solar weather, though it
notes that the US would be more vulnerable, both due to the nature of its extensive power network and the reliance of its
communication systems on GPS, which may be taken out.
“The GB power grid network is highly meshed and has a great deal of built in redundancy. This potentially makes it less
susceptible to space weather effects than power grids in some other countries. Over recent years a more resilient design
for new transformers has been used to provide further mitigation,” says the paper, while pointing out that “this resilience is not the result of planning for this risk but good fortune.”
The onus on finding long term solutions is placed on engineers and manufacturers.
“Development of new infrastructure, such as future rail projects, will need to consider all impacts of space weather
alongside other resilience issues. Other areas such as aviation and satellites will need to consider space weather impacts
on new air and space craft,” say the authors.
According to the report, the role of the government will be providing “clear and concise” communication to avoid spreading
panic during a solar storm. The UK population will be told that “you can plan for the effects of severe space weather in the same way as for any other natural hazard,” and that “the risk to health [from radiation exposure] has been judged as minimal” and that plane “passengers need not seek medical advice.”
Chorus Aviation Inc today announced the appointment of R. Stephen Hannahs to its Board of Directors. The appointment is
effective immediately and will bring the total number of Board members to eight.
Mr. Hannahs has been involved in Aviation and Aircraft finance and leasing for over 35 years.
"Steve's impressive track record in Aircraft leasing and his extensive network within the industry will bring significant
value to Chorus as we continue to execute on diversification and growth strategies," stated Richard McCoy, Chairman of the
Board, Chorus. "We are extremely fortunate to be bringing this high caliber of Aviation expertise to our Board."
Mr. Hannahs is the Founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Managing Director at Wings Capital Partners. Wings Capital
Partners makes targeted, non-passive equity investments in commercial Aircraft, related assets parts, and Aviation
Companies, with a focus on the mid-life narrow body Commercial Aircraft sector. In 1989 Mr. Hannahs co-founded Aviation
Capital Group ('ACG') and served as its Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director until December 31, 2012. When
Mr. Hannahs retired from ACG on January 1, 2013, he had built the Company into a $7.0 billion enterprise and one of the
top five Aircraft leasing companies in the world. Between 1982 and 1989, he served as an Executive Vice President at
Integrated Resources Inc. and President at Integrated Resources Aircraft Corporation. From 1980 to 1982, Mr. Hannahs was a
Vice President and partner in Tanon Leasing Corporation, a partnership with the Hillman Company of Pittsburgh, where he
was responsible for all of Tanon's Aviation activities. From 1977 to 1980 he was employed by Itel Corporation where he was
responsible for airline and aviation financing activities. He is a former officer in the United States Air Force, and
holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees in Finance from the University of Wisconsin-
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Eesha Rohida [ MBA Mktg ]
Aviation News Editor