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Goodbye 2018, a bad year for aviation safety?

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  • Goodbye 2018, a bad year for aviation safety?

    2017 was remarkable for aviation safety, it was the first year where we had zero fatal accidents (and hence zero fatalities) in commercial flights in jet airplanes around the world.

    Was it an outlier?

    2018 closed with 556 fatalities (worse than the 5-years average of 420) in 15 accidents, including 6 in jets that accounted for the majority of the fatalities:

    In Feb we had the An148 that crashed shortly after take-off into IMC with the pitots iced up (and the anti-ice off)., which killed all 71 on board.

    In May we had the 737-200 that stalled and spun after taking off from Havana, killing 112 (out of the 113 on board, amazing that someone survived that).

    In April we had the 737-700 engine failure where the cowling separated and ended up shattering a pax window who perished from the blunt force trauma related with having the torso sucked out of the plane and banging against the fuselage.

    In September, a 737-800 touched down on the sea short of the runway. One person was initially unaccounted for and his body found by divers days later.

    In October we had the 737-MAX-8 that crashed after the pilots didn't know how to work out a trim runaway caused by the spooky MCAS function, after the airline failed to fix a plane that was flying with airspeed and AoA problems for at least 3 flights, and after the crew of the previous flight, that experienced exactly the same issue than the fatal flight, failed to communicate the full extension of the problem and what they had to do to regain and maintain control of the plane and decided to continue to the destination even when the problem was evident immediately after take-off. All 181 on-board died (plus 1 diver participating in the recovery of bodies).

    And in Nov a 757 returned to departure airport shortly after take-off due to hydraulic failure, extended the gear via alternate system, extended partial flaps via alternate system too, and veered off the runway on landing. The excursion was hard but in principle there were only 6 minor injuries. However, an old woman who was not among the 6 reported injured suffered a skull fracture during the evacuation (apparently was hit by the pax sliding after her) which remained unnoticed until days later when she was taken to hospital and died due to brain swelling.

    So 6 jets, 5 of them Boeing (4 737 and 1 757), no fatalities for Airbus.

    Other high-profile accidents included:

    The Dash-8 that crashed in Kathmandu when trying to land on a runway, then on the opposite one, then God knows where. The ATC recording shows a lot of "confusion" (to say the least). It killed 51 out of the 71 on board.

    An AT-72 killed all 66 in a CFIT accident in Iran when the crew was descending below the MSA in IMC towards the airport.

    The Junkers accident that killed 20, case that was beaten to death in this forum.

    And, while it doesn't count for the statistics, the suicidal aerobatic solo flight on a Dash-8 stolen by a non-pilot mechanic.

    In my mind, one of the most significant accidents of 2018 was one that was not fatal I still don't understand how. The Embraer with the inverted ailerons where the crew was unable to maintain speed, altitude, heading or attitude, and lost control of the plane several times in IMC (including at times going inverted)... and then managed to land (after going around 3 times for being unable to align properly with the runway and they ended up lining up with a runway that was not the intended one and touched down outside it and then steered to the centerline).

    They Aviation Safety Network has a more positive view, tough. Excerpt:

    Despite several high-profile accidents, the year 2018 was one of the safest years ever for commercial aviation, Aviation Safety Network data show. [...]

    Given the estimated worldwide air traffic of about 37,800,000 flights, the accident rate is one fatal accident per 2,540,000 flights.
    Reflecting on this accident rate, Aviation Safety Network’s CEO Harro Ranter stated that the level of safety has increased significantly: “If the accident rate had remained the same as ten years ago, there would have been 39 fatal accidents last year. At the accident rate of the year 2000, there would have been even 64 fatal accidents. This shows the enormous progress in terms of safety in the past two decades.”
    https://news.aviation-safety.net/201...nt-statistics/

    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

  • #2
    Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
    2017 was remarkable for aviation safety, it was the first year where we had zero fatal accidents (and hence zero fatalities) in commercial flights in jet airplanes around the world.
    2018 closed with 556 fatalities (worse than the 5-years average of 420) in 15 accidents, including 4 in jets that accounted for the majority of the fatalities:

    In Feb we had pilot error.

    In May we had pilot error.

    In April we had possible maintenance neglect. Or possible roll-of-the-dice odds. Which landed safely.

    And in October we had pilot error and a manufacturer training deficiency.

    Other high-profile accidents included:

    The Dash-8 that was pilot error.

    An AT-72 killed all due to pilot error.

    The Junkers accident that seems to be pilot error.

    And, while it doesn't count for the statistics, the suicidal aerobatic solo flight that was suicide.

    We also had hundreds of system failures, engine failures, assorted mechanical issues and challenging piloting situations that resulted in 0 deaths.

    It seems pretty obvious that, while engineering has almost entirely eliminated crashes from mechanical reasons, the human factor persists.

    But that is something to admire. We just need to fix the human problem now.

    Note that Airbus, by significantly limiting the human problem, didn't fare too badly.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
      They Aviation Safety Network and 3BS, but NOT_Gabriel ha[ve] a more positive view, tough.
      Fixed.
      Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

      Comment


      • #4
        Correcting and completing the information above (and editing the original post accordingly): 6 (not 4) fatal accidents with jets in commercial flights. I forgot these 2 (also Boeing, taking the total to 5 Boeings, mostly not Boeing's fault though):

        In September, a 737-800 touched down on the sea short of the runway. One person was initially unaccounted for and his body found by divers days later.

        In Nov a 757 returned to departure airport shortly after take-off due to hydraulic failure, extended the gear via alternate system, extended partial flaps via alternate system too, and veered off the runway on landing. The excursion was hard but in principle there were only 6 minor injuries. However, an old woman who was not among the 6 reported injured suffered a skull fracture during the evacuation (apparently was hit by the pax sliding after her) which remained unnoticed until days later when she was taken to hospital and died due to brain swelling.

        --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
        --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

        Comment


        • #5
          The takeaway is this: we had over 500 fatalities in an industry where we really shouldn't have any (excepting inevitable causes). Design and manufacturing caused none of them (Lion Air exposed a design weakness, but the situation could have been stabilized had the pilots been better trained or avoided completely had maintenance been thorough).

          So we clearly need to strengthen oversight criteria for operator culture and pilot competence.

          One solution: place the burden upon the manufacturers and leasing firms. Make it their responsibility to audit clients for safety compliance before each contract is signed. Restrict them from selling or leasing to clients operating under a non-FAA- or EASA-approved aviation authority. Hold them responsible for providing aircraft to shady operators. This is aligned with the conservative mantra of letting market forces regulate industry for the good of society, which generally doesn't work, but here perhaps it could.

          So, joowannabe a lax CAA in bed with the industry, your industry don' gettano airplanes. Capiche?

          Of course, the Chinese would probably not play along and it would spur a new, shady offshore leasing industry working through sixteen levels of shell companies...

          Nevermind.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Evan View Post
            The takeaway is this: we had over 500 fatalities in an industry where we really shouldn't have any.
            Tell it to the automobile industry.

            Comment


            • #7
              I thought there was an ATR crash in Canada where the passenger later died from injuries. Icing again.

              Comment


              • #8
                Last year was still the third-safest year in aviation history in terms of the number of fatal accidents and the ninth-safest in terms of lives lost.


                https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/fatal-air-crashes-and-deaths-up-in-2018-watchdog-1.4237729

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Schwartz View Post
                  I thought there was an ATR crash in Canada where the passenger later died from injuries. Icing again.
                  Ah, that happened December 2017... sorry.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Schwartz View Post
                    [/FONT][/COLOR]https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/fatal-air-crashes-and-deaths-up-in-2018-watchdog-1.4237729
                    They are commenting on the Aviation Safety Network's release regarding the safety analysis of 2018. I say better go to the source, the link I posted before and here again:

                    https://news.aviation-safety.net/201...nt-statistics/

                    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BoeingBobby View Post
                      Tell it to the automobile industry.
                      If people drive using the same brain they are voting with, the auto industry should have a lot more fatalities. Dumb luck I guess.

                      Comment

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