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Aviation Insurance
Monday, March 1, 1999

Flight Safety Foundation at a seminar in Cape Town has revealed that a major cause of accidents is pilots breaking the rules. “Descending below decision height or minimum descent altitude, lack of position awareness - low and slow flight - poor professional judgment were among the most frequent points of criticism as well as “non-fitment of presently available safety equipment failure in crew resource management, coupled with Press-on -itis and inadvertent deviation from standard operating procedures.
Meanwhile, the UK CAA has reported 140 level bursts (changing flight levels without Air Traffic Control Authority) in the first quarter of 1998 - more than for the whole of 1995 and comparing to 250 for 1997. The major cause is given as pilots’ failure to comply with ATC vertical clearances even when read back by the pilot correctly. According to a report from the Safety Regulation Group, the most likely aircraft to be involved are Boeing 747, I3Ae 146 and Airbus 320.
One’s confidence in matters aviation begins to wear thin, but then we read that drunk, abusive and unruly passenger incidents are surging forward too, with 260 reported in 1997 - four times the 1994 figure. Personally, I avoid any flight with Rugby teams or magazine editors on board.
Weekly accident
In addition, in a startling admission of its own inability to influence flight safety, the FAA has announced a prediction that the accident growth rate will reach the fearsome level of one a week by 2015. This is based on the 1996 level of one accident per million departures. This follows the extraordinary disclosures by ex-Safety Inspector Mary Schiavo that initially the FAA did not want to release this information as it might harm airline profits.
Measures are being contemplated that will address this dreadful scenario but in the face of the sort of inane remarks by leaders such as Frank Daly of Allied Signal who believes that its broad range of safety-related avionics gives it ‘.an obligation to look at ways of enhancing safety, one wonders if there is any real thought for anything but the profit motive.
What else other than enhancement does the helpless and hapless travel- ling public have to look for in a company whose product range is almost entirely devoted to safety related instrumentation? By Henry Tours

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:12.2 1st March, 1999
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