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Wed, May 26, 2010

GWBAA Concludes Safety Standdown With Focus On Accident Prevention

Various Safety Topics Addressed By Aviation Professionals

The Greater Washington Business Aviation Association (GWBAA) held its fourth annual Safety Standdown at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Training Center in Ashburn, VA on May 20. Speakers addressed the attendees on a variety of key safety topics for aviation professionals.

The NTSB's Dr. Paul Schuda briefed the safety standdown attendees on the TWA Flight 800 accident, the Boeing 747 that exploded shortly after takeoff from JFK Airport on July 17, 1996.  Schuda then led a tour of the reconstructed portion of the fuselage of TWA Flight 800 at the Training Center, the only accident aircraft that the NTSB has ever reconstructed.

AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg talked about the growing number and complexity of the FARs in the Aeronautical Information Manual and the need to avoid distractions when flying, citing the recent Colgan Air accident.

Rick Rowe, chief pilot for the Bombardier Aerospace flight demo team, noted in his presentation on "Challenging the Status Quo" that in the last 10 years "80 percent of all accidents have been caused by human error."  Although CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) used to be the primary cause of accidents, it is now Loss of Control in Flight (LCIF), said Rowe. "Basic flying skills continue to erode." Rowe also made reference to the Colgan Air accident, in which fatigue and lack of pilot training have been cited as contributing factors to the crash.

Dr. Paulo Alves, a cardiologist and vice president of aviation and maritime health with MedAire, spoke about travel health and fatigue management.  "Violence is the number one cause of death abroad and cardiac-related emergencies is the number two cause," said Alves. Risk mitigation--researching the country where are you headed for possible infectious diseases-is key to a safe trip, said Alves.

Veteran aviation humorist, pilot and psychologist Rod Machado entertained attendees with anecdotes and lessons about the various kinds of errors pilots can make and how to avoid them.

"We are grateful to the attendees, speakers and sponsors of this year's standdown," said GWBAA President Paige Kroner.  "This was another successful event with a lot of great safety tips from our speakers."



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