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Airbus adopts new back-up system

Uğur CEBECİ

[email protected]

After an Air France Airbus A330 crashed into the ocean last year, the company started the most expensive accident investigation in the history of aviation, spending almost 20 million euros. Special unmanned submarines were sent down to the sea floor to find the black boxes, however the investigation yielded no results. Air France plans to restart the search soon.

The accident occurred close to an area full of electrically charged cumulonimbus rain clouds, which are capable of causing severe turbulence. According to data retrieved through the ACARS system, which transmits airplane data via satellite, it was discovered that the malfunction occurred in the pitot tube system of the craft. This system measures speed and altitude by transfusing air through thin channels. When the system malfunctioned the A330 lost speed due to the cumulonimbus and finally, losing normal status, started to fall. 

In order to prevent similar accidents in the future, Air France installed a new system in its planes. If the pitot tube system malfunctions or the system is choked due to icing or tiny pieces of volcanic ash, the “Back-Up Speed Scale” system steps in, where both altitude and speed are measured by a global positioning system, or GPS, and an accurate speed figure is indicated on the speedometer. Furthermore, the pilot is warned with a red signal against any value lower or above the required speed. Thus, speed positioning is maintained and the flight continues without dolphining, in other words, without up and down movements.

The system, which was initially developed for the A380 model, has been modified to fit Airbus models A320 and A330/340 as well. The system is installed on older planes as they are serviced while it has become a standard feature for all Airbuses produced in the last six months. 

Pilot and crew training

Netherlands-based Stella Aviation Academy is starting pilot training in collaboration with Gözen Holding and SunExpress. Stella Aviation Academy Türkiye, or SAA-T, will start accepting students soon and the successful graduates will be offered recruitment at SunExpress.

The first stage of training will take place in Dalaman and the following stage will be in Maastricht, Netherlands. The candidates can apply at www.stella-aviation-academy.eu, www.sunexpress.com or www.kariyer.net.

Is there a doctor onboard?

According to international rules, every plane must have a first-aid kit onboard, which has to comply with certain standards. The kit is almost 4.5 kilograms and must contain a blood pressure measurement device and various medicines.

However, according to flight rules, cabin crews are not allowed to administer medicine to passengers. Therefore, when a passenger asks for some medication, first a doctor is sought from among the passengers. If there is a doctor onboard, the medicine is administered under his or her guidance. The reason is to protect the passenger against possible side effects. If there is no doctor on the plane, the cabin crew makes an evaluation according to the passenger’s condition. Therefore, airliners request that passengers bring their own pills with them.

While the first aid kits are prepared under doctor supervision, they are checked both before and after flights by ground crews. Cabin crews and pilots are trained in first aid, which is periodically repeated.

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