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ERA co-sponsors annual Safety Forum

ERA, along with the Flight Safety Foundation and Eurocontrol have co-hosted another annual Safety Forum, with the theme for this year’s event ‘Safety & Procedures’. The Safety Forum proves to be an excellent opportunity for hundreds of like-minded aviation safety professionals to connect with one another across the industry.

The forum, held over two days, was structured around three themes; ‘Drawing Board to Published Regulation’, ‘Procedural Shortcomings’ and ‘Technology & Science’. The main purpose was to discuss in detail how and why procedures are created, what happens if procedures are contradictory and/or unsafe and what scientific methods are applied in creating them. As with previous Safety Forums, three breakout sessions took place with the aim of brainstorming ideas that can further improve the procedure creation and application process.

Following Welcome Addresses from Joe Sultana (Eurocontrol Director Network Management), Hassan Shahidi (President & CEO Flight Safety Foundation) and Chris Mason (ERA Manager Policy & Technical on behalf of Andrew Kelly), session one commenced. This first session comprised of presentations from airlines, regulators and pilot associations and examined how aviation is a system of systems that is both dynamic and complex and therefore robust procedures must be in place to ensure safety.

Session two titled ‘Procedural Shortcomings’ discussed how with the ever-increasing use of electronic data on the flight deck, including EFBs, industry is fundamentally changing the way pilots perform their tasks and procedures must therefore be developed to reflect this. Additionally, there is concern over ‘change fatigue’ whereby when there are so many changes to procedures there is a risk of them being ignored by pilots.

The third and final session focussed on ‘Technology & Science’ and discussed how numerous examples exist where pilots were either distracted, under time pressure, new to their aircraft, unfamiliar with the airport layout or given a late change of runway, resulting in procedural errors that ended with an incident or accident.

Each year the forum recognises individuals who have contributed to aviation safety, with two awards presented during this year’s event. The prestigious Guest of Honour award for personal contribution to aviation safety was presented to Captain Harry Nelson, Operational Advisor to Product Safety at Airbus, for breaking barriers, connecting people and walking the talk in saving lives in aviation. The SKYbrary Aviation Safety Award for outstanding personal contribution and commitment to aviation safety was presented to Karen Bolton, Manager Future Safety at NATS.

The findings and recommendations, plus the presentations and videos from the forum will be available on the SKYbrary website for the whole aviation community.

The dates for next year’s meeting are set for 3–4 June 2020, with the theme being ‘Sharing the Skies’ which will focus on the increasingly congested airspace. This will include how drones and other applications are now also sharing the same skies as commercial aircraft.