Alexandria, VA, December 1, 2006 — The Flight Safety Foundation announced today that research and guidelines published by the Foundation based on the consensus of an industry task force played a large role in the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision last week to approve a new route for Delta Air Lines from New York to Mumbai, India. This 16.5-hour flight will be flown nonstop with four pilots on a Boeing 777-200ER. It is the first ultra long range route (ULR) flown by a U.S. carrier.
“The Flight Safety Foundation worked with a group of industry experts over the last five years to develop and publish scientific standards for ULR flights,” commented Robert Vandel, FSF executive vice president. Vandel served as co-chair of the steering committee with Curt Graeber, Ph.D., sr. technical fellow, Human Factors, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Since 2004, Singapore Airlines has successfully flown ULR routes using these guidelines and their first-hand experience has validated the pioneering work done by the Foundation and the task force. It’s very gratifying to see years of hard work lead to positive results.”
The ULR Crew Alertness Steering Committee, the official title of the task force, made the recommendation that the guidelines be built around the concept of a case-by-case approval of ULR city pairs, rather than broad approval of ULR flights. The FAA approval of the new Delta route is an example of how this process was designed to work.
The steering committee started by providing a global forum to define the operational and technological issues that are connected to pilot alertness, and then developed methods and procedures to address these issues. Workshops over the past few years highlighted current scientific research on crew fatigue and led to recommendations that planning incorporate work/rest scheduling, in-flight monitoring of crew rest and performance and the use of ongoing scientific research.
“Delta’s partnership with the Flight Safety Foundation is one that has continued to grow over the decades, and we were pleased to use FSF’s research in our efforts to begin a ULR flight,” said Steve Dickson, Delta’s vice president of flight operations and a Boeing 757/767 captain. “The safety of our passengers and crew are of utmost importance to us. The painstaking preparations we undertook for the New York JFK to Mumbai flight ensure we will be able to deliver the same top-tier safety standards Delta practices every flight, every day.”
Flight Safety Foundation is an independent, non-profit, international organization engaged in research, auditing, education, advocacy and publishing to improve aviation safety. The Foundation’s mission is to pursue the continuous improvement of global aviation safety and the prevention of accidents. www.flightsafety.org
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