The Airbus Safety Magazine

The Airbus safety magazine
January 2015 July 2014

#19 #18

SafetySafety
first first

002 Safety First #19 | January 2015

Safety first, #19 January, 2015. Safety first
Safety first
The Airbus magazine contributing to the enhancement
is published by Airbus S.A.S. - 1, rond point
Maurice Bellonte - 31707 Blagnac Cedex/France. of the safety of aircraft operations by increasing knowledge
Publisher: Yannick Malinge, Chief Product Safety and communication on safety related topics.
Officer, Editor: Corinne Bieder, Director Product
Safety Strategy & Communication.
Concept Design by Airbus Multi Media Support
20142795. Reference: GS 420.0045 Issue 19.
Photos by Airbus, DGA/V. Ricco, H. Goussé, Safety first is published by the Product Safety depart-
Lindner Fotografie, A. Doumenjou, B. Lange,
P. Pigeyre.
ment. It is a source of specialist safety information for the
Computer rendering by Fixion. restricted use of flight and ground crew members who fly
Printed in France by Art & Caractère. and maintain Airbus aircraft. It is also distributed to other
This brochure is printed on Triple Star Satin. selected organisations.
This paper is produced in factories that are
accredited EMAS and certified ISO 9001-14001,
PEFC and FSC CoC. It is produced using pulp Material for publication is obtained from multiple sources
that has been whitened without either chlorine and includes selected information from the Airbus Flight
or acid. The paper is entirely recyclable and is
produced from trees grown in sustainable forest Safety Confidential Reporting System, incident and acci-
resources. dent investigation reports, system tests and flight tests.
The printing inks use organic pigments or
minerals. There is no use of basic dyes or Material is also obtained from sources within the airline
dangerous metals from the cadmium, lead, industry, studies and reports from government agencies
mercury or hexavalent chromium group.
and other aviation sources.
The printer, Art & Caractère (France 81500), is
engaged in a waste management and recycling
programme for all resulting by-products. All articles in Safety first are presented for information only
and are not intended to replace ICAO guidelines, stand-
ards or recommended practices, operator-mandated
requirements or technical orders. The contents do not
supersede any requirements mandated by the State of
Registry of the Operator’s aircraft or supersede or amend
any Airbus type-specific AFM, AMM, FCOM, MMEL docu-
© Airbus S.A.S. 2015 – All rights reserved.
Proprietary documents.
mentation or any other approved documentation.
By taking delivery of this Brochure
(hereafter “Brochure”), you accept on behalf Articles may be reprinted without permission, except
of your company to comply with the following where copyright source is indicated, but with acknowl-
guidelines:
edgement to Airbus. Where Airbus is not the author, the
No other intellectual property rights are granted
by the delivery of this Brochure than the right to contents of the article do not necessarily reflect the views
read it, for the sole purpose of information. of Airbus, neither do they indicate Company policy.
This Brochure and its content shall
not be modified and its illustrations Contributions, comment and feedback are welcome. For
and photos shall not be reproduced without
prior written consent of Airbus. technical reasons the editors may be required to make
This Brochure and the materials it contains editorial changes to manuscripts, however every effort will
shall not, in whole or in part, be sold, rented, or be made to preserve the intended meaning of the original.
licensed to any third party subject to payment.
Enquiries related to this publication should be addressed to:
This Brochure contains sensitive information
that is correct at the time of going to press.
This information involves a number of factors that
could change over time, effecting the true public
representation. Airbus assumes no obligation
to update any information contained in this
document or with respect to the information Airbus
described herein.
Product Safety department (GS)
Airbus S.A.S. shall assume no liability for any
damage in connection with the use of this 1, rond point Maurice Bellonte
Brochure and of the materials it contains, even if 31707 Blagnac Cedex - France
Airbus S.A.S. has been advised of the likelihood
of such damages. safetycommunication@airbus.com
Fax: +33(0)5 61 93 44 29

editorial
YANNICK MALINGE There are things we do so repeatedly that we sometimes
SVP, Head of Product lose sight of why we do them and why in such a specific
way. We also often lose sight of the meaning of the limits
Safety
we comply with and why they are there. Most situations
don’t really require that we even get close to them. How-
ever, when the situation is slightly different from usual, or
when the pressure increases, we don’t necessarily have
the time to stand back and think about the essentials.

Something similar happens in situations that we encoun-
ter infrequently in our daily lives. We tend to forget how to
handle them because we are not able to recall the under-
lying rationale.

This issue of Safety first magazine will take you behind
the scene of safety, back to fundamentals. It will revisit
the why behind the how to handle some situations safely.
Take the time to read these articles. They will give you
some key pointers and advice to help you to be prepared.
I hope you will find your reading interesting.

At this time of challenge to safety, our thoughts are with
the QZ8501 victims and their families. Despite this sad
context, I wish you and your relatives all the very best for
this New Year.

02 Safety First #19 | January 2015

NEWS
A makeover for Safety first!
Your magazine now features a new layout to improve the reading experience
and to ease the identification of subjects of interest:

Sections: each article is now allocated to one specific, colour coded section:
• Procedures • Operations
• Aircraft • General
• Training

Domains: pictograms at the beginning of each article characterize the
domain(s) addressed:

Flight operations Engineering

Maintenance Ground operations

The entire Safety communication team hopes that you will enjoy these
changes, and wishes you a happy reading!

SAVE THE DATE NEWS
21st FLIGHT SAFETY CONFERENCE – 2015
Another year has nearly passed since Mrs. Nuria Soler, email nuria.soler@
our last Flight Safety Conference in airbus.com
Dubai. All the Airbus people who were
present enjoyed very much the oppor- This year the conference will “major”
tunity to network with our customers on the importance of applying judg-
and to share ideas and news. This was ments to available data, as we drive
also confirmed by all the feedback we forward across the industry with
received from airlines delegates who further safety advances and further
valued this great opportunity for shar- information sharing programs. The
ing safety information. whole subject will be being brought
to life with real operational examples
We are pleased to announce that the of when data and judgment has or
21st Flight Safety Conference will take has not been handled optimally and
place in Paris, France, from the 23rd what best practice looks like in this
to the 26th of March 2015. The Flight regard. So, there will be lots to share
Safety Conference provides an excel- and lots of opportunities to learn from
lent forum for the exchange of infor- each other.
mation between Airbus and its cus-
tomers. To ensure that we can have As always, we welcome presentations
an open dialogue to promote flight from our operators. You can partic-
safety across the fleet, we are unable ipate as a speaker and share your
to accept outside parties. ideas and experience for improving
aviation safety. If you have something
The formal invitations with informa- you believe will benefit other operators
tion regarding registration and logis- and/or Airbus and if you are interested
tics, as well as the preliminary agenda in being a speaker, please provide
have been sent to our customers in us with a brief abstract and a bio or
January 2015. For any information resume at nuria.soler@airbus.com
regarding invitations, please contact

Flight safety conference
Paris, 23-26 March 2015

04 Safety First #19 | January 2015 .

Understanding weight & balance Engineering P38 .Tidy cockpit for safe flight Flight operations P12 .Landing on contaminated runways Maintenance P26 . Safety First #18 | July 2014 05 Safety first #19 OPERATIONS P06 .Wind shear: an invisible enemy to pilots? Ground operations .

as being a real threat to the safe operation of a commercial flight. leaving them unsecured or forgotten in a cockpit could rapidly turn them into real trouble makers… XAVIER BARRIOLA DAVID MARCONNET Director Flight Safety – Flight Operations Safety Accident investigator Enhancement Manager .06 Safety First #19 | January 2015 OPERATIONS Tidy cockpit for safe flight THE “CLEAN COCKPIT” PHILOSOPHY Tidy cockpit for safe flight One would not normally think of everyday life objects. apparently as inoffensive as a pen or a cup of coffee. Yet.

and eventually recover by era forward too. the camera. But in view of the possible consequences. It just happens. For the most part. the aircraft at a safe attitude. the crew of a cruising A330 and their passengers unintentionally lived a new flying experience at negative g by night… The culprit? A digital camera left between the Captain’s side stick and the seat arm rest that led to inadvertent nose down inputs as the PF seat was adjusted forward. but a few passen- reaching a maximum 15 000 feet a gers and crew members were injured minute descent rate. However. remove his seat forward. The aircraft dutifully answered this side 4 000 feet were lost in altitude during stick motion and abruptly pitched its the dive. and eventually. Safety First #19 | January 2015 07 At the beginning of 2014. over the past decade. truly the cockpit must remain clean and tidy at all time during flight. . therefore these 20 sec- Captain’s side stick and the seat arm onds were necessary indeed for him to rest. serious incidents involving unsecured or forgotten items have continued to happen. being complacent is not intentional. in a night been left unsecured between the environment. ued uneventfully. The resulting consequences Investigations into the cited 2014 entered this steep descent. When the aircraft in the process. such that when the pilot moved analyse the situation properly. after which the flight contin- nose down for around 20 seconds. LOOSE ITEMS IN THE COCKPIT: UNINVITED GUESTS! Common sense generally instructs anyone in a cockpit to maintain an orderly environment. the pulling the stick back and stabilising side stick. it pushed the cam. the Cap- event showed that the camera had tain was alone in the cockpit.

an iPad the Pilot had operational incidents over recent left on the throttles control mod- years where a loose item left unse. ule became jammed between the cured or forgotten in the cockpit is throttles and the fuel levers. docu- mentation that had been left on the • Books placed on the glare shield or center pedestal moved and inter. The following incident sum. • On another aircraft in cruise. • During an aircraft landing. when thrust and move during flight. The crew ios related to unsecured or forgotten managed to recover the situation items: safely and no one was injured. This resulted in a sudden rudder such as a fuel lever being pushed off. ate some switches or pushbuttons. Each one of the above incidents must serve as important reminders of the critical need to ensure that items are properly stowed and secured before AND during flight. from which the pilot managed to recover. movement and unexpected aircraft or even de-select a radio frequency. This obviously led to a tronic equipment may not neces- rather abrupt stop and the aircraft sarily have an immediate effect on tires to burst. illustrate some levers were activated. down the two engines. pedestal: these fall off and may oper- fered with the rudder trim knob. Again thankfully no one • Forgotten pens. an early and expensive overhaul of the equipment. Beverage spill onto elec- set it ON. the Pilot removed his iPad. Thankfully no one was the flight. it can lead to injured in this event. . yaw. both fuel maries for example. cutlery (during was injured.OPERATIONS Tidy cockpit for safe flight This event is just one in too many reduced. At TOC. the roll. When involved. Other common situations are regu- out jerks caused the pilot’s cap to larly heard of: fall off right onto the Park Brake handle because it was hung too • Coffee cups placed on the glare loosely. A jump seat rider present shield or pedestal: unexpected in the cockpit at that time. meals) or clipboards: as small as they can be. but at best. was turbulence or unintentional bump- quick to react and while attempting ing by the crew causes fluid to be to secure the hat. in the controls – typically the rudder tles was approaching the Top Of pedals – when they fall on the floor Climb (TOC). thus shutting common – and preventable – scenar. he inadvertently spilled onto the cockpit control turned the Park Brake handle and panels. they can get jammed • An aircraft with moving throt.

• Pen prevention is essential and discipline in • Clipboards the cockpit is paramount. Where Prevention phones or laptops. Airbus has developed modifi. Safety First #19 | January 2015 09 The culprits Establishing an exhaustive list of all This list could be longer. For this reason. The aircraft cockpit ergonomics are non-aviation-related Portable Elec. even a perfectly well-de- • Digital camera signed cockpit can never be fully pro- • Spectacles and sunglasses tected against the malicious behaviour • Scattered papers of unsecured objects. The flap and discipline Following are the most common lever mechanism for instance is pro. clipboards. • Laptop • Cell phone However. and personal items relevant. but it gives an potential candidates that may inter. in the cockpit is objects that can be found unsecured tected by a brush covering the lever paramount or forgotten in a cockpit: slot. include aviation-related items such as portable GPS units. designed to be as robust as possible tronic Devices such as personal cell against these kind of threats. • Meal tray • Coffee or any beverage cup • Pocket calculator • Lighter . is essential such as clothing or carry-on items. thus efficiently preventing foreign • iPad objects ingress. cations to prevent the ingestion of for- eign objects into the controls. idea of the kind of common equipment fere with the controls would be too likely to create hazards when left loose long and ineffective. These items can in a cockpit.

had the aircraft been at a lower altitude. • Inspect the cockpit for forgotten First.OPERATIONS Tidy cockpit for safe flight PREVENTION: A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING. to incorporate the following simple To help efficiently curb the number of checks in their preflight actions in operational incidents involving a loose order to ensure their working environ- item in the cockpit. The flight attendants same discipline against unsecured should collect the meal trays as items. or misplaced items before take-off pit must be put and stowed in their and ensure all are properly secured dedicated compartment: and isolated from other equipment in the cockpit. cell phone. And maintain this attitude and level of • Personal equipment properly se. if any. This was a strong reminder to the flight crew that they should never under-estimate the potential for harm of everyday life objects. items that are brought in a cock. alertness prior to AND during flight. stowage • Make sure all your personal items • Books and paper. on the hook the flight. we encourage flight crews lies in one word: discipline. pilots need to be ment is well secured for a flight: vigilant and ordered. putting a particular emphasis on the The Pilot Pocket in particular. • Flight bags should be kept closed after obtaining whatever was nec- essary. cured in the various stowage areas. This also helps • Cups in the cup holders assure their availability throughout • Headsets not in use. iPads or eral stowage luggage are secured. such as hats and jackets. AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE… The 2014 event could have resulted in far worse consequences. is the preparation for the approach phase answer to where to stow valuable during the approach briefing prior to items such as a portable GPS or descent. remind jump seat rid- console ers not to create distractions and • Meal trays on the floor behind the to adopt the same measures and flight crew. soon as possible. DID YOU KNOW Airbus Clean cockpit philosophy is available in FCTM NO-010 GENERAL-Clean cockpit. the solution against such events Then. when left unsecured! In fact. . • Trash in the waste bin in the lateral • If necessary. in the lat.

When entering the cockpit. Safety First #19 | January 2015 11 Loose items in a cockpit environment are not welcome: they can too easily drive a crew into a hazardous. operational situation. To efficiently curb the number of incidents related to unsecured or forgotten items. and yet easily preventable. and everything in its place… . pilots need to be vigilant and adopt a clean and tidy cockpit philosophy from preflight through to landing and arrival at the gate. ask yourself these questions: is all of the luggage secure? How about my own flight bag and my iPad? And just remember: a place for everything.

knowing what exact contamination is or remains on the runway at a given point in time is often challenging. ROBERT LIGNEE LARS KORNSTAEDT Experimental Flight Performance expert – Test Engineer Flight Operations Support . A simple statement for a more complex reality. Indeed.12 Safety First #19 | January 2015 OPERATIONS Landing on contaminated runways THE QUESTION OF PERFORMANCE Landing on contaminated runways Landing performance is a function of the exact landing runway conditions at the time of landing.

assuming a homogeneous • water. depth at or more and safe performance levels defined than 3 mm . Dry or wet snow.1/8 inch (*) by EASA. historical data has been gathered • dry or wet snow. are by aeronautical language convention classed as “non-contaminated”. In any case.1/8 inch or frost are considered equivalent to a wet runway (non-contaminated). runway surface conditions depend on a variety of factors including state changes due to surface temperature effects. . is a contaminated runway. water and slush of a depth less than 3 mm . • ice (solid contaminant. They are the ones for which sufficient nant. It is considered to have the same performance as snow (MEDIUM). depth at or more than condition of the contaminant along 3 mm . its depth is irrelevant). without abnormal contamination by rubber or other pollution. A wet runway excessively contaminated by rubber. Indeed. (*) DRY and WET normal runway conditions. • compacted snow (solid contami. reported by NOTAM as “Slippery when Wet” as defined by ICAO. especially: What does the term “contaminated runway” actually mean? How are contaminated runway conditions reported to pilots? How to translate the reported runway condition terminology into a safe assessment of the aircraft landing performance? How to prepare for a safe landing and then perform it? CONTAMINATED RUNWAY: WHAT DOES IT MEAN IN REALITY? If weather can to some extent be anticipated. Safety First #19 | January 2015 13 Landing on a contaminated runway may be an almost daily experience for some pilots or a more exceptional one for others. doing it safely requires some background understanding and thinking on a variety of questions. or run-off and removal.1/8 inch (*) runway length. A variety of contaminants The most common and natural con. its depth is taminants are limited in number: irrelevant). chemical treatment. slush. the runway surface conditions with natural contamination may be more difficult to forecast.

hydraulic fluid spillage. the contam.g.OPERATIONS Landing on contaminated runways In some situations though. in general. even Assessment adoption of the most conservative Matrix that permits • a common natural one. compacted snow is a specially pre. for which aircraft type and depth. but out. at or below -15°C. ice. or dry/wet snow over ice. water on top of ice (or defined have been ash. compacted snow Eventually. taminants for which aircraft perfor- expected landing quently raises above -15°C. wet ice). contaminant. there is a risk that some the expected Landing Performance. on aircraft performance and oper- ations cannot be supported. synthetized into the tions cannot. be sup. have shown unacceptable impact Runway Condition ported with specific performance information. .e. ice condition might be unsafe. Indeed. i. mance level can be defined have performance. for snow over side of the temperature condi. Condition Assessment Matrix that ature is very low. A downgrade of way may not make it possible to identify performance should then be con- most common the corresponding performance level sidered as risk mitigation to support contaminants just by considering the contaminant safe operations.g. the most common con- if the outside air temperature subse. of the contaminant be no longer true The inant reported to be present on the run. been synthetized into the Runway pared winter runway when temper. volcanic pacted snow. Opera. permits deterministic classification of Above that. deterministic tions where its characteristics are classification of the well known: e. compacted snow. It is the case particu- larly when the contaminant is: • a piling up of layers of differ- performance ent contaminants: the few cases level can be • too variable as to its impact on documented water on top of com- aircraft performance: e.

. the -3°C performance is defined as GOOD temperature criterion is a necessary when the runway is normally wet simplification). ing in significant proportion is already lation (the 3 mm water depth crite. Yet in reality. Landing face is melting (here again. condition. It might drop to MEDIUM TO critical or when the ice will start melt- POOR with standing water accumu. but the sensitivity of landing perfor. Safety First #19 | January 2015 15 A dynamic weather Weather conditions evolve quickly the temperature leads to a change and elude a forecast accurate of state of the contaminant: landing enough to be compatible with performance is poor on dry ice. ficult to determine the actual runway formance may be sensitive to temper. can become non-existent if ice sur- mance. factors do interfere with this weather Likewise. not to mention an anticipa- ature. the estimated runway dimension and make it even more dif- condition and resulting landing per. (runways quickly drain water during Determining precisely when the pre- showers with normal precipitation cipitation accumulation will become rates). a number of other represent this phenomenon). It is the case especially when tion of it. As an example. a challenge when nothing interferes rion is a necessary simplification to with it.

long and 45 m wide give a represent. the depth of a contaminant if not its A more obvious case of impact of air- nature. contamination throughout the runway craft landing on a runway may change surface. Whatever the actual state of the runway ative indication of the surface area and its variability. The contamination will remain In many cases. On such a surface. nation is any runway management down point or along its deceleration action such as cleaning or de-icing. mance models can only consider a “patchy snow and ice” may be reported single contaminant evenly distributed in some airports as representing less on the runway. having an accurate representation An aircraft taking off might also induce of the runway condition. thereby increas- the runway condition at least in ing as well the heterogeneity of the some places of the runway. the fied to make a landing performance exact contamination may vary from computation. de-icing fluids are unchanged though on the un-trafficked applied only to a limited width along last part of the runway or further away the runway axis. path. it can for example port operations on runway contami- induce a change of state at the touch. 3 km than 25% of runway coverage. Indeed. . operations changes in the runway contamination taking place on the runway modify along its take-off roll. it needs to be simpli- of a runway. As an illustration.OPERATIONS Landing on contaminated runways A large runway surface area Although runways vary in size. landing perfor- one place to another. Indeed. Airport operations Beyond these intrinsic difficulties of laterally from the landing gear. An air.

Per- nants in SNOWTAMs is done through forming these measures in a way that a combination of codes and free text/ provides a representative view of the real plain-language remarks. More clear distinction between performance generally. representa. performance level. the information provided to country to another and from one air- pilots on runway condition is not directly port to another. making Committee (TALPA ARC. Although this sounds obvious. (RCAM) introduced earlier. all agreed by the Takeoff and Landing Per- airports around the world should provide formance Assessment Aviation Rule- this information to pilots prior to landing. The RCAM ditions but rather how the performance includes. Let’s review the three What a level of performance. In other words. . The information provided to pilots of runway condition may vary from one Yet today. inant depth or to estimate the surface tional awareness. cially that of contaminant depth. into its practical on runway surface condition into a sin- gle classification of the runway condi. way contamination (this reporting is even more essential for take-off). thus contaminants that are equivalent to what they will need to do to still per. aircraft. WET. WET and thin of the aircraft might be affected. Providing the contaminant type & depth to pilots relies on measurements. each of which is associated with a what pilots really need is a translation landing performance level. 4 discrete levels of contamina- form a safe landing. effects onto the tion landing performance level. There is no depth is a challenge to airports. The ICAO SNOWTAM friction coefficient (see next section). see It is the primary information about run. Safety First #19 | January 2015 17 HOW ARE RUNWAY CONDITIONS REPORTED TO PILOTS? For pilots. of the runway condition into its practical effects on the aircraft. Contaminant type & depth In accordance with ICAO standards. thus are different from sons (see insert The challenge of provid- the RCAM landing performance codes ing measures on runway contamination). the main reason why runway contamination needs to be considered is because of its impact on the performance of the landing. whether it is to determine contam- surface conditions provided for situa. tion. espe- Currently. it means This translation is done by means of the that what pilots need to know is not the Runway Condition Assessment Matrix very physical details of the runway con. beyond DRY. runway condition complex information provided to them tive. article Safety First 10). One of the main categories of possible information pilots pilots need is a challenges for pilots is to translate from their vantage point in the cockpit of an may get on runway condition before discussing how they can be integrated translation of the approaching aircraft the sometimes to come up with a single. can codes correspond to a set of generic become challenging for a variety of rea- contaminants. measuring runway contamina- relevant contaminants and other runway tion. the description of contami.

it is the sole responsibility forces. it may There is devices and aircraft performance. ogy: GOOD / GOOD TO MEDIUM tors: whether the pilot is familiar with / MEDIUM / MEDIUM TO POOR / contaminated runways and this par. GOOD / GOOD TO MEDIUM / MEDIUM there is no established meaningful / MEDIUM TO POOR / POOR by third correlation on most contaminants of runway length. POOR. although its use largely varies region. i. and resulting runway surface . weather. PiReps should always be may get on runway conditions. mats. and can also be reported by ticular type of conditions or with the third of runway length. 26μ. Either under the terminology: ing measured friction to pilots. Indeed. PiRep of BA are encouraged in some countries. or through a figure between estimated surface friction e. by ground Pilot Reports of Braking Action (PiRep of BA) measurement devices and aircraft The last secondary information pilots conditions. However. reporting ESF is strongly measurement although it still remains no established discouraged by ICAO on contaminants of limited practical use in characteriz- meaningful for which it is now known that it may ing winter runway conditions for aircraft correlation on be dangerously biased (fluid winter operations. no related landing contaminants as snow or slush. When the surface friction established by ground measurement is expressed through a figure. performance level can reasonably be most contaminants dry or wet snow or slush).g. give the illusion that it is an accurate Therefore. the usefulness of of the pilot performing the In-Flight such subjective reports should not landing performance assessment to be underestimated. is through the air traffic controller report including the airline and the air- in the form of a Pilot Report or PiRep craft type. as they often (but determine whether the transmitted not always) provide the most recent information can be considered relia- information available under dynamic ble or not. Yet. It is also easy for a pilot In countries where PiReps of Brak- to mistake aerodynamic and reverse ing Action are transmitted to follow- thrust deceleration forces for braking ing traffic. communicated to the approaching performance.e.OPERATIONS Landing on contaminated runways Estimated surface friction (ESF) ICAO and national authorities have ESF can be reported in different for- progressively shied away from report. (see insert derived from the sole figure. it is a surface friction secondary information pilots may get in established some areas of the world. In fact. between estimated The challenge of providing measures on runway contamination). These PiReps of Braking Actions are reports are individual perceptions that also reported using the terminol- may be influenced by a number of fac. pilots with a time and emitter of the ally. type of aircraft or the use of decelera- tion devices. of Braking Action.

Safety First #19 | January 2015 19 .

performance associated to contam- inant type and depth in the RCAM. coming from different sources: • Runway contaminant type and used to determine the Related Landing depth: mandatory as primary infor. nated type and depth in the RCAM. As a general rule. it should be . When PiRep of BA is lower than the grate these various types of information. its use to determine the Related Landing Performance Level is When ESF is lower than the perfor. pilots need to integrate all the pieces of information they receive in relation to runway contamination to come up with a single level of landing performance. They can receive up to three different information types.OPERATIONS Landing on contaminated runways Integrating the various types of information on runway surface condition Eventually. not supported (no upgrade) by EASA. Performance Level for in-flight land- mation. ing performance assessment (down- • Estimated Surface Friction (ESF): grade). the Related Landing it should be used to determine the Performance level derived from the Related Landing Performance Level for primary information (contaminant type in-flight landing performance assess- & depth) prevails if considering other ment (downgrade). its • Pilot Report of Braking Action use to determine the Related Landing (PiRep of BA): not systematic as Performance Level is not supported secondary information. Some rules do exist for pilots to inte. and depth in the RCAM. in the RCAM. When ESF is higher than the not systematic as secondary infor. performance associated to contami- mation. When PiRep of BA sources of information would lead to is higher than the performance associ- being less conservative than EASA ated to contaminated type and depth regulation. mance associated to contaminant type but under pilot responsibility in USA. (no upgrade).

It can in no way be used as are needed. Interfering with operations on except for the few airports in the world an active runway equipped with above mentioned automatic measurement devices for Performing measures on a runway real-time water depth. actual conditions may quickly sensors built into the runway surface. The correlation of Even if the number of measurements data produced with them with aircraft performed to assess the runway performance is challenged by factors condition must remain limited despite such as test wheel size and inflation the runway surface area. Safety First #19 | January 2015 21 THE CHALLENGE OF PROVIDING MEASURES ON RUNWAY CONTAMINATION Providing quantitative information on runway contamination combines two major challenges. wide palette of measurement principles and ways of implementing these. Heavy rainfalls are among these conditions. For any airport. it relates to the validity of the measurement with time. load on the test wheel. it takes some pressure. a measure is done by means of tripods put is representative of whatever it on the ground. when weather “piles up”. or FOD measures at the time of the measure. cameras or in very few airports so far. . this could and vehicles that are based on an equally induce a risk for active runways. The sustainability of the values The limitation of measurement measured tools Measures are performed on a discrete Contaminant depth basis not only space wise but also Measuring the contaminant depth time wise. weather conditions make it difficult to perform an accurate measure. Airport runway and personnel available. the time for friction assessment should thus at best a runway condition assessment and be considered as a way to monitor runway cleaning may be very similar. The measurements then primary information to directly derive allow for validating the success of the landing performance from. On an airport but not least testing speed. trends rather than determine absolute Yet. cleaning operations. As for the second one. The time needed to perform the They are all subject to limitations that measures affect the accuracy and reproducibility of measurements. requires sending a measurement vehicle on the runway (except for few Runway friction airports equipped with contaminant Airport runway friction assessment can depth automatic measurement be performed using a variety of devices devices). which are all that has infrequent winter weather at least an order of magnitude different events and thus has limited equipment from those of the aircraft. drift from a measurement performed Whatever the tool. both values. The first one is to perform accurate and representative measures. and last time to perform them. Yet. very dynamic at a given point in time. or lasers. In other words.

they allowed EASA. to rely on more realistic assumptions accept a new still safe but more real- thus allow for deriving more realis. istic (better) performance level for tic. including lateral control. be exactly the ones anticipated. These new computation options have ment is based on the comprehensive started to appear at the end of 2014 work of the TALPA-ARC group. The improvements brought by the mance models can lead to longer RCAM are so widely recognized that distances. though often more conservative. for which The model used for all Airbus aircraft the RCAM prohibits operations. for In-Flight Landing Distance assess. Dispatch considerations will tances. achievable in line operations most probably no longer apply to the when no unexpected variations occur actual conditions at the time of land. in combination ing performance models used today with a minimum margin of 15%. max X-wind… However. the in-flight land. In addition.1591 (see SAFETY FIRST n° 10 on the probable contamination before August 2010 P8-11). This on the Airbus fleet and will continue work relies itself on the contaminants progressively.OPERATIONS Landing on contaminated runways PERFORMING A SAFE LANDING ON A CONTAMINATED RUNWAY Performing a safe landing on a contaminated runway involves a number of dimensions. characteristics described in EASA ing performance is calculated based CS25. land. This level is consistent with landing distances. the most recent in-flight landing perfor. for simplification purposes. this section will put the emphasis on aircraft performance. preparing to land on a contaminated runway also relies on a number of activities in-flight. . POOR. ICE (COLD & DRY) rather than with WET ICE (as previously). should the conditions assumed pilot technique. with the FAA in recommending a min- ate the landing performance prior to imum margin of 15% on these dis- landing. Reevaluating landing performance calculation in-flight Even if under EASA regulation. from reported outside conditions and ing. Airbus concurs dispatch. Indeed. Beyond the dispatch calculation of the landing performance. it is necessary to re-evalu.

Safety First #19 | January 2015 23 .

For example. asking your- self: “is it going to exceed the critical aggravating factors all the realistic degradation or aggra.OPERATIONS Landing on contaminated runways Assessing realistic worst conditions Anticipate in which landing is still safe all the realistic degradation or While performing the in-flight check on landing performance. depth of 3 mm (1/8 inch)? If it does. anticipating mm (1/8 inch) of snow. evolve by the time you actually land. Like- the thresholds ing can still be performed is a way to wise if it is raining. hence remove a potential element of sur- still perform a safe landing” is the kind of question that contributes to a good performed prise should one or more parameters preparation to a safe landing. get prepared to a safe landing. “what is the max- below which a safe cope with the uncertainty of the infor. and determining vating factors and determining the am I still safe?” is a way to proactively thresholds below which a safe land. if it is snowing and the latest airport report states less than 3 . imum cross-wind under which I can landing can still be mation available in approach.

and reverse extension by sluggish wheel spin-up and/or delayed flight to ground transition of the gear squat switches) • Decelerate as much as you can as soon as you can: aerodynamic drag and reverse thrust are most effective at high speed. The following tips are worth keeping in mind: • Consider diversion to an uncontaminated runway when a failure affecting landing performance is present • Land in CONF FULL without speed additives except if required by the condi- tions and accounted for by appropriate in-flight landing performance assess- ment. brake physical onset. Safety First #19 | January 2015 25 Understanding the margins As mentioned earlier and illustrated • Pilot timely activation of decelera- in SAFETY FIRST n°10 fig. touch-down location and touch- down ground speed BEST PRACTICE MANAGEMENT OF FINAL APPROACH. touch-down and deceleration appear as key fac- tors that deserve special attention upon landing on a contaminated runway. there is no variety of aspects: margin left for any other deviation as a slightly long flare or slight pilot lag in • Pilot achievement of the assumed applying deceleration means. Auto-Brake. reversers) culations of In-Flight Landing perfor. then moderate braking only at low taxi speed after a safe stop on the runway is assured • Do not delay lowering the nose wheel onto the runway (it increases weight on braked wheels and may activate aircraft systems. such as auto-brake) • Throttles should be changed smoothly from Reverse max to Reverse idle at the usual procedure speed: be ready to maintain Reverse max longer than normal in case of perceived overrun risk • Do not try to expedite runway vacating at a speed that might lead to lateral control difficulty (Airport taxiway condition assessment might be less accu- rate than for the runway) . This margin is meant to the sole effect of runway conditions cover some uncertainty related to a worse than expected.1591 taminated runways (Factored In-Flight are generally conservative) Landing performance). TOUCH-DOWN AND DECELERATION With the rationale for the recommended 15% safety margin in mind. firm to ensure no delay in ground spoiler extension. (even if friction models of CS25. with the auto-brake mode recommended per SOPs • Monitor late wind changes and GA if unexpected tailwind (planning to land on contaminated runway with tailwind should be avoided) • Perform early and firm touchdown (early as runway behind you is no use. except in case If the 15% margin is fully “eaten” by of failure. a 15% tion devices assumed (brakes if no margin is to be integrated in the cal.5. • Lower performance than expected mance. WET and on con. on DRY. the man- agement of final approach.

the safety consequences can be far more critical than just a strange feeling. In fact. CATHERINE BONNET XAVIER BARRIOLA Senior Director Director Flight Safety – Performance and Weight Accident investigator & Balance Customer services .OPERATIONS Understanding Weight & Balance Understanding Weight & Balance To “feel” the aircraft response through the flight controls as being “heavier or lighter” than anticipated at take-off can result from a weight & balance inaccuracy. when the CG is out of the operational limits.

some of the passengers disem. The pilot successfully ilar heavy pieces of special cargo. No new passengers second leg turned out to be outside boarded nor was any new cargo of the safe envelope: it was too far aft. commercial aviation has faced multiple accidents or serious incidents related to weight & balance issues. . A COMMON ORIGIN Images of airplanes sitting on their tail or experiencing a severe tail strike or even stalling right after take-off unfortunately do not all belong to the past. The over. CG warning alert went off and the AP The aircraft was carrying several sim. load sheet had been prepared for the barked the aircraft and their luggage first leg only. Despite signifi. In recent years. The event with a wide body cargo aircraft. A VARIETY OF EVENTS. let’s take a journey through the underlying physical phenomena at stake. The investigation revealed a flight. During the intermediate stop gers between legs took place. The first leg had been une. Tail strike at take-off While taking-off for the second leg of loaded. the aircraft experienced eventually landed safely. that the passengers proceeding to enced a tail strike. Unexpected pitch-up during climb The next story is based on a real cargo detached and moved aft. It on the aircraft type contributed to turned out that a less than optimum the non-compliance with the correct shift handover had taken place. The CG position for the was offloaded. Safety First #19 | January 2015 27 What does actually lie behind the aircraft weight and the %RC or %MAC mentioned on the load and trim sheet? What do these limits account for? Beyond the compliance with regulatory requirements dimension. the second destination airport were cant damage. cargo bay. an unexpected pitch-up when the Tail tipping While being unloaded. the aircraft was able all seated at the back of the cabin and to turn back and land at departure their luggage was loaded in the aft airport. and unloading sequence. No movement of passen- ventful. But first let’s take a look at what can happen when the loading and C of G is incorrect or becomes out of limits. manually controlled the aircraft and During climb. a wide body lack of training of the load master cargo aircraft tipped up on its tail. a single aisle aircraft experi. disconnected.

One digit was incorrectly entered.35% are due to a CG which lent pitch-up that couldn’t be recovered by the crew. one safety lesson: the impact of weight & balance issues on a flight can range from merely a “strange feeling” to a fatal accident. The rapid decrease in exceeds the certified limits airspeed led to the aircraft stalling and crash. It turned out that the load had *National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR) broken free and had shifted aft just after take-off. The aircraft was severely damaged but fortunately. thus the expected performance was significantly over estimated.OPERATIONS Understanding Weight & Balance Tail strike and take-off after runway end A long-range aircraft type failed to take-off within the runway length. a long-range wide-body cargo aircraft experienced a vio- . . and experienced a significant tail strike whilst ultimately managing to take-off way outside the runway limits.21% are due to overweight Right after take-off. was ultimately able to make a successful landing. the take-off performance data were calculated for a 262 tons air- craft. study for the period 1997-2004 Four recent events. Among the accidents related to a Stall and crash weight and balance issue*: . While the aircraft weight was DID 362 tons. The investigation revealed that the aircraft weight entered into the system to compute the take-off speed was incorrect. The real YOU KNOW aircraft performance was much worse than that which had been calculated.

applied at the Center of Pressure (CP). thus far from the CG. the bigger the pitch-down moment. therefore it creates a big pitch-up moment. it is worth getting back to the forces that apply to the aircraft. The CG is further forward than the CP for aircraft stability reasons. This is done through the Trimmable Horizontal Stabilizer (THS) that exerts a downward force. Pitch down moment Center Center of Gravity of Pressure Lift THS Downward force Weight Pitch up moment Counter moment . but also increases the required overall lift to keep the aircraft level at the same time. applied at the Center of Gravity (CG) of the aircraft. • The Lift. applying at distinct points along the aircraft longitudinal axis: • The Weight of the aircraft. There are two of them. the more distant the two points. and more specifically to focus on the vertical ones. Safety First #19 | January 2015 29 WEIGHT & BALANCE: WHAT IS IT ABOUT? In order to well understand the impact of weight and balance on the stability and maneuverability of the aircraft. Pitch down moment Center Center of Gravity of Pressure Lift Weight The distance between the CG and the CP induces a pitch down moment that needs to be compensated for to keep the aircraft level. Thus. This force applies at the THS.

As an example for take-off. Since for air. the correct take-off rotation rate using bigger the horizontal stabilizer and the elevator becomes impossible down moment elevator deflections needed to give to reach. A CG position further pitch-down moment. and the aircraft cannot . Indeed. The main safety issues related to an inappropriate position of the CG depend on whether the CG is forward or aft as developed hereafter. the more distant increases the distance between the the CG and the CP. Impact on aircraft maneuverability at all phases of flight A CG position that is too far for. and elevator maximum deflections effectiveness of the elevators. However. The impact of an exces- that the aircraft the aircraft a pitch-up attitude to com. the aircraft forward induces has such a “heavy nose” that the such a big pitch. A CG position ward induces such a big pitch-down that is too far moment that the aircraft maneuvera. the more forward the CG.OPERATIONS Understanding Weight & Balance KEEPING THE CG WITHIN THE OPERATIONAL ENVELOPE: A MUST FOR A SAFE FLIGHT The influence of the CG position on aircraft performance. However. at some point of CG for- maneuverability applies at all phases of flight. if the CG bility can no longer be guaranteed. stability and maneuverability varies along the flight. depending on the phase of flight. position is too far forward. be maneuvered any more. a forward CG the safety of the flight in many ways. sively forward CG position on aircraft maneuverability pensate for the pitch-down moment. the bigger the CP and the CG. CG forward As explained earlier. it is most noticea- can no longer be ward position. are reached. forward than the most forward position craft stability reasons the CP is always of the operational envelope can affect located behind the CG. the horizontal stabilizer ble at low speed due to the reduced guaranteed.

tion is even more forward. and main gears. the total weight of the if the CG position exceeds the most aircraft is supported by both the nose forward CG position of the envelope. the bigger the proportion of landing gear can be reached with a total weight is carried by the nose consequent risk of damage. the further forward the aircraft structural limits of the nose the CG. CG position of of aircraft performance. On the ground. if the CG posi. Safety First #19 | January 2015 31 Impact on aircraft performance at all phases of flight A CG exceeding A CG exceeding the most forward formance is calculated based on the CG position of the envelope is also most forward CG position within the the most forward the most penalizing situation in terms envelope. also the most penalizing situation Impact on aircraft structure at take-off in terms of aircraft performance. . Therefore. the take-off and landing per. the actual aircraft performance will be lower the envelope is Indeed. than the calculated one. landing gear. At high weights (TOW).

the adherence of the big to be compensated for. The more aft the CG. nose wheel to the ground is limited. At low speed. aircraft.1). the impairs the nose wheel controlla- bigger the pitch-up moment. Indeed. If the CG bility during taxi and at the begin- is too far aft. . Impact on aircraft controllability at … … Go-around … Take-off In case of go-around. nose wheel floor protection. steering is the only way to control the cient compensation. may also trigger the alpha the rudder to be effective. setting TOGA At lower take-off weight (for exam- power induces a significant pitch-up ple for a positioning flight or short moment that needs to be compen. the aircraft will “self rotate” without any action by the pilot. In some cases. the lope. Until the (fig. This “very light nose” effect of too aft a CG position also makes the rotation so easy that it could as easily lead to a tail strike (fig.1) increase due to having a CG position aircraft reaches a sufficient speed for Tail strike at take off too far aft. exceeding the CG lead to a variety of safety issues. the pitch-up moment taminated runway surfaces. thus prevent its suffi. the pitch-up moment induced weight of the aircraft being mostly on by initiating the go-around may be too the main gear. a CG position too far aft sated for. The nose wheel adherence is even further reduced when full power is applied for take-off due the induced pitch-up moment. Yet.OPERATIONS Understanding Weight & Balance CG aft A CG aft position brings the CG close most aft position of the envelope can to the CP. and outside the enve. high angle of attack and This is especially true on wet or con- TOGA power. leg flight). ning of the take-off run.

ported by both the nose and main gears. the bigger the weight on the ditions. during taxi for turns. if the CG position exceeds the the reason why the speed is limited most aft CG position of the envelope. and thus ultimately jeopardize the A CG outside safety of the flight. the further aft the Likewise. the operational envelope may significantly impair the aircraft capabilities. the aircraft structural limits of the main Eventually. on the ground. and thus ultimately jeopardize the safety of the flight. At high weights exceed their structural limit. landing gear can be reached with a the total weight of the aircraft is sup. This is (TOW). a CG outside the operational envelope may significantly impair the aircraft capabilities. Safety First #19 | January 2015 33 Impact on aircraft structure at take-off As mentioned earlier. Therefore. consequent risk of damage. . in such high TOW con- CG. the load on the wings may main landing gears.

OPERATIONS Understanding Weight & Balance Summary along the flight path of the main safety impacts of an ill-located CG .

34m i. flaps and slats position DID to passengers or cabin crew movements from one end of the cabin to the other. no correct CG calculation. YOU KNOW On an A320 37. by more than 5cm out of a 1. landing gear On an A320.97m i. Safety First #19 | January 2015 35 HOW TO MAKE SURE THE CG IS AND REMAINS WITHIN A SAFE ENVELOPE THROUGHOUT THE FLIGHT? Both the CG position and the safe envelope evolve throughout the flight. robust solution has yet been found. Their impact on the aircraft to affect the CG position. moves up…. the YOU KNOW ger weight is taken into account aircraft configuration evolves: flaps to reflect as much as possible the and slats are retracted. the Although there were attempts at an operational envelope that includes maximum distance along which developing systems to measure the safety margins and to perform a the CG position may move is aircraft weight and CG position. aircraft weight may evolve. the weight of the aircraft evolves mainly as fuel is burned. explained in the previous section.34m changes in passengers seating may gle passenger moving from one end leeway.e 3%. Understanding the safety margins Determining the CG safe envelope results from calculations based on a num- ber of assumptions. Yet. . As for the CG. occur either before or during the of an aircraft to the other is sufficient flight.57m long. tial impact on safety (see insert Free From one weighing to another the seating section).57m long. This weight is based on the aircraft some significant difference may weighing results and on assump. CG remains within a safe envelope operational envelope could lead to throughout the flight is to both define dramatic consequences. a duty free trolley of reality. In case of free seating though. 150kg rolling from the back end to the front of the aircraft moves the CG • Passengers embarkation: Some • In-flight cabin movements: A sin. These assumptions are simplifications of the actual but evolving aircraft situation. DID mination a single average passen. as 1.e 4%. Among the sources of inaccuracies and uncertainties are: • The determination of the dry actual CG position is usually lim- operating weight of the aircraft: ited. This is the purpose of the safety margins taken to define the operational envelope. The best way to make sure the an excursion of the CG outside of its it is 1. its position is sensitive to various phenomena ranging from landing gear. Indeed. Indeed. They include inaccuracies and uncertainties that need to be compensated for. exist between the actual and the tions on the weight of items on calculated CG positions with poten- board such as catering or crew. in the course of the flight. • Moving parts of the aircraft: The • Weight of passengers and their hand luggage: In the CG deter- CG position is calculated based on a given aircraft configuration. On an A380 72.

(see insert Last minute changes). A380. not knowing where the passengers are seated may lead to a difference between the actual CG and the calculated one that can reach 2 to 3%. thus special caution to make sure the CG is within operational limits. choosing your seat at the very last minute. In order to determine the aircraft CG position. The type of reaction will depend whether he/she feels the aircraft nose too heavy or too light. the assumptions date back operational practice that may signifi- from quite a long time whereas a cantly impact the aircraft weight and variety of sociological evolutions balance. it affects weight distribution. Yet. the actual aircraft behavior is different from the expected one. Among the aspects that can challenge this consistency are: • Assumptions on the weight of ry-on luggage with new items com- passengers and their hand lug. when entering an aircraft relatively empty may be exciting. considered for a passenger and his/ her carry-on luggage is mentioned • Last minute changes: To load a in regional regulations. The assumption is that passengers are at the barycenter of the section. monly taken onboard such as com- gage: The average weight to be puters. Free seating means uncertainty in terms of CG position. Ensuring that the calculated CG corresponds to the actual aircraft CG requires consistency between these assumptions and the actual operational framework and practices. A number of assumptions are made when doing so. In some cases. the risk is that the pilot overreacts to this discrepancy. In order to prevent this. usually 2 to 4. it is another story. Indeed. except for A318/319 where the cabin is small enough. Ensuring consistency between actual operations and load and trim sheet calculations For each flight. It is indeed quite sensitive • Calculation method: The figures to temperature. the same weight. The aircraft CG position is calculated based on each section’s weight and relative CG position. A tank full in vol. If not updated accordingly. if free seating doesn’t affect the total weight of the aircraft. it is needed to split the cabin into at least 3 sections to have sufficient precision. cell phones…. a load and trim sheet is to be developed to ensure the CG will remain within the operational envelope. The fuel logic distribution of containers. calculation is not always the actual density. FREE SEATING: FREEDOM UNDER CLOSE SCRUTINY As a passenger. of the A340-500/600. the aircraft cabin is divided and modeled in several sections. cameras. have taken place. When less than 80% of the seats are occupied in the cabin. The pilot will trim the aircraft for take-off using the calculated CG. 350 is based on weight rather than vol- • Fuel weight and distribution: The ume. This translates into a significant difference between the actual and expected aircraft behavior. in some container at the last minute is an regions. If at take-off. . used to calculate the CG position ume doesn’t always correspond to are rounded off.OPERATIONS Understanding Weight & Balance • Cargo loading: Although there are the difference may require to fill relatively few errors on the cargo in the trim tank with a significant weight there may be some in the impact on the CG. Therefore these aircraft types fuel density used to perform the are less sensitive to this aspect. even more so if the cabin is not fully occupied. The average both the weight of the aircraft and the weight of passengers tends to CG position calculated are incorrect increase. From a weight and balance viewpoint. So does the weight of car.

Yet. Type in the correct values into the aircraft systems to compute aircraft performance. A good compromise that allows for reconciling the two perspectives is to calculate the maximum impact of LMCs and integrate it into the safety margins calculation. As for the CG position. if the calculation underlying assumptions are realistic. it depends on the weight distribution along the aircraft. a last minute change involves not only an increase in weight but also a change in the CG position that need to be considered carefully to avoid an excursion of the CG outside the safe envelope in the course of the flight. Provide also the CG and Weight limits applicable to the aircraft Airline ops Determine the operational limits (one for Take-off and another one for Zero Fuel). the CG safe envelope depends on the aircraft weight. Safety First #19 | January 2015 37 • Fuel burned during taxi: In reality. Load planner Prepare a load sheet ensuring the CG remains within the operational limits: one per segment/flight. making sure the CG remains within the operational limits relies on a wide range of actors and actions that can be summarized as follows: Actor Actions Airbus Provide the aircraft weight at delivery. These margins are the ones that allow for defining the operational envelope. in order to compensate for a number of inaccuracies. The fuel mainly comes from tank (for aircraft equipped). from a safety standpoint. Check the CG is within the operational limits. people in the industry held a serious Eventually. some not the case in reality. Cross-check aircraft performance with the other pilot. Load and unload according to the predefined sequence. because “there is room for it” is tempting for an airline. mis-conception as they believed the impact of the fuel burned for that the fuel burned first was that of taxiing on the CG position is very the tank filled last. Load master Load and secure the cargo at the anticipated places. In practice. which is the inner tanks. and raw data on positions and maximum weight of elements that can be loaded. Pilots During the walk around. safety margins are required to make sure that the CG will remain within a safe envelope throughout the flight. . the calculated CG position is as good an estimate as possible. visually “notice” the contrac- tion/extension of the landing gear oleos and also the angle of any nose wheel steering link to carry out a gross error check for loading normally. For a while. Still. Recalculating the weight and CG position “at the last minute” is no option from an operations viewpoint for the delay it would induce. Keeping the CG within a safe envelope throughout the flight: a collective effort As mentioned earlier. namely the trim limited. LAST MINUTE CHANGES To load a container at the last minute.

can be a severe hazard to aircraft during take-off. JEAN DANEY XAVIER LESCEU Director Flight Safety – Experimental Test Pilot Accident Investigator .OPERATIONS Wind shear Wind shear: an invisible enemy to pilots? Weather plays a significant role in aviation safety and is regularly cited as a contributing factor in accidents or major incidents. approach and landing. Wind shear in the form of microbursts particularly.

It con. but for conven. ground. we knew very little about wind shear.1) winds near ground level. and thrust variations along the vertical axis of phere. for up to several minutes. A intense and localized sinking air. little or B dangerous forms of wind shear. frontal surfaces. indicated • Vertical wind shear consists of wind at many different levels of the atmos. >> What is a microburst? COLD C A microburst clearly creates the most Microbursts are either dry (i. inversion layers. As research and technology progressed. focusing more particularly on microbursts. and tex. earth’s surface. We will look at the effects of wind shear on an aircraft and at piloting techniques for coping with a shear situation. It can to a tailwind – of up to 100 knots occur in all directions. It is capable of producing powerful hence considerable wind shear near (fig. prevent and if necessary. airspeed. Yet. which ically form under or close to thunder- descends to the ground (called “the storms and cumulonimbus clouds in Wind-Shift Line downdraft”) and upon contact with the particular (fig. ious directions within a small area. indicated airspeed.e. although actual encounters with severe wind shear are fairly remote in a pilot’s career. handle such events. as a sudden loss requirements when The change in velocity or direction of airspeed and altitude can occur. no rain reaches the ground) or wet sists of a small column of exceptionally (usually within a downpour). it is considered along vertical how a penetration would appear as can drastically and horizontal axis. we have learned to identify.2). They typ. or a shift from a headwind The change in direction over a short distance. Horizontal wind shear . decreasing headwind or increasing den change in wind velocity and/or tailwind. this phenomenon can change a routine approach into an emergency recovery in a matter of seconds. diverges outwards in The radial pattern means winds of var- WARM all directions. at the lower levels. thus forming a ring vor. occurring close to the along the horizontal axis – e. (Fig. the ground. alter the aircraft the concepts of vertical and horizon- tal wind shear: This weather phenomenon can occur lift. UNDERSTANDING WIND SHEAR Definitions >> Wind shear Wind shear can be defined as a sud. through the wind descending through the wind shear mountain waves or temperature shear layer. • Horizontal wind shear consists of thunderstorms and convective clouds variations in the wind component or microbursts. climbing can drastically alter the aircraft lift. The detection and reporting of wind shear related events was actually really poor. thus introducing an aircraft crosses a cold front. however it is most dangerous typically 20 to 30 knots per 1000 ft. in its many forms. Safety First #19 | January 2015 39 As commercial aviation began to develop in the middle of the last century.g.1) shows velocity or direction ience. layers. per nautical mile. and thrust It is usually associated with the follow- or descending requirements when climbing or ing weather conditions: jet streams.

at low altitude.3). the pilot will naturally retard instantaneously increases the air. headwind to tailwind reduces the lift of the aircraft. items 1 and 2). path and/or accelerate (see (fig. An aircraft actually encountering a microburst in the vicinity of an airfield while it is about to land or take-off. . embedded in heavy rain. microbursts com- bine two distinct threats to aviation safety (fig. thereby forcing the aircraft to the aircraft to rise above its intended descend.5 nautical miles in diameter. which speed. The power of component shift from headwind to the downburst can actually exceed tailwind. Downdrafts are 40 knots (4000 ft/minute). To put it briefly.2) Microburst caused by a cumulonimbus Typical characteristics of microbursts Size Covers an area less than 2. an aircraft flying through a microburst at landing should expect to encoun- ter the following phases: >> Phase 1: Headwind • When first entering a microburst. microbursts bring a threat to aircraft due to the scale and suddenness of this phenomenon. • To descend the aircraft back on the pilot notices a performance its descent path and decrease enhancing headwind gust. which may force the aircraft down. thus causing lift and stick. the engines and push the side craft airspeed. typically during take- off or landing.OPERATIONS Wind shear (fig. horizontal winds Intensity between 45 and 100 knots. Microbursts: a threat to aviation safety From a safety perspective. Visual signs Often associated with heavy thunderstorms. For exam- ple.3): • The downburst part. resulting in large strong downdrafts that rapidly push horizontal wind shear and wind the aircraft downward. Duration Approximately 15 minutes. may be flying through 3 different and difficult phases of wind conditions at a critical phase of flight. resulting in • The outburst part. This sudden change from aircraft climb capabilities.

3). altitude. of its direct and Angle-Of-Attack (AOA): the aircraft will sink and the AOA will increase aggressive impact (see (fig. lift capability. altitude. on the aircraft >> Phase 3: Tailwind airspeed. and thus.3) Effects of a microburst on aircraft performance Downburst 1 2 Gust front 3 Headwind Tailwind 4 . will is a serious threat surge of downdraft affecting both attempt to regain the original trajec. direction and encounters a tailwind. item 4). Angle-Of-Attack. lift now experiences a change in wind speed and thus. Angle-Of-Attack. it tends to make capability. • As the pilot attempts to climb to recover his/her altitude. now traveling at a lower microburst. Safety First #19 | January 2015 41 >> Phase 2: Downdraft A microburst • As the aircraft continues into the • The pilot. item 3). the aircraft fly below its intended path and/or decelerate(see (fig. the aircraft • The tailwind gust instantaneously decreases the aircraft lift and air- and thus.3). (fig. it meets a sudden speed and pushed downwards. A microburst is a serious threat to flight because of its direct and aggres- sive impact on the aircraft airspeed. to flight because the aircraft flight path and then the tory by initiating a climb.

INFORMATION The LLWAS is comprised of a central anemometer (sensing wind velocity and direction) and peripheral anemometers located approximately two nautical miles from the center. and be prepared to react immediately. ATC. different tools have tors in the successful application of been developed to help pilots recog. a good com- is essential. munication between flight crews and nal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR).OPERATIONS Wind shear PREVENTION: HOW TO DETECT AND AVOID WIND SHEAR Wind shear has a negative effect on aircraft performance and is therefore a real threat to the safe conduct of flight. it is important to know the likely magnitude of the change. wind shear avoidance techniques. and take appro- Wind shear awareness and detection means The best ways a pilot can prevent an encounter with wind shear is to know wind shear is there and to avoid it where possible. nize these events. or gains more than 15 knots. The TDWR enables to detect approaching wind shear areas and thus. LLWAS may not detect downbursts with a diameter of 2 nm or less. The best line of defence against such hazards is: detection and avoidance. A wind shear alert is generated whenever the wind speed loses 15 to 29 knots. different tools and information can be used to detect areas of potential or observed wind shear. . Since the discovery of the effects of priate actions. flight crew wind shear on aircraft performance in awareness and alertness are key fac- the early 1980’s. This system enables Air Traffic Controllers to warn pilots of existing or impending wind shear conditions. and thus be able to develop efficient avoidance strategies. Although there is no absolutely reliable way to predict the occurrence. In this respect. In practice. ATC is essential. Central wind sensor data are averaged over a rolling two-minute period and compared every 10 seconds with the data from the peripheral wind sensors. to pro- vide pilots with more advance warning of wind shear hazard. However. ing System (LLWAS) and/or a Termi. There are two LLWAS alerting modes: wind shear alert and microburst alert. A good >> Weather reports and forecast communication Many airports – particularly those These devices are able to detect between flight that are prone to microburst and microbursts and warn aircraft of their crews and ATC wind shear – are now equipped occurrences by sending an alert to with a Low Level Wind shear Alert. should an encoun- ter be unavoidable. Microburst alert condition is when the wind speed loses more than 30 knots.

Conversely. Safety First #19 | January 2015 43 >> Crew observations Blowing dust. dust dev. those reports should however Therefore it is very important to remember that the aircraft ahead may vastly different be interpreted with great care and experience vastly different conditions conditions than judgement. rings of dust. knowing that micro. (on ND) and wind reported by tower dence of strong local air outflow near can also be a good indication. There- the surface often are good indications fore it is better to avoid these areas. be detected and identified using the . which can should be avoided. made. >> Pilots’ reports (PIREPS) PIREPS of wind shear in excess of bursts intensify for several minutes 20 knots or downdraft / updraft of after they first impact the ground. A pilot must consider the than the following one will encounter the following one amount of time since the report was in the same airspace.e. will encounter in the same airspace. the micro. intense rainfall or any other evi. pated by the time the aircraft plans to the aircraft ahead Considering that these conditions cross the incriminated area. change or dissipate rap- idly. A ils (i. Those areas panied by heavy rainfalls. the 500 ft per minute below 1000 ft above severity may be higher than that ini- ground level are all good indications tially reported. whirlwinds containing dust and large difference between actual wind sand). Indeed. Remember that of severe conditions and should be burst reported may well have dissi- avoided at any time. on-board weather radar. may experience develop. >> On-board weather radar Generally microbursts are accom. of potential or existing downburst.

voice “WIND SHEAR AHEAD. Pay a careful attention to that the flight path is clear of hazard ATC indications in particular. AHEAD” at landing. “W/S AHEAD” predictive caution display on PFD or “GO AROUND. To provide an early warning of poten. These systems serve to assess the conditions for a safe take. detect microbursts in close proxim- off or safe descent. cations between 50 and approximately 1000 feet above the ground surface. SHEAR AHEAD” during take-off.4). the “W/S AHEAD” amber cau- detect wind shear areas ahead of the tion turns into a red warning and is aircraft. This sible indication that the aircraft is system is active and provides reliable indi. . some on-board shear location gets closer to the air- weather radars feature the capability to craft. • Most recent weather reports and • On-board weather radar to ensure forecast. most aircraft models have pre. • Visual observations. But how can these pieces of information be best used to be prepared to react and effectively avoid an actual encounter with wind shear? Here are a few tips. WIND SHEAR This equipment is referred to as a Pre. This is a pos- dictive Wind shear System (PWS).OPERATIONS Wind shear >> On-board predictive wind shear system Today. The PWS provides typically a one-min- dictive wind shear equipment to warn ute advance warning by showing first pilots of possible threats via aural and an amber “W/S AHEAD” message on visual means. based on a measure of wind associated with an aural synthetic velocities ahead of the aircraft both ver. the PFD (fig. environment and the prevailing weather conditions. approaching a microburst. >> Summary Flight crew should consider all availa. WIND (fig. If conditions worsen and the wind tial wind shear activity. and thus plan accordingly.4) tically and horizontally. • On-board Predictive Wind shear • Crew experience with the airport System (PWS). approach and ity to the airport and send out alerts landing based on: to both pilots and ATC alike. • Weather radar implemented at ble wind shear awareness means and airports. areas. Operational best practices: how to avoid wind shear and get prepared altogether The wealth of tools and indications listed previously should allow crews to gather sufficient knowledge about the weather conditions ahead.

be alert to respond PRACTICE autopilot for a more accurate immediately to any predictive approach tracking. and to considering the location of the likely ensure proper thrust management wind shear / downburst condition. change. immediate left or right turn after shear. >> Descent and approach • When downburst / wind shear • Closely monitor the airspeed. delay the take-off. take-off roll to ensure that the flight path is clear of hazard areas. be prepared conditions improve. or the aircraft for a possible missed approach should divert to a more suitable and escape maneuver. is allowed). VAPP) accordingly. when the speed target is final approach speed (i. considering the location of the • Closely monitor the airspeed and If wind shear is suspected. or divert to approach speed (i. If the presence of wind and landing should be delayed until shear is confirmed. . wind shear advisory. “W/S If wind shear is suspected. a more suitable airport. consider AHEAD” caution or warning. tected by the Predictive Wind shear an increase in VAPP displayed on the And be prepared to perform a System (PWS). • In anticipation of a possible wind BEST • If an ILS is available.e. approach path and runway. take-off to avoid”. This speed trend during the take-off tected by the Predictive Wind shear may involve asking ATC for “an roll to detect any evidence of wind System (PWS). Safety First #19 | January 2015 45 >> Take-off • Consider delaying the take-off until • Use the weather radar (and the conditions improve. This is automatically • Select less than full flaps for performed on Airbus fly-by-wire landing (to maximize the climb aircraft by the Ground Speed mini gradient capability) and adjust the function. conditions are anticipated based speed trend and ground speed on pilots’ reports from preceding during the approach to detect aircraft. Remember predictive wind shear system. or is de- likely wind shear / downburst. BEST • Select the most favourable • Select the maximum take-off PRACTICE runway and initial climb out path.e. level of energy to the aircraft. or based on an alert issued any evidence of imminent wind by the airport LLWAS. during the approach in case of and the available runway approach sudden headwind to tailwind aids. delay the approach FMS CDU (a maximum of minimum missed approach or go-around if until conditions improve. minimum ground speed should be • Select the most favourable holding maintained to ensure a minimum point. A airport. VLS) + 15 knots necessary. or is de- • If a gusty wind is expected. the approach shear. engage the shear event. as a downburst is not a long-lasting available) before commencing the phenomenon and can clear within minutes. thrust. managed.

>> On-board reactive wind shear system A reactive wind shear warning system The wind shear warning system asso- is available on most aircraft models.OPERATIONS Wind shear RECOVERY: HOW TO RECOGNIZE AND HANDLE ACTUAL WIND SHEAR CONDITIONS Despite the available prevention means. avoidance.5). an actual encounter with wind shear can happen. “WINDSHEAR” reactive warning audio “WIND SHEAR” is repeated 3 display on PFD times. . since both components of wind velocities. both vertically and react instantaneously to the current (fig. >> How to strengthen the wind shear situational awareness The following deviations should be • Vertical speed excursions of 500 ft/ considered as indications of a possi. But in case of an actual Recognition As rare as an actual encounter with severe wind shear may be. timely recog- nition of this condition is key for the successful implementation of wind shear recovery / escape procedures. minute ble wind shear condition: • Pitch attitude excursions of 5 • Indicated airspeed variations in degrees excess of 15 knots • Glide slope deviation of 1 dot • Ground speed variations • Heading variations of 10 degrees • Analog wind indication variations: • Unusual autothrust or auto throttle direction and velocity activity. When it activates. A timely recognition of this weather phenomenon is crucial to allow enough time for the crew to decide on the next course of action. piloting techniques exist for best course of action is almost always coping with a shear situation. As far as wind shear is concerned. and a red “WINDSHEAR” warn- ing appears on the PFD (fig. the variations of aircraft parameters.5) horizontally. the encounter. ciated to the Speed reference System (SRS) mode of the flight guidance con- This system is capable to detect a wind stitute the Reactive Wind shear Sys- shear encounter based on a measure tem (RWS).

Maintain or set the thrust levers there is sufficient runway remaining to to the maximum take-off thrust stop the aircraft. the following recovery . Any aircraft can do this. the pilot may have to rely • After V1: on his/her own judgement to assess if . sustain this energy level in the follow. The aircraft in a timely manner. able airspeed variations occur (not . V1 may be reached way remaining to stop the aircraft. • Carry extra speed. In any case.Follow the Flight Director (FD) pitch techniques must be applied without orders if the FD provides wind delay: shear recovery guidance. recommendations are duly followed. Safety First #19 | January 2015 47 Recovery technique for wind shear encounter The aircraft can only survive severe floor protection. trade height energy for ing three ways: speed. .Rotate normally at VR. later (or sooner) than expected. providing the following few mini). • If possible. • Add maximum thrust. when out of alpha floor). if necessary. The aircraft does this automatically when in approach Proper pilot technique helps in this in managed speed (Ground speed process. ommended in the FCOM. does this automatically with alpha >> During take-off If a wind shear is detected by the exceeding the target V1) and the RWS or by pilot observation during pilot assesses there is sufficient run- the take-off roll. In this case. It can case. even if TOGA was wind shear encounters if it has already selected (do not forget to enough energy to carry it through the disconnect the Autothrust in this loss-of-performance period. or set • Before V1: the required pitch attitude as rec- Reject the take-off if unaccept. (TOGA).

unless a turn is figuration. mended in the FCOM.Detect ahead of the aircraft PURPOSE . may be nec- • Set the thrust levers to the maxi. or set the played to the PM). shear recovery guidance.Visual . aircraft accelerate in climb. Follow the FD pitch trend and flight path angle (if flight command if the FD provides wind path vector is available and dis- If wind shear is detected by the Reac. essary to prevent the aircraft from mum take-off thrust (TOGA). during initial climb or fly-by-wire aircraft.Guidance to escape . required pitch attitude. the following to the stick shaker / stall warning recovery technique must be applied Angle-Of-Attack (AOA) on aircraft without delay: models that do not have full flight envelope protection. required for obstacle clearance. sinking down. or FCOM Inclement Weather Operations on A300/A310/ A300-600. approach and landing If a wind shear is detected by the pilot.Aural WARNING .Detect in the wind shear .Comparison between inertial . • Applying full back stick on Airbus or by the RWS. or. NOTE To recover from an actual wind shear encounter. • If the Auto Pilot (AP) is engaged • Do not change the flaps and land- and provides wind shear recovery ing gear configuration until out of BEST guidance. • When out of the wind shear. climb gradient.OPERATIONS Wind shear >> During initial climb.Doppler weather radar PRINCIPLE and aerodynamic data . keep the AP engaged. do the wind shear condition. as recom. Refer to PRO-ABN-80. or flying close approach and landing. recovery measures are indi- cated in the FCOM ABNORMAL AND EMERGENCY PROCEDURES. let the off or approach.Guidance to avoid the event . airspeed PRACTICE not engage it. RWS and PWS compared characteristics RWS PWS . if the AP is not engaged. resume imum thrust and follow the Speed • Level the wings to maximize the normal climb and clean aircraft con- Reference System (SRS) guidance. tive Wind shear System during take. recover with max.Visual .Aural . • Closely monitor airspeed.

avoiding and if necessary. it and then. But above all. or divert to a wind shear caution or warning. best recommendations are indicated in • If a wind shear warning occurs. delay the take. flight crew awareness and alertness are key factors in the successful application of avoidance techniques and recovery / escape procedures. • Make maximum use of aircraft the FCOM SUPPLEMENTARY PRO- apply the recommended FCOM equipment.e. Wind shear can be a serious threat to aviation safety. Nevertheless. and on-board equipment. . handling wind shear conditions. mendations on avoidance. such as the flight-path CEDURES. Avoidance • Assess the conditions for a safe more suitable airport. recogni- the best option is always to avoid it tion and recovery can be considered whenever possible. based on all available weather data. it is essential to recognize enhance wind shear awareness. in for the development of company the case of an actual encounter with strategies and initiatives aiming to wind shear. NOTE To safely operate an aircraft in wind Recovery shear or downburst conditions. • Be prepared and committed to • As far as possible. • Scan instruments for evidence on-board equipment indications of impending wind shear. Safety First #19 | January 2015 49 SUMMARY: OPERATING IN WIND SHEAR CONDITIONS Considering the threat that a severe The following key points and recom- wind shear represents to safety. With the technology. take-off or approach-and-landing • Be “go-around minded” when flying based on all the available meteor. recovery / escape procedure i. efficient equipment is now available to assist pilots in identifying. remember that avoidance is undoubtedly the best defence against the hazards of wind shear. set maximum thrust and follow the FD wind shear recovery / escape pitch guidance. Recognition • Be alert to recognize a potential and on the monitoring of the aircraft or existing wind shear condition flight parameters and flight path. vector (as available). visual observations shear conditions. recover from it. respond immediately to a predictive off or the approach. Thanks to extensive research into the understanding of the phenomenon. an approach under reported wind ological data.

at take-off • Airbus Brake Testing • Performance Based • Safe operations with composite • Hard Landing... Personnel – Working together a Predictive Tool for Safety in Temporary Teamwork for Management System (SMS) safe Skies • Flying a Go-Around.ARTICLES PUBLISHED IN PREVIOUS ‘SAFETY FIRST’ ISSUES Issue 18 Issue 17 Issue 16 July 2014 January 2014 July 2013 • Control your speed. a Case Study Navigation: RNP and RNP AR aircraft for Crews and Maintenance Approaches • Learning from the evidence Personnel • Atlantic Airways: Introduction • A320 Family cargo Containers/ • Aircraft Protection during Washing of RNP AR 0. Managing • Low Speed Rejected Take-Off Energy upon Engine Failure • Late Changes before Departure Issue 15 Issue 14 Issue 13 January 2013 July 2012 January 2012 • The Golden Rules for Pilots • Thrust Reverser Selection means • A320 Family / A330 Prevention moving from PNF to PM Full-Stop and Handling of Dual Bleed Loss • Airbus Crosswind Development • Transient Loss of Communication • The Fuel Penalty Factor and Certification due to Jammed Push-To-Talk • The Airbus TCAS Alert Prevention • The SMOKE/FUMES/AVNCS A320 and A330/A340 Families (TCAP) SMOKE Procedure • A380: Development of the Flight • A380: Development of the Flight • Post-Maintenance Foreign Controls .Part 2 Controls .Part 1 Objects Damage (FOD) Prevention • Preventing Fan Cowl Door Loss • Facing the Reality of everyday • Corrosion: • Do not forget that you are not Maintenance Operations A Potential Safety Issue alone in Maintenance Issue 12 Issue 11 Issue 10 July 2011 January 2011 August 2010 • Airbus New Operational • What is Stall? • A380: Flutter Tests Landing Distances How a Pilot Should React in Front • Operational Landing • The Go Around Procedure of a Stall Situation Distances: A New Standard • The Circling Approach • Minimum Control Speed Tests for In-flight Landing Distance • VMU Tests on A380 on A380 Assessment • Automatic Landings • Radio Altimeter Erroneous Values • Go Around Handling in Daily Operation • Automatic NAV Engagement at • A320: Landing Gear Downlock Go Around • Situation Awareness and Decision Making .1 Operations pallets movement and Painting • Flight Crews and De-Icing • Parts Departing from Aircraft (PDA) • Flight Data Analysis (FDA).

Operations Revision 2 • Fuel Pumps Left in OFF Position • A320: Avoiding Dual Bleed Loss Issue 6 Issue 5 Issue 4 July 2008 December 2007 June 2007 • A320: Runway Overrun • New CFIT Event During Non • Operations Engineering Bulletin • FCTL Check after EFCS Reset on Precision Approach Reminder Function Ground • A320: Tail Strike at Take-Off? • Avoiding High Speed Rejected • A320: Possible Consequence of • Unreliable Speed Take-Offs Due to EGT Limit VMO/MMO Exceedance • Compliance to Operational Exceedance • A320: Prevention of Tailstrikes Procedures • Do you Know your ATC/TCAS • Low Fuel Situation Awareness • The Future Air Navigation Panel? • Rudder Pedal Jam System FANS B • Managing Hailstorms • Why do Certain AMM Tasks • Introducing the Maintenance Require Equipment Resets? Briefing Notes • Slide/raft Improvement • A320: Dual hydraulic Loss • Cabin Attendant Falling through • Terrain Awareness and Warning the Avionics Bay Access Panel Systems Operations Based on in Cockpit GPS Data Issue 3 Issue 2 Issue 1 December 2006 September 2005 January 2005 • Dual Side Stick Inputs • Tailpipe or Engine Fire • Go Arounds in Addis-Ababa due • Trimmable Horizontal Stabilizer • Managing Severe Turbulence to VOR Reception Problems Damage • Airbus Pilot Transition (ATP) • The Importance of the Pre-flight • Pitot Probes Obstruction • Runway Excursions at Take-Off Flight Control Check on Ground • A320: In-flight Thrust Reverser • A340: Thrust Reverser Unlocked Deployment • Residual Cabin Pressure • Airbus Flight Safety Manager • Cabin Operations Briefing Notes Handbook • Hypoxia: An Invisible Enemy • Flight Operations Briefing Notes . Safety First #19 | January 2015 51 Issue 9 Issue 8 Issue 7 February 2010 July 2009 February 2009 • A320 Family: Evolution of Ground • The Runway Overrun Prevention • Airbus AP/FD TCAS Mode: Spoiler Logic System A New Step Towards Safety • Incorrect Pitch Trim Setting at • The Take-Off Securing Function Improvement Take-Off • Computer Mixability: • Braking System Cross • Technical Flight Familiarization An Important Function Connections • Oxygen Safety • Fuel Spills During Refueling • Upset Recovery Training Aid.

NOW AVAILABLE ON TABLETS .