Aircrash Confidential - A Review

Aircrash Confidential – A Review

The six episode series, Aircrash Confidential was first aired on the discovery channel on January 17, 2011 (Aircrash Confidential, 2011). Each episode looks at a different cause of air crashes and focuses on what lessons were learnt as a result of these crashes, highlighting legislative and technological advances that have been made as well as human limitations.
These programmes present these insights at a basic and easy to understand level and offer a good starting point to understanding aviation safety technology and developments. And perhaps more importantly how the human element of aviation is always going to be a considerable risk factor. Also that while the final link in the chain of events is not always human error, human error appears somewhere in the chain.

Episode One: Pilot Error
Pilot error is the single biggest safety challenge faced by the industry and as such has demanded the attention of regulators, trainers, aircraft designers and travellers.
This episode uses five separate aviation incidents to highlight some of the major causes of pilot error – lack of training, situational awareness and hierarchical crew structures – and what corrective action the industry has taken.
The episode also takes a look into automation systems that have been designed to reduce, correct and prevent pilot error and how these have the potential to do more harm than good.
Crashes that feature in this episode are: British Midland Flight 92, American Airlines Flight 587, British European Airways Flight 548, Qantas Flight 72, Air France Flight 447.
To watch this episode on youtube click here

Episode Two: Engineering Error
While the focus of this episode is on the major technological advances of aircraft design as a result of accidents, it also highlights the human element in aviation and how this is the true reason for engineering error. These human elements run from a failure to communicate concerns, through to the limits on the capacity of the human brain preventing engineers from thinking about every possible scenario.
This episode also demonstrates how a drive for profitability can severely conflict with safety, a problem that managers all over the world will need to take into account as profit margins continue to narrow.
Crashes that feature in this episode are: Trans World Airlines Flight 800, American Airlines Flight 191, Turkish Airways Flight 981, British Airways Flight 38.
To watch this episode on youtube click here

Episode Threee: Terrorism
This episode presents a very familiar topic in a way that is truly educational for students and professionals alike. Once again it tells the story of how human factors have lead to catastrophe. In particular the failure to work as a globalised team with information not being shared with all relevant parties, or parties failing to respond to the information they have been sent.
The episode also highlights just how reactive the aviation industry is: it takes a terrorist coming up with a new method of attack for the industry to bring in measures to prevent the items they need from boarding the plane.
Crashes that feature in this episode are: Pan Am Flight 103, Air India Flight 182, American Airlines Flight 63, Northwest Airlines Flight 253, Ramzi Yousef (Philippine Airlines Flight 434) and Airport Security.
To watch this episode on youtube click here

Episode Four: Collisions
This episode uses four separate collisions over the course of thirty years to show how these events have lead to changes in air traffic control procedures and major technological advances including the development of TCAS (traffic collision avoidance system).
Using a series of aircraft collisions that highlighted the weaknesses in air traffic control systems, the programme also showed where major issues have been left unresolved leaving holes in the system which either did result in or could still result in aircraft collisions.
Crashes that feature in this episode are: The Tenerife disaster (Pan Am Flight 1736 and KLM Flight 4805), Aeromexico Flight 498 and Piper PA-28, British Airways Flight 476 and Inex-Adria Flight 550, Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937 and DHL Flight 611.
To watch this episode on youtude click here

Episode Five: Fire on Board
This episode demonstrates just how successful the aviation industry can be at responding to deadly flaws in safety. Including the changes to; aircraft materials, safety practices, legislation, design, and technological innovation.
Crashes that feature in this episode are: China Airlines Flight 120, British Airtours Flight 28M, Air Canada Flight 797, Swissair Flight 111.
To watch this episode on youtube click on the following links:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Episode Six: Extreme Weather
This episode provides an insight into what the industry has achieved in protecting aircraft from the elements. However it also exposes quite how venerable they remain in instances of wind shear.
The episode also highlights the decreased margin for error under extreme conditions and the effects of stress on pilot’s decision making.
Crashes that feature in this episode are: 2010 Polish Air Force Tu-154 crash, Air Florida Flight 90, LANSA Flight 508, Air France Flight 358.
To watch this episode on youtube click on the following links:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Aircrash Confidential. (2011, September 11). Retrieved October 6, 2011, from Wikipedia:

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