Airline and Airplane Safety information.

Safety is the paramount concern for most airlines, because crashes and mishaps can cost millions of dollars and destroy hundreds of lives. To this end, airlines often go to extreme ends to protect their human cargo. Unfortunately these ends are all too frequently not enough to prevent the tragedy and heartbreak of an airplane crash.

Seatbelts, flotation devices, and crash positions are common precautions airlines take to secure the safety of their passengers. During the preflight announcements the flight attendants will go over how to react during an emergency, demonstrate how to use an oxygen mask, and show the passengers where the emergency exits are, but a plane crash is usually so chaotic that even these well planned safety precautions fail to save many lives.

During “routine” crashes, these safety precautions can save lives. Unfortunately few crashes are ever routine. If you were involved in an airline crash you may have a right to collect a compensation for your pain and suffering. Contact the offices of Wayne Ferrell to explore your legal options today.

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FAA Guidelines for Airlines:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued the following guidelines that are designed to help facilitate commercial air travel safety without compromising the heightened security measures implemented since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks:

Allow extra time for the check-in process:
Heightened security measures require more time to properly screen travelers. Travelers should contact their airline to find out how early they should arrive at the airport. According to FAA reports, most commercial airlines report that travelers on domestic flights are required to check-in 60 minutes before departure, whereas those traveling internationally should do so anywhere from 90-120 minutes prior to departure.

Required documentation:
A government-issued ID (federal, state or local) is required. Travelers may be asked to show this ID at subsequent points, such as at the gate, along with their boarding passes.

Screener checkpoints:
Only ticketed passengers are allowed beyond the screener checkpoints, except for those with specific medical or parental needs. All electronic items, such as laptops and cell phones, may be subjected to additional screening. Additionally, the FAA suggests travelers should remove all metal objects prior to passing through the metal detectors in order to facilitate the screening process.

Prohibited items:
Knives of any length, composition or description, cutting instruments of any kind and composition, including carpet knives and box cutters (and spare blades), any device with a folding or retractable blade, ice picks, straight razors, metal scissors and metal nail files, corkscrews, baseball/softball bats, golf clubs, pool cues, ski poles and hockey sticks. If there is any doubt as to whether or not an item is acceptable for travel, the FAA recommends transporting said item in checked baggage

Permitted items:
Pets (check with airline for procedures), walking canes and umbrellas (once inspected to ensure prohibited items are not concealed), nail clippers, safety razors (including disposable razors), syringes (with medication and professionally printed label identifying medication or manufacturer's name), tweezers and eye lash curlers.

Pre-boarding gate guidelines:
Travelers must be prepared to present a valid photo identification card, along with their boarding pass. In some cases, travelers and their bags may be subjected to additional screening.

And finally…If you brought it with you, keep it with you!
The FAA requests that all travelers keep their belongings with them at all times. Please do not bring anything onboard for another person, and if asked to do so, please report the incident to the nearest airport or airline personnel.

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Pilot Training Standards.

It's absolutely imperative that pilots adhere to strict safety standards in order to ensure the utmost level of security for the aircraft's passengers and crews alike. Pilot training standards vary in terms of their specific course outline, but the following is the accepted and accredited template adopted by commercial airlines within the United States: An airline pilot must have a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time, including at least 250 hours flying as a pilot in command of an aircraft. Pilots must demonstrate their flying skills to an FAA examiner by performing various types of takeoffs and landings, in-flight maneuvers, and emergency procedures, either in an airplane or a simulator. They must pass a written exam testing their knowledge of aircraft operations, meteorology, navigation, radio communication and other subjects important to flying aircraft in commercial service. Pilots also must pass a medical exam, which includes psychological and aptitude tests.

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Airplane Maintenance and Inspection.

According to a recent report conducted by Boeing, U.S. airlines spend more than $10 billion a year to keep their fleets safe and in top operating condition. An airline's maintenance program specifies the time and periods at which certain aircraft and engine parts will be inspected. The maintenance centers that perform inspections and repair work - either the airline's own shops or those of a subcontractor - must be certified by the FAA and open to inspection at all times. Records of maintenance work on an aircraft are carefully maintained and subject to FAA review.

Each maintenance program involves a series of complex inspection and maintenance steps, depending on an aircraft's flying time, calendar time, or number of landings and takeoffs. With each step, maintenance personnel probe deeper into the aircraft, taking apart more and more components for closer inspection. A typical program involves the following types of inspections:

  • A visual inspection of an aircraft's exterior several times each day to look for fuel leaks, worn tires, cracks, dents and other surface damage; important systems inside the airplane are also checked.
  • An inspection every three to five days of the aircraft's landing gear, control surfaces such as flaps and rudders, fluid levels, oxygen systems, lighting, and auxiliary power systems.
  • An inspection every eight months of all of the above, plus internal control systems, hydraulic systems, and cockpit and cabin emergency equipment.
  • A check every 12 to 17 months during which the aircraft is opened up extensively so inspectors can use sophisticated devices to look for wear, corrosion and cracks invisible to the human eye.
  • A major check every three-and-a-half to five years in which aircraft are essentially taken apart and put back together again, with landing gear and many other components replaced.
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Education and Testing of Airlines.

U.S. airlines use a variety of testing methods to ensure the highest level of standards for their pilots and other crew members, depending on the subject matter. Methods include: classroom instruction, training in simulators, hands-on equipment training and the use of self-testing computerized video presentations. In all cases, the training exercises conclude with exams, drills or flight checks to ensure pilot and flight engineer competence. Airline pilots and flight engineers are required to complete certain recurring training each year. Normally, this is done in an advanced simulator and takes from two to four days, depending on the type of airplane the pilot flies. Airline captains must complete some elements of recurring training every six months.

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Airline Safety Security Post 9/11.

In response to the terrorist attacks on Sept 11, 2001, the Federal Government has enacted several key reforms to increase commercial air passengers’ safety and security. In November of 2001, President Bush signed into law the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), designed to mandate several important aviation security procedures.

There were two major changes in airline security post 9/11 initiated by the passing of the ATSA: Mandated security screenings at all U.S. commercial airports, and the requirement to screen all checked baggage.

In order to effectively implement the mandates, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) created 158 Federal Security Director positions to oversee security operations at all 429 commercial airports in the United States.

Enhanced security procedures coupled with a stringent adherence to policy by all major commercial airlines has greatly reduced the threat terrorist activity within the commercial aviation industry. Perhaps most importantly, tighter security measures have assuaged much of the apprehension expressed by the general public in regards to international and domestic air travel.

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