The Boeing 747-400 cargo airplane that crashed near Dubai airport on September 3rd might have landed safely if the airplane had been equipped with emergency vision technology that permits pilots to see under conditions of unstoppable blinding smoke.
Honolulu, HI (PRWEB) September 16, 2010
The Boeing 747-400 cargo airplane that crashed near Dubai airport on September 3rd might have landed safely if the airplane had been equipped with emergency vision technology that permits pilots to see under conditions of unstoppable blinding smoke. Vision safety equipment is installed on approximately 1,500 airplanes, including aircraft flown by high-ranking government officials and on executive business jets; however it is only found on a few commercial airline fleets.
Preliminary reports from flight recorder data indicate that smoke in the cockpit obscured the pilots visibility. The pilots were also overheard to be “flying blind” before attempting to land using information about ground speed, altitude, and direction given to them verbally by ground controllers. The plane eventually crashed killing both pilots.
The fire on board the Boeing 747-400 on September 3rd was not a unique event. The former head of the FAA’s Flight Standards Service authored a study in 2002 that stated fire events occur on average in one out of every 5,000 flights. Another study by the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) discovered that in North America alone there are on average three smoke incidents per day, resulting in an average of one unscheduled or emergency landing per day.
Accident investigators worldwide, including the NTSB, have made numerous recommendations to address the serious unsafe condition of a smoke-filled cockpit. Regulations require that pilots must be able to see at all times, however, current technology and procedures to vent and dilute smoke have proven to be inadequate when dense smoke cannot be stopped.
Equipment exists that enables pilots to see under the conditions the pilots reportedly experienced in the Dubai crash. This equipment, produced by VisionSafe Corporation (http://www.visionsafe.com ), is known as the "Emergency Vision Assurance System"™, or EVAS®. EVAS® is designed to allow pilots to effectively land their aircraft during dense smoke emergencies. EVAS® technology displaces dense smoke during an in-flight emergency and creates a clear channel between the pilots masks, the vital instruments and the cockpit window. This allows pilots to see outside, see their instruments, and read emergency checklists in all conditions of flight. As a result, pilots can safely navigate and land their airplanes. The Emergency Vision Assurance System™ is certified by the FAA, EASA, and other foreign regulatory air agencies.
Pilot unions recently brought the smoke-in-the-cockpit issue to the attention of Congress by sending letters stating that "the public and airline crews deserve the same degree of safety and security" as "the Secretary of Transportation (and) the Secretary of Homeland Security" since their airplanes are equipped with technology to enable their pilots to see during even the worst smoke emergencies.
Many organizations fly airplanes with the Emergency Vision Assurance System™ including JetBlue Airlines in the United States, Swiss-based PrivatAir, and NetJets. VIP aircraft in several countries, including the FAA’s and military airplanes carrying high-ranking officials, are also equipped with the technology. It is also standard equipment on some state-of-the-art corporate aircraft. Most commercial operators however, are not equipped with emergency vision technology, exposing virtually all commercial passengers to the same emergency that may have caused the crash in Dubai.
The Emergency Vision Assurance System™ (EVAS®) will be on display at the National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) show in Atlanta, October 19-21, Booth 6529.
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