Aviation Assignment: Discussion On Weather-Related Aviation Accidents
Task: You are required to develop a report on aviation assignment that gives an over view of weather-related aviation accidents. It MUST include reference to two separate accidents that have occurred, with a prime focus on two separate weather phenomena. There must be an equal focus of the weather and accident itself. Additionally, your focus is on aircraft below 5700kg.
As evident in this aviation assignment, people and nations have benefited and flourished as a result of air travel, which is the most effective, efficient, and fastest mode of transportation from one location to another. In today's culture, the aviation sector is regarded as one of the most important industries that allow air travel to take place. Passengers go from state to country for business purposes on commercial flights, and cargo planes aid in the expansion of commerce by transporting commodities.The airline sector needs to provide an efficient and safe operation to reap the benefits of air travel. However, there are a variety of meteorological phenomena that can disrupt flight operations and possibly cause catastrophic accidents. In this study, an overview of weather-related aviation accidents will be discussed with an emphasis on two different weather phenomena.
In modern society, the aviation industry is defined as one of the most vital industries which make the occurrence of air travel possible. Air travel is the most effective, efficient, and fastest way of movement from a destination to another has helped the people and nations to benefit and flourish. With the help of commercial flights, the passengers move from states to countries for business purposes and the cargo planes help in enhancing commerce through the transportation of goods. For enjoying the benefits of air travel the industry must ensure an effective and safe operation. However, various weather phenomena affect the operations of flights and might even result in destructive accidents. In this report, asynopsis of the weather-related aviation accidents will be developedreferring to two different accidents that occurred in the past on aircraft below 5700kg with a precisefocal point on two separate weather phenomena.
Weather-related Aviation Accidents
Different kinds of weather conditions make the flight movement dangerous, one of which is Thunderstorms leading to various patterns of weather which gets dangerous to the aircraft. There is significant turbulence formation because of the updrafts and downdrafts taking place within the thunderstorm as it grows. An aircraft might gain or lose altitude while facing turbulence which can result in severe damages including accidents(Fultz and Ashley, 2016). The reports of FAA defines that the thunderstorms obstruct the ability of an aircraft to remain steady at an altitude due to the creation of turbulence, additionally, there is lightning that accompanies the thunderstorms making the situation severe for the aircraft. If an aircraft gets struck by lightning it might result in the knocking out of the electrical equipment in the plane making it difficult for the navigation of the aircraft by the Pilot. There are dangers to the aircraft due to the icing both in the air and on the ground. On the ground, there can be ice accumulation on the aircraft's vital parts like engine inlets and propellers whichmay lead to accidents during takeoff due to the significant drag leading to the prevention of acquiring the normal speeds that are necessary to lift the aircraft(Brotak, 2018). While in the air, icing might result in navigational errors. This happens when the ice impacts the measuring instrumentation affecting the results of the altitude and airspeed parameters. Therefore, there came to be erroneous judgments being made by the pilots which are caused by the incorrect measurements through the icing. Tremendous alteration in the direction and speed of the wind, defined as the wind shear constitutes another importantunfavorable weather phenomenon. These wind shear are created due to various conditions of weather including jet streams, microbursts, thunderstorms and mountain waves(Roach, 2020). The microburst causing wind shear presents a bigger threat than the other sources as it occurs in lower altitudes. As a closer, the plane is to the ground the impact of wind shear can be more destructive as the aircraft normally remains at the lower altitudes during the takeoff and landing which are regarded as the two crucial flight phases. As per the FAA, the pilot can’t get enough time to react during the wear shear which leads to the loss of altitude and control.
Occurrence of Accidents
There are two different accidents of the Cessna aircraft registered as VH-EKS and VH-KKM that occurred in the past due to weather phenomena.
The aircraft of Cessna 182 Q, registered as VH-KKM and working in the visual flight regulations left the New South Wales Moruya Airport to Victoria, Mangalore Airport on 23rd October 2013 in a private flight. The route of the flight included the Alpine National Part in which the weather forecast took account of widespread thick clouds and grievous turbulence(Australian Transport Safety Bureau, 2013). Soon after crossing the Victoria, Mount Hotham Airport, the aircraft crashed colliding with the landscape on the Mount Blue Rag’s eastern side at 5,000 ft above sea level leading to the annihilation of the aircraft as well fatal injuries were suffered by the pilot. The pilot with minimal instrument and total experience of flying and qualified operating only in conditions of visual Meteorology was the one who departed the Moruya Airport. There was a great risk of bumping into adverse conditions of weather, relentless turbulence, and decreased visibility in the region of Alpine National Park, Victoria. It was evident that the pilot-operated in the diminished visibility where the avoidance of terrain could not be guaranteed. The recency and limited experience of the pilot was the reason behind the misinterpretation of the forecast and midair weather conditions that together with the augmented workload of the strenuous conditions of flying led to the continuous flying to the destination intended instead of diverting to other airfields that were available(Mazon et al., 2017). It is obvious that the reason behind the colliding of aircraft under administered flight with unseen terrain is the reduced visibility.
The forecast of the relevant area retrieved by the pilot 3 hours before departing Moruya specified thick clouds from a bottom of 40ft to beyond 8000ft above the sea level, diminished visibility, and severe turbulence associated with haze, showers, and fog. The cloud base forecasted was below the accident site's altitude and reliable to the observations witnessed regarding the weather and the time of the accident. The witness reported cloud beneath the height of the range and fog in the significant areas and also it is evident that the pilot had been working in the reduced visibility before and until the accident occurred. The broad safety concerns are highlighted by the ATSB’s Safety Watch from the findings of the investigation and data occurrence reported by the industry to ATSB in which one of the concerns reported is flying with decreased visibility(King et al., 2021). According to the case that has been analyzed it is necessary for the pilots to give reference to sufficient visibility in order to avoid any accidents and obstructions. Atmospheric conditions like smoke, haze, and fog, darkness, and the cloud can reduce the visual reference which can result in the inadequate visibility of the pilot to observe and avoid the obstructions and obstacles resulting in fatal injuries and severe accidents. So thorough planning before the flight is necessary in order to avoid any kind of unfavorable weather conditions. Along with the importance of obtaining a relevant forecast of weather in order to develop an intellectual picture of the situations that may be possibly encountered there must also be an assessment of this information and understanding of the impacts that are likely on the flight planned. Additionally, there is a phone number included by BoM at the end of every forecast area which helps the pilots in contacting, asking, or discussing the appropriate forecast(Guo and Sun, 2020). Pilots are also needed to take an honest skill self-assessment considering the recent and overall experience and their capability of aircraft to determine the collective suitability for the task in consideration to the conditions of the weather.Also in the midair, the pilot must keep an assessment of the weather conditions which might have an adverse effect on the flight safety. Moreover, the pilot needs to be ready with an alternative in case the situation deteriorates like taking assistance from ATC or other available authorities.
The aircraft of Cessna 172L, registered as VH-EKS and working under the visual flight regulations departed Mudgee to New South Wales, Glen Innes on 24th December 2008 in a private visual flight rules flight. Soon after 15 minutes of departure, there was increasing cloud encountered by the pilot and further, after climbing for the assessment of the weather he decided to visually go down through the cloud for maintaining conditions of visual Meteorology(Australian Transport Safety Bureau, 2010). The pilot took the aircraft down into the valley enveloped in the clouds and after flying for short duration up the valley, the pilot decided on turning back. Through the operation of turning back, the aircraft got into a cloud where the pilot got disoriented and there was the collision of the aircraft with the terrain. The aircraft got destructed, the pilot was severely injured and the passenger surrenderedto his injuries soon after. The decision of the pilot not to obtain the concerning forecasts of the Bureau of Meteorology prohibited a complete understanding of the weather that could lead to severe destructions and the after impacts on the planning of the flights including the requirements of the fuel and the alternative routes. The pilot did not prefer taking and obtaining relevant aviation forecasts of the flight before taking off also he did not divert and turned back after a 7500ft climb and when he identified the deterioration in the weather(Borsky and Unterberger, 2019). The weather conditions were so severe with an elevated risk of the pilot not being able to continue the operation in the conditions of visual Meteorology. Moreover, the flight that the pilot took in conditions of visual Meteorology, he wasn’t qualified to take such an operation. This resulted in the disorientation of the pilot reducing the probability of turning back successfully and accelerating the collision of the flight into the terrain.
The flight was not planned by the pilot according to the requirements of the flight planning specifically in regards to the fuel planning. Before a flight is planned there must be learning of all the available information necessary for the operation intended by the pilot in command. When the flight is away from the aerodrome’s vicinity, the pilot should study the reports of current weather and planned route’s forecasts along with the aerodromes that need to be utilized, and finally, the plan must be set and finalized accordingly. Also, the pilot must ensure the availability of the fuel that is necessary for the safe undertaking of the flight(Storer, Williams and Gill, 2018). The attaining and assessment of relevant weather forecasts of aviation is a necessary component for flight planning that also includes fuel and route planning. These weather forecasts will help in reducing the risks of accidents being caused due to the weather conditions for the flight proposed. In the case discussed, by not seeking the knowledge and accessing the available meteorological information of the (BOM) Bureau of Meteorology, the pilot prohibited an appreciation before the aircraft takeoff regarding the risk related to weather that impacting the flight and his existing options got inadequatewhen the flight stumbled upon the bad weather midair.
Recommendations for Safety operations
Certain conditions of weather must be present before an aircraft being allowed to undertake the crucial operation of departure and landing. The visual flight rules guides that the landing of an aircraft must be prohibited in low visibility as the pilot must have access to a clear view of the runway before making an aircraft landing. Also when the landing can be done by the pilot with access to the navigational signals, it is not guaranteed that the signal would provide a dependable and consistent report of the actual condition on the ground(Ortiz, Blickensderfer and King, 2017). Aircraft are however not permitted to land on an icy or wet runway as the surfaces are dangerous. As per the report, the maximum number of accidents occurring on the runways all across the world is due to the icy and wet runways. This happens due to the effect on the friction between the surface of runways and the aircraft because of ice leading to the reduction of braking system efficiency and it can also lead to overshooting of the runway. Therefore, the conditions of the ground icing must be checked before an aircraft is cleared for departure or landing. Also during the progress of wind shear, the departure and landing of an aircraft are difficult(Olaganathan and G., 2020). There is the equipment of systems in the aircraft control towers that can detect and inform the pilot regarding the wind shear. This can delay the departure and landing of the aircraft as this situation might lead to loss of control and severe accidents while the aircraft are close to the ground.
One of the leading factors of risk for terminal crashes is the adverse conditions of weather. Hence, if the weather conditions are tackled properly it can lead to great improvement in the safety of aviation. Admittance to the information of the weather conditions is necessary for the reduction of aviation accidents due to weather consequences. The pilots must have access to the weather briefing before the flight from reliable sources where the sources need to be of high grade and aviation-oriented, it is recommended to obtain the weather-related consultation from the Flight Service Station. This source provides information that is not just accurate but tailor-made as well as up-to-date for pilots(Low and Yang, 2018). While an aircraft is on pre-planned flights there is the possibility of encounter weather conditions that are un-forecasted. The FAA reports hold that the most general causes for the probable weather accidents are the flights in unfavorable weather during the journey phase. Also, the aircraft can be navigated by the pilot under the Visual flight rules when this situation arises. The course of an aircraft should be adjusted by the pilot in order to get away from the adverse weather conditions where assistance should be taken from the local weather stations for the diversions. While in a flight the awareness regardingconditions of local weather can be helpful for the pilots. For the identification of the region's weather conditions, they are speeding into the use of weather radar can be done, most of the commercial aircraft contains Airborne Weather Radar System which helps in providing a local picture to the pilot(Ayiei, Murray and Wild, 2020). This system helps the pilot in the identification and avoidance of undesirable formations of weather. For the improvement of flight safety, onboard instrumentation shall be utilized, generally, these instruments are must be used by pilots while flying in adverse conditions of weather which are undesirable for the rules of visual flight. The majority of the occurrence of fatalities related to weather happens when the pilot endeavors to fly with the rules of visual flight where the actual requirements us of the instrument indications that are accessible to the pilot. Therefore the temptation of relying on visual perceptions must be avoided by the pilot in the conditions of instrument metrology.
This report highlights the adverse impacts of weather conditions on aviation. The report commences highlighting the various weather-related accidents and how they occurred. Further two real-life incidents of the weather-related aircraft accidents of the Cessna aircraft registered as VH-EKS and VH-KKM have been discussed. Also, the weather conditions that are unsafe for the operation of an aircraft have been highlighted. Turbulence, thunderstorms, and decreasing visibility have been termed as the most problematic conditions of weather that are unsafe for flights. The attempt to depart and should not be done by the pilots during poor visibility and when there are wind shears in the airport region. This paper also discusses the various ways through which the adverse situations can be avoided by the pilot and there are be minimization of the damages and destructions caused when these situations are encountered. If the risks can be mitigated and weather concerns reduced then the aviation accidents related to weather can significantly reduce. This will also ensure the benefits offered by air travel are enjoyed by the people.
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