December 19, 2012
Boeing and Embraer have revealed plans to co-develop new pilot procedures, training aids and flight deck technology to reduce runway excursions–one of the top three contributors to aircraft accidents.
The flight safety initiative is the latest venture to emerge from the two companies following the signing of a co-operative agreement in April. The two have signed up to collaborate on Embraer’s KC-390 tanker-airlifter and Super Tucano aircraft programs, as well as on the development of sustainable aviation biofuels made from sugarcane.
According to a joint statement from Boeing and Embraer, runway excursion accidents “remain a concern” and have resulted in more than 780 fatalities from 15 accidents from 2002 to 2011.
Corky Townsend, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ director for aviation safety, says the plan initially involves the development of a “shared set of tools to improve situation awareness to reduce runway excursions.”
New pilot procedures and the making of a new training video on landing performance will occur in the first stages of the venture. The initiative also includes development of new technology and systems for the flight deck.
Mauro Kern, executive VP for engineering and technology at Embraer, says the runway excursion safety initiative is a “very important development within the context of the broader agreement” and is a “perfect project for the two teams to collaborate on.” The manufacturers are “working on finalizing the procedures that will be improved in each company’s flight manuals,” he adds.
The revised procedures and training video will be distributed in 2013, with the first of the modified manuals being issued for some of the Boeing and Embraer models “within the next six months” says Townsend.
As part of the initiative to change procedures, Boeing conducted studies of events to “try and understand” the background to the runway excursion problem, says Townsend.