General Aviation News

Russia wants closer cooperation with Singapore in civil aviation

Moscow is interested in closer aviation ties with Singapore, including the promotion of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and MC-21 civil aircraft, said the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade.

“There’s a need to diversify the range of trade between Russia and Singapore, including through the active development of cooperation in the industrial and technology areas,” Deputy Minister Victor Evtukhov told the Russian-Singapore intergovernmental conference being held at the Skolkovo tech center.

He outlined civil aviation as one of the promising areas of cooperation between the countries, saying Moscow intends to deliver its newest aircraft to Singapore and further to the South East Asian market.

In the long term, cooperation is planned with ST Aerospace to provide after-sales service for the SSJ 100 and MC-21 directly in the target markets. They could possibly establish a joint venture for customizing cabins of VIP versions of the aircraft.

According to Evtukhov, Moscow and Singapore are starting a service center for Russian aircraft operated by STAerospace, Changi International, and Singapore Airlines.

“We believe the development of these competencies and logistics’ infrastructure will contribute to the expansion of trans-regional transport routes and increase the purchases of Russian aircraft,” he said.

Evtukhov also talked about the e-commerce B2B platform, developed by the Russian-Singapore Business Council.

The platform was designed to promote civilian Russian industrial goods in Southeast Asia, India, and Australia, as well as to increase efficiency and improve services of importing goods from Asian countries to Russia and the EEU. The platform provides customers with information about products and services as well as the process of export-import operations.

"We believe the active development will contribute to the creation of favorable conditions for the participants of foreign trade,” he said.

The role of language in aviation accidents

Language plays a greater role in aviation accidents than the industry may realize, according to a team from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which is developing curriculum and training protocols in the hope of heightening awareness among pilots, air traffic controllers and others.

One of the accidents the team studied as the January 1990 crash of Avianca Flight 52 from Bogota, Colombia, to New York City. The plane ran out of fuel on approach to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), causing the Boeing 707 aircraft to crash in a wooded residential area in Cove Neck, New York, on the north shore of Long Island. Eight of the nine crew members and 65 of the 149 passengers on board died.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the crash occurred partly from the flight crew’s failure to properly declare a fuel emergency. The investigation raised safety issues that included communication concerns between the pilot and air traffic control.

Because of poor weather conditions, the aircraft was in a holding pattern and running low on fuel, but the crew did not use the word “emergency,” which resulted in air traffic control underestimating the seriousness of the situation and the need for special handling.

In another accident in October 2001, a Cessna Citation CJ2 business jet collided with a McDonnell Douglas MD-87 airliner on the runway at Linate Airport in Milan, Italy. All 114 people on both aircraft died, as well as four people on the ground.

While many factors were noted, accident investigators also found that the aviation terms and phrases widely used by the controllers and pilots did not conform to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommended practices. Communication also alternated between English and Italian.

Those are two examples of aircraft accidents where inadequate English language proficiency was noted by investigators as playing a role in the chain of events leading up to the accident.

Elizabeth Mathews, a former linguistic consultant for ICAO and assistant professor at Embry-Riddle, believes language has been a factor more often than has been noted. As an expert in language as a factor in aviation safety, Mathews is part of a team at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach and Worldwide campuses combing through databases of aircraft accidents globally to determine the role communication deficiencies may have played.

That research is just one part of Embry-Riddle’s overall Language as a Human Factor in Aviation Safety (LHUFT) Initiative to heighten awareness, improve aviation safety and enhance future investigations.

The initiative and LHUFT Center involves partnerships with Georgia State University and Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS). The work includes joint research projects; developing curriculum for aviation English; advocating for best practices in aviation language training, teacher training and testing programs, which are currently unregulated; and becoming an industry leader for language in aviation research and expertise.

“While communication is universally acknowledged to be critical to aviation safety, industry understanding of communication and language as fundamental aspects of aviation safety has not kept pace with our understanding of other human performance factors,” Mathews said.

Mathews noted that language issues in aviation are not investigated with the same degree of systematic and expert thoroughness with which other human and operational factors are considered.

“Embry-Riddle hopes to provide an organizational focus to support human factors specialists, accident investigators and safety experts to better consider communication and language factors and to build a bridge between the field of human factors in aviation and applied linguistics. The goal is to improve aviation safety by heightening industry awareness of the threats posed by language issues in aviation,” Mathews said.

One of the first steps of the initiative was the establishment in August of the first comprehensive bibliography of published resources on language as a human factor in aviation that is housed in Embry-Riddle’s Scholarly Commons digital repository. The free bibliography was compiled by Dr. Anne Marie Casey, dean of Embry-Riddle’s Scholarly Communication and the Library, and William Condon, research librarian. The bibliography, edited by Jane Deighan, special projects librarian, contains thousands of references to articles, books, reports, dissertations and theses.

Three new courses — Language as a Factor in Aviation Safety, Aviation Topics and English for VFR Flight — are also being offered at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus to increase awareness and improve communication with the goal of expanding to Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide campuses. More are also planned.

English for VFR that began in the Spring at Embry-Riddle’s Language Institute has interactive classroom sessions teaching flight students listening and speaking strategies, and English language skills to successfully communicate with air traffic controllers.

Jennifer Roberts, Aviation English Specialist for Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus in the College of Aeronautics, who developed and continues to develop new curriculum, said as air travel increases around the world, particularly in places where English is not the primary language, so does the need to ensure a safe and efficient level of English language proficiency for all aviation personnel.

“Too many aviation personnel are receiving operational training without sufficient English language instruction to reach the level of proficiency that will be needed when mechanics, controllers, or pilots, all with different native languages, are expected to communicate about issues in the hangar, the tower or the flight deck,” Roberts said. “The list of potential opportunities for miscommunication in aviation is endless.”

As a former FAA air traffic controller, Dr. Sid McGuirk, department chair of Applied Aviation Sciences for Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus, said he knows first-hand the importance of communication to flight safety.

“Language is key not only for pilots and air traffic controllers, but throughout many facets of aviation,” McGuirk said. “Nearly all human factors textbooks and manuals identify communication as a critical element of safe operations, citing both first-language and second-language interactions as contributory factors to numerous accidents and incidents. Embry-Riddle is proud to be supporting this initiative to foster improved understanding of language use in aviation.”

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