|Boeing meets in Amman : Safety enhancing innovations announced
|Such bad memories cost the global airline industry more than $30 billion in losses over the past 15 months, $13 billion of which were registered in 2002. Such losses are mainly borne through flight delays and inconvenient navigation.
Tragic accidents are often blamed on pilots or bad weather conditions. Last year witnessed the lowest number of air accidents in three decades. International Air Transport Association statistics show that 154 air accidents occurred within the last 12 months.
The most serious was the crash of China Airlines Boeing 747 in Taiwan last May, when some 225 people were killed. The horrendous accident received much attention from Boeing Co’s experts to explore new means of safety on their aircrafts. About two-thirds of people killed in air accidents in 2002, estimated at 1380 people, were flying Boeing aircrafts.
Much of the blame was directed at the pilots, who often lack the ability to navigate through poor weather conditions. Boeing’s shortcomings in air transport over the recent years forced its experts and engineers to work on new strategies to optimize the efficiency of their aircrafts.
Sales of Boeing’s aircrafts slumped as many airlines in the world switched to Airbus, Boeing’s main competitor. Royal Jordanian announced its plans to renew its fleet with new aircraft models, either from Boeing or Airbus. The quality of safety and security measure is the real constituent in RJ’s future choices.
Boeing’s experts have already noticed this fact as Jordan has been included in its campaign to promote its newly released, “Technology Demonstrator” system. It manifests six new leading-edge avionics [aviation electronics] technology aimed at securing reliable, safe and convenient navigation.
Kenneth Hiebert, regional director of Boeing’s Product Marketing Dept., paid a two-day visit to Jordan last week where he met with RJ officials and media representatives to highlight the features of Boeing’s new system. He was joined by Samir Hanna, Boeing’s regional manager for the Middle East and North Africa.
The new system provides a reliable tool for Boeing to cooperate with global airlines, suppliers, regulatory agencies and aircraft developers to maintain high safety standards.
These avionics are being demonstrated for one year through Boeing’s contacts with its customers and the international media to experience the technologies first hand. Each of the new six avionics acts as part of an integrated system that supports the pilot’s performance in the cabin.
“These new systems aim to support the pilot’s functionality during the flight,” he said. “The ultimate user of these technologies is the pilot and we want him to visualize his environs through these technologies.”
Some of the six technologies were already applied on the Boeing’s aircrafts, including the Quite Climb System (QCS) and the Vertical Situation Display (VSD). All six technologies were first implemented on the 737 models and will be applied to all Boeing’s airplanes within the coming three years.
“We chose 737 because of its strong customer interest and its compatibility with existing avionics. The plane also has synergies with planned upgrades,” explained Hiebert, who added that Boeing found the model an opportunity to first incorporate these technologies on it.
The QCS is one of the highly recommended techniques by Boeing. This kind of technology reduces community noise and pilot workload during takeoff. It provides automatic and consistent power management over noise-sensitive areas, and allows the airplane to have extra capacity of passengers and/or cargo at noise-restrictive airports.
More safety measures are also enhanced through the VSD technique. It shows a vertical profile for the airplane, highlighting the current, predicted and relative position.
“The new systems improve operational efficiency and reliability while enhancing safety,” Hiebert told The Star. “They enable reliable and safe operations in poor weather conditions.”
Other technologies also help pilots to avoid costly operational delays, en route diversions and flight cancellations. The Global Positioning Landing System and the Head-up Display provide further profile for the pilot.
The GPLS system opens airports and runways to highly accurate landing based on satellite readings, while the HUD system enhances safety eye-level critical flight information to minimize schedule disruptions and serve pilots with synthetic vision system.
The other two techniques; “Navigation Performance Scales” and “Integrated Approach Navigation” work as sequent to the whole technology. They both indicate precise position awareness and navigation performance allowing a common approach for the pilot to land safely.
Boeing is also working on three more techniques; the Surface Guidance system, Enhanced Vision system and the Synthetic Vision system. Each of these new systems improves the airport efficiency during poor visibility and provides a computer-generated profile for the pilot, especially at night when pilots often complain from viewing difficulties during low visibility.
Hiebert noted the new technologies empower a full production and increased capacity of aerospace infrastructure. “I believe our customers and passengers need to appreciate what these technologies can bring them. These features improve the aviation system and open new markets for us. But we are committed to do it safely, efficiently and grant the passengers comfortable flights,” he pointed out.
Hanna said his meetings with RJ officials aimed at building mutual understanding about the development of the air transport in Jordan and the region. As a Boeing official, Hanna praises RJ’s interest in Boeing aircrafts and said he will keep in contact with the carrier over the issue.
Hiebert went on saying that Boeing is working on future plans to promote its navigation systems around the world. “Boeing’s goal is to use the Technology Demonstrator to assess the value of the capabilities of its technologies and to determine how they will integrate with the airplane models, airspace system and customer needs,” he said. “Thus, Boeing introduces these technologies to the world to make people aware of their advanced safety standards.”