Table of Contents
There are different recommendations and regulations associated with commercial airplanes operation requirements and safety standards. These regulations or index were prepared by UAE- General Civil Aviation Authority and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Booz 2007). They include items such as actions to be taken as a result of air turbulence, public address systems application, gallery equipment use in the course of landing and takeoff, cockpit admission specifications and aisles dimensions with emergency exit provisions. There are three classes associated with these safety provisions and they are critical for the current study. They are such as response to accidents and incidents (that include emergency landing, depressurization and fires), air quality of the cabin. The Federal Administration Regulations (FARs) and GCAA have two parts that are critical to commercial air carriers operation and airplane construction. They include “Airworthiness standards”(Part 25): airplanes of transport category and Operations and Certifications (Part 121): Large aircraft commercial operators and supplemental carriers, Flag and domestic. Furthermore, there critical recommendations or guidelines issued by certain airworthiness directives, advisory circulars and operation bulletins for the operations of commercial carriers (Booz 2007)
DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
Examination of FAA and GCA regulations
Ventilation: It is required by the standards of airworthiness in both regulations that cabin and cockpit air be free from vapor or gas concentrations that are harmful. Airworthiness standards recommended concentration of carbon monoxide should be below 50ppm. For carbon dioxide on the other hand should be less than 3 percent or 30,000ppm by volume. There was incorporation of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide concentration standards in the 1958 Federal Aviation Act. The design of carbon monoxide concentration standards is based on the internal-combustion exhausts requirements. The standards of carbon dioxide concentration are seen to have originated from the 1952 Civil Air Regulations amendments. Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide concentration monitoring in the cabin or cockpit in the course of flight has no requirements. However, there is a regulation which notes that there should be appropriate ventilation in the crew or passenger compartment and thus, it is considered to be ventilation rate requirement.
For both the FAA and GCA, aircraft cabin ozone contamination has been found to be a challenge at high latitude or altitude levels. Ozone is believed to have health related effects as well as being an irritant. As specified by FARs, the ozone concentration in the cabin should be less than 0.1ppm by SLE volume at an interval of 3 hours or 0.25ppm SLE per a given duration. This regulation or standard is as well applicable to air carrier regulations and it is specified that the requirement of ozone concentration can be achieved either through properly scheduled flight plan based upon the atmospheric ozone or by treating the air with equipment such as catalytic converter with the aim of maintaining the recommended concentration of ozone (Cabin ozone concentrations 1985). For FAA, the regulation was officiated in 1980 based upon data on the exposure of ozone on animals or humans which was reviewed extensively with consideration of public participation (U.S. F A A 1980). Ozone monitoring for inflight has no FAA requirement, however, UK monitors in flights which are at least 49000ft. Federal regulation compliance is founded on the air treatment equipment performance on the flying altitudes or routes or at the installation point and thus, the high concentration of ozone is prevented.
Fires: Passengers life can be threatened by fires onboard directly as a result of toxic fumes, smoke inhalation and burn injuries or indirectly as a result of aircraft structural damage, escape difficulties and lose of aircraft control. There is a lot to be undertaken to reduce toxic fumes and smoke, flame propagation inhibition and ignition ease reduction. The recommendations and regulations related to these issues of fire are fully covered in FARs and GCAA. However, the emergency procedures to be undertaken are not covered in the recommendations and regulations. There are non-emergency procedures which have been covered in the current regulations and they are such as maintenance of areas prone to fire or smoke prohibition (U.S. F A A 2005). Safety equipment prescription relative to fires are available and are such as for escape from cabins filled with smoke, for protective breathing, for fire extinguishing and smoke detectors in gallery and lavatories. The training of the crew does not only entail familiarization with procedures and equipment, but as well hands on by the refreshers. There is need to brief the passengers in case of smoke in the lavatories or cabin and this can be done through announcement.
Depressurization: The passengers can be threatened by hypoxia in cases of aircraft cabin sudden depressurization. The related standards and regulations for depressurization and pressurization are relatively less extensive when compared to those related to fires. There is no specification of emergency procedures. However, there is specification of supplemental oxygen minimal flows based on time, altitude, equipment etc. For the supplemental oxygen to be delivered to the passengers and crew there must be appropriate equipment and this is at the point where the airplane is at least 10,000ft (Equipment standards 1985). There is need to use automated system during sudden depressurization to deliver supplemental oxygen for flights which are at least 25000 ft above. In this case, portable oxygen equipment is appropriate for such a situation and hence, it should have a supply that lasts for about 15 minutes.
Medical emergencies: The FAA and GCA have a set of extensive rules related to medical emergencies. However, there are no specifications on emergency regulations. There are conditions set relative to procedures that are non-emergency and they are designed in a way where the passengers are allowed to have as well as operate oxygen supplement equipment meant for medical conditions. There are specifications on the first-aid kits number and content based on the type of injuries or accidents expected. The FARs and GCAA have medical kit (drugs and equipment) requirements and they are critical during medical emergencies (such as insulin shock, acute asthma, myocardial infarction) for life support (Pollard et al. 2000). The crew is trained on first aid practice and equipment familiarization and emergency related procedures. The requirement of the regulations entails medical kit familiarization. However, medical procedure training is not included. The kit has a specific role which is to enable appropriate response to any emergency by the trained passenger or crew who offer first aid procedures that are advanced. There are no specifications on the briefing of passengers on matters related to medical emergencies.
Evacuation and ditching: Evacuation and ditching have extensive recommendations and regulations due to the fact that they have extensive requirements needed for ancillary and airframe designing (Ditching equipment 1985).There are several emergence procedure recommendations and they are such as passenger preparation procedures during emergency landing. The requirements that are procedural give an assurance to the crew on matters of emergency equipment operation as well as appropriate bracing position evaluation based on the spacing of seats. The flotation devices on the fights should have easy access and all occupants should be accommodated by life rafts that are required to be sufficient enough.
Mandatory Management analysis for FAA (FARs) and UAE GCAA Regulations
Most of regulations and standards are majorly based on the FARs of the USA. However, other regulations related to air safety have been put into consideration. In the current study, UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCA) regulatory standards and regulations were explored. In this case, typical differences and similarities on the FAA and GCA were determined and reviewed. For instance, UAE develops its own standards and regulations and they are requirements for safety and emergency equipment that include fire survival or possible crash equipment; sea survival or rescue equipment; equipment meant for evacuation and equipment for emergency oxygen. The FAA has the responsibility of assessing the civil authorities of all nations (including UAE) operating in the USA. In this case, the current assessment gave GCA rating of category 1.
Differences between GCA and FAA regulations
The standards and regulations or a number of GCA requirements originated from FARs of the USA, but they have some differences or variations. In terms of fires, chemical extinguisher is prohibited by the regulations of GCA where are not supposed to be used in any compartment including that of cockpit. In the requirements of GCA, there are neither medical emergencies attention provided nor recommendations on the standards for ozone, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide concentration. There is however subsequent ozone level monitoring in flights that are at 49000 ft above in the UK and this is only applicable to only corporate planes and Concorde.
The evacuation and ditching requirements for GCA are seen to be different from those of FAA. In this case, there is provision of a guideline for seat distribution and passenger’s number reduction in cases where the exit is not in operation and cannot be replaced or repaired at that instant. Cushions for the seats cannot be used as flotation devices.
Differences are as well observed on crew roles and training style as well as briefing of the passengers. For instance, for the GCA, there is omission of emergency exit location oral briefing is cases where the briefing is already on the briefing card. There is limitation of the airplane types number where the cabin crew meet the requirements at that specific time and thus, training on harsh climatic conditions, terrible terrains etc.
In conclusion, in terms of evaluating which authority has the best approach over the other, there is substantive discretion given to the airline operators to comply with regulations related to safety. This is not considered to be practical based on the fact that there are different equipment and airframe configuration that ranges from airplanes with wide body to airplanes with narrow body. Most of FARs are considered being applicable to the airplanes with at least twenty passengers and this is contrary to that of GCA which is applicable to planes with less than 20 passengers’ capacity. Therefore, the safety of the cabin to some extent is based on the operating standard procedures (SOP) of that particular carrier for various airplane types. There has been a move of eliciting the OSP descriptions from USA and air carriers that are foreign such as UAE. This move however never saw the light as it never represented the entire carrier industry. It was believed that the packs as well as equipment for ventilation of UAE needed activation during fire or smoke incidents. Based upon the analysis undertaken in the study, there are three cases that surfaces and they include the level at which SOP of the industry meets the stipulated regulations and standards and the relevance of the GCA and FAAs regulations and standards.
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Authority of the Commander
The pilot or the commander has a responsibility of flight conduct in both regulations where in cases of emergency he or she is required to take appropriate action or decision immediately in order to bring the situation to normal. The commander in situations of this kind could deviate from the laid down methods, operational procedures and rules. In regards to the commander’s authority for both regulations, every occupant in the carrier is required to follow the lawful commands issued by the commander in order to secure the carriers safety and the property or people in the carrier.
For the sake of being admitted to the cockpit, an operator has the responsibility of making sure that no individual who is not a crew member is carried or admitted in the cockpit. In this case, it is the responsibility of the commander to ensure safety by making sure that there is no interference or destruction to the operations of the flight as a result of inappropriate admissions to the cockpit. Also, the commander in both regulations ensures that all occupants on the carrier should familiarize with appropriate procedures of safety. Furthermore, the commander has the responsibility of making final decisions on matters related to admissions to the cockpit in GCA, but for the FAA, there are several parties involved. A crew member has a responsibility of reporting any defect or malfunction, failure or fault believed to have an impact on the carrier’s safe operation or worthiness (such emergency systems) to the commander in both regulations.
The commander has the authority in giving commands he or she believes are appropriate to secure the carrier’s safety and the passengers in both regulations. The commander has as well the authority of disembarking any individual or an area considered to pose a threat to the safety of the passengers or carrier in GCA regulations. The commander in GCA regulations is instructed to restrict people entering the carrier when under influence of substance that is psychoactive where the end result could lead to affecting the safety of the occupants as well as the carrier itself. This authority of command is not specified in the FAA regulations. The commander in the GCA has as well the authority to reject passengers who are in custody or deportees and this authority of command is not well defined in the FAA regulations. In both regulations, passengers are briefed on the emergency exit location as well as on the emergency equipment procedures and appropriate safety rules. The commander in all regulations is required to make sure that the checklist and operational procedures are adhered to relative to the operational manual.
Part 121 subpart G
The prescribed requirements are given by this part and they are related to the maintenance and preparation of manuals by all holders of the certificate. The manual for personnel management, ground operation and flight guidance and use is prepared and updated by the certificate holder. Part of the manual might be prepared by the certificate holder and it has instructions and information on maintenance where it is a printed copy or any other acceptable form. A firm with Part-21 subpart G, POA has been approved to certify and build parts of the aircraft and this is based on the agreement of POA-DOA. Companies which have been approved to give GCAA Form have the approval of manufacturing based on PART 21 of subpart G.
CAR Subpart P
The operation manual must be ensured by the operator that it has all the information and instructions required for the personnel to operate efficiently. The operation manual content that includes revisions and amendments should not contravene any regulations approved or applicable to the authority. The operation manual is required to be prepared by the operator after getting an approval from the authority and it is prepared in English where it can be translated to other language by the operator. In cases where a new operation manual is required, the operator must comply with the authority approval first. There is issuing of the operation manual in different volumes by the operator. The operation manuals should have easy access where they can be issued to the crew members by the operator. The operation manual should be revised or amended and hence, the information and instructions therein is updated (Mainland & Harris 1997).
The operation manual holder is required to have the manual copy that is up to date. The authority is required to be given the manual with the revisions and amendments by the operator prior to the implementation date. All the revisions and amendments should be incorporated as stipulated by the authority. Information adopted from the documents approved as well as amendments should be a reflection of the operation manual approved by the authority. The operation manual content should be presented in a format that is user friendly. Thus, the design should adhere to the principles of human factor. The authority allows the operator to present the manual in different forms other than the printed one. Thus, it should conform to reliability, usability and accessibility acceptance level.
Rules on certification of Pilots
No person (unless under authority GCAA and FARs ) is required to take a responsibility of a pilot as stipulated in the GCA regulations of UAE and FAA unless he or she has a license provided under the UAE GCA or FAA regulations or foreign license validate by the UAE GCA or FAA authority. The responsibilities of a given pilot should be limited to the GCAA or FAA permit rules and regulations. The license or the issued ratings under the GCA or FAA regulations could be suspended or not granted by the GCAA or FAA. The validation period of the foreign license doesn’t go beyond the stipulated validity date.
Medical certificate: The medical certificate is issued by both regulations (FAA and GCA) where without this certificate; a person is not allowed to act as a pilot under the set regulations. In terms of instrument rating and in both regulations (FAA and GCA), no person is required to be a pilot in command under the rules of instrument flight unless he or she has an instrument rating license with a rating of airplane category. In terms of flight instructor rating, it is only a perform with flight instructor rating license with relevant class and category rating who is required to endorse pilot license for students as well as giving any instructions related to the flight in terms of flight qualification (Soliday E 1999).
Cabin Crew requirements
A person does not qualify to be a cabin or flight member unless he or she has a license that is valid with relevant specifications of his or her roles as stipulated in the GCAA or FAA regulations. For GCA, in cases where the cabin crew license holder goes beyond the age of 40 years, the validity period is scaled down to one year as stipulated in 1.6.1.This is contrary to the FAA where this regulation is not specified. A cabin crew license holder with a license issued under the license holder incapacity is advised to inform the GCAA about their condition and in case the condition goes beyond 20 days, they should provide a proof of their condition. This requirement specified in the FAA, and thus the numbers of days are longer (over 30 days) (Soliday E 1999).
Minimum fuel requirements
Safe management and storage of fuel or oils as well as waste and hazardous materials should be in accordance with the requirements of FARs and GCAA. Fuel policy is established by the operator with the aim of in-fight re-planning and planning and thus the sufficient fuel is guaranteed in terms of reserves and planned operations. The flight plan should be based on the data and procedures in the operation manual. The flight operating condition should be based on the data of fuel consumption. The required fuel pre-flight calculation should include trip fuel, taxy fuel and the reserve fuel has contingency fuel, alternative fuel, final reserve fuel and additional fuel. We also have extra fuel meant for the commander (Soliday E 1999). It should be ensured by the operator that the procedures of inflight planning for the required fuel usage should be in place. These regulations discussed are seen to be similar for both FAA and GCA regulations.
Design and usability of the regulations
The GCA and FAA processes aim at ensuring airplanes inherent airworthiness and safety are certified and thus, the designing of new airplanes is put in check to make sure they comply with the stipulated regulations and standards. The standards established are supposed to be adhered to by the air carrier manufacturers in terms of maintenance, operation, production and design. Consequently, there are regulations for FAA and GCA which have been put in place for governing airworthiness regulations and standards for certification and commercial airplanes as well as for flag and domestic operation. An airplane can be produced by the manufacturer after receiving certification based on the design approved. This certification only becomes invalid after amendments. The regulations of FAA and GCA are usually applicable to the certified design following promulgation (Soliday E 1999).
In conclusion, it can be noted that the information for passengers, equipment and safety procedures of the cabin has attracted a lot of attention where they are a subject to most of the GCA and FAA guidelines and regulations. However, these regulations come with discretion to any air carrier. This is as a result of different equipment configurations in the airplane. Thus, there has been a development of procedures and equipment based on these airline regulations in terms of emergencies and routine conditions. Periodic refreshers and instructions on equipment and procedures are considered to be components of crew training for a given air plane. The emergency exit location is included in the passenger briefing. There is need to brief the passengers on issues such as safety belt use, emergency exit location, smoking area etc. There should be an immediate announcement just after or before the plane has taken off. What can be learned from the current study is that there is need to understand the merits and demerits of a passenger information program. The end results for this is that the passenger response to instructions related to safety will be enhanced or improved.
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