Note clarifies material on Fantástico program
15/09/2008 - 07:29
Note clarifies material on Fantástico program
In respect to the material exhibited today, September 13, on an air traffic incident in Rio Branco, the Air Force Command supplied the following information on the subject:
1. The Department of Air Space Control (DECEA) received a report from the FAB (Brazilian Air Force) pilot on the flight occurrence and began the usual responses for this sort of event, that is: evaluated the procedures performed and concluded that there were procedural deficiencies on the part of the air traffic control professional in the coordination of the descent of the aircraft to the Rio Branco airport;
2. The airliner's pilot continued with the descent procedure, despite the warning of the presence of another aircraft indicated by his aircraft's TCAS (anti-collision) system. It is worth emphasizing that, at no moment, was there a critical "near collision" situation, because the TCAS did not order an evasive maneuver on the part of the airliner's pilot, which is the last stage of electronic alert offered by the system.
3. At the time of the incident, only three aircraft were under the control of the region's air traffic service. At the Rio Branco Control Tower, due to the low traffic demand, the operation is coordinated in the conventional manner, by radio, meeting the established needs under current regulations. However, it's important to emphasize there there is full radar coverage for commercial aircraft flying routes in that region.
4. According to DECEA, for more than two years the Flight Protection Detail in Rio Branco has not registered air traffic incidents in that region.
5. The occurrence related by the FAB pilot, via Prevention Report, resulted in the following action: a meeting with the air traffic controllers at the location to divulge the fact that had occurred, and well as specific instructions on procedures for these professionals.
At this time, it is worth informing that, worldwide, air traffic control bodies have monitoring tools that have as their principal goal improving the service provided and contributing to the safety of air traffic in general.
It is an incorrect perception to believe that a fact like that reported happens only in Brazil and that, consequently, it indicated a safety failure in the Brazilian system. In this aspect, it would be extremely timely if the press were to compare Brazilian statistics with those of other countries.
In 2001 and 2002, for example, the United Stated registered, in absolute numbers, 2,082 air traffic incidents, in accordance with the data released by that country's civil aviation body (FAA). As it represents the most heavily trafficked air space in the world, the analysis of these numbers, in statistical terms, would be more correct for making comparisons. Therefore, for each 100,000 air traffic movements in the USA, there occurred (en route) 1.59 cases of close approach between aircraft in 2002, and 1.62 cases in 2001.
In the 2003 to 2007 period, the Department of Air Space Control (DECEA) counted 482 air traffic incidents in Brazil, which represents 96.4 cases per year, which in statistical terms represents 1.37 cases per 100,000 movements, therefore, below the American average. It is worth clarifying that the Brazilian data include all types of incidents, in all the areas of control, taking into account, inclusively, cases in which aircraft passed kilometers apart.
There is no relation between the incident and the accident with Flight 1907. The occurrence in Rio Branco happened in a terminal area, air space in which aircraft fly closer. Besides this, the airliner pilot was in constant contact with the military aircraft by means of his aircraft's TCAS. In the Flight 1907 occurrence, the flight was en route and the TCAS system of one of the aircraft was inoperative.
It is timely to clarify that the Center for the Investigation and Prevention of Aviation Accidents (CENIPA) released to the press, last month, that "there was not found in the  accident any indication of the influence of radar coverage, through inefficiency or deficiency of air traffic control communication and surveillance equipment".
In the last two years, close to 600 new professionals have been trained for air traffic control in the country. Currently, close to 2,700 controllers are on the payroll of the Air Force Command, without counting the others who are part of Infraero. Among the improvements put into place, already foreseen in DECEA's planning, worth emphasizing are the inauguration of the air traffic control simulation laboratory, last year, in São José dos Campos (SP). That investment increased the capacity for the advanced training of controllers, from 100 to 400 professionals per year, as well as improving the training of these professionals.
AIR FORCE CENTER FOR SOCIAL COMMUNICATION (CECOMSAER)