RESPONSE TO THE NEWSPAPER O GLOBO, ON JANUARY 15, 2009
In relation to the O GLOBO newspaper article, on January 15, 2008, titled "Controllers criticize Brazilian conclusion on Gol Flight 1907 accident", the Air Force Center for Social Communication (CECOMSAER) would like to clarify some points that, apparently, passed unnoticed in the journalistic investigation by this distinguished communication vehicle.
The Brazilian air traffic control system does not present a "clear risk" directly linked to that collision (flight 1907). It is worth remembering that the features of the X-4000 software which were at the center of the controversy, have been in use in the country since the 1980s, deriving from the French system that had served Brazil. Air traffic controllers are not only trained to use X-4000, but have also participated directly in the modernization of the software, seeing as they are the product's end users.
The Federal Court of Audit itself, which evaluated the features of the X-4000 program, clarified in a decision, "there is no way to affirm that the system is unsafe for supplying air traffic control services". In fact, the Final Report concluded that the air traffic control system in itself was not a contributing factor in the accident's occurrence.
In parallel, on consulting the Table of Contributing Factors in Civil Aviation Accidents from 1998 to 2007 (source: www.cenipa.aer.mil.br , link PPAA), it can be verified that. of the more than 20 factors that contributed to accidents in the country, air traffic control stands out by being the factor that least appears, with only 0.8% (it is the lowest index!).
It is worth pointing out that in Montreal (Canada), during the 36th Session of the ICAO General Assembly, which was held from September 18-28, 2007, specialists from several countries ratified Brazil in the elite group of countries with the best capacity to administer their air traffic.
As it relates to the Final Report on the GOL accident, it is worth emphasizing further that the main product of the technical investigation is not this document, but rather the safety recommendations (RSVs) it contains. What does this mean? A Flight Safety Recommendation is the establishment of an action or group of actions that could be directed to the public in general, to specific groups of users or to a determined public or private organization, referring to a specific circumstance that demands attention, looking to the elimination or control of a risk condition. In sum, it is the final result of the countless actions that are taken for the prevention of aviation accidents and, in this sense, the principal tool used to improve the level of operational safety.
Among the 60 Flight Safety Recommendations formulated because of this accident, all available in the Final Report, half were addressed to the Department of Air Space Control (DECEA).
Therefore, the Air Force Command understands that the investigation of this accident was opportune for presenting recommendations to the Department of Air Space Control (DECEA), exactly with the view of improving the Brazilian Air Traffic Control System.
Air Brigadier Antonio Carlos Moretti Bermudez
Head of the AIR FORCE CENTER FOR SOCIAL COMMUNICATION