FOQA:  Flight Operational Quality Assurance.  It’s really just a fancy name for a system that monitors and reviews pilot performance.  At Global Aviation, this program was introduced in January of 2011 to satisfy a requirement by France and Bermuda that necessitated a Flight Data Monitoring program for all Part 135 charter aircraft, over 60,000 pounds, which arrive in these countries.  The program consists of tapping into the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) of the Global Express, recording all of the parameters of the flight onto a Compact Flash Card, and then uploading the data to Flight Data Services in Arizona for analysis.  Global Aviation’s Director of Safety, Blair Delaney, reviews that information to ensure that no events have occurred outside a very specific set of safety parameters. Most of these system parameters are mainly geared to watch for unstable approaches, which are widely believed to be the cause of most landing accidents in the aviation industry.

British Airways began using a similar program some 40 years ago.  The idea was simple:  the FDR data could be used before a crash to analyze unsafe events, instead of only analyzing the events leading up to a crash.  The result was a pilot monitoring system that improved procedures and tightened tolerances in the pilots’ flying skills.  If a specific approach to an airport was consistently causing alerts, the data could also be used to change the designed approach.

“It’s somewhat like having a video camera in the cockpit,” says Delaney. “The pilots don’t mind the idea because they all want to be held to the highest possible standards as professional pilots.”

At Global Aviation, this program has been an excellent safety tool and is now being expanded to a second Global Express in the fleet, with possibilities for installations on smaller charter aircraft, such as the Challenger 604 and 300.


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