onsdag 16. mai 2018

USA - Mange flyulykker i Forsvaret - AW&ST

Lara Seligman
Just two weeks after a Puerto Rico Air National Guard WC-130 Hercules crashed in Georgia, killing all nine crewmembers, U.S. officials are still insisting the military aviation enterprise is not facing a “crisis.”
The latest crash comes as the number of fatal military aviation accidents reached a six-year high, in both the number of accidents and the number of pilots and crewmembers killed, according to data from a comprehensive Military Times investigation. So far in fiscal 2018, 12 fatal accidents have left 35 military pilots and crew dead, including a U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds pilot.
But U.S. military officials refuse to label the spike a “crisis.”
“I’d say mishaps happen in military aviation any time you’re flying complicated machines,” Joint Staff Director Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., said April 8 during a briefing at the Pentagon. “Mishaps are inevitably going to occur. We don’t want any mishaps to occur. One mishap is too many. But I am not prepared to say right now that this is some kind of crisis.”
  • AFMC directed sustainment centers to look at maintenance data for trends
  • Top officials doubt there is a correlation between sequestration cuts and spike in mishap
Investigators will look at each accident “in turn,” he noted.
The Air Force recently took a step to elevate the issue, with Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein directing a one-day pause for all Air Force flying and maintenance wings to conduct a wing-level safety review. Active units must complete the review by May 21; the Guard and Reserve have until June 25, Maj. Gen. John Rauch, Jr., Air Force chief of safety and commander of the Air Force Safety Center, told reporters May 8 at the Pentagon.
But Rauch, like McKenzie, is not ready to call the series of fatal accidents a crisis just yet.
“We are not facing a crisis; we are facing a chance that we want to be proactive,” Rauch says.
A Puerto Rico Air National Guard WC-130 Hercules crashed May 2 in Georgia, killing all nine aboard. Credit: Savannah Professional Firefighters Association
In addition, Air Force Materiel Command Chief Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski sent a memo to the sustainment centers that support flying units—for example, Hill AFB, Utah—directing them to take an “out of cycle” look at maintenance data for trends or any unusual activity, she told reporters May 15. 
“[I’ve asked them] to just take another look at that data from a different angle and see if there is anything we are missing in there that would help us predict what might be the next mishap,” Pawlikowski says. The centers have until the middle of July to complete the review, she added.
Across the Air Force, data show that the rate of manned aircraft mishaps has increased since the beginning of fiscal 2018, although Class A and B aviation mishaps overall for the service—including both manned and unmanned platforms—are on a downward trend, Rauch says. 
Meanwhile for the U.S. Navy, the rate of Class A, B and C mishaps also increased from the beginning of fiscal 2016 to December 2017, according to written testimony by Naval Air Systems Command Chief Vice Adm. Paul Grosklags, Navy Director of Air Warfare Rear Adm. Scott Conn and U.S. Marine Corps Deputy Commandant for Aviation Lt. Gen. Steven Rudder.
In contrast, the number of aviation accidents from 2013-17 held relatively steady, according to the Military Times.
Some observers blame the increase in aviation mishaps across the U.S. armed services on decreased funding due to sequestration cuts, aging aircraft, and lack of experienced maintainers. But Air Force officials cast doubt on any single explanation. 
Rauch says the Safety Center so far has not identified any trends to point to a root cause.
“There’s no trend across the Class As if you look at them, the numbers that we have in one year—it’s difficult to draw trends between them because fortunately we don’t have a lot,” Rauch says. “There isn’t a single thread that goes through there, there are a couple of threads.”
Pawlikowski expressed doubt that there is a correlation between sequestration cuts and the increase in mishaps, because the Air Force took the reduced dollars into account when allocating funds for sustainment.
“If, for example, under sequestration we had to reduce the number of airplanes that went through the depot, which would mean some would be flying longer without their regular preventive maintenance, we would not fly those airplanes in an unsafe mode—we would ground that particular airplane until we were able to do that maintenance,” Pawlikowski explains, calling the Air Force’s approach to allocating dollars in the wake of sequestration “fail-safe.”
Pawlikowski expects the results of the safety review to yield more information about potential root causes. Each wing commander has the freedom to conduct the one-day event on any date of his or her choosing before May 21 or June 25, depending on the unit. The Air Force hopes this will allow each unit to minimize any impact to operations, Rauch says.
The intent of the review is to gather honest feedback and identify issues or maintenance gaps that may cause a future mishap. Conducting the review through the Safety Center will allow anonymity for airmen who may not otherwise speak up for fear of retribution, Rauch says. He does not anticipate releasing a public version of the final report.
“In these large sessions there may be some people who are reticent to bring up what’s going on, but we want to make sure the safety professionals are helping lead that because there are other channels where they can submit an anonymous issue complaint or hazard,” Rauch says.
However, Rauch acknowledges that the one-day pause is not a silver bullet.
“The day in itself probably won’t solve the problem, but it gives them a chance to look at it, identify issues that they can work,” Rauch says. “It really is almost flipping that pyramid on its head because the intent is to not do the big work up here. The intent is to give time and let the individual organizations empower the commanders and the supervisors at the local level to actually go and do the work.”

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