Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Gulfstream program emphasizes flight safety

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. has enrolled more than 140 aircraft in its new Flight Operations Risk Management Service — or FORMS — program, providing operators unique access to data that has been proven to reduce hazards in airline operations.

 The service, modeled after airline programs that have become widely used to analyze operational data and improve flight training, is now migrating to business aviation.

Among its benefits, the data can be used to analyze airport-specific approach procedures that can challenge pilots. The larger the program database becomes, the better Gulfstream is able to identify trends and implement corrective measures through education and training, according to Randy Gaston, the company’s vice president for flight operations.

Gulfstream’s FORMS database includes operational details on more than 25,000 flights, 15,000 of which were conducted in 2011 alone. It is available worldwide.

“Many airlines use quality assurance technology to improve consistency and safety in operations, and Gulfstream is at the forefront of bringing this discipline to business aviation,” Gaston said.

According to Gulfstream’s recent analysis of its FORMS database, the most frequently used airports by Gulfstream operators are Teterboro, N.J., Dulles International outside of Washington, D.C., and Westchester County in White Plains, N.Y.

These airports, and others in congested airspace, can provide unique challenges due to air traffic control handling, including control-tower-requested speeds, altitudes and spacing on instrument approaches. The data can identify arrival procedures most likely to contribute to delays in configuring and slowing an aircraft for final approach.

The program collects data from a quick-access recorder and compares the data to defined parameters for takeoff, climb, cruise, descent, approach and landing. It identifies when certain criteria have been exceeded and provides operators with reports on specific events that exceed parameters, as well as quarterly reports reflecting their specific operations.

These reports identify key parameters for flight department review. Gulfstream also receives consolidated fleet data, which is used to enhance pilot training

FlightSafety International, a leading provider of flight training for Gulfstream operators, uses FORMS data to refine its programs.

“FlightSafety and Gulfstream continue to work closely together to maximize the benefits and effectiveness of the FORMS program,” said David Davenport, manager of the FlightSafety International center in Savannah.

“The data collected has enabled us to further tailor our training programs to the specific needs of Gulfstream aircraft operators and has helped to increase safety among those who have taken advantage of the program,” Davenport said.

Every operator in the Gulfstream fleet has access to the annual fleet report, which consolidates all the results from FORMS-enrolled aircraft. This data can be used to modify techniques, procedures and training as necessary, even for operators not enrolled in the program.

The program is available for the Gulfstream G550, G450, G350, G400, G300, G200, G150, GV, GIV-SP and GIV.

Gulfstream aircraft constitute the largest base of business aircraft participating in any flight operations quality assurance/ flight data management program.

The 2011 FORMS annual report is available for all Gulfstream operators to download via, the password-protected Gulfstream operator portal.

There are approximately 1,100 program-eligible Gulfstream aircraft currently flying, according to company spokeswoman Heidi Fedak.
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