Issue Number 229
July 1998
A Monthly Safety Bulletin from The Office of the NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System
P.O. Box 189, Moffett Field, CA 94035-0189

ASRS to Conduct FANS Study

This ASRS report filed by a First Officer refers to a new technology called FANS (Future Air Navigation System) that is currently being introduced aboard commercial air carrier aircraft such as the B-747-400. FANS enhances aircraft communications and navigation through a data link (electronic non-voice) connection between the aircraft Flight Management Computer (FMC) and ATC facilities. This data link is supported by ground and satellite relay stations.

The messages relayed through FANS data link may involve clearances, flight crew requests, route modifications, and other types of routine and emergency communications. The FANS system currently is being operated by several international carriers on Pacific oceanic routes as a partial substitute for ARINC and other types of voice communications.

NASA has asked ASRS to collect operational experiences from pilots who have used FANS within the last 6 months. Pilots are encouraged to submit both beneficial experiences as well as operational difficulties they have encountered with the system. ASRS will conduct the FANS study through a number of voluntary telephone interviews, known as structured callbacks, with participating pilots.

The information gathered by ASRS will help NASA recommend appropriate ways to improve FANS technology, including training, documentation, and future implementations of data link technology.

Only reports from air carrier pilots using the FANS system will be solicited for the study. Pilots who submit reports to ASRS on FANS incidents and experiences will be contacted by a telephone call to the phone number given on the ASRS report form ID strip. Reporters who agree to participate in the study will be able to discuss the incident they reported in detail with an ASRS analyst, at a time that is mutually convenient.

Participation in the ASRS study is entirely voluntary. As with all ASRS report information, all personally identifying data (names, company affiliations, etc.) will be deleted before the research results are given to NASA. Only aircraft make/model information will be retained in the ASRS data. If there are any questions that a reporter prefers not to answer, the ASRS analyst will skip those questions.

As soon as the interview is complete, the report ID strip will be returned to the participating pilot, with no record of the reporter's identity retained by ASRS.

ASRS reporting forms are available for downloading from the ASRS Web site at Forms may also be obtained from FAA Flight Standards District Offices and Flight Service Stations; from participating air carrier companies; or by written request to ASRS, P.O.Box 189, Moffett Field, CA, 95035-0189.

Cheers!Flight crews routinely listen for unusual noises in the aircraft, but the racket this crew heard was never covered in any training syllabus. A First Officer reports:Airplane Charicature

Flight crews have come to expect the occasional cheer on landing, but rarely hear such praise on takeoff.

Taildragger Tales An experienced taildragger pilot and former air carrier Captain sent this report to ASRS to alert other pilots to a potential hazard that might be detected during the preflight check of some tailwheel aircraft.

A disconnected or broken attachment mechanism could doom a pilot to unsafe ground operations.

Another General Aviation reporter received help from an alert airport worker about an unwelcome addition to the tail of the airplane.

A brightly-colored remove-before-flight streamer will help make gust locks, gear door pins, intake covers, and other ground safety gadgets more noticeable on preflight.

Wandering Hands...Engine Out!
A wise flight school owner once warned the instructors, "Do not turn a simulated emergency into an actual one." The next reporter let a student's wandering hands toss this advice right out the window.

Alas, the dirt road appeared more favorable as a landing site when the situation was only a simulated emergency. There were obstacles yet to overcome, as our reporter continues:

Single-Engine Takeoff
A relatively new air carrier Captain admits to paying too much attention to monitoring the actions of an even newer First Officer. The result was an attempted single-engine takeoff--in a multi-engine airplane.

ASRS Recently Issued Alerts On...
Failure of a DA-20 flight idle (throttle) stop
Confusing departure procedure for a Colorado airport
Uncharted navigational aid relocation in South America
Flight crew baggage security breach at a European airport
Pilots' concerns about LAHSO (Land/Hold Short) procedures
May 1998 Report Intake
 Air Carrier Pilots 1,758
 General Aviation Pilots 704
 Controllers 50
 Cabin/Mechanics/Military/Other 61
 TOTAL 2,573