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Aviation Human Factors Industry News

January 20, 2005

Vol. II, Issue 4.

Continental Airlines mechanic killed by jet engine.

A Continental Airlines Boeing 737-500, the same model aircraft involved in Sunday's accident.

(CNN) -- A mechanic standing near a Boeing 737-500 at El Paso International Airport in Texas was sucked into one of the engines and killed Monday, officials said.

Continental Airlines Flight 1515 was preparing to take off for Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston when "a maintenance-related engine run-up of the right-hand engine" was carried out, said Roland Herwig, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration's southwest region in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

"Someone on the ground was sucked into the engine," he said.

In a written statement, Continental Chairman and CEO Larry Kellner said the person killed was a mechanic who worked for one of the airline's suppliers.

"My fellow coworkers and I extend our heartfelt sympathies to the family and friends of the mechanic involved in this tragic event," Kellner said.

The 737-500 was carrying 114 passengers and five crew members at the time of the accident, he said.

"Continental is coordinating assistance for passengers who need help dealing with this tragedy," Kellner said. "Continental's Employee Assistance Program team is also flying to El Paso to meet with employees."

He said the incident occurred during a maintenance check in preparation for the plane's departure.

A spokeswoman for Boeing said Monday's incident is not the first such accident. "It doesn't happen very often," spokeswoman Liz Verdier said. "It has happened in the past."

Either way, she said, the responsibility lies with Continental: "The airlines are responsible for their safety procedures."

The National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team of investigators from its office in Denver, Colorado, Herwig said.

Previous Incidents by the B737

Thursday, July 15, 2004.

Engineer Sucked Up by Boeing's Jet Engine

By Lyuba Pronina
Staff Writer

A maintenance engineer was killed early Tuesday morning when he was sucked into a Boeing jet engine at Sheremetyevo Airport.

Igor Yelfimov, 26, an airport engineering service employee, was torn to shreds when a Kazakh airline's Boeing 737-700 started its engines at 3:44 a.m., Valery Luchinin of the Federal Service for Supervision of Transportation said by telephone Wednesday.

Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, April 19, 2002

Mechanic Killed after Sucked into Wing Engine of Air China Jet

A Chinese mechanic was killed Thursday after he was sucked into one of the engines of an Air China jet as it pulled away from the airport gate, BBC report said.

A Chinese mechanic was killed Thursday after he was sucked into one of the engines of an Air China jet as it pulled away from the airport gate, BBC report said.

Air China flight 928, carrying 211 passengers and seven crew, was to take off from Osaka's Kansai International Airport for Beijing when the incident occurred, said Junichi Odawara of the Kansai airport police.

The plane's engine was badly damaged and the flight was canceled, he said.

Odawara said witnesses saw the man sprint to one of the plane's wing engines, which pulled him in with the force of its rotating turbines.

Hiroshi Kato, another airport police official, said investigators were investigating the possibility that the man, identified as 39-year-old Zhang Xinmin, committed suicide.

Air China officials weren't immediately available for comment.

Aviation Techniciansí Comment on Continental Airlines Mechanicís Death

An Earlier B737 CMF Suction Event Before the "WEB"

Regarding B737-with CFM engines: "...actually sucked into a jet engine?...?
This suction torso-intake happened when UAL began line-ops with their new B737-300ís. [Anybody keep that safety message about that incident? (TUL? Or maybe OKC.)]

The operator had been using B737-200ís (with the tiny intake JT8D engines) into this outstation. Ground employees at that outstation, "contract" workers not employed by UAL,
had no knowledge of the new hazards associated with the B737-300ís big CFM engine-intakes.
That operator (UAL) was employing "contract" ramp-services for baggage-loading and push-bag at that outstation. The incident occurred just after Pushback, after engine start.

The push-crew had disconnected the tug and interphone-cord, and given the "all clear" salute. The victim, a TWA baggage handler (part of the "contract" push-crew), still wearing the headphones, began to clear the area: he began walking from his position in front of the aircraft, moving toward the left wing tip (walking toward the jetway from which they had recently pushed).

Those lucky pilots of this brand new B737-300 (sitting well forward of the engines) never noticed this spectacular event. When they arrived back at the hub, Stapleton, their passengers entertained those pilots with crazy stories about the human riding in the LHS engine-intake during taxi-out, prior to takeoff: The human (TWA baggage smasher) was pulled into the intake, with his head & torso inside the intake, headphones and some clothing sucked away, his breathing stopped (suction), and this victimís legs drooping out from the bottom of the engine-intake.

The tug driver had jumped from the push-tug, and was now dragging along on the ground, holding tight to his co-workerís legs. At some point, the victim was freed from the intake, and the two guys fell to the concrete.

This non-fatal incident happened before the "web", and the only report was later circulated among pilots, outlining the hazards of using the new aircraft at outstations (where "contract" employees had
no knowledge of the -300ís new CFM engines).

Another point of view

The simple fact is that when working around any machinery regardless of what safety devices are in place, there is risk of injury or death. There is still a responsibility of the worker to follow safety procedures.
I doubt this guy was being reckless, but just had a moment of
clouded judgment. I would hazard a guess that pretty much anyone who works around aircraft have had close calls, but luck and or safety awareness has prevented it being anything more.

I have had in incident with a life raft, which many of you may or may not have seen a very funny photo of on the net, it almost killed me, but at the end of the day it was an accident, working alone
late at night and going beyond what I thought was good judgment. (I will give anyone a chocolate fish if you can find the photo :grin and I walked away feeling stupid, but I will never do that again.... But a life raft??? who would have thought?
Engines are probably the most dangerous things on an aircraft (apart from the
human operating it), safety precautions and education is required to make them as safe as possible, step out side those precautions and youíre in trouble.

Safety: Airlines Vs. Hospital
Statistics show you're a lot safer in a U.S. airliner than in a U.S. hospital and a consulting firm says medicine can learn a lot from aviation. Lifewings Partners LLC, made up of military and commercial pilots, along with active doctors, teaches healthcare providers the principles of aviation crew resource management with the goal of reducing the number of potentially life-threatening errors that happen in hospitals. According to a news release issued by Lifewings, 34 percent of critically ill patients in U.S. hospitals experienced mistakes in their medical care. It's the highest rate among developed countries. By contrast, the FAA published in 1996 that if you flew on "one flight at random each day, [you] would, on average, go for 21,000 years before perishing in a fatal crash." The statement is based off data that suggests your chances of being in fatal airline crash are one in eight million. Lifewings teaches CRM techniques to healthcare professionals and the effects have been significant for one prestigious medical center. Vanderbilt University Medical Center reports that it has "eliminated wrong surgeries," which undoubtedly has gone a long way toward improving "expected-to-observed mortality ratios." That's also cut malpractice suits.

Warning on aviation safety in Europe

The Civil Aviation Authority expressed serious concerns last night about the operations and performance of the fledgling European Aviation Safety Agency and warned that aviation safety in Europe could eventually be jeopardized.

Sir Roy McNulty, CAA chairman, told the House of Commons transport committee that Easa, which has been operational since September 2003, was seriously understaffed and underfunded and its budget for 2006 would be exhausted within three to four months.

Separately Sir Roy disclosed he had held meetings a couple of years ago with Sir Rod Eddington, former British Airways chief executive, to address concerns about BA's standards of aircraft maintenance, which had been impaired by the speed of BA staff cuts. BA's previous maintenance standards were criticized last month in a report by the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch. Sir Roy said actions had been taken to rectify the problems.

Easa is supposed gradually to take over responsibility in key areas of aviation safety in Europe, including rule-making and aircraft certification, from the Joint Aviation Authorities of the member states.

Sir Roy said: "Additional bureaucratic steps introduced by Easa combined with its shortage of staff and lack of resources was causing serious problems and delays for aircraft manufacturers seeking to certify new aircraft and parts and systems."

In evidence to the committee the CAA said that Easa had "significant difficulties to resolve", some caused by European Commission constraints on staffing and finance.

Japan Airlines suffers 'big-company disease,' needs reform: panel

A safety advisory panel for Japan Airlines set up after a series of operational mishaps and troubles said Monday the nation's biggest airline group needs an overhaul in mentality across the company to survive because it is suffering from a "big-company disease."

The group of experts was set up in August at the instruction of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Kazuo Kitagawa to hear out those who were involved in the troubles, including mechanics at the airline group under holding company Japan Airlines Corp.

In a proposal presented to JAL President Toshiyuki Shimmachi, the panel, headed by nonfiction writer Kunio Yanagida, said, "JAL cannot keep on going unless a company-wide reform is implemented in mentality."

The Tokyo-based airline "is developing a 'big-company disease' where there is the least sense of unity between management and frontline workers," the proposal says.

The reported mishaps include a JAL pilot trying to leave an airport without obtaining permission for takeoff, and flight attendants forgetting to perform safety procedures for emergency evacuation.

The panel called for a mentality change among workers to think actively as well as organizational reforms including the establishment of a post in charge of safety issues vested with powerful investigative powers.

The panel also proposed a safety documentation center open to the public to display the wreckage of the 1985 Japan Airlines jumbo jet which crashed in Japan, which is the worst single-aircraft accident in aviation history, killing 520 people.

Yanagida told reporters if the center is built, it will show JAL's commitment to safety in a concrete manner.

Shimmachi said he will "take each proposal seriously so that the company will be reborn into an airline with higher safety standards that would ensure (passengers) can feel safe in flying."

Six Reasons Why You Need Your Sleep

How much sleep do we need? Experts believe that seven to nine hours is about right. The goal is to wake up feeling refreshed and to stay awake and alert throughout the day without relying on stimulants or other pick-me-ups.

While more research is needed to understand the relationship between chronic sleep loss and health, itís safe to say that sleep is too important to shortchange. So if you haven't considered sleep as part of your healthy lifestyle goals, here are six reasons to consider doing so.

1. Learning and memory

Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory by way of a process called memory consolidation. One study showed that those who slept before a cognitive task did better. In others, subjects discovered more insightful or creative ways to problem-solve after a nightís sleep.

2. Metabolism and weight

Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by altering metabolic functions, such as processing and storing carbohydrates, and by stimulating the release of excess cortisol, a stress hormone. Loss of sleep also reduces levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite, and increases levels of ghrelin (pronounced GRELL-in), an appetite-stimulating hormone ó a combination that can encourage eating.

3. Safety

Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.

4. Mood/quality of life

Sleep loss, whether long- or short-term, may result in symptoms ó irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness ó that suggest psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. Too little sleep can leave you so tired that you donít want to do the things you enjoy. Poor sleep also affects the ability to work effectively.

5. Cardiovascular health

We donít know much yet about the effect of chronic partial sleep loss on cardiovascular health. But serious sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, cardiac arrhythmias, and increased inflammation (which has been implicated in heart attacks).

6. Immunity/cancer prevention

Though all the mechanisms arenít clear, scientists have found that sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the bodyís killer cells. For example, sleep loss around the time of a flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the production of flu-fighting antibodies. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer. Harvard researchers have shown that women who work at night are at increased risk for breast and colon cancer. The connection may be through melatonin, a hormone that helps put us to sleep; light at night cuts melatonin production.

Getting your Zs

So if you think you aren't getting enough rest at night, follow these tips to get better sleep:

Get regular exercise, but not within three hours of bedtime.

Donít use alcohol as a sleep aid.

Avoid caffeine after noon.

Establish times for going to bed and getting up.

Keep your bedroom temperature cool.

Reasons For Fall Protection Devices


      Falls are the greatest cause of fatalities in construction.

      50% of falls over 11 feet result in fatalities. (Since this is an average, some falls under 11 feet are fatal.)

      It takes one second to fall 16 feet.

END - Lets Be Safe Out There