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The Joint Oceanic Search And Rescue Conference and Beyond

March 14, 2018

 

On the 6th March, 2018 Aeronautical Data Systems held the Joint Oceanic Search and Rescue Conference with the intent of bringing together actors from both the aviation and maritime worlds. Our goal with this event was to begin a discussion both as to how our software can be developed and utilized more effectively and also to create the grounds for a wider institutional discussion. 

 

The conference, hosted by ADS, was held at Flight Safety International's Teterboro learning center. Attendees included maritime experts and professors from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, The Council of American Master Mariners and The Fire Department of New York's Marine Division. The aviation panel included directors, chief pilots and safety officers from some of the worlds leading flight operations in terms of commitment to safety and industry advancement. These included a number of professional part 91 operators  such as Leucadia, part 135 operators including GAMA Aviation and Aircraft Services Group, as well as part 121 participants. Also present in the discussion were aviation industry groups including the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA),  and Air Line Pilots International (ALPA)

 

The day-long event included a short series of morning presentations followed by several hours of general discussions directly between the attending maritime and aviation experts. Of note, presentations included a first hand recounting of the actual search and rescue of a downed Yemeni airliner as recounted by its then ground operations commander, Captain Jamie Rock, who currently serves as an instructor at the USMMA. The primary topics of discussion included a thorough examination of existing communication systems, the nuts-and-bolts of moving people from a downed aircraft to the deck of an ocean going vessel, methodologies for ship qualification and more. The day was concluded with an incredible first hand recounting of a ditching in the North Atlantic by Dr. Phillp Zeeck. His testimony was a stark and important reminder of the underlying dangers faced by aviators, mariners and their passengers during every oceanic crossing. 

 

As we have learned in recent months and as reinforced at the conference, the successful execution of a forced water landing, followed by the successful execution of a rescue response is, traditionally, an incredibly rare event. While water landings themselves are a relatively unlikely phenomena among professional flight operations, forced water landings including untrained passengers almost uniformly result in the death of at least a portion of an aircraft's occupants. 

 

Inspired by events such as Pan American Airways Flight 6 and more recently US Airways Flight 1549, we began examining the factors that led to a successful outcome in these scenarios. Today, not only are we working to maximize the effectiveness of our own global standard Oxygen SMS component, but also to work with our distinguished colleagues in other sectors of aviation as well as within the maritime world. The latter being done in order to begin formulating a fully institutionalized, cross-disciplinary methodology.

 

Aeronautical Data Systems is currently in the process of organizing a mission-specific advisory board. The purpose of this board will be to establish a globally standardize-able method for water landing response that enhances the efficiency of current response assets and adds to this a deeper institutional support. The specific focuses of this board will be rendered as required. However, action items will likely include streamlined communication methodologies, modernizing training practices, planning enhancements, policy and procedural integration practices, science generation for all of the above and any other aspects necessary in making such a solution not only highly effective, but accessible, affordable, and easily to use.

 

More information regarding the organization of the pending advisory board and its activities will be made available in the coming weeks. If you are interested in learning more about the planned board activities, or simply have an inquiry, please fell free to contact Mr. Casey Stabile.

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