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Five Key Technological Components of Aviation Safety

Korean Air Boeing 777
Tis Meyer

Air transportation is responsible for billions of passengers every year, and it is extremely important that airlines follow strict air safety standards. However, along with the airlines, the national civil aviation authorities have to role to play in areas concerning safety. The national civil aviation authorities need to set the standard when it comes to technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping and inspection procedures. To encourage safer flights, here are 5 key technological components of aviation safety that are worth taking note of:

Ultrasound and Resin-Filled Nano-Structures

Between take-off, cruising altitude, and landing, the wings of an airplane – particularly the wing spars – go through a lot of stress. The safety of every flight is heavily reliant on the condition of the airplane’s wings. To keep the wing spars from failing, one technique airline crews use is ultrasound. Crews use it to check for early signs of failure through the fuselage skin. Wing spar issues are also being avoided through the use of resin-filled nanostructures. These can patch cracks as soon as they are discovered through techniques like ultrasound.

Weather Alerts and Low Level Wind Shear Alert System (LLWAS)

Severe weather obviously impacts all aspects of flight, as well as airport operations. This is the reason why it is crucial for pilots to have access to the latest weather data alerts. Weather alerts that include warnings for in-cloud lightning, wind shear, downbursts and hail can prevent airplanes from taking off during unstable weather conditions and help keep airports running smoothly. Aside from weather alerts, a LLWAS can also help pilots determine whether it is safe to land, avoid microbursts, and maintain a gliding slope that ensures a safe landing.

Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems (EGPWS)

Arguably one of the most important safety features ever installed is the EGPWS, which is also known as Terrain Awareness Warning Systems (TAWS). Through sensory data, it reduces the chance of a crash landing or a fatal ground collision. To help the system withstand extreme fluctuations in temperatures, metal core PCBs are often used instead of regular printed circuit boards. By following these metal core PCB guidelines, manufacturers are able to prevent hot spots from forming near active components. This improves heat regulation and ensures the safety of everyone on board the aircraft. In the 1990s, EGPWS was improved to further rely on Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in order to provide pilots with a visual orientation of any points of interest near the aircraft.

Ceramic Ball Bearings

Wheels and wheel bearings are extremely important aircraft components that have a direct impact on safety. After all, they support the entire weight of the aircraft with a surface area of only a few square inches. In addition to this, wheels accelerate anywhere from zero to 2,000 rpm in less than one second during landing. To ensure safe landings, the safety features should not only be up to standard but also enhanced whenever better and safer models are available. For instance, the latest ball bearings, which are made from new ceramic formulas, are better at resisting both the temperature changes and physical stress that landings entail.

Thermal/Acoustic Insulation

When planes crash, many of the casualties that happen are often related to fires breaking out. In order to maintain the decreasing trend of flight-related casualties, aircraft are now required to replace insulation blankets covered with metalized polyethylene terephthalate with thermal/acoustic insulation. This new insulation technology not only meets the new flame propagation standards but also effectively improves the resistance of an aircraft from an external fire. While the current global situation does not permit flights, airlines and aviation authorities should be using this time to check their planes and make sure that they are equipped with the best and latest safety components.


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