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FAA Issues Safety Alert on Flap Configurations

Dec. 11, 2014

A recent FAA safety alert urges flight departments to raise awareness of aircraft misconfigurations on takeoff with an emphasis on flap position.

The Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing program recently concluded an analysis of flap misconfiguration events. While such misconfigurations are rare, they do occur.

"Approximately half of the events for misconfiguration during the takeoff roll resulted in rejected takeoffs. The other takeoffs were continued with the flaps being moved during the takeoff roll. The configuration of the airplane by the flightcrew should be in accordance with the operational checklists," the alert states.

"It is imperative that flightcrews exercise discipline in the use and the execution of operational checklists to prevent aircraft misconfigurations on takeoff," according to the FAA.

Review the FAA's full safety alert.

The NBAA Safety Committee has identified "distractions" as one of the Top Safety Focus Areas, noting that interruptions and distractions are frequent threats facing flight crews and have been shown to lead to significant safety problems.

The primary effect of interruptions or distractions is breaking the flow of ongoing cockpit activities.

"As (task) saturation increases, performance decreases and the number of errors increases; these problems can be compounded by fatigue. When experiencing task saturation, a pilot may begin shutting down or compartmentalizing. The pilot may completely stop performing or begin acting sporadically and continuously reorganizing but not producing any effective results," the Safety Committee said when releasing its Top Safety Focus Areas.

"Task saturation can be avoided by using checklists," the committee suggested. "Checklists give a pilot a clear line of action, including a definitive starting point. Effective use of a co-pilot or other crewmembers can also help reduce task saturation."

View the NBAA Safety Committee's Top Safety Focus Areas.