Aviation Safety

BySebina Muwanga

Effects of altitude, air-conditioning, disinsection, pressurization on passengers and crew

Jet aircraft have a range of up to 15,000km, enabling Airlines to operate non-stop flights lasting up to 17 hours cruising at 800 kilometers per hour, 40,000 feet above sea level.  

The ability to connect distant continents and cities within hours makes aircraft a medium for transportation of vectors that transmit Chikungunya, Dengue, Filariasis, Malaria, Zika and Yellow fever to name but a few. As a preventive measure, aircraft must be disinsected to avoid spread of disease.

In order to ensure safety and comfort for extended periods in a confined environment at high speed and altitude, the aircraft cabin must be air-conditioned and pressurized.

How does disinsection, air-conditioning, pressurization and altitude affect passengers and crew?

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ByMichael Otieno

Redundant aircraft systems enhance safety in flying

Since time immemorial, human beings have wanted to fly so bad that they have spent a lot of time and resources towards this quest.

Whether in an aircraft or not, the quest to conquer the skies is both bewildering and sometimes outright insane.

Take wing-suit flying for instance, where a flyer is dressed up in a body fitting suit with webbed wings between the arms and legs and dives off an aircraft, raised platform or cliff.

The aim here —  ridiculous as it sounds — is to glide through the air like birds do.

It doesn’t get dumber than this, but if you fancy going out with a bang, this is your ultimate ticket to Valhalla.

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ByMichael Otieno

Dealing with a death on board

A few weeks ago, this column covered some conditions for flying while ill owing to the high number of Africans seeking medical treatment abroad.

One reader, while giving feedback on the article, said how they flew a terminally ill family member back home to prevent a death overseas and avoid the cost of transporting a dead body.

Expectedly — not for the family though —  the passenger’s condition deteriorated hardly two hours into the flight.

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ByMichael Otieno

Aircraft safety: No small technical hitch

Earlier this week I noticed an oil leak from my car. To avoid an impending breakdown, my first stop was the nearest garage.It was nothing compared with my regular service centre but I figured they could at least identify and plug the leak with ease.

After a preliminary examination of the car, each of the three mechanics had their own gut feeling as to the cause of the leak.

The guesswork and theories they all had were least to say, petrifying. I knew it was time to get my car to safety when the leader of the pack returned with a final verdict that the car engine needed to be taken apart.

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BySebina Muwanga

Understanding human limitations in the cockpit for flight safety

A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health involving 3500 pilots, revealed that 12.6 per cent of the study group may have clinical depression, and 4.1 per cent reported having suicidal thoughts two weeks prior to the study.

These figures do not make for good reading and will give frequent flyers a reality check. Pilots are not superhuman. The brighter side is that these conditions are attributed to factors outside the cockpit and there are known medical procedures to manage and treat them.

Clinical depression has known symptoms and is visible. It can be noticed by the individual or other crew members in time before they get into the cockpit. Read More

ByMichael Otieno

Air travel rules come before any airline passenger wishes

Ryanair, one of the most successful low-cost carriers globally — often referred to as the “bad boy” of European airlines is headed by Michael O’Leary. His mantra is simple; “Short of committing murder, negative publicity sells more seats than positive publicity.”

Every time a law suit is thrown at Ryanair, its management milks every marketing mile from the opportunity.

O’Leary who believes that advertising agencies are useless and marketing companies a waste of money, is other than being the chief executive officer also head of marketing at the airline.

Ryanair came to mind when I read an article last week in our sister publication, Business Daily, on a disabled doctor who has decided to sue a Kenyan low-cost airline for discrimination.

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ByMichael Otieno

Avoid drama luggage at check-in

Every time I see a passenger at the side of the check-in counter with their luggage strewn on the floor as they attempt to repack to the required weight, I get this sinking feeling. 

The look on the faces of airline ground staff, who have to show restraint while explaining baggage terms and conditions at check-in is always priceless.

For passengers, complying with airlines’ luggage regulations will mean better and quicker service. You have to familiarise yourself with what is allowed as cabin luggage and in what kind of packaging, and what has to be checked-in. All this information is available on every airline’s website, furthermore most airlines follow the standardised international regulations.

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BySebina Muwanga

Improving Aviation Safety in Africa

safetyOn 16 June 2016, the European Commission seven-year-ban on all Zambian registered carriers into European Union (EU) airspace was lifted. This ban was imposed following several findings, and a significant safety concern in the air operator certification process, revealed through an ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) audit on the Zambian civil aviation sector.

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