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  • Air New Zealand stood down two pilots after some mid-air drama took place during a trans-Tasman flight.
    The airline reported that the first officer was locked out of the cockpit on a Perth-Auckland flight on May 21st. The issues started when the flight’s departure was delayed due to the first officer having to take a random drug and alcohol test.
    This delay frustrated the captain who, allegedly, prided himself on operational efficiency. During the flight, the first officer left the flight deck where he had coffee with a cabin crewmember in the galley. When he tried to return to the cockpit a crewmember spent about two minutes attempting to call through to the captain to advise that the first officer was at the hijack secured cockpit door. These calls were not answered.
    The captain didn’t open the door, or respond to the calls, because he was approaching a navigational waypoint and did not see the first officer in his cockpit monitor. Due to the fact that the captain wasn’t answering, the first officer became concerned and used an “alternative entry method to gain access” to the cockpit.
    The airline conducted an investigation and a report has been sent to aviation authorities.
    Both the captain and first officer have undergone counseling and additional training while cabin crew who were “quite anxious” over the situation were also offered counseling.

  • A recent report revealed that government policies designed to reduce net migration have reduced the international talent available to British employers.
    The report was generated by the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford and outlines how the talent pool has been hurt since the introduction of major immigration policy changes.   The UK experienced a 30% decrease in highly skilled workers arriving in the country between 2007 and 2013.
    Migrants from outside the European Economic Area have been the most affected by the government policies, as migrants have decreased from 155,000 in 2007 to 94,000 in 2013.
    Human resource experts explain that the goal to cut immigration levels is actually having an adverse effect on UK businesses, something not taken into consideration.
    Business secretary Vince Cable explains that the harder it is for international companies to employ the best executives, the harder it is to sell the UK as a place to do business.
    This new policies may not necessarily be the only reason for this growing problem. Figures also show that economic events, like the 2008 downturn and Eurozone crisis may have something to do with the erratic figures as during this time, figures actually showed a significant rise in the number of highly skilled migrant workers arriving from within the EEA.
    The number of educated migrant workers holding manager, director or senior official roles was at its lowest level in 2010.

               

     

  • A New Jersey woman sued her company because it would not allow her to come in late and leave early.
    Andrea DeGerolamo worked at Fulton Financial Corporation as a marketing consultant for about five years before things started to go array. At about the five-year-mark, DeGerolamo began to feel mass amounts of anxiety and depression, which was allegedly aggravated by crowded roadways found during rush hour traffic.
    DeGerolamo’s attorneys argued that her condition could qualify as a disability, especially considering she left the Lancaster-based company on medical leave for several months in 2012. When she returned to work, she requested that the company allow her to work a schedule “by which she could come in after morning rush hour and leave prior to evening rush hour".
    The company obliged the request for a short time but later refused to continue to accommodate her needs.
    DeGerolamo also claimed that when she returned from medical leave that her duties were downgraded “improperly” to clerical-type work. When she filed a complaint to the ethic board the only response she heard was that she was being terminated.
    She filed suit in Camden County, New Jersey initially. The case has since been moved to federal court in Camden at Fulton Financial’s request.
    It is still unknown when the case will actually be heard.

     

  • Hiring new employees just became even harder…if that’s possible. A federal judge ruled that if an applicant is not hired because she complained about discrimination or harassment to a former employer, the company that refused employment could actually be liable for retaliation.
    A female clerk at a Kauai athletic club accused a male coworker of sexually assaulting her. The lawsuit claims that she reported the incident to her immediate supervisor two days after it occurred but the employer failed to investigate the complaint. She is alleging that she, instead, was actually discouraged from continuing her employment with the company.
    After the alleged assault, the athletic club was sold and employees were released from their jobs but were told that they could reapply to work for the new owners.
    It was at this point that the clerk claimed she was discouraged from applying at all. She claims that she did submit an application anyway but was actually denied an interview altogether with the new owner.
    The clerk sued both the company that previously owned the athletic club and the new owners who refused to hire her asserting sexual harassment, retaliation and wrongful discharge (amongst other things).
    The former club owner asked a federal judge to dismiss the sexual harassment claim saying that he could not be held liable for another person’s actions. The judge responded that since the alleged perpetrator wasn’t a supervisor the employer could actually be held liable only if the clerk could prove that the club knew about the harassment and failed to take any action. The judge concluded that the clerk was allowed to proceed with the harassment claim.
    The new owner claimed that it couldn’t be held liable, simply because it never employed the clerk. The judge, again, rejected the new owner’s argument with respect to the retaliation claim. The judge explained that the new owner could be held liable if the clerk was able to prove that the company refused to hire her because she “engaged in protected activity”.
    The judge’s ruling focused on whether the allegations were sufficient enough to allow the clerk’s case to actually proceed to the next stage of litigation. “The judge did not conclude that either the clerk’s former employer or the new owner of the club had violated the law.” This case is still currently pending in federal court in Hawaii.
    HR experts are looking at this case as a learning experience. One expert states that the lesson that can be learned from this is that each sexual harassment claim needs to be taken seriously. Another expert explains that refusing to hire someone because they complained about something occurring in the workplace is completely unlawful.
    Management should be trained on the criteria they may have to consider when making employment decisions, to prevent any further legal issues from happening.

  • Very few aviation experts will argue that the safety-of-life service enabled by the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (Egnos) system is a benefit to civil aviation.
    Egnos, which entered operational service in 2009, enables aircrafts to make precision approaches and helps reduce delays, diversions and/or cancellations allowing airports to ultimately increase capacity while decreasing costs. Environmental activists would also argue that Egnos helps reduce Co2 emissions.
    The UK currently has 56 airports developing Localizer Performance with Vertical guidance (LPV) approach procedures, which are scheduled to become effective sometime between August and December.
    The safety-of-life signal has been available since March 2011, however, aviation experts within Europe’s civil aviation community are saying that it has limited use due to lack of guidance from international regulators, among other things. Many civil aviation authorities within the European Union’s 28 nations have yet to adopt any of the regulation frameworks that are necessary for implementing the procedures.
    Egnos uses a combination of onboard avionics, procedures and pilot training in order to enable LPV approaches. The system uses three different satellites and a network of about 40 ground stations that sharpen the GPS signals allowing more precise approaches.
    Egnos is also interoperable with Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) as well as the Japanese Multi-functional Satellite Augmentation System making it a great fit for remote areas and small airports that may not be able to afford ground-based approach systems.
    Aviation expertsexpected a slower adoption with the commercial aviation industry but officials are claiming that Airbus will be producing their A350 as LPV-capable.
    The first commercial operator to use Egnos were the Channel Islands based Aurigny Air Services.
    Unfortunately, the fact that Egnos is primarily satellite based may pose a problem for airports located geographically north of the equator. 

  • Air traffic controllers often rely on what is called situational awareness. A controller has to take into account what a pilot is requesting, what the consequences will be of granting the request and then decide to approve or disapprove it. When a controller declines a pilot’s request though, it could be for a multitude of reasons that the pilot might be unaware of.
    One major factor could be the controller’s workload. An air traffic controller needs to evaluate how much traffic they can handle at a given time but should also understand their workload limits. Sometimes, asking for help is the best thing a controller can do because granting a pilot’s request without properly assessing the situation could create disaster.
    Air traffic controllers need to be able to balance safety, efficiency and order. Sometimes a controller needs to look at how many aircrafts are in the area and decide if the request is even able to be obliged.
    Sometimes, pilots will request things that are illegal and unsafe. It is the job of the air traffic controller to stand their ground and adhere to rules and regulations in order to protect the pilot(s) and any paying passengers. Rules in aviation are constantly changing, so it becomes ever more important for a controller to stay aware of any changes that may occur.
    Additionally, it is important to note that just becomes something isn’t approved doesn’t mean the controller can’t find an alternative way of granting a request.
    This becomes increasingly more important in adverse weather conditions, when controllers are typically the busiest. Pilots might request alternative routes and it can sometimes be the controller’s job to provide as much leeway as possible. ATC can only approve requests if they do not compound a problem.
    A majority of air traffic controllers are justified when they answer a pilot’s request with “unable”. While this can frustrate pilots, the ATC recognises this answer as professional confidence.

  • Boeing braced itself for the temporary disruption that occurred in its 737 productions in Renton, in response to a derailed train in Wichita, Kansas.
    The train, carrying six fuselages from Spirit Aerosystems, derailed in a mountain pass about 18 miles east of Superior, Montana sending multiple freight cars directly into Clark Ford River on July 3rd.
    The train was also transporting other assemblies for the 777 as well as the 747. Boeing said that personnel were deployed to the scene to “begin a thorough assessment of the situation.”
    The accident will definitely have an impact on production. Since March, production in Renton was moving along at a rate of 42 737’s per month. Each fuselage for the production line is built by Spirit in Wichita and then transported by rail to Renton. Each day, 737 fuselages are transported to various locations along the line from Kansas. Recently, shipments were ramped up to keep pace with production increases at Boeing.
    Boeing has seen an increase in production since 2010 by about 33%. The company is scheduling to produce 47 aircrafts per month by 2017.
    Boeing hasn’t specified yet what other assemblies were on the derailed train and the reason for the derailment is still under investigation.

     

  • Officials are claiming that government plans to ban zero hours contracts with exclusivity clauses may not actually be enough to stop employers from tying down their workers.
    Zero hours contracts have been a heated topic of debate for the past 12 months and have been criticized by multiple unions.
    As it stands, there are approximately 125,000 people on zero hours contracts that are prevented from looking for additional work with a different employer (CIPD). Business secretary Vince Cable announced this week that a crackdown would begin on these exclusivity clauses.
    Unfortunately, one HR expert explains that employers could then opt to offer workers employment on limited one-week or one-month contracts. This would guarantee hours and pay but still tie employees into an arrangement of working for one employer for short periods of time.
    These short-term contracts would create less certainty for staff because they wouldn’t be offered a rolling contract. CIPD research also found, however, that workers on zero hours contracts were equally happy with their job and actually more satisfied with their work-life balance than “regular” employees.
    Cable declared that he will be working with unions and businesses to develop a best practice code of conduct aimed at employers who want to use zero hours contracts.
    Any company that currently employs staff on zero hours contracts will have to remove any exclusivity clauses by the time the legislation goes through parliament. This is expected early next year.

  • The EC175 set flight last week by Antonov on a six-week campaign in the United States to test its flight performance in high and hot environments. If the test is completed successfully, Airbus Helicopters will be able to expand the fleet’s flight envelope in extremely high temperatures at extremely high altitudes.
    One Airbus aviation expertcited Las Vegas, Nevada as an example of a place that may have extreme conditions. This city will actually serve as the host of the temperature tests. It is, after all, the second hottest city in the US.
    The altitude tests will take place in Leadville, Colorado. The city boasts an elevation of more than 3,000 meters and houses the highest airport in North America.
    The temperatures and heights being tested during this campaign are higher than those that the helicopter is currently certified for. Expanding the envelope will create a major advantage for Airbus customers who perform missions in very demanding environments, like the desert.
    In order to confirm that the EC175’s components function as they should thermal analyses are aiming for functionality at 122 degrees Fahrenheit. If this is achieved, aviation experts will consider this a milestone in the industry since many disadvantageous flight cases occur when the helicopter’s equipment reaches the outside temperature, or overheats.
    The same helicopter that was used for the cold tests in Canada last January will perform the tests.

               

  • Communication is often an issue in many businesses, large and small alike. As if it weren’t important enough, research has actually found that communication may be the difference between keeping and losing top talent.
    MetLife’s 12th Annual US Employee Benefit Trends Study recently uncovered that when workers think their employer does a good job with communication regarding their benefits, they’re more than twice as likely to say they are “very loyal” to their company.
    The study also found that employees are more satisfied with their benefits now than at any point in the last 12 years. Certain employees actually cited the benefits they receive as the reason they joined (or remained with) their company in the first place.
    Human resource experts explain that while an organization’s employees may currently be happy with the benefits communication, there is always room for improvement. The study said that 40% of employees are actually looking to their firms for help achieving security via benefits and half of the respondents stated that they needed help understanding their benefits and how they work.
    HR experts encourage management to dedicate time to benefits communication. Some companies are even holding open forum meetings once a quarter to allow employees to address any concerns they may have in regard to their benefits.

  • Flexible work schedules have been at the forefront of the employment industry the last five years. Current research is now suggesting that nearly 70% of surveyed employees would like to work flexibly at some point in the near future. One third of these respondents, although they would like a flexible schedule, feel that they will never be able to have one.
    The Timewise survey polled a little over 1100 United Kingdom workers and managers. The research, called A Flexible Future For Britain?, was gathered in two parts.
    Senior leaders usually do not speak openly about alternative working solutions offered within their company. Approximately 91% of the managers surveyed for the research said they would be willing to talk to a candidate about a potential flex schedule, yet only 25% of the vacancies advertised explicitly stated this. Many workers looking for jobs that allow these kind of schedules have described their job search as a “hidden market”.
    Many workers currently searching for jobs feel as though the topic is still considered taboo by companies and find it to be a topic that shouldn’t be discussed during the interview process.
    One human resource expert explained that more and more workers want flexible schedules for multiple reasons. The main reason, however, is that top talent want more choices when it comes to where and when they work. Reduced hours in the office do not mean less commitment, or less work.
    Some companies have even gone on the record to state that flexible schedules have helped them attract and retain the “best and brightest talent”, in turn helping propel the company to greater forms of success.
    Ultimately, cultural changes are inevitable. The employment industry doesn’t necessarily see changes like this come often but the faster companies adapt, the easier it will become to unlock opportunities for talent and the employer.

  • For years aviation experts have been saying that opening American skies to drone traffic creates an extremely dangerous flying landscape. This has been validated by recent reports released by the Washington Post that cite there have been over 400 US military drone crashes around the world since 2001.
    Under the Freedom of Information Act, The Post was able to obtain over 50,000 pages of accident investigation reports. It was determined that since the outbreak of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, military drones have malfunctioned in a multitude of ways. Drones have plummeted from the sky due to reasons like mechanical breakdowns, pilot error and weather.
    The Post was able to conclude that there are a few fundamental safety hurdles that the military and drone manufacturers may never overcome. There is a limited ability to detect and/or avoid trouble due to a lack of updated technology. Additionally, flying a drone is much different and often times harder and trickier than it is perceived. Some drones are also designed without backup safety features and are rushed into service without any kind of intense testing. Drones are also dependent on wireless connections that can often break. Records indicated that links were actually disrupted (or lost) in over a quarter of the worst recorded crashes.
    Most of the 400 crashes investigated by The Post occurred during war, under what defense department officials are calling harsh conditions that will unlikely be replicated in the United States. Even though The Post is reporting a massive amount of incidents, drone mishap rates have actually been declining over the past ten years.
    Officials and aviation experts acknowledge that drones will probably never be as safe as commercial jetliners but there are still major improvements that can be made.

  • International air safety aviation experts took a major stride towards blocking voluntary incident reports from being used by criminal prosecutors (or plaintiffs’ lawyers).
    Last Wednesday, an arm of the United Nations recommended adoption of global standards that would shield voluntarily collected safety data from any future criminal proceedings stemming from an accident.
    The recommendation made by the International Civil Aviation Organization is still subject to comments and changes but aviation experts are optimistic.
    The package that was approved to move forward last Wednesday is the most progress ever made by ICAO in regard to international safety data standards.
    Once a final approval takes place, the standards would be binding. Unfortunately, this approval could take many years.

    Those who are backing the recommendation explain that when this type of data is used to argue a side in court, it discourages pilots and airlines from freely providing this sort of information.
    The way it stands, standards that protect this type of aviation data varies widely from country to country. In the United States, Congress has strongly protected certain pieces of safety data from the Freedom of Information Act, while many judges have actually refrained from requesting this data.
    For the very first time, the recommended proposal actually outlines how this data would be protected.
    There are always two sides to every story, though. Those who oppose the recommendations argue that some of this data could be pertinent to a particular case or proceeding.
    Some aviation officials feel so strongly that this proposal will be accepted that they are urging countries to implement certain changes in advance of the final ICAO action.
    In the event that data does end up being released to a court the proposal would require a certain level of confidentiality from the public, according to the proposal. The package even foreshadows the creation of possible training programs for prosecutors and judges.