Friday, October 9, 2009

Safety is No Secret conference

International Winter Operations Conference

I was lucky enough to be picked in a lottery hosted by our union (ACPA) which gave away 15 complimentary passes to a two day conference held at the Royal York hotel (YYZ). It also included two free nights at the hotel and food. All I did was listen, but what a line up! This was the first conference hosted like this in Canada and there were people there representing 15 nations.

1. Commander Robert "HOOT" Gibson started it off talking about his five missions on the space shuttle. No one would top his presentation. He mentioned the shuttle did not need anti icing because of the incredible heat gained during reentry.

2. Chris St. Clair from the Weather Network did a very good presentation in reference to a winter storm. I offered him my card afterward saying we should get together and perhaps do some aviation clips. He agreed wholeheartedly. I also mentioned about me getting a possible part time job. I live three minutes from TWN. He too is from YHZ (Halifax).

3. Dave Mastel from YYZ ACC (Air traffic Control Center) explained the "plan" during winter operations at the GTAA. Everyone dumps on YYZ ATC, but they actually do try hard.

4. George Lyman talked about ORD operations. Did you know they have 10,000 lights and 750 signs at the airport. He talked about the logistics of readying and operating during a winter storm.

5. Fire chief Robert Donahue from BOS Logan discussed a "mock" disaster set up at the airport during a wet Boston day. They set it up as a two airliner runway collision.

6. Jacques Leroux from Dow Chemical explained the chemistry of deice fluid. It's neat how type IV actually worked. It sits there as a thick liquid lowering the freezing point, but runs off the airplane as the airplane picks up speed down the runway.

7. Micahel Chaput talked about deice research possibly ridding snow, frost, ice by hot steam. It made sense plus it was environmentally friendly.

8. Kelvin Williamson talked about runway deice material. I guess Urea has given way to potassium sulfate.

9. Mario Rosa gave a talk about Aeromag, YUL deice center. They are expanding to many other cities.

10. Angelo Boccanfuso from Transport Canada talked about CRFI (Canadian Runway Friction Index).

And this was only the first day!

The next day had reps from Boeing ( a great talk about ice crystal engine icing), Airbus, Embraer and Bombardier. They all did fairly good presentations.

One neat concept introduced was EMAS (Engineered Materials Arresting System). It;s being implemented at airports around the world. Basically, if you are heading off the end of the runway 4' by 4' engineered cements blocks would give way to stop the aircraft without damaging it.

Amazing stuff.

Here's an airliner mired in the EMAS. Everything is intact.
I know Air France landing in CYYZ would have benefited from it.


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