New Items will be added to the top and run off the end into archive
Airlines are devising a new way of classifying their passengers - and it has nothing to do with first class or cattle class.
Instead, passengers will fall into two groups - regular fliers who volunteer personal information in advance to the airline for verification, and passengers who do not.
The latter group will have to undergo lengthy questioning each and every time they take a flight, whereas the first group (regular fliers) will go straight through security with just one glance at an iris-identification machine.
The biggest firm in the profiling business, International Consultants for Targeted Security (ICTS), already has contracts with more than 100 airlines Worldwide. ICTS' goal is to profile each passenger, to determine whether he is a business or tourist passenger, or a potential terrorist.
Before check-in, each passenger on an airline that has contracted ICTS' profiling services is questioned intrusively about his or her travel plans. Passengers are expected to give the names of people they have met and places they have visited during their travels, to explain exactly why they are flying, and to say where they have been staying.
ICTS employees are also trained to look especially for passengers who have bought their tickets with cash, who have one-way tickets, or who arrive late for a flight. ( http://www.aviationsecurity.co.uk/index2.html )
Terror 'Mules': Bombs in Bodies
By Erik Baard
2:00 a.m. Nov. 13, 2001 PST
Even if every airport in the United States scanned every bag loaded onto
every airplane for explosives, and every passenger went under the
metal-detector, a bomb could still get onto a passenger jet, experts say.
The Federal Aviation Authority's next generation of holographic body imaging
scanners can be trumped too. Welcome to the world of the "terror mule."
Criminal groups running drugs and diamonds into the United States have for
years smuggled contraband by stuffing it into condoms and having a "mule"
swallow the load, or by having it implanted surgically or rectally. The same
technique can be used to smuggle plastic explosives like Semtex past
security at an airport.
Triggering mechanisms could be made with few metal components to evade
detections, or could be assembled from common electronic gadgets such as
PDAs, cell phones, laptops or personal stereos. Terrorists could even rig up
a wireless detonator that could be triggered from the ground.
"It absolutely can be done and very easily, and there's no reason to
believe that wouldn't be possible," said Dr. Harvey Kushner, chairman of the
criminal justice department at Long Island University. Kushner is also a
terrorism expert who testified at the criminal and civil cases that followed
the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa, the first World Trade Center
attack, and the destruction of Pan Am flight 103.
No Space Hitch For Bomb Detector Deadline
Dec 10, 2001
US regulators may not be able to meet a requirement to install bomb-detection machines at airports to screen all checked baggage by the end of 2002 because there is not enough space, a manufacturer has told Congress.
At Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, more than 100 X-ray machines would be needed to screen the luggage, requiring space equal to about 1.25 football fields, said Frank Vehlen, chief operating officer of Rheinmetall AG's Heimann Systems unit, which makes screening equipment.
'I don't recall seeing 1.25 football fields available in Chicago O'Hare,' he said.
An airport-security law enacted last month in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks included the requirement for the screening machines.
The Federal Aviation Administration now has 161 machines at 53 airports and estimates that it will need about 2,000 to comply with the law.
The 600-square-foot detectors will require some airport floors to be reinforced and will be a challenge to install, said Steven Zaidman, an FAA associate administrator.
Purchasing and installing enough detectors to meet the requirement will cost USD$4 billion to USD$5 billion, the FAA said. Congress approved USD$97.5 million for the machines next year.
The Bush administration will need to seek more money from Congress to pay for startup costs, said Jim Mitchell, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation.
Before the September attacks, the FAA required screening of checked luggage for as few as 5 per cent of travellers on US flights.
The agency last spring had planned to install 1,100 machines by 2009.
October 15, 2001 - Report: China Training Air Marshals
BEIJING, China - China is creating a 2,000-member police force to fly aboard its airlines, prompted by terror attacks in the United States, a state newspaper reported Sunday.
The aviation police will replace private security guards who fly on many Chinese carriers, the Beijing Youth Daily said. Citing unidentified sources, it said the new force was being formed by the Civil Aviation Authority of China, the country's airline regulator.
A man who answered the phone at CAAC on Sunday couldn't confirm the report and said no one else was available.
The measure, if confirmed, would be among a series of steps taken by China after terrorists on Sept. 11 hijacked jetliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon (news - web sites).
Chinese airline offices in Hong Kong were ordered earlier this month not to sell tickets to passengers from the Middle East and Pakistan. Chinese carriers have canceled their flights to Pakistan and the Middle East.
The Beijing Youth Daily didn't say whether the new air police would carry guns. But it said they would be similar to China's railway police, whose officers travel aboard trains armed with pistols.
Airline guards currently are armed with truncheons and fire axes, according to the Beijing Youth Daily.
China tightened security after the Sept. 11 attacks. Guards seize penknives, scissors and anything else that might be used as a weapon.
Passengers already routinely were required to show identification and luggage was X-rayed under measures imposed after a string of hijackings in the early 1990s.
But hijackings still occur. Last year, a would-be hijacker on a domestic flight was reportedly stabbed to death with his own knife.
ICAO Agrees To Spend More On Security
Oct 7, 2001
International aviation officials and regulators from 187 countries have agreed to spend more money on strengthening security on planes and in airports.
Members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommended that cockpit doors be locked during flights and that international security standards are enforced on domestic flights.
The United States is already tightening aviation security with more thorough passenger screening at airports and the use of sky marshals - armed, plain-clothes guards who travel on domestic flights.
ICAO president Assad Kotaite said tighter screening of passengers was the key to preventing hijacks. "The important thing is to take preventive measures at the airports. This is really the essential, rather to have them at the plane and to have air marshals and start to fight on the plane."
The safety and security panels of ICAO are also to review all current regulations in time for a special ministerial conference on aviation safety which they hope to hold in Montreal before the end of the year.
The ICAO was created by the United Nations in 1944 to set international standards and regulations for safety and security of civil air transport. It has a USD$57 million annual budget.
NEWSFLASH: At least 120 people are now feared dead after an airliner crashed into a Milan Linate airport building, apparently after being cut off on the runway by a smaller aircraft.
The SAS MFD-80 airliner was about to take-off in thick fog when a small Cessna aIrcraft is said to have crossed in front of it. The airliner, en route to Copenhagen, reportedly crashed into a baggage-handling building after taking evasive action in an attempt to avoid hitting the other plane. The SAS airliner had 104 people on board, 56 foreigners and 48 Italians.
Some of the wreckage fell several hundred yards away from the scene of the accident. Rescuers say it is unlikely there will be any survivors. All four aboard the Cessna are reported dead. Fire crews are at the scene extinguishing the fire.
Linate is Milan's second airport, after its main hub at Malpensa.
SAS - Scandinavian Airlines System - is jointly operated by Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
dreadle = http://www.iasa-intl.com/dreadle.html
"Real Time" Black Box System Proposed
(Idea stolen from IASA: http://www.iasa-intl.com/folders/Safety_Issues/dfdr-cvr/YourIridiumLegacy.html
A satellite operator says it could offer the aviation industry a 'black box' which broadcasts live throughout every flight.
Real-time cockpit voice and flight data monitoring might address some of the security concerns raised following the attacks on the US.
Iridium Satellite says the service could be in place quickly using off-the-shelf components and its 66 low earth orbit satellites. It has submitted its proposal to the US Federal Aviation Administration and other government organizations.
Iridium claims to operate the only system with complete coverage of the Earth capable of handling such voice and data transactions.
The system could replace black boxes because flight data could be transmitted to a secure monitoring and recording center thousands of miles away from the aircraft.
The company's chairman, Dan Colussy, says: "With existing systems, officials
on the ground have only limited visibility into what is happening inside
an aircraft in flight. Using its global footprint and voice and data capabilities,
combined with existing commercially-available equipment, Iridium gives
ground personnel unrestricted access in real time to vital voice and data
communications from the aircraft."
UK Pilots Concerned About Locking Cockpit Doors
Oct 5, 2001
British pilots fear that plans to strengthen cockpits to deter hijackers could put flight crews at risk.
The British Airline Pilots' Association (BALPA) says flight crews could become trapped in the event of a fire.
Two US airlines have already begun reinforcing cockpit doors. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are considering following suit.
Chris Darke, BALPA general secretary, said: "Sealing the cockpit like a prison may not be the answer. Pilots see the cockpit door as one of their emergency routes of escape. If it becomes inadvertently locked in an accident they could be trapped."
Pilots are also worried cabin crew may not be able to get into the cockpit to warn pilots about safety problems or help if a pilot is taken ill.
BALPA says the emphasis must be on preventing terrorists from boarding in the first place.
American Airlines and United Airlines, who lost two planes each in the
terrorist attacks, have begun putting metal bars in cockpit doors.
Date: February 9, 2000
EVAS Closes Long Term Supply Agreement with Net Jets
An agreement between Vision Safe Corporation, Aircraft Services Group,
and Executive Jet Services to supply the fractional operator with EVAS
(“Emergency Vision Assurance System), was executed on 14 January 2000.
The agreement calls for the entire Net Jets fleet to be outfitted with
EVAS, for both the pilot and co-pilot, by September of this year. Vision
Safe and Aircraft Services Group expect to deliver some 400 EVAS units
to Executive Jet, between April and September, with an additional 470
units to follow during the term of the agreement.
Thanks to EJA and Flight Safety, Parker expects sales to surge this year, “Aircraft operators need to address the threat of continuous smoke in the cockpit, EVAS offers a solution and Flight Safety offers the training.” Aircraft Services Group will launch an aggressive campaign this year of print advertising and trade show presence.
EVAS is the only safety system available which has been FAA tested and certified to ensure pilot vision in the presence of dense continuous smoke in the cockpit. In Simulator tests with EVAS, pilots have landed safely with smoke so thick they that, even with goggles, could not see their hand in front of their face. EVAS is self contained, battery operated, and requires no installation.
|September 28, 2001
- U.S. Cockpit Door Fix Not Easy Or Cheap
WASHINGTON (USA) - Reinforcing the cockpit door of commercial airliners, as President Bush proposed Thursday, will be a complex, time-consuming and expensive security enhancement, aviation experts said.
Still, the call to redesign flight deck access, unlike some of the other security proposals taking shape in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 hijacking attacks, has nearly unanimous support from policymakers, lawmakers and flight crews.
"The lock is only meant to keep your friends out," one veteran pilot said about existing cockpit doors, which do not impede determined intruders.
On Sept. 11, hijackers gained access to the cockpits of four commercial jets and apparently took the controls, ramming two into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon. The fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
Bush said Thursday in Chicago that his administration would dedicate $500 million, included in a $40 billion federal emergency aid package, to help finance projects to fortify the cockpit.
The Air Line Pilots Association said current doors were "weak and flimsy" and recommended a short-term measure of installing a deadbolt lock on the inside of cockpit doors that cannot be overridden with a key from the outside. Behind the door would be a mesh screen for extra protection.
QUICK ACCESS TO CABIN
The stopgap design must ensure that pilots can get into the passenger cabin quickly in case of an emergency.
"This will offer a relatively small but needed additional margin of security over today's cockpit doors," union president Duane Woerth said in recent congressional testimony. He said the retrofit could take as long as a year to complete.
While the concept of replacing doors seems uncomplicated, the reality of the project is anything but, industry and government experts agreed.
"It is not as simple as finding a heavier door and taking the old door off its hinges and putting on a new one," said Tim Neale, a Boeing spokesman.
There are more than 7,000 airliners in the U.S. commercial fleet, of which roughly two-thirds were made by Boeing Co. All four hijacked planes -- two 767s and two 757s -- were Boeing aircraft.
There are 40 different cockpit door designs that are made to Federal Aviation Administration specifications on Boeing and other commercial planes.
A Boeing spokeswoman said cost has not been part of the discussion, but some planners have made a full-time job in recent days of finding a solution that would meet the new safety and engineering challenges.
"One of the challenges we face in aircraft design is that you have to account for a lot of different things," Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Phil Condit said this week.
At issue is developing a door and related systems that can withstand the force of a determined intruder but still enable the crew to get out in an emergency or access the passenger cabin for other reasons, such as observing a faulty engine not visible from the cockpit.
EVACUATION THROUGH COCKPIT
There are also times during an accident or fire when passengers might have to be evacuated through the cockpit.
A door that is too light or weak will not solve the security issue. A door that is too strong might satisfy security concerns but could fail on safety.
A central issue with safety is depressurization of the aircraft, which is very rare but can be disastrous if equal distribution of pressure is impeded by something like an airtight steel door.
Another problem facing engineers is that replacing the door itself might not be enough.
"The door is really part of a system that controls access to the cockpit," said one expert, who suggested multiple changes might be required. "The door and the bulkhead to which it is attached is anchored to the airframe."
One solution gaining currency with regulators in recent days, an FAA official said, is a design in which two lightweight doors separated by a small area would secure access to the cockpit.
Some have suggested using a lightweight material, like Kevlar, a synthetic substance made by DuPont Co. that is superstrong and used as reinforcement in aircraft construction and in bulletproof vests.
The money will come from the Transportation Department as grants, cost-sharing agreements or other arrangements. Since the airlines are responsible for ensuring their aircraft are safe, they will have to apply for the grants, and only U.S. carriers will be eligible.
At a congressional hearing last week, Boeing Vice President Hank Queen cautioned lawmakers that the 7,000 commercial jet airplanes in the U.S. fleet have about 40 different flight deck door systems that would need to be retrofitted.
``We have to be careful not to rush into something without understanding all the consequences,'' Queen told a joint hearing of the House and Senate Appropriations transportation subcommittees.
Finally, it is possible that many FAA regulations governing the specifications for each model of cockpit door would have to be changed -which could be a tedious process.
The Boeing 767 had just reached cruise altitude at flight level 330 approximately 40 minutes out of Singapore enroute to Perth, when the flight crew noted smoke and electrical fumes on the flight deck. The source of the smoke and fumes could not be readily identified. The pilot in command elected to have the flight crew don oxygen masks, and diverted to Jakarta.
The operator's engineering personnel examined the aircraft and found the right DME (Distance Measuring Equipment) circuit breaker open. Technicians isolated the problem to the right DME interrogator unit. The malfunctioning DME unit was disabled in accordance with the MEL (Minimum Equipment List) guidelines to allow the aircraft to continue to Perth. Following arrival in Perth, the unit was replaced.
Examination of the unit by the manufacturer revealed that the DME unit's A5 modulator had overheated. This failure mode was similar to two other units, which had overheated on a different aircraft in January 2000 (see Occurrence 200000055). The failure mode of those units was such that the A5 modulator had overloaded the positive 86 volt DC power supply and overheated the power transformer. Compliance with service bulletins recommending product improvements to this unit were not mandatory, and the recommended modifications had not been incorporated into this unit, or the previous two units that had sustained failures.
As a result of the investigation into this occurrence, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has simultaneously issued Safety Advisory Notices 20000278 and 20000279 to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration respectively. These advisories suggested the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration take appropriate action to mandate compliance with Service Bulletins DME 700-34-10, 17, 23, 34, and 35.
|August 14, 2001 - Airplanes
Narrowly Avoid A Collision In Milan
ROME, Italy - Two aircraft narrowly missed crashing into each other on a takeoff runway at Milan's Malpensa airport, Italy's national air traffic association (ENAV) said on Monday. "An Air Europe Boeing 777 was travelling at about 150 kilometres an hour ready to take off when the pilot saw an EgyptAir Boeing 737 start to cross the same runway further ahead," an ENAV spokeswoman told Reuters. "The Air Europe pilot immediately braked but it took a further 500 metres (yards) before the plane came to a complete halt...by the end of the sharp brake the two planes were some 2,000 metres (yards) from each other," she added. No-one was hurt, and both planes, Air Europe heading for the Maldive Islands and EgyptAir for Luxor, took off again after an hour for their destinations.
A Possible Solution
|Tuesday, August 7th,
A Canada 3000 Airlines Limited 737 flying from Halifax to Toronto had to return to Halifax shortly after flight attendants reported smoke in the cabin. Priority and fire crews were requested. Shortly before a safe landing, the crew reported that the odor of smoke had dissipated.
|August 8, 2001 -
NTSB: OSU Team's Plane Lost Power
WASHINGTON (USA) - A small airplane carrying members of the Oklahoma State University basketball team lost electrical power before crashing into a field and killing all 10 people on board, documents show. Reports released Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board show several gauges with readings that indicated a loss of power. For example, the altimeter was frozen at 23,200 feet; had it been properly working at the time of the crash, it would have reflected the drop in altitude. The altimeter and some other gauges also displayed signals indicating the loss of electrical power. Repair records indicate that two inverters, which help supply electricity to the equipment, were not working during an earlier flight, but the pilot at the time indicated he was able to reset the system. The documents do not state the cause of the January crash. They do indicate that the plane was more than 300 pounds overweight at takeoff, but it was still able to take off and climb to 23,000 feet. The plane cruised for three minutes before air traffic controllers lost contact with it. The Beechcraft King Air 200 was one of three airplanes carrying the basketball team back to Stillwater, Okla., after a game with the University of Colorado in Boulder. It took off from Jefferson County Airport and crashed about 15 minutes later in a field 40 miles east of Denver. Killed were two basketball players, six staffers and broadcasters, the pilot and the co-pilot. NTSB investigators also have considered whether bad weather - the plane took off in light snow - was to blame. Investigators have said they have found no evidence of engine failure. Following the crash, the University of Colorado announced its men's and women's basketball teams would take commercial flights rather than charters for the remainder of the season. The policy will be in effect for the 2001-02 season as well. Oklahoma State University said it would continue to use small planes to travel.
|Possible link to fire: Other wiring on Flight 111 found to be charred
HALIFAX - Another aircraft electrical system has come under suspicion by the team investigating the crash of Swissair Flight 111.
Tests have shown the aircraft's overhead aisle and emergency lights could be linked to the cockpit fire believed to have brought down the MD-11 aircraft on Sept. 2, 1998, near Peggys Cove, N.S. All 229 aboard died.
Ceiling panels recovered from the wreckage show heat discolouration apparently from the 28-volt incandescent bulbs used in the passenger-cabin lighting system.
And test results obtained under the Access to Information Act show temperatures in the aisle light fixtures of three other MD-11 aircraft rose as high as 200C in experiments.
The high temperatures caused the discolouration of ceiling panels as well as some deformation of the lights' plastic coverings.
Tests also showed the aisle light bulbs on MD-11s typically draw electrical current levels 143% higher than they were designed to withstand.
"We haven't eliminated the possibility that an aisle light might have been involved," Larry Vance, an investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, confirmed in an interview from Hull, Que.
The complex investigation, which is approaching its third anniversary, has also raised doubts about three cockpit map lights. Other MD-11 aircraft have had heat problems with their map lights, which have been ordered deactivated in many of the aircraft.
Only two of the three map lights in the Swissair Flight 111 cockpit have been fully recovered and neither shows evidence of heat damage. Investigators believe they have recovered pieces of the missing third map light, used by the pilot, but they also show no signs of fire, Mr. Vance said.
The aircraft's in-flight entertainment system shows damage to its power-supply wires, raising questions about whether it was the source of fire. And investigators are examining whether the aircraft's general wiring, some of which was found charred with burnt insulation, caused or was merely affected by the fire.
The latest finding is more evidence the MD-11 aircraft was beset by electrical problems -- at least one of which was likely responsible for the tragedy.
The overhead aisle and emergency lights were manufactured by Luminator Aircraft Products, based in Plano, Tex. The firm has provided lights for every Boeing aircraft model since the 1950s, as well as for such McDonnell Douglas aircraft as the MD-11.
A company spokesman said the Transportation Safety Board forwarded its test results for the lights, but the firm's own investigation showed no similar problems.
"We ran our own tests here for weeks, and could not duplicate that," said Bob Presnell, adding no customers have complained and the company has had no previous evidence of problems.
The bulb type could be changed if the board concludes there is a serious problem, Mr. Presnell said from Plano, near Dallas.
No Canadian carriers operate MD-11s, which were built in the United States.
The Swissair investigation showed temperatures in the aisle light fixtures tended to be much higher in the front part of the passenger cabin, in the first-class compartment nearest the cockpit, than in the rear. The team is expected to release a final report next year on the cause of the disaster.
|Date: Fri, 03 Aug 2001 13:03:06 PDT
From this week's Air Safety Week:
Success confirmed and certified. Certification flight tests of the first Swissair MD-11 to complete the "Modification Plus" were successful and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the installation as expected July 28 (see ASW, July 30). Swissair officials said they were "especially happy" with testing of the unique MSDS (miscellaneous smoke detection system) and the VCMS (video camera monitoring system).
The FAA, by the way, did not delegate certification to a DER (designated engineering representative) but had its own people on site. Readers may recall that a DAR (designated airworthiness representative) signed the supplemental type certificate (STC) authorizing installation of an interactive in flight entertainment network in Swissair's MD-11s that was incompatible with the airplane's electrical design philosophy. The FAA apparently did not want a repeat of that embarrassing case of collusive certification.
Certification of the emergency standby display is still to come. A problem has been encountered with interrupted power when switching power sources.
The standby "mini-PFD" will more likely be certified with completion of the Modification Plus upgrade on the second MD-11. This airplane already is in the hangar undergoing the work.
Some in the industry have speculated that the carrier is pouring a lot of money ($650,000 each) into upgrading MD-11s that may be going to Federal Express in 18 months. Not so, according to sources, who relate that Swissair plans to fly its MD-11s until 2006, when they will be phased out as A340 deliveries occur. They might be kept in service longer.
The MD-11 plane landed safely at Narita airport outside Tokyo at 8:48 p.m., Japanese Construction and Transport Ministry official Koichi Seo said.
Delta Flight 32, with 216 passengers and 14 crew members, was on its way from the central Japan city of Nagoya to Los Angeles when the pilot contacted air traffic controllers at Narita to report "smoke and smells" in the plane, Seo said.
It took off from Nagoya at 6:17 p.m., and the pilot notified controllers of the problem at 7:34 p.m. while about 415 miles east of Narita.
2001 - Pilots Against
LONDON, England - Airline pilots are reportedly blocking the installation of cockpit cameras which could help establish the causes of crashes.
They say cameras are an invasion of privacy and fear they could lead to disciplinary action being taken against them. The cameras would record a plane's final moments and could be analysed alongside voice and data recorders.
Ken Smart, the Chief Inspector of Air Accidents, says pilots are blocking th>e introduction of cameras but he says their body language and actions could give crucial clues.
The British Air Line Pilots' Association says it doesn't object to cameras trained on instruments but it would strongly resist any attempt to film pilots.
A spokesman said: "In view of the history of misuse of flight recorders we believe that the intrusion of cockpit video recorders in the working environment is offensive and an invasion of privacy."
Data from flight recorders is confidential under British law but other countries have yet to guarantee the information will be given only to accident investigators, reports The Times.
British pilots have not forgotten how a cockpit recording was released to the media shortly after a BA Trident was involved in a mid-air collision over Zagreb in 1976. The pilots could be heard discussing the price of tomatoes.
Their conversation took place 30 minutes before the collision but the media claimed it was seconds before the disaster.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation has recommended cockpit camera>s be installed on all new planes from 2005. It is looking into ways to persuade pilots to drop their opposition.
|July 27, 2001 - Airline Suffers
7th Emergency In Three Weeks
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -
Scandinavian airline SAS has suffered its seventh emergency landing in three weeks.
A plane from Stockholm to Oslo had to return to the Swedish capital yesterday after crew noticed smoke in the cabin.
The company says the run is a coincidence and its maintenance and safety checks are adequate.
The Boeing 737 had been in the air for 10 minutes when the pilot decided to turn around and make an emergency landing back at Arlanda airport in Stockholm, reports http://www.vg.no/.
The plane, which was carrying 87 passengers, landed safely. An inquiry into the incident is being held. Trine Løvberg, a spokesman for SAS, said: "Our routines concerning safety checks on our planes are good enough.
"It is a coincidence that so many incidents have occurred in such a short period of time, but I can see that it could be problematic for SAS."
|July 24, 2001 - Swissair Makes Safety Improvements Three Years After
GENEVA, Switzerland - Swissair is carrying out safety improvements to its fleet of MD-11 aircraft, three years after a plane of the same type crashed off the coast of Canada killing all 229 people on board. The alterations are expected to cost the cash-strapped airline around SFr20 million ($12 million). The programme to rebuild the cockpits of the 19 MD-11s began on July 1 and will run until February 2002. As part of the safety improvements, the cockpit and first class sections are being fitted with smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and infrared cameras. Swissair says the improvements should mean that in the event of a smoke alarm being triggered, pilots will be able to tell straight away whether there is a fire on board. Other changes include a re-organisation of the cabling leading from the fuselage into the cockpit and the modernisation of the planes' secondary flight display (SFD) systems. The SFD system provides the pilot with all the relevant flight information in the event of the main computer crashing. Swissair says the modernisation programme goes further than the recommendations made by the flight safety authorities following the 1998 Halifax crash. Two hundred and 29 people died when the MD-11 came down in the sea after a fire apparently broke out in the cockpit. Canadian investigators say their final report into the accident will not be available until next year.