Flight Inspection activity completes 64 years in the country, performing about a thousand missions annually, for the safety of flights in Brazilian airspace
DECEA, por Ten JOR Fernanda Pereira
The safety of about two million flights that cross the Brazilian skies every year depends on a series of complex tasks developed by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). One of them is the Flight Inspection, an activity that completes 64 years on February 21st, with the important mission of periodically inspecting the air navigation procedures and equipment in Brazil.
The air navigation aids are instruments that emit signals to the aircraft’s onboard receivers. During the pilots’ lack of visual contact with the runways, especially in adverse weather conditions, this equipment provides information so that the aircraft can fly in the planned direction and land safely. Thus, they provide the necessary support for en-route navigation in the vicinity of airports and during take-off and landing maneuvers, which demonstrates the importance of the Flight Inspection activity.
The first Flight Inspection in Brazilian territory, with Brazilian aircraft and crew, took place on February 21st, 1959, with the purpose of verifying the suitability of the Itaipuaçu site, in Rio de Janeiro, for the installation of an electronic equipment used in air navigation, the VHF Omnidirectional Range (VOR). In that historical period, the growth of commercial aviation in Brazil was intense and, consequently, the number of approach instrument checks also increased, making it necessary to have a sector to plan and interpret the results obtained during these missions.
In 1960, the Flight Registration and Control Section was created, subordinated to the Air Route Directorate. In May 1972, the Flight Protection activities were restructured again, with the creation of the Directorate of Electronics and Flight Protection (DEPV). In April of the following year, the Special Group of Flight Inspection (GEIV) was activated, a unit subordinated to the Department of Airspace Control (DECEA) and responsible for this activity in Brazil until today.
Headquartered in the Santos Dumont Complex, in Rio de Janeiro, the GEIV has a staff composed of pilot-inspectors, aircraft mechanics, panel operators and those engaged in support activities. The unit conducts several training and updating courses for its professionals.
The modernization of the Group’s fleet, carried out by the Brazilian Air Force as of 2016, has significantly increased the unit’s operational capacity. Currently, GEIV has eight modern laboratory aircraft, of which four are Embraer IU-50 Legacy jets and four are Hawker IU-93M jets. The fleet is equipped with a modern on-board Flight Inspection System, which evaluates the electronic signals from the air navigation aids, in accordance with the latest developments in inspection activities worldwide. The consoles installed in these aircraft are frequently calibrated so that they can evaluate, with a high degree of accuracy, the signals emitted by the ground instruments.
“The Aeronautical Command’s constant investments and DECEA’s efforts to keep training GEIV members have resulted in constant positive results, allowing for the excellent improvement of our personnel and the high availability of air navigation instruments at all airports in the national territory. February 21st is a tribute to all those involved in this mission to collaborate to ensure air navigation in Brazil,” highlights the General Director of the Airspace Control Department, Air Lieutenant Brigadier Alcides Teixeira Barbacovi.
[Click here to download the original image] The GEIV conducts over a thousand inspections and approvals of air navigation equipment and procedures per year, which are divided into stages. The work begins even before the aids are installed, in the so-called Site Evaluation Inspections. Then comes the Homologation Inspection, when the equipment or radar is ready to start operating.
Periodic Inspections are carried out to ensure that the equipment is maintained in adequate conditions, and in unusual situations, such as when new air navigation procedures are implemented or during major maintenance, Special Inspections can also be carried out. The mission calendar is planned so as to cover the entire national territory.
Sometimes, Flight Inspection missions draw the attention of the residents of the regions where they are carried out. This is because the GEIV airplanes perform several maneuvers, landing approaches and runway overpasses, procedures that take several hours. The inspection flight is carried out with the airport in operation, which demands intense training and high skill from the crew involved.
*** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI team ***