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EASA advises airlines to monitor flights and manage risk in ITCZ to prevent loss of control
29 July 2015
ITCZ between over the Atlantic on 20 August 2010 (NOAA)

ITCZ between over the Atlantic on 20 August 2010 (NOAA)

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) advises airlines to apply flight monitoring en risk management strategies regarding operations in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) to prevent loss of control accidents.

The accident involving Air France flight AF447 in June 2009 highlighted the risks of operations in the ITCZ. The Airbus A330 suffered a loss of control accident when the flight crew reacted inappropriately on the icing of the pitot probes while flying near cumulonimbus clouds in the ITCZ. All 228 on board died in the accident.

EASA now issued a Safety Information Bulletin, advising the airlines as follows:

When operating in adverse convective weather and the ITCZ area, operators should thoroughly determine their exposure to ITCZ risks and ensure that efficient mitigating actions are continually and consistently taken, based on data-driven strategies, thereby actively preventing accidents resulting from LOC-I (loss of control in-flight). Safety management principles should apply to all aspects of flight operations in adverse convective weather and the ITCZ with a view to implementing risk mitigation strategies and proactively taking preventive actions. Particular attention should be paid to precursors of LOC-I. 

The recommendations for operators focus on Safety risk management; Flight planning and dispatch; In-flight procedures; and Competency of personnel.

The recommendations issued in the EASA bulletin are not mandatory.

More information: