BACKGROUND TO THE SAFE MODEL
Initially developed for use by Regulators to assess applications for flights outside prescriptive regulations, this tool has been specifically designed and validated for use in developing aircrew duty rosters for short haul, long haul and ultra-long range routes. Funding to develop the model came from UK Ministry of Defence and UK Civil Aviation Authority who share the background IP rights.
The programme to develop the original model for the Ministry of Defence started in the mid-late 1980s and its validation for use by pilots commenced soon after 2000. Earliest versions were used as far back as 2001 but version 5.0 has been in regular use by CAA on a day to day basis since 2004. It is now upgraded and re-written to commercial software quality standards as a web based application. It is available for use by all regulators and airlines on subscription accessible through a secure Internet connection.
Consequently, SAFE is particularly suited to airline operations because it has been constructed from and validated with a huge amount of data collected from operational aircrew across a portfolio of short haul and international airlines over a period of over 30 years. This pedigree is noted by the Federal Aviation Authority who have published footnote 18 on page 28 of their September 2010 NPRM, to say that SAFE is the only model that has been validated for use by aircrew.
The whole of its development was conducted by a team of scientists under the direction of Mick Spencer during his career in the Centre for Human Science at QinetiQ, Farnborough, England. Many of the original team, including Mick Spencer, still remain involved with its on-going development. Click here for more information on the programme that developed SAFE.
Mick Spencer’s team included Dr Karen Robertson and Dr Barbara Stone who led the team of sleep scientists that conducted numerous field studies with a selection of airlines and aircraft manufacturers notably Airbus, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Brittannia, Lufthansa, DHL and British Airways covering short, medium, long and ultra-long haul flights as well as cargo operations, in pursuit of predictive accuracy.
Training on the use of SAFE and interpretation of the output is mandatory in order to use the information reliably to optimise crew schedules.