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4 Corners Now- CASA Witchhunt after pilot


rankamateur

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Fascinating story. Several factors could have turned this into a tragedy. Miles offshore on a dark stormy night, nobody knowing where, some without lifejackets. Very lucky people, although I don't envy their injuries. Nice to see the local VRA squad in action.

 

There are lessons for us all here. It seems that ATSB is there to encourage honest reporting by aircraft operators so that we can all learn from their mistakes, but CASA is the policeman.

 

 

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Sorry Guys I missed it? any chance have a run down on what happene? so I can follow the thread.If theres a lesson to be learned I like to know about it..

 

thank you kindly and excuse my ignorence

 

 

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Guest Andys@coffs

So those who are commercial pilots....... why would you elect to ditch at sea, rather than push past the minima's when the unicom is telling you you have cloud at 200ft preesumably above the airport elevation of 371ft, or is it that the 571ft is more attractive? Ive never been there so dont know if the airport is surrounded by hills, Google suggests it isnt...but last I checked google wasnt an authorised navaid.... there does appear to be one bigger hill on the island but with the assumption of a working GPS surely that wouldnt have been that much of concern?

 

To me its like well if I push past the minima's it might all end well, if I ditch at sea its almost certain to end badly.....just by luck and a handheld torch it didnt..

 

Please dont take my comments as criticism it more uninformed speculation but I would like to understand...

 

Andy

 

 

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Guest Andys@coffs
Sorry Guys I missed it? any chance have a run down on what happene? so I can follow the thread.If theres a lesson to be learned I like to know about it..thank you kindly and excuse my ignorence

try out the abc websites iview. I havent checked but I'd bet its up there for anyone to see for the next 2 weeks

 

 

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Just finished reading a book by John Laming called Tall Tails of the South Pacific.

 

he grew up in Wirraways, Mustangs, Lincoln bombers, and Vampires in the RAAF and spent a number of years flying 737's for Air Nauru out over the ocean all the time from Hong Kong to Australia to Hawaii.

 

He seemed to have a few base rules like loading full fuel when he could, and having at least two alternates and maybe three.

 

He would have been reading a newspaper at his alternate that night.

 

Performance and Operations are so simple.

 

 

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I don't like to pass judgement on pilots when you are not there.. I have been to Norfolk and plenty of other mid ocean isolated islands. Normally you carry a bit of extra fuel called Island holding in case there are rain squalls or something on the strip etc With a Unicom and the guy able to tell you the actual weather you would, (ina jet) hold at altitude so save fuel amd have a go when advised the conditions are better. Islands often have isolated showers. The air is always humid. Diverting to another island which may not be much better and arriving with minimum fuel may not make a lot of sense either.

 

Ditching at sea at night without flares etc is a pretty desperate situation. Absolute last resort Lots of luck on their side that night. I don't want to be harsh on the decisions but I can't imagine a really experienced pilot making some of those judgements, unless he owned the airline and couldn't pay the bills. Nev

 

 

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I saw the program and can only judge it if the facts presented are correct. He was not required to nominate an alternate because the weather forcast for Norfolk was good when he departed.. So he carried minimum fuel to save the company money. The six or so missed approaches at Norfolk were his reserve. So far he is flying legally if you count using your reserve legal. Now he has to nominate an alternate, which is the sea surrounding Norfolk. He did not pass on to the radio operator at Norfolk where in the sea he was going to ditch which so far is the only thing he may have done that breached regulations.

 

 

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I saw the program and can only judge it if the facts presented are correct. He was not required to nominate an alternate because the weather forcast for Norfolk was good when he departed.. So he carried minimum fuel to save the company money. The six or so missed approaches at Norfolk were his reserve. So far he is flying legally if you count using your reserve legal. Now he has to nominate an alternate, which is the sea surrounding Norfolk. He did not pass on to the radio operator at Norfolk where in the sea he was going to ditch which so far is the only thing he may have done that breached regulations.

Firstly put yourself in a high speed jet aircraft - you aren't going to stand much of a chance in either a forced landing or ditching compared to a light aircraft.

 

Secondly consider you are ocean flying - the first option of a forced landing is gone anyway

 

So as a professional you would have one or two alternates within your fuel range.

 

That he didn't do that may well be because of what FT and Nev alluded to, and if that was the case the lesson for us is to have the guts to say no and walk away from the job alive.

 

Others who haven't haven't.

 

As far as not passing on stuff to Norfolk - pure Human Factors and a lesson for us, if we are not the iced-blood-through-the-veins type who can remember every check and do it faultlessly under pressure (and I'm not one of them) to revise, revise, revise.

 

 

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They always blame the pilot. He is the poor bast@rd carrying the can. That is the only way it can be although these days people (who stay on the ground) have a big say in things like fuel load and serviceability, which can have a big bearing on safety.. A pilot may be faced with a situation where he MUST break a rule/ regulation. eg he might choose to deliberately depart a runway to avoid a collision. With penalties based on absolute liability, ( no reasons accepted) he might delay, (or not do) doing what is necessary. Consider " the Loneliness of Command". as a concept. Many pilots during their careers wonder if they ( if put in the real situation) will make the grade. Others may ignore the possibility of it happening, and hope. Nev

 

 

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I watched it. Interesting. I realy think that Doms fatique was the major player in this.(and his first officer).According to the show, he had a very interupted sleep and even then it was only a few hours in the preceding 24 hour period.I dunno about you blokes (& girls), I dont perform very well the next day after having next to no sleep (decision making included).

 

I also reckon that everybody surviving was probably more good luck than good management. I glad every body walked away from it. (Well swam away).

 

 

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  • 5 months later...

Poor old pilot copped the brunt of the investigation, I wonder would it have had the same outcome if CASA had not tried to cover their butt by declaring their report on their oversight of the company to be irrelevant to the investigation. The acid is warming up on them today anyway.

 

 

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Guest Howard Hughes
Firstly put yourself in a high speed jet aircraft - you aren't going to stand much of a chance in either a forced landing or ditching compared to a light aircraft.

Poor decisions aside, the survivability of a ditching is very high, somewhere around 93% of all people survive a ditching, a study was done of ditchings over a twenty year period and included heavy jets.
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Guest Howard Hughes
Can't recall many that were at night, and underslung engines don't help. Being hard to see makes it a big gamble. Nev

Hence the reason I said "poor decisions aside".

In all honesty I think it was only the strength (and shape) of the aircraft that saved them!

 

 

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