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APenNameAndThatA

Fatal Accident Rate of Angel Flights Seven Times Higher than Other Private Flights

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4 hours ago, turboplanner said:

 

That’s not the point of this bit of the discussion. 

 

If CASA wants to retain credibility they can’t say “This activity is 7 times more dangerous than that, therefore we are going do something!”  

If they are going to justify doing anything then they need to be truthful about why they are doing it.   Because it’s “ 7 times  more risky” is almost certainly a falsehood. 

By all means if CASA has truthful data that justifies the action then do it. But don’t make up non-sensical  data to justify an unproven position. 

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6 hours ago, Jaba-who said:

That’s not the point of this bit of the discussion. 

 

If CASA wants to retain credibility they can’t say “This activity is 7 times more dangerous than that, therefore we are going do something!”  

If they are going to justify doing anything then they need to be truthful about why they are doing it.   Because it’s “ 7 times  more risky” is almost certainly a falsehood. 

By all means if CASA has truthful data that justifies the action then do it. But don’t make up non-sensical  data to justify an unproven position. 

You haven't answered the question on how many people you are prepared to kill before the fatality rate meets your own standard for statistical justification, so I'll explain that the legally accepted limit is NIL.

 

This thread title does not factually match the ATSB report.

The Abc Journalist's statement does not match the ATSB report.

Here is the link to the ATSB report, and I'd suggest a careful reading.

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17 hours ago, Jaba-who said:

As someone who deals in stats (and trying to see through dodgy ones frequently), on a daily basis I too am pretty cynical about this announcement. 

 

How does two crashes in 10 years get morphed into any useable statistic. It’s just noise in the background from a statistical point of view. 

This is clearly CASA just grabbing at dodgy figures and throwing them out in the media to hopefully blind everyone to their knee jerk reaction. 

 

Sounds like like the  jabiru engine fiasco all over again. 

You might be right - it sounds like you are. The actual report does have a section about statistical significance. I would be interested to know what you think. 

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ANGEL FLIGHT RESPONSE TO ATSB REPORT 13 august 2019
ANGEL FLIGHT IS AUSTRALIA’S LARGEST AND LONGEST-SERVING CHARITY FACILITATING COMMUNITY BENEFIT FLYING
Angel Flight has co-ordinated free flights for more than 100,000 disadvantaged rural Australians, whose only other option to attend city hospitals for specialist treatment is ground transport – often taking days each way, at times with the driver/ patients being very elderly or accompanying very young children, on dangerous outback roads. These people cannot afford commercial air travel, which is more often than not, unavailable from their hometowns. Angel Flight recognises, publicly and privately with the affected people, the consequences of tragic fatal accidents, wherever and in whatever circumstances they occur, and is (and has always been) committed to safety and welfare as its priority.
THE ATSB REPORT INTO THE ACCIDENT AT MT GAMBIER ON 20 JUNE 2017 RECOMMENDATIONS
The ATSB offered no safety recommendations to pilots flying light aircraft in bad weather.
The safety recommendation made was for the charity to book people on airlines for travel: this does not adequately factor in cost (particularly where two or more people are travelling, which is often the case); nor does it properly factor in the infrequent scheduling or non-existence of airline flights into country regions across Australia; the inconvenience and difficulties faced by the elderly and families with young children at major city airports, and the associated ground travel; and appears to work on the assumption that city specialists and hospitals will gear their appointment times around airline timetables. Angel Flight does use airline flights where practicable and necessary, and will continue to utilise these services.
The rules implemented by CASA were not directed to the cause of the 2017 accident, or any other accident in the community benefit sector, and the ATSB has not given any support for those rules, save and except for that requiring pilots to write community benefit flights up in their log books, and note that fact on flight plans: the only flow-on from those rules is one of policing data – the very same data has been given by the charity to the ATSB.
It is regrettable, that the Bureau made no relevant safety recommendations, nor gave any guidance whatsoever, to pilots flying in poor weather conditions – the cause of the accident: it would have been of benefit to the flying community had the ATSB focussed on these aspects of the accident.
The safety message raised – induction training and safety management systems, together with a pilot mentoring programme, had already been implemented by the charity prior to the ATSB report and recommendations. Angel Flight takes, and has taken, a very serious and proactive approach to improving safety, and will continue to do so. Angel Flight will continue to urge CASA to improve its Human Factors training in the pre-licencing stage of training, in addition to the refresher courses now offered.

THE DATA
The charity engaged two senior expert statisticians and an analyst, all of whom concluded that the accident rate was not significantly different from the rate for other private flying across Australia. The ATSB also chose to compare only the passenger-carrying sectors of flights coordinated by the charity –it disregarded the flights, also coordinated by the charity, where the aircraft flew from home base to the city collection points, the return trips back to base, and the positioning flights to collect passengers from their own home towns: it did, however, include those flights when reporting ‘occurrences’ against the charity flights. There was, and is, no reason for this failure. To remove up to two-thirds of the coordinated flights in order to make statistical conclusions is unjustifiable. Moreover, when comparing the data with private flights generally, it did not exclude the non-passenger flights for that group – all flights were counted in the general private sector, but not in the charity sector.
Angel Flight has coordinated more than 46,000 flights for the purpose of travelling to, returning from and carrying rural Australians to the city for non-emergency medical appointments. The ATSB has excluded more than half of these flights when assessing accident rates, with the result being to substantially increase the alleged statistical accident rates.
THE EXACERBATION OF THE DATA ERRORS
The ATSB has not adopted its own protocols (and those followed in the US) of counting flight hours for general aviation accidents - instead it counted only flight numbers. An example of that methodology, further invalidating the findings, is (a common route), where the pilot departs home base in Tyabb, flies to Essendon to collect passengers, flies from Essendon to Hay, then returns to Tyabb (three sectors) – this is counted as one flight by the ATSB for its statistical purposes. The flight time for this route in a Cessna 182 would be at least 3.5 hours yet the ATSB gives it is given the same status as a 6-minute touch-and-go circuit at Essendon. To disregard both the actual flight numbers, and the flight hours, compounds the errors (and unreliability) of the findings to an extraordinary degree.
OCCURRENCES
The ATSB also looked at ‘Occurrences’ in controlled airspace (in comparison with private flights generally, most of which occur in uncontrolled space, and therefore are not reported). The ATSB acknowledged that they have no data from flights OCTA, so they did not take that fact into account. The investigators also included in the occurrence data (adverse to the charity), instances where the admitted and conclusive report findings included ATC errors; errors of other aircraft causing safety breaches (not the fault of the charity flight); the proper reporting by the charity-organised flights where others had caused danger (including, for example, a pilot reporting a model aircraft illegally on a flight path, causing the authorised charity aircraft to take evasive action: this was included as a ‘negative’ occurrence against the charity; and diversions to other airports in the interests of safety.
This cannot be regarded as valid in the collection of statistical data, and nor was it found to be so by the experts.

OTHER FINDINGS
The ATSB, amongst its findings, noted that Angel Flight was planning a mentoring program: this is incorrect, and known to the ATSB – the charity implemented its pilot mentoring programme more than a year ago. It was required to stop because CASA introduced rules which imposed restrictions on who could accompany a pilot, as was made very clear by the written advice of a senior CASA executive that “another pilot can accompany a pilot on a CSF as operating crew, so long as the other pilot qualifies to be a co-pilot of the aircraft and has such duties in relation to the CSF”: this clearly precludes pilots from being on board for mentoring, familiarisation, and observation of Angel Flight’s processes and safety culture.
FUTHER OVERLOOKED FACTS
It has not been acknowledged that all volunteers operating their own (CASA-approved and maintained) aircraft for the purpose of these community benefit flights, are CASA-licensed, CASA- trained, and CASA-tested on a one or two-yearly basis. Angel Flight has ensured that the volunteer pilot qualifications are not less than as permitted by the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations, and for the entire period leading to the investigation (14 years), these pilots have had substantially more than the required experience for passenger-carrying private flights in Australia. The new Rules decreed by CASA would have had no bearing on the accident under investigation, and this has been acknowledged by CASA. The pilot under investigation had greater experience than that required by either the former or the current Rules.
Angel Flight has been urging CASA for a substantial time, to re-visit and strengthen the training of its pilots in the human factors area prior to issuing licences. With the additional safety, risk- management and induction training that Angel Flight has already implemented, the addition of CASA training would be beneficial for all pilots in this and other general aviation environments.
This message has been authorised by Angel Flight Australia.

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The ATSB handling of the data, such as they are, doesn't match up with real life numbers such as hours flown. I tend to 'agree' with AF that some invalid conclusions were drawn from it.  However, perception is reality as far as the general public is concerned and I think the era of VFR AF activities is about to close.

 

Based on a '7x higher probability', the ATSB should have been calling for an immediate cessation of all VFR AF flights.  Instead, they have obfuscated, dithered, and concluded with a report that really does not address the root causes of these accidents. Frankly, PPLs should not be placed in a position where they are possibly going to initiate an AF flight when all the indicators say it just isn't doable in VFR. CPLs with a CIR are really what AF need, and the sooner they accept it - the better.  We can't rely on teaching existing pilots more human factors etc etc: many are already quite resistant to any behaviour education, and are going to take risks no matter what. Look at how many LL accidents and incidents still occur - despite huge promotional efforts to prevent it. Same with VFR into IMC.

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To make it clear where I stand on this matter...  I'm sending a donation to Angel Flight.

If I were them, I would be sorely tempted to stop all activities and then collect and send all the pollies details of the negative outcomes which ensued. The pollies, collectively, have the power to sack the CASA bureaucrats responsible, and if they don't do this, they become guilty too. Even those in opposition have the power to record their dissent.

 

 

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On 16/08/2019 at 4:33 PM, poteroo said:

The ATSB handling of the data, such as they are, doesn't match up with real life numbers such as hours flown. I tend to 'agree' with AF that some invalid conclusions were drawn from it.  However, perception is reality as far as the general public is concerned and I think the era of VFR AF activities is about to close.

 

Based on a '7x higher probability', the ATSB should have been calling for an immediate cessation of all VFR AF flights.  Instead, they have obfuscated, dithered, and concluded with a report that really does not address the root causes of these accidents. Frankly, PPLs should not be placed in a position where they are possibly going to initiate an AF flight when all the indicators say it just isn't doable in VFR. CPLs with a CIR are really what AF need, and the sooner they accept it - the better.  We can't rely on teaching existing pilots more human factors etc etc: many are already quite resistant to any behaviour education, and are going to take risks no matter what. Look at how many LL accidents and incidents still occur - despite huge promotional efforts to prevent it. Same with VFR into IMC.

A plague on both their houses. There is no way that extra human factors training is a good idea. My life is too short to work out if the ATSB cooked the books, but looks like they could have. 

 

I still think a dispatching system of some type would be the best way to avoid VFR into IMC accidents. I doubt there are enough instrument qualified pilots but might be wrong. 

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2 minutes ago, APenNameAndThatA said:

I still think a dispatching system of some type would be the best way to avoid VFR into IMC accidents. I doubt there are enough instrument qualified pilots but might be wrong. 

I agree to the first point.

 

As to the second point, I submit that anyone with a CPL and a current instrument rating is probably already flying on someone else's coin. That is to say they already have a job flying IFR (or teaching students to do same) and are not available for Community Service Flights, as a qualification to "not having enough instrument rated pilots".

 

I think I will throw my money in the same direction as Bruce Tuncks.

 

Further I feel this may be a very good opportunity for Air Services Australia to waive fees for anyone doing instrument initial or currency training in support of Angel Flight (or any CSF) ... to help dilute the current stink over Air Services way.

 

(Lemons into lemonade!)

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There are stipulated weather minimums for ALL operations  ( Ceiling and RVR. Runway Visual Range) Taking off is never an absolute (unless the tide is coming in or The  Indians coming over the hill, or the grass is on fire behind you.. It's never "I must get home for  work tomorrow" or such non urgent issues. That's part of the Human Factors consideration. I know HF has become a dirty word but that's because it generally was done in a poor way..  If you once had a rotten apple you don't stop eating apples. You get better apples. Nev

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The question is how many lives were saved by Angel Flight over the years for these people needing a flight or had medical problems solved.

 

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They are not involved with trauma type accidents.  which is handled by professionals. like RFDS. .  Nev

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I agree with all the previous comments to the effect that the quoted claim 'seven times more likely' is most likely hogwash.  In any research, raw results, like these,  may be nothing more than a random chance event.  There are statistical techniques,  robust ones,  to test whether the results are 'significant', and usually they are not significant unless the probability that the results are merely random chance is less than 5%...the so-called 95% confidence.   Why haven't the ATSB used them?  Either they haven't engaged a statistician, or they have and they are too embarrassed to publish the outcome. 

 

There are lots of dishonest studies, particularly where there are commercial or other vested interests.    For example,  I have seen low quality studies with very small sample sizes that found no 'significant difference' between the control and the variable which are then used to justify a 'no effect' finding and then used to undermine the credibility of studies with very large samples.  There are some good books on this detailing the tactics activities of Big Tobacco and Big Pharma.

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The pilot was clearly under pressure to do the flight. He should not have been under any pressure. The medical specialists could easily have made it clear that a rescheduled appointment because of poor flying weather would not mean another 12 month wait.

They ( the medical specialists) are the real culprits.  If you need to blame some group, blame them. CASA come a close second.

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51 minutes ago, Markdun said:

I agree with all the previous comments to the effect that the quoted claim 'seven times more likely' is most likely hogwash.  In any research, raw results, like these,  may be nothing more than a random chance event.  There are statistical techniques,  robust ones,  to test whether the results are 'significant', and usually they are not significant unless the probability that the results are merely random chance is less than 5%...the so-called 95% confidence.   Why haven't the ATSB used them?  Either they haven't engaged a statistician, or they have and they are too embarrassed to publish the outcome. 

 

There are lots of dishonest studies, particularly where there are commercial or other vested interests.    For example,  I have seen low quality studies with very small sample sizes that found no 'significant difference' between the control and the variable which are then used to justify a 'no effect' finding and then used to undermine the credibility of studies with very large samples.  There are some good books on this detailing the tactics activities of Big Tobacco and Big Pharma.

If that was what ATSB had said, you’d be right, but it wasn’t. The OP got the statement wrong and the Thread title is wrong and can’t be changed. The methodology used by ATSB given that it is about a specific sector or type of aviation. We do that regularly in the transport industry and it works in reducing the small volume of injuries and fatalities in the sectors.

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9 minutes ago, hihosland said:

one extra event is not a trend.

 

 

Doesn’t have to be.

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My name is Brian Perry, I am the father of Tracy (nee’ Perry) Redding and the grandfather of Emily Redding.

 

I am reading comments in this forum and thank you for the comments I have read.  There is powerful group of people who are fighting hard to push back against the changes in the legislation both in the near past and into the future.  These No. one stake holders had already brought a legal case to stop the legislation, they failed.  Now they have started to crusade Senators to stop its introduction to the Federal Parliament to prevent it becoming law.

 

Now my first point is there is only one group that can claim the status as the Number one stake holders in this matter and that is all the many people who have been left to deal with the mess that had been left after the two Angel Flight crashes.  They have not bloody got even close to that title.

 

Another point I would like to make is that Emily was suffering from the terrible disease of Anorexia Nervosa contrary to what has been mentioned in this forum.

 

And it was only four month since the family had discovered her condition and also discovered later that she had been fighting the disease for the last six years.  Yes that is right! , six years and nobody knew.  If anyone has had the same problem themselves or in their family they would understand how that happens.  It was not because nobody cared. 

 

After we all became aware we started a three month (leading up to the fatal crash) period of driving to Adelaide and back in the same day.  That was a 900 km round trip, sometimes three times a week.  Why? Because we were trying to keep Emily at school.

 

Grandfather (me) was the person who was doing the driving.  Why? It was costing $1200.00 a week for specialist visits.  Grandfather took up the job to allow the father to keep working.

 

I am seventy three years old, after two months of this gruelling routine I was getting totally exhausted both emotionally and physically.  Tracy, after seeing what it was doing to me arranged an Angel Flight every two weeks.  It was my inability to continue that sent them to their deaths.  That clears up the other myth out there in pilot world!  “Why did they not take a commercial Flight?  “They must have been too tight with their money”.  That really hurt me in particular. 

 

Now with regards to CASA.  I can only say I have the utmost respect for both ATSB and CASA.  They always answered my phone calls and ready to answer any questions I had.  I can tell all that they are two organisations that everyone should be proud of.  They contacted me six months ago apologising for the time they were taking with the second part of the report, saying they were limited in what they could legislate and wished they could do more for making community service flights safer.

 

The so called Number one’s say they are over legislated.  I don’t know about that, but what I do know is that state and national road legislation is the most extensive legislation in the Commonwealth of Australia.  Is that working? Just look the latest number of road deaths to see if legislation solves a problem.

 

 

Angel Flight has Approx. 3000+ pilots on their list of volunteers, does anyone dare to say there are no “Drongo Pilots“in the ranks.  Remember the foresaid road deaths I mentioned.

 

It has been alluded to in this forum that Angel Flight must have hands on to weed these Drongo pilots off their list.  So far they say it is CASA’s responsibility, it’s their fault.

 

Why would Angel Flight not want to be pro active in making sure their private Pilots are the “Best of the Best”?  Easy, they do not want to use any of their $2,000000+ (Google their financial Reports),  and remember that when they come begging for more money.

 

The only way to end these incidents is to become PRO ACTIVE and bring in a system of oversight of all pilots, planes and tasks asked of them.

 

When I was a younger man I flew gliders (some would say real flying), don’t want to go there.  But the one thing I did learn was an air craft flying (or falling) is no place to be when something goes wrong or oneself goes wrong and it doesn’t matter how high you are off the ground.  Just under 2000 flights I never came near the edge.  There was no way I would make it easier for the chance at death to get any closer than what it was already.

 

But apparently some of Angel Flight pilots do and they are the ones that Angel Flight needs to take out and not just wait for natural selection to do if for free.

 

I am not trying to destroy Angel Flight.  As it is they are already doing a good job themselves.

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3 hours ago, Markdun said:

There are statistical techniques,  robust ones,  to test whether the results are 'significant', and usually they are not significant unless the probability that the results are merely random chance is less than 5%...the so-called 95% confidence.   Why haven't the ATSB used them?  Either they haven't engaged a statistician, or they have and they are too embarrassed to publish the outcome.

There are something like 40 pages of statistical analysis in the report. This information is there. If you want to criticize the statistics, maybe it would be worth opening the report first?

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Hi Brian,

 

Thank you for  taking the time to enlighten us on your experience.

I hope that any comments made here have not been too upsetting, and apologize on behalf of fellow members if they have been.

 

Unfortunately we sometimes jump to try and find insights in fatal and non fatal accidents. This can sometimes lead to speculations and comments that are unfounded and upsetting. This is not intentionally done, but happens in the flying community in general as we  try  to understand how such tragedies occur and by learning from them ensure safety in the skies for us all.

 

You have my and I am sure other members greatest sympathies for the loss of your loved family members.

 

If their is anything we can do to assist you, please feel free to ask.

 

Yours sincerely 

Philip Nichol

Aka Litespeed.

Edited by Litespeed
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If I had my way, the universities would be able to graduate any number of medical specialists and they would be accredited by a branch of the Standards Association.  The same would go for GP's. Medicare provider numbers would be geographically based.

In time, the larger regional centers would not need to transport people to the  capital cities just for medical attention.

Thank you Brian Perry for your story, you have my deep sympathy. I reckon you did everything you could have.

 

 

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On 18/08/2019 at 10:25 AM, facthunter said:

There are stipulated weather minimums for ALL operations  ( Ceiling and RVR. Runway Visual Range) Taking off is never an absolute (unless the tide is coming in or The  Indians coming over the hill, or the grass is on fire behind you.. It's never "I must get home for  work tomorrow" or such non urgent issues. That's part of the Human Factors consideration. I know HF has become a dirty word but that's because it generally was done in a poor way..  If you once had a rotten apple you don't stop eating apples. You get better apples. Nev

I am fine with HF training. From my point of view, the problem with AF's solution is that more training will not help. All pilots know not to be emotionally pressured into flying in bad weather. Six-monthly training about how to say "no" to people might work, but AF's solution seemed to be just more intensive training when people are given their qualifications. 

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I live on a road that has killed circa 20 people whilst I’ve lived here and even though Main Roads have spent money it continues to kill people. In fact one of the improvements was the cause of at least one fatality. It’s sad but true.

The insurance industry, amongst others, can try and influence government agencies to improve safety but still accidents will happen - no matter what statistics will say or indicate. Statistics and trends help to make management decisions but are tools and simply assist in the process. The Insurance industry has the ability to shut down any industry or endeavour if they don’t like the statistics so clearly they don’t agree with the ATSB and consider AF as safe enough for their purposes.

On the face of it I would suggest that a 400 hr pilot with a Class 2 Medical would have the skills and ability to provide this service for AF. I would also suggest that, by that stage, he/she would also have had plenty of previous experience of opting for prudence by making decisions that would disappoint others.

AF is an incredible organisation from a regional Australian viewpoint.  I note that most of their critics on here appear to live in metropolitan addresses and may have difficulty in understanding a 16/20 hour car journey undertaken on a  frequent basis. The people that use this service are, by definition, resident in regional areas and some actually do drive 8- 10 hours on a fortnightly basis. These patients don’t have to avail themselves of an AF but they continue to do so and normally then only on medical advice. I also suggest that the vast majority do so because a stressful visit to a specialist that may have taken a number of days is, in some cases, reduced to a day out allowing them to sleep in their own bed that night. 

In my opinion Angel Flight is a true Australian icon and embodies the true essence of “Care in the Community”. It is not above criticism but when the alternatives are considered it bears scrutiny.

Edited by Ironpot
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For those doubting the need for AF, consider the lack of public-transport alternatives. Even for people only three hundred km from the capital, services may be hostile to their needs. For decades I've complained to NSW State Rail that their timetables seem to be designed for the convenience of their city-based staff, rather than their regional clients. To attend a 20minute doctor's appointment in Sydney has cost me three days off work and two night's accomodation in the city.

Edited by Old Koreelah
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