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ATSB investigations of RA Aus accidents


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Folks,

 

Right about now I am even more disillusioned with the performance of RA Aus management and again ask serious questions as to why the Board continues to tolerate poor performance and alleged arrogant defiance of Board directives. I could label this the “CEO triumphs over the Board will …”.

 

The following new information apparently not readily known has come to my attention. I am certain this information will acutely interest members who have for some time been requesting their Board representatives take the necessary steps to have the ATSB investigate our accidents in order to provide a timely safety interim report among other advantages the ATSB provides. I know the Board collectively supported this, but was curious as to why no traction was evident.

 

In the middle of the last Board Meeting held in February this year, a number of VIPs were invited for drinks and dinner at the social evening held. Included in the guests was Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner of the ATSB.

 

Martin Dolan let it be known (informally), that there was a brief ‘window of opportunity’ for RA-Aus investigations to come under the ATSB jurisdiction. This would allow more co-operation between the ATSB and RA-Aus and thus, presumably better investigations and the release of a preliminary report after 30 days as happened with the Old Bar accident. It would also mean that anything found in an ATSB sponsored investigation is not allowed to be used for prosecutions. This is a measure to ensure that people can be totally honest when giving evidence without the fear of incrimination.

 

At the Board Meeting, this matter was raised and strongly supported, apparently especially by John McKeown, who reinforced what a good initiative this would be. It is alleged that Zane Tully interjected that having RA-Aus investigations done under the auspices of the ATSB would be a bad thing because RA-Aus would not be able to use their investigation to prosecute wrong doers; his statement was allegedly supported by our CEO Steve Tizzard. Apart from my personal opinion as to the inappropriateness of having the Ops manager and CEO in a Board meeting, I would speculate that Zane and Steve’s agreement on this matter may in fact reflect more a CASA mentality of prosecution as a higher priority over getting information to the RA community.

 

To the credit of our Board, they wanted it to happen and the CEO was directed accordingly.

 

Recently, under questioning on this matter, the President reported to the Board that the Secretary had done nothing about it after months of the CEO ignoring the Board’s direction.

 

The ATSB issue was a matter of great concern to the membership and we had in fact been asking for ATSB involvement for some time. Readers may recall a member some time back posted on this forum that he had written to his representative requesting the Board move to have the ATSB investigate our accidents and our overwhelming support of his initiative.

 

I think it is time that we RA Aus members asked our representative Board members to press the President to call the CEO to account as to why a Board directive has been ignored at the arguable detriment of the membership.

 

I would like to know whose side RA Aus management are on and if they understand they are accountable to the Board who in turn are accountable to the membership.

 

Your thoughts on this matter please …?

 

Regards,

 

 

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Even if the ATSB becomes responsible for investigating RA-Aus accidents, they already have a limited budget and have to choose what to investigate, I have a feeling RA-Aus will be towards the bottom of the priority list, would there be an allowance for RA-Aus to investigate should the ATSB choose not to?

 

 

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All true Jen,

 

But respectfully that is not the point I am trying to make here ... we (RA Aus) were given an opportunity, the Board decided to take it and gave the management a directive. The management ignored the directive ... and this isn't the first time this has happened.

 

Is management going to be called to account?

 

 

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But respectfully that is not the point I am trying to make here ... we (RA Aus) were given an opportunity, the Board decided to take it and gave the management a directive. The management ignored the directive ...

Is management going to be called to account?

Yeah I realise that, sorry. I think they need to be. I was just trying to put down a thought (while I still had it) that should be (or probably has been) considered if this is to go ahead :)

 

 

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Yes DBI, the CEO needs to be called to account. We've missed a big opportunity there, and something we've been crying out for.

 

But I will be the first to admit to belonging to boards which have directed a CEO to do something he/she didn't agree with. The CEO sort of puts it on the backburner for awhile or waters the resolution down, and if it wasn't too important the Board gradually forgets about it.

 

That doesn't make it right of course, and in hindsight I've been guilty of bad governance, but I can understand how it happens with a strong willed CEO (and most CEOs, by virtue of having gained the position, are usually strong willed).

 

 

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David, I'd have to agree, especially in an organization such as ours, accountability should be seen from the student pilot all the way up to the CEO, I'm not a great fan of aver management, working for the government with its layers of belligerent lazy individuals who can't see past their own ideas and power hungry ways to see the greater good, the whole reason they are in the position is to see, introduce and manage for the greater good of the members. We rarely see a soldier fall on his sword, there should be a great deal of this going on, however power hungry people crave the power. ( my weekend rant, sorry, wrong place wrong time). I'm sure if the ATSB could hey would, if they couldn't, then RAAus would copy them into their report, our organization may get accesses to the wealth of knowledge and expertise of the ATSB along the way. We all know and appreciate that RPT and charter/ scheduled type accidents/ accidents must take priority, but in the near future, given the right conditions, aircraft and pilot, we may be mixing with some of these important types, it would be prudent that we hav a working relationship with the ATSB, especially if it is on offer on the table..

 

 

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But it also seems that the Secretary has also failed to prosecute the Board directive to engage with ATSB. In this case then it would appear that the Secretary needs to be called to account, as well.

 

 

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If I recall when Mr Tizzard was first employed by the Board wasn't there a big fanfare in the magazine about how he had incredible expertise and was going to re-write the Ops Manual (or Tech manual?) and that this was a great appointment and we should all be pleased as punch... ?

 

I wonder if there has been any progress?

 

 

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David you silly boy, surely after all that has been publicly aired over the last 18 months you didn't expect the situation to heal itself did you?

 

There are nearly 10,000 RAA members who don't vote and they have no right to question what the CEO does or doesn't do.

 

Many posters on here consider their annual subscription mere petty cash, money well spent; it completely escapes them that self-regulation means that they are the RA Regulator.

 

They are quite content for Chardonnay and Glenfiddich to be paid for with those subscriptions.

 

I know I keep repeating this but your elected representatives are NOT a Board of Directors, they represent you, and you have complete power to kick out a fat cat any time you like.

 

So forget about the Secretary or the President or John McKeown and get off your arses if David's new revelation raises concern.

 

 

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The CEO should be aware of the line of responsibility/authority in the organisation. There is a conflict between misguided loyalty and the desire for "peace",.. and proper governance.. The CEO is there every day and the "board" is there rarely. The "possession is 9/10ths of ownership" effect, may be at work here.

 

Regarding a "working relationship " with ATSB, just to clarify. The ATSB operates at a distance from and not influenced by. any one it deals with. In essence it is a totally independent body. Nev

 

 

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Maybe the CEO knows something. CASA has started a project to gain access to ATSB investigations.

 

Is that something we would want?

 

 

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David have opened a very serious subject here and I as an RAA member would like thorough crash investigating, less speculating and info released to members as does the GA do with the Air Safety magazine and also ATSB website. Members need to get involved in the decisions, discussion and voting of RAA issues and elections and make a difference or we will get pushed around and loose our freedoms.

 

 

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David you silly boy, surely after all that has been publicly aired over the last 18 months you didn't expect the situation to heal itself did you?There are nearly 10,000 RAA members who don't vote and they have no right to question what the CEO does or doesn't do.

 

So ... get off your arses if David's new revelation raises concern.

We hear you, Turbs, but we poor dumb buggers don't know what we can do...To pinch a line from The Life Of Brian, lead us, Oh Great One!

 

 

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O. K. , I walked away from RAA in disgust, so I'm really only in a position to barrack from the fence.

 

As you can see from my rather provocative post, the key to moving forward starts with enough people being concerned about their future that the numbers are sufficient to do something decisive.

 

The strategy of getting good members elected bit by bit failed when the first to be elected resigned, outnumbered by the old guard.

 

18 months ago my assessment was that sufficient numbers of concerned members were needed to force a complete change of board members so a fresh start could be made. As difficult as that is, I still think it's the only way.

 

The problem is getting the large number of members necessary to understand what the issues are, and the problem in doing that is that the issues are such that publicly airing some of them can harm RAA.

 

Even that wouldn't be a huge problem if members actually understood the legalities and dangers of open public discussion, which in this case covers many of the issues of concern.

 

 

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If after 100 years or more of flight we don't know what causes pilots to pay the ultimate price then, blaming RA Aus operatives, ATSB , or CASA is surely just a deflection of the real problem. If your waiting for a report or publication to create an epiphany in your understanding of what causes accidents whether, EFATO! EFIC, stall turn, spin, fuel exhaustion, get there itis or the well known and documented causes of aviation fatalities then I fear for the future of those hanging on to this belief.

 

Pilots need to step up every time they step foot on their airfield , ownership of the responsibility beats reading about the remedy hands down. YOU are the pilot,YOU have the responsibility. For all the new pilots out there, find a good mentor, or instructor, or fellow pilot, learn with an insatiable hunger as if your life depends on it, because it does! There are some fine examples of these people on this site but separate them from the protagonists and barrow pushers.

 

Keep it simple, pure and safe and enjoy the experience that comes from the above, at the end of the day does anyone really believe they can blame any organization for their own safety? It,s a bit like drivers blaming the govt for the roads. I better stop now I may get this weeks Kevin award!

 

 

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I am sure we all agree with that Neil.... again that moves away from the very clear point I was making.

 

In this instance it happens to be the subject of ATSB involvement, but the real point was that the Board gave management a directive, management did not act on the directive and the Board has done nothing to hold the management accountable. That is the reall issue. It is not an issue on the merits of ATSB involvement.

 

 

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To the credit of our Board, they wanted it to happen and the CEO was directed accordingly.

Recently, under questioning on this matter, the President reported to the Board that the Secretary had done nothing about it after months of the CEO ignoring the Board’s direction.

The very kindest description of the relationship between the Board and the Management is dysfunctional. However, unkind descriptions could be very different.

 

The strategy of getting good members elected bit by bit failed when the first to be elected resigned, outnumbered by the old guard.

18 months ago my assessment was that sufficient numbers of concerned members were needed to force a complete change of board members so a fresh start could be made. As difficult as that is, I still think it's the only way.

Perhaps the election of Col Jones may the the wave of fresh air in the organisation? There's no doubt that an organisation that doesn't have (a) the members' interest at heart first and foremost and (b) gives all the appearances of being dysfunctional needs a broom put through it. This can only happen if, as you've so often reminded us Forumites Turbz, if there is a groundswell of member support for Board representation that is:

 

* fair,

 

* non-empire building,

 

* represents member interests first and foremost,

 

* is prepared to follow up on Management practices, to ensure Board decisions are fully executed by them

 

 

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So greatest respect to Col, but lamb and slaughter come to mind. The only way to change is to rewrite the constitution to remove some protections that were probably never intended when it was written. We have had a number of threads through the years but other than a passionate few the great majority I would pressume are of the view "Problem....what problem?' I too was like that a year ago. My fear is that "Problem ....what problem" will only change once we get to a point where we as an association are bankrupted through current legal action, or CASA, having had enough suddenly and irrevocably step in.

 

In both cases, "But we never knew" will simply not cut it after the fact. If the first occurs, and a new incorporated body starts in the ashes of the old, in typical aviation fashion I expect that rather than a single organisation 2-3 will spring up removing any chance of a consolidated power base......Assuming we are to be allowed a 2nd chance at all.......

 

What we have now is far from perfect, but it shouldnt be allowed to wither and die through member neglect and outside influences....I fear that is what is happening.

 

So, back to my original point, Col, if he too fails, like so many before him have, at what point will the general member consensus change to the point where they too see little value in "rinse and repeat". Im already at that point, how about you?

 

Andy

 

 

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All very nice in theory to want ATSB to investigate RAAus accidents. They don't even investigate all GA accidents. IF that was done expect your fees to go up by about $500 per annum. The very essence of RAAus operations is low cost with min exposure to 3rd party risk and personal risk limited to the pilot and one other "informed' person. CASA and the members here should realise that. What you ask for, will cost, Nice to have but the cost/benefit would be unjustifiable. No-one else will want to fund it, and the user pays principle is a reasonable rule to expect. Nev

 

 

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On to Davids point above.The management should not allow 2 new recently elected board member to resign easily. I don't know how strongly they put their case but I would think it was quite forccfully ( by way of persuasion). I mentioned misguided loyalty above and I feel that it is involved, but losing two highly qualified people is a bad look. The board need to ba aware of the untenable position they are in with individual exposure to financial loss. They can and Col can choose to be brave and tough it out, but no company would expect to have volunteers in such circumstances. The fix most be sought first. Nev

 

 

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All very nice in theory to want ATSB to investigate RAAus accidents. They don't even investigate all GA accidents. IF that was done expect your fees to go up by about $500 per annum. The very essence of RAAus operations is low cost with min exposure to 3rd party risk and personal risk limited to the pilot and one other "informed' person. CASA and the members here should realise that. What you ask for, will cost, Nice to have but the cost/benefit would be unjustifiable. No-one else will want to fund it, and the user pays principle is a reasonable rule to expect. Nev

This thread was started in regard to the function of the RAAus board and RAAus employees, apparently things are not as they should be with employees not functioning as they should. One way or another this has to be addressed.

ATSB probably not the answer but do we really need them? Fatal accidents are investigated as things currently are. The police with the assistance of RAA as required carry out investigations, the problem is we do not have access to the results of the investigations. Maybe the ATSB would do a better job but as Nev said probably not the way to go. If we had access to the results of the investigations which currently occur surely that would be much better than what we have at the moment. This should not be a big expense or difficult to make happen, our team at Canberra should be able make this happen.

 

Richard.

 

 

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You mean getting six State and two Territory independent Police Forces each to make a special exception? I wouldn't call that easy.

 

ATSB isn't charging GA pilots for investigations.

 

 

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