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Old 30th Oct 2014, 10:22   #2341 (permalink)
 
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Nope DF never outranked MS

According to your Wikipedia link.
MS was a Group Captain in 2000
DF was a Lieutenant Colonel in 2003

A Group Captain is equivalent to a Full Colonel.
A LT colonel is one rank below.

DF never outranked MS

Download the ADF badges of rank if you prefer.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 15:11   #2342 (permalink)
 
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MMSM Steve on new DAS.

Former Air Vice Marshal Mark Skidmore named director of air safety

FORMER Air Vice Marshal Mark Skidmore says he has taken on one of aviation’s most controversial jobs because he is keen to get involved in supporting Australia’s aviation industry and sees the regulator’s role as critical.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority chairman Allan Hawke yesterday confirmed Mr Skidmore’s appointment as director of aviation safety, the regulatory hot seat recently vacated by John McCormick.

The appointment comes at a pivotal time for the air safety regulator, which has been under fire from industry players for its handling of regulatory reform and approach to policing.

The industry is still waiting for a response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review, which called for sweeping reforms at the regulator, saying its “hard-line ­approach” to enforcement was inappropriate and had led to
a lack of trust between it and ­operators.

As an aviation military and industry veteran who has connections with general aviation though his monoplane 1946 Globe Swift, Mr Skidmore is aware of the discontent simmering in sections of the industry.

“I think initially for me it’s going to be waiting for the government’s response to the ASRR and seeing how that’s going to shape CASA into the future,’’ he said. “So I’m keen to see that, I look forward to getting that response.

“Really in the regards to the rest, yes, I’ve heard murmurings and mumblings out there. Obviously, being a pilot myself you run into those type of things.

“I’ve got to get my feet under the desk and get an opportunity to find out what’s going on and talk to people.’’

Mr Skidmore has experience in the private sector, working with Aerospace Technical Services, which was acquired by Raytheon Australia.
He said this gave an opportunity to get a feel for the industry as business development manager working on projects, bids and tenders as well as a test pilot.

He left in 2012 to set up his own consultancy, which worked with his old employer and other companies. “I’ve had an opportunity to talk and understand and find out what’s happening out there in the industry,’’ he said.

The new DAS also believes his RAAF background will help him in the new job. He started in the RAAF as an officer cadet in the late 1970s and became a pilot in the 1980s on F-111s.

He led RAAF research and development squadrons and was promoted to Air Commander Australia, holding oversight for Australia’s air operations, and reached the rank of Air Vice Marshal before retiring in 2012.

He says as air force Commander he was in charge of a big ­organisation and lots of staff, but it was not just a case of ordering people around; much of it involved negotiations, discussion and working with people to set up and achieve an agenda for the ­future.

“I see this much the same way,’’ he said. “I’m going to take that forward, I want to work with people, I want to listen, I want to set up teams and be able to achieve our strategic objectives.’’

Asked about the biggest challenge he saw so far, he said this would be getting the opportunity to grow CASA’s reputation and rebuild trust with the industry.

He believed CASA was a good organisation that had done a lot of good work but acknowledged there was a perception it did not listen and this needed to be ­addressed.

However, CASA was also a regulator and there were rules and regulations it had to apply.

“Sometimes there’s going to have be tough decisions and we’re going to have to do that,’’ he added.

Mr Skidmore’s appointment produced a positive response from industry figures ready to beat a path to his door with demands for their sectors.
Aerial Agriculture Association of Australia chief executive Phil Hurst said the association looked forward to an end to “ the rudderless ship that is CASA, the implementation of the industry supported recommendations of the ASRR, and the addressing of the CASA-created Part 61 crisis’’.

Mr Hurst said Mr Skidmore had “a massive task” turning around the culture of CASA, adding it must work with industry to identify real safety risks and “improve the safety, economic and growth outcomes for all stakeholders”.

Regional Aviation Association of Australia chief executive Paul Tyrrell described Mr Skidmore as “a very sound aviation professional’’ with whom the RAAA looked forward to working with as it attempted to reinvigorate Australian aviation and aerospace “at all levels’’.

“There are particular and pressing challenges in regional aviation that we will be discussing with the new DAS as soon as possible,’’ he said.

Australian Airports Association chief executive Caroline Wilkie said Mr Skidmore’s managerial experience would be invaluable in his CASA role. “We look forward to working with the new director with particular focus on the urgent need for airport regulatory reform, which is long overdue,’’ she said.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 19:24   #2343 (permalink)
 
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Here we go –

Under starters orders and -

Quote:
“I think initially for me it’s going to be waiting for the government’s response to the ASRR and seeing how that’s going to shape CASA into the future,’’ he said. “So I’m keen to see that, I look forward to getting that response.
Racing – the first half mile at a sedate pace; tea and biccy's while the 'department' decides what the response to one of the three outstanding reports will be. Not an auspicious beginning. You will note that the director is going 'wait' before becoming involved and elects to use the well trained, toothless "Australian", the 'official' spin publisher for his first waffle.

Re hashed - "I think initially for me I'll get the office refurnished, comfy like; then I can have a sit down and see which way I am supposed to spin the Senate, Forsyth and Canadian reports to keep my masters happy, Uncle Beaker can help. I can't just barge in and take over, tell the government what my vision is and how I want to address the "mumblings", I'm only the director – I don't run the joint. Oh no; I'll wait-a-bit more, make some friends and then wait until I'm ordered to do 'stuff". Can't act without orders dontcha know – now, would you like a Tim Tam with your tea?". "Then, some time next year after my six weeks of Christmas leave and two weeks off for stress (decorating is hell) I shall entertain some of the 'mumblers', that'll get things moving along nicely".

Better polish up the mirrors and service the smoke machine; Oh and tell the Wodgers they have a job for life. –

Well chaps (and chapettes) seems we are no longer the Ills of Society

Quote:
“Really in the regards to the rest, yes, I’ve heard murmurings and mumblings out there. Obviously, being a pilot myself you run into those type of things.
IOS is out, the first cheap shot is fired, dismissed – we are to become mutterers, mumble's murmurers. Yup, sweeping change is on the way. Why must we be constantly reminded he is a pilot?, "being a pilot myself I have also 'run' into those type of things"; I think we got the message – he's not not just a pilot, but THE pilot – Oh my giddy Aunt, it's stellar stuff; you can feel the impact from space – hell, I got so underwhelming engrossed I let my cornflakes get soggy. No matter, the dogs like 'em better that way.

Toot toot.

Last edited by Kharon; 30th Oct 2014 at 20:22. Reason: Can't get the dogs to eat the bananas, wonder why?.. Passing strange that is..
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 21:13   #2344 (permalink)
 
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Game over; Mr. Mrdak has found what the British insurers at Lloyds once called a "Nodding Donkey" - underwriters who could be persuaded to take on almost any risk after a long lunch and a glass of port. The nodding donkeys led their insurance syndicate members into insuring horrendous risks like Piper Alpha, which claimed Malcolm Frasers fortune.

AVM. Skidmore might be playing with a dead bat, but I doubt it - nodding donkey. Pass the port.

Quote:
"Skidmore acknowledged that some in the aviation community had concerns about CASA, but was positive about the general relationship between industry and the regulator.

“My impression is CASA has a good relationship with industry,” Skidmore said.

“There’s obviously mumblings and murmurings around the edges but one of my priorities is to get out, listen to people and find out what some of those concerns are.

“I want to build and enhance the reputation of CASA out there with industry.”

Skidmore, who flies his own Globe Swift classic aircraft, said that as a general aviation private pilot he had “never had concerns about CASA or where it was going”.

“One of the reasons I applied for the position and I am very happy to be taking up the position is because I see an opportunity to lead an organisation that is so critical in regards to the safety of aviation in Australia,” he said."
Now just wait till a CASA minion finds an arithmetic mistake in his aircraft’s maintenance release and he gets the same treatment as Toller.

Last edited by Sunfish; 30th Oct 2014 at 21:31.
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Old 30th Oct 2014, 21:26   #2345 (permalink)

 
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That's quite an amusing post Kharon, very heavy handed for this hour of the morning and so early into Skidmores reign, but you make some valid points
At the very least I am confident that Fawcett and Skates will enjoy the odd beer in Can'tberra and share the odd war story. To be honest I wouldn't mind sitting with these two guys in some dark smoke filled den and drinking copious amounts of Guinness stout while sucking back a few cigars (Hockey/Mathias style). Would make for an entertaining night. It doesn't improve safety or prevent the death of GA, but it is one of those little taxpayer funded perks that comes with being a Public Servant!

I think the biggest challenge for Skidmore will be when the reality sets in that he may be the Captain but on this ship he does not steer it

The IOS becomes MAM - murmurers and mutterers? Interesting concept. I guess I will have to reprint the t-shirts!
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 01:17   #2346 (permalink)
 
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I've got to wonder how the relationship will pan out between the new DAS and the current acting but previously deputy DAS given their similar career paths.

That is going to be an interesting challenge for the new boy.

Tipsy
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 02:14   #2347 (permalink)
 
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Steve Creedy - The 'Regurgitator' strikes again.

The piece by MMSM Steve, with a few editorial tweaks, is almost a complete regurgitation of the AA article, both of which appear to have a PG spin on the content i.e. what the iron ring, M&M and Hawke want to portray for their new 'nodding donkey' (thanks Sunny).

AA article:
Quote:
Mark Skidmore says he will make listening a priority as he prepares to start a five-year term as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s (CASA) new director of aviation safety (DAS).

The retired RAAF Air Vice-Marshal was named as the new head of CASA on Thursday and expects to take his seat in the chair some time before the end of 2014, once some existing commitments are out of the way.

Skidmore says his experience leading the RAAF”s Aircraft Research and Development Unit and its diverse fight test, engineering and electronic warfare elements will stand him in good stead in his new role.

“Leadership in the military has changed a lot from the old days, it is not just ordering people around it is actually establishing relationships and working with people to set goals and achieve those goals,” Skidmore told Australian Aviation on Thursday.

“I took that from ARDU and followed that through to Air Commander Australia and I still believe that is the way to do things.

“Sometimes you can’t always get consensus but at least if people can understand what you are trying to achieve and why, then hopefully they will come along with you on that journey and you can all go forward.”
One of Skidmore’s immediate tasks was expected to be implementing the federal government’s response to the Australian Safety Regulatory Review, (ASRR) which was expected to come out before the end of the year.

The ASRR report, released in June, described the relationship between CASA and the industry as at times adversarial and said the appointment of a new DAS would be an opportunity for cultural and structural change at the regulator.

Skidmore acknowledged that some in the aviation community had concerns about CASA, but was positive about the general relationship between industry and the regulator.

“My impression is CASA has a good relationship with industry,” Skidmore said.

“There’s obviously mumblings and murmurings around the edges but one of my priorities is to get out, listen to people and find out what some of those concerns are.

“I want to build and enhance the reputation of CASA out there with industry.”

Skidmore, who flies his own Globe Swift classic aircraft, said that as a general aviation private pilot he had “never had concerns about CASA or where it was going”.

“One of the reasons I applied for the position and I am very happy to be taking up the position is because I see an opportunity to lead an organisation that is so critical in regards to the safety of aviation in Australia,” he said.
Okay OpsnormalI guess... However IMO what really exposes this crafted media manipulation (as highlighted in the "K" post) - for the bollocks and middle finger salute that it is - from the above mentioned crats is the title and first line of the AA article...

"..Skidmore to make listening a priority..."

Isn't that almost verbatim what the Skull said when he first took up the reigns of the DAS job?? However the big difference this time is there is 269 submissions - representing literally thousands of industry stakeholders - outlining a majority consensus that the current regime at CAsA will simply no longer be accepted or trusted by industry..

So 'Skates' before you get "your feet (comfortably) under the desk" I suggest you get your reading glasses on mate and refer to the 269 (mostly publicly available) submissions here. I think you may find those murmurings & mumblings is in fact a pretty loud ROAR! And as for listening...mate the alphabet soup associations may have to negotiate; state their case; and then wait for a response but for the IOS the time for being listened to - & subsequently ignored - ended decades ago.

Hmm..after such an insipid; wet lettuce first media statement the former Commander now needs to get his skates on...

TICK..TOCK! MTF...
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 03:52   #2348 (permalink)
 
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Dead man walking.

Quote:
Sarcs – "However IMO what really exposes this crafted media manipulation for the bollocks and middle finger salute that it is - from the above mentioned crats is the title and first line of the AA article."..

Hmm.. after such an insipid; wet lettuce first media statement the former Commander now needs to get his skates on...
No Sarcs – he needs to learn the bloody game – Rule 1: sack the media mouthpiece spin doctor, that article was 'massaged' to a fare-thee-well, the first lick of the vulture and hyena cohorts of the whispering death. A reputation pissed up the wall because they want to write and manage his media statements – just "until it all settles down", in that way industry is told, this is our man – THE pilot.

We shall, as a professional courtesy, assist: write your own releases, find a journalist and a vehicle of your choice to publish in, be your own man and do not allow anyone with zero credibility to manage your public image. FFS man, the Iron Ring plays for keeps, from minute 1; just ask Mick or Byron or Quinn or Vaughan or Cook etc. etc.

~ ~ ~
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 05:05   #2349 (permalink)
 
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Dear Director;


There is a problem. Can you please read the Truss review and findings?


As there is proof of a problem can you admit there's a problem and address it for me?


If you believe that there is no problem, you become on record of stating there is no problem and thus fail test #1 and I'll know where I stand.


PS. Can you immediately sack the media manipulators who keep telling me you want to build on CAsA's already enviable world wide record.


Thank you for your time in reading this.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 07:26   #2350 (permalink)

 
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A clarification of sorts

Boys, what the bearded bullshit artist and Wake Up Terry were trying to say is this - "People are envious of CASA and how they pay their executives absurd salaries, generous study allowances, the highest superannuation in the land, pay for international jollies endlessly and they enjoy full immunity from liability, don't have to work hard and they remain fully unaccountable for actions undertaken, plus they get to stick their snouts in endless troughs all funded by us, the Murmurers and Mumblers (MAM)".
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 08:45   #2351 (permalink)
 
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Devil

"Isn't that almost verbatim what the Skull said when he first took up the reigns of the DAS job?? However the big difference this time is there is 269 submissions - representing literally thousands of industry stakeholders - outlining a majority consensus that the current regime at CAsA will simply no longer be accepted or trusted by industry."

YUP,
Time for the industry to pull together methinks, those of the "I'm all right Jack" self interest brigade should understand that their own survival is also at risk if the rampant regulator continues down this path.

There is some very interesting reading on another post regarding the laws of diminishing return.

If the industry withdraws from CAsA as a whole, other than what is required by law, then CAsA become irrelevant.
If nobody attends their "Seminars".
If they are positively excluded from attending any Industry seminars.
If their people are not talked to, other than what is required by law.
If their employees are made to feel unwelcome anywhere the industry may congregate, other than what is required by law.
If the self serving RPT operators withdraw the privileges they extend to CAsA personnel.

Then perhaps the message will get through that all is not well, and changes must be made.

The new DAS says he wants to talk, sorry old mate talk is cheap, we found out the hard way with the Skull, and what did that get us?

Thousands of pages of indecipherable gobbledygook that now make up our maintenance regulations that align with???.... nobody.

Our engineers no longer qualified internationally, workshops closing every month, voluntarily on top of those who ran afoul of CAsA expert AWI's.

1500 odd pages of indecipherable gobbledygook in Part 61, 141,142, that nobody, with the best will in the world could ever be expected to comply with.

Is CAsA so incompetent that it takes them 1500 pages to enunciate what the New Zealanders can do in 80 pages??, clearly, precisely with no doubt what they mean or intend, or the Americans, and god forbid even EASA with much the same...., well okay, okay, EASA has a few more but they have realized that certain sections of their industry collapsed because of that and are now actively rewriting them, and in any case any resemblance our regulations have to EASA is entirely coincidental.

We hear the CAsA spin doctors spruiking how respected and envied Australia is in the world of aviation, when from my own experience internationally, mention CAsA and eyes roll upwards with a lot of sympathetic Tut Tutting, its downright embarrassing!

Can anyone name a single country who have adopted Australia's world class internationally respected regulatory suit?? aww... come on, has to be one??.Nope, Oh good grief!!not even PNG!! bloody Traitors!!

How many countries have adopted New Zealand's regulatory suit or used it as a model???..errr??...HOW MANY!!! Your kidding?? Bloody Kiwi's, cant even beat them at rugby.

Let the new DAS explain to us exactly what Part 61 means, because his own employee's cant, I'm prepared to give him a week.
I'm on my fourth read and I'm still no closer to figuring out what they require and I'm yet to find anyone who does.


RIP IOS, long live the MAMaries!!

Last edited by thorn bird; 31st Oct 2014 at 19:13.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 20:44   #2352 (permalink)
 
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Why, thank you kindly Ma'am !

The time for talk was over when the Senate crew tore the lid off a can of rotten worms. It's not just the little end of town under the wheel, the heavies have had enough of the uncertainty, constant threats, bullying and their procedures being monkey'd about with – to suit some esoteric 'lay' interpretation of how things must be done, according to policy not law.

This new fellah has never, in a privileged, cosseted life had to deal with the likes of the top layers of Golden West Mafia (GWM) {just for Sunny}. He simply will not believe, how could he? The loosing of virginity or immortality are important mile stones along the road to growing up; perhaps by the time he realises he's been 'graped' (Aye, there'll be a bunch of them) it will be too late.

Instead of loafing about at 'seminars' and pandering to special interest groups maybe the place to start would be with treatment of Pel Air, compared to that of Barrier, Polar, Tiger, Airtex etc. Or, perhaps even more 'germane' the treatment of the scapegoats who still carry the scars resulting from their own graping in the interests of meeting the preordained outcomes, so beloved of McComic and his catamites.

Only the minuscule believes CASA are world class, honest and dedicated to improving regulatory safety. No one else who has been marked by the beast does and those who have not are too afraid to speak – lest it be their turn next. To lay sound foundations, first you must dig, dig deep through the layers of faecal detritus, weeds, top soil and tree roots – if you want your castle to stand the test of time. Sure you'll get dirty but that will wash off: the question is – do you want to just look pretty or do the job properly?

Aye well, it was my two bob, spent it as best pleased me...

Toot toot. MkII

Ben Sandilands – Journalist version in - Plane Talking – not the regurgitated pap from t'other (now unread rag).

Quote:
(My bold) If the legacy of disrespect and distrust of CASA caused by these and other events isn’t addressed (including the withdrawal of the second rate accident report) Skidmore has no chance of fulfilling his commendable ambitions for the regulator under his direction.

Other bloody incidents that hang over CASA are the 2008 Barry Hempel crash and the 2005 Lockhardt River crash. It is respectfully suggested that DAS Skidmore not read any of the media coverage reported on Plane Talking or mainstream publications on these matters, but the actual coronial documents and testimonies that are covered by legal or parliamentary privilege.

These are serious matters. They cannot be forgiven, ever, given the deep harm done to the public by CASA’s inability or reluctance to carry out its obligations, but the culture that tried to defend and bury these scandals can be broken by a strong and determined DAS.

To remake CASA, Skidmore will need to risk his own appointment. He will need to say and do things that the Minister won’t like, and he will need to take the public, as well as the industry, with him.
Selah...

Last edited by Kharon; 31st Oct 2014 at 21:20. Reason: Add a bit of realism to the pretty picture post card version.
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Old 31st Oct 2014, 23:30   #2353 (permalink)
 
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If the new DAS is a "listener" then he needs to know the industry includes people who are described variously as the Ill's of society" (IOS), and they should be listened to and not dismissed as a periphery group of malcontents. Dialogue needs to be with everybody otherwise a one sided and probably jaundiced view will emerge.


Two jaundiced views need be listened to, so one can draw a conclusion based on facts, gut feeling, but not spin. There are precedents to guide him.


If he fails to implement this, it's a case of "same horse-different jockey" and the betting ring already knows what the odds are. To firm into a favorite, better performance is needed than the last bloke who's still running.
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Old 1st Nov 2014, 21:12   #2354 (permalink)
 
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Oh, how I wish..

There are a series of posts – starting here – offered by Nkosi which are worthy of consideration by the Senate committee; not so much as they provide a perfectly balanced, sane sensible answer to the MaM pagan prayer, but because they define the gap. More a gulf really, between what has happened in grown up countries where industry is still able to work with the regulator to achieve better compliance, economy and as a result, improved safety outcomes in the realisation that they are intricately linked and inseparable.

Until the ASIR and ASRR recommendations are fully integrated and the industry-regulator relationship fully reconciled; this admirable way forward cannot be contemplated by Australia.

It's a crying shame, which needs to assuaged.

Choc Frog Nkosi...
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Old 1st Nov 2014, 22:34   #2355 (permalink)
 
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The recommendations will not be actioned. It will get worse before it can possibly get better. The new DAS will prove impotent. The screws will be turned even tighter on GA in order to "transform" it into disappearing. Two interesting conversations this weekend, one with a former public servant senior enough to hob nob with PMs and Ministers. Your only hope is rebellion, to go on strike and then make a case in the media. More to follow.
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Old 2nd Nov 2014, 01:05   #2356 (permalink)
 
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Sunday cogitation - State AAI & the importance of true independence.

Quote:
Kharon - ...have deeply annoyed a Senate, almost endangered two minuscules, embarrassed an industry and now, through association the ATSB is set to compromise the government; as any shadow passing over the MH 370 situation will be closely examined by the world.
Well said Ferryman...

From the Transport Safety Investigation Act:
Quote:
12AB Independence of the ATSB and Chief Commissioner

(1) Subject to section 21, the ATSB is not subject to direction from anyone in relation to the performance of its functions or the exercise of its powers.
(2) The Chief Commissioner is not subject to direction from anyone in relation to the exercise of his or her powers. However, when exercising his or her powers, the Chief Commissioner must act consistently with the ATSB in the performance of its functions or the exercise of its powers.

Note: This means that the ATSB and the Chief Commissioner would not, for example, be subject to direction from anyone in relation to:
(a) how a particular investigation will be carried out; or
(b) the content of a public report on a particular investigation.
From the PelAir (attempted) cover-up we now all know that s12AB is effectively & severely compromised (merely weasel words). As a consequence anytime CC Beaker is trotted out to make a statement on any matter to do with air safety (including MH370 or MH17), will forever more be treated with extreme prejudice & scepticism...

This situation maybe acceptable & not questioned in our ignorant, insular down-under world of aviation but will it be swallowed by the grown ups internationally??

Since time immemorial ICAO, through Article 26, have also recognised the fundamental importance of maintaining the independence (& therefore integrity) of the State Aviation Accident Investigator.

Example from Annex 13:
Quote:

General
5.4 The accident investigation authority shall have
independence in the conduct of the investigation and have
unrestricted authority over its conduct, consistent with the
provisions of this Annex. The investigation shall include:
a) the gathering, recording and analysis of all available
information on that accident or incident;
b) if appropriate, the issuance of safety recommendations;
c) if possible, the determination of the causes; and
d) the completion of the final report.
When possible, the scene of the accident shall be visited, the
wreckage examined and statements taken from witnesses.
And now from Annex 19 Attachment A para 1.3:
Quote:
1.3 Accident and incident investigation
The State has established an independent accident and incident investigation process, the sole objective of which is the prevention of accidents and incidents, and not the apportioning of blame or liability. Such investigations are in support of the management of safety in the State. In the operation of the SSP, the State maintains the independence of the accident and incident investigation organization from other State aviation organizations.
Point of difference & the TSBC - Also from Annex 13 CH5 para 5.1 it states:
Quote:

5.1 The State of Occurrence shall institute an investigation
into the circumstances of the accident and be responsible
for the conduct of the investigation, but it may delegate
the whole or any part of the conducting of such investigation
to another State by mutual arrangement and consent. In any
event the State of Occurrence shall use every means to
facilitate the investigation.
OK..again we all now know that any remote possibility of the Canucks reopening, on our behalf, the PelAir investigation (as is possible under Annex 13 para 5.13) was effectively nullified by the Beaker/Mrdak influenced ToR. In turn the ToR manipulation will no doubt ultimately compromise any positive outcomes that could of have come from the TSBC peer review...

However in passing I came across an interesting blogpiece from the TSBC that puts forward an interesting comparison to the PelAir embuggerance and an investigation conducted by the TSBC on behalf of the NTSB under para 5.1:
Quote:
What are the chances?
March 7th, 2013 Posted by: Brad Vardy

The phrase “What are the chances of that happening?” is a common one, often heard when random events produce astonishing outcomes. It is not a phrase that I use much, if at all. In my 30+ years in aviation, I had come to the point where nothing really surprised me anymore. That was until the evening of May 28, 2012, when I received a call from the TSB’s Director of Air Investigations, Mark Clitsome.

“There’s been a mid-air collision in the United States, near Warrenton, Virginia, involving two general aviation aircraft: one flown by an NTSB employee, and the other by an FAA inspector. There are fatalities. They’ve asked us to do the investigation.”

In the aviation world, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is the TSB’s counterpart in the United States; in other words, they are the independent agency responsible for investigating transportation accidents. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the aviation regulator, equivalent to Transport Canada in this country. An accident involving both the regulator and the safety board was certainly unprecedented anywhere, and investigating an occurrence in which one of their own employees was involved put the NTSB in a potential conflict of interest. So they turned to their northern neighbour for help.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation. Through the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also known as Chicago Convention), it sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity between the 191 member states. Annex 13 to this document stipulates how member states interact with respect to accident investigation, and it was under Section 5.1 of this annex that the investigation was delegated to Canada.

One of my responsibilities as Manager, Head Office Operations, is to oversee the TSB’s international activities and obligations in aviation, so this occurrence fell under my purview. I called the NTSB Director of Aviation Safety in Washington, offered our sympathies, and asked how we could help. He indicated to me that when they became aware of the specifics of the situation, they ceased all investigation activities and called the TSB.

Would we be able to come down to Virginia and conduct the investigation? Absolutely. The rest of the evening was spent building the team that would deploy for the field phase of the investigation. Western Regional Manager Jon Lee was appointed Investigator in Charge, accompanied by Randy Vitt, Senior Technical Investigator from the Central regional office in Winnipeg. They were to travel the next day, arriving in the evening. I caught the 6 am flight from Ottawa to the Washington Dulles Airport to start figuring out exactly how we would proceed, what the team would be facing when they arrived, and to sort out the details of conducting a TSB investigation on U.S. soil under the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act (CTAISB).

The TSB has conducted investigations in foreign jurisdictions in the past, but these were usually in countries that did not have an accident investigation board of their own, or whose board lacked the resources or experience required. The scenario facing us was unprecedented and complex.

I stepped off the plane in Dulles and was met by Paul Cox, the NTSB investigator who was originally assigned to the occurrence, and the manager for the region. They briefed me on what they had done and learned so far, and confirmed that both sites were secured by police. We then went to the FAA Washington (Dulles) Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), office to speak with FAA officials and NTSB senior management.

The NTSB confirmed that the investigation had been delegated to Canada, and offered full access to all of their investigative resources and facilities. To ensure independence of the investigation, we discussed the limitations to their involvement. Paul was appointed as the U.S. Accredited Representative to the investigation under ICAO Annex 13. With initial ground rules in place, Paul and I left for the accident area.

I spent the rest of the day working the two main accident sites, taking notes and photographs, and gathering as much data as I could before Jon and Randy arrived. During that time, Paul and I discussed potential challenges, especially with respect to investigating on U.S. soil. This would require a special Memorandum of Understanding between the TSB and the NTSB specific to this investigation. That document was negotiated and signed by the Chairs of both organisations within two days. Under the Memorandum and the provisions in ICAO Annex 13, the authority and independence of the investigation was assured.

When Jon and Randy arrived that evening I briefed them on what I’d learned so far. Jon took the reins, and we developed a plan for the next day. We decided that Lothar Hopp, a Senior Air Traffic Services Investigator from my group at Head Office should join us to help with air traffic, airspace and communications aspects of the investigation. With the full team in place, the field phase of the investigation was completed in four days.

The outstanding cooperation of the NTSB and FAA continued through the examination and analysis phase, and the report into this tragic occurrence should be released to the public later this year.

Along the way there have been many challenges, but the professionalism and dedication of all involved—at all levels, on both sides of the border—has turned this investigation into a shining example of international cooperation. It is a testament to the integrity of those who choose to serve in this way, those for whom advancing safety for the industry and the travelling public is in their DNA.

We all wait for that next phone call, when the skills and expertise of our organization will again be called upon to reduce the number of times we ask: “What are the chances of that happening?”
Fascinating recollection & true story by an on the coalface TSBC investigator...

However there is an irony as I have been reliably informed that this very same investigator was the man tasked to oversight, manage and help author the ATsB peer review report that has been delayed - beyond the pale - for nearly 6 months...

MTF...
Sarcs is offline  
Old 2nd Nov 2014, 04:25   #2357 (permalink)
 
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A joining of the dots ceremony.

More quality research from the inestimable Sarcs, emphasising the imperative. A clear need (Reason) for truly independent accident investigation..

Along with the disturbance of our Transport Safety Investigation Act (TSI), the diminishing chances of either the Senate or Forsyth recommendations being implemented with regard to the ATSB are pretty slim (skeletal); this demonstrated not only by the reappointment of Dolan, but by he being made the guiding light on the MH 370 event. Even with the great work being done by our 'troops' on the ground assisting the Dutch in the MH 17 event and the hard, coal face work on MH 370; anything mentioned by ATSB, no matter how vaguely related to underwater recovery of aircraft is going to be 'suspect', raise eyebrows and questions.

There is much evidence that neither the Senate nor industry fully trust the system, under it's current management, due to the close association and cooperation with both the regulator and the departmental administration. There is even a suspicion that Murky Machiavellian crew may even own and operate the system, through the swings and roundabouts, who would know?. However, no amount of stone god indifference, flipping the bird at the Senators or even an unlimited supply of self administered, deodorising spin can provide remedy for the burgeoning question. Is the Australian Transport Safety Board truly 'independent' of it's political masters?

The political influence has spread, like influenza; even the Canadians, who Vardy claims as the doyens of fair play and 'independence' have been besmirched, their motive brought into question. In the USA investigation, they must, forced by a powerful industry voice, be seen to be 'free'; Vardy claims top honours and brags of their response speed, willingness to assist, technical expertise and fearless independence.

Quote:
Would we be able to come down to Virginia and conduct the investigation? Absolutely. The rest of the evening was spent building the team that would deploy for the field phase of the investigation. Western Regional Manager Jon Lee was appointed Investigator in Charge, accompanied by Randy Vitt, Senior Technical Investigator from the Central regional office in Winnipeg. They were to travel the next day, arriving in the evening.
then:-

Quote:
That document was negotiated and signed by the Chairs of both organisations within two days. Under the Memorandum and the provisions in ICAO Annex 13, the authority and independence of the investigation was assured.
and despite the many 'challenges' the honourable TSBC team members soared to meet the needs of their cousins, as Vardy modestly states.
Quote:
Along the way there have been many challenges, but the professionalism and dedication of all involved—at all levels, on both sides of the border—has turned this investigation into a shining example of international cooperation. It is a testament to the integrity of those who choose to serve in this way, those for whom advancing safety for the industry and the travelling public is in their DNA.
Furry muff, says the world, good job and thank you Canada.

Suitably buoyed, Vardy adds:-
Quote:
We all wait for that next phone call, when the skills and expertise of our organization will again be called upon to reduce the number of times we ask: “What are the chances of that happening?”
Well, the next 'call' on the Bat phone came from Down-under; the Aussie's transport safety board - in the pooh. The blasted, interfering Senate have called foul and want the third umpire to adjudicate. So, the Canucks eventually saddle up and move out, after agreeing to carefully work within a very narrow set of benchmarks and promising faithfully not to go within a bulls roar of the topic which caused the imbroglio – to wit, the ditching off Norfolk Island of a West-wind medevac flight. "Only the paperwork system then? – yes Sir".

Now then, the good little injuns played nice, took their sweet time looking through the paperwork, then toddled off home to write the confidential 'first draft' and dutifully sent it back to those being audited for confidential technical and "factual" editing. Eventually, the second draft went back to the land of the Maple leaf, there to be further massaged (time passes) then to be translated, (time passes) then, the translation must be edited (time passes) and then, only under pressure, are we informed that the report will be released "some time in the late Autumn". Perhaps we could buy them a calendar to throw a dart at, just the months of the year mind you, nothing too demanding, then; maybe, we could get closer to a time line than just a season of the year. A current, popular opinion getting some oxygen, is that the Canucks are 'sitting' on the audit until their political masters are told by our political masters that it's 'safe' to release it. And that's just for a small, non fatal, no mystery, out of fuel in bad weather ditching; essentially, a very 'private' prang.

"Politically naive" - I'm told to expect true, transparent independence of investigation. Probably I am: but,

Is this then the system and people we must rely on to discover what happened when our own are injured, crippled or killed in accidents?

Is this then the system and people we must rely on to explain 'why' an accident has occurred and importantly, provide the tools to allow us to reduce the risk of a similar event occurring?

What - no answers ?; well, why I am not surprised.

According to ICAO, the state is responsible for ensuring the independence of 'the accident investigator'. Perhaps it's time to ask the question; what guarantee do we, as the people funding the system, have that it is, in fact, a 'truly' independent, closed loop system, free of all political 'interference?. Perhaps, one day, we shall know. But I'm not holding my breath.

Toot toot.
Kharon is offline  
Old 2nd Nov 2014, 07:17   #2358 (permalink)
 
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We can only hope our old DAS is not in line for a ICAO position, which rumor has it he is, as it could further enhance the look of a cover up.
Frank Arouet is offline  
Old 2nd Nov 2014, 13:23   #2359 (permalink)
 
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Devil apples and ...

Ah boys, boys, boys...

Why are we getting our pantyhose in a knot about an accident investigation which the national body devolved to an independent body under arrangements established by ICAO in comparison to an administrative "benchmarking" activity requested by an agency that had nothing to do with ICAO or the investigation devolution arrangements?

The circumstances are not even remotely similar. The final product is sure to disappoint those who misunderstand its purpose.
Prince Niccolo M is offline  
Old 2nd Nov 2014, 20:13   #2360 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
PNM – "The final product is sure to disappoint those who misunderstand its purpose."
...Thanks Nick – I'll be smiling all day now, laughter, the best of all medicine from a top post......
Kharon is offline  
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