Just a quick line to add my support to Alan. He was our lead ground engineer when we were operating the old BAC1-11s and B737-200s at European Air Charter. What a good time we all had with EAC . . . lovely bunch of people and Alan was a super ground engineer. Very efficient, very skilled and totally reliable from a pilot's point of view. We wish you well, Alan.
By the way, TOON737, are you our old Geordie mate from EAC days ?
It was a "freak" accident because so many holes in the cheese had to line up that day;
"Freak accident" and its sister cliche of convenience "isolated incident" are only heard in politics where the involvement of politicians was the sole cause of the event (ie they cannot pin it on anyone else), not in real life. And definitely not in aviation
Almost all aviation prangs are full of lined-up cheese holes eg SQ006 under the same false rationale could also be classed a
"freak accident", as could Lima, Helios, etc.
Just a comment, if procedures taught by Boeing flight training are used, then the switch positions on the overhead are set/verified by the first officer, during the pre taxi check the pressurisation panel items are challenge/responded by the first officer whilst being monitored by the captain.
This procedure is based on areas or responsibility, at no point does the land. Asked engineer have any responsibility to position/verify/challenge/respond to the the status of the switches on the pressurisation panel, or indeed any other panel on the flight deck.
The incident was not the responsibility of the engineer, it was a consequence of poorly executed procedure and appalling CRM by the flight crew. Sadly, with regard to one of the crew members, this was, a known fact. Tragically when it was discovered no one had the b***s to bring the situation to a close.
After completing their O/N checks, Engineers are often expected to close the outflow valves for security and inclement weather reasons, especially for overnight parking. Therefore, in my experience, it is not uncommon for Flight crew to find the control in manual; they are responsible to set up the pressurization panel. Well wishes to Alan.
I hope that the aviation profession does not turn its back upon this ludicrous plan to crucify the engineer. This is not just some isolated weirdo decision emanating from an equally weirdo foreign judiciary. Not only is it blatantly wrong but it is also a wake-up call for those around the world (and closer to home!) who would espouse a continental style of justice. I have many thousands of hours in Seat 0A in Boeings. Never, ever, have I heard it even faintly suggested that switch positions should be set by the engineers. In fact, one expects almost quite the opposite – without casting any aspersions whatsoever upon the engineers – but (especially) when an aircraft arrives from the hangar one actually expects the switches to be in anything but the correct position. If you cannot be bothered to check your switches, you should not be allowed on the airport, let alone on an aircraft. Is it too much to expect that responsible aviation companies might show sufficient contempt for this turn of events to call a boycott of the country concerned? Prober
Might be good practice EK..however it isn't always done that way. In any case this had nothing to do with the engineer and everything to do with the flight crew missing the switch position. There aren't too many things that will get you in trouble, but pressurization/flaps are two that will..pretty much any professional aircrew that I know checks these things on preflight, just before t/o and through 10 000'.
Can't believe the engineer is getting any blame here at all.
I think EK Profesional is pretty accurate. Yes, the crew should have checked, but it isn't helpful to receive an aircraft back from maintenance this way. As good as the engineer is, I think he should have done better before the aircraft was released to service. A jail sentence though ? categorically no but then again Greek justice is cr*p and they are looking for their scapegoat.
Sure it wasn't mandated by the AMM procedure, but isn't it good maintenance practice to put switches and systems configured back to the way they are found?
Within the context of this thread, that is a ludicruous comment. Are we going to blame engineers for aircraft suffering loss of control because the flight crew failed to set the rudder trim properly?
The setting of any switch or control on any of the panels identified as under the responsibilty of the flight crew by the Boeing operational manuals, comprises the operational configuration for which the engineers have absolutely no responsibilty whatsoever.
Location: South of the Watford Gap, East of Potland
Abbot and Sciolites........spot on.
We've all done first flight checks and found switches out of position after the engineers have worked on the aircraft.
Yes, it would be nice if they did put them back in the correct position but repsonsiblity for making sure that everything is in the correct position and is working when those thrust levers are moved forward rests with the flightcrew and ulitmately the person occupying the LHS.
On my current aircraft, pressurisation settings and switching is checked in the FD Safety Checks then the Before Start Checks then the ATO Checks (as well as my 'scan' after the FO has told me Safety Checks are complete and that dying 'art' called airmanship with a check of the pressurisation every 10000').
It comes down to training, supervision and company culture, all 3 of which have to be questioned in this case.
“It is good that there are some guilty parties here, because in Cyprus no one was found guilty,” said Sophia Charalambous, wife of the ill-fated flight’s co-pilot Pambos Charalambous, 51.
Whilst I sympathise with all the bereaved families left behind this quote more than any other really illustrates what is going on here. 'We must find scapegoats' Surely her late husband, and the Captain are the two people most culpable for the accident. Maybe the Cyprus court did not convict because nobody else could reasonably be considered criminally responsible.
Any pilot should be able to step into his aircraft type with all switches and controls randomly disorganised or even every switch in the incorrect position and set up the aircraft correctly for the flight. These are basics.
The engineer should not be on trial, of that there is no doubt. But all the naysayers who argue against having maintenance procedures that strive to leave cockpit controls in their normal position should read up on the phenomena of "selective perception" and "Semmelweis reflex". These are real human factors and can significantly affect how we see something, particularly when seeing it one way (i.e. normal) is routine.
It is instilled into Engineers that they must follow the Aircraft Maintenance or Troubleshooting Manual precisely & any Tech log entry should quote "IAW AMM /TSM" etc. Therefore if there was nothing in the AMM stating return switches to "normal", then how can the Engineer be blamed? All Engineers should be made aware of this case, which highlights how they could be held accountable for their actions (whatever they might be).
When I was an active mechanic (and flight instructor) we used to say that the person who died after signing the fewest things, wins (partially with this type of mess in mind, and partially with the more typical regulatory mess in mind). The corollary in General Aviation was to tell those whose planes you worked on to carry the airplane logs on board
Now that I'm a semi-active attorney, I see these cases on rare occasion. Should have been dismissed [at least against Allan] long before a verdict.
If the captain was well known as a CRM disaster waiting to happen [as some have implied on this forum], maybe some charges could stand against the management--that's a very fact intensive determination and tough to do in the politicized environment after a crash. I'm personally not prepared to take a stand one way or the other on the management, but the mechanic should never have been charged.