Old 22nd Nov 2009, 14:03
  #272 (permalink)  
living the good life
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: The planet called Earth
Posts: 9
I too have flown the Westwind, and done the leg from Apia to Norfolk, I have also done Apia to Noumea when the weather was bad.

The way I look at it weather the ditching was well done or good luck it is irrelevant, its like judging an entire flight on the landing.

lets look at the decision making.

1. choice of aerodrome - - on a day with alternate requirements on YSNF, and none on NWWW why use YSNF which has a VOR, and NDB or RNAV which none of the westwind crews are trained for (unless things have changed), instead of NWWW which has an ILS, VOR, NDB and no alternate requirements for the sake of an extra 100nm (not to mention air traffic control services and closer alternates)

2. Fuel - - I have seen on here reports of not taking full fuel, and have heard the same rumors from some friends linked to this. Why would you not take full fuel? we always used full fuel for flights in the pacific unless there was an operational reason not to.

3. Pre-flight briefing - - once again I have seen on here a report the CREW departed without weather or notams, and have heard from my friends they had difficulty getting weather and notams, no one can confirm whether they did or didnt have it but there is doubt over whether they had it, if this is true, Poor Command decision making, and lets not forget the FO who keeps being left out of this, They are a crew she should have also ensured they had everything before departing (this point may not be relevant if they did get weather and notams, being Apia he had better have signed for it or there is no record and ATSB will probably assume he didn't have it, and the met guys in Apia will say no signature he didn't get it to keep the spot light off them)

4. Situational Awareness during the flight - - The CREW either didnt get Metars on the way to YSNF, or didn't act on them - Why would any captain continue to a remote airfield that is showing metars with OVC cloud below the lowest Approach minimum if they knew they wouldnt have the fuel to miss out and divert?

5. As you go charts - - as mentioned by an earlier post pelair us to have as you go graphs which we always ran for flights in the pacific, or to other destinations with PNR, CP's and PSD's - - obviously one of these wasnt being done or the CREW would have noticed that the winds were stronger than forecast (as is being reported in the media now) and would have know a good estimate of how much fuel they would have on arrival as opposed to how much they needed, and would have given a good idea for a diversion.
( I have been in the same situation where winds have been substantially stronger than forecast and I diverted instead of swimming, and the weather wasnt below approach minimum, only alternate min but I still diverted to my alternate, but then again I am not a hero either)

6. the most worrying part of all, the ditching -- -- -- How the hell do you ditch an aircraft on purpose without first MAKING A MAYDAY CALL so search and rescue are launched before you hit the water, briefing the passengers, preparing the cabin (ie securing loose objects, fastening seatbelts for an impact and ensuring the rafts are in a position that is secure and will allow easy deployment) ensuring the passengers are wearing life jackets and know how and when to inflate them.

As with most people I am hearing all this info second hand but if any of the above points are true, I would not want to get in an aircraft with either of these pilots in control.

I am glad I am not a hero, I prefer being a Captain, or even a Crew member for that matter.
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