PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Senate Inquiry, Hearing Program 4th Nov 2011
Old 23rd May 2013, 09:00
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Join Date: Apr 2007
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Despite the Ford story dominating the news...
ABC news:

Senate Committee releases damning report into Australia's aviation authorities

A Senate Committee has raised serious concerns about the competency of the bodies overseeing Australia's aviation industry.
The committee has investigated the official reviews into a Pel-Air plane ditching into the ocean off Norfolk Island in 2009.
The service had been flying a patient from Samoa to Melbourne for treatment on behalf of CareFlight.
All six people on board survived but only the pilot, Dominic James, escaped without injury.
The committee has found the Civil Aviation Safety body withheld critical documents from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and that many in the industry are reticent to speak out because of a fear of retribution, especially from CASA.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says of particular concern was the evidence of the head of the ATSB, Martin Dolan.
"In respect of his credibility as a witness," Senator Xenophon said.
He says the report highlights serious concerns about the oversight of the industry.
"My confidence in our aviation safety regulators and accident investigation body CASA, the Civil Aviation Safety body and the ATSB have been shaken to the core," he said.
Karen Casey was injured in the crash and says the report must be acted on.
"The truth has finally been revealed," she said.
The report has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

News Corp:
Committee critical of transport bodies

A SENATE committee has returned a scathing report into the operations of two major Australian transport watchdogs.
The 150-page document highlights failures during the investigation of a plane crash off Norfolk Island.
The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee on Thursday tabled a report probing the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's response to a light plane crash in 2009.
Six people on board survived after the aircraft ditched into the ocean near the island east of the nation's mainland.
Committee chair Bill Heffernan said the report also highlighted "significant deficiencies" on the part of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), through its failure to convey vital information regarding the plane's operator to the bureau ahead of its investigation.
"If Australia is to remain at the forefront of open, transparent and effective aviation safety systems, then we need our aviation safety organisations to work transparently, effectively and co-operatively," Senator Heffernan said in a statement.
"Ensuring that a systemic approach to aviation safety is in place is the best way to maximise aviation safety outcomes."
Late at night on November 18, 2009 the medical evacuation plane from Samoa ditched just off Norfolk Island after attempting to land four times to refuel in poor weather.
The pilot, Dominic James, was forced to put the plane down before he ran out of fuel after failing to update himself on the weather at Norfolk Island, a subsequent bureau investigation found.
The plane hit the water at about 100km/h and sank quickly.


And another from Ben:
Senate committee ATSB,CASA, Pel-Air wrap

For those who want it in dot points or a tiny silver screen this is what’s in or a consequence of the Senate committee inquiry into the air accident investigation (Pel-Air) report.
  • CASA and thus its Director of Air Safety, John McCormick, have been referred to the Federal Police for a possible breach of the Transport Safety Information Act in relation to withholding a relevant document from the ATSB
  • The chief commissioner of the ATSB, Martin Dolan, has been severely criticised by the committee for his testimony and the actions of the supposedly independent air safety investigator
  • CASA has been warned not to do anything that would offend the protections of parliamentary privilege given to those who made submissions or testimony to the committee in public or in camera.
  • The ATSB’s conduct of the Pel-Air inquiry has been variously described as compromised, illogical, inadequate and contrary to the interest of aviation safety or public confidence in air safety investigations in Australia
  • The ATSB should reopen its inquiry into the Pel-Air crash and take into account factors its excluded in favour of blaming almost everything on the pilot
  • Improvements to weather information availability on Norfolk Island should be variously made or considered
  • CASA has been found to have withheld information that if published would have reflected poorly on its acquittal of its duties of oversight and regulation in relation to Pel-Air.
  • Both organisations have been criticised for being more concerned with their image than public safety issues
  • CASA withheld information that showed that it was aware of deficiencies in the Pel-Air operation which if acted upon may have prevented the Pel-Air crash
  • The chief commissioner of the ATSB tried to rely on an international rule concerning air safety investigation that didn’t take force for a year after the Pel-Air crash to justify not retrieving the flight data recorder from the seabed near Norfolk Island
  • The committee has made a series of recommendations for improving the transparency and integrity and effectiveness of the ATSB and CASA by the appointment of a powerful Inspector-General of Aviation Safety
  • The Senate committee’s findings are unprecedented in the dissatisfaction expressed in the quality, integrity and effectiveness of air safety administration in Australia as in the Federal Police referral and the warning to a public authority not to take action against those whose testimony is protected by parliamentary privilege.
  • There is no immediately discoverable record of a national air safety investigator even being requested by a parliamentary review committee to reopen an inquiry on the basis of it being deficient on multiple grounds including internationally accepted standards for such activities

and from Nick's site:
MEDIA RELEASE: Alarming air safety failures revealed in Senate Inquiry

23rd May 2013
Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, has called on the Government to establish an Inspector-General of Aviation Safety after a Senate inquiry revealed serious and systemic failures on the part of CASA and the ATSB in relation to aviation safety.
The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee released its report into aviation accident investigations this morning. The inquiry was prompted by industry concerns about the quality of the ATSB’s investigation into the ditching of Pel-Air flight VH-NGA off the coast of Norfolk Island in 2010.
The committee’s report revealed:
“CASA and the ATSB made the pilot of VH-NGA into a scapegoat to cover up their own inadequacies, but this goes way beyond one incident,” Nick said. “This report reveals a disturbing trend in Australia’s aviation industry, where the regulatory safety system is failing the travelling public.”
Senator Xenophon said the committee had been “the most united” one he had ever participated in.
“Everyone was shocked and in disbelief about the evidence we received,” Nick said. “I don’t think anyone expected we would uncover the fact that information had been withheld by CASA, or that the ATSB was aware of systemic issues but ignored them completely.”
“This committee report is one of the strongest I’ve ever read,” Nick said. “It outlines in no uncertain terms the serious problems with the way CASA and the ATSB operate.”
Senator Xenophon said there was an urgent need for an Inspector-General of Aviation to be established, to make CASA and the ATSB more accountable.

“There has been an abject failure on the part of these two organisations,” Nick said. “Their relationship and they way they operate is now in such a state that it can only be redeemed by an independent body that can hold them to account.”
  • The ATSB had not followed its own mandate in terms of investigations, and had focussed solely on the actions of the pilot, Dominic James, instead of looking at broader problems within Pel-Air itself and with the way aeromedical flights to remote destinations are undertaken;
  • CASA had failed in its regulatory oversight of Pel-Air, and only a Special Audit of Pel-Air conducted after the ditching revealed the extent of the problem;
  • CASA had withheld a damning internal review from the ATSB, despite a Memorandum of Understanding between the agencies in relation to information-sharing, which outlined its own failures in relation to Pel-Air;
  • The quality of evidence provided to the committee by the ATSB’s Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan called into question his credibility as a witness; and
  • The ATSB inexplicably downgraded the incident from ‘critical’ to ‘minor’, with little or no reasoning to show why this was the case.

7:30 report

ABC update


ABC radio PM

Last edited by Sarcs; 23rd May 2013 at 13:15.
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