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Old 20th Nov 2013, 21:57
  #92 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Go west young man
Posts: 1,732
Protected species vs hung strung & quartered!

Wazza's media release: FNQ aviation industry urged to speak up

Entsch quotes:
...“I welcome the minister’s Review,” Mr Entsch said today.
“The Terms of Reference outline how the panel will consult closely with general aviation, industry and public stakeholders. This will provide an opportunity for operators like Barrier Aviation – and others from around Australia who have contacted me – to provide information on the appalling way in which they have been treated by CASA officers.
“The fact that they will be dealing with a panel of well-respected overseas experts should mean that at least they will get a fair hearing, unlike the blatant prejudice to which they’ve been subjected to date"....
...“I would absolutely encourage anyone who has had an issue with CASA procedures - and in particular their officers - to put in a submission,” Mr Entsch said.

“In addition, if they have experienced repeated and unresolved problems with individuals within CASA, they can give evidence in Canberra and name them. Testimony will be subject to parliamentary privilege and cannot be intimidated by legal threats.”
Kind of falls in line with the questioning by Senator Fawcett at the tail end of the Fort Fumble inquisition at Senate Estimates..

Warning - Features an appearance from Wodger's fellow anthropomorphised mate from the fable 'Bankstown Down' :
Senator FAWCETT: I would like to come back to a few more questions about Barrier Aviation. I am still trying to understand exactly the process that has gone on here.

Mr McCormick, you had a company that you obviously had grave concerns about in terms of its safety. You obviously did audits of that company. What kind of resource would normally be allocated to an audit of a company, as you have described it—a family run company? How many people and for how long—what sort of resources—would normally be thrown at that?

Mr McCormick : I will ask our Executive Manager of Operations to give you a better idea about that. The ownership structure does not drive the number of inspectors; it is the size of the operation that drives that, as you would appreciate.

Senator FAWCETT: Sure.

Mr McCormick : As a background to Barrier Aviation, when the documentation was first brought to me suggesting that there was a 'serious an imminent risk' issue I was not satisfied that there was sufficient information given. By the time we did issue that order I was more than satisfied that the information was sufficient, as was confirmed. I think we have taken a couple of questions on notice about our way through our discussion with Barrier Aviation. The option has been open to Barrier Aviation for some time—all of this year—to take some action.

Senator FAWCETT: One of the problems we have is that we hear complaints from industry. Without an AAT process having occurred we do not get to see the objective facts of a matter. One of the few vehicles we have to try and get the other side of the story is this process of Senate estimates, which is why I am trying to get the balance of the facts to understand what has eventuated in this process. I want to see whether, in fact, we have a problem with our system or whether appropriate process was gone through.

Mr Campbell : I think your question was about how much resource would be put into an audit of an organisation of that size. The audits we have done recently would have been done within our certificate management team structure. So, in an audit like we would expect to involve flight operations inspectors, air worthiness inspectors and safety systems inspectors. Within the certificate management team, the CMT will decide how many people are appropriate for the audit and how long the audit will take. Audits, as you would realise, are sometimes like following a trail. You cannot always be sure how long it is going to go. Sometimes when you do an audit you find that everything is great; it does not lead to anything else. Other times things move on because the guys gather evidence which says that we need to go an look at this or that, and that sometimes leads to other things. I would expect three or four people to be involved in an audit like that and for it to take place over several days on site. Then, of course, often they will take away photocopies of material or logbooks and do a whole lot of work off site as well.

Senator FAWCETT: So three to four people over several days is what you think would be normal?

Mr Campbell : Depending on where it led and the size of the organisation, and Barrier have several locations, so we would have had to move people around to those various locations.

Senator FAWCETT: So you think four people for two weeks twice is an excessive amount at just their Cairns headquarters?

Mr Campbell : Like I said, it depends where it leads—and where it was leading was not that fantastic. I have to say that before we even had the information from Horn Island we were looking seriously at show cause action at that time. There had been a couple of audits done that year. There was one done—if I recall, it was a special audit???—which resulted in quite a large number of non-compliance notices and, if I recall, the issue of about 12 ASRs against aircraft, four of which were coded ASRs and required maintenance on the aircraft before further flight. There was a lot of concern about that organisation and about the things that were going on there.

Senator FAWCETT: What kind of concerns would normally be conveyed in the verbal outbrief at the end of an audit? Would they normally give the AOC holder a broad understanding of the nature and seriousness of a concern?

Mr Campbell : Yes, I believe so.

Senator FAWCETT: Do CASA hold any records of what the content of those verbal outbriefs are?

Mr Campbell : I think you are talking about an exit meeting. I believe that we still have an exit meeting under our current processes and our current surveillance manual, and I believe there would be records of that meeting.

Senator FAWCETT: Are you able to provide those to the committee? Again, I am only getting one side of the story at the moment, and my understanding is that the exit meeting did not indicate any serious problems that would indicate a show cause notice forthcoming.

Mr Campbell : I would not expect our inspectors to be talking about show cause at an exit meeting, quite frankly {Hmm kind of conflicts with.."I have to say that before we even had the information from Horn Island we were looking seriously at show cause action at that time..."}. I think that is a decision that we make as part of our coordinated enforcement process, and it requires input from more people than just the inspectors to start talking about things like a show cause notice. I would expect them to say, 'We found this and this and this,' and we will be in touch with them.

Senator FAWCETT: I believe Horn Island was the area where the most concern was. I think there was an audit done—I think Twin Otter was the aircraft that was of concern. Can you tell me how many defects were found on that aircraft when you did the audit?

Mr Campbell : I do not recall the Twin Otter. I will have to take that one on notice.

Senator FAWCETT: My understanding is that it was less than a handful of things like landing lights. Again, there is no AAT process we can look at to understand the balance of this argument. Are you able to provide me—even if it is in confidence—with a record of what the deficiencies were that caused the concern in CASA, because I am certainly not seeing the same story from the other side that would lend weight to a grounding situation, which is essentially what has occurred?

Mr McCormick : Yes, we will take that on notice and provide you with all the documentation we can. I am cognizant that the committee had a discussion earlier today with Mr Mrdak about FOI versus committee requests, and we acknowledge that anything we give to you will be in confidence. We will do our utmost to give you anything we have available on that, and we will certainly find the reports you refer to and the recommendation paperwork that came to me which led to the serious and imminent risk decision. Is it satisfactory that we go up to that decision point?
Very interesting... I could be wrong but this statement..." if I recall, it was a special audit" bythenew trough dweller is not in fact correct and there in lies the problem for DK i.e. there was no heads up for his company's impending doom.

As was highlighted in the PelAir debacle, once the company became aware of the FF intention to Special Audit them, the company took the proactive action to ground their operation and were subsequently allowed to enact a management action plan to address their significant safety issues within their AOC. I don't believe any such 'olive branch' was offered up to DK, the first heads up DK received was a SCN on Xmas eve.

FF may then argue that the maintenance issues highlighted were so serious and disturbing that they were given little choice but to issue the SCN. Hmm..wouldn't it have been more prudent to ask DK to ground the suspect defective aircraft until the 4 most disturbing (to FF at least) ASRs were addressed and then conduct a special audit early in the New Year??

Coming back to the apparent FF 'us and them' mentality we should remind ourselves of the number of ASRs and RCAs issued to PelAir in the course of the special audit, here is a couple of examples:
ASR 251813

For rectification:
  • Standby Compass bubble;
  • Evidence of lightning strike;
  • Numerous exterior decals missing;
  • Compass correction card dated April 2000 and 2002; and
  • Damage to RH nosewheel.
RCA 321071 has been issued for failure to comply with CAR 50 - Reporting of Defects.
Of course history will show that the good work of the audit AWIs in the PelAir Special audit was subsequently white-washed by Wodger and shelfwared by his fellow anthropomorphised mate...

More to follow...
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