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Old 19th Nov 2014, 02:46
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Go west young man
Posts: 1,732
CTL Part 2: A parallel anniversary - Seaview v PelAir

On the anniversaries - (20th) Seaview crash & (5th) Norfolk Is ditching - we are left with some very disturbing parallels that reflect very poorly on our government department & agencies responsible for administering & regulating aviation safety in this country - the question is have we progressed or digressed since Seaview??

IMHO we have very much digressed for - unlike in Seaview - we now no longer can trust the veracity, integrity & independence of our (once proud & fully independent) aviation safety watchdog i.e. the ATsB/BASI...
Welcome and thank you for flying with us. Your aircraft today is an Aero Commander 690 conducting an overwater flight to Lord Howe Island.

Your aircraft is probably overloaded by about 300kg. Your pilot is 25 years old and has 60 hours flying this type. He has an infection and is taking unregulated antibiotics and analgesics. His annual medical certificate elapsed last month and has not been renewed.

The latest weather report may or may not have been obtained and indicates the aircraft will be flying in significant icing conditions. There is a placard restricting flight into icing because of equipment deficiencies.

The maintenance control officer lives 500km away, in Wagga Wagga, and has acted as a clerk rather than directing and controlling maintenance. In the last 12 months numerous defects have not been recorded.

Airworthiness directives have been actioned tardily, or not at all, and the right engine of your aircraft has exceeded a 5400-hour manufacturer’s limit.

The chief pilot of your airline was employed six months ago after the previous chief pilot was sacked. The sacked chief pilot reported directly to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) citing serious safety concerns. In recent years your ‘airline’ (in reality a charter operator) has been involved in 11 air safety reports and two of these allege unauthorised RPT operations in overloaded states with unsecured cargo and inaccessible life rafts.

In May your ‘airline’ was mentioned negatively in Parliament and numerous inspectors and managers within the CAA have failed to address these issues.

Please ensure your seatbelt is buckled and enjoy your flight …
Somewhat ironically the above quote/parody on what the safety cards (in hindsight) could/should have said (pre-Seaview tragedy) is taken from the CAsA Flight Safety Australia online article - The Seaview disaster: conscience, culture and complicity...

This paradox was not missed by Planetalking on these inauspicious anniversaries:
Pel-Air and Seaview anniversaries highlight safety failures

At a time when the Minister responsible for aviation safety, Warren Truss, appears to be invisible in relation to the shameful Pel-Air crash and its aftermath, it is worth remembering the Seaview disaster of 1994.

The pilot and eight passengers on the light aircraft died just over 20 years ago when it plunged into the sea on its way from Newcastle (Williamtown) to Lord Howe Island.

That accident, the result of failed air safety oversight by the then Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) , and a total contempt for the safety regulations by the operator, is reported in very blunt terms in this article in Flight Safety Australia, which is published by CASA, which replaced the CAA following the Seaview disaster.

This is quite a remarkable article, both in its scholarship and ferocious style, and in its coming out under the auspices of CASA, since much of the criticism of Seaview and the safety regulator that it conveys might prompt readers to draw parallels with the 2009 Pel-Air crash, and the quite shocking performance of CASA, the ATSB, and this Minister and his predecessor Anthony Albanese in relation to these matters.

But the irony goes deeper. Current Minister Truss’s former coalition colleague John Sharp was the Aviation Minister who tabled the Seaview Commission of Inquiry report in Federal Parliament which found Seaview was “a slipshod, often wilfully non-compliant organisation in which breaches of regulations and unacceptable practices were . . .commonplace”.

It was in 2009 the same John Sharp as the deputy chair of REX, the owner of the Pel-Air operation, who told the media that there was “no plan B” if the corporate jet that was ditched in the sea near Norfolk Island passed the point of no return and found itself unable to land for refueling if the weather conditions deteriorated to the extent that this was no longer possible.

Mr Sharp’s indignation, concern, and with hindsight, it seems his hypocritical posturing, can be read in contemporary news reports such as this.

Now, in 2014, five years and one day after the Pel-Air crash, the lack of adequate regulations concerning the fueling of such oceanic air ambulance flights has not been remedied. The reform process in CASA is in as big if not bigger mess under Truss than it was under Albanese. Lots of words from Albanese, and fewer from Truss, but no material results from either.
Air safety regulation in Australia is a joke, and one that will backfire on the industry.

After reading the article in Flight Safety (which has been curated) please read the comments. The second comment is from Karen Casey, the nurse who was badly injured in the crash, and has as yet been left uncompensated by parties who appear to think they have no liability for the outcomes of their actions.

There is something very rotten in the administration of air safety in this country. And no-one seems to give a damn.
And from Ziggychick...
Kasey Nov 16, 2014 at 10:49 pm

Stumbling upon this article, reading and absorbing it. Checking out the MoU between CASA and the ATSB…the game of dodge. Cost lives, compromises safety, use of tax payer money for an inquiry. Bureaucrats squabbling in the name of avoiding any accountability. Yet they write the rules.

I scratch my head.

Truth and honesty trickle from the top. Have examples of strong leadership with “good will” happen yet?

I personally have not seen this displayed.

If the truth was just told from the start, perhaps history could have been different.

As I braced for death, slammed into the ocean, a Half-inflated life vest. Terrified of sharks, freezing, hurt, fighting to live with every piece of energy. Start to give up within after over an hour of treading water in an angry ocean as I held my patient close. She was brave and so was her husband. Deserved better treatment from our Government.

Some parallels.
If I knew we were flying around the South Pacific, Ad-Hoc MedeVacs with many variables, unprotected with the correct oversight in place from thy ones who make the rules/law/, informed, I would not have flown.

I don’t know what category we were under or the AOC status for that flight.
Most know of the serious safety alert from a 2008 audit. The “Special Audit” not given to the ATSB.

I have it. A no brainier would have been to alert them.

So pretty much, same as twenty years ago. Levels of failure from all three.
Conscious. No. I don’t believe so.

No Law/Policy addressing International MedeVacs. High risk field, one would think.

No Law regarding above post ditching

No protection from an Authority with statutory rights from 1996 to today, which are being examined, closely.

Why would Ministers allow (both sides) for this to continue on?
Lawyers don’t fly planes and pilots don’t right rules.

Mutual respect without inflated egos might help too.

Industry is voicing, so are ghosts of the past along with current, factual evidence which keeps bouncing off that dome.

The human element of consciousness from the Operator, CASA and the ATSB are all still questionable to this day., I believe.

That protective dome, allows the ones who write the rules to not be accountable. Ever. Stat

I would be very interested in an article regarding the same thought given to the management of the Pel-Air incident thus far.

Five, very long years. 18/09/2009

Also, why was there rope on the rear of the aircraft, the fuselage has moved it seems? Peculiar?

Just thinking. Why?

Twenty years of learning. Where?

I must ask?
Good article. Thank you
Reply Karen Casey Nov 19, 2014 at 12:28 am

I have no words to describe the past week. In particular this evening.
Vivid is an understatement.

I can assure you that the psychological trauma begins before the ditch into the endless ocean. It began in the air. As we circled.

My question, tone answered honestly please.

Were we in NZ Airspace when my legs turned to jelly and I felt my fate. Which haunts me every day as each sting of pain reminds me.

Therefore, psychological trauma could have began in NZ airspace??
Bodily injuries, full impact where I sat, into the Ocean. Norfolk jurisdiction??

If lessons could be learned with this current opportunity for a change of culture. If the truth told.

Just get it right.

Break the political cycle of bantering aviation safety laws/reforms.

Absolute nightmare. Believe me.

Tut tut…twenty years. Dear oh dear.

I shake my head. As I am wasting my time bothering anymore.

Butt heads. Be ridiculous regarding serious matters. Ignore those who needed your help not your avoidance.
MTF with CTL Part 3...

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