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Old 6th Dec 2017, 21:58
  #1204 (permalink)  
Lead Balloon
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Australia/India
Posts: 2,661
Originally Posted by Checkboard View Post
234(1) requires a pilot to plan "sufficient fuel and oil to enable the proposed flight to be undertaken in safety.", and 234(3) gives instruction to the court, specifically, to consider those reasonable other items to be included in the "in safety" claus. That's pretty definitive for the pilot to also consider those elements.

In any case that quote was cut & paste from the new report.

At no point did I suggest Mr Davies was in error in his submissions - I don't know where you got that idea? I have simply not examined his submissions to that depth. Did he calculate for depressurisation & engine out scenarios?

The new report does include figures for those - and they came to (from memory) about 300 lbs above the main tank fuel that was loaded on the flight in question.

I have no idea why the pilot wasn't proscecuted under 234(1), by the way. Care to enlighten me? Are you privvy to CASA's deliberations on the matter?
No, I’m not privy to CASA’s deliberations.

I don’t need to be.

The facts speak for themselves.

The pilot didn’t breach 234(1). Even if he did, it follows that the operator breached 234(2).

You will note, from the operator’s submission to the Senate Inquiry, that the operator did not ‘throw the PIC under the bus’. The operator did not say that the PIC was off on a frolic of his own, having suffered a brain fart, in breach of the rules and procedures put in place by the operator and accepted by CASA:
Pel-Air offers the following comments in relation to the findings of ATSB report AO-2009-072.


At the time of flight planning, there were no weather or other requirements that required the nomination of an alternate aerodrome, or the carriage of additional fuel to reach an alternate.

Pel-Air agrees with this finding.

The aircraft carried sufficient fuel for the flight in the case of normal operations.

Pel-Air agrees with this finding.

The flight crew did not source the most recent Norfolk Island Airport forecast, or seek and apply other relevant weather and other information at the most relevant stage of the flight to fully inform their decision of whether to continue the flight to the island, or to divert to another destination.

The crew did request actual weather reports (either METARs or SPECIs).


The PIC requested a METAR from Nadi for Norfolk at 0756 and at 0801 was provided with an 0800 SPECI which indicated overcast (OVC) cloud at 1100 feet. This was the first indication to the crew that the weather at Norfolk Island was becoming marginal.


The aircraft transferred to Auckland at 0839 but did not request the latest Norfolk weather until 0904 when they were given the 0902 SPECI which showed broken (BKN) cloud at 1100 feet and OVC cloud at 1500 feet. This finally alerted them to the situation at Norfolk Island. However a much more severe SPECI was issued earlier at 0830 showing a marked deterioration of the weather with cloud BKN at 300 ft and OVC at 900 ft. This was well below the landing minima and if it had been passed to the aircraft on first contact with Auckland would have alerted the crew to the true situation with time enough to divert. At 0839 the aircraft was still around 32 min away from the last diversion point to Tontouta as shown in the timeline in the report. Additionally, if the Nadi controller had passed the 0830 SPECI to the aircraft when it was issued there would have been even more time for the crew to assimilate the changing weather and take appropriate action. As it was the critical 0830 SPECI was never passed to the crew. [NOTE: In the Pelair submission, the bolded text in the quote above is in red font.]

While the obtaining of up to date weather information is ultimately the responsibility of the PIC, controllers are in a position to see weather changes as they happen and should always alert the crew to any new reports they see as significant. The report does not address the question as to whether the controllers could or should have passed on the 0830 SPECI to the crew other than to say they were not required to do so by international agreement.

The flight crew’s delayed awareness of the deteriorating weather at Norfolk Island combined with their incomplete flight planning to influence their decision to continue to the island, rather than divert to a suitable alternate.

Pel-Air agrees with the first part of the finding on delayed awareness but disagrees with the second part. As explained in the preceding section, the accident would have been averted if weather information was obtained in a timely manner as there was more than enough time and fuel to divert had the up-to-date information been communicated.

The flight crew’s advice to Norfolk Island Unicom of the intention to ditch did not include the intended location, resulting in the rescue services initially proceeding to an incorrect search datum and potentially delaying the recovery of any survivors.

Pel-Air agrees that the crew did not make a proper mayday call as per the regulations. While this may be understandable in the circumstances, the failure to even provide the approximate ditching location meant additional delay to the rescue.

The operator’s procedures and flight planning guidance managed risk consistent with regulatory provisions but did not effectively minimise the risks associated with aeromedical operations to remote islands.

Pel-Air disagrees with the second part of this finding and maintains that its procedures, compliant with CASA regulations at the time, are effective for minimising risks for remote island operations. Pel-Air supports the proposed rule changes by CASA to bring passenger carrying aerial work operations in line with regular public transport operations to remote islands including the requirement to always carry an alternate.

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