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Hawker Hunter down at Shoreham

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Hawker Hunter down at Shoreham

Old 17th Sep 2016, 22:18
  #1001 (permalink)  
 
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Nothing to do with blame and general procedure, but something that interested me.

I was at a conference on Friday at Cranfield, where we had a presentation from AAIB on drones (which now seems to be the official term, whether we like it or not). They showed what they could do with theirs. AAIB have a moderately sophisticated camera drone and rather more sophisticated set of analysis software behind it.

It seems that at Shoreham, amongst other places, they deployed the drone, which then set up an automatic GPS controlled scan pattern above the accident site, which then in a matter of a few minutes captured the whole site. They are then able to turn that into a 3D model which the inspectors can then analyse from multiple angles, in slow time back at Farnborough.

The speaker showed the Shoreham site, and superimposed it on ground/tripod based imagery obtained by the local police. The results were largely the same, but apparently produced in a much shorter time than the police method, using a fraction of the manpower. We were shown other images - one was I am pretty certain the Carfest Gnat accident, two others I didn't recognise the specific instances were a helicopter crash into a large field, a glider collision with the top of the hangar, allowing easy examination of witness marks, and a microlight accident into trees, allowing examination of the broken branches and thus an indication of the final tragectory.

I thought it was a very impressive and clever use of latest technology in support of air accident investigation. If nothing else, it must significantly reduce the time before a site can be cleared of debris, and more importantly, bodies.

I shouldn't be surprised as such that AAIB are making such intelligent use of new technology - but I was certainly impressed.

G
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Old 18th Sep 2016, 11:17
  #1002 (permalink)  

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Thank you

Nice to know G. Thanks.
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Old 28th Sep 2016, 12:02
  #1003 (permalink)  
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Application for disclosure of documents to Sussex Police refused by High Court, cockpit camera footage allowed to be disclosed under strict conditions:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/s...ourt-judgement
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Old 28th Sep 2016, 12:46
  #1004 (permalink)  
 
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Yep, just seen a comment to members from one of the Unions involved....not sure if is (yet) for public release, will copy it here if it is for general release.

Probably safe to say cockpit camera footage is only going to be disclosed in this case because they were a voluntary/"domestic" installation, not installed as part of some mandatory CVR/FDR fit.
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Old 28th Sep 2016, 13:42
  #1005 (permalink)  
 
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All the experts on here now need to contact Sussex Police and put themselves forward as 'experts' as the police will need them to help understand the footage plus carry out the theory tests on the ideal required height/speed etc for the manoeuvre. Also, possible testing of aircraft instruments and examining the aircraft itself.


At the end of the day I do not see why they couldn't have access to both the footage and test results info, it is in the public interest to establish the facts and the police do not have the man power or expertise to do so. The only real experts are the AAIB unless the police call on another countries equivalent like the FAA to help them piece all the facts/information/evidence together.


They can't use anyone in the UK as most will have some form of connection to this incident, either via the pilot, owner, maintenance company, organisers or the AAIB which will result in a conflict of interest. After all the pilot is well known in the aviation business and has many friends, there is only a handful of maintenance companies that look after such aircraft (most of which this aircraft has been with) and presumably someone from the AAIB can't be used due to a conflict of interest (even if they haven't been involved with the investigation).


I await the AAIB report but fear this will be delayed to after the pre-inquest hearing in November and possibly the actual inquest itself. Then depending on the result will have wait and see if the HSE get involved with any prosecutions.
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Old 28th Sep 2016, 16:13
  #1006 (permalink)  
 
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At the end of the day I do not see why they couldn't have access to both the footage and test results info, it is in the public interest to establish the facts ....
It is indeed and I'd have thought there's no escaping the fact that in the event of an aircraft accident the best people to do that in the UK are, like it or not, the AAIB.

Let them get on with producing a factual report, then others can take it from there if they feel the need.

I await the AAIB report but fear this will be delayed to after the pre-inquest hearing in November and possibly the actual inquest itself. Then depending on the result will have wait and see if the HSE get involved with any prosecutions.
Can I ask why the "fear"? What's the rush?

Last edited by wiggy; 28th Sep 2016 at 21:02.
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Old 28th Sep 2016, 22:04
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It looks like the contents of the message sent out by BALPA to it's members I referred to in permalink #1006 is now in the public domain on another forum..that being the case this is the main body of the message, minus some preamble, part of which was an acknowledgement of the role the ECA and IFALPA played in proceedings:

Shoreham case

In the Shoreham case, the police made an application to the High Court for access to certain items of AAIB working materials. In particular, the police asked for disclosure of the AAIB’s notes of witness interviews. They also asked for film footage from two cameras the pilot had placed inside the cockpit.

The judges refused to order disclosure of the witness interview notes. They ruled that it is ‘almost inconceivable’ that the court would ever order disclosure of statements made to the AAIB. They said that disclosure would have a ‘serious and obvious chilling effect’ which would tend to deter people from answering AAIB inspectors’ questions with the necessary candour and that this would ‘seriously hamper’ future investigations and the protection of the public. The Court also stated that it would be unfair to require such disclosure given the AAIB's powers to obtain answers to questions by compulsion.

However, the judges did order disclosure of the film footage but, in doing so, they emphasised that this was not mandatory CVFDR data but footage from cameras which had been voluntarily installed for private leisure and commercial purposes. It is not, therefore, a ruling that CVFDR data can be disclosed.

Augusta Westland case

In the Augusta Westland helicopter case, the coroner had ordered that the CVFDR information be disclosed to her. The coroner’s power to do this was challenged by way of a judicial review.

The judges ruled that coroners do not have the power to order the disclosure of AAIB investigation materials. The only court which can make any such order is the High Court. Plus, in an important legal development, the Lord Chief Justice ruled that, unless there is credible evidence that the AAIB's investigation is incomplete, flawed, or deficient, coroners should simply accept the AAIB’s conclusions, should not re-open the matter and should regard the cause of the accident as outside the scope of the inquest.

A ‘major milestone’

These two judgments are a major milestone in the journey to protect flight safety. They have now set the law in England and Wales and they are likely to be highly influential in courts all around the world as they specifically consider European legislation. The court has prioritised the importance of protecting the just safety culture and the integrity of air accident investigations above the need to investigate blame. Those answering AAIB inspectors’ questions can now do so knowing that the law says that it is ‘almost inconceivable’ that their interview records would be disclosed to the police or a prosecutor.

Last edited by wiggy; 29th Sep 2016 at 09:02.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 12:06
  #1008 (permalink)  
 
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I fear for the families and those still suffering either mentally or physically that they will not get a true answer. It will be like the bin lorry incident and the Glasgow police helicopter crash. Basically nothing will end up happening just the report and maybe a court case that doesn't go anywhere. Those that maybe be accountable for this tragic incident will walk away.


It is as I originally asked if the AAIB uncover evidence that suggest/imply that through gross negligence/incompetency this contributed to the incident do they have to report the matter to the police/CPS/HSE/CAA or are they prevented from doing this due to not being able to release information. As obviously the police will want evidence to back up the allegations but the AAIB won't be able to provide it due their restrictions. I can fully understand they need people to be honest with them and not fear repercussions but lets be realistic here they wont be not 100% as reading any report you can work out who what where and why from reading an AAIB, regardless of what has or hasn't been said in an interview. The AAIB are masters at putting all the facts together and reading between the lines.


Interesting report on IBT website
However other evidence relating to the crash, including statements from surviving pilot Andrew Hill - plus reports on factors that may have contributed to the accident - will not be released due to the possibility of impacting on future investigations


So does that mean there is other facts that have yet to be disclosed to the public/press via interim reports.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 12:27
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Or to put it more accurately:

These two judgments are a major milestone in the journey to protect owners, operators and pilots of aircraft from any consequences of mistakes and unprofessional behaviour even when they kill people. Comrades - our battle against the dark forces of professional accountability is nearly won!
PDR
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 13:08
  #1010 (permalink)  
 
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protect owners, operators and pilots of aircraft from any consequences of mistakes and unprofessional behaviour
This sentiment worries me. An element of this theme is the risk/benefit relationship. If there is large probable benefit, some risk may be warranted. I think back to a time decades ago when I observed three kids in distress otherwise unseen in a lake, after a number of "conforming" maneuvers to attempt to attract attention, I finally buzzed a busy beach of people at ten feet, and threw a note out the window. In anticipation of low flying complaints, I reported myself to the regulator first. "No problem, if you thought you were saving a life, the risk [buzzing the crowd] was warranted". Nothing ever came of it.

However, in my opinion, when the only possible benefit is a crowd being able to watch needless low level aerobatic maneuvers in a heavy antique aircraft, there is little room for risk. It is the pilot first and foremost who is responsible to all other people, in assessing this, and assuring that all other people are not put at risk.

If the Hunter engine had disintegrated, and spit parts all over the countryside during a straight and level pass at 1000', and a person got hit by one, not good, but it would seem that the pilot was probably flying the plane in a way in which risk to other people was low. Choosing a path in the sky which requires high accelerations and direction changes, with less room around people, and little space for a back up plan is different.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 13:19
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Originally Posted by Step Turn View Post
This sentiment worries me.
And I would be he first to say it's largely tongue-in-cheek. But only largely.

I'm a professional engineer (C.Eng) and the code of conduct I have to sign up to for this essentially says that I must disclose my mistakes and culpability freely and without thought for the personal consequences. So as a professional I just can't understand the concept that I should consider only providing a statement if it's excluded from any subsequent legal action.

In most legal system *people* have rights of non-self-incrimination (US 5th amendment, ECHR article 6 et al), but I would argue that Professionals (accredited members of Professions) in these sorts of situations have waived that right because of the responsibilities they hold. That's why these judgements trouble me.

I'm aware that there are probably few who would agree with me on that point, but then as a Professional I'm more concerned with the reality than any popularity consequences.

PDR
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 13:20
  #1012 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Step Turn View Post
This sentiment worries me..
Just to be clear, Are you worried about sentiment expressed in the BALPA comment or the sentiment expressed by PDR1?

Edit to add that I see PDR1 has clarified matters, thanks.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 13:42
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The sentiment which worries me, as I understand PDR1 to also observe, is that a "professional", in this case pilot, might expect insulation from a finding of fault for misconduct or poor decision making after an accident because of competing legal/investigative interests.

If a conscious decision is made to carefully balance risk and reward, where society would agree that reward was high (like saving a life), that's worthy of the discussion about insulating the pilot. However, in my opinion, air display does not rise to the "reward" level, where risk to the public is acceptable. The pilot is the professional (as they are authorized to fly in the display) so they are responsible for not placing the public or the flight at risk, and must create and maintain the necessary margins of safety for that. Those margins will obviously be very different based upon aircraft type, which is exactly why the air display organizer becomes responsible for accepting the pilot based upon their experience in that type of aircraft. Once accepted, the pilot is largely responsible, and should not be flying as though there are no consequences.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 16:20
  #1014 (permalink)  
 
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Re the AAIB notes, police and the court judgement I think there's a bit of a danger of target fixation with Shoreham.

The danger of divulging AAIB notes verbatim to the police is that the simple knowledge that anything a crew member says to the AAIB could be passed verbatim to the Police would almost certainly have consequences for the pace of the AAIB investigation, and as a result could possibly effect public safety down the road (which is what the court ruling was about, not just the Shoreham case).

Crew members, no matter how professional, certainly would have to be very careful with absolutely everything they said to the AAIB if there's the danger of the CPS subsequently parsing every innocent sentence/comment looking for evidence of some wrong doing, and I suspect the crew would would be well advised to be lawyered up for every meeting, no matter how friendly the investigators are.


Just MVHO, but that does seem to have also been the opinion of the judges...

Last edited by wiggy; 29th Sep 2016 at 16:31.
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Old 29th Sep 2016, 20:40
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I believe it was a fairly straight forward issue for the Court. To allow evidence for possible prosecution and punishment of person(s) responsible for the death of those who perished or to protect the safety of millions of future lives.

I had little doubt as to the outcome right from the start.

It is so comforting to know here in the UK we are blessed with the likes of AAIB and a fine Judicial system.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 11:03
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So what evidence does the coroner work with to provide their verdict. I am presuming it will be the evidence to date from the police but do they also use evidence provided by the AAIB such as the report etc.


We have all read AAIB reports and know that although they do not specifically lay blame they do infer as to whom/what caused the problem from which we can all say ' so the pilot was at fault because he ignored the low fuel warning and didn't follow guidelines/policy' or 'so a part failed due to excess wear but it wasn't due for inspection for another 300hrs so they have recommended a review'


So it will be interesting to read the AAIB report when it is finally published but the way it is going I would imagine it won't be done until after the coroners verdict at least has been done, which maybe after any associated court case.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 11:43
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So what evidence does the coroner work with to provide their verdict.
TBH don't know. If the coroner's verdict is so important (and I accept it will be for many people) and it hinges on the AAIB report then surely the simple answer is the coroner waits until the AAIB report is out (or, genuine question: are there reasons in law that cannot be done) ?

I've been around the block enough (amongst other things a witness at two miltary BoIs, one sadly a multiple fatal) to know that despite sentiment accident investigations are rightly things that cannot be rushed if you want the investigation team to reach a considered and objective conclusion. Even in the civvie world for major accidents you rarely see an AAIB report within twelve months, more like 18 months at least for a major accident, so I don't think the AAIB are being particulary slow with this one.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 13:40
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Link to MOU between coroner and AIBs


https://www.gov.uk/government/public...roners-society


Looks like yet again the AAIB can only provide exactly the same info to the coroner as the CPS and if they require the protected items such as statements they have to go to the High Court. However, I note that it does state the coroner may wish to await the final report before setting a date for the inquest.


Therefore as there is a pre-inquest meeting due on the 21st November, it may indicate when we should expect to see the final report.


I know ours are fairly good I didn't expect any reports for 18 months at the earliest after all the AAIB don't just concentrate on one incident at a time. I note the report for the Hawker Hunter crash in the USA in 2012 was only published in 2016! Makes for some interesting reading.
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Old 30th Sep 2016, 13:48
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Hebog

I'll bow out for now but many thanks to the link to the MOU, interesting stuff.

Regards..
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Old 1st Oct 2016, 13:44
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The full judgement in Sussex Police v SoS for Transport can be accessed here:

Sussex Police v Secretary of State for Transport & Anor [2016] EWHC 2280 (QB) (28 September 2016)

Hearing in July and judgement in September is about par for course bearing in mind holiday season and the 'long vacation' in the courts during August/September.

The new legal year and Michaelmas term will start on Monday with judges attending service at Westminster Abbey. Following which they go in procession to Parliament for the Lord Chancellor's breakfast.
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