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Katamarino 29th Oct 2021 02:35

Well, my first post was deleted by the mods, possibly because I posted the rather rude PM that Mr Spence sent me. So, I'll try again!

As reported by Wales Online:
Spence stated "David Ibbotson didn’t have a commercial licence. It meant he couldn’t get paid to fly but it doesn’t affect his ability to fly, his experience or competence."

I'd say that it absolutely does affect his competence, given that a commercial pilot is required to demonstrate objectively higher levels of aviation knowledge and flying ability in order to obtain the licence. He never did that. In my opinion and based on the reporting from Wales Online, trying to pretend otherwise either demonstrates a lack of knowledge (unlikely) or a pretty tacky way to give the jury the wrong impression of how these licenses work, semantics notwithstanding.

We'll see if he accuses me of libel again. Given that he's a member here he's free to respond directly if he thinks my impression is incorrect, and explain in more detail how a private pilot and a commercial pilot apparently have to demonstrate the same levels of knowledge and ability.

jumpseater 29th Oct 2021 07:53


Originally Posted by Katamarino (Post 11133785)
Well, my first post was deleted by the mods, possibly because I posted the rather rude PM that Mr Spence sent me. So, I'll try again!

.

More likely because your initial post was,( in my unprofessional opinion), libelous. As was the other one removed.

It’s important to realise the reports are only snap shots of the whole trial, so you don’t have the full context of how each argument for/against is presented. I think WalesonLine did a pretty good job of the ‘headline’ elements, and having worked with the hire and reward sector of GA, wasn’t surprised by the outcome, of either the flight, and the trial.

pilotmike 29th Oct 2021 08:11

I would concur with anyone disputing that a Commercial Pilot's Licence simply allows the holder to be paid for their flying, and that it has no bearing on their ability to fly safely, especially under adverse conditions.

Training for - and passing the tests - for gaining a Commercial licence give the far greater knowledge and skills to Commercial pilots, allowing them to make better, safer judgements, especially under commercial pressures. All Commercial pilots are tested thoroughly for their theoretical knowledge and their flying ability, as well as judgement to a greater degree than a mere Private pilot's licence. Even the Class 1 medical is a far higher hurdle to pass than the lesser requirements of a Private pilot. Many perfectly able Private pilots are weeded out at the Class 1 medical as being unfit for Commercial flying.

Otherwise, what would be the point of requiring Commercial pilots to undertake an enhanced medical, as well as a long and arduous course of study, as well as an in-depth course of flying training in order to demonstrate the flying skills required to a considerably greater level than that required for the PPL? The theory course and written exams, as well as the flying course and test(s) cost at least £20,000 and 8 months of dedication and hard work. Many prospective Commercial pilots invest far more time and money than that. Gaining a Commercial Pilots Licence is sufficiently difficult that many never achieve it, despite putting their heart and soul into it. It is NOT an easily gained qualification, for the avoidance of doubt.

If it were merely a paperwork exercise, as has been reported, wouldn't it be far simpler all round for anyone wishing to be paid for their flying simply to stump up say £20,000 to buy a shiny new Commercial licence, then operate with impunity and without the greater knowledge and skills required for the Commercial environment?

Wouldn't that be simpler? For sure! As safe? Definitely not! Anyone suggesting it is merely a paperwork issue would either be ignorant of the facts or misrepresenting them. It is interesting that the jury in the recent Henderson case apparently aligned with these sentiments and found the defendant guilty, despite suggestions that inadequate licencing and qualifications weren't relevant.

To put the above into context, when I flew aeroplanes and helicopters as a Private pilot, I believed I was a good pilot, about as safe, knowledgeable and experienced as could be, able to undertake almost any flight completely safely - coincidentally with similar hours to David Ibbotson's reported hours. Then I underwent the ATPL training, comprised of studying for 15 difficult written exams, flying training, flight exams etc, and blowing £40+k in the process. If it gave me just one thing, it was the knowledge that I didn't know it all. It taught me that there were vast areas of potential risk that I was previously either unaware of - or more likely in denial: that I needed to be more careful than I had ever realised or admitted before, factors that needed more careful consideration than I had ever before believed possible. Mercifully I learned that I had SO much more to learn about inclement weather, commercial pressures, Aviation Law, and taking tough decisions when I had doubts about the aircraft's serviceability, that the ATPL training has thankfully kept me safe to this day. "There but by the grace of God".

To that extent, I find myself fully supporting Katamarino's sentiments on the true value of Commercial Pilot's Licence. It demonstrates a level of knowledge, ability, experience and competence that merely holding a Private Pilot's Licence does not. It is more than a paperwork issue.

Hipper 29th Oct 2021 08:54


Originally Posted by happybiker (Post 11133548)
You are missing the point somewhat. International and UK regulations require an operator to obtain an Air Operators Certificate (AOC) to be able to commercially operate an aircraft where payment is to be made for carriage of passengers or freight. This is to ensure that operations can be carried out safely in accordance with prescribed standards. The AOC requires a documented system approved by the safety regulator which would cover all aspects of the operation including the airworthiness of the aircraft, qualifications of the pilots and also the competence of the pilots to carry out flights in accordance with standards prescribed in the AOC. This operator did not have an AOC therefore the standards of the operation were not known and as demonstrated by this tragic accident were far below what was necessary to effect a safe operation. As previously said in this thread, this was a rogue operation to avoid the expense that would be required to establish a fully approved AOC.

It is not a matter of judgement. The pilot did breach UK law as prescribed in the Air Navigation Order. 1. Flight at night without the prescribed rating. 2. Carrying out a commercial flight without an Air Operators Certificate.

I do understand that an AOC requires higher documentation and also that a CPL requires more training and expertise then a PPL. Yet, the grey charter system seems to operate without excessive major tragedies. I don't know how the accident rate compares.

I agree that the pilot breached UK law but he wasn't on trial here. The operator, Henderson was, and earlier admitted breaching the law in relation to certificates etc.. This case just finished is asking about the risks the operator took and the judge asks if 'he failed to show such care or skill that a person in that situation should exercise', then the defendant should be found guilty'.

My thinking on this was that, as far as I'm aware, Henderson had employed Ibbotson, and other pilots, without any incidents (except the couple of what I understand to be minor infringements brought up in court) and therefore it seems reasonable for him to think the accident flight would be no different. He presumably had faith in Ibbotson's judgement regarding the weather which from what I read in the AIAB report, was questionable. However the attitude of the Guernsey ATC in allowing Ibbotson to manoeuvre the aircraft to regain VMC seems to read as 'business as usual'. Perhaps I'm wrong on this.

As I wrote earlier the cause of the crash seems to be CO poisoning and it may well be that, but for that, the flight would have been completed. The AIAB says that one of the contributory factors was that '
A loss of control was made more likely because the flight was not conducted in accordance with safety standards applicable to commercial operations. This manifested itself in the flight being operated under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) at night in poor weather conditions despite the pilot having no training in night flying and a lack of recent practice in instrument flying'.

In the end, as the CAA said, aviation works on the integrity of it's operators. For us public then, as others have mentioned, we can only question that integrity although how practical is that - maintenance records, various certificates, insurance..... Perhaps insurance can be a force for change.

wiggy 29th Oct 2021 08:56

Very much in agreement with pilotmike..

To paraphrase a wise (Military) Chief Flying Instructor welcoming a group of us about to the start climbing of the next rung of the ladder towards being a truly operational pilot….

“You each have about 200 hours in your logbooks, so we know you have the stick and rudder skills needed to fly an aircraft around the circuit or navigate safely across country …what this course is about is finding out whether you can operate an aircraft or not”

Same applies in the civilian commercial world….it’s not just stick back, houses get smaller etc, it’s about being able to operate safely and sometimes having the wisdom and the training to recognize when not to operate despite commercial/external pressures.




jumpseater 29th Oct 2021 09:56


Originally Posted by Hipper (Post 11133866)
. However the attitude of the Guernsey ATC in allowing Ibbotson to manoeuvre the aircraft to regain VMC seems to read as 'business as usual'. P.

Guernsey ATC did nothing wrong.

The flight was filed under visual (VFR)rules, so flying ‘looking out the window’. It’s entirely normal to offer alternative routes and heights for weather (and traffic) avoidance. So yes, business as usual for this flight, and any other making similar flight.

The report stated the manoeuvre was to maintain VFR not regain it. That indicates he was still flying with references to good ground contact or a defined horizon.If he then flew into cloud or a shower that reduces visibility, disorientation can occur fast enough to lose control regardless of any CO problem that may have degraded the pilots faculties.

edit auto correct

ShyTorque 29th Oct 2021 10:26

Hipper, I doubt that the operation had insurance in place for commercial flights, bearing in mind the big picture.

jumpseater,

The report stated the manoeuvre was to maintain VFR not regain it. That indicates he was still flying with references to good drowns contact or a defined horizon.If he then flew into cloud or a shower that reduces visibility, disorientation can occur fast enough to lose control regardless of any CO problem that may have degraded the pilots faculties.
I presume you mean “ground contact” rather than the unfortunate typo of “drowns contact”, but a properly instrument trained and experienced pilot with sufficient recency would be far less likely to allow himself to become disoriented just by flying into reduced visibility. Or a large percentage of scheduled airline flights would be flown with a similar risk!

wiggy 29th Oct 2021 10:35


Originally Posted by alfaman (Post 11133912)
A touch off topic, & not directed at you, Wiggy, or Pilotmike, but I wince a bit at the "just stick back, houses get smaller..." nonchalance with which professional flying, or indeed any complex skill set, is sometimes described by those within it. I appreciate the mindset behind it is well intended, but it really undersells how much effort goes in to attaining & maintaining those skills. It only seems easy to the speaker because they've attained that level of competence: pretending it's easy to those who don't have that experience, perhaps so as not to appear too far up ones own rear end, undermines the profession, for me. I speak as one who's guilty of doing exactly that...until a more worldly wise colleague pointed out the downside.

You’re not wrong…comments along the lines of “nothing to it really”, an expression much beloved by some senior captains in the days of flight deck visits by passengers, did us no favours at all….

jumpseater 29th Oct 2021 10:49


Originally Posted by ShyTorque (Post 11133926)
Hipper, I doubt that the operation had insurance in place for commercial flights, bearing in mind the big picture.

jumpseater,

I presume you mean “ground contact” rather than the unfortunate typo of “drowns contact”, but a properly instrument trained and experienced pilot with sufficient recency would be far less likely to allow himself to become disoriented just by flying into reduced visibility. Or a large percentage of scheduled airline flights would be flown with a similar risk!

Absolutely in agreement. Original post typo corrected

SWBKCB 29th Oct 2021 11:07


Originally Posted by jumpseater (Post 11133896)
Guernsey ATC did nothing wrong.

The flight was filed under visual (VFR)rules, so flying ‘looking out the window’. It’s entirely normal to offer alternative routes and heights for weather (and traffic) avoidance. So yes, business as usual for this flight, and any other making similar flight.

The report stated the manoeuvre was to maintain VFR not regain it. That indicates he was still flying with references to good ground contact or a defined horizon.If he then flew into cloud or a shower that reduces visibility, disorientation can occur fast enough to lose control regardless of any CO problem that may have degraded the pilots faculties.

edit auto correct

Which brings us back to the basic deceipt of the whole exercise. Do you think Mr Sala was expecting to be flown by an amateur pilot/operator dodging clouds?

3wheels 29th Oct 2021 11:26

The argument that Ibbotson had thousands of hours and was thus experienced enough, even without holding a CPL, has been heard before. Experience doesn’t prove ability.

How many times have we read of pilots who have forged licences, Parker penned their hours, or just plain not held a licence at all and been caught many years later? By then we hear the same argument...blogs has proved he can cope by his experience, so what’s the problem?

As in this case...no legal licence...no vote.

Midlifec 29th Oct 2021 15:31

The “can of worms”
 
Of course whilst Henderson is quite rightly being prosecuted after many years of making money out of the illegal charter business, the worms in the can mentioned by Henderson in his text message wriggle on- at least three of the witnesses called to court have been facilitating the illegal provision of unlicensed charter flights throughout Europe, only more recently under the guise of cost sharing, one case with which I am familiar where the pilot had no valid licence, no medical and the aircraft was significantly out of check, suffered an inflight failure and landed at a very strange choice of unserviced airfield ..... of course if I or anyone else were to name names here I’ll be shut down within hours as several of the culprits appear to be registered users of pprune. The CAA of course didn’t bother their arses until the unfortunate Sala was killed, that said it still appears unclear whether they will now properly investigate the entire criminal setup, easy to start with those listed witnesses from this case who are or have been the registered owners and sometimes maintainers of aircraft on both the US and UK register, perhaps regular attendees at European race events and football matches. Just saying, this accident was entirely preventable had the CAA taken a firm stance and engaged with the police several years ago.

N707ZS 29th Oct 2021 15:55

The usual suspects are still flying to shooting and horse events even to this day.

Katamarino 29th Oct 2021 16:49


More likely because your initial post was,( in my unprofessional opinion), libelous.


I formed my opinion based on the reported quotes. I think it's reasonable to assume that the quotes in the press are accurate; they'd be exceedingly unlikely to fabricate them.

It's my opinion that to argue to a jury that holding a PPL vs CPL has no reflection on the competency of the pilot is extremely misleading. The standards which a pilot is trained to are clearly higher for a CPL, and Ibbotson had never demonstrated these standards.

Similarly, to try and convince a jury that an AOC has no relevance to the safety of an operation is misleading. This flight would not have happened if following AOC rules.

I'm perfectly happy to change my opinion if someone points out errors in my thinking. Mr Spence's argument of "well nobody objected" is unconvincing. It smacks of "it's only wrong if you get caught".

airsound 29th Oct 2021 17:03

Katamarino - you said

I think it's reasonable to assume that the quotes in the press are accurate; they'd be exceedingly unlikely to fabricate them.
You have a touching faith in the press. Whilst it may be unlikely that they'd fabricate quotes (although not unknown), it's perfectly possible for them to get quotes wrong - especially quotes from court proceedings, where they're not allowed to record, and have to write everything down.

airsound

biscuit74 29th Oct 2021 17:13

Wells said 'Midlifec'. I can't make up my mind whether this is due to laziness, incompetence , lack of resource or wilful ignorance on the part of the relevant authorities. It is appalling.

biscuit74 29th Oct 2021 17:27

'pilotmike' and 'katamarino' - I entirely agree with your comments with respect to the Commercial Pilot Licence and the testing, training and extra discipline required. I am an experienced private pilot; my partner, also originally a private pilot, became a CPL holder several years ago, The style and professionalism of her flying impresses me, and gives me confidence in her capability and judgement. I still have more flying hours than she has, in a wider variety of aircraft and circumstances, but I'd rate her flying judgement over mine any day. The careful professional way she prepares for sorties - her commercial work is not airline flying - is a pleasure to watch.

I wondered beforehand whether a CPL would really make any difference - it most certainly does. It is in my view a significant step up and beyond the PPL level, professional though I try to be in my approach.

jumpseater 29th Oct 2021 20:16


Originally Posted by Katamarino (Post 11134085)

I formed my opinion based on the reported quotes. I think it's reasonable to assume that the quotes in the press are accurate; they'd be exceedingly unlikely to fabricate them.

Snip…
.

It was the specific wording you used re the defence. (Again not a professional opinion). Re how it’s argued and reported we’re only getting bullet points from media reporting so I never assume we’re getting a total and accurate reflection of an event the context will be everything.

I agree with the points yourself and others have made re AOC CPL benefits. In a previous life I used to occasionally charter both fixed wing and rotary, the minimum requirement was the operator had to have an AOC to be on the list.

off watch 29th Oct 2021 20:51

Post by Yellow Sun

The CAA may have strong suspicions that unlawful activity is going on, but mounting an investigation that might stand any realistic chance of gaining the evidence to justify a charge, let alone proceed to prosecution would be eye wateringly expensive.
Some 10 + years ago, a CAA Flight Ops Inspector commented to me "we know these things go on but as we're not allowed to question the culprits with a cattle prod behind the hangar, it's hard to catch them!". I doubt much has changed.

Mike Flynn 29th Oct 2021 20:53


Originally Posted by pilotmike (Post 11133856)
I would concur with anyone disputing that a Commercial Pilot's Licence simply allows the holder to be paid for their flying, and that it has no bearing on their ability to fly safely, especially under adverse conditions.

Training for - and passing the tests - for gaining a Commercial licence give the far greater knowledge and skills to Commercial pilots, allowing them to make better, safer judgements, especially under commercial pressures. All Commercial pilots are tested thoroughly for their theoretical knowledge and their flying ability, as well as judgement to a greater degree than a mere Private pilot's licence. Even the Class 1 medical is a far higher hurdle to pass than the lesser requirements of a Private pilot. Many perfectly able Private pilots are weeded out at the Class 1 medical as being unfit for Commercial flying.

Otherwise, what would be the point of requiring Commercial pilots to undertake an enhanced medical, as well as a long and arduous course of study, as well as an in-depth course of flying training in order to demonstrate the flying skills required to a considerably greater level than that required for the PPL? The theory course and written exams, as well as the flying course and test(s) cost at least £20,000 and 8 months of dedication and hard work. Many prospective Commercial pilots invest far more time and money than that. Gaining a Commercial Pilots Licence is sufficiently difficult that many never achieve it, despite putting their heart and soul into it. It is NOT an easily gained qualification, for the avoidance of doubt.

If it were merely a paperwork exercise, as has been reported, wouldn't it be far simpler all round for anyone wishing to be paid for their flying simply to stump up say £20,000 to buy a shiny new Commercial licence, then operate with impunity and without the greater knowledge and skills required for the Commercial environment?

Wouldn't that be simpler? For sure! As safe? Definitely not! Anyone suggesting it is merely a paperwork issue would either be ignorant of the facts or misrepresenting them. It is interesting that the jury in the recent Henderson case apparently aligned with these sentiments and found the defendant guilty, despite suggestions that inadequate licencing and qualifications weren't relevant.

To put the above into context, when I flew aeroplanes and helicopters as a Private pilot, I believed I was a good pilot, about as safe, knowledgeable and experienced as could be, able to undertake almost any flight completely safely - coincidentally with similar hours to David Ibbotson's reported hours. Then I underwent the ATPL training, comprised of studying for 15 difficult written exams, flying training, flight exams etc, and blowing £40+k in the process. If it gave me just one thing, it was the knowledge that I didn't know it all. It taught me that there were vast areas of potential risk that I was previously either unaware of - or more likely in denial: that I needed to be more careful than I had ever realised or admitted before, factors that needed more careful consideration than I had ever before believed possible. Mercifully I learned that I had SO much more to learn about inclement weather, commercial pressures, Aviation Law, and taking tough decisions when I had doubts about the aircraft's serviceability, that the ATPL training has thankfully kept me safe to this day. "There but by the grace of God".

To that extent, I find myself fully supporting Katamarino's sentiments on the true value of Commercial Pilot's Licence. It demonstrates a level of knowledge, ability, experience and competence that merely holding a Private Pilot's Licence does not. It is more than a paperwork issue.

If a CPL was easy to achieve and maintain we would all have one. Given the suspected issues with the Malibu at Nantes I suspect very few commercial pilots would have flown that aircraft after Ibbotson's concerns on arrival. Henderson would no doubt have persuaded him everything was fine. The engineer at Gamston could not have sort of value input to the state of the powerplant. Perhaps a simple domestic gas detector could have saved them?


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