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View Full Version : Aero-tropics landing at wrong airstrip


captain bling
10th Jul 2005, 10:25
I have watched with interest as Aerotropics have managed to divert all the attention away from their operation, and come out of this very unfortunate accident relatively unscathed.

I was interested in the safety culure at Aerotropics, a company which is well known for under-paying it's pilots to save costs, and wondering if it is cutting costs in other areas, such as pilot training.

I understood that for a company which had 'won' a couple of major government contracts, whilst up against some highly regarded, safety conscious Cairns based competition, it was hardly compliant with the many Quality Assurance safety programs, which were a requirement for the successful bidders of the contracts.

I understand that an Aerotropics aircraft (a Shrike) on a routine mail-run (a subsidised government contract) earlier this year landed at an abandoned airstrip at the Old Holroyd Station, instead of the operational airstrip some 5 or 6 NM away.

The aircraft subsequently became bogged . A second Aerotropics aircraft was dispatched to assist, and it too, also landed at the abandoned and unused airstrip and also became bogged, resulting in a helicopter being used to fly in personnel to assist.

I had heard this third hand, but have had it confirmed by Aerotropics staff.

Has any one heard the same, or of other incidents involving Aerotropics?

compressor stall
10th Jul 2005, 12:11
Stop muck raking.

Planes getting bogged in the bush is no big deal....most piltos flying around up north have done it. What is a billiard table smooth dry suface can mask a boggy mud underneath and you can't tell until it's too late. I've done it.

Landing at the wrong strip, well easy to see how it can happen - they all look the same half the time, and don't all have nice big letters and numbers along then with radio beacons etc. Many times stations might have two strips quite close together. Unless the "old" strip had huge big crosses along it, no big deal

Maybe not the best judgement call to send an aircraft to another one that is bogged, but you ca't hang a company on that.

Grow up and focus your attentions on the incompetencies in others, like the regulator. :mad:

PS, no I have never worked for nor have any interest in AT.

Flying Mechanic
10th Jul 2005, 16:20
Captain Bling......you ever flown up the Cape mate, theres strips every where.
I flew along side Aerotropics in the Torres Straits for 2.5 years and my observations they were a Professional outfit ,by the book and with well trained drivers.I had alot of respect for RL he ran a good ship.

Lefthanded_Rock_Thrower
10th Jul 2005, 23:30
I've done it too, i would also agree with the Flying Mechanic and Compressor Stall.

Capt Claret
10th Jul 2005, 23:54
An instructor from The Space Base years ago landed at what he thought was Forrest (large airfield with NS & EW sealed runways), 'cept it was south of the railway line, not north, and strewn with rocks etc. :\

He's one of QF's finest now.

The point? Dirt strips in the out-back are a dime a dozen and not too difficult to mix up. Now if he landed at CB instead of SY, or some where with identifying aids, well that would be news-worthy.

Transition Layer
11th Jul 2005, 00:15
Plenty of these sorts of stories floating around, though luckily enough for me I managed to avoid it whilst flying in the Top End.

A story a little closer to home is quite amusing though. A student pilot on a cross country nav to Mudgee inadvertently landed at Rylstone (about 20nm away). Now Mudgee is sealed, with an NDB and a rather flash little terminal building. Rylstone, two grass strips, both much shorter than Mudgee, no terminal, no navaids.

This bloke was rather inexperienced so some allowance has to be made, but the arrogant pr1ck returned from the nav saying "The ERSA entry for Mudgee is incorrect. There's no sealed runways and the runway direction is all wrong too."

:rolleyes:
TL

Tail_Wheel
11th Jul 2005, 00:37
The relevant issue is probably not Aero Tropics alleged landing at a disused airstrip and getting bogged although in this day of GPS it is hardly excusable, especially as I understand the mail service is operated as remote area RPT but why CASA Townsville took regulatory action against the previous mail contractor who landed at the correct airstrip and became bogged, after receiving an allegedly incorrect strip report?

Are 500S Shrikes still being operated IFR in the Cape and Straits at the Australian only VFR max gross weight?

bushy
11th Jul 2005, 06:21
When the big oil search was on, they were building airstrips all over the place, every time the moved to a new location.
Men, equipment, and food were often flown in to tempory bases in the desert. They were good days for GA. On one ocasion an ex military jet jockey/aeroplane salesman had to make a trip in a new Baron to take a load of food to one of these strips. Our intrepid birdman got going late, and found no-one at the strip to meet him. It was about to get dark, and there were no lights, so he had to unload it himself, and got going , homeward bound just in time.
On arrival home he was asked what had happened to the food supplies, as the phone had been ringing, and no-one had heard or seen any plane. There was one very red faced pilot, and some hungry, angry men. And some very happy dingos.

TurboOtter
12th Jul 2005, 06:48
Hey Transition,
That is sooo funny,

"The ERSA entry for Mudgee is incorrect. There's no sealed runways and the runway direction is all wrong too."

At least he was a true pilot and never admitted he made a mistake!!

I have landed at say xx and say to the pax" Welcome to xx hope you enjoy........"

They look at me with a puzzled look and then explain that they thought they were going to YY.

To which I respond " All righty then let get you there then"
Dispatch forgot to tell me. Funny for all unless it is a medivac!!!

Torres Forever
24th Aug 2005, 02:56
Captain Bling,

Judging by your name and your post, you are obviously a pilot who knows a :mad: load about nothing.

Have you ever flown the cape in the wet season before? Slagging other people off wont make up for the shortcomings in your own flying.

I have worked at Aero's in the past and they run a tight and professional ship.

Remove the log from your own eye before picking sticks out of others.

Get a life,

TF.:yuk:

10000
24th Aug 2005, 04:18
Intimate knowledge of the incident, TF?

:E

Mainframe
24th Aug 2005, 04:25
Torres Forever

Don't be too hard on Captain Bling. Both CB and Tailwheel seem to have a grip on the facts.

Do you dispute the information?

This incident highlights the selective vision of a particular CASA official, since brought to account.

Two points here.

1. The date of the incident is known, the place of the incident is known,
the type and registration of the aircraft is known and the identity of the pilot is known.

2. The main issue here is that the previous operator of the mail service, as reported,
bogged after a false strip report was made to them.
That operator correctly notified ATSB and CASA and was rewarded with having their RPT AOC cancelled.
This may explain any reluctance to properly report the matter to the authorities,
either by the pilot, the operator or one of the posters on this thread.

In closing, there is no shame in getting bogged in the wet season,
it tends to be an operational risk. In the last year or so,
at least four different operators associated with the NQAO have become bogged,
but the NQAO singled one out only one for a severe commercial penalty, the loss of an RPT AOC.

And there is a CASA FOI who has direct knowledge of multiple Cape York airstrip boggings over many years,
He knows where you are more likely to get bogged, and how to get yourself unbogged.

might be a good idea to let this matter rest before it becomes an embarrassment for someone, or was that your intent?

There is the possibility that a pilot's career might be compromised,

or an AOC interfered with, if this minor matter is brought back into the spotlight.

MF.

Captain Starlight
24th Aug 2005, 23:44
Compressor Stall,

Your comments are spot on

Quote:
____________________________________________________
"Planes getting bogged in the bush is no big deal....most pilots flying around up north have done it.
What is a billiard table smooth dry suface can mask a boggy mud underneath and you can't tell until it's too late. I've done it."
___________________________________________________
+
+


and Mainframe's:

___________________________________________________
"there is no shame in getting bogged in the wet season,
it tends to be an operational risk. In the last year or so,
at least four different operators associated with the NQAO have become bogged,
but the NQAO singled one out only one for a severe commercial penalty, the loss of an RPT AOC".
___________________________________________________
+
+

The point made was that what is a known operational hazard of Cape York Wet season operations,
was used by CASA to not only cancel Cape York Airlines RPT AOC, but to also strip it's Chief Pilot's approval.

After setting that precedent, what operator would consider making the ATSB (TSI Act) reqired reports concerning IRM's and RRM's?


Now that the Townsville office has dealt with the dysfunctional element, and installed a fresh team,
perhaps a level playing field will be seen to exist.

Mainframe: Regarding the possible compromising of a pilot's career.

As the pilot concerned did contact his company with details,
the TSI Act concedes a defence to the pilot if he reported the matter to his company,
believing that they would make the reqired reports of IRM's and RRM's.
So he is not likely to be prosecuted on that basis, nor his career compromised.

Capt S.

all stations sassie
25th Aug 2005, 11:58
flying mechanic, you are so right ....give us a call...sabe dugong carcass