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BlankBox
11th Nov 2019, 19:36
https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2019/11/11/us-aviation-authority-downgrades-malaysia039s-air-safety-rating-say-sources

fdr
12th Nov 2019, 02:28
The back story will be interesting.

The national carrier could do without the headline, but, as far as I understand they don't fly to the USA at present in their own equipment, Air Asia X has a single flight to HNL, and so one questions on what basis the FAA would have made a determination to go to Category 2. Air Asia X has had 2 reportable events which were equipment related, and happened in AUS not in the USA. Operationally, the local carriers, MAL and Air Asia have not made headlines for some time, and those headlines were either from criminal actions, or for the same level of competency that was exhibited in a recent B767 bingle in Houston USA wearing an N tag and flag.

Why the Cat 2? The FAA could of course be on the receiving end of the same action everywhere outside of the 50 states (51, if you count Greenland); it's not like the Max has added confidence in the current state of play of the FAA in conducting oversight of their product let alone their carriers.

Smacks of politics of obfuscation to this observer.

I don't have a dog in the fight, and have no objection to SAFA etc, but it should be based on actual issues rather than politics.

Note: all MY airlines have current IOSA audits.

2 TWU
12th Nov 2019, 03:52
Having lived in Malaysia for several years I have to say I’m not surprised. The first time I flew with MAS, somewhat surprised to see a stack of large baked bean tins (and I’m not joking), just piled up in the cabin behind the last row of seats. Getting airborne from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu, massive Cb clearly visible just off the airfield but we launched into it anyway, never encountered turbulence like it. A friend of mine was working for MAS having fallen foul of the failure of a UK airline was horrified by some things that went on both on the operating and engineering side and left. I could go on, suffice to say I avoided flying MAS whenever possible.

ZFT
12th Nov 2019, 04:39
Having lived in Malaysia for several years I have to say Iím not surprised. The first time I flew with MAS, somewhat surprised to see a stack of large baked bean tins (and Iím not joking), just piled up in the cabin behind the last row of seats. Getting airborne from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu, massive Cb clearly visible just off the airfield but we launched into it anyway, never encountered turbulence like it. A friend of mine was working for MAS having fallen foul of the failure of a UK airline was horrified by some things that went on both on the operating and engineering side and left. I could go on, suffice to say I avoided flying MAS whenever possible.

Yet CAAV are OK!

Nothing to do with aircraft orders of course.

​​​​

ozaub
12th Nov 2019, 05:17
Comparison of ICAO Safety Audit Results at https://www.icao.int/safety/Pages/USOAP-Results.aspx today 12 November
Australiaís audit was this year and it improved noticeably
Malaysiaís audit is for 2016. Itís probably been redone recently, not yet published but has alarmed FAA. Just a guess
FAA itself has not been ICAO audited since 2007! Seriously in need of update https://cimg8.ibsrv.net/gimg/pprune.org-vbulletin/572x335/image_13a8c83e987952ecec3af07a697a4c3a10b7948e.png

Dora-9
12th Nov 2019, 17:55
Seeing as CASA won't do anything about dodgy foreign carriers (considering their catalogue of cock-ups by Air Asia it's amazing they're still permitted to operate here) I wouldn't take much notice of the Australian audit. There are politics at work here, until we have a smoking hole they'll just look the other way.

From several friends/colleagues who've flown with MAS, the best description is: "it's as if you gave a country aero club some airliners without any manuals and told them to go and operate as an airline"!

fdr
13th Nov 2019, 08:32
Seeing as CASA won't do anything about dodgy foreign carriers (considering their catalogue of cock-ups by Air Asia it's amazing they're still permitted to operate here) I wouldn't take much notice of the Australian audit. There are politics at work here, until we have a smoking hole they'll just look the other way.

From several friends/colleagues who've flown with MAS, the best description is: "it's as if you gave a country aero club some airliners without any manuals and told them to go and operate as an airline"!



So, ICAO suggests that the FAA is top of the game on Airworthiness.... The Max suggests that doesn't pass muster
Organisationally, the FAA has some 7 odd different FAA's different answers from different regions. Go shopping.
CASA organisation and licensing, 90 days to get an AUS licensed pilot, who completes a type rating on an AUS aircraft, in AUS, with a an AUS examiner, 90 days to get the type placed on his paper license so that he/she can fly. Thats 1/4 of a year lost utilisation by the operator. A Part 61 transition that wreaked mayhem on Pt 141 organisations, a plan to alter 145, and 125/135 programs to cripple the industry in totality. A variation to an OpsSpec already approved by the regulator takes 180 days and doesn't get completed.
Airports: I would prefer to operate into and out of WMKK than YSSY, YMML, KJFK, KLAX, KORD... those are 3rd world airports, that need to be reverted to grass and replaced by greenfields 21st century airports. Add KEWR, KLGA.... MY ATC can be frustrating, as is SIN nowdays, gone are the good old days of efficient flight paths, a consequence of the growth in traffic. Same goes for VHHH, all of PRC. About time management went and looked at what was done in a couple fo years in 2001-2003 in RKSI...

As far as Air Asia's incidents go, they have been predominately engine related, or birdstrike etc. There was an interesting decision made on one of these which comes down to dealers choice, much as British Airways did once out of Sin City trying for the UK (not so united anymore, say England, ending up in the future Republic of Scotland). There is some hubris on the matter of safety investigation. There is more politics in the matter than is desirable in all jurisdictions, however, 370 was disappointing, and stands starkly against the IDR KNKT Lion Air report from nearby. ATSB still does a good to great job, whether the regulator responds or can respond is another matter. NTSB has become different to what it used to be.

It is notable that the FAA while embroiled in the shambles that is the Max debacle, takes the time to bleat on a foreign regulator that operates 6 times a week to a benign destination in the 50 something states.

Way back when, I was involved in getting an NAA back from Cat 2 to 1, and the process while achieving some documentary changes did not alter one iota the underlying issues that existed. Lip gloss is readily applied. OTOH, a few years later, I was involved in stopping an EU NAA from being the first state of the EU to lose mutual recognition. Again, lip gloss looks great, but in the morning, you are still in bed with the same character.

Hogger60
14th Nov 2019, 06:31
As far as Air Asia's incidents go, they have been predominately engine related, or birdstrike etc

Huh? Just to name a few lovely events in Oz: 3 Altitude busts at OOL alone, then there was the SYD wrong turn on take-off due to putting in the wrong coordinates. If this were any other carrier it would have been grounded in Oz (like Tiger Oz was) a long time ago.

fdr
15th Nov 2019, 05:49
Huh? Just to name a few lovely events in Oz: 3 Altitude busts at OOL alone, then there was the SYD wrong turn on take-off due to putting in the wrong coordinates. If this were any other carrier it would have been grounded in Oz (like Tiger Oz was) a long time ago.

And our own home grown operator busted steps 3 times on the same approach in short order. Our own operators did the downward G/A on an A320... The 800 ATSB reports hold a number of home grown whoopsies. Whatever the colour of the tail, or what flag is being flown, bad days occur. We have bent the tails of our fair share of Dash's, B717, B737's etc in recent times, or nose cones on quad puffs etc. The majority of separation breakdowns are related to the regional airport airspace design in AUS, which remains dependent on the operators complying rigorously with arcane procedures. ADSB is a godsend to that part of the operation, and ATC manages as best they can to keep the bandaids on an odd system. AUS is not alone in that score, you can be on finals into Ted Stevens enjoying the view while on an ILS, and watch a piper cub on floats pass on by across your path, all legally, and if you hit, it's your fault depending on the geometry. It's bad enough when you are speaking the same language...

Long time back, I recall listening to a visiting heavy doing a RIVET arrival and being advised at about 1nm to run to a WPT that they didn't look like they were going to make the constraint. The pilot asked how long the ATC had been aware of that, and the response was confidently, "all the way down, you guys always bust that altitude...". There were some pretty blunt responses from the other aircraft around on the frequency, bad design doesn't get better by sitting back and watching someone bust.

Back on topic, the FAA has a long way to go to get confidence in their system back to what it has been, and this downgrading smacks of obfuscation, on the basic facts that the state in question operates a sole route 6 times a week into a benign destination, the question is what has the FAA HNL FSDO seen in HNL, and what else has the FAA INTL office seen that justifies the action.

porterpat
15th Nov 2019, 09:02
FDR
I think you are on the money How good would it be if politics were kept out of the loop, too much money involved though.

fdr
16th Nov 2019, 23:49
FDR
I think you are on the money How good would it be if politics were kept out of the loop, too much money involved though.

P2, I think the issue is not just politics, it is a lack of empathy and a dose of hubris.

The following I have noted previously, but it remains as relevant today...

1. Back in the day (tin hat on) I drove a heavy twin into MEL (YMML), on a miserable early morning. [main runway is long, 16/34... cross runway is considerably shorter, 09/27]
Weather is low overcast, rain with wet runways, wind straight down runway 16 at 25kts. We are given the weather and expect runway 27... really? "confirm active runway is 27?"
"yes"
"we require 16"
"roger, expect runway 16"

As we stop our comments on the runway in use, an Asian carrier comes up on freq, and approach repeats the same information as we were given, and the "expect runway 27" statement. The response from the wide body 4 holer is, "confirm the wind please?". "160/25, gusting, expect runway 27". The 4 holer asks once more to confirm the wind, and asks for the runway conditions, and approach repeats 1560/25 gusting, runway wet. The 4 holer asks ;politely if runway 16 is available, and approach responds "is that an operational requirement?" A very uncertain, new voice comes back from the 4 holer, saying that they would "like runway 16 please" to which approach responds "if not operationally required, expect runway 27". At this point, I'm seeing red, and come up on frequency, "approach, you are dealing with a non native english speaker, and asking for a specific term that should be self evident, yet you are pushing the crew towards accepting a runway that is certainly unacceptable to me for operational requirements, and having flown their aircraft type, is certainly unreasonable for their operation. If he lands on that runway and anything goes amiss, I will present myself as a witness to any enquiry into what transpired. (unspoken, WTF!) A silence ensures for about 20 seconds, then approach advises the 4 holer to expect runway 16, which they read back. after about a 5 second silence, there is a very quiet foreign accent, "thank you [our callsign]... "

2. Taxy out at LAX from the Bradley Terminal, south ground gives a convoluted S bend of instructions to join one taxi way, transition from the outer to inner at another taxi way, then transition to the outer at another taxiway, and hold short of a further cross taxiway. About 10 different letters in a row. All given at high tempo without prior notice of a complex clearance to follow....

My poor FO is a non native english speaker, a competent pilot, but he is about level 4 English, which is better that my level of his native language. His first read back gets about 25% of the letters, and most of those are out of order.

Ground repeats the clearance in evident exasperation, faster than the first time, and following an intervening communication to a local carrier. The response is as filled with error as the first one. At this point I understand the broad expectation of the clearance, the S bend, and looking out the window can see the traffic that is necessitating the unusual clearance. We have some time to go before reaching the first cross taxi way, so some time to get this right exists. I start to explain to the FO what the ground is needing us to do, and he is starting to look at his Jepp to orient himself to the situation, at which point, ground comes back once again, and says "[C/S].... don't you listen?, I want you to.... etc.!" very loudly, and very bluntly. Within the cockpit, "F/O, I have the radio".

"Ground, this is the captain of [C/S]; I am a native english speaker, have been for 50 years. I'm having enough difficulty working on catching your clearance, and that is only part of the issue, my F/O needs to comprehend the same clearance independently of me for it to be a cross check, and your communications are not helping. We can keep on asking questions all day or you can give a clearance to a foreign aircraft in a manner that they can reasonably be expected to comprehend it. Your choice, I have lots of spare fuel and will just hold here until you sort it out".

In a new voice: "[C/S], progressive taxi instructions, turn left at X, join Y... hold short of Z.... ".

Reality is that aviation is a global enterprise and adds benefit to the global community. English may be the language of the air (French would be so much more interesting) but a minority of people on the planet are native speakers. Those that use English to communicate as a second language in a technical close coupled environment have my respect for the difficulties that they are needed to overcome in order to operate in the international environment. If we are in an international situation, then disregarding the challenges that the crews face does not make for a safe or reliable system, and is inconsistent with an assumed position of any professionals in the industry that we are all responsible to assure safety of operations, not just to denigrate a person or operator that is having obvious difficulties related to their limited language levels. I am reminded of the KJFK tape of ground dealing with a foreign carrier (Chinese) that is having profound language difficulties related to entry to the apron. Now, many years later, with the boot on the other 脚丫子, foreign carriers operating into Chinese airports are being given bans for failure to follow taxi instructions correctly. To avoid having routine and continuous bans, "Follow Me" cars are routinely used, and that neatly resolves that issue. Just complaining about the problem doesn't resolve it, it adds to the level of frustration and lack of consideration.

The frequency that "exposť" youtube transcripts gleefully report screw ups, (like the hills departure out of LAX off 07..) shows that lack of empathy that besets the industry, and smacks of hubris, when the boot is on the other foot, the outcomes are similar for the same reasons. We appear stuck at a level of mutual care and empathy consistent with a 4 year old being asked to share birthday gifts with others, CRM/HF training notwithstanding.

VFR Only Please
17th Nov 2019, 20:23
(...) We appear stuck at a level of mutual care and empathy consistent with a 4 year old being asked to share birthday gifts with others, CRM/HF training notwithstanding.

Great post, fdr.
I'm an anglo but learned to fly in French, which put the shoe on the other foot, and listen to painful transmissions all the time.

Then there's the story of the exasperated southern US pilot telling a NY controller "Y'all hear how fast ah'm speaking? Well that's how fast I understand, too."

Dropp the Pilot
18th Nov 2019, 12:47
fdr's post is one of the best things I've ever read here. Sticky please.

safelife
18th Nov 2019, 21:53
We finally need a LIKE button here.
fdr, I salute you.

ATC Watcher
19th Nov 2019, 12:48
Great stories and post fdr, they should be mandatory part of every ATC refresher training syllabus ..
Standard phraseology is another important point , but for another thread/time ..

Australopithecus
19th Nov 2019, 21:00
FDR's posts on any subject are something to look forward to.

Mr Roosevelt, you are a delight.

George Glass
20th Nov 2019, 03:18
"is that an operational requirement?"

fdr, you’re spot on.

It drives us locals crazy.

I’ve deleted my previous comments because on reflection they might be libellous. Australian ATC just wont listen. Ever. It will take a major incident to concentrate minds.