Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific Airline and RPT Rumours & News in Australia, enZed and the Pacific

Erebus 25 years on

Old 3rd Jan 2006, 22:05
  #81 (permalink)  
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Re: Erebus 25 years on

Prospector, while on the one hand you seem to agree that there are two points of view on this accident you don’t seem so willing to accept an entitlement to hold the other point of view. Worse, you seem to be to be quite selective, if not cavalier, in your presentation of information. For example, in one of your first posts you say:
You would appear to belong to the school that supports Mahons statement that the aircraft "was programmed to fly into the mountain from the time it left (NZ)".
I believe that this is a subtly pejorative representation of what was said. There is no hope of anything other than endless pointless argument if you don’t do your best to present such comments in as accurate and balanced a fashion as possible. Here are the actual words from Mr Justice Mahon’s report:
393. In my opinion therefore, the single dominant and effective cause of the disaster was the mistake by those airline officials who programmed the aircraft to fly directly at Mt. Erebus and omitted to tell the aircrew. That mistake is directly attributable, not so much to the persons who made it, but to the incompetent administrative airline procedures which made the mistake possible.
It is a matter of fact that the key elements of this finding – the change of waypoint co-ordinates and the failure to tell the aircrew – are correct (for the unfamiliar, the waypoints were not loaded one by one by the crew). Of course the argument moves on from there to why the crew were where they were, etc. etc. … and it goes on and on and on thereafter with supporters of each side of the argument selecting bits of information to support their point of view.

May I also make the point that your reference to the “Orchestrated litany of lies” is also misleading? It was subsequently found that the evidence did not support the use of the word “orchestrated” (and I have no argument with this finding). However, what you seem to miss is that Mr. Justice Mahon was fully entitled to conclude that some witnesses had been less than truthful and that this finding was not overturned. The evidence for this finding in his report is (tellingly) supplemented by the account in his book “Verdict on Erebus” where he lays out exactly why and how he slowly turned from one point of view to another. Working from memory, a key reason for that change was the behaviour and evidence of certain witnesses.

I am familiar enough with the two points of view in this accident to know that any argument will go on endlessly, so I’ll let it go with an appeal for less strident approach towards those of us who disagree with you.
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Old 4th Jan 2006, 07:53
  #82 (permalink)  
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Re: Erebus 25 years on


I fail to see where you could use the word strident for any of my replies. However, in answer to your assertion that Mahon was correct in his treatment of witnesses I put forward the following from "New Zealand Tragedies, Aviation" by John King.

"That last point was seized upon by the Air New Zealand people accused by Mahon of taking part in the conspiracy, the accusation receiving such widespread publicity both in New Zealand and overseas, and the $150,000 fine being such a large amount that it could not be ignored. Because the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the cause of the disaster were limited in scope, BEING LEGALLY AN OPINION AND NOT A STATEMENT OF FACT, they could not be appealed in legal terms, unlike the Office of Air Accidents Investigation report, which remains the sole official account--and has never been officially challenged. The airlines board of directors resolved to pursue its single option to protect the integrity of its employees, to challenge the conspiracy finding by way of a judicial revue.

Because of the public importance of the review proceedings and the fact that a High Court judge was involved, Air New Zealand applied for the normal High Court hearing to be bypassed and the case was heard by the five permanent judges of the New Zealand Court of Appeal in early October 1981. Their judgement was delivered just before Christmas 1981 and held that Mahon, in making the findings of criminal conspiracy, had exceeded his terms of reference. He also committed breaches of natural justice by failing to inform the affected witnesses of the charges he proposed to level against them, thus depriving them of the opportunity to defend themselves.

The Court of Appeal addressed several aspects that were brought to the Commissioners notice during the enquiry but ignored by him. The five judges unanimously quashed, the $150,000 costs order, imposed as punishment for the alleged conspiracy"

I do believe that covers what his peers in the Appeal Court, and later the Privy council, thought of this matter and his findings, in the matter of witnesses, were in fact overturned.


Last edited by prospector; 4th Jan 2006 at 08:05.
Old 4th Jan 2006, 21:50
  #83 (permalink)  
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Re: Erebus 25 years on

Prospector 95% of your post is a quote from somebody else - the burden of which is to support the essence of what I acknowledged in my post when I said:
It was subsequently found that the evidence did not support the use of the word “orchestrated” (and I have no argument with this finding).
However, contrary to the comments in your citation there could have been no successful appeal had the word “orchestrated” not been used (and a fine imposed). Again from memory, the relevant Appeal court finding was essentially based on the fact that the judge did not properly elucidate the grounds on which he based his conclusion that there had been “orchestration”. I think the evidence does indeed confirm that the judge failed to do so (though I also note that a close reading of the evidence at the inquiry does suggest that, for some reason, the approach and testimony of some witnesses was not entirely consistent from the beginning to the end of the Royal Commission of Inquiry. Again the supplementary testimony from the Judge’s book adds useful perspective to this matter. After all it is direct testimony from somebody who was there listening to the evidence!).

I do not accept that there was ever a finding that Mahon “exceeded his terms of reference” and would be obliged if you could direct me to something other than a second hand opinion on this matter (in other words a statement or finding to this effect by the Appeal Court, or Privy Council).

The author from whom you quote claims that the Office of Air Accidents Investigation report “remains the sole official account” and says that it “has never been officially challenged”. I was rather under the impression that a Royal Commission of Inquiry was both official and that it presented findings that challenged that of the Air Accidents Investigation report. I think that it is a palpable fact that both reports exist as official documents, with findings that are contradictory. I suspect the reason that you claim to the contrary is that you have elevated to the status of fact the opinions of the author from whom you quote.

That authors attempt to use the Appeals Court and Privy Council findings to, in effect, argue that all of the findings of the Royal Commission were overthrown is an interesting argumentative strategy. While it appears to appeal to you, it does little for me. It certainly does little to advance our understanding as to why (a) this accident occurred, and (b) how to explain the (genuinely) intriguing puzzle as to how the evidence can be (convincingly) marshalled to support two utterly contradictory findings.

If we better understood (b) we would have advanced considerably in accident investigation. To that end it serves no purpose to treat those who support the point of view we like as wise and wonderful and to denegrate as misguided, or worse, those who support the contrary point of view. Regrettably much of the debate around this accident has tended to to head in that direction.
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Old 4th Jan 2006, 22:56
  #84 (permalink)  
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Re: Erebus 25 years on

You said,
"However, what you seem to miss is that Mr. Justice Mahon was fully entitled to conclude that some witnesses had been less than truthful and that this finding was not overturned"
I said,
"I do believe that covers what his peers in the Appeal Court, and later the Privy council, thought of this matter and his findings, in the matter of witnesses, were in fact overturned."
You followed with,
"That authors attempt to use the Appeals Court and Privy Council findings to, in effect, argue that all of the findings of the Royal Commission were overthrown is an interesting argumentative strategy. While it appears to appeal to you, it does little for me. It certainly does little to advance our understanding as to why (a) this accident occurred, and (b) how to explain the (genuinely) intriguing puzzle as to how the evidence can be (convincingly) marshalled to support two utterly contradictory findings."

You will perhaps note that the argument was in the matter of witnesses, it had nothing to do with the rest of the findings of the Royal Commission. I will attempt to locate a copy of the Appeal Court findings, and the Privy Council findings in this matter. You will note that the fine of $150,000 was imposed by Mahon as punishment on the Company for this so called conspiracy, this fine was quashed by the Appeal Court, that is a well known fact.

It appears you are drawing your information for your opinions from the book Mahon wrote after the event, "Verdict on Erebus". This can only be his version of events, The reference I quote, by John King, first published 1994, has the opinions of many people involved, and has the advantage of much hind sight.

Old 5th Jan 2006, 00:53
  #85 (permalink)  
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Question Re: Erebus 25 years on


In your search for the findings of the Appeals Court, please also try to ascertain whether, as claimed in a TV documentary, some of the judges in that Appeals Court had vested interests (through relatives) in Air New Zealand at that time.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 5th Jan 2006, 00:58
  #86 (permalink)  
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Re: Erebus 25 years on


I also saw that documentary although I can't remember its name. It claimed that 3 of the 5 judges had such vested interests.
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Old 5th Jan 2006, 02:21
  #87 (permalink)  
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Re: Erebus 25 years on

fantome - you are quite correct in that we can never know where there are no survivors. And even when there are survivors each has a different take on events. Interested in your pointers - if you dont want to post here please PM.
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Old 5th Jan 2006, 03:11
  #88 (permalink)  
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Re: Erebus 25 years on

For anyone interested in the findings of the Appeal Court into the matter of Justice Mahon's Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Erebus disaster it can be found here, the Privy Council findings can be found with a Google search.

That question was raised, but to date no one has made any comment about the Privy Council having any "vested interest" and they upheld the Appeal Court findings.

Old 5th Jan 2006, 03:35
  #89 (permalink)  
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Re: Erebus 25 years on

Thanks for that site, Prospector.

Despite the findings by both the Appeal Court and the Privy Council, it was still necessary for "someone" to break into the pilots' homes for whatever purpose before the Royal Commission.

There is also the problem of the pilots' nav bags that were never returned to their families. I read of one report by a member of the investigation (policeman, I think) who had found the "binder" of Captain Collins and who stated that the binder was complete with pages that somehow went missing prior to the Royal Commission.

It would appear that some skullduggery was conducted by persons unknown - for whatever purpose!
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Old 5th Jan 2006, 04:13
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Re: Erebus 25 years on

Presume you have not read fully the contents of that finding. Admittedly it is very wordy, but, you will no doubt note that Mr Woodford was not called to give evidence, you will also note it was stated in a previous post that an actual weather report at Mc Murdo was passed to the crew advising of whiteout conditions at Mc Murdo and not to bother with any sightseeing in that area, this experienced AntArctic observer was also not called to give any evidence, why would this be? these people obviously had information that was very relevant, or did it not fit into Mahons theories?

"Dear Sir,

At the time of the DC10 crash I was employed in Antarctica by D.S.I.R. as a survival instructor/mountaineer assistant. I was one of the three mountaineers who made the initial inspection of the site for survivors. I was also one of the three mountaineers who accompanied Messrs David Graham (Investigator) Ian Gemmell & Ian Wood (Air NZ) during their initial inspection of the aircraft. During the first six days after the accident I was at the crash site at all times when the site was occupied.

In regard to evidence reported in the Christchurch Press today, 5 Dec 1980, I can state unequivocally that:

(1) Captain Gemmell did not spend any time inspecting the aircraft without other people being present.

(2) Captain Collins flight bag was found by me the day after the crash, this being three days before any Air N.Z. personnel or crash investigators reached the site. My recollection is that it was empty when I first inspected it. It certainly contained no diaries or briefing material.

(3) Captain Gemmell did not remove any items from the persons of deceased lying in the area...."

Counsel proceeded to read from the letter which goes on to refer to instructions concerning the crevassed area of the ice-slope.

No challenge was made to the views expressed by Mr Woodford nor was he called to give evidence. And no evidence to any contrary effect was given by anybody. Yet apart from the passing reference to the matter in paragraph 349 of the Report the point of view Mr Woodford expressed seems to have been given no attention. The extent of the evidence which could have been given by Mr Woodford if he had been called as a witness is indicated by his affidavit now put before this Court. The importance of the letter seems obvious. The bag being empty when it was seen only 18 hours after the aircraft had crashed it is difficult to understand how it could have any significance when found in that same condition three days later. Yet in this part of the Report it is left as a central issue. Mr Woodford's own concern about all this is indicated in the lengthy affidavit which he prepared for the purpose of exonerating Captain Gemmell. It was sworn by him on 21st May 1981 not very long after the Report of the Royal Commission had been made public.
That to my way of thinking explains the so called missing documents from the flight bag. Nobody made any claims of vested interest by Mr Woodford.

Old 5th Jan 2006, 04:43
  #91 (permalink)  
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Re: Erebus 25 years on

Thanks for the info, Prospector. I've read more of the report now. I was also unaware of the earlier wx report to the crew indicating whiteout conditions. Such conditions are not included in the following extract from the CVR transcript:
00:18 MC We have a low overcast in the area at about 2000ft and right now we're having some snow, but visibility is still about 40 miles and if you like I can give you an update on where the cloud areas are around the local area.
FO Yes 901, that would be handy. We'd like to descend and maintain flight level one six zero.
MC Kiwi 901, Mac Centre descend and maintain flight level one six zero.
MC 901, this is the forecaster again. It looks like the clear areas around McMurdo area are at approximately between 75 and 100 miles to the northwest of us but right now over McMurdo we have a pretty extensive low overcast. Over.
00:19 FO Roger, New Zealand 901, thanks.
FE That'll be round about Cape Bird, wouldn't it?
FO Right, right.
FE Got a low overcast over McMurdo.
CA Doesn't sound very promising, does it?
MC Within range of 40 miles of McMurdo we have radar that wil, if you desire, let you down to 1500ft on radar vectors. Over.

I understand that it remains a reported fact that the pilots' homes were entered illegally by persons unknown before the Royal Commission.

In any event, it remains a sad lesson in CFIT.
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Old 5th Jan 2006, 06:05
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Re: Erebus 25 years on

I see Prospector seems a little reluctant to link directly to the privy council appeal findings.
Maybe because this, the final official analysis of the investigation, completely demolishes his arguments that the crew were at fault.

Allow me to quote:
(836 onwards)
The Royal Commission Report convincingly clears Captain Collins and First Officer Cassin of any suggestion that negligence on their part had in any way contributed to the disaster. That is unchallenged.

Care to read that again slowly ?
The Royal Commission Report convincingly clears Captain Collins and First Officer Cassin of any suggestion that negligence on their part had in any way contributed to the disaster. That is unchallenged.

It continues on to explain why Mr Chippindale’s finding of pilot error was wrong:

The judge was able to displace Mr. Chippindale's attribution of the accident to pilot error, for two main reasons. The most important was that at the inquiry there was evidence from Captain Collins' widow and daughters, which had not been available to Mr. Chippindale at the time of his investigation and was previously unknown to the management of A.N.Z., that after the briefing of 9 November 1979 Captain Collins, who had made a note of the co-ordinates of the Western Waypoint that were on the flight plan used at that briefing, had, at his own home, plotted on an atlas and upon a larger topographical chart the track from the Cape Hallett waypoint to the Western Waypoint. There was evidence that he had taken this atlas and chart with him on the fatal flight and the inference was plain that in the course of piloting the aircraft he and First Officer Cassin had used the lines that he had plotted to show him where the aircraft was when he switched from nav track to heading select in order to make a descent to 2,000 feet while still to the north of Ross Island which he reported to ATC at McMurdo and to which he received ATC's consent. That on completing this descent he switched back to nav track is incapable of being reconciled with any other explanation than that he was relying upon the line he had himself plotted of the flight track on which he had been briefed. It was a combination of his own meticulous conscientiousness in taking the trouble to plot for himself on a topographical chart the flight track that had been referred to at his briefing, and the fact that he had no previous experience of "whiteout" and had been given no warning at any time that such a deceptive phenomenon even existed, that caused the disaster.

The other principal reason why the judge felt able to displace Mr. Chippindale's ascription of the cause of the accident to pilot error was that certain remarks forming part of the conversations recorded in the CVR of the crashed aircraft and attributed by Mr. Chippindale to the flight engineers had suggested to him that shortly before the crash they were expressing to the pilot and navigator uncertainty about the aircraft's position. The tape from the CVR which had been recovered from the site of the crash proved difficult to interpret. The judge, with the thoroughness that characterised him throughout his investigations, went to great pains to obtain the best possible expert assistance in the interpretation of the tape. The result was that he was able to conclude that the remarks attributed by Mr. Chippindale to the flight engineers could not have been made by them, and that there was nothing recorded in the CVR that was capable of throwing any doubt upon the confident belief of all members of the crew that the nav track was taking the aircraft on the flight path as it had been plotted by Captain Collins on his atlas and chart, and thus down the middle of McMurdo Sound well to the west of Mt. Erebus.

Then they confirm that Justice Mahon was correct in castigating the airline

The judge's report contains numerous examples and criticisms of A.N.Z.'s slipshod system of administration and absence of liaison both between sections and between individual members of sections in the branch of management that was concerned with flight operations. Grave deficiencies are exposed in the briefing for Antarctic flights; and the explanation advanced by witnesses for the airline as to how it came about that Captain Collins and First Officer Cassin were briefed on a flight path that took the aircraft over the ice-covered waters of McMurdo Sound well to the west of Mt. Erebus but were issued, for use in the aircraft's computer, as the nav track a flight path which went directly over Mt. Erebus itself, without the aircrew being told of the change, involved admissions of a whole succession of inexcusable blunders by individual members of the executive staff. None of this was challenged before their Lordships. No attempt was made on behalf of A.N.Z. to advance excuses for it.

OK. Are we all clear now ?
The privy council appeal verdict did not overturn any of Justice Mahon’s conclusions as to who was to blame for the disaster. It was the airline !

What the privy council appeal verdict did do was reluctantly agree that Justice Mahon went a bit too far in paragraph 377 of his report :
************************************************************ ********
"No judicial officer ever wishes to be compelled to say that he has listened to evidence which is false. He always prefers to say, as I hope the hundreds of judgments which I have written will illustrate, that he cannot accept the relevant explanation, or that he prefers a contrary version set out in the evidence. But in this case, the palpably false sections of evidence which I heard could not have been the result of mistake, or faulty recollection. They originated, I am compelled to say, in a pre-determined plan of deception. They were very clearly part of an attempt to conceal a series of disastrous administrative blunders and so, in regard to the particular items of evidence to which I have referred, I am forced reluctantly to say that I had to listen to an orchestrated litany of lies."
************************************************************ *********

Back to the Privy council :

These appalling blunders and deficiencies, the existence of which emerged piecemeal in the course of the 75 days of hearings, had caused the loss of 257 lives. Their Lordships can well understand the growing indignation of the judge when, after completing the hearings and for the purpose of preparing his report, he brought them together in his own mind and reflected upon them. In relation to the three matters that were principally canvassed in this appeal and upon which he based his finding that there had been a pre-determined plan to deceive the Royal Commission and a conspiracy to commit perjury at its hearings, their Lordships have very reluctantly felt compelled to hold that, in the various respects to which their Lordships have referred, the judge failed to adhere to those rules of natural justice that are appropriate to an inquiry of the kind that he was conducting and that in consequence it was not open to him to make the finding that he did in paragraph 377 of his report.
To say of a person who holds judicial office, that he has failed to observe a rule of natural justice, may sound to a lay ear as if it were a severe criticism of his conduct which carries with it moral overtones. But this is far from being the case. It is a criticism which may be, and in the instant case is certainly intended by their Lordships in making it to be, wholly disassociated from any moral overtones. In an earlier section of this judgment their Lordships have set out what they regard as the two rules of natural justice that apply to this appeal. It is easy enough to slip up over one or other of them in civil litigation, particularly when one is subject to pressure of time in preparing a judgment after hearing masses of evidence in a long and highly complex suit. In the case of a judgment in ordinary civil litigation this kind of failure to observe rules of natural justice is simply one possible ground of appeal among many others and attracts no particular attention. All their Lordships can remember highly respected colleagues who, as trial judges, have had appeals against judgments they had delivered allowed on this ground; and no one thought any the worse of them for it. So their Lordships' recommendation that the appeal ought to be dismissed cannot have any adverse effect upon the reputation of the judge among those who understand the legal position, and it should not do so with anyone else.

You can find the full report at
It is compelling reading.
(Edited to correct spelling)

Last edited by Desert Dingo; 8th Jan 2006 at 11:38.
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Old 5th Jan 2006, 09:45
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Re: Erebus 25 years on

Prospector if it was not clear to you that I already understood much of what you have again re-presented, our exchange is destined to rapidly become a mutual waste of time. I was merely responding to the specific claims you advanced.

In particular you seem to have missed why I cited Mahon’s book in the context of your remarks and quotation (because it gives direct testimony as to how his thinking evolved, his role as a Royal Commissioner, etc). I find it strange that you clearly prefer a second hand source to the direct testimony of a Judge of the High Court. Mahon’s testimony may be assessed and evaluated (and even found wanting), but it is obviously of more substantive worth than – of all things – a book “published in 1994” with “the opinions of many people involved” and having the “advantage of much hind sight”. Moreover, this raises another question. Would you have the same respect for a book with the exact same characteristics as the one you used, but which disagrees with your point of view?! Think about that for a second.

Interestingly, such a book exists: published in 1995 it examines, in the light “hindsight” on advances in Human Factors accident analysis the Erebus accident (among others). It re-analyses the accident and avoids the dead end of attacking witnesses and participants and tries to draw the relevant lessons. It has four authors with an international reputation. It is called “Beyond Aviation Human Factors” (published by Ashgate).

Your deduction that I am relying on Mahon’s book for my opinions is thus misdirected. It is but one source and I regret that what I wrote above did not clarify why I felt that particular source would be helpful to you. You also say:
You will perhaps note that the argument was in the matter of witnesses
I agree that is where we started. But your citation from the book went well beyond dealing with the matter of witnesses and makes significant and broader claims with which I profoundly disagree and could not let go unchallenged (Desert Dingo’s post contains much of the evidence that demonstrates such claims to be just plain wrong). Moreover, your citation is but the opinion of one person and it does not seem to me to reflect sufficient familiarity with, for example, the materials cited by Desert Dingo.

If, as appears to be the case, you are new to much of the original testimony and documentation ad that you are merely dipping in to extract opinions and sentences that agree with your point of view, you seem destined to an argumentative journey without much light at the end. I commend to you the approach of Desert Dingo. He has cited original material, made a clear argument and highlighted the bits that elucidate his argument. It doesn’t make him right, but he has made some exceedingly telling points when judged against the quote you used to me.

In concluding, may I just say that the addition of the words “so called” and “conspiracy” (the latter being a serious word which goes well beyond “orchestration”) in your reply to me suggests we are like ships passing in the night. As it is likely that these exchanges will go on ad infinitum to no particular purpose I think I will take this opportunity to bow out. Wishing you the best of luck.
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Old 5th Jan 2006, 09:57
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Re: Erebus 25 years on

Thanks, Desert Dingo. That really puts it into the correct perspective. The video on the Royal Commission into the Mt Erebus disaster is invaluable in CFIT training. Let no pilot think that any operator would be any different!
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Old 15th Oct 2006, 17:09
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Both sides meeting in the middle

G'day Folks, When I read the exchanges in this forum on the 901 disaster it brought back to me both the shock I felt on hearing of the crash and my feeling of empathy for my then Air New Zealand Colleagues. (At the time I worked for Ansett Airlines in Melbourne). These exchanges got me thinking again and I came to the realization that both sides of the debate are right. (And until now I had firmly believed Chippendale to be completely wrong). As a matter of strict fact Chippendale was correct when he wrote - "The probable cause of this accident was the decision of the captain to continue the flight at low level toward an area of poor surface and horizon definition" and he was also correct when he wrote - "and the subsequent inability to detect the rising terrain which intercepted the aircraft's flight path." (I disagree with Chippendale when he wrote the phrase that separates the above two quotes - "when the crew were not certain of their position" as all the evidence that I have read supports the interpretation that those parts of the CVR that Chippendale relied on for this quote are "unintelligible".) What Chippendale did not state and what Mahon aided by Vette et al went on to discover was that there was no way that the Collins, Cassin , Mulgrew or, indeed, anyone on the aircraft could have been aware that the aircraft was heading straight for Mt Erebus. As far as Collins and Cassin were concerned the aircraft was operating VMC at a safe altitude above ice and heading up McMurdo Sound and the visual cues they were getting confirmed/re-enforced the mindset they had obtained from their briefing and the information they were receiving from the DC10's instruments. They were unaware that the aircraft had been re-programmed to fly over Mt Erebus and neither were they aware of the insidious dangers of “sector whiteout”. (A phenomena then poorly understood but, thanks in part to Vette, we now know a great deal more about) I believe Vette was correct when he wrote concerning the GPWS warning “They must still have believed that they were getting a false warning signal”. That Mahon was found by the Court of Appeal to have exceeded his brief is, to me, a mere technicality as I am firmly of the view that he was quite correct when he referred to “a pre-determined plan of deception” and to “an orchestrated litany of lies”. (It's only necessary to watch the video of the documentary of the Royal Commission to be convinced of this) As to who exactly did the planning and orchestrating, well I have my own ideas on that but the laws of defamation preclude me from expressing these. I realize that my views will quite possibly be considered unfavourably by the more passionate supporters of both sides but I hope that the above may contribute something to this debate. In conclusion, both my Brother (who has identical views to myself on this) and I would really like to get a copy of the video of the Royal Commission. I did have a copy that I'd taped from a TV broadcast but whilst the tape was in storage some years ago it was severely damaged by damp. If anyone either has a copy or can advise me where to get one I'd really like to hear from you.
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Old 16th Oct 2006, 03:43
  #96 (permalink)  
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I have a copy (slightly damaged) of the video of the Royal Commission. I should be able to have it on a DVD in the near future.
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Old 16th Oct 2006, 03:51
  #97 (permalink)  
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DVD of video of the Royal Commission

Thanks Casper. My Brother and I are much obliged to you I'll take two copies when you have them available. Regards Peter
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Old 17th Oct 2006, 14:15
  #98 (permalink)  
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Same here please Casper.

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Old 18th Oct 2006, 03:20
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Pierrem-m....youve dug deep,and you have only,I believe said what has already been published,Vette as you have stated has done an outstanding job and there is more information availible than a bull can shite......I too subscribe to your point ,but that is a personal one..

My Question, procuring a copy of the video stated,and your theory that you might know who may have been responsible for these/those actions.....are you planning on re-opening the Erebus case???...PB

I ask this as this post sort of finished up in Jan
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Old 18th Oct 2006, 14:52
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Oh, Bollocks

I suspect most of the respondents in this thread are professional aviators. What was one of the first lessons you were taught when you started flying?
"the PiC is responsible for the safe conduct of the flight." It doesn't matter who did the flight planning, it is the PiC who has sole responsiblity for safe conduct, and that includes separation from terrain. Jim Collins was the best man at my father's wedding. I knew his girls , and his wife. I am friends with F/O Cassins daughter (also a professional aviator), and I was on the flight deck of a DC10 into HKG when the news came through that the flight in question was overdue. My father's first comment was "Jim's hit Erebus".
Those pilots who had flown to the South Pole before Jim were incredibly lucky. They had good viz and clear conditions. I had a friend on Capt Vette's flight - apparently "he flew so low over McMurdo, you could see in the door of the mess hall". Vette was a cowboy, and is a grandstander. Any lawyer will tell you that the best form of defence is attack. Had anything come out about Vette being below 1000ft over McMurdo, the sh*t would have hit the fan, but it didn't. Crediblity is his case is lacking.
Ron Chippendale is an experienced air accident investigator, who doesn't loose site of the facts, the primary one being that "the PiC has responsibilty for the safe conduct of the flight". If your a/c is stuffed, you don't take it. If the E/R weather is crap, you delay. If there is windshear, you go around. AND IF THERE IS NO VISUAL REFERENCE, YOU DON'T DESCEND BELOW MSA! Simple stuff.
I have the greatest respect for Jim and his family, and for that of all the flight crew. There were alot of distractions on the flight deck that day, none of which was conducive to the safe operation of a large jet aircraft. However, it is still the PiC's responsibility to manage HIS/HER flight deck. The company route was published on the flight plan - and the a/c had INS. The a/c charts had grid co-ords. If you are unsure, plot (ref. my remark about distractions on the flight deck).
There is no disrespect intended for those flight crew or passengers who lost their lives. You only can do your best on the day. Sometimes, that best isn't good enough, and when the REASON Model (for CRM) gives you the right alignment for an accident, it'll happen. The last line of defence is the flight crew, AND THEY FAILED TO SPOT THE ERROR. Air New Zealand was not flying the aircraft, the crew were. And the buck should stop there.
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