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

Merged: Senate Inquiry

Old 13th Jan 2015, 20:09
  #2621 (permalink)  
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My turn..

For my sins (trying to puzzle out a Sarcs question on the TSI Act) I strayed into section 25A of that Act; David Fawcett and his 'closing the loop' questions and remarks must have triggered some kind of subconscious thinking pattern which has been demanding answers for a while now. Anyway - 25A Responses to reports of, or containing, safety recommendations.

First glance at 25 A you may be forgiven for thinking well, here's horsepower, for when a safety recommendation is issued there are rules which must be followed. The natural question which jumps out is with the requirement to respond cast in stone, why then are there so many open loops? and there are a lot. There is a PAIN report (thanks P7) which examined in some detail Coronial recommendations from fatal accidents over a ten year period, contained within and examined by that report were those issued by the ATSB related to the case.

Now CASA may with impunity politely ignore the coroner and they do; the record of actually 'closing the loop' on coronial recommendations is 'slim' – possibly anorexic. But the ATSB have, through the Act, actually got some real clout. Why is this not used? I wondered.

Being a legal dunderhead it took me a while grasp the Oh so subtle escape paths; but even those may be effectively blocked by a determined "Commissioner"; one not so determined could cooperate, for within the work of the Word Weasels, for there is a mile of wriggle room. For example:-

25A Responses to reports of, or containing, safety recommendations
(1) This section applies if:

(a) the ATSB publishes a report under section 25 in relation to an investigation; and

(b) the report is, or contains, a recommendation that a person, unincorporated association, or an agency of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory, take safety action.

(2) The person, association or agency to whom the recommendation is made [must give a written response to the ATSB, within 90 days of the report being published], that sets out:

(a) whether the person, association or agency accepts the recommendation (in whole or in part); and

(b) if the person, association or agency accepts the recommendation (in whole or in part)—details of any action that the person, association or agency proposes to take to give effect to the recommendation; and

(c) if the person, association or agency does not accept the recommendation (in whole or in part)—the reasons why the person, association or agency does not accept the recommendation (in whole or in part).

(3) A person commits an offence if:

(a) the person is someone to whom a recommendation is made in a report published under section 25; and

(b) the person fails to give a written response to the ATSB within 90 days setting out the things required by paragraphs (2)(a), (b) and (c) (as applicable).

Penalty: 30 penalty units.
Intriguing, the part highlighted [in brackets] despite all the sound and fury and penalty unit threats simply requires that 'a response' be given.

E.g. ATSB recommendation - "Pilots will wear one green and one red sock".

To which CASA respond "this is silly, we reject your recommendation". (Shades of Python).

Which leaves the ATSB up a pole; CASA have 'responded' which is all that the 'law' requires. Now it may be that the result of an expensive, properly conducted, expert investigation has identified a string of valid reasons for making the recommendation, explained the detailed reasoning, examined the evidence, exposed the holes in the cheese and clearly demonstrated, beyond a reasonable doubt, that socks cause accidents. To whom and where do ATSB go next to appeal their case and get a reasonable ruling. The short answer is nowhere; they're stuck with it. Which of itself is passing strange.

Part of the answer (IMO) may lay within the very Acts which govern such matters and gave rise to the risible MoU. BUT the 'law' is there and it becomes very much a matter of the 'will' of the Commissioner how much 'law' will apply. It is interesting to (a) study the amount of SR which have not been issued during the Dolan regime of beyond all reason; and, (b) the amount of recommendations which are not 'fully' addressed (in limbo); (c) the changes to MoU; (d) the changes in Commissioners independent 'powers' and; last but not least (e) the volumes of un-addressed recommendations which, if we were not playing at silly buggers may, conceivably, have prevented repeat accidents similar in nature.

My own favourites are the ones from 10 or so years ago which were to be 'addressed' through the "new" legislation, coming soon. Bollocks, plain, pure, unmitigated, undiluted Bollocks.

Fawcett nearly got there you know; so close but, alas, no cigar......

It's deep, but there you go Brother Sarcs; it is, I believe my turn to set the puzzle and ask the questions (of which there are many)....


SIUYA "If recent NSW ICAC 'results' are anything to go by TB, hopefully an invitation to a giant arse-kicking party, a very public DCM, and perhaps some time in the 'big house'."

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Old 14th Jan 2015, 06:26
  #2622 (permalink)  
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Snoop More Beaker bollocks & the nugatory section 25A.

Kharon - For my sins...I strayed into section 25A of that Act; David Fawcett and his 'closing the loop' questions and remarks must have triggered some kind of subconscious thinking pattern which has been demanding answers for a while now.
Good catch Ferryman.... always was missing some dots with the Beaker SR disconnection (i.e. BASR) - which is so contrary to recognised world's best practice with addressing identified safety issues...

First your reference to Senator Fawcett and his 'closing the loop' QONs I believe initially was mentioned in budget & sup Estimates, & then in the initial hearing of the PelAir inquiry (22/10/12):
Senator FAWCETT: With the process you are describing whereby you use a process, and risk and consequence and all the good tables I have seen in your submission, do you consider balancing that against the cost of action? I will take for example the New Zealand flight information service where, in Australia, if there is a deteriorating weather situation they have an obligation to update the pilot and alert them to the fact that something is occurring, or the Unicom operator who was not legally allowed to use the HF radio to talk. But if either of them had said, 'The situation is getting worse,' as Unicom did to the New Zealand FIS who chose not to pass it on, surely, even including that kind of thing, there should be a recommendation that the Australian government should talk to the New Zealand government and ask for cooperation for safety reasons. Even if it is only for one in 1,000 flights and your probability of occurrence is very low, given the cost of action is also very low, why does your process exclude consideration of something that to the common man in the street seems like common sense? Why are we not seeing logical, reasonable recommendations coming out of ATSB reports to an address in this case two things, either of which probably would have prevented the accident?
To which Beaker replied - part in bold is I believe in reference to s25A:
Mr Dolan : There are two things there and I will go to the question of recommendations before I get to the specifics of your question. The ATSB at the point where it became independent of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport also got a shift in its powers in relation to the making of recommendations which raised the ante with recommendations and their significance. There is a legal requirement to respond to each of the recommendations we make. In recognition of that we set up the system of identifying safety issues that said there needs to be a critical or a significant safety issue before we will explicitly use that power to make a recommendation and require a response, and we would generally limits recommendations to those sorts of things. What you are talking about we would in our normal framework, given what you said about likelihood and consequence, deal with as a safety issue without going to recommendation. That is the context: it is still there but your question remains….
If we track the timeframe of amendments to the TSI Act we can see that with the change of ATSB governance (i.e. from Dept to an independent Commission) on the 01 July 2009 also saw the introduction of s25A.

The following from the ATSB website describes the conditions for possibly enforcing s25A (3):
Failure to respond to a Safety Recommendation

Sections 25A of the TSI Act requires a person, association or agency to provide a written response to a Safety Recommendation contained in a report released under section 25 of the TSI Act. The response is required within 90 days of the report being published. Responses to recommendations are published on the ATSB website.
Failure to respond may attract a penalty of up to 30 penalty points ($3,300 for a natural person and $16,500 for an incorporated organisation), and advice of any such failure to respond will be published on the ATSB website.


Responses to Safety Recommendations are to be provided within the timeframe (within 90 days of the report being published) as required by the TSI Act.

Where responses are not received, a decision about appropriate enforcement action is taken. Choice of an appropriate action is based on a graduated response that focuses on the primary objective to achieve an appropriate safety outcome, including to:
  • continue to engage with the responsible person, or class of responsible persons, to ensure compliance; or if necessary
  • refer the apparent breach to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for investigation, with the potential for a brief of evidence to be provided by the AFP to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) to assess for possible prosecution action.
The ATSB's policy is that the option of continued engagement is used where the apparent breach does not meet the criteria for referring it to the AFP for investigation. The matter must be serious for a referral.

Criteria for referral

Where there is an apparent breach of section 25A of the TSI Act it is likely that it would only be considered serious if:
a) the person or organisation was aware of their obligations to respond, or should have in the circumstances been aware of their reporting obligations, and there is evidence to indicate that the person or organisation:
i. deliberately decided not to respond in accordance with their obligations; or
ii. was reckless in their failure to respond; and
b) the matter or matters that required a response:
i. have the potential for serious safety consequences if not addressed; or
ii. have the potential for less serious safety consequences but there is no other means to ensure that the person or organisation explains to the industry and the public how the matter or matters are being addressed; and
c) an investigation by the AFP, with potential prosecution by the CDPP, is thought necessary to:
i. obtain compliance from the person now and in the future; or
ii. deter other persons or organisations from failing to respond.
Okay so what possible reason suddenly precipitated the necessity for the introduction of s25A to the Act? Well to help explain I too have borrowed from a PAIN publication (thanks P7..):
Opinion : The following data compares ATSB v NTSB Safety Recommendations over a ten year period (2000-2010). This data highlights that Mr Dolan has used the above philosophy in regards to Safety Recommendations to significant affect:

Now when referencing the ATSB database for SRs - addressed to CASA on or shortly before the arrival of s25A - I noticed another disturbing trend that had been developing... To highlight this I have taken one of the three SRs that were addressed to CASA in relation to the Willowbank parachuting aircraft tragedy- R20070030.

Now refer to the date the SR was issued - 30 October 2007 - & the date the SR was responded to was 13 March 2008 which was outside of the prescribed and long accepted requirements of Annex 13 CH 6 para 6.10...

"...A State that receives safety recommendations shall inform the proposing State, within ninety days of the date of the transmittal correspondence, of the preventive action taken or under consideration, or the reasons why no action will be taken..."

And that I believe is one of the reasons for the introduction of s25A combined with the continued trend of CASA obfuscating adequate responses to SRs for sometimes over a decade.

However s25A under Beaker as Chief Commissioner has essentially been made nugatory with his adoption (see quote above) of the BASR approach to mitigating safety issues identified in the course of an investigation...

This point of contention was highlighted by David Fawcett further on in the Hansard:
Senator FAWCETT: With all due respect, to have a process that deliberately closes the door to suggestions that another agency, if they wished to say they would respond to that recommendation by saying no but if they chose to say yes may have saved this flight and may potentially save another flight, I suggest is process that is extremely poorly misplaced and prioritised...

...Senator FAWCETT: Mr Dolan, I think you have probably heard a number of the witnesses this morning indicate that in their view ATSB in the past has taken a far more proactive approach to identifying issues and being prepared to make a recommendation. The general consensus from witnesses has been that that is a far more value-adding document. With a technical issue, for example an A330 off the North West Shelf with a software glitch that causes the aircraft to plunge, in terms of probabilities it was very remote that that would never happen again. But there was a report, recommendations and the OEM put a fleet-wide alert out to look at a software reload or whatever. If that approach is taken on something that almost led to the loss of an aircraft, here we have the loss of an aircraft. Why did you take such a conservative approach as opposed to saying any information, any opportunity to preclude a further incident by including all of the regulatory and systemic issues in terms of the organisation, their training, they check-in training, the lack of control, the lack of standardisation around fuel planning—all the things that led to this occurrence—should be canvassed in the report? I have heard your process, but putting the process aside, is the process wise when after three years we end up with a report that deals quite narrowly with one element of the things that led to this incident? more comments needed except to say..."miniscule the muppet has to go!"
I'll be back...

Last edited by Sarcs; 14th Jan 2015 at 06:47.
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Old 14th Jan 2015, 19:13
  #2623 (permalink)  
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Out - caught at Silly Mid On.

Well done Sarcs; it's there ain't it and Fawcett caught it; but at SMO there's not a lot of time to think and frame the catch; just reflex. It is a shame this is a 'technical' blog, if ever there was enough 'heat' and this could be transmogrified into bite size pieces for public consumption, I reckon there would be 'trouble at mill'. The very notion that the accident which killed or maimed some loved ones would be investigated by an outfit which was hand in glove with the regulator and that any or all 'systematic' problems would be nullified and the report 'skewed' to suit a predetermined outcome, would send shivers of disgust through the wider community. Predetermined as in there will never be any admission that any of the government agencies could have played even a minor part in an accident event; which is bad enough. But when the public and industry is denied that knowledge; those flawed elements and errors are not only allowed to continue, but are buried never to be addressed and corrected, that is a serious problem. Problem? – oh yes: any contributing factor to an accident, not eliminated, has the potential to be part of the next accident. QED. Have a little think about VA ATR, Mildura, or Canley Vale, or the Darwin Braz, or better yet: look back at the other two Pel-Air hull losses. The pattern is there, clear as day with only the Be-a-Cur, beyond all reason methodology to solve the puzzle.

Collusion is an agreement between two or more parties, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair market advantage.
To circumvent is to avoid. Someone who trains elephants but somehow gets out of picking up after them has found a way to circumvent the cleaning of the circus tent.

Circum in Latin means "around" or "round about," and vent- comes fromvenire, "to come," but painting a picture from these two parts of the word helps. Picture someone circling around a barrier instead of climbing over it. That's what you do when you circumvent. You find a smart way around rules or barriers, or avoid doing something unpleasant altogether.
To reiterate; Pel-Air was only the tip of a very ugly ice berg. It is not an isolated aberration; but the established norm. Anyone who can believe this was the first time the Dolan-McComic lead teams have played this game may join those who seek fairies at the bottom of the garden club and live happily ever after.

This must be addressed, it is entirely pisspotical to have the investigator a captive of the regulator; not to mention contravening an international treaty. It's nearly as bloody daft as allowing a thief to investigate and decide if he did, indeed commit his own crime. Yet there the elephant sits, encouraged by the unspeakable Albo, now spoon fed by the risible Truss. The public and industry just keep funding this – for the mystique of aviation safety must be maintained, no matter what the cost. For mine the only mystery is how, in the seven hells, have they got away with so much, for so long....


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Old 15th Jan 2015, 13:06
  #2624 (permalink)  
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FFS would someone please muzzle the muppet!

MMSM Steve is back on the job and for once he has actually scooped the pack (including the New York Times) and got an exclusive of mi..mi..mi..Beaker flapping his felt gums enough times to make you want to puke...: MH370 flight hunt stepped up
AUSTRALIAN Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Martin Dolan remains optimistic that searchers can find the wreckage of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 by the time funding runs out later this year.

A fourth vessel, Fugro Supporter, will join the search later this month with an autonomous underwater vehicle designed to probe “shadow” areas that towed sonar equipment was unable to penetrate.

The Fugro Equator, which had been engaged in mapping the sea floor, left the West Australian port of Fremantle on Sunday to join the search and was due to arrive in the search area yesterday along with sister ship the
Fugro Discovery.

They will join the GO Phoenix, which on Monday restarted the methodical search of the area believed most likely to be the site of the mystery crash of the Boeing 777 on March 8 with 227 passengers on board, including six from Australia.

Fugro Supporter is equipped with a HUGIN 45000 AUV, which can be deployed without a connection to the ship to search a pre-programmed area. It ascends automatically and downloads its data.

Mr Dolan said the use of the AUV had always been part of the plan but searchers wanted to see how the towed sonar operated first.

“There was always a provision in the contract that we had with Fugro that we could acquire additional capability,’’ Mr Dolan said. “The towed capability gives us pretty good coverage of the area we’re looking at, but because the terrain is complex and uneven there’s a bit of shadowing and areas where we don’t have a 100 per cent guarantee that we’ve covered adequately, and that’s what the AUV is designed for.’’

The searchers are taking ­advantage of generally favourable summer conditions in the area and have scanned about 14,000sq km, about a fifth or the area believed to have the highest probability of containing the crash site.

“There’s still quite a way to go with the highest priority areas,’’ Mr Dolan said. “We’re looking at completion in probably April-May.’’ Mr Dolan said that if nothing was found by this date, the ATSB would have to talk to the government about the next steps.

He said the money would run out “around about the same time­frame’’.

“We’ve got the resources to search the priority areas … and we expect to complete that within the resources we’ve been given by April-May,’’ he said. “We’ll keep government informed. We’re still confident that we’ll find it within that priority search area, it’s just that we can’t give a guarantee so governments may have to run their mind to what next. But at this stage we’re focused on the area we’re looking at.’’

The restarted search for MH370 comes as Indonesian investigators this week successfully downloaded information from the flight data recorder from Indonesia AirAsia Flight 8501 and took possession of the cockpit voice recorder, which will shed light on the last words of the pilots.

The Airbus A320 crashed on December 28 with 162 people on board after encountering severe thunderstorms.

Conversation between the flight crew and air traffic controllers included a request to climb from 32,000ft to 38,000ft to avoid threatening clouds.

Investigators were expected to start reading the data on Wednesday and would begin by looking at 30 indicators such as speed, altitude and engine temperature. They expect a preliminary report on the accident will be produced within a month, and a final report after a year.

The investigation has an Australian connection because the ATSB helped set up the laboratory being used to examine the recorders and trained personnel there. The bureau also has one of its experts in Indonesia co-operating with authorities on some of the work.

Singaporean searchers announced on Wednesday that they had found the fuselage of the downed plane.
Errr....I feel too ill & embarrassed to comment...
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Old 15th Jan 2015, 20:45
  #2625 (permalink)  
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Mooted messages?

I believe we may safely ignore both the Be-a-Cur messenger and the Australian, the message being delivered is clear enough. It is probably coming to the time where the government must look to the practicalities of continuing the MH 370 search. Of course everyone wants the aircraft found and the mystery explained, but the cost is phenomenal and must, one way or another, be supported. The worst case would be that the most probable areas of search are a 'dry hole'; it's a bloody big ocean and once the best guess options have been eliminated, what then? Do we keep the ships and crews out there indefinitely?; and, if we do, who will pay the bill?

It's not (IMO) that the government is so parsimonious or cynical to chop off the funding at the stroke of midnight; but there will be some work to do persuading other governments to kick the tin. Rock and hard place; the equipment, manpower and expertise is out there, on the job right now and will be until May so the 'pulling them out' deadline is a way off; and who knows what will transpire this hour or tomorrow. But through Dolan the reality of an end of search scenario is being mooted. This way, everyone knows, in advance that there must, at some point in time, be a full time whistle.

No, I believe the search area will be covered properly and if a few extra bucks need be found to do that, they will be unstintingly provided; the worry is that if nothing is found after an exhaustive search, what then?

Aye, it's as pretty a problem as you could ever wish to find: the fun part?; watching Dolan squirm as the Indonesians show him how to recover a 'black box' from the water and the pennies wriggle out of his clammy clutches. From the subliminal to the sublime eh?

Like the dew on the mountain,
Like the foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
Thou art gone—and for ever!

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Old 16th Jan 2015, 02:03
  #2626 (permalink)  
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Ben had the story two days before Steve and managed to avoid mentioning Dolan once.

MH370 searchers to look at hard to reach sea floor wrinkles | Plane Talking

He also did it better with stuff you won't find on the ATSB web site.

As a keen media watcher it seems to me that one of aviation's problems in this country is that journos just reprint whatever crap gets pushed out by CASA, Truss and the airlines.
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Old 16th Jan 2015, 20:06
  #2627 (permalink)  
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Denabol –"Ben had the story two days before Steve and managed to avoid mentioning Dolan once."
Agreed, read the piece when it was published and wondered what the canny Sandilands was up to. He has a habit of developing a sound platform, unassailable by 'legal' threat before launching a blockbuster; this due to a natural prudence, respect for his craft and bitter experience. I always get the feeling that Ben writes from solid fact leading the discerning reader to their own informed conclusion, until the story is clear and unimpeachable.

Was the story provided designed to 'smoke out' Dolan? well, the slippery Cready went for it. A rehash of a two day old yarn, salted with a Muppet show script and was only just comparable with the risible SMH fine dining interview. Perhaps it's not GT who is in dire need of the gaffa tape treatment.

"[journos] just reprint whatever crap gets pushed out by CASA, Truss and the airlines."
True dat...

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Old 16th Jan 2015, 22:14
  #2628 (permalink)  
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Episode 316: Beaker's spin recycle machine.

Was the story provided designed to 'smoke out' Dolan? well, the slippery Cready went for it. A rehash of a two day old yarn, salted with a Muppet show script and was only just comparable with the risible SMH fine dining interview. Perhaps it's not GT who is in dire need of the gaffa tape treatment.
Key for the Tim Tam cupboard for Ben; well done that man

Okay take the Ben piece...
Searchers for lost Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have always been concerned that wreckage might have come to rest in complex canyons or slopes or ‘holes’ in the south Indian Ocean sea floor search zones where it might escape detection by towed deep water sonar scanning devices.

Those concerns, and the blanks left unprobed during the current systematic sweeps of the sea bed, are to be addressed by a large autonomous underwater vehicle or AUV deployed from an additional search vessel, the Fugro Supporter, from later this month.

Fugro Supporter will join the other contracted ships, the Fugro Equator and Fugro Discovery and the GO Phoenix, which have been involved in the search effort to date.

It means that by May, when the primary ocean search should have been completed, any doubts that a piece of wreckage has been missed ought to have been removed.

It would make a decision to abandon the Australian managed search possibly easier to justify to the aggrieved relatives of the victims of the MH370 disappearance, although no one at an official level has done anything more than hint that May might be when the curtain is drawn over this baffling mystery.

The search areas, as shown in the map below, lie along the so called seventh arc of possible locations from which an Inmarsat satellite parked in equatorial geosynchronous orbit over the Indian Ocean near the east coast of Africa heard the last pings coming from a computer server on board the 777, which was carrying 239 people on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it suddenly disappeared over the Gulf of Thailand on 8 March last year.

It is possible that MH370 struck the ocean with such force that it was torn into small fragments that may in turn be buried under silt or hidden in crevices on the sea floor, which in places is as deep as about 6000 metres, and in others, as relatively shallow as 600 metres.

However the two engines and some of the heavier sections of the jet, such as the wheel structures and any metallic cargo containers or other underfloor objects are expected to have sunk comparatively intact making them easier to detect. The frames of seat racks may have settled in sufficient concentrations to create an anomalous return on the various scanners being used to examine the selected strips of sea floor.

The Kongsberg HUGIN 4500 AUV about to go down on the black holes will be the second such device deployed in the search for MH370. Last year the US Navy loaned a sophisticated but smaller AUV, a Bluefin-21, for use in the early unsystematic period of the sea floor search, in which it investigated areas where pings from MH370′s two black boxes had mistakenly been thought to have been heard.
The JACC describes its role as follows:
The AUV will be used to scan those portions of the search area that cannot be searched effectively by the equipment on the other search vessels. It is not connected to the ship by cable, but is rather deployed with a pre-programmed area of the sea floor to investigate. After each underwater mission, the AUV will ascend automatically and return to the Fugro Supporter in order for the gathered data to be downloaded and the AUV’s batteries to be changed out with a spare charged set.
This larger device, made by Norwegian firm Kongsberg Marine, is not only more capable in its instrumentation and performance specifications, but has the advantage of targeting areas identified by a detailed bathymetic survey of what is otherwise unknown or little mapped parts of the ocean floor.

These surveys have allowed the towed sonar scanning devices currently doing the systematic search to avoid hazardous obstacles like unmapped sea mounts that might otherwise destroy them. This work is critical to the success of the Kongsberg device in being able to enter and search the most difficult to see parts of the ocean floor terrain.

Whether use of this device finds MH370, or helps consign it to the forgetfulness of the future, is yet to be determined.
...then take a look at Steve's Beaker quotes:
“There was always a provision in the contract that we had with Fugro that we could acquire additional capability,’’ Mr Dolan said. “The towed capability gives us pretty good coverage of the area we’re looking at, but because the terrain is complex and uneven there’s a bit of shadowing and areas where we don’t have a 100 per cent guarantee that we’ve covered adequately, and that’s what the AUV is designed for.’’
“There’s still quite a way to go with the highest priority areas,’’ Mr Dolan said. “We’re looking at completion in probably April-May.’’ Mr Dolan said that if nothing was found by this date, the ATSB would have to talk to the government about the next steps.
“We’ve got the resources to search the priority areas … and we expect to complete that within the resources we’ve been given by April-May,’’ he said. “We’ll keep government informed. We’re still confident that we’ll find it within that priority search area, it’s just that we can’t give a guarantee so governments may have to run their mind to what next. But at this stage we’re focused on the area we’re looking at.’’
Beaker was obviously not satisfied with this primarily domestic coverage has then squeaked to the AFP (no not that AFP unfortunately..) and that is where the spin recycle machine has now gone into overdrive:

Ten months on, Australia confident of finding MH370

10 months on, Australia confident of finding MH370

This one is slightly different...: MH370: Missing Plane Will 'Very Likely' Be Found In Good Condition, Says Search Chief
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which has been missing since March 8, is "very likely" in the current search area in the Indian Ocean, according to Martin Dolan, the chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Dolan, who heads the search operation being conducted from Australia, also told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the plane could probably be in good condition despite being underwater for more than 10 months.

“Our satellite calculations gave us an area we determined was high priority,” Dolan reportedly said. “In this 60,000 square kilometers (about 23,166 square miles), it's very likely we will find the aircraft, but we don't know exactly where. We just have to cover that area thoroughly.”

Dolan said that authorities believed that the aircraft is about 13,000 feet below the ocean's surface, adding: "It's just that it's a very large area, so it's going to take a long time," AFP reported.

The search for the missing jet resumed in early October and is expected to be completed by May 2015, depending on factors like weather conditions and the operability of search vessels. Three vessels -- Fugro Equator, Fugro Discovery and GO Phoenix -- are currently involved in the search for the missing plane in the southern Indian Ocean where the Boeing 777 is believed to have crashed, while a fourth vessel is expected to join the operation in late January.

The current vessels use sophisticated sonar systems attached to tow cables, while the new Fugro Supporter will have an autonomous underwater vehicle, Dolan reportedly said.

"(It) can be programmed and cover areas much more thoroughly. It's of course a lot slower," Dolan said. "We need to go slow so that we can be 100 percent sure that we have covered that area totally."

Authorities are also reportedly ready with a recovery plan if the aircraft, which went missing on March 8 with 239 people on board, is found.

Investigators believe that the final resting place of the aircraft could be along the seventh arc, which has been described as “a thin but long line that includes all the possible points where the last known communication between the aircraft and the communication satellite could have taken place.”
What next Beaker the New York Times...

However the passing strange bit is that the relevant MH370 SAR authority the JACC still continues to neither confirm nor deny any of the Beaker offerings: MH370 Operational Search Update—14 January 2015

Indeed Beaker's very own agency the ATSB merely defers to the JACC update...

"...#MH370 Operational Update: 14 January 2015, includes details of new search vessel Fugro Supporter."

But IMO the biggest clanger is that since the Fugro contract presser - much like with the announcement of McCormick resigning - the Miniscule's office has not once acknowledged the existence of Beaker or the ATSB in relation to MH370. Example from earlier in the week:
Fugro Supporter to join search for MH370

Media Release
12 January 2015

An additional vessel has been commissioned to carry out underwater search activities for missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft MH370.

Fugro Supporter is currently on its way to the search area after conducting trials in Bali.

It is expected to arrive in the search area and commence search activities in late January.

The addition of Fugro Supporter, jointly funded by the governments of Australia and Malaysia, brings the number of vessels engaged in the underwater search for the aircraft to four.

The bathymetric survey of the sea floor has revealed previously unknown features including rugged terrain and deep trenches.

Fugro Supporter has been equipped with a Kongsberg HUGIN 4500 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV). The AUV will be used to scan those portions of the search area that cannot be searched effectively by the equipment on other vessels.

The Australian Government remains committed to the search for MH370.
The other thing that has been missing - in regards to any commentary, press releases, speeches by the Miniscule where the ATSB has been part of the subject - is the total lack of any of the usual motherhood know the ATSB.."world leaders in aviation safety investigation" or "what an exemplary job their doing blah..blah..blah".

Probably the best example of this was in the Miniscule's speech to the Parliament 3 December 2014:
ATSB Governance

The government fully supports the vital role of the ATSB. Independent investigation of accidents or incidents remains a crucial element of the safety system, helping us understand the causes and hence the sources of risks to safety. This helps to avoid future accidents. If the system is to work well, industry must cooperate in providing information during accident and incident investigations and in reporting incidents generally. The government will take a number of actions to give effect to this commitment including:
  • the appointment of an additional ATSB commissioner with aviation experience; and issuing a new Statement of Expectations to the ATSB once the commission and the government has had an opportunity to
  • review the findings of the Canadian Transportation Safety Board review of the ATSB, which was publicly released in Canada yesterday.
Yesterday the Canadian Transportation Safety Board released its independent report into the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. The ATSB tasked the Canadian TSB to undertake an independent review of their investigation methodologies and processes; how they are applied in specific cases and how this compared to international best practice standards. The TSB review looked in detail at three separate investigations, one of which was the Pel-Air inquiry—which, as members may recall, was the subject of a report by the Senate's Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee.

While the Canadian TSB found that ATSB investigation methodology and analysis tools represent best practice and have been shown to produce very good results, they found in the case of the Pel-Air investigation there were errors made. I am concerned that the TSB report raises some concerns about the application of ATSB methodologies in the investigation of the ditching of the Pel-Air aircraft off Norfolk Island in 2009. As a consequence I have asked the ATSB Commission to give serious consideration to re-opening the investigation.

On a related point, I have just announced that I will shortly be appointing a new commissioner for the ATSB with a specific background in aviation. This will fulfil an undertaking made by the coalition prior to the election and also one of the recommendations of the report. I have asked that a fresh review of the Pel-Air accident take into account the findings of the ATSB report.
Why do I get the distinct impression that Beaker is on his own lone muppet mission...

I'll be back...
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Old 17th Jan 2015, 19:19
  #2629 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Styx Houseboat Park.
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The Dolan prophesy.

And what will the Senators will make of it. If you can put aside that the person being quoted by Cready in 'the Australian' is Dolan, the co author of the infamous Pel-Air aberration; the three items quoted there are reasonable. The statements are focused on new equipment, completion dates and an update on the rate of search; all fair enough comment from the head of a national TSB. The only possible query could be why should the commissioner be speaking out, independently of the JACC?, even if the quoted remarks do mirror the 'official' version.

Occasionally I'll visit 'news' websites which carry banner headline stories, such as MH 370 and after the Dolan remarks in 'the Australian' I was curious to see what the 'world' and it's wife made of them, so I had a little look around in cyber space. What I found beggared belief; there is a mini media frenzy surrounding the further 'additional' prophetic Dolan comments. These comments have been widely reported, spread around the world in a very short time and given the degree of public, governmental and industry interest in the MH 370 event will have been intensively read and studied for 'inference'.

Unless the commissioner has 'secret' information or a bloody good crystal ball, I fail to see how statements like "very likely to be found", "probably be in good condition"; and, in one published piece a statement to the effect that the aircraft is likely to be pretty much in one piece, resting quietly at 4000 meters.

"Relatives of those on board have endured a long wait for answers on what happened to their loved ones, with their torment reawakened by AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crashing into the sea off Indonesia on December 28."
I wonder what those poor souls waiting for any scrap of good news about their loved ones will make of the extraordinary Dolan statements. I wonder how many have placed faith, belief and made prayers based on those statements. I also wonder what the effect will be should the aircraft not be found, as advertised.

A statement from JACC that there is new equipment and an ongoing effort provides solid reassurance and 'real', tangible hope. It is, IMO cynical and irresponsible to provide elevated hopes and increased expectations which could yet be cruelly dashed by the fates or at the whim of the gods. There will be a lot of disappointed, angry people if the 'Dolan prophesy' turns out to be false yet has raised spurious hopes for those who wait for news.

Our good Senators who nursed the Pel-Air debacle through to a landmark report must be scratching their collective heads in wonder. I'd love to see a quote from Houston or Fawcett or Xenophon, but they are all too downy a bird to go anywhere near this mess.

Nostradamus may have gotten away with this type of nonsense; but in this day and age, given the mystery, drama and global interest in MH 370, I wonder if silence would have proven golden. As Abe Lincoln said;

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Can't quote Lincoln without trotting out my favourite;

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

Last edited by Kharon; 17th Jan 2015 at 19:43. Reason: Sarcs : on averaged data, 779,000 +/- (ish)...
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Old 18th Jan 2015, 00:42
  #2630 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Episode 317: The lone muppet mission.

Much like the Beaker quotes currently doing laps of the world at warp speed; there is another MH370 story/theory/research paper doing laps & gathering much comment in the cyber-universe. It is a research paper by a Canuck mathematician Brock McEwan titled - MH370
Time to Investigate the Investigators .

The executive summary starts like this:
On March 18, 2014 - ten days into the investigation of flight MH370 - Col. Stephen Ganyard (USMC Ret.) summarized its turning point for George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s GMA:


“The good news, here, is that we have the Australians with the NTSB now in charge of this investigation.
We've seen a lot of inconsistency out of the Malaysian authorities all week; their statements haven't matched up. But now we have the real pros on the scene, and really, we are now at day one in this investigation, because we have people who know how to do this.”

This paper tests the last of Col. Ganyard’s assertions: it critically examines the subsequent work of these “real pros” (referred to in this paper as “officials” or “investigators”, and meant to describe the members of the Joint Investigation Team Ganyard describes as having taken the reins from Malaysian authorities in mid-March), finds clear evidence of deception, and recommends the investigators be held to account.

Now the interesting thing is that McEwan at one stage was one of Beaker's main inquisitors on his most popular personal blog piece so far - Cautious optimism in search for MH370.

Unfortunately for Beaker it appears that he was forced to shut the commentary down on that piece somewhat prematurely... ???:

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the conversation. My apologies for the delay in addressing some of your questions. Many of the questions were highly technical so I took the time to consult with our specialists before responding.

The comments and questions have helped us to clarify some of the technical aspects of our report into defining the underwater search areas. You can now find the updated report on the MH370 page of our website.

August 20, 2014 09:17
View all comments by Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner
All passing strange and convoluted...

Perhaps Ben can shine some light on all this in his latest...:

MH370: Is it time to investigate the investigators?

Ben Sandilands | Jan 18, 2015 11:26AM | EMAIL | PRINT

A Canadian mathematician, Brock McEwen, says it’s high time to investigate the MH370 investigators themselves because there are reasons to believe the search is being set up to fail for reasons unknown.
It’s a compelling analysis at a number of levels, but manages to self destruct at a critical point by buying into an unscientific conspiracy theory that the sea floor search has been materially diverted into one seeking ocean floor mineral riches.

Trying to put that really silly part of the paper aside, the balance of McEwen’s thesis raises some very serious matters, including some that have long been flagged here on Plane Talking not on a mathematical basis, but on common sense grounds including unexplained inconsistencies in the narratives of the Australian and Malaysian authorities.

For those who have been following the MH370 saga closely McEwen isn’t part of the Independent Group that includes Duncan Steel (who is well known and respected in this country) but acknowledges their support and advice and cites much of their work in coming to his conclusions.

For those who haven’t followed developments closely, there are some key events so far that have been brushed off or frozen out of frame by the Australian led and managed search that McEwen raises, as well as one that he inexplicably ignores.

Australia assumed the management of the search for MH370 on 18 March 2014, ten days after it disappeared as a transponder identified airliner on ATC screens while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people listed as having been on board.

Between 20-26 March last year a range of satellite images of objects floating on the surface of the southern Indian Ocean west to southwest of Perth were published. McEwen ignores the possible significance of these images, which may well have included objects from MH370 as well as the more abundant presence of flotsam off commercial shipping.

However McEwen doesn’t ignore that rather abrupt shifting of the then largely aerial search priority far to the north west, pointing out that this move and a subsequent further shift meant looking in places that MH370 could never have crashed if the communications data, available fuel and likely flight performance data and main southwards turning point assumptions were being taken seriously.

In short, McEwen is leading us to ask if the that the search priorities were swiftly moved away from any risk that floating debris would actually be found.

It’s a very good question. It has become abundantly clear that Australia was dealing with a dishonest and incompetent Malaysian government when it came to disclosures about MH370 not to mention alleged dishonest dealings that we are forbidden to mention in another matter widely publicized throughout SE Asia because the Abbott government is muzzling the Australian media over a serious additional matter that makes its Je suis Charlie posturing about freedom of the press look shallow and shabby.

These doubts about the integrity of the ‘story’ coming from the Malaysian and Australian authorities have been championed in no uncertain manner by the president and CEO of Emirates, Tim Clark, as also widely reported in Plane Talking and foreign media, rather than the cowed Australian general media.

McEwen also catches the feeble excuses that the chief commissioner of the ATSB Martin Dolan made for the decision to rush away from what looked like the best leads we have had so far when it came to the fate of MH370.
However like the Independent Group, McEwen seems to misunderstand Dolan and the ATSB in their constant criticism of him for not answering their questions in full or in satisfactory detail.

Dolan wouldn’t (on the basis of his various embarrassing press conferences) even understand their questions. He is a discredited civil servant whose integrity was called into doubt in no uncertain manner by the all party Australian Senate inquiry into the ATSB’s disgraceful crash investigation of the Pel-Air ditching near Norfolk Island in 2009.

The last time the Prime Minister of Australia or his deputy, and the transport minister, Warren Truss, were even referring to Mr Dolan by name was back when a television reporter asked the chief commissioner to explain the difference between a great circle route and a straight line, resulting in one of the most cringe worthy and embarrassing performances even given by an aviation administrator on live national television.

The ATSB has itself been found seriously wanting by a peer review of their procedures in producing that report by the Transport Safety Board of Canada, and the responsible Minister, when he can bring himself to focus on this humiliation, continues to amaze the aviation sector by his inability to resolve the compromised position the ATSB, and the regulator CASA, have been put in by the Pel-Air matters.

If the Independent Group was street smart, as well as scientifically incredibly smart, it would be pursuing the parties advising the ATSB on the management of the search, that is, grilling the chefs, not the waiters.
McEwen asks some very pertinent questions about the early April ‘we have pings’ embarrassment for Australia, and in particular, its supposedly expert Naval underwater acoustics laboratory, which lead to the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, humiliating the country by very publicly declaring to the people and government of China in particular, that Australia was on the verge of locating MH370, in a place where with dispassionate analysis of the then known facts, it couldn’t have possibly been anyhow.

It also led to this reporter publishing the most cringe worthy post ever on Plane Talking saying that the voices of the missing on MH370 were being heard from the deep.

While the writer can’t talk for the PM, we share the mortification.

McEwen’s analysis develops the need to examine the investigators, the real ones reporting directly to Kuala Lumpur, in a persuasive manner, yet there is a second very disappointing blemish in relation to the claimed call to a co-pilot’s cell phone after the 777 diverted from its filed flight path.

McEwen even relies on a CNN report in relation to this, which is more than appalling given that CNN couldn’t even find Canberra on a map of Australia and briefly managed to locate Perth in Tasmania.

The phone calls that were referred to in a media conference in Australia were to a company satphone, not a cell phone, so his analysis as to how a cell phone call couldn’t have been connected via a ground tower to a 777 flying above a certain altitude is beside the point. McEwen seems to have put undue reliance on unconfirmed media ‘myths’ about MH370, which is unnecessary given the self-incriminating flaws in the information directly released by the authorities themselves.

With blemishes like these, this report destroys much of its credibility. If it was redone dealing only with the mathematical problems, and the credibility or otherwise of the satellite images, and the unanswered satphone issues, it might be a much more convincing document.

It might even lead to pressure to search more realistic locations on or near the seventh arc than might presently be the case.
I'll say it again someone needs to muzzle the muppet...

I'll be back...

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Old 18th Jan 2015, 19:09
  #2631 (permalink)  
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Location: Styx Houseboat Park.
Posts: 2,053
What is that awful smell?

There is a definite odour of cynicism toward Australian involvement in the MH 370 affair creeping into the international press, previously only visible on Bloggs. The bloggers caught on early and responded cynically to the Dolan involvement. I wonder what they will make of it once Pel-Air becomes the international yardstick against which any ATSB involvement, no matter how far removed, will be measured in the future.

The steaming pile Muscles McComic and Doolally Doolan have left behind for the rest to clean up will take a while to shift. Even when it's moved away the stench will linger despite the best deodorising efforts of the Word Weasels, spin doctors and the like. No matter, ATSB will investigate the ATSB, a clean sheet will be provided and all will be well once more. It's a first class move as CASA gets to slither off the hook and out the back door – once again.

Then children, you shall see a lengthy queue forming around the block of all the regulators in the known world patiently waiting to buy their signed, Senate supported copy of Part 61 and the Beyond All Reason method of air crash investigations.

Absolutely stellar Australia; just ducking wonderful.
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Old 19th Jan 2015, 06:47
  #2632 (permalink)  
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Posts: 1,733
Thumbs up Feeling the PAIN!

Absolutely stellar Australia; just ducking wonderful.
Exactly Ferryman what an embarrassing smear on the good people at the coalface that were initially involved with the surface search; & now with the underwater deep sea search; not to mention the huge waste of taxpayer funded resources if it all ends up for nought, especially if it comes out that we have either been misled or are in collusion with the Malaysians...

If that were to transpire then indeed the parallels with the PelAir cover-up would be complete...

While on the subject of the PelAir debacle I noticed the following has been posted courtesy of Australian Flying online - ATSB to feel PAIN over Pel-Air Investigation
A confidential group known as the Professional Aviators Investigative Network (PAIN) has raised concerns over the ATSB review of the Pel-Air ditching report.

Late last year, the ATSB agreed to review the report into the 2009 ditching of a Pel-Air aeromedical flight at Norfolk Island, after a Canadian review highlighted anomalies with the investigation report.

In a submission to the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport (RRAT) written in December, the group has criticised the ATSB's decision to use one of their own people to lead the review.

"... the ATSB [has] elected to utilise Dr Michael Walker of the ATSB to lead the investigation," the PAIN submission points out. "We believe that to be effective, any investigation should be conducted independently and not involve ATSB, the commissioners or staff if only to preclude any suspicion of 'internal' influence or external bias being raised."

PAIN is also concerned that the terms of reference announced by General Manager Aviation Safety Investigations IanSangston do not go far enough.

"The terms of reference cited by Mr Sangston are narrow and only mention the 'report' itself. Whilst the industry acknowledges that the report was substandard, there is little doubt that the investigators conducted their work with integrity and within the prescribed guidelines. Indeed, the early stages of the ATSB report were exemplary and clearly directed toward serious safety recommendations being made.

"We believe little will be gained by utilising scarce resources re-investigating the original ATSB investigative 'reports'."

Instead, PAIN points the finger of blame for the original Pel-Air investigation report squarely at the both CASA and the ATSB and hints at deeper issues.

"Our greatest concern is that a deliberate, calculated manipulation of the national aviation safety system was attempted. It is not a 'one off' aberration. We firmly believe that the subsequent actions of both the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the ATSB were proven, by the AAI [RRAT inquiry] committee, to grossly pervert the conclusions of the ATSB investigation to suit a clearly predetermined outcome, thus denying industry valuable, safety related knowledge and information.

"It is the process by which these subsequent events occurred which demands an independent investigation conducted transparently in public. We believe the Senate Committee is the right reporting and oversight platform for that investigation. The committee Senators are well briefed, informed and have a firm, current understanding of what transpired during the events subsequent to the Pel-Air aircraft ditching off Norfolk Island.

"Further, the Estimates committee is very clearly 'awake' to the machinations of the various aviation oversight bodies and will not easily be misled or confounded by 'technical' issues.

"We submit that any other form of investigation will not withstand the scrutiny of industry experts; as the initial premise is fatally flawed
Well done PAIN... Hmm...perhaps more IOS members should follow the PAIN initiative??

I'll be back...

Ps Mods any word on when the PPRuNe counter might happen to be fixed...

Last edited by Sarcs; 19th Jan 2015 at 07:45.
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