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Senate Inquiry, Hearing Program 4th Nov 2011

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Senate Inquiry, Hearing Program 4th Nov 2011

Old 19th Apr 2013, 15:56
  #1521 (permalink)  
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Well it is easy really, we go to the lower house (the main house) and demand that the Minister makes the inquiry findings and recommendations a priority and addresses industry concerns ASAP as a primary Ministry concern.
Sarcs you and I both know that with an election coming up all Senate inquiries will be null and void. This Minister has rejected a request from the industry to put a junior minister in place to help him with the aviation part of his portfolio. The writs for the election get issued in August. That only gives three months for a government on the way out to do anything even if it wanted to. Any recommendations will be a part of the National archives once they are released.
This is an interesting situation. What's happens if nothing happens?
Will icao end up downgrading Australia. Does the Australian government want to risk that?

The senate can't unlearn the revelations and weaknesses brought out in this inquiry. They are all on Hansard and soon the report. If there is subsequently an incident that may have been prevented if the issues brought out from this senate inquiry had been acted on it wouldn't be a great position to be in.

Now over 325,000 views, I suspect this is already being viewed outside Australia as the numbers rise overnight.

I think this quote must be the announcement to CASA staff. Taken from this thread.

From CEO Bruce Byron
John McCormick will take over as the new chief executive officer of CASA from 1 March 2009. Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese, announced the appointment of Mr McCormick today. Mr Albanese said:
"The Rudd Labor Government places the highest importance on aviation safety and is very pleased to have someone of Mr McCormick’s calibre and experience taking the reins of CASA. Mr McCormick will take up his responsibilities at an exciting time for the nation’s civil aviation industry. The Government has provided a framework for the industry’s future development with the release last week of our Aviation Green Paper, the next stage in the development of the nation’s first ever long term Aviation Strategy or White Paper.
Safety is at the forefront of the Green Paper and as the independent safety regulator, CASA has a crucial role to play in maintaining Australia’s proud safety record. To improve its governance arrangements as well as provide stronger support to the CEO and the Minister, I recently announced the Government intends to put in place a small, independent Board for CASA.

An early priority for Mr McCormick will therefore be to prepare for the establishment of this Board in July 2009. The Government acknowledges and thanks Mr Bruce Byron for his outstanding contribution as CASA CEO over the past five years as well as his personal commitment to the highest of safety standards and necessary internal reforms. He leaves CASA well placed to meet future challenges."

John has worked for Cathay Pacific since 1987, having been with Qantas as a second officer on the B747-200 from 1984 to 1987. Prior to that he held various positions within the RAAF, serving a number of overseas tours. At Cathay Mr McCormick started as a first officer on the B747-200 and rose to become chief pilot and manager training for the airline's Boeing fleet, before taking over as general manager Operations in Hong Kong. This role included responsibility for the airline's air operators certificates and all applicable regulatory matters. For the last two years he has been a Brisbane-based line pilot and is a senior training captain on the A330/340s.
Mr McCormick brings a wealth of up-to-date and international industry experience to CASA which will further strengthen our senior management team. I have no doubt his fresh perspective and ideas will drive continued improvements to CASA, building on the success of our change program which has been strongly endorsed by the Government. I can report that the field of candidates for the CEOs position was strong and in itself this speaks volumes for the respect CASA now has in the Australian and international aviation communities.
I know you will all look forward to meeting John McCormick and will give him your full support and loyalty. In the meantime, I look forward to the next few months as I complete my term as CEO and get our organisation ready for a smooth transition to a new leader who will bring a commitment to building on our current successes and striving for continued improvement.
The process will be starting again soon. More transformational change and completion of regulatory reform.

Last edited by halfmanhalfbiscuit; 19th Apr 2013 at 18:24.
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Old 19th Apr 2013, 18:11
  #1522 (permalink)  
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Lookleft, the context of what you highlighted is not a suggestion of death penalty for CAsA or ATABeaker personnel.
I was saying that I wish to see justice for victims of airline accidents. Accidents of which some blame can, or even has been attributed to the Regulator, and in which no accountability has ever been accepted by that Regulator.

Now had the Gobbledock been around and not camping outside the UN headquarters it would be a different story, his posts most certainly would have contained suggestions of death by firing squads, voodoo practise, turbine ingestion.....all I do is maintain the Houseboats motor. I don't kill anyone, I just ensure they cross the river safely, so to speak.
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 01:46
  #1523 (permalink)  
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MOIE- Thankyou, I apologise if I attributed a meaning to your post that was not the intent.

The Senate is one part of the process it is not the one stop shop people are hoping for. Look at the Senate report from 2000 (or thereabouts) called "Burning the Midnight Oil" which looked at fatigue in the transport industry. What has changed?

What needs to happen now is the various industry bodies and other aviation groups need to lobby and keep lobbying for reform through the lower house and through both political parties.

This is a process that takes a long time. It has to be coordinated and sustained. The problem is the industry bodies are too busy looking after their own vested interests. In the past 20 years the only unifying events have been aircraft accidents.

Now over 325,000 views, I suspect this is already being viewed outside Australia as the numbers rise overnight.
I doubt it, I think its a bit like the adage that 5000 hours of instructing is just 1 hour repeated 5000 times. If there were many different posters with names that weren't familiar,(mine included) then I would agree.
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 02:51
  #1524 (permalink)  
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The party heavies are concentrating on the usual dumb/dumber swap-over that will occur later in the year. Aviation policy and reform isn’t on either side’s strategic radar, other than, of course, the development of some very impressive motherhood statements.

The least unlikely (though still unlikely) transformational event, absent some accidents involving capital-city based RPT operator fatalities, is an ICAO downgrade. There would be some rushed band-aid actions, but actions nonetheless, producing actual outcomes. (I’m guessing the next time around ICAO would require substantive outcomes rather than more promises that may prove to be hollow.)

Still unlikely.
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 03:34
  #1525 (permalink)  
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If there were many different posters with names that weren't familiar,(mine included) then I would agree.
The 325,000 hits are no reflection on the posts. You can view and be counted without logging on. Are you certain ICAO are not looking?
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 06:45
  #1526 (permalink)  
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The 325,000 hits are no reflection on the posts. You can view and be counted
without logging on. Are you certain ICAO are not looking?
I can't reflect certainty but I can express MHO. If the number of hits is an indication of the overseas interest in the Oz aviation scene then they must be really keen on the Virgin Cadetship thread which has 121,434 hits for only 344 posts or the Friday Jokes thread on Jet Blast which has 679,636 hits for 3095 posts. Its a meaningless statistic. If I hear on the news the ICAO Chief quoting PPRuNe as a reason for downgrading Oz aviations safety status then I will accept that the numbers of views have a greater meaning.
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 09:12
  #1527 (permalink)  
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Whom is the ICAO "chief" that you refer?

Do pray tell.
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 10:55
  #1528 (permalink)  
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Sorry Frank didn't realise that you meant the entire body of ICAO glued to their computer screens checking out ANZ&P to read the next instalment of Gobbledock and friends.


ROBERTO KOBEH GONZÁLEZ is the current President, anyones guess as to what his PPRuNe non de plume is.

Last edited by Lookleft; 20th Apr 2013 at 11:18.
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 11:34
  #1529 (permalink)  
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I'm not sure anybody said icao are directly reading PPRuNe. But I do believe there is interest outside Australia from aviation academics involved in HF and investigations and perhaps more general interest? It is speculation. As Oz goes to bed this evening the views are 326,995. Lets see where they are in 8 hrs time.

Now it still could be the usual 'ills of society' with multiple logins and repetitive strain of fingers and thumbs up to mischief overnite.

Remember this thread is linked to a senate inquiry and the outcome is of interest to various naa's, airline and I'm sure icao. The report is out by 30 April.
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 23:50
  #1530 (permalink)  
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CP# 1530 – Oh, I agree – What if the Senate Inquiry was seen as an independent audit, completed before the heavy mob bowl in for the real deal. You could have a great point to start an "in-house" clean up. By taking the Senate recommendations as positive and constructive, there is every chance to improve the CASA performance and image by demonstrating that the regulator is sincere in response. The Senate inquiry is a great chance for both the industry and it's regulator to have a honest look at the 'relationship'. The question is – will they??.

A bit of honest house keeping, some administrative and policy changes could demonstrate that 'things' are on the mend. Start with a review of those cases known to be "rotten"; independently, openly and taking the loss or win as it comes. Change the toxic CASA culture from the top down. We do have some excellent home grown product.

Safety cannot be prosecuted into industry, the use of administrative barratry (good one Sunny), fear, retribution and the very transparent, blatant misuse of the spirit and intent of regulation clearly provides no improved safety outcome – none whatsoever. Just sows the seeds of revolution or promotes an endless, clandestine battle between the warring parties. The police have this problem and it is insoluble due to the nature of the beast; CASA don't, never did. The majority of industry participants simply want to be compliant, safe, efficient and earn an honest crust doing what they enjoy. Australian aviation was never intended to be conducted in a police state – so why create one?

HMHB it's the weekend OS so the stats may not be relied on. But you can rest assured that there are folks overseas who know the stories, all of them; and, once they have stopped rolling about the floor laughing, the next audit will not be influenced by bluff, puff, smoke, mirrors or a worm farm. It will be a "Cash and No bullshit" sort of deal, rely on that.

PS.>< By the by: Gobbledock is now based at the UN, on secondment from the houseboat, once he gets settled in, we expect regular emails from there. Tonight he is dining with Roberto Gonzales who is an old mate (first names basis) etc. so, once I decrypt the email, I'll let you know what's what with the big end of town. I only hope he don't turn into one of those puffed up, smug, self opinionated experts on everything from helicopters to heavy jets and back again, via trivia. Nah, Minnie would seriously spiflicate him.

Pete rules. OK.

Last edited by Kharon; 21st Apr 2013 at 00:17. Reason: Problems spelling Aspidistra.
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 01:20
  #1531 (permalink)  
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I don't think the problem is going to be fixed by the good Senators.What I would do at CASA is very very simple and guaranteed 100% to satisfy the Senators who in any case will have to start thinking about elections very shortly. And that thing is............

Yes folks, it always works, well almost always...

We trained hard . . . but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.

Petronius Arbiter, 210 B.C.
As I have said before, the only folk who can fix this situation, if it is as serious as alleged, are the professional public servants in Deprtment of Prime Minister and Cabinet. That Department contains very bright and highly inteligent folk who can see through smoke and mirrors very fast and will not be put off by anyone, least of all another public servant. However, they usually have more important things to do then fix Aviation.

Last edited by Sunfish; 21st Apr 2013 at 01:21.
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 04:37
  #1532 (permalink)  
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I only hope he don't turn into one of those puffed up, smug, self opinionated experts on everything from helicopters to heavy jets and back again, via trivia. Nah, Minnie would seriously spiflicate him.
Got to agree with you there "K". The last thing this site needs are more self opinionated experts talking in riddles!
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 06:28
  #1533 (permalink)  
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Hmmmmm. I just hope Gonzales treats Gobbles nicely. I remember the last time Flyingfiend dissed the cranky Gobbles, and lets just say that they weren't chunks of chicken in Flyingfiends chicken and potato pie.
I still don't know how Gobbles managed to get inside the robust UN, but I have heard he has been very very busy championing safety, liberty, freedom and Human Factors! Perhaps he has an ICAO sponsor, maybe the Hoodoo Voodoo, KRudd or even Kofi himself?
The last I heard he was spotted in a compromising position with Christine LaHard from the IMF, they were spotted nude in a bank vault covered in baby oil and $100 bills while smoking a spliff, so things could get interesting.

P.S Gobbles also now styles his hair, dark and spikey like Sen Xenophon plus he has an outrageous array of pot plants, so it seems he has taken a little but of Australia with him to the UN Headquarters.
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 09:47
  #1534 (permalink)  
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“We have never been non-compliant with ICAO!”

If that is the report to which Mr McCormick was referring when he said the major issue was that CASA did not have sufficient training in place for the inspectorate, I wonder whether he’s actually read all 98 pages.
If we refer to one or two media releases in relation to the FAA audit we will see that the DAS, if nothing else, is consistent and remains on message.

First (my bold):
CASA Media Release - Friday 27 November 2009
Australia’s air safety systems to be reviewed
The United States Federal Aviation Administration has accepted an invitation to conduct a review of Australia’s air safety systems.

Staff from the Federal Aviation Administration will visit Australia to conduct the review in the week starting 30 November 2009.

They will look at aspects of Australia’s aviation safety regulation and safety oversight framework.

The visit is part of the United States’ routine international audit program of all nations whose airlines fly into US airspace.

The review will look at Australia’s compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommended practices.

The Director of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, John McCormick, said the US audit is welcome.

“Australian aviation has a proud safety record with one of the most rigorous regulatory frameworks in the world,” Mr McCormick said.

“I am pleased the US Federal Aviation Administration has accepted CASA’s invitation to visit Australia during 2009.”
And second:
CASA Media Release - Friday 16 April 2010
Australia retains FAA Category One rating

An audit of Australia's air safety system by the United States Federal Aviation Administration has been completed.
The outcome of the audit is that Australia maintains its US category one rating.
The Federal Aviation Administration was invited by Australia last year to conduct the audit of aviation safety regulation and oversight.
Australia's overall system of aviation safety oversight was found to meet applicable international standards.
CASA's Director of Aviation Safety, John McCormick, said the result of the Federal Aviation Administration audit was a positive endorsement for Australian aviation safety.
"Australia can continue to be very proud of our aviation safety record and the effort we make to maintain that record," Mr McCormick said.
"The audit recognised there had been a past under investment in technical training for CASA staff and supported CASA's current initiatives to provide even more comprehensive technical training.
"A lot of work has been done over the last 12 months investing in technical training and this will continue."
So Creamy according to the DAS the jobs done! And those 98 pages of NCN’s are all addressed….
To continue on with the previous quoted Hansard from Feb 12 we see that the DAS gets quite defensive when the Senator mentions ‘non-compliance’ and ‘ICAO’ in the same sentence:
Senator FAWCETT: I am happy for you to take those on notice. Are you aware of any areas where CASA is non-compliant with ICAO obligations, either inadvertently and you are seeking to rectify it or with your knowledge that that is the position that you think it is more appropriate?

Mr J McCormick: We have never been non-compliant with ICAO. Again, the area where they would not consider us or we would like to have seen ourselves higher in the marking where the score is out of 10, was in the area of training in particular. Most of the other points—and again, we can give you more detail on notice if you wish to ask—are in areas such as primary legislation. We scored nine out of 10. In most areas we scored nine out of 10 or seven out of 10. The training is what brought us down, but that has been a focus since I have been in this position. As I said, we have an established training school in Brisbane. We have restacked the building into training areas. It has saved us money as well, because we do not have to hire outside venues, and we have put all our inspectors, now, through a very comprehensive training course.
No the ICAO/FAA audit QON 129 by Senator Fawcett is a potential showstopper, it will be interesting to see how FF spin or obfuscate the answer..to be sure..to be sure!

Last edited by Sarcs; 21st Apr 2013 at 09:51. Reason: The ICAO elephant just stepped into the room
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 14:05
  #1535 (permalink)  
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Sarcs, great post. There is a link to the wiki leaks regarding the possible downgrade. My feeling is if nothing happens as a result of this inquiry the FAA and icao could be forced to act.

Check the bullying thread which is currently very active.

Nearly 1/3 million views to date!
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 21:53
  #1536 (permalink)  
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Wikileaks: Australia nearly lost its air safety rating.

The Links should still work. This is a copied version of the original, from filed data. Not guaranteed 100% accurate.

P4 a.k.a. the Ferret.

August 31, 2011 – 6:43 am, by Ben Sandilands

A Wikileaks cable shows that by late 2009 air safety regulation in Australia was so deficient that the country risked being downgraded to third world status, and that this would have compelled the US authorities to terminate the Qantas code share with American Airlines and disallow new services between Australia and the US by V Australia.

The cable was posted on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network by user ‘Sunfish’ earlier this morning and was sent by the US Embassy in Canberra to various parties in the US Government and its aviation safety administration on December 7, 2009.

It was sent soon after an audit by a US Federal Aviation Administration team of CASA between November 30 and December 4, 2009, to determine if Australia met the standards required to remain a top tier state under the rules of the UN body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation or ICAO. CASA failed to satisfy that preliminary audit.

The FAA team had arrived in Canberra late in November 2009 to follow up on earlier adverse findings by ICAO inspectors, which had been reported in May 2009 in Plane Talking, here and here.

The cable details a scenario in which an Australian air safety administration downgrade could have been subsequently confirmed by the end of February last year and officially published by the FAA in mid March.

This was however averted by what Plane Talking understands to have been diplomatic pressure in Washington DC and a sharp rise in funding for CASA under its new director of air safety John McCormick stapled to an extensive set of commitments to remedial actions which CASA continues to work on meeting and sustaining.

CASA is in the midst of unprecedented regulatory reform and is clearly working to very tough deadlines to fix what is not widely acknowledged to have been decades of incompetence and neglect but which were bad enough for the FAA downgrade to be described in the cable as a worst case scenario that could have been confirmed publicly by the US regulator as early as March of last year.

Since this close call CASA has demonstrated its toughness by suspending Tiger Airways flights in July and early August of this year and is been reported here as having threatened other larger Australian carriers with the issuance of a show cause notice against their air operator certificates unless they promptly respond to and comply with any of its concerns as or when they arise.

Under US laws, American airlines are not allowed to put their booking codes over services flown by the airlines of countries with inadequate or ineffective administration of air transport safety standards. Nor are the airlines of such countries allowed to fly new services to the US, and those that were already being flown would come under enhanced surveillance and safety compliance checking by FAA inspectors.

The consequences for both Qantas and Virgin Blue subsidiary V Australia of such a downgrade of Australian air safety standards from Level 1 to Level 2 early in 2010 as indicated in the leaked cable would have been commercially disastrous.

The FAA audit that Australia initially failed to satisfy came after decades in which the Australian policy setting had been to trust the major carriers to do the right thing, and to devote disproportionate CASA resources to prosecuting breaches by general aviation and third tier regional operations.

However even there CASA had been a failure, as demonstrated by its determined unwillingness to impose safety compliance on the known yet tolerated dangerous operations of Transair before one of its flights crashed on approach to the Lockhart River strip in far northern Queensland in 2005, killing all 15 people on board.

That accident, a rising sense of unease over serious Qantas and Jetstar incidents, and the FAA process that followed up and confirmed the ICAO findings, had all set up CASA for serious change by the time the 2010 Federal Budget threw long overdue additional funding at the safety regulator.

In May 2009, after being leaked the ICAO findings that lead to the FAA actions, Plane Talking reported:

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit of safety oversight in Australia isn’t a pretty read.

There are a number of findings about the regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), the incident and accident investigator, and AirServices Australia, that reflect poorly on their performance, and therefore on their governmental and managerial oversight.

… for close on ten years prior to this (ICAO) audit the safety leadership and diligence of Australia in terms of air safety standards was a myth, and more the result of luck than rigor.

With luck, and hard work, the luck referred to will not run out before the CASA reforms are completed.
The FAA/ICAO audit and response was provided earlier in the thread, for those who missed it:- Audit report – is available from Zippy. As previously stated, be careful when quoting or relying on the data. It is strictly our 'for reference only' copy.

"Download Now" button only – usual precautions.

Last edited by PAIN_NET; 21st Apr 2013 at 23:02. Reason: PpruNe technology.
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Old 22nd Apr 2013, 01:58
  #1537 (permalink)  
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If the FAA take another look, it will be the"memorandums of Understanding" with the ATSB and Airservices that will cause our downgrade. In my opinion anyway.
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Old 22nd Apr 2013, 04:03
  #1538 (permalink)  
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Seriously Serious

Without Prejudice

Historically Senate Inquiries fizzle out and have zero change regarding CASA and the ATSB. The current inquiry will hopefully have recommendations that will enhance the safety, investigations and accountability of both parties.
Some facts from the ditching of VH-NGA, which I was on board.
Horrific experience
Aftermath has been torturous both physically and mentally
The back that hides the knife is throughout the whole saga

From FOIs that I obtained:
Pel-Air were audited by CASA in April 2007, FRMS and multiple other unsafe practices, such as record keeping were found. (Not given to ATSB to help with investigation)
Pel-Air were audited 12 months later in March 2008, FRMS still not in place and records of pilots training and numerous other dangerous practices found. (Not given to ATSB)
Pel-Air were working ad-hoc medivacs internationally with these unsafe practises in places. Nice, put your staff, medical crew and patients at risk.
Ditching occurs and Special Audit, which I FOI'd that contained over 101 pages of disgust regarding Pel-Air's practices.
Chambers report revealed at Senate Inquiry that was not handed to the ATSB for a more accurate account of their unsafe practise, nor were the previous audit.
Then...the Chief Pilot at the time of the ditching for Pel-Air is now, drumroll...an investigator for CASA. Who is stroking it for each other here?
So, in a nutshell:
Pel-Air have unsafe practise that CASA did not follow up on therefore a potential direct hit on CASA after the ditching, which they avoided, as usual.
If I can FOI documents that show incompetence's, then why couldn't the ATSB?
Put the pieces of the puzzle together and we have another "dodge the bullet" from both Government bodies.
Add insult and deny all of the above in a Senate Inquiry and more. Who are these dishonest, unsafe people employed by our own Government to keep "Safe Skies"...bolllocks.
They broke the law, TSA Section 24, as I am sure most are aware of.
How can the ATSB and CASA answer to the same Transport Minister? This creates extreme bias as the Minister, CASA's Director and the ATSB Chief Comm do not want to be accountable as they may lose their status, ego and of course the almighty dollar.
The two need to be completely separate to ensure nil bias and collusion when an investigation is in progress.
I met with Mr Truss and he is aware of the Senate and the FOIs. Lets see if Mr Truss, plus the Senate will do anything productive to increase air safety, considering our skies are becoming busier.
A life is a life. Whether it's a plane filled with 300 souls or a smaller aircraft with a few souls. Doesn't matter, safety should be a blanket of truth, learning and continued critiquing.
The men involved in this scandal should hang their heads low at what they have done to people such as myself, and many others.
Untouchable they think they are, not for long.
I believe that a call for resignation along with charges need to be delivered to both McCormick and Dolan for their disgraceful, deceitful, shameful behaviour.

Last edited by Ziggychick; 22nd Apr 2013 at 12:50. Reason: Legal
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Old 22nd Apr 2013, 06:19
  #1539 (permalink)  
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Ziggy, send your paperwork to the ICAO and the FAA and suggest that an international audit is warranted. The Minister doesn't give a.......
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Old 22nd Apr 2013, 08:43
  #1540 (permalink)  
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casa and the atsb - No one driving!

Just to remind us:

US FAA to conduct review of Austalia's air safety systems.


The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) announced today that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has accepted an invitation to conduct a review of Australia's air safety systems.

The FAA will visit Australia to conduct the review in the week starting 30 November 2009 and will look at all aspects of the country's aviation safety regulation and safety oversight framework.

This visit, which will address Australia's compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommended practices, comprises part of the US' routine international audit programme of all countries whose airlines fly into US airspace.
BUT this resulted in around 100 individual NCN's [Non-compliance Notices], which are still not fully cleared, with no proper feed-back to the industry.

In an Age article on August 31st 2011 by Dylan Welsh, in part said:

The US was so concerned about the state of Australia's air safety system in 2009 that it considered downgrading Australian airlines flying to the US.
The revelation, in a US State Department cable released this week by WikiLeaks, discussed a safety inspection by the US's Federal Aviation Authority, which audits countries whose carriers fly to the United States to ensure they meet appropriate safety standards.
A downgrade to Category 2 would be the worst-case scenario, which would entail measures such as freezing Australia-US flight operations to current levels and terminating code-sharing arrangements.
In the cable, written in December 2009, it is revealed the FAA told Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) that Australia could face a downgrade to "Category 2" due to a shortage of properly trained safety inspectors and too much delegation of CASA's regulatory function to carriers.
A Category 2 rating suggests that FAA believes the country's safety regime does not meet international standards. It is a category mainly used for countries in the developing world.
"A downgrade to Category 2 would be the worst-case scenario, which would entail measures such as freezing Australia-US flight operations to current levels and terminating code-sharing arrangements, such as the one between Qantas and American Airlines," the cable stated.
"CASA officials are not taking this possibility lightly and seem committed to resolve the shortcomings in order to avoid a downgrade."
The findings resulted from a five-day safety audit by FAA officers in late 2009, which found
"significant shortcomings" in CASA's maintenance of the Australian aviation regulatory system.
CASA has been criticised for delegating too much of its regulatory obligations to the flight carriers in the past, and the FAA audit may well have been the last straw.
In the 2010 budget, the government announced a large funding increase for CASA, which some commentators believe was following a rising sense of unease about recent safety incidents involving Qantas and Jetstar.
The FAA audit may also help explain why CASA was so severe when cracking down on Tiger earlier this year.
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