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Senate Inquiry, Hearing Program 4th Nov 2011

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Senate Inquiry, Hearing Program 4th Nov 2011

Old 23rd May 2013, 08:35
  #1821 (permalink)  
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Well, a good outcome, well done all those hard working souls who helped make it happen.
But as a great man once said:

"This is not the beginning of the end, rather its the end of the beginning"

Nothing will change for aviation until there is a complete restructure of the regulatory framework and a rewrite of the regulations, a monumental task.
Our regulator has morphed into a reactive "Aviation Policeman" as opposed to a proactive Safety Authority, it will take considerable political will as the level of corruption within the regulator must run very deep. As an illustration, back in the eighties, CAsA were charged by the government to reform our regulatory suite. They were given a clear list of instructions on what they were to achieve. A quarter of a century and a quarter of a billion dollars later has a single one of those objectives been achieved?
"Safety" has just become a word bandied about to impress politicians and the public, or to use to justify nefarious decisions or projects, real safety has no relevance to CAsA.
Real safety initiatives come from a proactive organization where "Foster and Promote" features highly in its ethos. I hope the results of this enquiry is the end of the beginning towards complete reform while we still have an industry to foster.

Last edited by thorn bird; 23rd May 2013 at 08:36.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 08:41
  #1822 (permalink)  
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Leady is right, this is explosive. "Lookleft" reveals himself as a troll by dissimulation about the impact of the report

But first of all I refer you to executive summary para 1.11 in particular the thanks of the committee to ppruner "ziggychick".

It's clear that Beaker is finished.

It's clear CASA is on notice.

It is clear that the CASA office of legal services is in the Committees sights regarding the pace and cost of real reform.

I'm not sure what happens next, but the brief to the Minister from his Department is going to be "interesting".

The question to me is if CASA and ATSB will try to brazen it out.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 08:47
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Further to your post Thornbird, the neutering of the ATSB under beaker demonstrates your point - CASA has no interest in safety, just the appearance of safety. If it was a genuine safety regulator it would have not allowed ATSB to be neutered because ATSB by definition should produce honest feedback on the performance of CASA - something a genuine regulator, bent on self improvement, should relish.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 09:00
  #1824 (permalink)  
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Despite the Ford story dominating the news...
ABC news:

Senate Committee releases damning report into Australia's aviation authorities

A Senate Committee has raised serious concerns about the competency of the bodies overseeing Australia's aviation industry.
The committee has investigated the official reviews into a Pel-Air plane ditching into the ocean off Norfolk Island in 2009.
The service had been flying a patient from Samoa to Melbourne for treatment on behalf of CareFlight.
All six people on board survived but only the pilot, Dominic James, escaped without injury.
The committee has found the Civil Aviation Safety body withheld critical documents from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and that many in the industry are reticent to speak out because of a fear of retribution, especially from CASA.
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says of particular concern was the evidence of the head of the ATSB, Martin Dolan.
"In respect of his credibility as a witness," Senator Xenophon said.
He says the report highlights serious concerns about the oversight of the industry.
"My confidence in our aviation safety regulators and accident investigation body CASA, the Civil Aviation Safety body and the ATSB have been shaken to the core," he said.
Karen Casey was injured in the crash and says the report must be acted on.
"The truth has finally been revealed," she said.
The report has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

News Corp:
Committee critical of transport bodies

A SENATE committee has returned a scathing report into the operations of two major Australian transport watchdogs.
The 150-page document highlights failures during the investigation of a plane crash off Norfolk Island.
The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee on Thursday tabled a report probing the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's response to a light plane crash in 2009.
Six people on board survived after the aircraft ditched into the ocean near the island east of the nation's mainland.
Committee chair Bill Heffernan said the report also highlighted "significant deficiencies" on the part of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), through its failure to convey vital information regarding the plane's operator to the bureau ahead of its investigation.
"If Australia is to remain at the forefront of open, transparent and effective aviation safety systems, then we need our aviation safety organisations to work transparently, effectively and co-operatively," Senator Heffernan said in a statement.
"Ensuring that a systemic approach to aviation safety is in place is the best way to maximise aviation safety outcomes."
Late at night on November 18, 2009 the medical evacuation plane from Samoa ditched just off Norfolk Island after attempting to land four times to refuel in poor weather.
The pilot, Dominic James, was forced to put the plane down before he ran out of fuel after failing to update himself on the weather at Norfolk Island, a subsequent bureau investigation found.
The plane hit the water at about 100km/h and sank quickly.


And another from Ben:
Senate committee ATSB,CASA, Pel-Air wrap

For those who want it in dot points or a tiny silver screen this is what’s in or a consequence of the Senate committee inquiry into the air accident investigation (Pel-Air) report.
  • CASA and thus its Director of Air Safety, John McCormick, have been referred to the Federal Police for a possible breach of the Transport Safety Information Act in relation to withholding a relevant document from the ATSB
  • The chief commissioner of the ATSB, Martin Dolan, has been severely criticised by the committee for his testimony and the actions of the supposedly independent air safety investigator
  • CASA has been warned not to do anything that would offend the protections of parliamentary privilege given to those who made submissions or testimony to the committee in public or in camera.
  • The ATSB’s conduct of the Pel-Air inquiry has been variously described as compromised, illogical, inadequate and contrary to the interest of aviation safety or public confidence in air safety investigations in Australia
  • The ATSB should reopen its inquiry into the Pel-Air crash and take into account factors its excluded in favour of blaming almost everything on the pilot
  • Improvements to weather information availability on Norfolk Island should be variously made or considered
  • CASA has been found to have withheld information that if published would have reflected poorly on its acquittal of its duties of oversight and regulation in relation to Pel-Air.
  • Both organisations have been criticised for being more concerned with their image than public safety issues
  • CASA withheld information that showed that it was aware of deficiencies in the Pel-Air operation which if acted upon may have prevented the Pel-Air crash
  • The chief commissioner of the ATSB tried to rely on an international rule concerning air safety investigation that didn’t take force for a year after the Pel-Air crash to justify not retrieving the flight data recorder from the seabed near Norfolk Island
  • The committee has made a series of recommendations for improving the transparency and integrity and effectiveness of the ATSB and CASA by the appointment of a powerful Inspector-General of Aviation Safety
  • The Senate committee’s findings are unprecedented in the dissatisfaction expressed in the quality, integrity and effectiveness of air safety administration in Australia as in the Federal Police referral and the warning to a public authority not to take action against those whose testimony is protected by parliamentary privilege.
  • There is no immediately discoverable record of a national air safety investigator even being requested by a parliamentary review committee to reopen an inquiry on the basis of it being deficient on multiple grounds including internationally accepted standards for such activities

and from Nick's site:
MEDIA RELEASE: Alarming air safety failures revealed in Senate Inquiry

23rd May 2013
Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, has called on the Government to establish an Inspector-General of Aviation Safety after a Senate inquiry revealed serious and systemic failures on the part of CASA and the ATSB in relation to aviation safety.
The Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee released its report into aviation accident investigations this morning. The inquiry was prompted by industry concerns about the quality of the ATSB’s investigation into the ditching of Pel-Air flight VH-NGA off the coast of Norfolk Island in 2010.
The committee’s report revealed:
“CASA and the ATSB made the pilot of VH-NGA into a scapegoat to cover up their own inadequacies, but this goes way beyond one incident,” Nick said. “This report reveals a disturbing trend in Australia’s aviation industry, where the regulatory safety system is failing the travelling public.”
Senator Xenophon said the committee had been “the most united” one he had ever participated in.
“Everyone was shocked and in disbelief about the evidence we received,” Nick said. “I don’t think anyone expected we would uncover the fact that information had been withheld by CASA, or that the ATSB was aware of systemic issues but ignored them completely.”
“This committee report is one of the strongest I’ve ever read,” Nick said. “It outlines in no uncertain terms the serious problems with the way CASA and the ATSB operate.”
Senator Xenophon said there was an urgent need for an Inspector-General of Aviation to be established, to make CASA and the ATSB more accountable.

“There has been an abject failure on the part of these two organisations,” Nick said. “Their relationship and they way they operate is now in such a state that it can only be redeemed by an independent body that can hold them to account.”
  • The ATSB had not followed its own mandate in terms of investigations, and had focussed solely on the actions of the pilot, Dominic James, instead of looking at broader problems within Pel-Air itself and with the way aeromedical flights to remote destinations are undertaken;
  • CASA had failed in its regulatory oversight of Pel-Air, and only a Special Audit of Pel-Air conducted after the ditching revealed the extent of the problem;
  • CASA had withheld a damning internal review from the ATSB, despite a Memorandum of Understanding between the agencies in relation to information-sharing, which outlined its own failures in relation to Pel-Air;
  • The quality of evidence provided to the committee by the ATSB’s Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan called into question his credibility as a witness; and
  • The ATSB inexplicably downgraded the incident from ‘critical’ to ‘minor’, with little or no reasoning to show why this was the case.

7:30 report

ABC update


ABC radio PM

Last edited by Sarcs; 23rd May 2013 at 13:15.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 09:17
  #1825 (permalink)  
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Sunfish, you accuse LL of being a troll, but then ask a question the answer to which is to be found in LL’s post. You asked:
The question to me is if CASA and ATSB will try to brazen it out.
For the reasons explained by LL, perhaps the answer is “yes”.

I agree with LL’s summary of what’s likely to happen (but perhaps I, too, am a troll). (And BTW: CASA office of legal services has nothing to do with “the cost and pace of real reform”. It was all taken out of their hands, a loooooong time ago.)

For the record: I have stated, repeatedly, that in my view CASA’s treatment of DJ compared with Pel-Air is a travesty, and the ATSB’s report is a sick joke.

More for the record.

In my view, Mr Dolan should resign.

In my view, Mr McCormick should resign, just after he sacks the people who manipulated him – albeit taking advantage of his known proclivities - into the circumstances in which he has found himself.

In my view, Airservices comes out of the inquiry looking merely inept, which is a much better look than that of ATSB and CASA.

I agree with Leadsled: Some of the language used by the Committee is extraordinary, but that is unsurprising, given what was said during the hearings.

But just bear in mind who’s ultimately responsible for letting these organisations deteriorate, over a long period of time, to the extent suggested by the Committee's Report.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 09:43
  #1826 (permalink)  
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The thing is, Creampuff, that ICAO and FAA and NTSB are going to read the report.

That makes looklefts comments nugatory.

To put that another way, it matters not what the voters think, the international heavies will most likely act if these matters are not very very promptly addressed for real. Furthermore, no industry professional is going to want to work in either institution until they are.

To put it another way, how can any of them hold up their heads in Montreal? Let alone give a PowerPoint presentation?

To put it yet another way, this is now a public service matter, not a party political matter in my opinion. What minister, in their right mind, is going to try and push this under the carpet?
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Old 23rd May 2013, 10:23
  #1827 (permalink)  
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And to put it yet another way Sunfish, the idiot Minister should have already ensured that both McCormick and Dolan were stood aside, particularly after the reference to potential breach under S.24 having been referred to the AFP on the one hand, and questionalble credibility of a witness on the other.

3.64 Mr Dolan's evidence in this regard is questionable
and has seriously eroded his standing as a witness before the committee.
A total disgrace.


Last edited by SIUYA; 23rd May 2013 at 10:24.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 10:57
  #1828 (permalink)  
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A debate on PPRuNe about what’s going to happen will not affect what’s going to happen.

We’ll undoubtedly find out whose predictions are accurate and whose predictions are inaccurate, over the next 6 months.

I earnestly hope my predictions are wrong. But I’m confident that I have a much better insight into the machinations of government than you, Sunfish.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 10:57
  #1829 (permalink)  
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As encouraging as it seems, "the fat lady has yet to sing".

When the culprits are charged, found guilty and sentenced, I'll be much happier and I'll feel safer.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 12:28
  #1830 (permalink)  
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I am sure you are right Creampuff, but truth is stranger than fiction. We live in hope.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 13:27
  #1831 (permalink)  
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Martin and John will stay in office for as long as possible to retain access to tax payer funded legal protection. When does vicarious liability end and personal liability start? I wonder what the insurers are thinking? I guess CASA being an FMA agency pays its own insurance. Not sure about the ATSB!

The FAA can be expected to downgrade Australia to IASA category 2 - no changes to current level of services or changes to them eg aircraft type plus increased tempo of oversight for aircraft operations likely to affect schedule and profitability. I guess EU will need to consider blacklisting all Australian AOC holders from European airspace.

It certainly is a Martin and John shite heap ably assisted by Ministerial self serving lethargy.

I really feel for ATSB investigators that were trying hard to do their job and were very poorly let down by political expediency and duplicitous senior bureaucrats.

I assume the Secretary of Department of Infrastructure and his loyal staff are blame free of any aspect of the reported behaviours.

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Old 23rd May 2013, 13:37
  #1832 (permalink)  
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Bring on some independent oversight, these organisations are out of control. A little cynical but whenever anyone talks of safety these days I interpret it as if they mean everything but safety. That's not just because of casa though...
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Old 23rd May 2013, 14:23
  #1833 (permalink)  
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Recently, in some countries for example the Philippines, India and Nigeria (?) the Government has thrown the safety regulator out and started again.

That must be one option of many that needs to be canvassed.

In keeping with the trend, I propose the name iCASA with the i standing for improved.

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Old 23rd May 2013, 14:31
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4.66 The committee notes support for the ATSB's initial categorisation of the issue as 'critical'. The committee also notes the view of Mr McCormick against prescriptive guidance as an effective risk control is surprising given his position as CASA's Director of Aviation Safety. Mr McCormick appears to lack confidence that his organisation can write regulations and guidance material that is simple, clear and unambiguous

Extraordinary perception...pity his term is nearly up!

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Old 23rd May 2013, 14:51
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I can see icao / FAA using the report to help scope their audit.

The new heads of the two agencies will have some work to do.

Next weeks estimates will be frosty! The only people not to have made statements so far are the Atsb and casa.

I thought this report was worth a watch as a quick summary.

Norfolk Island plane crash produces blame game - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Last edited by halfmanhalfbiscuit; 23rd May 2013 at 20:14.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 15:25
  #1836 (permalink)  
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I suspect everyone will be playing this one with a very straight bat. Certainly given the threat (empty or otherwise) of an AFP investigation.

I'm sure the recorders will be just fine. The AF447 recorders were OK after a crash which caused the aircraft to disintegrate and killed all on board, and after several years at a depth of 4000 m. So these recorders will be just fine after a ditching that all survived, and after a couple of years at 40m. I don't think the ATSB need lay awake at night worried the data on the recorders will be unrecoverable.

Just to be sure however, the recovery (of the recorders, and of the data from the recorders) should be overseen by someone from an external agency like NTSB, or even the French (never thought I would be saying that).
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Old 23rd May 2013, 20:08
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I don't think the ATSB need lay awake at night worried the data on the recorders will be unrecoverable.
I think the ATSB is probably more worried at the moment that the data on the recorders IS recoverable.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 20:39
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Nice one – I think?

It's a strange opening gambit, the sacrifice of two pawns. One problem with reading the game is the language and phrasing of the report

LS. –"In the subdued language of Government and Parliamentary reports, this one could best be described as "explosive".
CP –"I agree with Leadsled: Some of the language used by the Committee is extraordinary", etc.
It would be far too easy to enthusiastically read too much into the report; equally easy to under read the implications, without first hand knowledge of how these sort of thing work behind the Green doors.

Mind you, I love the way the "Chambers Report" was repeatedly used by the committee; this cynical, self serving cripple of a report has come back to haunt the 'that man and dobbin' team. It seems the committee have worked out that the pre-emptive decision by McComic, ably and gleefully assisted by Wodger the pilot executioner (part time job) to crucify the other CASA boys and girls, chew up yet another AOC and vilify one more poor bugger of a pilot, all in one fell swoop has been exposed. The remarkable back flip manoeuvre seems to have been given a long hard look as well.

But don't worry Wodger there is a great pile of supporting evidence to keep you busy during the endless dark days of unemployment and the ghosts of Canely Vale to keep you company on the long, cold ride across the Styx.

If CASA legal had one ounce of sense they would immediately start an internal investigation into the doings of the Bankstown boys; before the AFP. If, for no other reason than to cover their very own collective rumps. Wodger and his inutile, dubious 'mates' have left the department flank well and truly exposed. Not just to ridicule; it would be easier (not to mention honourable) to get in first: have the answers ready; and not be dragged into yet another series of embarrassing, public events where legal is once more obliged to defend the indefensible.

The boil is lanced, now to drain the puss.


Last edited by Kharon; 23rd May 2013 at 21:11. Reason: It's a dirty job - but someone has to do it.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 21:32
  #1839 (permalink)  
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Maybe the witch doctor can make up one of his famous brews and make it all go away next week in the Senate Committee.

He would have the secret ingredients to lead CASA from the wilderness to the promised land.

We need someone special to rely on to get us out of the boiling water before we are eaten by the savages!

Frank Burden

Last edited by Frank Burden; 23rd May 2013 at 21:34.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 21:51
  #1840 (permalink)  
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Just finished reading the full report. 176 pages of well reasoned prose by the Committee that was a delight to read. I think a few people in Canberra will discuss it over a beer this evening and by Monday morning what will happen next is decided.

Both heads must roll.

It may be possible to find Australians with sufficient international reputation to fill the jobs, if not then secondments from FAA or other regulators are going to be needed if Australia is not to be downgraded.

"Bounty diving" at Norfolk can get the FDR's assuming suitable aviation technical assistance is available, they have already looked at it from 42 metres and I assume can go the extra five with decompression stops. There is a video on their website.

The ATSB is a basket case.

The CASA has not yet had the coup de grace, but if the good Senators get their enquiry into the regulatory reform program they foreshadowed, then CASA;s goose will be well and truly cooked.
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