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

Pitot Covers Brisbane Take 2

Old 25th Aug 2022, 06:03
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To be perfectly clear, the engineers employed by airlines are not immune from the same pressures and, like others, are doing the job with less resources than they had previously.

Last edited by BuzzBox; 25th Aug 2022 at 06:54.
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Old 25th Aug 2022, 07:56
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Roger, Buzzbox.
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Old 25th Aug 2022, 15:57
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It beggars belief that this could happen a second time after the much publicised MH near disaster.

Too much OH&S energy being spent on enforcing fluoro jackets instead of doing something which really matters.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 00:16
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My particular interest in the relationship between the people trusted to remove the covers and the operator of the aircraft to which the covers are fitted arises from the requirements imposed by CASA on APTA, which requirements were justified by CASA on the basis that individuals responsible for safety-related activities were not APTA employees. CASA required APTA to provide very detailed evidence to show how APTA would ensure those individuals would do their job properly. At no point did CASA identify any instance of those individuals not doing their job properly.

But here we have two instances of individuals not doing their job properly - for whatever reason - in relation to a safety-critical pre-flight action on an aircraft full of passengers, and the individuals apparently have no legal relationship with the aircraft operator. (The individuals will owe a common law duty of care, but that wasn’t good enough for CASA in APTA’s case.) They’ll be employees of contractors to … somebody, but does the aircraft operator have any contractual power to direct the individuals involved?

And don’t forget: The failure to conduct a check to confirm these covers have been removed is a strict liability offence on the part of the PIC and the aircraft operator (at least in the case of Australian aircraft). For those who think that checking that some clearing endorsement on a piece of paper provides a defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact, remember: If you have to raise a defence you are, by definition, being prosecuted.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 00:20
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Well said, Lead Balloon. Whatever "procedures" are in place, the buck stops with the PIC. And as I've said previously, it's not rocket science for someone to hold up the covers one by one, with their hi-vis streamers, for both pilots to see after pushback.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 01:00
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The engineer still has to be at the bay whether the NIGS is working or not. Off schedule arrivals probably put more pressure on engineering. Perhaps the practice of airlines outsourcing to the lowest bidder/paying peanuts for engineering services or engineering companies delivering contracted services to multiple airlines with the bare minimum resources possible, thereby expecting or forcing one engineer to be in multiple places at once is more the issue.
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Your point is basically the point I was trying to make. The tension between commercial success and safety is always there and in my opinion is stretched too far away from safety. Whether itís greater between Airlines and third party engineering contractors or Airport companies and Airlines I donít know but the position that the Engineer finds themselves in has the same origin as the position the pilots, baggage handlers, cabin crew, refuellers, tug drivers, etc find themselves in. The origin is executive level decisions to increase productivity by maximising the output/ efficiency of operational staff and resources. Whether itís a single honey-cart driver for all of Melbourne, or a clapped out 35 year old baggage belt loader blocking a gate in Sydney because it wonít start, or a Brisbane Engineer running between gates to attend to two simultaneous departures, the reason for it is executive level decision making with a lack of big picture safety knowledge. The only way to influence that decision making is to put a floor under it with legislation ( in my opinion of course).
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 01:14
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The 'safety' regulator is supposed to intervene when the commercial pressures result in more safety incidents.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 01:36
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Originally Posted by Lead Balloon View Post
The 'safety' regulator is supposed to intervene when the commercial pressures result in more safety incidents.
Only after said safety incidents occur, and are reported, and then it takes, what, a couple of years of paper shuffling for them to say something constructive or otherwise? Hopefully it won't come to that.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 02:46
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Originally Posted by Lead Balloon View Post
And donít forget: The failure to conduct a check to confirm these covers have been removed is a strict liability offence on the part of the PIC and the aircraft operator (at least in the case of Australian aircraft). For those who think that checking that some clearing endorsement on a piece of paper provides a defence of honest and reasonable mistake of fact, remember: If you have to raise a defence you are, by definition, being prosecuted.
Which just goes to show the stupidity of a 'safety' system that makes the PIC strictly liable for any number of 'offences' they might commit. In the real world, an airline captain cannot physically check every single thing for which they might be held liable if not done properly. Airline captains must rely on others to do their jobs in accordance with the regulations.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 03:25
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Except that it is possible for the PIC him or herself to confirm removal, first hand. Itís only impractical as a consequence of procedures arising from commercial pressures.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 03:43
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I was referring to the plethora of 'things' for which a PIC might be held liable, not pitot covers in particular.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 09:39
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I don't think you have an understanding of the particular procedure in this particular set of circumstances.

The procedure requires the covers to be left fitted while the pilots are busy in the cockpit doing their pilot thang prior to pushback and start, due to the risk of mudwasps doing their wasp thang in a very short period of time. The procedure requires the pilots to rely on someone else to remove the covers just before pushback.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 10:24
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I am in the habit of taking a photo of the engineer displaying the covers, sharing it with the F/O and keeping it for as long as needed.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 10:46
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Open the window and look over the side at the probes. Attach escape rope to ankle in case you lean out too far. Do not trust FO to hold you as he wants your seniority number!
Or, use selfie stick to view probes.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 11:11
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Levity aside, that has to be the better solution. Back to the PIC confirming removal by first-hand observation.

If that doesn’t happen due to the costs of delay/inconvenience or whatever, that will show - once again - that affordable safety is very much alive and thriving.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 12:19
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Originally Posted by Beryllium Erbium View Post
Ermmmm, Captain, FO or SO does walk around and removes pitot covers or gets mechanic to remove them while they are observing said removal. …
Ermmmm, not in the case of turnarounds at Brisbane.

You really do need to read the reports on the incidents before posting on this thread again.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 13:15
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Originally Posted by Beryllium Erbium View Post
Ermmmm, Captain, FO or SO does walk around and removes pitot covers or gets mechanic to remove them while they are observing said removal.
Curious to know if you've ever been a crew member on a large airliner? If you had, you would know that what you have suggested is not practical for most airline operations. There is too much other sh!t going on in the cockpit shortly before pushback for one of the pilots to leap out and remove the pitot covers, or watch someone else do it.
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Old 26th Aug 2022, 15:26
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Iím going to go with no. He probably only learnt that Ďfirst hourí thing yesterday.

Manufacturers also stipulate when external inspections are to be carried out in accordance with the FCOM, and those are generally no where near pushback time. Plenty of time for a wasp to build a wasp nest.
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Old 27th Aug 2022, 00:24
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Originally Posted by Beryllium Erbium View Post
No, no I haven't. So I guess that excludes any comment from the great unwashed?
Not at all, but if you come here as a "know all" without any relevant experience, then you can expect your views to be challenged.
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Old 27th Aug 2022, 03:02
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I guess the obvious solution is you have to make it practically impossible to miss, and obvious to all, that they are still fitted. Does this mean extra, extra long tails? Tying them back to the nose gear pin so they have to come off/out as a set? Tying them back to the towbar? Something like that? Unfortunately this probably means that the covers in use are airport specific, as the aircraft carried ones would not usually need the extra fittings (if any). During pushback/engine start when the pilot is talking to the guy on the headset, surely it would not be too hard for a challenge and response to be implemented somewhere in that exchange.
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