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-   -   Lockhart River May 7, 2005....9 years ago (https://www.pprune.org/australia-new-zealand-pacific/538811-lockhart-river-may-7-2005-9-years-ago.html)

Paragraph377 29th Apr 2014 10:35

Lockhart River May 7, 2005....9 years ago
The ninth anniversary of the Transair crash at Lockhart River at 11:44 am, May 7 2005, is almost upon us. Now is a fine time to remember those who were killed, and the grief that their families still relive today. I post this for one reason and one reason only, and that is to let the families, friends, colleagues and associates of those killed in that accident know that those deaths, injustices, and the pain that troubles and haunts those whose lives go on are not for one moment forgotten.
I have attached below some links to the accidents history. There may be some of our more junior pilots out there who may not be familiar with the accident. For others this may serve as a timely reminder or be an event worth pondering over when we sit back and look at the state of our industry.

Coroners report;

ATSB report;
Investigation: 200501977 - Collision with Terrain - Fairchild Metro 23 aircraft, VH-TFU 11km NW Lockhart River Aerodrome, 7 May 2005

Senate report;


Saratogapp 29th Apr 2014 10:48

Lockhart River May 7, 2005....9 years ago
Well done - and a glowing reminder of all those unnecessary deaths in such miserable circumstances.

thorn bird 29th Apr 2014 11:04

Perhaps a glowing reminder of the corrupt, incompetent, pack of a....holes
who people the halls of our so called regulator. One can only dream one day the chickens will come home to roost.

Checkerboard 3rd May 2014 09:01

The most frustrating thing for me is the recommendations by the ATSB over the RNAV GNSS approach chart design and presentation issues. CASA has done very little with these recommendations apart from now depicting significant topographic terrain on these charts (which has always been an ICAO requirement which they chose to ignore mind you)

We are still left with a unique method of waypoint coding that is not used anywhere else in the world which can be clearly linked to SA issues. You just have to ask why does CASA keep its head in the sand?

DutyofCare 7th May 2014 01:54

Up-into-the-air: 5 X 5 with your recent postings...

With so much unaccountability from our so called GURU's in the politically correct Dept. for so bloody long, hurting / costing us so much: we just have to think that a privatised regulator is the way to go ???

Gee, if it was a pvt business: It'd be in court / sued / jailed very long ago !

How long do we have to put up with a ICAO self failing Dept. pls :ugh: :ugh::ugh:

alphacentauri 7th May 2014 02:55


The research into this avoidable accident, showed that ASA updated the approach when the time for any litigation had passed.
Yes that happened, but that wasn't why it was updated.

alphacentauri 7th May 2014 06:12

In late 2008 there was an amendment to PANS-OPS RNAV design criteria (amendment 13 I think) The amendment, amongst other things, reduced the width of the protection area for RNAV approaches. The reduction in width meant that certain obstacles that had been controlling for the design, could now be excluded all together or have a reduced obstacle clearance value applied. This allowed the approach to be re-aligned and further optimised. The opportunity was therefore taken to try and improve the approach where this option had not been previously available.

You will note the procedure was amended in Nov 2009, only 12 months after the ICAO amendment. Noting the normal time to get a new procedure published, this must have been one of the first approaches they looked at improving after the amendment became effective.

The ATSB had the approach independently verified and flight validated. It was correctly designed and depicted according to the rules of the day. There was nothing wrong with the approach


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Capn Bloggs 7th May 2014 11:15

Cynical - YES
and Wrong - YES. :cool:

Kharon 7th May 2014 20:08

Thanks Alpha – was it Creampuff who said; when faced with a choice between conspiracy and cock-up; choose Cock-up. Mind you, if Australia had not been in such an indecent 'rush' (2005) to be numero uno in the GNSS stakes, etc. etc....

Ned Gerblansky 8th May 2014 10:14

Great replies
I too remember that terrible day, but moreso I remember about 1 year previously when I was on my first trip to CNS in about 10 years in a B717. Looking over to the GA side, I saw Aerotropics had a metro.

Having played the CASA roulette many years prior to get RPT approval for a twin turboprop, I thought that a local operator had stepped up to the mark, had written multi-crew procedures, operations manual etc. as I had and I knew that CASA would have "put them through the ringer" in order to encertain the safest option.

It was explained to me by a most respected senior FOI that:

"If you charter an aircraft, it is your decision, you shop around and get what fits your requirements and budget. When you buy an airline ticket you are a blind consumer and expect us (CASA) to offer you the same regulatory protection as exists on Ansett or Qantas."

When we operated RPT to the Cape and the Straits, we were required to notify CASA if we could not supply a Class 1 maintenance category RPT aircraft for 1 week or more, and that caused our AOC to be questioned severely. For Aerotropics to have operated a charter-category aircraft for over a year, with no multi-crew procedures and to have been allowed to do that simply buggers my mind.

As a final thought, the first conclusion from the coroner was that CASA was not implicated or negligent in any way. It never would have been allowed 10 years prior. Erosion of standards, or just criminal negligence? (Maybe even systemic bureaucratic corruption up to the highest levels?)

Sleep in peace victims - I fear there are more to come.


Kharon 8th May 2014 20:55

Ned and others, if you haven't seen it, there was a thread on the GA pages related to a Phelan article, published on ProAviation. I found the piece disturbing on many levels; Shane Urquhart, father of victim Sally has decided to abandon his nine year campaign to break the iron ring surrounding the Lockhart tragedy. No doubt we will all forget as time goes by, probably sooner than we aught. Brother – Sarcs – has posted some reading which may interest. It was indeed a sad day, for many reasons.

Fantome 8th May 2014 21:35

"Sleep in peace victims - I fear there are more to come."

not so negative Ned . .. . . . . even though the entrails
point to some ill portents . . . let us try to be
a little less chicken little

not wanting to rehash the detail of this awful prang, except
to wonder, entirely rhetorically, to what degree the PIC
might be said to have allowed, subconsciously possibly,
his own idea of safety margins, matched to his competency,
to be eroded.

we strive to be safe . . . to never lose sight of the main game
...... to know the book . . . (even if the rules are poorly framed and implemented) . . .. but there is always the possibility that
an unforeseen trap is there to ensnare and disconbobulate.

(TE 901 . . Mount Erebus . .. . Captain Jim Collins . . .. . .
for some fits this hypothesis perfectly.)


one popular ARIA (always remembered instructors' advice) went -

"absence of body can be preferable to presence of mind"

which fits pretty well if you decide you'd rather not risk it at all

The presence of mind and the skill
of Captain Hal Rowell in his MMA F28
one night at Fitzroy Crossing in 1971
has gone down in the annals
of supreme airmanship.


Captain Sand Dune 11th May 2014 01:31

Interesting story that! Illustrates quite well the battle between the bean counters and the operators.

Sadly enough, he got nothing but criticism from the company for proceeding to Derby, even though the forecast was clear, and he was very hurt for many years afterwards by their attitude. The big wheels from Ansett in the East came swarming in to smarten up this “little hick airline”, but no matter what anyone could say, Harold had done a magnificent job in utterly impossible circumstances.
How bl**dy typical. Seems some things don’t change.

Paragraph377 11th Nov 2014 10:17

Why was Ian Harvey appointed as "Counsel Assisting the Coroner" in the Lockhart River inquest.
One should break down all the work that Harvey has done 'on behalf' of CASA over the years and calculate his earnings. Some nice trimmings indeed. He must be some kind of 'freak of law', a doyon of counsel, a super skilled legal eagle with capabilities that propel him into the mystique of aviation law!

PLovett 14th Nov 2014 11:46

Gentlemen, I do not hold any brief for CASA and their neglect of proper procedure and accountability was severely lacking in this case. However, they did not cause the crash.

They were not flying the aircraft on that day.

They were not doing an approach for which only one of the crew were certified.

They were not conducting the approach in a totally cowboy manner with excessive airspeed and dropping below the minimum sector altitude.

Had CASA performed as required in this case it would have undoubtedly saved a plane load of innocent people from being killed but also would have caused many here to rant and rave about how they had unfairly dealt with a good bloke who had given many a start in aviation. A man who removed himself from the gene pool by similar idiot behaviour at the controls of an aircraft and unfortunately took others including a very well respected PRuNer with him, Think of the postings in relation to Airtex if you want an example of what happens when a cowboy gets dealt with by CASA.

You can argue until your blue in the face about the design of the GPS approach but if it had been flown as designed with an appropriately endorsed multi-crew with the pilot monitoring calling out the sector altitudes the crash would not have happened. It was a cowboy who killed those people and company's who operate in that fashion should be the target of our anger.

Frank Arouet 14th Nov 2014 22:31

The "buck stops" where?
Without wishing to seem too "Islamic" about this, if everybody had stayed in bed, someone was late, or an engine had failed to start on time, the crash maybe wouldn't have occurred either. If that will, then it be done.

CAsA prosecuted Transair, not Aero Tropics despite the fact that the aircraft had Aero Tropics written down the side, the tickets were Aero Tropics and the flying public believed it was an Aero Tropics flight. This can't be likened to a code share and is a blatant disregard. CAsA were aware, I'm advised, of at least one previous incident in the weeks prior, yet nothing appears to have been done that could have played a role in preventing what eventuated.

Phelan once said, who's watching the watchdog?

CAsA do have blood on their hands I'm afraid. They failed in their duty of care to the public. They failed in their duty to the crew. They were either asleep on the job, or were too busy watching a protected tree, they failed to see the unprotected forest.

Paragraph377 14th Nov 2014 22:56

Plovett, that is a well articulated response. The only flaw in your comment is that I think you feel most people are blaming CASA entirely for the accident. Perhaps I am misreading you? But I certainly don't blame CASA entirely for this accident. However they did play a hand in it, they were found to be a causal factor, and they did walk away cap in hand from the coroners court and went home to drink a nice scotch and plan the following weekends activities like nothing had happened, while Shane and others went home to visit their loved ones graves knowing full well justice had not been served.
Plovett, there is also the behind the scenes 'stuff' that most wouldn't be aware of which includes corruption, incompetence, laziness, 'cosy friendships' and other assorted items. Those in the know will know exactly who and what I am referring to. Plovett I think you will find that there are some people out there who don't necessarily want to see full blame shifted from Transair to CASA, rather they want to see the correct apportion of blame spread around to where it rightfully belongs, and to see those people, including CASA, brought to justice. Then again maybe justice, true justice, is something that will always lay in the laps of the gods, to be metered out in large doses when the time is right? If so then I look forward to the day when those who lied, concealed and deceived in this accident coverup and diversion reap the whirlwind of their actions.


Iron Bar 15th Nov 2014 00:27

It appears Frank, you have no idea about such commercial arrangements and where the operational responsibilities lie. Give it up.

"I'm coming and Hells coming with me"? You having an Abbott shirtfront moment there 377?

Frank Arouet 15th Nov 2014 02:08

Do you think the passengers who had an Aero Tropics ticket, purchased at an Aero Tropics Travel Agent, who boarded an Aero tropics aeroplane, on an Aero Tropics Regular Public Transport flight, gave any thought to any fine print or commercial arrangements or operational responsibility, be it with Aeroflot, Transair or simply believed the name on the ticket was the operator? I would wager they all expected the regulatory authority to be up to the task of providing all assurances that they would arrive as safely as they would with Qantas.

I prefaced my post with a question. Perhaps you would oblige by telling us how any commercial arrangements have let CAsA off the hook.

Iron Bar 15th Nov 2014 02:18

Not an "Aero-Tropics" aeroplane Frank, a Trans-Air aeroplane. The fine print is what matters. If you fly on a Qantas branded 717 you will see the same fine print.

Lambast CASA if you wish, but lets not confuse the issue with ill informed rubbish.

PLovett 15th Nov 2014 02:51

P377, thank you for your comments. I believe that there are many who share the blame for this particular crash, however, the principle ones are dead with the only ones left being the CASA personnel responsible for the oversight of the companies concerned and those from Aero Tropics.

Aero Tropics had a duty of care to their clients to ensure that 3rd party contractors were up to standard. I believe they manifestly failed in that duty of care as the stories of Transair's woeful performance were publicly known prior to the Lockhart River crash.

I am currently in the process of changing occupations from operations to administrative with an emphasis on safety management. As a pilot I firmly believed that safety started with me. I was the first line in ensuring that my passengers arrived safely and if I did not think that was probable on the day for whatever reason it was my responsibility to cancel or delay the flight until it was. I still believe that to be true. As a safety manager I can assist that process but I can't ensure it. CASA are very much in the same position so long as they do their job properly.

The regulatory shortcoming revealed by the investigation into the Lockhart River crash should be addressed because it prevents CASA from doing their job. Hopefully the need for CASA intervention is lessening with cowboy operators falling by the wayside with their antics causing clients to go elsewhere. But CASA is necessary to get them out of business where they exist. If there was illegality in dealings between the regulator and the companies concerned with Lockhart River then as a matter of public policy they should be prosecuted if the evidence is there.

In summary, if there was illegal behaviour on the part of CASA employees and it can be proven then prosecute. If you can't do that then stop howling for blood, its only noise. Aero Tropics is no longer in operation and as far as I'm aware any action against the principles could only be a civil action and I doubt there's any money to be had. Again pointless. The main thrust should be to ensure it never happens again rather than some pointless desire to use the court system as a means of revenge.

Lookleft 15th Nov 2014 05:46

You need to stop jumping at shadows Frank! Its only your group like 004wercras that posts under several different labels. I have no idea who Iron Bar is but I'm sure he can speak for himself. As for PLovett, its nice to see a bit of sanity return to any discussion about CASA and Lockhart River.:ok:

snoop doggy dog 15th Nov 2014 10:40

Transair had Brisbane CASA office in their back pocket and no other CASA office, ie Sydney or Cairns, could or would do anything, as Transair was under Brisbane's eye :ugh:

The whole circus was wrapped up in red tape. Several Senior National Party members of the federal government at the time, including a Transport Minister, had knowledge of Transair's short comings well in advance of Lockhart River and did nothing but pass the buck! This is why it was covered up :ugh:

Frank Arouet 15th Nov 2014 21:09

At great risk of rebuttal from Iron bar, and without extending any invitation for long term relationships with Lookleft, I stand by my posts and advise I am very informed about the Lockhart River matter having had a personal interest since the CAsA bastardry of Cape York Air, its Chief Pilot and its subsequent demise. The slot in the time line that facilitated the emergence of a replacement airline with neither the ability, skill or aircraft to carry out the tasks at hand. Linked by politics, cronyism and economic outcome based planning, the subsequent events were predictable and turned out to be accurate.

Had CAsA not persecuted CYA into oblivion, the subsequent events would not have occurred. The broken link in the chain of events leading to the catastrophe was engineered by CAsA.

Now is that too "Islamic"?

sdd is on the money. I would add the northern CAsA office as well.

Iron Bar 16th Nov 2014 04:26

Ok Frank, I fail to see how the demise of CYA has any sustainable relationship to an unfortunate error by a Metro crew that led to the sad LHR crash. How far back do you want to go? Air Cairns, Wings North, Sunbird Airlines, Air Qld, Bushies? If any one of them had not folded then there would have most likely been no Trans-Air Metro in the air that day either.

Clearly you are convinced there is a conspiracy. What are you going to do about it? Tapping away at PPrune is fine but fairly fruitless. Perhaps you could borrow Richards ute for another drive to Canberra?

If you are so well informed, have a read of the whistleblowers Legislation, get your evidence together and give it to em' between the eyes.

Paragraph377 16th Nov 2014 10:34

Snoop doggy dog - bingo!! You got it. Great post and accurate. You certainly have a good understanding of some of the behind the scenes malfeasance.

Frank, correct - add the FNQ office to the list. I do recall an individual at CASA with questionable links to Transair. He had an ego bigger than a Collins Class Submarine ;)

Lookleft/Algie/Guilders - many of your posts indicate your dislike for Ppruners with 'online multiple personalities'. Go look in your own backyard. Besides this thread is about Lockhart and the resultant deaths.

Iron bar - don't get personal with Frank, and don't bring the Rudd caravan campaign into it. The thread is about Lockhart. You may call Frank a 'keyboard tapper' but people like him have done a lot of work behind the scenes to try and right many of the wrongs in this industry.

Lookleft 16th Nov 2014 10:55

many of your posts indicate your dislike for Ppruners with 'online multiple personalities'.
You got that right 004, err MOIE, err whoever you are today. Are you being Frank's mother today? Frank has on plenty of occasions got personal with others so why is he so special? As far as Lockhart is concerned I'm afraid the whole conspiracy theory rubbish doesn't wash. The ATSB gave CASA a bollocking for their oversight of Transair which led the Qld Coroner to recommend the MOU between the two agencies and therein lies a whole 'nother thread(s).

I suggest you and your little mate have another read of PLovett's post, no hyperbole just a statement of facts. Then again a little hysteria and vitiriol from "the usual crowd" is never a surprise.

Eddie Dean 16th Nov 2014 19:01

Having now read the ATSB report and Coroner's report it would appear to be the PIC's below standard airmanship that was the prime cause.
Those on here that know the CASA people responsible for Transair and Aero Tropic oversight may be able to explain what they did to enable the accident to happen, was it direct involvement? Or did the CASA people take bribes or something similar?

Paragraph377 16th Nov 2014 19:32

Lookleft - standard childish retort one comes to expect on Pprune. Thank you for not disappointing us.

Eddie, reading the ATSB report is recommended, kudos to you. What the report won't tell you, and can't tell you, is details about some of the behind the scenes game play which snoop doggy dog has eloquently, yet not so subtly, posted. Answers to your questions can be found peppered around pprune on various open and closed threads about CASA, and about Lockhart. But it will take you a lot of time, effort and research to put the jigsaw together, your call.

Kharon 16th Nov 2014 19:33

Now that you mention it:-
One of the least mentioned parts of ATSB 200501977 is Appendix E, which deals with radio procedure and traffic. I have often wondered if some explanation for the last few minutes of the CFIT could not be drawn from this appendix. It seems, to me at least, to have been overshadowed by other events and the attendant hoo-hah. But IMO the 'conversation' between VH-PAR and the Metro is of interest.

From the report, the Aero Commander was inbound from the East and visual – tracking for a left circuit to the same runway as the Metro; looking at the timing, it seems reasonable that the Metro would have been at decision height at or about the time VH-PAR could be expected around base or final. It is noteworthy that a discussion related to the ambient (cloud base) conditions was entered into, but establishing positive separation was not mentioned. Well, I can't find any reference to the aircrew attempting to establish positive separation from the opposing traffic. Potentially overshoot from the instrument approach would be conducted at low level, in poor conditions at about the time the aircraft VH-PAR would be in close proximity. The radio conversation leads me (for discussion purposes) to three speculative conclusions which are worth a moments thought, as an explanation to some of the questions.

(i) The crew had poor situational awareness related to conflicting traffic and had not considered, planned or briefed for a missed approach, including potential traffic conflict.

(ii) The increase in descent profile was triggered by a report of the cloud base from VH-PAR, that information prompting an increase descent rate on the expectation of becoming visual. (Radio call time line v Descent profile).

(iii) The determination to become visual and 'beat' the opposing aircraft into the circling area, thus assuring priority for landing had some bearing on subsequent command decisions.

The two aircraft were, potentially in conflict, the situation certainly worth more air time than it appears to have been given. From the report timing, the Metro was expecting the instrument approach minima at or about the same time as the opposing aircraft would be joining the landing pattern. Executing the missed approach procedure, the Metro would potentially be below and behind the conflicting traffic, the overshoot path being across the logical flight path of the inbound aircraft.

If LHR is to be discussed – again – then perhaps solving (discussing) some of the puzzles would be a much better use of time that time. I have always been curious about the ATSB report Appendix 3 and the lack of discussion related to it.

Any ideas, help me scratch a long standing itch?? Curse this curiosity bump.

Toot toot.

Iron Bar 17th Nov 2014 02:01

Ohhh FFS. 337, I don't see much good being done. (Especially by the caravan)

"He had an ego bigger than a Collins Class Submarine, ;)"

Childish, stupid pseudonym and nothing to smile about. Do you have the balls to call Rob by name? That may become personal.

Like I said, if you lot are so convinced there is a conspiracy, then get off PPrune and do something about it.

Paragraph377 17th Nov 2014 04:31

Like I said, if you lot are so convinced there is a conspiracy, then get off PPRuNe and do something about it.
You are way to slow old mate. Plenty has been done behind the scenes, more than you could possibly ever fathom. As for conspiracies, I work with facts. How about you go back to VA/JQ/QF bashing like you do best. Or maybe ANZ needs a bagging? I'd be happy about that one :ok:

Iron Bar 17th Nov 2014 05:04

Very well, go on then and take your facts and knock yourself out. You will need some cojones and a good lawyer. If more than I could fathom has already been carried out, I'll wait to read about it in the paper. I think I'll be waiting a long time. (Torres news doesn't cut it).

Your clumsy CASA/Aero-Tropics/Trans-Air bashing ain't so hot.

Paragraph377 17th Nov 2014 05:36

Interesting that your pprune membership commenced May 2005, interesting month in Australian aviation. That combined with your love of CASA and the fateful airline in question is most interesting. Perhaps you used to clean Transair's and CASA FNQ's offices, hence the affection?
Good times great days.

Iron Bar 17th Nov 2014 05:54

What, sticks and stones now?

Lookleft 17th Nov 2014 06:05

Perhaps you used to clean Transair's and CASA FNQ's offices, hence the affection?

standard childish retort one comes to expect on Pprune. Thank you for not disappointing us.
Funny how one's words can come back to haunt one.:=

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