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Old 27th Jun 2012, 07:53   #1 (permalink)
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Helios Judge's Reasoning

It is time for all engineers to take action before they find themselves in prison.
The Greek judge has has given her reasons for banging up Alan Irwin for 123 years and has set the precendent that an engineer is responsible for configuring an aircraft for flight:
"Furthermore, the Court did not accept the arguments of the defendant that it was the pilotís sole responsibility to set the switch to the AUTO position, because the pilots have a number of obligations that are also obligations of the engineer."
The reasoning is 400 pages of similar ill informed rubbish which will probably not get a public airing.

How about boycotting all aircraft going into Greek airspace or belonging to Greek operators for a start.
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Old 27th Jun 2012, 12:58   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Snoop, This is ridiculous and shows the court took absolutely no consideration to the huge amount of information that was given to them which proved the original accident report was totally flawed.

The AIR report confirmed the switch position in Auto prior to the incident by the hot/cold rupture of the filaments in the P5 module. After the evidence given to the court by the variety of people acting for the defence it just shows the judiciary really had no idea of the basis of this case and were really just out for a scape-goat.

What they have managed to do is put the whole of the EASA license system into total disarray. In an incident of this nature, the 145 organisation Accountable Manager and Qa Manager should have been the people to be standing in the dock. They are the people responsible for issuing Alan's EASA 145 approval. Alan certified under a UK issued EASA 145 approval, hence the AM and QAM being ultimately responsible. Any follow on action should have been taken by the EASA145 organisation upon the engineer involved if found guilty of a misdemeanor. Thats the basis of the EASA 145 approval system and why we all certify under a company issued approval.

What the court have managed to do is find Alan guilty (?) based on his own signature and evidence. Basically if you now certify any documentation you are taking the responsiblility for these actions under your own auspice and any protection under EASA145 is now taken away.

Basically every aircraft now flying is flying illegally. The CRS's are now invalid as all CRS's are certified under an EASA145 approval number. Maybe someone might like to point this information out to the aviation industry!

Why bother with the licence/approval system at all in this case?

For every engineer like myself, this has huge ramifacations for the aviation industry thanks to a team of judges in Greece who have shown they don't/didn't understand the complexities of the case and refused to consider accurate and credible evidence when put before them.

Maybe, now the UK CAA would really like to become involved because I would like to know whats going to happen if I certify an aircraft in the near future, it has an incident and which court I should be attending.(I may need to book leave from work)

We had a very safe system and it's now wide open.

This investigation must be reopened and any verdict must be delayed from being enforced until that reinvestigation is completed. I just hope the Greeks don't issue a European arrest warrant and the UK government just pass him on based on an inaccurate and flawed criminal case.

My thoughts go out to Alan and await to see the next step.
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Old 27th Jun 2012, 16:36   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by asheng
...The AIR report confirmed the switch position in Auto prior to the incident by the hot/cold rupture of the filaments in the P5 module. ...
The AIR says that the switch was in the MAN position. (page 81)
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Old 27th Jun 2012, 17:16   #4 (permalink)
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Bloody bonkers if you ask me.

Ok the Aircraft should have been configured after maintenance, but lets remember the Captain still has to ACCEPT his/hers aircraft after the preflight checks.

Plus to take into consideration the utter confusion with the Master Warning screaming at them, plus the duff gen they were receiving from there Airline Ops Centre.

Alan im afraid is a scapegoat and it is very worrying as a Certifier of large aircraft that we will receive no support from the UK CAA or the Government if something craps out.

Off topic a bit here sorry

I think we should leave EASA as its a big pile of rubbish anyway.
The recent crises in the Eurozone is down to the ideology a european union with developing economies cooking the balance books and writing cheques they can't cash to make the membership criteria.
If that is at a government treasury level what corners are being cut in the Aircraft Maintenance to make the grade satisfying EASA.

A fallout beyond all comprehension.

C'mon CAA show some backbone for Alan.
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Old 28th Jun 2012, 07:39   #5 (permalink)
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PMS Selector

In the 7 years that this has been going on no-one has ever presented any evidence that Alan left the switch in MAN - it is assumed that he did because he was the last person who admitted touching it! There is compelling evidence to show that he could not have left it in MAN but this was rejected by the court, for no other reason than that it was given by non-Greeks.

You don't have to have done anything wrong to be found guilty by the Greeks, just to have been there!

Evidence given by Greeks was accepted without reservation, that by non-Greeks was either ignored or distorted. There are several places in the judge's reasoning where statements beneficial to the prosecution are attributed to defence witnesses, however the witness quoted never said it.

Let CAA know how you feel - it's your life at stake, and that of untold numbers of aircrew and passenger whose safety has been affected by this crass decision.

Last edited by airsnoop; 28th Jun 2012 at 07:40.
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Old 4th Jul 2012, 10:16   #6 (permalink)
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Having spent the greater part of my career as a Flight Engineer, It was drilled into all crew to treat every aircraft as just left the hanger, to scan all the panels to ensure ALL switches were in the correct position prior to engine start. The ground engineer in this instance may or may not have left the Pressurization controller in MANUAL. We will never know

This is not the point.....it seems to me to point to negligence on behalf of the Flight Crew, not the first time a crew member has made a mistake!

I remember in the early days of my career reading about a DC8 crew being imprisoned after departing the runway upon landing at Athens. The result of incorrect weather broadcast from the airport about runway conditions!

This country is still in the middle ages regards some of its laws.

I am now a self employed Ground Engineer and carry a large part of my flying thought processes in to my present position, heaven forbid should I ever make a mistake whilst in Greece!
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Old 6th Dec 2012, 20:08   #7 (permalink)
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Helios 2005 accident

IFixPlanes reply 27/06/12

Sorry you are wrong. The A.I.R. report came to the conclusion that the available physical evidences are "definitive" and "unambiguous" in demonstrating that the Mode Selection Switch Knob was "forceably rotated" from its pre-impact position at the "AUTO" detent, and was then crushed into its final at-rest "BEYOND MANUAL" position. para 5.11 of A.I.R. report 09 May 2012. THIS EXONERATES ENGINEER ALAN IRWIN COMPLETELY. He should be found "NOT GUILTY" immediately. Unfortunately today (6th December 2012) the appeal court appeared not to accept that the conclusions of the original accident report were wrong and that there was new evidence for a re-opening of the accident investigation. All those working on aircraft that fly to Greece be warned - it could be you next.
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Old 6th Dec 2012, 21:02   #8 (permalink)
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As a Captain currently flying the B737 I except that the position of any switch on the flight deck is my ultimately my responsibility, it is simply part of my pre flight checks.

As an AML holder I was so concerned with original ruling that I contacted my MP with the aim of getting some support for Alan's case but this has achieved very little ( I suspect that with HS2 planned to run through the constituency he thinks he has bigger fish to fry).

The fact that the Greeks have failed to understand that this latest ruling fails to take account of all the evidence and is built on previous evidence gathered in direct conflict with ICAO and EEC protocol shows that the Greek justice system is unfit to meet the standards required for an EEC member state.

I need a little more information about the latest court case but as soon as I can put something together I think it is time to launch something at my euro MP's.

I would hope that a few more of you will also take the time to write to your MP's both at Westminster & Brussels because this is the only way that the Greeks will understand that they are simply not upholding the standards of evidence required of an EEC state.
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Old 6th Dec 2012, 23:38   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by John Richardson
...A.I.R. report 09 May 2012. ...
John, can you give me a link to this AIR?
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Old 7th Dec 2012, 00:02   #10 (permalink)
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It shouldn't matter how an engineer (cleaner, pilot, cabin crew) leaves any switch in the flight deck. It's the flight crew's job to notice incorrect selections and do something about it (but leaving the oil filler off caps is different). But in the Helios case a knob of a captain and an incompetent F/O failed to appropriate deal with one of Mr. Boeing's many little "gotchas" before and during flight.

This judge is doing the wrong job. But there again, this is becoming typical for this country. Corrupt officials, criminal politicians and a totally pathetic judiciary. No wonder they haven't got a pot to p!ss in.

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Old 7th Dec 2012, 03:44   #11 (permalink)

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BUT.........................they did give the world tragedy.
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Old 7th Dec 2012, 09:29   #12 (permalink)
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A.I.R. report

To IFixPlanes.

I don't have a link to the above report. I have searched via Google and can only find a reference to the A.I.R. company. I have a copy of the report because of my wife's invovment as a defence witness .
I have just put the whole report on a stick, and could send as an e-mail attachment, it to you if you let me know your e-mail address. It's 7 MB + !

Last edited by John Richardson; 9th Dec 2012 at 09:12.
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Old 7th Dec 2012, 10:23   #13 (permalink)
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Maybe, now the UK CAA would really like to become involved because I would
like to know whats going to happen if I certify an aircraft in the near future,
it has an incident and which court I should be attending.(I may need to book
leave from work)
Of course they should; they should have been right alongside Alan from the very start, as the issuer of his licence. They should have paid whatever it takes for lawyers to protect the integrity of the licences they issue. They should have involved the relevant Minister, even the Prime Minister, to make forceful representations to whatever passes for a Government in that God-forsaken country.

They did not do that, to no-one's surprise. And so the integrity (validity, even) of their licences, as well as of all EASA licences, in now in question. And a UK citizen is locked up in the hell-hole of incompetence and corruption that is Greece in 2012, because a Greek "judge" has zero understanding both of the law and the facts of the case. How much did she pay to get that job, I wonder?

Will the CAA do anything remotely constructive and effective? No, of course they won't; too busy with the tea, pension plan and leaving to become a "consultant", even if they had the competence to understand properly what has happened, which it seems they do not.
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Old 7th Dec 2012, 12:19   #14 (permalink)
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Having sat in the Greek court yesterday and listened to 3 experts in their field prove beyond all reasonable doubt that Helios was a safe airline with established procedures and an acclaimed world expert in the field of accident investigation conclusively prove that the PMS switch was in Auto when the aircraft took off via forensic examination of the faceplate of the P5 panel what did the Greeks do???? Tried to rubbish any claims contrary to the Greek report and then try and swing any blame on the NTSB. The 2 investigators from the NTSB who assisted the Greek AASIB have been shown the AIR evidence and immediatly concluded the Greek report was flawed and so informed the Greek AASIB.

I sat there yesterday to see 3 judges (one of whom spent half the case asleep) try and discredit the 3 experts on the stand, the prosecution didn't have an answer and the only person who seemed to register anything was wrong was the prosecution judge who took notice of the animations, evidence and the questions Alan raised to the investigation team at the time of the reports issuance.

This case is drawing to a close but as engineers we now have to be accutely aware the UKCAA are not interested in supporting anyone involved in an incident and this will put accident investigation back many years. Would any engineer now comply with the accident investigation now any information given will be used to incriminate him whether it's right or wrong?? The answer is No!

Sooner or later, this case will be reopened and the information is that the NTSB are looking seriously at the new evidence and the case will be re-examined. My only hope is the authors of this entirely flawed report are totally discredited with the industry and shown to be the incompetant fools they really are.

However, it may not help Alan in the short term but it's something we should all bear in mind next time we renew our EASA/CAA licences and a concern to us all.
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Old 7th Dec 2012, 18:20   #15 (permalink)
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Feel for the guy, just a scape goat to make some people happy and put the blame on the little guy.

Where are the owners of Helios in all this, if Paul was accused of leaving the switch in the wrong position cause he is the last one who touched it, one could argue, if Helios hadn't bought and Boeing made the airplane the switch wouldn't have been in the wrong position.

What about the switch manufacturer he should also be in jail if only just for the fact he made a switch with more than one position.

Might as well blame Orville too if he had stayed on the ground we still be flying balloons,
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Old 12th Dec 2012, 09:27   #16 (permalink)
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Supreme Court orders retrial in Helios case - Cyprus Mail
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Old 13th Dec 2012, 21:59   #17 (permalink)
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"As the Cypriot court observes " It is understood that the complexity and scope of the case will entail additional time and cost, however the public interest is such that it must prevail, in order that proper and effective justice be served" However how exactly are the defendants to pay for the proper presentation of their defence for what will be the 4th time in what is a highly complex case (Twice in Cyprus and twice in Greece).And if they cannot, then how will a retrial deliver proper and effective justice?
The fact that trials for the same matters are even permissible in two European countries makes a mockery of Union. The need for a "moral vindication" speaks volumes about the motivations of those involved in the prosecution- and ignores that in life there are sometimes accidents."is one of the comments.Very well said.If there was a term "triple jeopardy" it would describe this ridiculous decision. It's a shame for law and aviation .Feel free to go there and comment.
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Old 7th Feb 2013, 22:24   #18 (permalink)
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I know this is already covered in rumours & news, But i'm sure a mention here wouldn't go amiss.
Alan has finally been acquitted today. Hopefully he can now draw a line under the dreadful last few years and move on.

Bulgaria: Greek Appeals Court Upholds Bulgarian Pilot Guilty Verdict - Novinite.com - Sofia News Agency
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Old 8th Feb 2013, 08:03   #19 (permalink)
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That is terrific news, thanks for posting.
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Old 8th Feb 2013, 11:53   #20 (permalink)
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Great news but shameful that it has taken this long to achieve and dragged someones name and reputation through the mud in the process, and that is in no way meant to disrespect those who lost their lives.
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