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Hawker Hunter Crash at Shoreham Airshow

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Hawker Hunter Crash at Shoreham Airshow

Old 4th Apr 2016, 19:47
  #1501 (permalink)  
 
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FL - I hear the concern I just think in a GA context they are overplayed as the majority of issues raised relate to commercial operations. Cockpit voice, FDRs, pilot unions, whistle blowers and 'organisational lawyers' seem consistent with that.

You highlighted the Rogers v Hoyle case. Im unclear how this case supports the fear of uncooperative witness or pilot statements to the AAIB.

Surely here the pilot expressed a view of control restriction at the time and maintained that view later, it's just the AAIB report (as I read it) perhaps placed different emphasis. Likewise the AAIB had no real motivation for placing any emphasis on anything they didn't believe to be factual, yet we can all read their views.

Just as witness statements as reflected in the AAIB report would unlikely change as I'm not entirely sure what the consequence for them was either way?

So that isn't really supportive of a view that has a pilot - in trying to be helpful to the AAIB - subsequently hanging himself with his own statement; which is I think one colloquial summary of one fear.

The point being that if you replayed the interaction of pilot and AAIB saying nothing arguably would be worse than maintaining a consistent view as was done. If anything the greater risk to using AAIB reports in this manner is that challenges to the points raised has the potential to damage long term credibility and their validity.
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Old 4th Apr 2016, 19:51
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An interesting topic, the AAIB evidence being used in court.

I know of one case where the AAIB almost certainly came to an incorrect conclusion regarding the cause of a fatal accident involving an aerobatic biplane.

The accident was of direct interest to me because the deceased was a friend of mine and I had flown in the actual aircraft (in the same seat as himself) on the flight immediately previous to the accident. It occurred over the same area, carrying out the same type of aerobatic manoeuvres....with the subsequent deceased pilot in the other seat. I was also at the departure airfield waiting for the aircraft to return - which it never did.

I later spoke at length with the badly injured, second occupant of the aircraft. This person told me precisely what had happened and how control of the aircraft had been lost. The conclusion of the AAIB was quite different to what I was told.

Last edited by ShyTorque; 8th Apr 2016 at 17:21.
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Old 4th Apr 2016, 20:05
  #1503 (permalink)  
 
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I used to accept whatever the AAIB published, after all, they have no reason to lie and must surely be professional enough to get it right.... well.... not any more.

Looking through accident reports and finding errors of fact, not opinion, in the situations that I do know about, makes me doubt all of the others.

Why is it that when someone points out errors, the AAIB don't correct the report?
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Old 4th Apr 2016, 22:48
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Why is it that when someone points out errors, the CAA don't correct the report?
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Old 4th Apr 2016, 22:59
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Pittsextra

You highlighted the Rogers v Hoyle case.
I referred to the appeal in that case because it produced a significant and far-reaching decision.
I'm unclear how this case supports the fear of uncooperative witness or pilot statements to the AAIB.
That is because you persist in focusing upon the facts/circumstances (as you see them) of the particular accident and associated report. If you could stop doing that all should become clear.
I just think in a GA context they are overplayed as the majority of issues raised relate to commercial operations. Cockpit voice, FDRs, pilot unions, whistle blowers and 'organisational lawyers' seem consistent with that.
That is demonstrably not true.
You have, in an attempt to support your argument, selected just a few items from the list of AAIB objections summarised in post 1490.

  • The use of the AAIB report as evidence in the Rogers v Hoyle case is of importance only to the parties.
You appear to think it made no difference in the circumstances of that case. The experienced specialist lawyers on both sides thought it did. On the basis that almost anything is possible, I suppose it's possible that you could be right and all the lawyers were wrong. I leave you to reflect upon how likely that is.
  • The circumstances of the accident which led to the civil claim were not relevant to the Court of Appeal's decision, nor were the contents of the AAIB report. That is because the Court was considering and deciding a point of legal principle.
The detailed judgment explaining the decision is more than 11,000 words long. The facts of the accident took up 52 of those words. (The introductory paragraph.) I haven't checked but, from recollection, I don't think it contained any reference to the contents of the report. I would not expect it to because the Court decided a point of legal principle.
  • The importance of the Court of Appeal's decision is that it applies to all civil cases in which a party seeks to use an AAIB report as evidence - not just to the case of Rogers v Hoyle.
It has been described by some legal commentators using legal jargon as a 'landmark' decision for that reason. It was. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, judges now have to allow entire AAIB reports to be used as evidence in civil cases.
  • The AAIB stance.
Neither the AAIB nor anyone else suggested that all the AAIB objections applied in the Rogers v Hoyle case.
For some reason, you fail to grasp that the AAIB did not simply object to the use of its report as evidence in the particular case. It was opposed, for the reasons summarised in post 1490, to its reports being adduced as evidence in court proceedings - whether relating to commercial aviation or GA accidents.
ie The potential detrimental effect upon future air accident investigations.

I don't wish to appear discourteous but I see no point in continuing exchanges with you. I have explained the implications of the decision as simply as I can. This post is my final attempt. If you are still unable to understand, so be it.




(Edit)

You haven't answered the question I asked earlier re the RAeS seminar:
I spoke from the floor in two of the sessions.
Did you offer your opinion(s)?
It was a perfect opportunity to have your opinions considered by many people with relevant expertise - legal and other, including a former AAIB Chief Inspector.

.

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 4th Apr 2016 at 23:23.
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Old 4th Apr 2016, 23:20
  #1506 (permalink)  

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FL, I'd be interested to read your opinion regarding the situation I mentioned above. If that AAIB report had been used in evidence in court, it could have been entirely misleading but probably have been taken as correct and irrefutable and a miscarriage of justice would possibly have occurred. Obviously, someone such as myself would have learned of the miscarriage only after the event because I had no direct relevance to the case.
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Old 5th Apr 2016, 06:27
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Flying Lawyer

I have read that claim elsewhere – by only one person. He/she also put only a part as a direct quote.
The sentence read as a whole is so obviously not correct that I wonder if the part not in quotes is the writer's interpretation of what the CEO said.
First, a typo on my part - it was October 2012.

The context was the Chief Executive had been sent the written evidence to the Nimrod and Philip Reviews. In reply, he stated the content and subject was "none of my or the Society's business". The content was 100% safety/airworthiness related. The wider context was a number of Fellows expressing frustration at the CE vetoing letters refuting the MoD (and hence Society) line on the subject. Specifically, the members had noted, and wanted printed in the Society magazine, that MoD and Ministers (they named Adam Ingram) had been given advance warning of the systemic failures reiterated by Mr Haddon-Cave. This warning was given to Ingram over 18 months before the crash.

I'm sure, as you say, there is always scope for misinterpretation, or a poorly worded letter, but the Society's attitude toward the subject is well known, as is its overbearing attitude toward members who do not toe the line; especially on the likes of Mull of Kintyre.
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Old 5th Apr 2016, 06:40
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Tuc

I'm considering an experiment where people start threads on increasingly more random subjects and we time how long it will take you to turn it into a thread about your hobby horse and start twisting quotes to mean what you want them to mean rather than what the speaker meant.....
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Old 5th Apr 2016, 08:02
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Thanks for that Tourist.

I posted comments in response to others yet you do not make the same comment to them. You therefore personalise the matter.

The most important point you miss in your condemnation of those whose implement safety regulations is that, as a pilot, these things should be largely invisible to you. You need to appreciate that we would have no cause to discuss them if people employed to ensure your safety would do their jobs correctly. You target the messenger, but ignore the message.

You have been asked many times; if you disagree so much with the mandated regulations, please tell us which ones should be scrapped. If you have put your suggestions to the authorities, I'd be happy to compare notes and discuss their responses.
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Old 5th Apr 2016, 23:19
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tucumseh

After reading read your explanation, I looked again at what I had previously seen alleged in identical style by 'someone' on another aviation related website. (As mentioned in my original response to you.)

There was far more to the correspondence than merely sending the Chief Executive a copy of written evidence given to the Nimrod and Philip Reviews. If that had been all that happened then the CE's response would have been outrageous. It wasn't.

I now think misinterpretation of what the CE wrote (the possibility I suggested previously) is very mild – and certainly not the word I would use now.

This issue is way off topic so I'll leave it at that.
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Old 5th Apr 2016, 23:59
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FL, I'd be interested to read your opinion regarding the situation I mentioned above.
I can't give a definitive answer because there are too many variables but the short answer is that there could have been a miscarriage of justice.

I note that you refer to the "second occupant" rather than passenger, and that the AAIB "failed to determine who had actually been flying the aircraft at the time - because they never asked!"
Assuming, just for the purpose of illustration, that the second occupant was flying when control was lost, the question that arises is whether he would have been prepared to tell the AAIB that he was - had he been asked.

That prompts consideration of some of the objections the AAIB raised to the use of its reports for a purpose for which they are not intended:
  • If AAIB reports are frequently admitted into evidence in litigation there is the possibility that this would deter some people who are able to assist from doing so.
  • Witnesses may perceive a risk of their being called to give evidence or even made defendants in subsequent legal proceedings. Witness cooperation may be less forthcoming and they are likely to be more guarded in what they say.
  • Investigators may now have to mention to those concerned that any report is admissible in civil proceedings. (IMHO, there is a strong argument that they should now give such a warning.)
If, as is very likely given human nature, those factors caused the second occupant to fear being sued, then there is a real risk that he would not give be entirely forthcoming when asked about the accident.

In the accident you mentioned the pilot was killed, but the same considerations apply to pilots who survive.

_________

The implications of the decision for the conduct of litigation is just one factor.

The other is more immediately relevant to aviators: aviation safety.

Given the objectives of an AAIB investigation, anything that undermines its ability to obtain truthful information is obviously detrimental to aviation safety.

If people who could assist an investigation are not full and frank in the information they disclose, even for understandable reasons, then the AAIB is not in a position to make appropriate safety recommendations with the objective of preventing future accidents.
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Old 6th Apr 2016, 08:09
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Thomas coupling
Why is it that when someone points out errors, the CAA don't correct the report?
The CAA (like other interested parties) is entitled to submit comments for consideration by the AAIB at the draft stage before the final report is published but it has no power to "correct" a report.
Rightly so, IMHO. There are occasions when the AAIB makes adverse comments about a role played by the CAA. The CAA should not have power to remove them.
There is nothing to prevent the CAA from stating publicly that it does not accept AAIB findings/recommendations. It sometimes does.

I was reassured to read that the Chief Inspector emphasised the independence of the AAIB and, in particular, express concern that it should not be drawn into litigation. I have had professional experience of a very different attitude.

In a criminal case in which I was involved as defence counsel which arose from a fatal accident, far from maintaining independence, the most active (not most senior) inspector became far too close to the police during their investigation.
That was very obvious at the preliminary court hearings. He was not only huddled in private conversation with the police/prosecution team before and after the hearings - I suppose they could have been discussing the weather - but even sat with them during the hearings.

The AAIB did not support my objection to the report being used in evidence.

In the same case, it was suggested to me by a now retired senior person in the AAIB that it should become involved in the trial as independent expert witnesses. I rejected the suggestion, partly because I did not regard the particular inspector (the one mentioned above) as independent and partly because our own experts had found significant flaws in the AAIB's findings and reasoning.
The disputes were not resolved because, for other reasons, the case did not ultimately proceed to trial.

The AAIB has an excellent reputation which in my view is justified. However, contrary to assumption by some people (including some in these forums), the AAIB makes mistakes from time to time – just like the rest of us.

Being independent does not mean always being right.

.

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 6th Apr 2016 at 08:19.
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Old 6th Apr 2016, 09:35
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FL, thanks for your reply. Much as I thought, I will in future be extremely cautious about speaking to the AAIB. I hope I never have cause to do so!
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Old 6th Apr 2016, 10:11
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Flying Lawyer, thank you for your erudite responses.

As a former professional sailor and current professional pilot, I have had at the back of my mind in this discussion the manslaughter trial of Michael Hubble, Officer of the Watch on the Pride of Bilbao regarding the crew of the yacht Ouzo.

In that case, the MAIB were of the "firm opinion" that the Pride of Bilbao had been involved in a close encounter with the Ouzo, and it was following the publication of their report that the prosecution was undertaken my the MCA (the maritime version of the CAA) enforcement branch.

That case (in my view rightly but for different reasons) resulted in an acquittal, as I suspect would any criminal case based on this accident.

Like ShyTorque, in any accident where criminal liability might come into play, I would seek legal advice before any interview with the AAIB.

Also relevant, but in a different jurisdiction (and in this case contested by BALPA) is the Scottish police investigation into the crash of G-WNSB on approach to Sumburgh.

Fundamentally, unless there is clear evidence of negligence I do not view the criminal courts as an appropriate avenue for restitution following fatal accidents.
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Old 7th Apr 2016, 15:47
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I am still wondering:

Why is it that when someone points out errors, the AAIB don't correct the report?
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Old 7th Apr 2016, 16:31
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Originally Posted by airpolice View Post
I am still wondering:
As somebody who spends a lot of his life writing technical reports - a significant number of them over the years about bent flying machines of all shapes and sizes, some aspects of how AAIB currently work trouble me. Others don't.

With regard to that particular point, I think that if you interrogated the Chief Inspector about this the answer you'd get is along the lines of the real reason for AAIB reports is to make recommendations that are intended to prevent future accidents. If they had evidence which made a recommendation AAIB had made invalid, or which gave reason to issue a new recommendation - I think that they would do so.

However, from AAIB's viewpoint the primary purpose of the investigation is as a tool to enable generation of useful recommendations. If changed facts do not change those recommendations, then I think that in AAIB's collective mind, that doesn't create a reason to amend the report.

I don't necessarily support that viewpoint, but I think that's what they're thinking. Another point of-course is that just because somebody thinks that AAIB's facts are wrong, doesn't mean that AAIB thinks so.


AAIB reports in many ways are extremely useful and thorough reports, and very useful material for all sorts of developing design studies and safety investigations. But I'll add another criticism which, to my mind puts AAIB in the dark ages - they fail to properly cite most of their data sources. When I write a report - whether for a court or some other purpose such as academic research, I am normally required and expected to clearly identify all of my main sources of information. (The regulations for expert witnesses require that, as do all guides to best practice in technical writing.) That AAIB do not, probably improves their readability, but at the same time significantly degrades their utility for technical grown-ups wanting to make use of them (or I suspect people like FL and his colleagues, if they have reason to challenge them.)

G
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Old 8th Apr 2016, 06:57
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Originally Posted by airpolice View Post
I am still wondering:
Strange, the monthly AAIB Bulletins I receive often have corrections to previous reports in the back.
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Old 8th Apr 2016, 15:52
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UPDATE

http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/Factor201601.pdf
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Old 8th Apr 2016, 16:01
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Several points brought up in the last few pages about AAIB and CAA interactions, views on points and disagreements clearly illustrated.
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Old 9th Apr 2016, 21:36
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Final AAIB report on this incident possibly due this week coming.
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