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Merged: Pel-Air Westwind Ditching off NLK

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Merged: Pel-Air Westwind Ditching off NLK

Old 19th Nov 2009, 08:40
  #81 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 696

Just running this up the flagpole. If the Wx enroute via NF was dodgy, wouldn't tracking via Nandi then Noumea be more prudent given the availability of better navaids? Keen to hear other's thoughts not bagging the crew concerned. Are there reasons why you wouldn't consider that scenario?
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 09:07
  #82 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2006
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"ditching plane at sea"......... where else ?
As happened recently in Hamilton, NZ... into a sewerage treatment pond...

I'm not sure how you can be called a hero for causing your own ditching, at least Sully had a good excuse! These guys ditched a perfectly serviceable aeroplane, simply because they ran out of fuel. Hardly hero activity. What kind of fuel planning is that?
remoak is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2009, 09:11
  #83 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Sandpit
Posts: 74
ABC Radio

John Sharp (former Federal Transport Minister, and now CEO of PelAir) interviewed on ABC radio this afternoon. Paraphrased comments because I had both hands on the wheel, and my jaw in my lap:

"...the company are now conducting an investigation and expect to change their company flight planning policy so that a point of no return (PNR) is calculated before flight..."

They are not my words...they are his!

Despite the obvious causal factors, and underlying factors, that have appeared to cause this accident, it is still be prudent to wait for the facts and read the ATSB report, before hanging the poor bastard.

The G

PS: Congrats for not killing anyone.
The Guru is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2009, 09:16
  #84 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 159
A Westwind, in the dark, and everybody got out. I don't care if or what kind of mistakes he may or may not have made prior.
That is amazing skill (or luck beyond comprehension).
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 09:17
  #85 (permalink)  
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These guys ditched a perfectly serviceable aeroplane, simply because they ran out of fuel. Hardly hero activity. What kind of fuel planning is that?
That statement is more befitting the D&G Forum and it's henchmen! Trial by PPRuNe at it's worst!

Talk about a bunch of gossiping girls! It's embarrassing!
Capt Fathom is online now  
Old 19th Nov 2009, 09:33
  #86 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 27
I agree aussie027. It was not "normal circumstances"
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 09:33
  #87 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 696

No PNR required? How did they get/keep an AOC let alone an aeromed contract specialising in long distance retrievals?
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 09:49
  #88 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: sydney,NSW,Australia
Age: 41
Posts: 22
Ahhh Billy sex crime,

Yes I have seen a life raft all bagged up, and have intimate knowledge of the westwind too, and the rafts that pelair use for that matter! I assure you every time I did a trip it would fit in the cabin. and if it wouldnt I would make room for it,(it never had to sit in the aisle) with all the overwater flying pelair does the life raft was very important and I always wanted it to be the first thing thrown out the door should we need to ditch, Luckily I never needed to use it but I assure you before ditching I would have had the lanyard attached to the base of the front chair and the raft secured there too so it would be ready to go. a ditching should be a planned procedure when needed and things like life jackets and life raft positioning before the final approach to ditch are very important. flying the procedure is only a very small part of ditching

And no you cant access the baggage compartment from the cabin, which is why I couldn't believe they would put it in there.
Captain Kellogs is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2009, 10:01
  #89 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Aus
Posts: 76
History repeats itself......

Very interesting Read....


Recommendation. Recommendation issued to: Bureau Of Meteorology. 22 February 2000. SUBJECT - RELIABILITY OF NORFOLK ISLAND FORECASTS. SAFETY DEFICIENCY. The meteorological forecasts for Norfolk Island are not sufficiently reliable on some occasions to prevent pilots having to carry out unplanned ...

At website

Gnd Power is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2009, 10:10
  #90 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: australia
Posts: 280
even if he had the 2 hours island holding BS in lieu of an alternate that may be allowed under the the company SOP's NLK is not the place to apply this rule.The METAR's that existed that night can last for days at a time.
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 10:47
  #91 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 451

Let’s get real about the Norfolk Island ditching
November 19, 2009 – 8:34 pm, by Ben Sandilands
Last night’s ditching of a Pel-Air CareFlight medevac Westwind jet is being turned into a media circus by the airline and some very susceptible reporters.

First reported in the Crikey subscriber email today, the incident which left six people, half of them without life jackets, in the sea for at least 60 minutes awaiting rescue after their jet ran out of fuel, has even been compared to the actions of heroic Captain Chesley Sullenberger in landing the US Airways A320 on the Hudson River last January.

What a load of weak minded idiotic drivel.

And John Sharp, a former aviation minister, put up this ridiculous statement this morning as chairman of Pel-Air Aviation, which is owned by REX, the regional carrier.

John Sharp, Chairman of Pel-Air Aviation said that he was very proud of the Captain and the First Officer. “They performed an intricate landing on water in darkness resulting in the evacuation of everyone safely and quickly. The training of both the Pel-Air and CareFlight crew came to the fore as everyone kept together and remained calm. Their professionalism stood out on the day and made a substantial difference to the outcome.”

The nonsense words we have highlighted are ‘very proud’ and ‘professionalism’.

The pilot, Captain Dominic James, ditched a plane carrying passengers in the sea in the dark because he ran out of fuel. That isn’t professionalism.

Where exactly is the professionalism in Pel-Air when it operates a flight that is inadequately fuelled for a worst case diversion, such as depressurisation, or a closed airport, and has no where to go but into the drink, instead of having the juice to divert to the nearest airport in New Zealand or New Caledonia.

For John Sharp to say he is ‘very proud’ of this situation suggests he has forgotten everything he ever knew about aviation and flight standards, or has no knowledge of or respect for the regulations as set out later in this post.

On the ABC tonight Sharp says there was no Plan B if the weather turned nasty.But the weather had been nasty for quite some time on Norfolk island yesterday. One of the principles of safe airline operation is to always have a Plan B, and the fuel to carry it out.

If it turns out that this flight was operated in accordance with the companies operating manual, which is one of the requirements of its AOC or air operator certificate, then CASA is in serious trouble for lack of diligence in approving it. It the flight wasn’t carried out in accordance with the regulations CASA must surely serve a show cause notice in relation to the potential cancellation of its AOC and prosecute the owners and board of the company, who have very serious responsibilities in aviation law.

And even if the conduct of the flight met the conditions required by the company, what sort of a company are we dealing with when this sort of crash is, as Sharp’s comment imply, a consequence of deliberately flying with only a Plan A?

Here is the relevant extract from the regulation CAO 82.0 concerning the Pel-Air flight:

1 Application
1.1 This Part applies to Air Operators’ Certificates authorising aerial work
operations, charter operations and regular public transport operations and sets out conditions to which such certificates are subject for the purposes of…
remote island means:

(a) Christmas Island; or
(b) Lord Howe Island; or
(c) Norfolk Island.

2.3 The minimum safe fuel for an aeroplane undertaking a flight to a remote
island is:
(a) the minimum amount of fuel that the aeroplane should carry on that

flight, according to the operations manual of the aeroplane’s operator,

revised (if applicable) as directed by CASA to ensure that an adequate

amount of fuel is carried on such flights; or
(b) if the operations manual does not make provision for the calculation of
that amount or has not been revised as directed by CASA — whichever

of the amounts of fuel mentioned in paragraph 2.4 is the greater.
2.4 For the purposes of subparagraph 2.3 (b), the amounts of fuel are:

(a) the minimum amount of fuel that will, whatever the weather conditions, enable the aeroplane to fly, with all its engines operating, to the remote island and then from the remote island to the aerodrome that is, for that flight, the alternate aerodrome for the aircraft, together with any reservefuel requirements for the aircraft; and
(b) the minimum amount of fuel that would, if the failure of an engine or a
loss of pressurisation were to occur during the flight, enable the

(i) to fly to its destination aerodrome or to its alternate aerodrome for the flight; and
(ii) to fly for 15 minutes at holding speed at 1 500 feet above that aerodrome under standard temperature conditions; and

(iii) to land at that aerodrome.


Suggestion: CASA should act immediately in relation to these prima facie violations of CAO 82.0 (subsection 2.4) and prosecute the owners and board of the airline for multiple offences.

CASA should also conduct a full audit and review of every aspect of Pel-Air’s operations and its fitness to hold its AOC, with particular regard to its fuel reserve policies.

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Old 19th Nov 2009, 10:49
  #92 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 243
How about a bit of kudos being thrown his way boys and girls?
Noboby knows what the circumstances behind the ditching are.
Jeez.....there are some real pieces of work on this thread.
GADRIVR is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2009, 10:54
  #93 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 6
I can't watch any more telly, the 'Hero' thing is killing me! John Sharp should face the music, and step down. Pollies (even ex) can spin better than a chipmunk, and once the truth is revealed, the public will have lost interest and moved on. Poor RFDS, meet your enemy! Unscrupulous, uncaring, uncompliant, unstoppable.
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 11:00
  #94 (permalink)  
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Everyday I operate in an environment where the only constant is change, I go to work with that in mind and ensure that I never have my back to the wall. You operate into that environment you always have an escape.

There are serious flaws in this, maybe we can learn from the reason model. Mr. Sharp has no doubt utilised his media contacts to put a different spin on this, but it is quite possible the buck could end up with him after the investigation.
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 11:03
  #95 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2000
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Age: 69
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but is it not a requirement for you to carry an alternate for NLK now, no matter what the TAF says.
From memory this was done/changed in 1999 or early 2000, that's why all the commercial piston operators stopped flying there back then because they couldn't carry the gas. From what we were led to believe you were not allowed to plan to a PNR for NLK, you needed fuel for an alternate.
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 11:09
  #96 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: bumf*ck, idaho
Posts: 447
Oh man!, no plan B!

Who has no plan B!!!!

Who admits there was no plan B to the press??????

What is going on??????????????
There is going to be some battered ego's by the time this one plays out....
Sonny Hammond is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2009, 11:12
  #97 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: australia
Posts: 16
I worked for Pelair for years and you always had to carry min fuel where ever you went, the uplift was the main priority.The crew did a great job and should be praised, but Pelair need to be investigated.
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 11:23
  #98 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 32
GADRIVR - kudos where it is due for sure, however:

Having operated Norfolk, Noumea, Auckland - remote location, poor WX reported - Always carry ALT (see Crikey CAO ref) and divert before eating into ALT Fuel. F28 had to turn back before TOD if wx was close to Min.
3 approaches before diverting is ridiculous in this part of world.

If the pax can tread water for 60 - 90 mins, they can't be that sick - so shouldn't be a mercy flight as suggested earlier.

Only 3 wearing jackets - that isn't a well prepared ditching.

But this is all speculation, and importantly, with the pedigree of the CEO, I suggest CASA will have difficulty prosecuting the matter fully
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Old 19th Nov 2009, 12:05
  #99 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Australia
Posts: 309
Anyone know the rego please?

Diatryma is offline  
Old 19th Nov 2009, 12:26
  #100 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: Ex-pat Aussie in the UK
Posts: 4,880
So what do we know?

The aircraft flew to a remote Island, carried out three approaches, then ditched. Island reserve should at least be two hours - which should be more than three approaches, and they should have had variable and fixed reserve on top of that.

The interview with the Airport Manager, who rescued them from the sea stated that they had no idea at what time they ditched, or where they were. He stated that they were found in the water about and hour and a half after the accident, by one of the boat crew managing to catch sight of a life jacket emergency light bobbing about about two kilometres off shore. Only three of the six were wearing life jackets - the two pilots, and the patient were the ones who had to go without.

So - if there isn't a question or two in that lot, I don't know what else people need! You have to at least question how "prepared" this ditching was!
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