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MERGED: Alligator Airways Grounded

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MERGED: Alligator Airways Grounded

Old 6th May 2012, 22:44
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dunno how reliable the info is but someone I know in Kunnas said most of them left for Broome or Darwin already
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Old 6th May 2012, 22:45
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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AFAIK Biggles, there was only one pilot there (aside from GS) that had flown in the area longer than 3 months. GS resigned yesterday and is heading home; which will make things that one bit harder for AA when they go to court.

It is disappointing to see a bunch of newbies out of a job after they put a bit of effort into getting up to Kununurra. I guess it just goes to show that however much money mummy or daddy have, it can buy you a lot....but not an AOC.
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Old 7th May 2012, 01:10
  #103 (permalink)  
 
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FRQ CB, I wonder if the reason there isn't so much chatter on this issue is that there have been a number of posters who have, for some time, discussed the very issues that CASA have included in their reasons for the grounding. So whilst I think there is still a lot more that could be said on the topic it's not like it's snuck up on the industry. Also, a number of the RK supporters on here have been rather silent on the issue therefore there is little debate happening.

WannaBe, I don't know how many pilots were employed at Gator last week but I suspect not many. They have been operating with a severely reduced fleet for months and the recent spate of engine failures has reduced it to two or three. Usually by this time of the year they would have around 13-16 pilots with another 5-6 starting over the next 2-3 weeks..... and a fully servicable (or as near to as possible) fleet of about 15 aircraft.

There are a number of pilots on this forum (and a great deal many more industry wide) who got their start in the industry at Alligator. Under the previous owner, CM, the business was well run. It wasn't without its faults by any means but it would never have come to this. NEVER! Gator started it's decline a few months after the current owner took over. There are a number of the behind-the-scenes reasons that should not be discussed on here but there are enough that are pubicly known that by themselves would have brought it to it's knees.

Am I sad to see Gator as it is? You bet! Do I believe CASA have made the correct call in this case? Absolutely! Would I like to see Gator flying again? Yes, so long as the management was different, maintenance was conducted properly, the CP was allowed to do his job unhindered, complying with the regs was a matter of normal every day business, not a joke, and people were allowed/encouraged to speak up when they felt safety was compromised (for whatever reason) without fearing they would become the next firing statistic. (That list could go on...)

Alligator was a great place to work a few years ago and whilst we worked hard, we enjoyed it. Many of us flying around today owe our start in the industry to Gator. The Bungles and long hot days at Bellburn (as it was called then) got a bit old after a few hundred trips, but works tours up the Kimberley coast, days at the Kalumburu mission with the cancer man and the TV being changed to ABC news at 12 o'clock sharp regardless of what you were watching, cricket bats being thrown at your aircraft by angry locals at Oombi, freight runs to Balgo in the wet season, overnights at Truscott etc were all part of the fun. Not to mention the BBQ's and the nightly ritual of sitting around the hangar with someones carton fine being consumed at a great rate whilst the sun set in the west and the mozzies came out to play.
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Old 7th May 2012, 04:44
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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Quote:
80% power in the vans was the catalyst
That may be part of it..... but that doesn't explain C207 issues. Nor does it explain the issues with the twins that have led to them not flying for months.

The problems are far more deeply rooted than 80% power on TC Airvans.
Yeah we all know there were more systemic issues with the place, but there was cash flow to plug the holes in the dam wall when needed.

Once the vans started going u/s they stopped making money with engine issues. During the peak of last season sometimes there was not a single Airvan servicable.

As a result money got poured into the vans, the rest of the fleet got pencil whipped and run down. Engines were not replaced , aircraft parked against the fence etc and over the wet the money was not in the kitty to get ready for the dry. They were teetering on the brink at one stage to even pay the staff.

At that stage the CASA wolves were also circling causing problems for cash flow and as I said back then, keep away this season to the new fellas as this would happen no doubt at peak season.

If RK had of listened (listen, I'm telling you this now) and ran the airvans as per the POH, or even better, stuck to IO-540s, the aircraft would have performed as per every other season and he'd have the money in the bank to weather the storm and operate to whatever standard CASA made him.

I doubt he will survive this. If he does, he will have to listen to people for a change instead of thinking he knows best.
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Old 8th May 2012, 03:03
  #105 (permalink)  
 
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GG, running the airvans at reduced power was the least of his problems...

Anyway 5 days is up, anyone know if CASA has had the suspension lifted?
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Old 8th May 2012, 04:02
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----and ran the airvans as per the POH
80% power in the vans was the catalyst
GG,
Are you saying that they were doing "reduced power" takeoffs??
Were the engines being cooked, if this is what was happening, why is anybody surprised there have been engine problems.
Sounds like "False Economy for Beginners 101".
Tootle pip!!
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Old 8th May 2012, 04:19
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No they were doing normal rated takeoffs however in cruise they were running at 80% power to operate an extra bungles a day. Historically 3 scenic slots a day were booked. By running at a higher power setting, RK in his wisdom deemed due to the higher TAS they could offer a fourth flight a day and not bust flight time limits for the crew.

Add inexperienced crew to the mix, shortcuts on maintenance, apprentice engineers maintaining the fleet without supervision and RK himself and his personal problems and you get what we have here. It only took him 5 years to destroy what CM built up in 25.

It turned out after extensive research by lycoming that the higher power settings caused issues with the harmonic balance of the engines causing issues with the fuel distribution from the engine driven pump and the subsequent burnt pots and cyclinders. Or so the story goes.

RK was in the hole over one million or so as rumour has it in lost business and engine repairs. He also voiced his pending litigation to lycoming (good luck).

Splinter, yes I agree, there are other major issues with his safety culture however had he not embarked on this self induced destruction, he may have been able to recover the operation.

Back to the brick wall analogy, (or the Swiss cheese) quite simply he removed too many layers of safety built into an avaition organization, and as a result he is not financially sound to fulfill the obligations of his AOC.

CASA deem this as not being a 'fit and proper person'.

I hope the staff are not left in the lurch and find other avenues for their career.

I also hope CASA don't destroy the careers of the small folk who don't know any better. Namely the junior pilots and apprentice engineers.

Guys, I'd join the AFAP ASAP if you have not already.
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Old 8th May 2012, 04:45
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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No they were doing normal rated takeoffs however in cruise they were running at 80% power to operate an extra bungles a day. Historically 3 scenic slots a day were booked. By running at a higher power setting, RK in his wisdom deemed due to the higher TAS they could offer a fourth flight a day and not bust flight time limits for the crew.

Add inexperienced crew to the mix, shortcuts on maintenance, apprentice engineers maintaining the fleet without supervision and RK himself and his personal problems and you get what we have here. It only took him 5 years to destroy what CM built up in 25.

It turned out after extensive research by lycoming that the higher power settings caused issues with the harmonic balance of the engines causing issues with the fuel distribution from the engine driven pump and the subsequent burnt pots and cyclinders. Or so the story goes.

RK was in the hole over one million or so as rumour has it in lost business and engine repairs. He also voiced his pending litigation to lycoming (good luck).
GG

Most likely I can guess how they were operating

Have you any intimate knowledge of the method of operation? If you want to keep this out of this thread PM me, I have no axes to grind but the lack of education among CPL's and piston operators.
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Old 8th May 2012, 16:44
  #109 (permalink)  
 
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days at the Kalumburu mission with the cancer man and the TV being changed to ABC news at 12 o'clock sharp regardless of what you were watching
NW1st,
I thought it was The Bill that came on when the cancer man came in???

I really am sad to think about all of those young guns with their first aviation kick in the teeth. In five years of GA I was laid off twice from companies closing their doors and it is never easy to get back on the horse (not for lack of motivation mind you but sheer economies of labour).

Of course there must be a void left behind but if the writing has been on the wall for some time that void will have been slowly filled over the past few months anyway. Who are the winners (besides the travelling public)? Shoal Air, Sling or maybe one of the non-SWEK imports like Kimberley Skyways, Northwest, King Leo, BAS etc?

Damn that sucks for GS. Such a good instructor; he would have made a great CP with the right management. Bit of a run of bad luck for him a few times over the past few years but not for lack of competency or trying.

FRQ CB
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Old 8th May 2012, 20:04
  #110 (permalink)  
 
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CASA and the 'Gator.


The article raises some valid points regarding the administrator needing to provide anything resembling 'proof' before shutting down an operation. But after reading the article, through the posts here and making a few phone calls, this case could become a textbook example of 'how not to do it'; for all involved.

Wish I had a beer in the fridge for every time someone involved has thought "If only I'd done that differently". Who knows, CASA may have gained a modicum of respect and the operation may well still be ticking over.

It's almost a classic comedy of errors, 'cept it ain't funny.
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Old 9th May 2012, 03:19
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FRQCB, The Bill came on after the ABC news so it was a full two hours of torture!
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Old 9th May 2012, 03:51
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Splinter, you beat me to it. ABC news, then the The Bill..... and if you were really lucky in the wet season, a dirty big CB would unload right on top of KAL just as The Bill was ending and render the TV sat connection u/s, thus meaning you had no entertainment for the rest of the afternoon.
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Old 9th May 2012, 04:03
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and if you were really lucky in the wet season, a dirty big CB would unload right on top of KAL just as The Bill was ending and render the TV sat connection u/s,
I had one of those very FRQ CBs roll up on Good Friday once, had to stay the night unexpectedly so what else could I do for entertainment other than go to Good Friday mass sitting next to the Japanese bullet holes? Later treated to dinner at the mission sipping Coca Cola next to Brother John who was enjoying his home brew in 50 year old bottles the Army had left circa 1950s.

Not that any of that has anything to do with 'Gator (who I have never worked for).

FRQ CB
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Old 9th May 2012, 07:20
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I used to quite enjoy sharing a coffee and cancer stick with Michael on the verandah and then going for a drive around the traps with him in time to be back for the abc news!!
Does anyone know if Michael and Brother John are still in attendance at the mission?
Also unlimited Mango's in November!

Last edited by Cessna 180; 9th May 2012 at 07:22. Reason: Mango's
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Old 9th May 2012, 07:43
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Oh man the mango's!!!
We had a nice little trading scheme going way back when.
Buckets of kentucky fried from PH swapped for boxes of mango's returned to PH and converted into the best Mango chutney you've ever tasted by a yound Sri Lankan and his wife,which was traded around the place for other stuff ah!! they were the days.
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Old 9th May 2012, 08:36
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Yeah Cessna180, they are.

Nothing's changed....
 
Old 10th May 2012, 02:05
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6PR Perth reporting that Alligator has failed in its attempt to regain licence, in ML Court this morning.
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Old 10th May 2012, 04:48
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From Civil Aviation Safety Authority - Alligator airways suspension continues

An application by West Australian air operator and aviation maintenance organisation, Alligator Airways, for an order to remove CASA's suspension of its air operator's certificate and certificate of approval was heard in the Federal Court in Melbourne on 9 May 2012.

The Court did not grant the order sought by Alligator Airways.

CASA made a separate application to the Federal Court for a prohibition order for up to 40 days.

That application has been listed for hearing in the Federal Court in Melbourne between 15 - 17 May 2012.

This means the suspension of the Alligator's air operatorís certificate and certificate of approval will continue at least until the Federal Court hearing
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Old 17th May 2012, 04:16
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So any news on the hearing?
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Old 17th May 2012, 06:21
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Doubt anything will be heard until next week
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