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The Empire Strikes Back! on Colour Defective Pilots

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The Empire Strikes Back! on Colour Defective Pilots

Old 5th Jun 2014, 20:18
  #121 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Styx Houseboat Park.
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Bastardry in its purest form.

Woke up, let the dogs out, made a coffee and attended to email – so far- so good; then the CASA letter to AOC holders pops up – if YOU haven't read it, you must. Any sane, rational person who reads it can be left in no doubt as to the duplicitous, arrogant, cowardly, bullying nature of the regulator. Even those amongst us who have had an ambivalent, tolerant, mildly amused attitude toward the CASA antics, must now start to see the pure evil inherent in the system.

More so than even the Chambers report, this letter defines precisely the ills which beset industry, think about what the letter says and the implications – it's disgusting.

In the meantime, CASA has written to all potentially affected pilots advising them to consider whether t is safe for them to continue to exercise their flight crew privileges subject only to the existing CVD related condition, and encouraging them to seek the advice of their personal physician or Designated Aviation Medical Examiner about any adjustments that should be made to their flying practices, pending the outcome of CASA’s review.

As I told recipients of that advice I would be doing, I write to you now, as the holder of an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) who may employ one or more affected pilots, to encourage you to consider whether it is safe to allow those pilots to continue to exercise flight crew privileges under your AOC, subject only to the existing condition, and what adjustments to those arrangements you may consider to be appropriate, in the interests of safety, pending CASA’s further determination of the matter.
I doubt the Faraway Muppet has the mental horse power to write this missive. The U-bend tube episode of the purported author at the –
-; watch he who needed to be repeatedly fished out of his own mess by his lord and master, only to be ultimately dismissed as irrelevant. Watch the first 3-4 odd minutes.

If minister Truss or his team ever had any doubts that 'we have a problem' the letter should allay those doubts. In fact Truss should be screaming for a swat team to get over to Sleepy Hollow and sort it out, before the world and the media realise the size of the monster and the evil within the beast.

Minister, they have to go – and they have to go now. This letter is a national disgrace and embarrassing to the government at a time when the eyes and ears of the aviation world are on Australia. Let us hope their mild amusement and tolerance of antipodean antics does not turn to derision. The Kiwi's must be rolling about the floor, laughing.

Comrade SARCS - could you please post the 'Shambollic' clip. Ta.

Yes Minnie; I know – deep one in – deep one out – till equanimity returns.

Last edited by Kharon; 5th Jun 2014 at 20:29. Reason: Not my indaba – but I'll happily hold Arthur's jacket.
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Old 5th Jun 2014, 21:12
  #122 (permalink)  
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This is appalling.

Bullying at it's best.
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Old 5th Jun 2014, 21:24
  #123 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Re-boot; re-set.

Mods – any chance of a sticky on the main (ANZ) page ?, this issue does affect airlines. I also wonder if a 'counter' would be possible – "Do you support the proposed CASA changes to CVD. YES / NO". Something like that; then the VIPA, AIPA, AFAP etc. etc (even AOPA may get off it's rump should the mood descend) and 'other' interested parties could have a say.

It's in the national interest basket, hell, every thing bar a sex scandal surrounds this issue.

I solemnly promise to resist all urges to resort to the use of 'chanties' for six months; I shall place them neatly in the tidy bin. What d'ya say – Howz about it – Huh???
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Old 5th Jun 2014, 21:46
  #124 (permalink)  
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If I were a CVD pilot and CASA had written a letter like that to my employer, I'd be taking defamation action ...
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Old 5th Jun 2014, 22:22
  #125 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2006
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I have little doubt John Obrien WILL win the case against CASA - providing funds don't run out. That's the ONLY weakness in what is predicted to be landmark win!

These guys can be supported through the "Your Support" section of the CVDPA website.

I'm also sure the Senate will be carefully reading all of their transcripts, given that the sworn evidence given to the Committee seems at odds with these actions.

These latest moves by FF represent an unprecedented attack on the industry - all because a few individuals dared to question their decision making abilities. The ASRR makes it abundantly clear that Australia has lost all confidence in the regulator. As Kharon says, they have to go and they have to go now. Whether you're CVD affected or not, I would suggest that ALL pilots need to be contacting their parliamentarians to express outrage at these latest tactics. A few suggestions are below. Support your fellow colleagues whose careers are now under very real threat.

The Hon Warren Truss MP
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development
[email protected]

Senator David Fawcett
[email protected]

Senator Nick Xenophon
[email protected]

Senator Bill Heffernan
Chair - Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport – Legislation Committee
[email protected]

Senator Glenn Sterle
Deputy Chair - Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport – Legislation Committee
[email protected]

Your Local MP
Members and Senators - Parliament of Australia

Another point - assuming there is no new evidence (and none has been forthcoming from FF and its doctors, and Dr Pape strongly asserts that there is none), is CAsA in contempt of the AAT in respect of the original AAT ruling?

Perhaps the legal minds can better answer that one, but I think they're certainly treating the current AAT with contempt by pre-empting a decision that hasn't even been heard yet. If you read the 1989 Denison v CAA AAT transcript - para 8 provides summarises how that case was conducted:
8. We understand that there are a considerable number of other pilots with defective colour vision who have requested the granting of licences which do not contain a condition prohibiting their piloting aircraft at night. For that reason the respondent indicated that it wished to conduct this case as a test case. Mr Rose, therefore, informed the Tribunal that the respondent intended to present its case in a manner which would encompass not only the applicant's situation but also broader issues relating generally to defective colour vision. At the request of the respondent the Attorney-General granted legal aid to the applicant to ensure that he was not disadvantaged by the respondent presenting his case in that manner. The matters which we have to consider in these proceedings have consequently been extended well beyond those which the applicant originally sought to raise, that is to say whether his defective colour vision made it unsafe for him personally to pilot an aircraft at night. The proceedings have taken 28 hearing days.

The announcements by CASA this week have sent Australia back to the dark ages with restrictions that are far harsher than those which existed pre-Denison. Yet interestingly, we now have significantly more CVD pilots operating at all levels of the industry. Despite this, it appears that CASA do not consider the upcoming AAT case a "test case" this time and it appears no form of legal aid has been made available. They are using bullying tactics to suffocate the CVD folk and it's a national disgrace!
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Old 5th Jun 2014, 23:07
  #126 (permalink)  
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Although I'm on the other side of the world and not even an Aviator, I've read this thread with an ever-rising sense of outrage.
What the hell are your politicians and lawmakers doing?
This is a blatant misappropriation of Public Finance,misuse of Government resources and abuse of position to pursue a vindictive personal agenda.
The latter is clearly at odds with the duties of the organisation, therefore their wages are theft by deception.
Miserable , duplicitous, lying scumbags would do a more honest job and carry out the duties of ensuring SAFETY more assiduously.
Shame you're not in europe, as you could appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (As you're part of the Commonwealth, perhaps you can?)

These cretins should be held personally liable for their actions....then you'd see who was using the taxpayer's dollar to fund their own ego-trip and agenda.

Good luck to you all - other countries have more direct ways of dealing with despotic officials.
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Old 5th Jun 2014, 23:30
  #127 (permalink)  
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Not only, but also.

Cockney Steve # 142 "This is a blatant misappropriation of Public Finance, misuse of Government resources and abuse of position to pursue a vindictive personal agenda.
The 'treatment' of CVD pilots by the Australian authority is only the tip of the ice berg. Without too much effort I could provide at least a dozen operators who have been given 'the treatment'; then, with even less effort provide a list of as many pilots, within 20 miles of where I sit now who have had or are experiencing the CASA 'treatment'.

This final outrage is one step too far: the breathtaking arrogance highlights the presumptive attitude to ignoring not only the 'law', but human and constitutional rights, anti -discrimination laws, common sense, human decency and dignity: all this with the assumption, and sure knowledge that with impunity, they can get away with it.

McComic: he who has perfected the noble art of setting your feet on fire, to keep your hands warm. Bravo.

Perhaps, they have a secret death wish – the 'letter' certainly has a Kamikaze feel to it.

Last edited by Kharon; 6th Jun 2014 at 21:48.
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Old 5th Jun 2014, 23:53
  #128 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Kharon View Post
Perhaps, they have a secret death wish – the 'letter' certainly has a Kamikaze feel to it.
We can only hope Kharon.

This is an outrageous attempt to circumvent the law - CAsA had suffered one defeat at the hands of the AAT and was about to suffer a second. So they concocted this cowardly letter to achieve what the law said they could not do.

It truly makes us a laughing stock.
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Old 6th Jun 2014, 00:22
  #129 (permalink)  
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CAsA had suffered one defeat at the hands of the AAT and was about to suffer a second
In fact they have lost two cases at the AAT on this issue.

There was the initial Pape case, which they then refused to extend the same privileges granted to other CVD pilots.

Then there was the second Denison test case, which delivered a resounding victory to all Australian CVD pilots.

This third case was to be an attempt to tidy up the last loose ends of the Denison case after all rational discussions had failed.

You'd think CAsA would know when to give up!
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Old 6th Jun 2014, 06:21
  #130 (permalink)  
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Colour Vision Defective, A Pilots perspective.

I am a 47 year old CVD pilot. I currently work as a Captain on the A320/321/330 with a major carrier. Before joining this company I was a Captain flying an Embraer 170, a very modern fully EFIS Jet and prior to that a First officer on Dash 8’s. Prior to that many years in GA

When I first found out that I was CVD at my initial aviation medical I was shocked as, for me, it had never been a problem. I was advised by the all knowing “experts” that I would never fly for an Airline, but there were many careers such as instructing, charter, power line inspection and the likes. I continued on with my training building hours the same as all the colour normal pilots did. I did everything the same as them despite being colour defective.
I have followed the continuing discussions and arguments for and against CVD pilots for many years as I have a vested interest. I personally believe that my CVD is not an issue in my chosen career based on 20 years of experience being acutely aware that I am CVD.

I fly daily looking and manipulating coloured buttons and switches, I am sure if I was misinterpreting these, I would be picked up by my colleagues and by the rigorous check and training that we, as pilots endure. The few colleagues that know of my colour vision issue are genuinely surprised and the usual comment is “Well I can’t see a problem”. These professionals have been in the industry for decades and are extremely experienced check and trainers

Airline flying is highly regulated and extremely procedural. Tasks, be they normal or abnormal, are carried out in a step-by-step logical manner.
In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what colour a light is on a switch.
We as professionals have learnt the system, know where the switch or push button is and whether it is illuminated or not. Allowing easy verification along with other visual and aural cues that are presented.

So let's break it down. A Master Warning or Master Caution sounds and the button 60 cm from the end of your nose flashes “Master Warning” or “Master Caution”, it happens to be “RED” or “AMBER”. You cancel the warning and after identifying the failure and after confirming with your colleague you begin dealing with the problem, either by ECAM, EICAS and or QRH, depending what you fly.
Certain tasks are carried out to deal with the failure. This may be identifying a system panel and then actioning a button or switch. This is done in a thorough logical manner, which requires you to be familiar with the position of all buttons and switches and what they do.
A modern cockpit is not a mass of unlabelled coloured lights. It is designed in an ergonomically logical fashion with systems labelled and clearly marked. As professionals, like any other professional, we are highly trained and skilled to know our systems interpret what they are telling us and act upon it.

On the A320, landing gear indications use symbols for example “green” triangles that illuminate when the gear is down. If it doesn’t you get a master warning and it also lights up the word “UNLK” above the suspect landing gear as it happens this is “RED” but it wouldn’t matter if it was any other colour as long as you understand that when the word is illuminated you have a problem
I know where the gear doors are despite the colour coding by their position and numerous other visual and aural cues that are at hand.

I know that all the doubters out there are going to bring up the PAPI. PAPI is unreliable in certain atmospheric conditions, our Flight manual states not to be used below 200’. I certainly would rather use a DME vs Height check or a VNAV guidance than rely on a PAPI in any weather conditions.
Notwithstanding this I have never had trouble interpreting PAPI indications or any other lighting system.
When I learnt to fly it was the runway perspective in the window not a coloured light that told me I was "on slope".

Now we come to the issue which is the draconian steps CASA has taken to this issue despite the 25+ years of CVD's flying with zero incidents.
All pilots should stand up to this, colour normals and CVD's alike this is an aggressive attack on our livelihoods and ignoring the in depth examination from the AAT appeals in 1989. If CASA is successful in stopping CVD's from flying, and have no doubt in your minds this is what they intend to do, It will be a huge experience drain to the industry, it will destroy peoples careers. It will also affect operators bottom lines when they have to replace pilots and train new ones for these loses.

Help Australia show the world in this area that there is no issue. Please get behind the upcoming appeal and donate to Colour Vision Defective Pilots Association (CVDPA)
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Old 6th Jun 2014, 21:00
  #131 (permalink)  

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What the hell are your politicians and lawmakers doing?
This is a blatant misappropriation of Public Finance, misuse of Government resources and abuse of position to pursue a vindictive personal agenda.
The latter is clearly at odds with the duties of the organisation, therefore their wages are theft by deception.
Miserable , duplicitous, lying scumbags would do a more honest job and carry out the duties of ensuring SAFETY more assiduously.
Yeah, that is a fair summary of CASA, one of the best I've seen!
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Old 7th Jun 2014, 00:52
  #132 (permalink)  
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Please actively engage your Senators to help in this important issue. This both affects employees, employers.

CASA stated that they will not change existing holders medicals, well that is emphatically untrue as they revoked my ATPL. The inconsistency beggars belief.
If you want change you have to make some noise this will not go away.

Here is what I sent.

Dear Honourable Members,

My name is (Fill in the Blank). I am a (...) year old Airline Pilot with a Colour Vision Deficiency. I have held a Private Pilots Licence since (...), a Commercial Pilots licence since 1992 and exercised the privileges of my Airline Transport Licence since (.....). I currently am employed as (......) and have accumulated total flight time of around (....) hours. I am assessed at least three times a year on my ability to safely operate my aircraft in simulators and in the aircraft and pass.

I am writing to you all regarding the aggressive stance CASA is taking on CVD pilots and their careers.
Recently I renewed my Australian medical and was advised that I would no longer be able to exercise the privileges of my Airline Transport Licence, as I have been doing since (....), due to being “Unsafe” as I’m Colour Vision deficient.

There has been no industry consultation on these changes and they are without any safety justification. Senator David Fawcett has been actively trying to keep CASA honest regarding these changes however CASA seems intent on steamrolling changes through ignoring two AAT cases regarding this very matter and the indisputable fact that are a large number CVD’s have been flying in Australia for over 20 years. They have amassed 10’s of thousands of hours completely incident and accident free.

Re Arthur Marinus Pape and Secretary, Department of Aviation [1987] AATA 354 (9 October 1987)
Re Hugh Jonathan Denison and Civil Aviation Authority [1989] AATA 84; 10 AAR 242 (7 April 1989)

This new aggressive stance by CASA not only is a waste of the tax payers money, as I’m sure that it will be challenged by many CVD’s, but will also destroy many pilots careers and take a huge amount of experience out of the Industry if CASA is allowed to wind back the clock 25 years.
There is already one case scheduled for the AAT in July.

Please get on board this important issue. Senator David Fawcett has been a loyal and rational advocate on this issue please support him and let Australia lead the world rather than just blindly follow suit.

Your Sincerely,
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Old 7th Jun 2014, 02:44
  #133 (permalink)  
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A Perfect Storm.

Top post(s) Bill and great initiative....here's a link for ProAviation's commentary on the matter: Colour vision deficient pilots see red
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Old 7th Jun 2014, 03:48
  #134 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Australia
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2 year ??

I see on previous post it was stated that CASA has to honour licence for 2. yrs after any rule change however CASA has been quite vocal they are not changing the rules merely interpreting them in a different manner. As per Bill post how did he lose his ATPL immediately with no 2 year grace? Don't bank on keeping licence for 2 years !!!
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Old 7th Jun 2014, 05:38
  #135 (permalink)  
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Here is what I have sent to Senators Fawcett and Xenophon, Warren Truss and my local member. In case any of you need any ideas of where to start...

Dear <MP of choice>

I am writing to express my dismay at the belligerent attitude of CASA to pilots with defective colour vision. As you are aware, CASA has been embroiled in a case before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal regarding the removal of privileges from a professional pilot on the basis of that pilot’s defective colour vision. There is no evidence to support the case made by CASA that pilots with defective colour vision pose a risk to safety, and indeed none has been presented to date by CASA. Despite reassuring the senate committee that there was no plan to change the rules regarding the way in which pilots with defective colour vision were to be treated, CASA has issued letters to all Air Operators’ Certificate (AOC) holders and all Designated Aviation Medical Examiners (DAMEs) this week that these pilots were potentially a threat to safe aviation operations, and their continued flying privileges should be scrutinised and re-considered. Additionally, they have now enforced rules which will deny pilots seeking an initial issue of a medical certificate appropriate privileges to operate under conditions other than Visual Flight Rules (VFR), by day only, if they fail the colour vision tests prescribed by CASA. This is despite decades of incident-free operations by hundreds of colour-defective pilots on Australian licences, and is a reversal of decisions made over 20 years ago that allowed Australian pilots with defective colour vision to fly with the same operational rights as their ’normal’ colour vision colleagues.

In the letters to DAMEs and AOC holders this week, CASA reports that ‘recent medical research’ indicates a risk to safe flight operations by pilots with defective colour vision, yet none of this evidence is presented by CASA in those letters, on its website, nor is it evident in the medical literature (I have searched). The only reference cited by Dr Pooshan Navathe (Principal Medical Officer, CASA) reports that there are differing standards for assessing colour vision amongst ICAO member countries (Watson DB. ‘Lack of international uniformity in assessing colour vision deficiency in professional pilots’ Aviat Space Environ Med 2014 Feb; 85(2):148-59). Hardly damning evidence of a risk to flight safety, more likely evidence of a risk to effective bureaucracy.

I am a pilot with defective colour vision. I have been operating aircraft under visual and instrument flight rules, day and night, in the UK and Australia since 1990 without any incidents related to my supposed inability to perceive colours in a ‘normal’ way. I am also a medical practitioner and understand the concept of ‘evidence based practice’. Under CASA’s new stance, colour vision-defective pilots will be (an indeed recently have been) stripped of the opportunity to earn a living, denied the opportunity to continue to fly as they have done for thousands of incident-free hours, without the presentation of any evidence that demonstrates a safety risk that needs to be addressed. AOC holders (the employers of these pilots) have been threatened in writing by CASA - "I write to you now, as the holder of an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) who may employ one or more affected pilots, to encourage you to consider whether it is safe to allow those pilots to continue to exercise flight crew privileges under your AOC, subject only to the existing condition, and what adjustments to those arrangements you may consider to be appropriate, in the interests of safety” - what exactly is the intent of this directive? What is CASA expecting of the AOC holders in response, and what is the consequence of not addressing the ‘problem’ - loss of the AOC?? This is a baffling attitude for CASA to take, is malicious in intent and typical of their bullying attitude towards the industry.

I, and many of my pilot colleagues, are outraged by the developments detailed above. If CASA continues with its drive to ground, or severely curtail, the operation of pilots with defective colour vision, without making a legitimate, evidence-based safety case, legal action is likely to be forthcoming from the pilot community on a large scale, leading to an enormous waste of tax-payers money. All over an issue for which there is no demonstrable safety benefit. None. Surely the regulator should be held to the same standard of ‘evidence-based practice’ for its decisions as the medical and other safety-orientated industries are.

I would like to give CASA the benefit of a doubt and assume that these recent changes are borne out of incompetence rather than malevolence, but unfortunately I don’t think I can. I would implore you to continue to pursue this issue in the parliament and hold CASA to account on its actions, stop this profligate waste of public money, and at the very least hold them to the standard of ‘evidence-based practice’ as the basis of their actions.

I thank you for your attention and for your work so far

Yours sincerely
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Old 7th Jun 2014, 07:54
  #136 (permalink)  
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THAT letter...

it just confirms that the acronym CAsA means seriously disgusting, immoral and dishonest.

In World cup terms to use the soccer analogy... Is this the greatest "Own Goal"

Better sharpen your axe Warren...OFF with their heads !!

Knitting needles are GO !!
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Old 7th Jun 2014, 23:29
  #137 (permalink)  
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I apologise is this is too much going over old ground. But as I see it:

1. The regulator is writing to employers of properly licensed (and previously deemed to be safe) pilots asking them to reconsider the appropriateness of these pilots employment.

2. The companies require a good relationship with the regulator. Many of these companies will rely on exceptions from CASA regulations for financial viability. There is a large power imbalance between the regulator and the employers. This is the very definition of bullying.

3. There will almost certainly be some cases where it is clear who the pilot is (ie small employers), thus identifying the pilot. In this case, CASA is effectively releasing confidential medical information about an individual without consent or authority.

4. CASA is the safety regulator. They alone have the power to issue licences based on competence level and fitness for duty. It is in no way the role of the AOC holder to "second guess" CASA. What CASA is saying is that there are pilots who they have duly licensed as being safe and who are properly qualified for a role that they now wish the employer to terminate. They are asking the employer to take on the role of licence issuer from CASA. This is completely inappropriate.

5. If an AOC holder succumbs to the pressure (Bullying) from CASA and terminates the pilot, they will certainly be leaving them selves open for legal action against them by the pilot for unfair dismissal. And potential a punitive penalty that takes into account the pilots (now) diminished earning capacity. Especially if the pilot has been given satisfactory work performance reviews by the employer and has satisfactorily passed flight reviews with CASA appointed ATO's. So, the employer has the threat of retaliation by CASA on one hand and legal action by the pilot on the other.

6. If there is any threat of anything negative at all happening to the employer by CASA (which I think it would be easy to argue is the case) then I would expect that CASA are in breach of the third line forcing provisions of the Trade Practices Act.

This is a very clumsy, bumbling, bullying, amateur, punitive, incompetent, reaction by CASA to being embarrassed by the Senate over its own double standards and selective interpretation of its own rules that show favouritism toward some pilots and some AOC holders.

I hope the Senate shows it has balls and smacks CASA hard. I encourage any pilot who so much as feels disadvantaged to take legal advice.
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Old 8th Jun 2014, 03:54
  #138 (permalink)  
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I want to make clear just one point.

The need for a particular standard of colour perception in aviation (by NAAs) is assumed and asserted, it is not demonstrated, let alone proven.

In the mid-1990s, Dr. Pape represented IAOPA, the International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the peak body of all the national AOPAs, at an ICAO medical conference in Warsaw, because a major part of the agenda was colour perception (there is no such thing as "colour blind") and Dr. Pape is not just Australia's leading expert, but internationally recognised.

In those days, "glass" cockpits were cathode ray tubes (CRT) and a fairly common fault was the loss of the colour generator, so that the screen reverted to gray scales.

In anticipation of all the standard arguments about the "critical need" to see "true colours", Dr. Pape (courtesy of Qantas Airways Ltd) had true copies of the FAA/CASA certified MELs for the B767, which showed that loss of colour, with any of the screens operating in gray scale mode, produced exactly zero operating limitations.

Put another way, loss of the colour, and the need to read the numbers and interpret the scales without colour had precisely zero "safety" connotations.

Put more correctly, the loss of colour on the screen(s) did not increase risk of pilot error due misinterpretation of the information presented in normal or non-normal operation.

So much for the need for every pilot to see exactly the same colours.

Tootle pip!!

Last edited by LeadSled; 8th Jun 2014 at 07:45. Reason: minor correction
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Old 8th Jun 2014, 08:39
  #139 (permalink)  
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The only reference cited by Dr Pooshan Navathe (Principal Medical Officer, CASA) reports that there are differing standards for assessing colour vision amongst ICAO member countries (Watson DB. ‘Lack of international uniformity in assessing colour vision deficiency in professional pilots’ Aviat Space Environ Med 2014 Feb; 85(2):148-59).
If the Watson DB is who I think he is (PMO NZ CAA), Dr Navathe shared offices with him just prior to Dr Navathe moved to Canberra.
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Old 8th Jun 2014, 13:26
  #140 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2008
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My letter re: CVD, ASRR and "The letter"

Here is my letter to the MPs regarding the current issues, with a little help from my friends:-) Feel free to get ideas for your letters if you wish!


As a Chief Pilot, I take seriously my responsibility for the safety of my passengers and crew. I also support the need for an appropriate, evidence-based regulatory environment for the Australian aviation industry to support economic development and a safe and prosperous society.

It is for this reason I write to you, asking that you would support the Minister for Transport, Hon Warren Truss MP, and Senator David Fawcett in their efforts to ensure fair and safe outcomes for pilots and the aviation industry.

I am 35 years of age and hold an Air Transport Pilots License (ATPL). I am our Company’s CASA approved Chief Pilot, and have over 15 years flying safe commercial operations in all weather conditions and at night. I also have a mild colour vision deficiency, which, although continuously being aware of it, has never become evident or a factor during operations I have conducted.

It therefore caused great concern to me, and many of my professional colleagues and their families, when the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) changed their policies and procedures last week – without any industry consultation or notification - affecting the treatment of Colour Vision Defective (CVD) pilots.

It should be noted
• CVD pilots have been operating safely in all levels of aviation in Australia for the past 25 years
• there has never been an accident attributed to Colour Vision Deficiency worldwide

However, CASA announced policy changes last week that will prevent many CVD pilots from having a career in Australia. This not only will affect a considerable number of current Airline pilots, but will also negatively affect many pilots serving regional and remote communities, including those providing valuable passenger and freight charter services, as well as life-saving aeromedical operations such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service. There is a particular wealth of experience in the General Aviation sector with CVD pilots who have not pursued the typical airline path due to their imposed restrictions. If these pilots were to lose their privileges it will only hinder the safety and experience level of GA in Australia.

CASA have announced they are changing from operational testing to laboratory-derived Colour Assessment and Diagnosis (CAD) testing for pilots. The rationale for CASA’s change has not been explained, nor any supporting evidence provided. However, this new policy will deny new CVD pilots who cannot pass CAD testing, as CASA will not grant them a Class 1 Medical, unnecessarily precluding them from employment as a pilot in any form, regardless of the nature of the operation.

If this change in standard is extended to current pilots, many will lose their entire career, despite an impeccable safety record.

Australia has led the rest of the world in giving CVD pilots a fair go since the landmark “Denison” case in the AAT in 1989, allowing CVD pilots to conduct commercial operations and earn a living in aviation. The tireless work of colour vision expert, Dr Arthur Pape, has paved the way for Australian pilots to have fulfilling and safe careers in the industry.

Over the last 25 years and tens of thousands of hours, CVD pilots have proven themselves to be equally safe in operating aircraft to colour normal pilots. Many competent and safe pilots fail the CAD test, but have proven by experience that they can accomplish the safe performance of duties and safely operate an aircraft. In fact, it is debatable if the new CAD test that CASA has suddenly introduced is sufficiently of an “operational nature” for the final level of testing as required by current law. Only 35% of CVD's pass the CAD test, eliminating many proven safe pilots.

The recently published Aviation Safety Regulation Review (ASRR), released by Minister of Transport, Warren Truss, found that CASA was failing the industry, the taxpayer and flying public, and choking the future growth of an industry that is vital to Australian society. It is also believed to have displayed unfair bullying tactics to the industry and that the industry had lost confidence in the regulator.

Consistent with these findings relating to the conduct of CASA, just last week CASA sent a letter to all Air Operators in Australia asking them to “consider whether it is safe to allow these (CVD) pilots to continue to exercise the privileges of their license”. Although citing “recent medical research”, it gave no evidence for substantiating such a claim. This letter is extremely disappointing and distressing as it could jeopardize the employment of many long-serving and dedicated pilots and is completely unjustified.

Senator David Fawcett has been an outstanding and faithful ambassador for the rights of CVD pilots in Australia to continue to fly safely. I urge you to support him in bringing a fair outcome for the CVD pilots who have dedicated their lives to safe flying operations in Australia.

I also encourage you to support the Minister for Transport, Hon Warren Truss MP, to ensure the appropriate changes are implemented within the regulator to ensure the continuing safety and prosperity of the aviation industry in Australia.

Last edited by CoftC; 9th Jun 2014 at 10:27. Reason: Letter being continually refined
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