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Warning: Beware the Camera

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Warning: Beware the Camera

Old 17th Nov 2010, 06:28
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Arrow Warning: Beware the Camera

Cairns chopper pilot 'busted' on You Tube

A YOUTUBE video is believed to have cost a Cairns helicopter pilot his job and more than $50,000 in court expenses, despite all charges of dangerous flying against him being dropped yesterday.
Tableland man John Quadrio claimed he was stood down by the tour operator he was working for, after the Civil Aviation Safety Authority charged him with eight aviation offences, including reckless and low flying and performing aerobatic manoeuvres.
A passenger in the front seat of the helicopter Mr Quadrio was flying during a tour in October 2008 is believed to have posted the footage online, which has since been removed.
The case was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, which dropped all charges against Mr Quadrio yesterday, after expert witnesses could not be sought to give evidence.
Mr Quadrio said he had suffered enormous financial strain with court costs of more than $50,000.
Mr Quadrio said CASA had prosecuted him without any substantial evidence, which saw him being stood down by his boss and suspended from flying for four months.
"Iím upset with the fact that a pilot like myself, who has five-plus years of experience and no background in breaking the law, can be prosecuted on the grounds of a bit of YouTube footage," he said.
"I had eight charges against me for just two turns."
Mr Quadrio said he had an excellent safety record and alleged the passenger who posted the internet video may have been trying to sensationalise his tourist experience.
He claimed the viewpoint from the video, taken on a mobile phone, made the helicopter appear as if it was flying at a steeper angle.
CASA said it could not comment on a case once it had been referred to the DPP.
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Old 17th Nov 2010, 07:33
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As an EMS pilot I attended an accident on the Gold Coast where another pilot had attempted to impress his tourist passengers. These were the days before mobile phone cameras and the only evidence we could find of wrong doing were 5 dead bodies.

This 'unfortunate' Cairns pilot should consider himself lucky. Maybe he might learn something - even with a whole 5 years flying experience behind him.
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Old 17th Nov 2010, 15:58
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Poor bloke, surely he should get his costs back from the CASA.

Doesn't seem fair to prosecute him without any substantial evidence, does anyone know what exactly he was doing?

A couple of steep turns is hardly grounds for prosecution
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Old 17th Nov 2010, 20:24
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simondlh
Poor bloke, surely he should get his costs back from the CASA.
If this had happened in the UK, he would have been reimbursed expenses reasonably and properly incurred in defending the proceedings. (The payment is usually made from 'central funds'; in exceptional circumstances, a court may order the prosecuting body to pay.)

Epiphany
This 'unfortunate' Cairns pilot should consider himself lucky.
Lucky?
According to the press report -
The prosecutor couldn't find a single expert who considered what the pilot did was reckless or low flying or an aerobatic manoeuvre or any other offence. Whether or not that was the reason or only reason, the prosecution eventually withdrew all the charges. It's highly unlikely they would have done so if they had evidence to support their allegations.
It's cost the pilot 50,000 Aus dollars (almost £31,000) to defend himself against the allegations, he's lost his job and he will inevitably suffer damage to his professional reputation despite being acquitted of all charges (as your post illustrates).

That's the sort of 'luck' most people would prefer not to have.

Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 17th Nov 2010 at 20:38.
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 05:54
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If you had seen the video FL then you would change your mind - or being a lawyer possibly not. Is there any such animal as a guilty person these days?

He f*cked up as is paying the price.
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 06:42
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Epiphany

If the video evidence was as clear as you imply then it's surprising that the prosecution dropped every charge.
It's well known that cameras can distort and give a false impression. That may well have been a factor the prosecutor took into account after the footage had been carefully examined by experts.




Is there any such animal as a guilty person these days?
Yes, lots of them. I was a barrister for 33 years and spent about half my time prosecuting, more often than not successfully. However, just because someone is charged (or even actually prosecuted) doesn't necessarily mean they are guilty.

- or being a lawyer possibly not
That quip is as silly as if I was to imply that, 'being a helicopter pilot', you possibly lack co-ordination and motor skills.


Whatever the rights or wrongs of this particular incident, the story serves as a useful warning re video cameras.

.
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 07:05
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Gee, Guilty or not, i would think that CASA's lawers would find the 'expert witness' and get their evidence together before handing it over to the DPP. Guilty or not, the guy should be compensated if only for the reason to make 'skull' wince. I reckon at least 10,000 penalty units in credit and a 'get out of jail card'.
CASA, useless as tits on a bull!
FH
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 07:43
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Yes FL - lucky. Lucky that he is not facing a manslaughter charge.

I have attended 3 fatal helicopter accidents caused by pilots hooning around trying to impress their fare-paying passengers. Two of those pilots were well-known for that type of flying but continued in the practice. Why? because they had never been fined or lost their jobs because of it.

Maybe another fatal accident has been prevented by CASA at long last doing something positive.

My 'quip' is borne of frustration (shared by many others) who constantly see injustice in the courts dealt by members of the legal profession who are seemingly cocooned from what is happening in the real world.
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 08:03
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Epiphany, would you care to divulge what happened in the video?
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 10:01
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Are you familiar with the term 'Aerobatics' ? I've been flying long enough to know what they look like. Normally prohibited in RFM's and company Operations Manuals.

Those of you who think he has been hard done by will continue to think that. Those of us that think he was a prat will continue to think that.
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 10:02
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Epihany, a friendly tip for you, you might want to do some research on Flying Lawyer on this forum and I mean look at his posts before the time you joined and you might find out that he knows rather well what he is talking about.

Yes we are hiding behind our usernames for a degree of anonymity but that does not mean that we have to A be rude and B use the username to make up our opinion use the posts for that.

I felt I had to stand up for Flying Lawyer.
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 10:04
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BS - Refer to last sentence of my last post.

At no point have I been 'rude' to Flying Lawyer.
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 10:14
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Epiphany, have you, or have you not, seen the footage?

The CAA have, and they could not find an *expert* who could say it was illegal.
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 10:22
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Have you read my posts? YES I have seen it and in my opinion as a 10,000 hour helicopter pilot he was performing illegal aerobatics.

CASA were probably well aware that any clever lawyer could say that:

It's well known that cameras can distort and give a false impression.
I have made my point and am now leaving the courtroom.
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 11:03
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I know little about CASA, but it has seemed iniquitous in the UK that with CAA prosecutions the expert witness for CAA almost invariably is from within their own staff. Surely this prejudices their independence of evidence? But on the other hand, if CAA can do it, why can't CASA?

Ultimately however, only a court can decide on guilt, until then, they're innocent.

G
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Old 18th Nov 2010, 11:32
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Was it anything like this?

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Old 18th Nov 2010, 19:28
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With all due respect to my learned friend but the idea that

It's well known that cameras can distort and give a false impression.
is just luddite horsesh8t.

AAIB/BEA/NTSB have all issued recommendations on introducing crashworthy video crash recorders onto aircraft without FDRs. Are they too stupid to know that "well known" fact?

Bell and now Eurocopter are now offering such systems. Have they failed to spot this "well known" flaw in their plans?
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Old 19th Nov 2010, 10:54
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mmm well I have had the experience that the best judge, jury and executioner is the paying public. word of mouth will travel like a wild fire.

i unfortunately had a pilot who was going that quite bit lower etc etc. on set piece tourist work. inside a few days the trade dropped from six to two hours per day. - and took nearly four weeks to slowly crawl back up again.

me and that pilot, well we parted company, eh.

other helicopters around doing the wrong thing would impact on the trade as well.

i had another instance where an unrelated pilot did a very low beat up at the same tourist venue, i got to see the statement that he had made. I said tear it up for god's sake, he's in enough trouble already, - he had detailed his activity down to a few inches above the tourists. "can't" says the solicitor, "its already been submitted". bloody hell, I said, 'plead insanity.'

as others have said the law system knows nought about what should be severely punished in our game. he got off with a warning, couldn't believe it.
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Old 19th Nov 2010, 11:18
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who has five-plus years of experience

Yeah....hell of a lot of experience....(NOT)



Pilots like this one are the reason why Helicopter pilots are called "unreliable/reckless"(.. whatever......)...

Every pilot that thinks it is necessary to "impress" his passengers with stupid flying earns loosing his licence......

just my 2 ct.
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Old 19th Nov 2010, 22:53
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I too have seen the footage

In my opinion the flying wasn't aerobatic but without a doubt he was performing steep turns with passengers purely for their excitement (not sure if they were screams of excitement or fear) below 200ft (I have also seen CASA's detailed report). I should also note I am not an expert witness or even too sure what I would define as aerobatic manoeuvers.


As for the rest of the charges it should have been a no brainer. Casa will never get more evidence in a case where a crash has not occured than the footage they had and as for not finding an expert witness they cant have tried very hard (his employer would suffice).

To sum up I feel he should have had some action taken against him even if only to deter others from similar actions. As he has not been found guilty he should be entitled to recieve compensation for legal expenses if only to force CASA to show some balls in the future.

His loss of job was due to his employer seeing the footage so should receive nothing for this.

And no I'm not perfect either (see I started a sentence with and). Nor do I dissagree with Epiphany's opinion, I just have my own.
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