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Silk Air MI 185 - Court commences in Singapore

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Silk Air MI 185 - Court commences in Singapore

Old 17th Jul 2001, 20:25
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AFP
17th July 2001

SilkAir trial adjourned to source for new expert report

SINGAPORE, July 17 (AFP) - A negligence suit against SilkAir over a 1997 crash was abruptly adjourned in the Singapore High Court Tuesday, as lawyers scrambled to get their hands on a confidential expert report on the tragedy.
The report by the Cranfield Impact Centre in Britain was commissioned by Singapore Airlines, the parent company of SilkAir.

The families of six of the 104 people killed when a SilkAir flight crashed in Indonesia en route to Singapore in 1997 are suing the airline for negligence.

The existence of the report was revealed by Denis Howe, a professor at Cranfield University's College of Aeronautics in England during expert testimony.

Howe, in testimony last Friday, said he could not release the report because he prepared it as a consultant specifically for a client.

However, he admitted having discussed some details of his findings with Professor Oetarjo Diran who led the official Indonesian investigation into the crash.

Howe said "SIA had done their own calculations from photographs taken of the wreckage" and wanted confirmation from him.

Justice Tan Lee Meng adjourned the hearing on Tuesday afternoon when Michael Khoo, the counsel for the plaintiffs, demanded he be given a copy of the Howe findings. Defence lawyer Lok Vi Ming also said he did not have a copy.

Lawyers told AFP outside the court there was no guarantee the document would be introduced when the hearing resumed on Wednesday.

Before the adjournment on the 12th day of the hearing, evidence again focused on the safety record of Tsu Way Ming, the captain on the fatal flight.

The victims' families claim there was evidence the crash was deliberately caused by the cockpit crew.

Silkair vice president and chief pilot of flight operations Captain Leslie John Ganapathy testified that mistakes Tsu made in three separate incidents were "an issue of discipline" and were not safety concerns.

He said the indiscretions did not show that Tsu was irrational.

A three-year inquiry by Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee, led by Diran, could not determine what caused flight MI185 to crash, and said there was insufficient evidence to back the theory of a suicidal pilot.

[ 17 July 2001: Message edited by: Picard ]
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Old 18th Jul 2001, 03:40
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Can someone explain to me how:

If thrust is supposed to be checked by 60 knots...how is that a spilt second decision?

If one thrust lever is in front of the other by several knobs "three as described in court" that something might be wrong with the engine?

That a fuel leak was found following an inspection.

And the damn engine was changed! So a good decision eh?

And the pilots as a group are standing behind a decision like that.

Do we assume that they are happy to fly unairworthy aircraft.

And are they standing behind "one of theirs" no matter what the performance, attitude and competence of "one of theirs".

And do they condone pulling circuit breakers.

And what of the landing climb performance of an overweight landing (have "they" even heard of such a limitation and had it been checked)?

What a sham, joke and apology for so-called profesional pilots..who are "paid to make split second decisions".

Methinks you have been watching too many Hollywood movies.....and if you think I am wrong, ask the relatives of the dead!

What a disgrace to make a court a meeting place for the aviation illiterates who "must stick together!
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Old 18th Jul 2001, 06:13
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18 July 2001 (The Straits Times)
SILKAIR CRASH LAWSUIT
Ex-captain disturbed over pilot's behaviour
Former captain said he could not take Capt Tsu's abuse of the aircraft and voiced concern just days before crash

By Alethea Lim and Tan Ooi Boon
ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR

A FORMER SilkAir captain had apparently voiced concerns over the unsafe behaviour of MI 185 pilot Tsu Way Ming just days before the crash and wanted its management to hold a meeting to discuss this.
But that meeting never took place because days later, on Dec 19, 1997, Flight MI 185 went down in Palembang.
Yesterday, Senior Counsel Michael Khoo, the lawyer for victims' families who are suing SilkAir, told the court that Captain Mohan Raganathan was the pilot who complained.
He said in December 1997, Capt Raganathan had decided that he would not want to renew his contract as he could 'handle any emergency but would not tolerate any abuse of aircraft by Capt Tsu'.
Mr Khoo said Capt Raganathan was disturbed that Capt Tsu had proceeded to take off to Kunming, in China, on Nov 20, 1997 although one of plane's twin engines did not have sufficient power. While the plane took off safely, Capt Tsu decided to return to Changi Airport 20 minutes later for checks.
The lawyer noted that Capt Raganathan later complained to SilkAir's then flight operations manager, Captain Leslie Ganapathy.
But yesterday, Capt Ganapathy said he did not recall receiving such a complaint from Capt Raganathan.
He said the management had agreed to meet some of the pilots, but the meeting was meant to discuss routine operational matters, and not Capt Tsu.
As one of Capt Tsu's supervisory managers, he earlier told the court that his relationship with Capt Tsu had often been good, even after the management demoted Capt Tsu in August 1997 for failing to report an incident and for stopping a cockpit voice recorder.
He said about eight days before the crash, Capt Tsu came to see him about the flight to Kunming, and told him that while he forgot to report the incident, he went beyond his duties to help transfer passengers to other flights and help ground staff check the plane.
Capt Ganapathy said: 'I remember agreeing with Capt Tsu that he had done good work and told him that if he put this down in writing...I would certainly write to him to thank him for his good work.'
The trial continues today.

Capt Tsu broke rules thrice in 8 months

THE lawyer for the families suing SilkAir said yesterday that the airline's flight management could have taken more severe action against Captain Tsu Way Ming when he committed his third flight-safety breach, just four months after he was rapped and demoted for two earlier ones.
Senior Counsel Michael Khoo added that instead of disciplining him, the management merely reminded him to be more careful.
Mr Khoo, who is representing families of six people who died in the MI 185 crash, was referring to an incident on Nov 20, 1997 when Capt Tsu did not get enough thrust in one of the plane's engines while taking off from Singapore to Kunming, China. The plane had to return to Singapore.
It landed smoothly but was found to be overloaded. Capt Tsu did not make a report of this overweight landing as required.
His supervisor, Captain Anthony Leong, then sent him a letter the day after the incident, reminding him to be 'more mindful' and follow the requirements in future.
Eight months earlier, in March 1997, Capt Tsu had to make a turn-around when he failed to land his plane in Manado, Indonesia. He later landed safely but did not report the incident as mandated.
Three months later, Capt Tsu had deliberately stopped the cockpit voice recorder by pulling its circuit breaker just before the flight left Singapore because he wanted to download its content. It has a 30-minute taping time and re-records continuously.
In July 1997, he was reprimanded for his 'poor judgment' and removed as line instructor pilot.
When cross-examining Capt Leong, Mr Khoo said that Capt Tsu should have been more severely dealt with after his third breach, given his past record.
Disagreeing, Capt Leong emphasised that the November 1997 incident was an administrative oversight on Capt Tsu's part and not a breach in safety procedure.
'We did not think of it as a serious breach,' he added.

SILKAIR CRASH
18 July 2001 (The Business Times)
Court hears SilkAir pilot had good flying record
By
Beth Jinks

THE disciplinary record and judgement of late SilkAir pilot Captain Tsu Way Ming came under scrutiny again in the Singapore High Court yesterday as his superiors gave evidence in a civil hearing into the Singapore Airlines subsidiary's 1997 crash.

SilkAir vice-president Captain Leslie Ganapathy testified that Capt Tsu had a good flying record except for the time when he disconnected a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) during another flight.

Capt Ganapathy said while it was a serious breach of discipline in turning off a CVR, Capt Tsu had made up for his mistake by reconnecting the recorder and continuing the flight.

His testimony followed that of SilkAir deputy chief pilot Captain Anthony Leong, who also continued to defend his pilot yesterday. Michael Khoo, the lawyer acting on behalf of the families of six of the 104 people killed when flight MI 185 nosedived into a Sumatran river, claimed the pilot had made serious mistakes, overlooked report guidelines and exercised poor judgement on several occasions before the fatal crash.

But Capt Leong insisted that despite scaring his co-pilots, Capt Tsu's earlier decisions to switch off the CVR to preserve a conversation, allegedly flying 'severe' S-turns to correct a badly approached landing and making an overweight landing after deciding to take off with engine thrust problems were at most errors in judgement, rather than instances of recklessness.

The incidents prompted an internal investigation and led to Capt Tsu's demotion earlier in 1997. When questioned about Capt Tsu's failure to report an incident after having been counselled over past complaints, Capt Leong said: 'His interpretation (of when reports were needed) was incorrect, but you can't take a person to task like that... in our view it was not that serious.'

Capt Leong told the court both he and Capt Ganapathy had counselled Capt Tsu to 'put the incident behind him' and told him 'this is not the end of your career path' when the pilot was demoted. The hearing continues today.


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Old 18th Jul 2001, 07:30
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Bedowin

You are spot on the target. Only the uneducated, foolish or ignorant would try to defend the indefensible. Professional? Most definitely not.
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Old 18th Jul 2001, 12:53
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The New Paper from Singapore reports yesterday or today that about 10 to 15 pilots have been attending the court in the last week or so, to show support for the pilot...

Not having been in the Court myself, perhaps someone who has could verify this information..
 
Old 18th Jul 2001, 15:16
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Crockett,
It is always possible that off duty pilots may have been "counselled" to attend the court.
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Old 18th Jul 2001, 16:01
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Just an afterthought.
How did anyone know they were pilots?
Were they wearing uniforms?
Reason for asking is that in most places uniforms are only worn on rostered duty.
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Old 18th Jul 2001, 18:41
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Dear Bedowin, not so spot on!

Where do you come to the conclusion that the 'pilots as a group are standing behind a decision like that' and is it 'they' - ' the pilots as a group' - you are referring to throughout your post? If so please enlighten us as to how you come to this interesting conclusion.

Waiting.
 
Old 18th Jul 2001, 18:51
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The hypocrisy of the Silk Air expert witnesses and supervisory management is breathtaking. Just before its failure (pulled CB), the FDR indicated that the stab trim setting was at normal cruise setting of 4.58 units. At the crash site it was found at 2.5 units which is the electrical fwd limit switch. At 0.2 units per second rotation speed, that means someone operated the stab trim for 10 seconds to get to full fwd. That is a dramatic change of trim in a very short time span.
The UK Professor for Silk Air suggested that although the stab trim was found at full fwd electrical setting of 2.5 units it could have possibly rotated itself from 3.08 units to 2.5 units during partial break up. Operative word is possibly.

But then he threw in another red herring and said that possibly, just possibly, there could have been a progressive electrical failure which manifested itself by firstly the mysterious failure to the CVR. Then six minutes later on by another mysterious failure - this time of the FDR (another pulled CB?)

Then guess what! Next was a possible - just possible, the Professor said, failure of the front windscreen that panicked the crew into a premature dive (due human instinct, he said) and that they simply forgot to forgot to close the throttles and extend the speed brakes, then lost control altogether.

Then another mysterious progressive electrical power failure which caused the transponder to fail passing 19500 ft. All these occurrences were served up as possible by the UK Professor and studiously repeated by the French Test pilot (tongue firmly in cheek for sure).
Not content with that, these two expert witnesses then threw in yet another red herring by suggesting that another part of the progressive electrical failure conspiracy may be that a faulty pressurization warning suddenly occurred causing the crew to shove the 737 into a steep dive. Jesus wept!! Can you really believe that this all actually happened in the court room? Well, it did. Ask the media and for once they reported quite accurately.
So the red herrings were trailed across the court room. Very effective delaying tactics so that the other side may run out of money due wasted days of crap.

The plaintiffs had hoped for the truth to come out in this court case, instead it was bleeding obvious (hopefully to the Judge)as each day dragged on, that the Defendants were desperately attempting to dredge up excuses to cover the captain of Silk Air 185 well documented potentially dangerous cowboy flying. Sadly, as events turned out, it may have been lethal flying...

The media reported everything very fairly and accurately, so far.
 
Old 18th Jul 2001, 19:19
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Pilot on fatal SilkAir flight normal prior to crash, says witness

SINGAPORE, July 18 (AFP) - The pilot of a SilkAir jet that crashed killing 104 people in 1997 showed no sign of abnormal behaviour in the days before the flight, the Singapore High Court was told Wednesday on the final day of a negligence suit against the airline.
"On December 11 (1997), I did meet Captain Tsu. He was very normal," said Leslie Ganapathy, chief pilot of flight operations at SilkAir, a regional Asian carrier.

Eight days later Tsu Way Ming captained a Silkair Boeing 737 which crashed into an Indonesian river on a flight from Jakarta to Singapore.

The families of six victims are suing SilkAir, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, claiming there was evidence the crash was deliberately caused by the cockpit crew.

But Ganapathy, testifying for SilkAir, said it was not possible Tsu could have intentionally caused the crash.

"I could not believe that would be true. He could not have done something like that," Ganapathy said.

An Indonesian-led investigation was not able to determine what caused the crash and ruled out the theory of a suicide attempt by the pilot due to insufficient evidence.

The families claim the plane's death plunge was the deliberate action of a troubled pilot who should not have been at the controls.

Under cross-examination by the plaintiffs' lawyer Michael Khoo, Ganathapy refused to be drawn on the cause of the crash.

"I really can't say. I really don't know," he said.

"For me to come up with a view would be inappropriate."

Although Tsu's safety record has been questioned during the hearing, Ganathapy said the pilot's failure to report an attempted "S-turn" in order to lose altitude on an earlier flight was not a breach of safety.

"He should have recorded it in the voyage report. It's nothing to do with safety," he said.

The final day of the trial continued after Justice Tan Lee Meng said the hearing should proceed without the admission of a confidential report on the crash commissioned by Singapore Airlines.

The case had been adjourned on Tuesday after Khoo demanded he be given a copy of the report, by the Cranfield Impact Centre in Britain.

The existence of the report was revealed by Denis Howe, a professor at Cranfield University's College of Aeronautics, during testimony last Friday.

But Howe said he was unable to release the study because he had prepared it as a consultant for a client.

Thomas Oey, whose mother and brother died in the crash, said in court he was withdrawing his suit filed against the aircraft manufacturer in the United States and would concentrate only on the negligence claim against the airline.

"Enough information has come out. I am quite convinced there is no point pursuing against Boeing at this point," he said.

The judge gave lawyers five weeks to prepare final submissions and he would then set a date for the submissions to he heard in court.
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Old 18th Jul 2001, 19:31
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Latest News - Singapore
18 July 05:26PM -- Singapore Time

One family drops suit against Boeing

The Straits Times
By Alethea Lim and Tan Ooi Boon

ONE of the five family members who are suing SilkAir for the MI185 crash said on Wednesday that he will drop his lawsuit against plane manufacturer Boeing because he was convinced that mechanical faults were not the cause.

Mr Thomas Oey, 39, who lost his brother and mother in the crash told the High Court that he had initially filed suits in 1998 against Boeing and related parties such as makers of the plane's parts, because the cause of the crash is unknown.

This came after American lawyers flew here to look for families of the victims, with the view of getting them to sign up for an action against Boeing.

But after hearing the expert witnesses' testimonies in the 13-day trial here, Mr Oey said he would withdraw all claims against the plane manufacturers.

In particular, he noted that SilkAir's expert, Professor Denis Howe, had dismissed rudder malfunction -- a cause in other crashes -- as the reason of the MI185 crash.

Mr Oey, who attended the trial daily since it started earlier this month, said: 'I don't believe it was mechanical failure that caused the crash.'

The lecturer of a Baptist seminary here was called as a witness to refute SilkAir's claim that the families were being inconsistent when they sued SilkAir for 'intentional pilot action' when they also had another ongoing suit against the plane's maker.

All 104 passengers on board the Boeing 737, including Mr Oey's mother, Berenice Braislin Oey, 71, and brother, Jonathan Edward Oey, 39, died when the plane plunged into the Musi River in Palembang on Dec 19, 1997.

But the other four families who are suing SilkAir did not join Mr Oey in dropping their US suits.

Mrs Ruby Joseph, who lost her husband John Joseph Parappuram, 45, in the crash told the court on Wednesday that she would continue with her action against Boeing and the other related parties.

She said: 'I was advised it was all right to keep the actions'.

The trial has been adjourned for five weeks for the parties to prepare their final arguments.
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Old 18th Jul 2001, 19:50
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Runway Rumble

Just saw over 100 CX pilots on TV news marching to Mariners' Club in Tsimshatsui from Star Ferry to attend press conference...all in uniform and presume they were not on rostered duty...

Seems CX pilots are more organised than SQ ones when comes to supporting each other...
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Old 19th Jul 2001, 01:11
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I do not know how the pilots in court who were presumably were off duty, were identified as such. All I know is what I read in the newspaper article and that one or two of them was interviewed..

Not really important information anyway, I would suggest.

So what next...it could be a long wait...??

My take of the case so far...No one has proven one way or the other what caused it beyond reasonable doubt.. But then I have not been in the court and have not heard everything, so I might be wrong
 
Old 19th Jul 2001, 01:48
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Hudson

You are quite correct. The defence case is like the pristine bullet theory in the JFK assassination. And this in a court room? Just hope that the final defence witnesses are comfortable with their submissions GIVEN UNDER OATH.
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Old 19th Jul 2001, 06:32
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The Singapore Police Report attached to the Indonesian Accident report on MI 185 declared that there was no evidence of suicidal tendencies concerning the captain.
The captain's supervisors said the same thing. None of that means a thing.


I am no trick cyclist, but it is my reading that suiciders don't always telegraph their punches. Attached article (part of) makes topical reading on these matters:


To Die For (from AVWEB)
The December 1997 SilkAir 185 crash in Indonesia and the October 1999 Egypt Air 990 crash in the U.S. have both focused attention on an aviation safety question that most of us would really rather not discuss: pilot suicide. Could psychological testing of pilots help prevent this sort of tragedy? Does cockpit crew size (three vs. two) make a difference? Does the FAA's policy of grounding pilots who take antidepressant medication help or hurt? AVweb's Ken Cubbin examines these and other facets of the problem.

by Kenneth A. Cubbin ([email protected])

Partial quote from this article, sub-headed
Who's at risk?

"Let me say up front that I have no psychological or clinical psychiatric expertise. But an article titled "The Neurobiology of Depression" published in the June 1998 issue of Scientific American presents some opinions that I find quite interesting. At the time the article was published, its author Charles B. Nemeroff was professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine.

In his article, Professor Nemeroff describes the symptoms of depression as being quite different from "the blues" that everyone feels at one time or another, including grief from bereavement. He states that depression can include a sense of overwhelming sadness, guilt, and a sense of self-worthlessness. A person suffering from depression may lose appetite and have trouble sleeping -- or conversely, want to eat and sleep constantly. Such people can be preoccupied with suicide and have difficulty thinking clearly, remembering, or taking pleasure in anything.

How can someone suffer from such debilitating effects and yet remain functional? Eva Winer, a spokesperson for the APA, explained that in her career as a testing officer in a psychiatric hospital, she had seen "many deep-seated, practically asymptomatic cases of 'smiling' or 'larvae' depression that didn't impair daily functioning and easily went undetected for a long time." Therefore, presumably, a person can be severely depressed, yet hide it from his or her peers.

Professor Nemeroff suggests "that 5 to 12 percent of men and 10 to 20 percent of women in the U.S. will suffer from a major depressive episode at some time in their life. Roughly half of these individuals will become depressed more than once, and up to 10 percent (about 1.0 to 1.5 percent of Americans) will experience manic phases in addition to depressive ones, a condition known as manic-depressive illness or bipolar disorder… As many as 15 percent of those who suffer from depression or bipolar disorder commit suicide each year."

In what may be a very disturbing statistic in relation to pilot suicide, Professor Nemeroff contends that "many people who kill themselves do so in a way that allows another diagnosis to be listed on the death certificate, so that families can receive insurance benefits or avoid embarrassment."

End of quote.
-------------------------
So there you have what most people already know, and that is you don't have to necessarily go around trailing blood from a slit wrist to indicate that you are thinking about topping yourself.

The captain of MI 185 apparently went around happy as a lark in the days before he took the high dive. So forget that as sure fire physical evidence that he had no intention of prematurely meeting his maker. Nor taking those other innocent souls with him.

The coincidences of CVR and FDR circuit breaker pulling (pity he forgot to switch off the transponder, too) and full forward stab trim, high thrust levels and no speed brake use, and no radio call, were all too uncanny to dismiss as flat earth nonsense.

If the Judge dismisses all this evidence as purely coincidental events, then the plaintiffs case for a verdict that indicates the "Most probable cause of the crash of MI 185 was intentional pilot action" is in grave jeopardy.
 
Old 19th Jul 2001, 11:05
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19 July 2001 (The Straits Times)

Capt Tsu broke rules thrice in 8 months

THE lawyer for the families suing SilkAir said yesterday that the airline's flight management could have taken more severe action against Captain Tsu Way Ming when he committed his third flight-safety breach, just four months after he was rapped and demoted for two earlier ones.

Senior Counsel Michael Khoo added that instead of disciplining him, the management merely reminded him to be more careful.

Mr Khoo, who is representing families of six people who died in the MI 185 crash, was referring to an incident on Nov 20, 1997 when Capt Tsu did not get enough thrust in one of the plane's engines while taking off from Singapore to Kunming, China. The plane had to return to Singapore.

It landed smoothly but was found to be overloaded. Capt Tsu did not make a report of this overweight landing as required.

His supervisor, Captain Anthony Leong, then sent him a letter the day after the incident, reminding him to be 'more mindful' and follow the requirements in future.

Eight months earlier, in March 1997, Capt Tsu had to make a turn-around when he failed to land his plane in Manado, Indonesia. He later landed safely but did not report the incident as mandated.

Three months later, Capt Tsu had deliberately stopped the cockpit voice recorder by pulling its circuit breaker just before the flight left Singapore because he wanted to download its content. It has a 30-minute taping time and re-records continuously.

In July 1997, he was reprimanded for his 'poor judgment' and removed as line instructor pilot.

When cross-examining Capt Leong, Mr Khoo said that Capt Tsu should have been more severely dealt with after his third breach, given his past record.

Disagreeing, Capt Leong emphasised that the November 1997 incident was an administrative oversight on Capt Tsu's part and not a breach in safety procedure.

'We did not think of it as a serious breach,' he added.

July 19, 2001 (The Business Time)
SILKAIR CRASH
Final submissions in 5 weeks for judgment

Plaintiff drops suit in US against Boeing as mechanical failure ruled out as cause

By
Beth Jinksand Donald Urquhart



LAWYERS yesterday wrapped up witness testimony in the SilkAir flight MI 185 crash case, and will present their final submissions to the High Court after five weeks for a final judgment.

The defence team representing Singapore Airlines' (SIA) regional subsidiary SilkAir rested its case without the court hearing a proposed testimony from a psychologist. The expert had been expected to testify about the likely state of mind of the Boeing 737's pilot, Captain Tsu Way Ming, who has been accused of either acting recklessly or committing suicide.

The families of six of the 104 people killed when the plane crashed into Sumatra's Musi River in December 1997 are suing the airline.

On the final day of witness testimony, plaintiff lawyer Michael Khoo focused his cross examination of SilkAir chief pilot of flight operations Capt Leslie Ganapathy on an 'unofficial' meeting held on Aug 30, 2000, where a confidential accident report commissioned by SIA but not released to the court was discussed.

Capt Ganapathy confirmed that both he and report author Denis Howe were present at the meeting held in a conference room at Changi Airport. According to both men, other people present included SIA managers, engineers, the person in charge of the Indonesian-led investigation, and someone introduced as an official Singapore representative of the investigative team.

Capt Ganapathy said he did not know whether it was an 'official or unofficial' meeting, but said no Boeing or US investigation representatives were present.

Questions over the meeting were first raised during Prof Howe's testimony that he was employed by SIA to prepare an opinion on the 'most likely' cause of the crash. Prof Howe revealed he had been provided with a 'mysterious box' of evidence by SIA Engineering employees to help make his assessment.

A professor at Cranfield University's College of Aeronautics in Britain, Prof Howe also based his report on a study of steering wreckage prepared by the Cranfield Impact Centre in Britain which cast doubt on the key plaintiff claim that the aircraft had been steered as directly as possible into a nosedive.

The case was adjourned on Tuesday after Mr Khoo demanded a copy of the report, claiming again yesterday that 'if Prof Howe has changed his views between what he expressed in that report and what his views were as expressed in the witness box, it goes to his veracity'. However, Justice Tan Lee Meng said the hearing should proceed without its admission.

Capt Ganapathy said he did not know what caused the accident but thought it unlikely Capt Tsu had intentionally crashed the plane. 'It has stumped all of us . . . I've looked at the various possibilities . . . but at the end of the day I'm really not sure. Anything is possible given the circumstances,' he said.

'We do everything to make sure we give (pilots) the thought processes as laid down by the manual and at the end of the day, we hope all these things will help them to do the job expected of them.

'(However), when you deal with the real thing it can be quite dramatic . . . we can't say in the real world how they actually will act.'

In the closing moments of the trial, two of the plaintiffs testified about ongoing court cases against Boeing and other aircraft-part manufacturers in the US. Some 25 families of the victims of the crash in addition to the six plaintiffs in the Singapore trial are pursuing legal action there.

One of the six plaintiffs, Thomas Geoffrey Oey, who lost his mother and brother in the crash, told the court he had instructed his American lawyers to cease all legal action against Boeing and other part manufacturers in the US. Mr Oey said his decision was based on the fact that enough evidence had been presented to rule out a mechanical failure as the cause of the crash.



SILKAIR CRASH LAWSUIT
Disregard police report: Counsel
THE police report dismissing pilot suicide as the cause of the SilkAir crash should not be admitted as evidence, said the plaintiffs' lawyer,Senior Counsel Michael Khoo, yesterday..
This is because the police officers who prepared that report did not testify in the civil case, he said.
On Tuesday, the Attorney-General objected to calling the officers as witnesses because their probe was meant to uncover whether a criminal act had been committed.
Citing the Evidence Act, a representative for the A-G said said that police investigations were matters that should be kept confidential.
Yesterday, Mr Khoo said that since he could not question the officers, he would argue in his final submission that the court should disregard the police report.
While the families are saying that the crash was caused by the pilots, Mr Khoo had said that they did not have to show that suicide was the motive.
All the families need to show, he said, is that the crash was caused by an intentional action.
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Old 20th Jul 2001, 10:54
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Crocket, my condolences to you and the families of the victims.

The Vne/Mmo is known as the "red line" speed or the "never exceed" speed. If exceeded, the aircraft could experience structural failure. The Vne\Mmo for the 737 is about 80% of the speed of sound (at 33,000 ft). Given this, I doubt whether the aircraft could have been flown at 1.2 times the speed of sound without breaking up. Well, then again, I'm no expert.

I do remember reading of eye-witness accounts that two explosions were heard before the impact. Some experts suggested that this may have been the aircraft breaking the sound barrier on its descent.

Good luck with the court case.
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Old 22nd Jul 2001, 02:38
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And now we wait....for the outcome..

Just hope that no one forgets about all of this in the coming months until court case reconvenes..Time has a way of making people forget..

The families will not however..
 
Old 22nd Jul 2001, 20:46
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The Straits Times
22 July 2001

THE TWO FACES OF SILKAIR PILOT
Lawyers in the SilkAir MI 185 trial have painted two very different images of Captain Tsu Way Ming. TAN OOI BOON and ALETHEA LIM piece together a portrait of the man in charge, the day 104 people died

THE mystery that surrounds the crash of flight MI 185 has made the pilot of the doomed plane the target of many accusations.

Captain Tsu Way Ming, who was 41 when he died, had such a colourful flying career that the allegations became irresistible.



Three times had he diced with death as a pilot in the Republic of Singapore Air Force. Just months before his final fatal crash, he pulled off some unorthodox manoeuvres while flying for SilkAir.

So was it just another stunt that went horribly wrong and caused the plane to go down near Palembang on Dec 19, 1997? What could have made the plane nosedive from 35,000 feet and crash, within minutes, into the Musi River?

Even at the trial the 'stunt' question cropped up.

Capt Tsu's first close call was on Dec 19, 1979, exactly 18 years before the MI 185 crash. Then 23, he was set to fly with four other pilots on a training mission near Manila. But his plane developed a last-minute fault and he was grounded.

The four pilots were killed when they flew into a mountain.

On Sept 6, 1981, he and a student pilot took off in a trainer jet. It crashed while performing a take-off roll. The student pilot died.

On March 3, 1986, Capt Tsu again cheated death. He was flying with a student pilot south-west of Tengah Airbase when his A-4 Skyhawk struck problems and both ejected safely.

The fact that he was involved in two crashes and was on the sidelines of a third was enough for these incidents to be used as possible explanations for the MI 185 crash.

He was also painted as someone plagued by problems at work, and as a punter who had suffered financial losses to the tune of $2.25 million, while playing the stock market.

Moreover, four months before the Palembang crash, SilkAir demoted him for breaching flight procedure.

Allegations that all this drove him to down the plane came fast and furious when the interim crash report cited 'human factors' as a possible cause.

That MI 185's flight recorders stopped working minutes before the crash - and that Capt Tsu had stopped a flight recorder on a flight before - sparked off more rumours. Of suicide.

They subsided when a police probe ruled out suicide as a motive for the crash.

Despite this, there was no killing the allegations that he was a reckless 'cowboy' pilot who did not hesitate to push commercial Boeing jets to the limit. Two incidents reported within 10 months of the crash.

On March 3, 1997, a plane he was piloting into Manado, Indonesia, came in too high and too fast for a landing. He still tried to land by putting the plane into a 'S'-like flight path in an attempt to reduce speed and height.

He did not land on the first attempt. He circled and landed safely the second time. He did not report the incident to the airline.

In Singapore on Nov 20, 1997, a month before the crash, he took off for bound for China although one of his plane's twin engines was not working at full capacity.

He returned to Changi Airport 20 minutes later to make an 'overweight' landing, when a plane is carrying fuel meant for a long flight. Again, it was not noted in his report.

Antics such as these raise eyebrows. At least one pilot colleague complained that Capt Tsu was 'abusing' the planes.

Captain Mohan Raganathan, who is no longer with SilkAir, said the pilots had decided to call a meeting to discuss Capt Tsu's actions.

The meeting was scheduled for Dec 23, 1997.

It was never held.

Four days before they were to meet, Capt Tsu went down with his plane.

And, perhaps, he took with him any chance of finding the cause of the MI 185 crash.

THE TWO FACES OF SILKAIR PILOT
A doting Dad, good husband, top pilot with much to look forward to
HE WAS in every sense a family man.


A loving son, this picture of Capt Tsu was taken on Mother's Day in 1997. Before he died, he was preparing for his Dad's birthday party.
A devoted father and loving husband, Captain Tsu Way Ming, 41, made an effort to spend time with his three sons and often cooked for his wife.

He was a Buddhist and a filial son.

The weekend he died, he was preparing for his father's birthday celebrations.

The Tsus were looking forward to attending a bursary award ceremony for one of their sons the following Monday.

Capt Tsu had an impressive career.

He joined the Republic of Singapore Air Force in 1975 and was a combat pilot, flight instructor and member of the elite Black Knights aerobatic team.

One of his proudest moments took place on Aug 9, 1990, when he flew with the Black Knights in a National Day flypast.

He was one of the first Singaporean-trained A-4 Skyhawk pilots promoted to flight instructor, after he graduated at the top of his Pilot Attack Instructor Course in 1986.


In 1992, he was a major when he quit the RSAF to join SilkAir as a first officer.

He was appointed a commander in January 1996.

With 6,900 hours of flying experience, he could have flown for Singapore Airlines.

But he chose to fly for its smaller sister airline so he could spend more time with his family.

Extroverted, sociable and outgoing were descriptions that came easily when his family members, friends and colleagues remembered him.

They also called him forthright, tough-minded and daring but disciplined.

At work, he was the 'easy-going' and 'caring' captain.

His supervisors thought highly of him and were impressed with his flying skills.

In March 1997, he was promoted to line instructor pilot, just one step away from being an instructor pilot.

But four months later, his career hit a snag with a demotion to captain and a reprimand for breaking the rules: He had stopped a cockpit voice recorder and failed to report an incident.

Another time, he was reminded to be more careful after he failed to make another incident report when a flight from Singapore to Kunming, China, that he had piloted had to turn back.

His supervisors still regarded him as well-trained and came to court to speak up for him.

The rules he broke did not affect flight safety.

His skills and competence were never in doubt. One flight supervisor, Capt Leslie Ganapathy, said pilots do forget to make incident reports.

It was only because Capt Tsu's file was scrutinised so closely that his breaches seemed more serious than they were.

But he was still a responsible captain.

So when the Kunming-bound plane turned back, he went beyond the call of duty and helped passengers transfer to other flights and helped ground staff check the plane.

His supervisors maintained that the demotion would have been no more than a temporary setback and he had plenty of chances to prove himself.

And he did not hold a grudge against them. Their working relationship remained 'cordial', they said.

So did they think Capt Tsu deliberately crashed his plane?

Capt Ganapathy said: 'I find it difficult to imagine the person I knew as I did, to be personally involved.'
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Old 25th Jul 2001, 15:24
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Crockett,
I don't know if you will get any justice from the court case, but the proceedings will throw light on the charade in Singapore.
Capt.Ganapathy and Capt.Leong may consider all the actions of Tsu Way Ming as just minor errors of judgement. But, any pilot worth his salt might think otherwise.
Just look at what Tsu had accomplished in the 9 months preceeding the crash.
1.He does "S" turns to lose height to correct the approach into Manado. Except that , his co-pilot had to slam the thrust levers forward when the Go Around was initiated with just "will power"!! by the captain. The aircraft was around 700 feet AGL overthreshold. I wonder who considers this just a minor error!!
2.In May 1997, Tsu takes an aircraft out without the Parking Brake serviceable. He has just a Second Officer trainee on the right hand seat. Tsu's total experience as an airline captain is hardly 500 hours. Is that safe?
3.In June 1997 he pulls out the CVR on a scheduled flight. This is not just a minor error!!
4.In November 1997, Tsu experiences power loss on one of the engines, while setting take-off thrust. The company SOP specifies " SET TAKE OFF THRUST BY 60 KTS". He firewalls the engine and does not get take off thrust. He returns back after take-off and makes an overweight landing. All these errors are not reported.

Now we have the two management pilots stating that "though he scared co-pilots, pulled out CVR CBs, took out an aircraft which was unsafe, firewalls engines and does overweight landings", he is a very good and safe pilot. After all, he is supposed to have transferred all the passengers on his flight to Kunming, to other flights!!
I hope the captain of SQ 006 realises his major mistake. He didn't transfer the surviving passengers to other flights!!!!!

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