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In flight Pilot suicide

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In flight Pilot suicide

Old 24th Jun 2008, 16:19
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Unhappy more info on #11 . . . . . . .

I just looked up the AAIB report on the suicide I referred to in an earlier post. I hadn't realised it was as long as eleven years ago !

In case anyone is interested, it can be seen here :
www.aaib.dft.gov.uk/cms_resources/dft_avsafety_pdf_500851.pdf

Interesting to note that, in spite of the AAIB's recommendation, there
is STILL no official or reliable means of communication between AME's
and pilots' GP's.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 16:26
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I would have some place to hang my hat!

good one.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 19:40
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Punkalover...quite right about the JAL...I recall that too.

And RAINBOE...I think the Camera in the cockpit is a very good idea. we still use them in our sims.

One time, the camera proved I was right and the instructor/sim check airman was wrong. He stated that I didn't do something, but the video showed I made the callout and followed the procedure.

I would LOVE a camera in the cockpit. It can prove that you did everything right!

I also want a camera at the radar display that the controllers use. DID you know that there are some recordings of the display that do not show what the eyes of the controller see?

Blips that are there or aren't, recorded by the objective camera could prove a controller right when the computer is wrong.

THE ONLY pilots that don't like the camera in the sim are the ones that are going BALD.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 19:58
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Captains will wear their Breitlings on their right wrist and refer to it during the welcome PA. Maybe a Jaguar baseball cap for the Captain and a Porsche cap for the FO?
Why would a video prevent suicide? All it would accomplish is to show that the guy did indeed commit suicide after turning to the camera and perhaps explaining the whys and wherefores, much like the videos on Al Jazzerah after the bombers vaporise themselves.
Pointless and expensive.
I would much prefer a fish eye lens behind the nose leg showing me some useful information.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 22:17
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Would a camera on the flight deck deter someone who wanted to crash the aircraft? I think not.

If you're going to fit cameras to the aircraft then how about a set looking back at the wings, engines and tail? I'm sure if you stored video from them, as well as making it available to the flight crew, it would assist accident investigation far more in cases of structural failure. If the crew could see nasties such as significant leading edge damage then they'd know not to slow down too much and incidents such as the El Al 747F at Amsterdam could be avoided.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 22:50
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Wasn't there that incident on a FED-EX DC10 that was prevented?
Lets add them all up then and see how many there have been then.

By the way, we are not the only profession to have experienced what are termed "intentional unsafe acts"

A recent article in a Forensic Science journal reported that since 1970 fifty four healthcare professionals in 20 North American and European countries have been convicted of murdering over 300 of their patients and suspected of murdering over 2100 more. (Dr Shipman / Nurse Beverley Allitt etc)

Other murder / suicides have been suspected on the railways (trains driven into buffers etc) and in the Chemical industries. (deliberate opening of volatile chemical pipe valves etc)

While extremely rare, it seems that "intentional adverse events" may be slightly more common than we might be expecting.

Some of these guys seem to want to get themselves in the record books.

Should we not give the matter some thought before we have a "nasty" ?

Rather than doing nothing until something happens?
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 22:54
  #27 (permalink)  
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And exactly what does a video on the flight deck achieve.....or prevent?
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 23:12
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Cockpit Video

There have been several posters in this thread objecting to cockpit video on privacy grounds.

That is nonsense.

Airline pilots are in a monitored environment. There is no justification for suggesting that the cockpit is a private place.

Even though current generation data recorders monitor more parameters than before, it could well be useful to be able to see over the shoulder shots showing the view out the window and the movement of the yoke/sidestick (rudder is probably too hard)

All modern fighter pilots have cockpit video recording. Generally, it is just a HUD and front window view, but can give clues to pilot actions. Ask any fighter pilot whether any of his/her actions are influenced by knowledge of the recording going on - you will find that they are not.

Admittedly, in the old days I have had friends who stuck by an ailing bird and said that the refrain that repeated in their minds was "... and the board found that..", but those same friends did not object when the HUD camera came along.

A reasonably high definition cockpit video camera could well be useful in incident analysis. We should not be afraid of reasonable post-incident assessment of our actions, at least in North America/U.K. where the safety culture still is supportive of pilots.

Concern for inappropriate use of such video could well be addressed in the context of collective agreement negotiations when cameras are introduced.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 23:33
  #29 (permalink)  
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Concern for inappropriate use of such video could well be addressed in the context of collective agreement negotiations when cameras are introduced.
Nonsense! Agreements and reassurances lasted all of 5 minutes in Court when the first Judge decided CVR tapes should be released!

Generally, it is just a HUD and front window view,
Flight recorders can now produce a simulated cockpit view showing movements of all instruments and control stick and rudder movements. What does a front window view achieve? I have watched many incidents from the point of view of the pilot, recreated from flight recorders, with control surface positions shown. A video adds nothing. A video prevents absolutely nothing. It does nothing to increase safety and nothing in accident prevention. Any potential suicide would simply block it. Why make airlines go through incredible expense installing this stuff for no increase in safety? What would achieve more would be giving that budget to the broke NHS so they could subsidise expensive drugs deemed 'too expensive' for terminal cases! The money could be far better spent elsewhere!
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 00:17
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Cool

Hi,

Item 1

It does nothing to increase safety and nothing in accident prevention.
I agree 100 %

Item 2

Any potential suicide would simply block it
I agree 100 % (but it's more like individual case)

But .. the result of item 2 is a fast conclusion for the investigators....
In some cases .. the option suicide was retained as possible cause and so .. polluted the investigations.
If the camera lens is blocked .. you have the answer by extrapolation
If the camera lens is not blocked .. you assist as spectator of the suicide... if any.

Conclusion:

No increasing of safety or prevention.. but great help for investigators.

Regards.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 00:46
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Factual Suicide

In Australia a pilot that couldn't make the grade with Connellean Airlines, stole a Baron in Broome and then flew it about 900 miles to Alice Springs where he proceeded to use it as a kamikazee, aiming it at the main office of the airline.

He scored a direct hit on the hangar and office killing a number of people including the owners son.

The airline never recovered.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 02:55
  #32 (permalink)  
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plt_aeroeng;
There have been several posters in this thread objecting to cockpit video on privacy grounds.

That is nonsense.

Airline pilots are in a monitored environment. There is no justification for suggesting that the cockpit is a private place.
Perhaps I am one such poster, not sure, but I posted the following:
We in Canada have long made it illegal to access the CVR information by other than trained investigors of the TSB; even that has been breached by the courts in a recent case. We have attempted to make access to the DFDR and FOQA QARs also illegal but so far have been unsuccessful. Pilots have every right to such privacy with the obvious exception of investigations of incidents and accidents but that's it.
For the purposes of the discussion and for accuracy I want to be sure we're talking about the same thing only because I think some may make the mistake that there are two distinct views being expressed here.

My view on the privacy of the cockpit in terms of the invasive nature of the recorded environment is the same as yours I suspect: that it is the nature of the job to have in-depth recording on board and that pilots cannot expect not to have such recordings in their work environment. I fully agree with that view if that's the one you're expressing and that any other expectation is indeed nonsense.

The "right to privacy" statement I make refers to keeping all that recorded safety data away from the media, the lawyers and the politicians. That is the expectation pilots have a right to; - In fact, I hope that is the same expectation that the Minister and the Accountable Executive of every carrier in Canada has! That is certainly the agreement implied in any tacit pilot association acceptance, at least in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, of the invasive nature of on-board recording equipment.

In Germany, according to my friends doing FODA work at Lufthansa, this expectation is expressed in German law - the data is the pilot's alone and may not be used for any other purpose than investigation.

That law best expresses my own view and wish for the protection of flight data in Canada. I trust we are on the same page here - my fault for not fully expressing my view very clearly.

All this said, re:
Concern for inappropriate use of such video could well be addressed in the context of collective agreement negotiations when cameras are introduced.
Would that it were that easy! Unfortunately I disagree.

First, collective agreements do not have the force of law, at least in Canada and clearly not in the US. I am unsure of the legal status of CA's in the aforementioned states but almost certainly other laws have higher status and can, and have, intervened even when the CVR is required by the courts under demands for the production of information in either a civil or criminal proceeding - in other words, "the public interest", which force is presently incorporated in the Aeronautics Act in Canada.

Second, the protection of all flight data belongs well beyond the reach of all but trained safety investigators and those for whom access to such information is necessary to build safety programs and validate data, etc. Corporate willingness to "re-interpret" collective agreements in their favour may not stop at the industrial aspects of any such agreements. I have seen this take place where there have been past violations, albethey rare, of these very clauses - perhaps innocent enough and without result but "ignorance" of the CA notwithstanding, the CA cannot ultimately protect flight data from such error or willing violations as the law can. Some, perhaps most, airlines have the ability to at least read CVR and DFDR equipment and do so for certification requirements.

That said, there are also certainly strong corporate motivations for the privacy of flight data.

All modern fighter pilots have cockpit video recording. Generally, it is just a HUD and front window view, but can give clues to pilot actions. Ask any fighter pilot whether any of his/her actions are influenced by knowledge of the recording going on - you will find that they are not.

Admittedly, in the old days I have had friends who stuck by an ailing bird and said that the refrain that repeated in their minds was "... and the board found that..", but those same friends did not object when the HUD camera came along.
It's nowhere near the same environment but I accept your point as far as acknowledging that such recordings provide good investigative information.

A reasonably high definition cockpit video camera could well be useful in incident analysis. We should not be afraid of reasonable post-incident assessment of our actions, at least in North America/U.K. where the safety culture still is supportive of pilots.
For the same reason, I curiously agree with you - cockpit video "properly" installed can do the same thing, but then again, I don't think the pure safety/utility/investigative aspect of the technology is in dispute.

Using today's tiny, very sophisticated video monitoring technology the ideal installation is not one mounting but multiple camera mountings throughout the cockpit - on the instrument panel in several locations, facing the crew, on both sides to monitor the stick/bag storage area, from the rear bulkhead both high up and low down, from the forward overhead panel down and slightly rearwards to capture hand/arm motions especially at the pedestal and even in the rudder pedal areas, although such movements are already captured by DFDRs (and all sophisticated variations of recorders) - you get the idea. It's like setting up a very tight security system in a sensitive area; the limit is not technology, obviously and some will observe that it may take just a bit more vaseline and a bit more time during the cockpit check...

The key once again is strictly-controlled data. Achieving such a heavily protected legal environment in a democracy is very difficult but it has been done with the CVR in Canada and is done in the US under the FAA's laws governing FOQA data. Even as you may say that the North American and UK safety cultures in general support crews in this, (a view with which, in comparison with the way Asian crews are treated, I agree), that same safety culture does not, with perhaps the exception of the US law cited, extend to legal protection and is instead, to a greater or lesser degree, at the will of the courts and "the public interest", (which is nothing short of protection of the Minister at the expense of the publication of data were it to come down to two competing priorities). The Act to amend the Aeronautics Act in Canada (Now Bill C7,) may or may not survive the present 40th parliament but the amendments which were proposed to protect flight data have been dropped.

Despite the high utility, the great value to flight safety, the acceptance of the deep invasion into the cockpit and the notion that pilots must expect this invasion as part of the tacit agreement when they go to work for an airline, such programs in the aforementioned states proceed with the blessing of pilot associations.

The moment that the trust, which I refer to as "the pilot's right to privacy", is broken and the signal is sent that such information is no longer the sole domain of the investigators and of those who run safety programs such as FOQA/FDA/FODA and that through some legal, ethical or industrial quirk the data is at risk of public, legal and media exposure, SMS and all safety programs are finished in Canada and, I suspect, in any state where similar circumstances obtain.

Now THAT would be a problem for the Minister as well as the Accountable Executives of all carriers in Canada.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 03:20
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Devil

PJ2,

Good post. (and good posts others.) And I tend to agree with everything you said. Worked for a carrier one time whose first reaction to anything in question was to plug a download device into the DFDR & VR and take it to management. Even if it was a duty time limit question where the operating crew refused to continue one more leg! About that time I quit answering trip revision questions on the acars..... decided we'd just talk to em when we get on the ground.

It was very distracting having crew control pestering you in the decent several times demanding to know if you would go one more leg on some loophole that they interpreted.

You guys all raise valid points. If the camera camel pokes his head under the edge of the tent.... pretty soon the whole unqualified media will be crashing in too, second guessing every joke and movement that seems odd to them (if their record of obtaining CVR tapes is any indication.) A shame really, because if kept in professional circles it might give the profession insight.

This "pilot paranoia" by the media started drug testing, airport pilot screening, background investigations.... cameras in the cockpit may be coming next whether we like them or not.... (Supporting your union is the only defense imho.)

If misused cameras turn up comrads, I suggest we just go "full surveillance society" and drug test (on camera) congress, the administration, the president, the CEO, corporate officers, and anybody else we can think of. Big Brother won't like the camera pointed back at him will he?

Refresh my memory here..... We won the cold war didn't we?

Sigh....

I'm just not so sure anymore.....
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 04:03
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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IIRC there was an event in Southern Australia a few years ago when a pilot flew a light aircraft (type unknown) to attend his ex-wifes funeral.

After the funeral he headed south over water in the general direction of the South Pole. Apparently his PNR was "fuel exhaustion".

That was it. Presumably there's a wreck and a body on the ocean floor somewhere between Australia ans the South Pole.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 04:23
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Regarding the Silk Air 737 crash. Although the relatives of the dead passengers lost the court case held in Singapore - they tried to prove one of the pilots must have caused the crash - a difficult point to prove especially in Singapore. I heard later that some of them won a case held in USA against the rudder designer. There was no evidence that the Silk Air crash was caused by an uncommanded rudder movement but it suited a few interested parties to speculate that was the case

No doubt there was an Appeal. Can anyone offer a brief summary of that court case in USA and was it based upon a suspected uncommanded rudder event - and is litigation still running over the Silk Air case?
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 05:02
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This is a very interesting discussion. There is obviously a very clear message here from the pilots that cameras would not be considered in the cockpit. However there are many other professions where cameras in the workplace are an every day part of the job. Some examples:

- Control rooms in reactors/power plants
- Police vehicles
- Taxis
- Office buildings of various firms
- Busses (in some cities)
etc

Some of these are cited as safety (taxis), some as monitoring (control rooms), some as theft prevention etc (offices, shops).

While I am not saying your opinion is wrong, I find it interesting more the reaction and trying to work out the rationale behind the objection. I assume that every industry that went through the introduction of cameras into the workplace went through similar reactions, however they are now all using them and I guess doing so with little fuss.

Every now and then you see TV footage on the news of something from some type of camera. An example here in Australia would be footage of bouncers bashing some guy outside a pub for example. The camera is in the bouncers work place, and the media have used it against him, but there does not seem some outcry over their installation.

What is it in your minds that makes you think as a group cameras should not apply to pilots, as opposed to other industries?

I understand your doubts over preventing accidents etc, probably true, but for reviewing and learning after the fact?

As I said, interesting discussion and one I am sure will go on for a while as management or regulators try to push them upon you.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 06:07
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Specialization requires peer review not media review

gchriste,

Your question seems reasonable and is the kind of misunderstanding found in the popular press. But it's actually an example of the type of abuse we are trying to avoid. In your mind, it appears from your question, you feel that a bar room brawl or operation of a copy machine on the ground is equal in complexity to a pilot living for long periods of time in his cockpit and making decisions at 500 mph. Not even a nuke power plant operator exists in such a confined unforgiving environment.

Let's take a different example. While not being trained in medicine, I can still foresee the "chilling effect" which a camera that has footage released to the lay public, could cause in the operating room. Surgeons would be reluctant to allow the new recruits to train and practice their art. Doctors would worry about malpractice documentation and not do what is safe but what is defensible in court. Rather than save patients lives ER personnel would be only worried about how their actions might look to a lay jury if a distraught family member got a hold of the camera footage and sued them.

End result?

Safety is thrown out the window in favor of face saving.

The camera is not the problem. The problem is that the only people qualified to view the footage are peers in the profession. Not politicians. Not Judges. Not Lay Juries. By the same token, I am not qualified to convict a surgeon for telling lewd jokes in the middle of a procedure to alleviate stress.

If we can not trust the video custodian, we cannot reduce the danger of more stress being placed into an already stressful work environment

These are my opinions only, and I don't speak for my colleagues here who might have different views.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 06:22
  #38 (permalink)  

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"Doctors would worry about malpractice documentation and not do what is safe but what is defensible in court."

Unfortunately this is increasingly the case. Treatment is becoming lawyer-driven rather than doctor/pathology driven. Very sad and everyone suffers (except the lawyers).

Mac


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Old 25th Jun 2008, 06:48
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FedEx Attempted Murdercide

There was also the FedEx attempted suicide/sabotage of perhaps fifteen years ago. Though, on second thought, I believe that the pilot who wanted to crash the aircraft into the FedEx Memphis hub was deadheading on the flight in question. So not sure if that counts... maybe more of a hijacking. Quite a story though. Yikes.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 06:50
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In my opinion, it is something unnecessary. Indeed, if surveillance tech is so cheap, why not point the cameras all around the aircraft so crew can actually see what's going on outside. As for safeguarding data; I am sure the bigger countries with some decency, expertise and strong unions will never have a leak. My problem is the smaller countries with weak unions.

Look for an example once at the crash of the Luxair Fokker 50, where in the preliminary report the full transcript of the CVR was published. Meaning, the CVR transcript was out in the open, and the crew was already convicted by public opinion before the official report was out. Purely because some of the people involved in the investigation had no idea about good practice or privacy laws.
Now with videos it will go the same way, and I really would not want anyones family see a relative die in the cockpit.

Now on another note: Terrorists caused more deaths in recent years, why not put a camera on each seat row in the cabin?

I think its just some sick desire of voyeurism, that's all.

Let all these people think of a solution for Zimbabwe instead where thousands of people die each year because of violence and an oppressive regime.
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