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Cathay pilot 'sacked for Top Gun stunt'

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Cathay pilot 'sacked for Top Gun stunt'

Old 26th Feb 2008, 21:40
  #141 (permalink)  
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Lets face it, what ever you do with a jet or helicopter in public these days there's going to be a phonecamera/video/or digitalcybereasel around pointing right at you and chance is it will be on youtube before you land.

So best make sure whatever we do, whether risky or not risky, is within OMs, SOPs, AFM and approved by a 'grown up' in writing if considered abnormal. Thats the modern world: shame but true.

By the way; if thats a Top Gun Stunt, my names Tom and I'll be going home tonight in Kelly McGillis's Porche convertable to do some after hours extra ACM lessons !
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Old 26th Feb 2008, 21:53
  #142 (permalink)  
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Some might think formally reprimanding the Captain would not only have sufficed but been a much better approach, together with an appropriate warning to other pilots only to do a flyby with prior authorisation - so as to avoid stirring up doom-mongers, armchair experts and melodramatic journos.
Although, in this instance, some may think Cathay management have done that themselves by their own inept handling of the incident. (I couldn't possibly comment.)

If the insurers expressed any concerns, they could be informed the above steps had been taken. That, in my experience, usually suffices if insurers have any concerns about repetition.
Explosion in insurance expense?
When no harm was done, so no claim made?
Insurers don't risk losing major clients that easily.

White Waltham - about 30 years ago


Last edited by Flying Lawyer; 26th Feb 2008 at 22:38.
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Old 26th Feb 2008, 22:23
  #143 (permalink)  
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Flying Lawyer

Fantastic image - it would seem those days are long gone because of the reasons stated in your post.

I never had anything to do with the VC10 apart from some odd bits as an engineering apprentice - what a cracking looking aircraft it is though; especially in that photo.

In respect of the 'offence' committed - although any such flying should only be carried out with the full approval of the management (he obviously was one of the team) to my mind the punishment was innapropriate.

I see that the Cathay Chairman Pratt was on board - a surname that may inspire the rest of the management team.

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Old 26th Feb 2008, 22:50
  #144 (permalink)  
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You may be right, but I think it's sad if those days are gone.

Cathay have said the flyby wasn't dangerous.
Some might think it would have been wiser if they'd left it at that.
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Old 26th Feb 2008, 23:38
  #145 (permalink)  
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With the Cathay chairman on the flight deck during the manoeuvre and the first disquiet by the company only being expressed when the matter received publicity, I would think that it could be argued that the company, in the absence of prior or earlier objection, consented by default to the manoeuvre ! Wouldn't the legal concept of estoppel prevent the company from reversing their position ?

In which case the argument would be between the company officers of Cathay and the Hong Kong (Chinese ?) aviation authority
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Old 26th Feb 2008, 23:42
  #146 (permalink)  
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One has to wonder why the change in attitude of the management. Toasting with champers one minute and then this. Talk about kicking an own goal, they could not have got more coverage of the incident (not that I would call it that) if they tried.
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Old 26th Feb 2008, 23:57
  #147 (permalink)  
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toasting with champers was for the arrival of the latest B777ER in special livery and NOT for the fly past

but hey, don't let the truth get in the way of a good story.......
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 00:13
  #148 (permalink)  
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This incident has made it to CNN. Wow, the free publicity! This guy deserves the employee of the month award!
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 00:32
  #149 (permalink)  
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according to somebody else who was on the flight, when Mr Pratt came back from the flight deck after this manouever, he was heard to say he felt the pass was very low. Imagine if he was actually standing, his viewpoint during the pass would have just been concrete, trees, trees, trees... I am neither attacking or defending here - just passing on some facts.


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Old 27th Feb 2008, 03:13
  #150 (permalink)  
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sky9 is a retired airline pilot, and I got a whole lot more time for his take on this than yours by Bronx
Unfortunately CX management disagrees with you, a harmless low pass that is unfortunately frowned on by the FAA.
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 03:53
  #151 (permalink)  
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Other than at scheduled air shows, where these maneuvers are well thought out and detailed beforehand, I have never understood the propensity of some pilots wanting to make low passes over the airfield/runway, just for the heck of it.
Poor judgement, it would seem to me.
Imagine if a flock of birds just happened to cross the runway at about the same altitude as when the low fly-past was accomplished...CX sure would look foolish with an expensive new 777 all rolled up just off the end of the runway.
Yes, the same thing could happen at takeoff, but that is entirely different, in my view.

The concerned Commander certainly left his brain out to lunch with this stunt...and that is precisely what it was, a stunt.

Deserve to be sacked?
Darn right, in spades.
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 04:15
  #152 (permalink)  
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Any Pilot who holds a Management position in CX is simply a cocksucker to the management above them. If you do not play that game you will not survive in the management role. CX is no different than Politics.
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 04:17
  #153 (permalink)  
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I fully agree with your sentiments; deserved to be sacked? I think not; maybe relieved of position as Fleet Mgr/Chief Pilot and downgraded to line Captain but certainly not fired from the company.
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 04:27
  #154 (permalink)  
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Anyone want some comedy?? Go to youtube and read some of the "couch-pilots" opinions on this 'incident'

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Old 27th Feb 2008, 05:37
  #155 (permalink)  
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Deserve to be sacked?
Darn right, in spades.
As far as I can recall, in every thread about a pilot who got fired you always say he deserved to be.

Sorry in advance if I missed one where you said a less severe punishment would have been fairer, but I can't remember it.


Last edited by Bronx; 27th Feb 2008 at 06:02.
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 05:46
  #156 (permalink)  
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SU-30 in Zhangjiajie, China on 19 Mar 06


Here are some shots from the SU-30 display in Zhangjiajie, China on 19 Mar 06 and the link to the news story.





David Horn,

surely a decision to cross a picket line is a purely personal one and shouldn't be held against him?
Since other pilots have decided to strike in a labor dispute to maintain fair wages and working conditions, anyone crossing the picket line clearly demonstrated a selfish desire to benefit himself/herself. FYI, the "undesirable to jumpseat list", AKA Scab list include pilots dated back to the Century Airline strike of 1932! ALPA has a long memory...


Last edited by betterave; 27th Feb 2008 at 17:00.
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 06:11
  #157 (permalink)  
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Would someone please start a poll........

Should Wilkinson have been fired, sanctioned, reprimanded, offered early retirement or perhaps at a later date given a handsome bonus for his (unintended?) marketing brilliance?

However brilliant a flyer the captain is, Newtonian Physics would prevent him from maintaining level flight at that attitude - and particularly in that configuration - at over 260 kts IAS. So how fast was it? My guess is a figure well below 200 kts.
Thank you for that, C. Scott. The video also suggests this was no 200+ flyby. Watching the approach does give you an odd feeling - no doubt due to the lack of dangling feet on the big green dragonjet.

Ever been close enough to a newsworthy event to know the particulars ? I have and nearly every time there were factual errors in the published story. In some cases, an agenda could be made out from under a poorly crafted veneer of integrity - not that this is the case here.
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 06:28
  #158 (permalink)  
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This is getting ridiculous. Channel 7 here in Australia just ran the video of the flypast on their network news this evening. They appeared to have the actual video (though they ran it in slow motion) rather than the assembly of stills that was posted in here.

Rather than join the chorus of speculation, personally I'd love to learn the details of what permissions he did and did not have. I find it hard to believe that an experienced captain would decide to imitate Tom Cruise unless he thought his actions were authorised. The presence of the CEO (and the friendly atmosphere during the post-flight champagne) would certainly indicate that nobody realised at the time that rules were being broken.

As usual, I wonder if we'll ever have the full facts.

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Old 27th Feb 2008, 07:07
  #159 (permalink)  
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As an experienced flying instructor and examiner of airmen I'm rapidly losing confidence in present airline pilots.

Any right seater who admits that he/she would be unsafe doing a low fly by along an unobstructed runway surely needs more hands on experience and could hardly be trusted to do a landing or a balked approach.

The manoeuvre comes close to being a small segment of every approach and landing.

Any left seater who admits to a low fly by being unsafe under the circumstances please nominate your airline so that I can avoid same.
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 08:35
  #160 (permalink)  
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As an experienced flying instructor and examiner of airmen I'm rapidly losing confidence in present airline pilots.
Gosh I thought you were a humble military test pilot... perhaps you should seek alternative employment as your instructing/examining skills are not producing pilots with the right abilities.
The manoeuvre comes close to being a small segment of every approach and landing.
Rubbish. It is untrained and unpracticed, at sigificantly different performance, with far greater scope for error.

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