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Canadian Court Requires CVR Disclosure

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Canadian Court Requires CVR Disclosure

Old 20th Sep 2010, 06:19
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PJ2
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Canadian Court Requires CVR Disclosure

Not the first time in Canada that a CVR has been provided in court.
Air France must disclose cockpit voice recorder

The cockpit voice recorder that captured conversations between the pilots aboard Air France Flight 358 before it overshot a runway at Pearson airport and exploded in flames must be disclosed to Canada's air traffic control agency, the Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled.

In a unanimous decision Friday, the court dismissed arguments from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada that disclosing the contents of the voice recorder - part of a plane's "black box" - would destroy or greatly diminish the trust pilots have in the confidentiality of the process for investigating airline crashes.

NAV Canada, which is responsible for air traffic control at the airport, says it needs the voice recorder - described earlier in the case as an "electronic fly on the cockpit wall" - to defend itself against lawsuits from Air France and nearly 300 passengers on-board the flight from Paris on Aug. 2, 2005.

The Airbus A340 plunged into a ravine while landing in lightening and heavy rain.

NAV Canada alleges pilots Alain Rosaye and Frederic Naud were negligent.

Naud, the first officer, was not opposed to having the voice recorder released as part of the litigation.

But the board contended that if the contents were disclosed, pilots will hold back on what they are willing to tell investigators in the future.

Writing for a three-judge panel Friday, Justice Stephen Goudge characterized that as little more than speculation.

"It is simply baldly asserted and is unsubstantiated by evidence, for example, that previous orders for disclosure have caused pilots to be less cooperative with subsequent investigations," he said.

The court also rejected the board's claim that cockpit recordings should only be disclosed if withholding them would lead to a miscarriage of justice.

In Canada, cockpit voice recordings are normally privileged, to be disclosed only to aviation investigators.

But under the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act, a judge can order the voice recorder to be disclosed if the importance of the evidence outweighs confidentiality concerns.

Two pilots' unions, the Air Line Pilots Association and the Air Canada Pilots Association, representing nearly 60,000 pilots around the world, intervened in the case, arguing the cockpit is their inner sanctum, a private workspace comparable to an office.

Disclosing the recording would be detrimental to aviation safety, they maintained, because pilots may not speak freely to the control tower if their every word might later be reviewed in court.

The transportation safety board's report into the Air France crash suggests "certain acts or omissions" of the pilots may have contributed to the accident, according to a Superior Court judge, who last year ordered the voice recorder disclosed, a decision the board appealed.

Justice George Strathy also ordered the board to provide NAV Canada with its animation of cockpit activity.

In court documents, NAV Canada alleges a passenger was flying in a cockpit jump seat contrary to Canadian aviation regulations.

News, Toronto, GTA, Ontario, Canada, World, Breaking, Daily, Science, Technology - thestar.com
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 08:27
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It's time to start recording all "in camera" discussions in judges' chambers so that they can be turned over to plaintiffs in wrongful conviction cases.
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 08:29
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I personally see nothing improper about disclosing CVR data to proper authorities, and certainly have no objection to a court of law, where legal opinions are being litigated.
As for pilots clamming up if this data is disclosed...well, the CVR usually tells all, so these pilots are simply being obstinate.
IF the judge says 'disclose' one had better disclose, or be held in contempt of court.
It's time to start recording all "in camera" discussions in judges' chambers so that they can be turned over to plaintiffs in wrongful conviction cases
Agree, long overdue.
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 08:29
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But the board contended that if the contents were disclosed, pilots will hold back on what they are willing to tell investigators in the future.
- the corollary of which is that they may not need to tell them

I do not follow
because pilots may not speak freely to the control tower if their every word might later be reviewed in court.
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 08:33
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Disclosing the recording would be detrimental to aviation safety, they maintained, because pilots may not speak freely to the control tower if their every word might later be reviewed in court.
That is not a very good point. ATC also record transmissions.
The CVR was installed and accepted by flight crew solely for accident investigation. If the courts wish to have access to them for litigation then I suggest we begin pulling the CB until they and their controlling legislature come to their senses.

Crossed with previous.
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 09:06
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Slightly off thread topic but has this accident report been published and does anyone have the link? Thanks for any help.
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 09:15
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I have not downloaded it, but try

http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-re...2/a05h0002.pdf
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 09:17
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Basil,

Should an accident / incident occurs and the CVR has been pulled, does the crew run the risk of being accused of tempering with evidence?

Rwy in Sight
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 10:58
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I personally see nothing improper about disclosing CVR data to proper authorities, and certainly have no objection to a court of law, where legal opinions are being litigated.
Problem is, how long do you think is going to take before they are going to end up on newspapers?
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 11:06
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If you read plenty of reports, you will see that many countries publish the CVR transcripts, including the U.S. Sometimes it is quite useful in helping to understand what happened, therefore it is increasing aviation safety.
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 12:00
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Time for us to brush up on our American Sign Speach, problem is you need both hands for a lot of the symbols, how long before vidio link comes to the flight deck? Anyone have any thoughts on this as it has I belive been proposed by at least one authority?
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 12:07
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I agree with Basil. This piece of equipment was installed for a purpose.

If this goes forward, I suggest voice recorders be turned on whenever a public defender and a criminal are having a meeting or a discussion on a case.
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 12:36
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If you read plenty of reports, you will see that many countries publish the CVR transcripts, including the U.S. Sometimes it is quite useful in helping to understand what happened, therefore it is increasing aviation safety.
I quite agree.

I also agree with the sentiment of others that to release the actual sound recordings may spiral much further then intended.

I don't understand what's going on here so maybe somebody can help me out.

From my read the ATC guys are trying to defend themselves by proving that a non authorized jumpseat rider was in the cockpit.

Typically in most other countries this would have been proven or disproved by the AAIB/TSB/NTSB/BEA written summary report of the CVR and that should be enough.

Is this what is now being requested?

I don't like the idea of releasing actual sound recordings for expert analysis not in the interests of preventing accidents
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 12:48
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...I suggest we begin pulling the CB until they and their controlling legislature come to their senses.
All very interesting, however, IF you do so without a very good reason (IE: not according to you), you are quite likely to be out of a job.
Further, if it becomes routine, flying license suspension/revocation action is quite likely to be undertaken by the responsible regulatory authority.

In short, a rather daft idea.
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 12:54
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Originally Posted by lomapaseo
I don't like the idea of releasing actual sound recordings for expert analysis not in the interests of preventing accidents.
The article is not well written so I don't know that the judge is actually ordering the recording to be released as opposed to a transcript.

As others have said, there are many such transcripts already on the web. If you don't want your idle chat to become public then don't enagage in it ?
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 12:54
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Rwy in Sight & 411A,
I agree but, nevertheless, a threat which IFALPA and national pilot unions should be making.
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 12:54
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I'm sorry but isn't this a knife that cuts both ways? How often do we have complaints and or ruminations that this type of information won't be released (Libya, Pakistan, Lebanon and India just now). What if you need the tapes to defend your actions later? The bottom line seems pretty simple, once you accept the responsibility you accept potential scrutiny of your actions in the event things go south.
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 13:48
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It does cut both ways

The ATR crash off Sicily being a good case in point.
The court was making out one representation of the data that was very harsh on the pilot. Listening to the tapes it was clear something else was happening.
A transcript is very open to interpretation.

Not an easy issue as it is emotional, but if you are getting accused you are going to want to have all the available raw data, not someones redacted version, for your defense.

20driver
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 16:15
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20driver;

The problem is, the CVR is not being requested by Air France (or their pilots) in defence of a legal action. It is being requested by a third party, and for rather dubious reasons. How is proving the existence of a jump seat rider, be it legal or not, in any way going to be relevant to defending the actions of ATC on that day?

My other problem with this is that Nav Canada and their controllers union have very strict agreements and controls in place as to what can and cannot be done with ATC recordings, and unless things have changed, release of said recordings to third parties is a non-starter. Were the shoe on the other foot, I am sure that Nav Canada would rigorously defend the protection of the ATC recordings in a similar situation.

To be clear, I am not at all in favour of removing flight data recorders from commercial transport aircraft. Their existence has greatly led to the safety improvements that I enjoy on the job today. But we pilots have only accepted the existence of data recorders because we were sold on the notion that their intent was solely for the improvement of flight safety. Cases such as this are game changers, and we need a concerted and coordinated effort to set this right now before it gets out of control, which will not be good for safety in the long run, IMHO.
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Old 20th Sep 2010, 16:34
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Hoot Gibson's version of events in his TWA 727 incident in 1979 was not believed by the authorities and he lost his job.

The fact that the CVR had been "accidentally" wiped didn't help his case and made him look guilty. Erasing CVRs at the end of the flight is contrary to many companies SOPs.
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