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French Concorde crash

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French Concorde crash

Old 23rd Dec 2010, 15:43
  #541 (permalink)  

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Perhaps like using a Forklift to install engines with Pylons attached at AA.
Excellent, but sad point.
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Old 23rd Dec 2010, 22:52
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Lemurian

You have taken my brief comments out of context. Id read the posts and they were looking at the issue of the mechanic's culpability. if the mechanic worked outside of his instructions then he is on a frolic of his own and the company should not be liable.
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Old 24th Dec 2010, 00:10
  #543 (permalink)  
 
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If I remember from law school, a "frolic of his own" is not just not following instructions. If an employee runs a red light in a company car and causes an accident, the company is liable, no matter how many times it reminded or ordered the employee not to do so. This, by the way, does not mean that the employee is not liable, only that the company can be sued as well.

If the company sends the employee across town to make a delivery, and he runs for a quickie with his girl friend 50 miles away, that's a frolic of his own, and the company is not liable if he gets in an accident on the way.

A mechanic's job is to fix the company's airplanes, and it would be pretty hard for the company to escape liability for anything he did while doing so. Well, maybe if he snuck into the cabin for a smoke and managed to start a delayed fire, or something like that.
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Old 24th Dec 2010, 19:18
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Frolics

Chu Chu

Your points are valid, it depends on the extent of the deviation from SOP. The devil as always is in the detail. Did the company expressly prohibit titanium fittings as repair, and did the employee know why the prohibition existed? It is possible that the company may have a defence if they issued strict limits to the use of such materials. A defence would be how many repairs are made in similar circumstances using titanium. If the mechanic was one of many who used such materials then its the company who would be equally culpable, but if he alone decided to repair using the material and it never happened before, or since, then its a frolic of his own.
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Old 25th Dec 2010, 14:43
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Safety
Where is the judgement?
Read post 535.

Judgement was at the Tribunal Correctionnel de Pontoise.
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Old 26th Dec 2010, 14:38
  #546 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by overthewing
I confess I'm surprised that all blame landed on the mechanic.
AAAAARGH!

It didn't. I don't mean to be a stick-in-the-mud here, but if you read either this thread or the trial findings you'll see that the "responsibility" for the accident, for what it's worth, was split between Continental (as in the corporate entity) and EADS. The mechanic was the person found liable for the repair being improperly carried out, which was just one factor.
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Old 26th Dec 2010, 15:20
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mercurydancer,

A defence would be how many repairs are made in similar circumstances using titanium. If the mechanic was one of many who used such materials then its the company who would be equally culpable, but if he alone decided to repair using the material and it never happened before, or since, then its a frolic of his own.
I have never encountered "a frolic of his own" as a concept of French justice.

Why are you and others trying to re-try the case?
It has been heard.
Findings were made and sentences given.

The various parties judged responsible were sanctioned. It is a little bit late to speak of potential defences, even if they were defences which held some sway under French law.

Why do so many contributors want to believe that their local laws, jurisprudence and standards apply somewhere else?
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Old 26th Dec 2010, 15:20
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DW, you're right, I phrased it badly. I know that responsibility was apportioned between parties. By 'all blame', I was referring to fact that no other individual human being on the airline's side was convicted of wrongdoing. The mechanic's supervisor was explicitly cleared of blame / responsibility. The implication is that no-one checked the repair, and that this self-certification-type work is considered acceptable. I would have expected the repair to be inspected and cleared by one other person at the very least. The fact that it is apparently OK to have one person sign off his own work, when that work is a repair to a passenger aircraft, is alarming to this passenger.
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Old 26th Dec 2010, 15:34
  #549 (permalink)  
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overthewing

Likewise a loss of opportunity on the whole to focus on what is important here. Ramp 'shoot from the hip' "engineering" is clearly wrong. An inattention to address fully a clearly delineated and long standing insufficiency of maintenance on the Concorde is equally culpable, absent pedantry on the Court case. It is this deflection of attention to progress that is inexcusable. Spacer? Tire Inflation? Wrong place Right time? Titanium?

'Pride' kills, always has, always will. 'Human' error, as I see it, not mechanical.

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Old 26th Dec 2010, 16:18
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overthewing,
I agree with your view...

Once upon a time I had an inspector's stamp (yes, Concorde, but in the earliest days).
Being a small team, I also regularly stuck my own hands into a computer to do modifications.
Whenever that happened, the stamp stayed firmly in my pocket, and it would be a collegue (with his own stamp) who'd inspect my work.
Self-certification was an absolute no-no.

And the final responsabilty was with the person whose stamp was on the seal, and whose signature was on the 'certificate of conformity'.
The fact that it is apparently OK to have one person sign off his own work, when that work is a repair to a passenger aircraft, is alarming to this passenger.
It's alarming to this engineer, too....

CJ
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Old 27th Dec 2010, 14:02
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Safety Concerns,

Upon re-reading the posts, I think I see what has happened. We had different concepts in mind for the term judgement, and our exchanges passed each other by like two sailing ships on a foggy night.

I think you meant "exercise of discretion"

I meant "court judgement", as in judicial decision with corresponding sentencing.

Hope it is a bit clearer now.
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Old 27th Dec 2010, 22:05
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Defences

Wingsfolded,

You are quite correct, the matter is decided, and by French courts. That is a final matter. French courts are aligned on the principle of establishing fact not guilt, so they have established the facts of the accident.

However, I offer my comments in the context of making some sense of the judgement, and as this is a forum for doing exactly that. There are no absolute villains in this accident, and as it seems, no malicious intent at all, that leaves Mr Reason's cheese. Unfortunately the holes are not too many in number in this accident.

Whilst the term "frolic of one's own" is an English legal term it will do for a reference point for culpability, a legal concept that transcends national boundaries. it is a matter of degree, which is open to discussion.
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Old 30th Jan 2011, 09:56
  #553 (permalink)  
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The editor of the European Journal of International Law, who is an American by the name of Joseph Weilers, a distinguished jurist, has been criminally accused of libel in France by an Israeli author of a book on the International Criminal Court who was dissatisfied with a negative review of her book in the journal, and on the associated US WWW site, by a German academic jurist.

Easiest intro with links is Jonathan Zittrain's short comment Friday.

The phenomenon is of profound interest to people such as myself, because, as Prof. Weilers says, it challenges the basic tenets of academic freedom to say what you think (as long as it is what you think) and be judged only by peers and public. I mention this only in passing - I am not going to defend this here, because it is only peripherally relevant to piloting, although, if you delete the word "academic", the principle is central to the premiss of this WWW site.

The reason I am posting the link here is that there has been considerable discussion, and considerable misunderstanding, of the French legal system, which is Inquisitorial, on this thread, in commentary about the Concorde trial.

First, on misunderstanding procedure. "Inquisitorial" means that there is no independent agency, such as the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK, the State or US Attorney General's office in the US, or the Staatsanwaltschaft in Germany, which examines a case on its merits and decides to prosecute or not before the courts are involved, but that the court itself undertakes this examination. It turns out to be costly to the plaintiff; if a complaint is found without merit by the CPS, AG, or SAWS there is no direct cost to the person accused for this investigation and its decision not to proceed (although there are the costs of retaining one's personal legal advisor to assist).

A second misunderstanding concerned competence and efficacy. Joseph Weiler reports here his experiences. Note in particular

Originally Posted by Weiler in EJIL
The trial was impeccable by any standard with which I am familiar......It was a strange mélange of the criminal and civil virtually unknown in the Common Law world. The procedure was less formal, aimed at establishing the truth, and far less hemmed down by rules of evidence and procedure. Due process was definitely served. It was a fair trial.
Recall this is the judgement of someone tenured at Harvard Law and NYU, who has advised governments on four continents and arbitrated disputes between so-called "super-powers". (I do recommend a quick perusal of the material linked by Zittrain; it doesn't take long.)

The importance of establishing a better understanding of the French legal system is that criminalisation of aviation accidents is an important, and regrettably globally increasing phenomenon of which France is supposed, with cause, to be in the forefront. Any revision of this phenomenon is, to my mind, likely to start with a reappraisal of French legal procedures - their comparative advantages as well as disadvantages. It is not going to proceed along the lines proposed here by some ignorant commentators who simply abuse the French system.

I believe that all of us on this site, including of course the lawyers, have a profound interest in helping to decriminalise aviation accidents.

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