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Pacific Blue pilot charged with endangering safety

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Pacific Blue pilot charged with endangering safety

Old 17th Apr 2011, 19:05
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Old 18th Apr 2011, 18:08
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SM...

...Your postings are always designed to provoke a response.

Would you care to explain what was wrong with this flight, and elaborate on it?
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Old 18th Apr 2011, 18:30
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Ridiculous...........

...............that Queenstown wasn't lit Bl00dy backward Kiwis
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Old 18th Apr 2011, 22:46
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...Your postings are always designed to provoke a response.

Would you care to explain what was wrong with this flight, and elaborate on it?
When you hate pilots, you don't need to explain yourself (apparently).
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Old 18th Apr 2011, 22:57
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SM, at least we know where you get your informed opinion from

Originally Posted by Shell Management
At the time of the incident, Julia McLean, formerly of Invercargill, a passenger on the plane at the time, described the take-off as "freaky".
In the article quoted:
"The investigation concluded that the airline's procedures and operating conditions were breached in this take off event in June 2010, and that safety was compromised as a result," says CAA director Steve Douglas.

The pilot was in command of Pacific Blue flight DJ89 on 22 June 2010 when the flight became delayed and departed Queenstown for Sydney approximately 18 minutes before twilight, the carrier says.

Queenstown, on New Zealand's South Island, required flights to operate under visual flight rules since the airport did not have approach and runway lighting.

Pacific Blue required its flights to takeoff no later than 30 minutes before twilight, ensuring adequate time for aircraft to make a safe return around the mountainous terrain in the event of a problem. That is more stringent than the CAA's rule requiring flights to take off before twilight.

The Queenstown air traffic control tower gave DJ89 takeoff clearance, a spokeswoman for ATC provider Airways New Zealand says. "The tower was able to give clearance as the flight was within civil evening twilight. It was operating within CAA limits." Electing to ignore internal company rules, however, "was ultimately the pilot's decision".

The CAA is not pressing charges against the flight's first officer or the airline.
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Old 18th Apr 2011, 23:13
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Apparently experienced observers such as the Harbor Master were concerned about the flights track with reference to an approaching cloudbank and to terrain. The two pilots were described in the media as "senior pilots" but no statement was made concerning their hours.

It appears the tower lawfully gave a takeoff clearance for VFR flight.

As a matter of curiosity, I'd like to know if anyone has data concerning the cost of prosecution and cost of mounting a defense in relation to the cost of installing runway lights?
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Old 18th Apr 2011, 23:14
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Odd that the CAA is happy for this captain to go to jail for up to 12 months when their own rules don't require the "30 minutes of daylight remaining" buffer. One would have thought that if the visual return-to-land issue is such a big deal, the CAA would mandate a buffer of some amount.
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Old 18th Apr 2011, 23:31
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Surely if the departure was lawful and the only regulations breached are company rules, it should have remained an internal matter?

Seems like someone needs to be seen taking public action. Any elections coming up?
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Old 18th Apr 2011, 23:46
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the issue of ultimate responsibility by the airline for the actions of its employees.
Personally I think there is an element of truth to that.
What infrastructure does Pac Blue have in place to support the Captains descision to return to the gate if he is not going to be able to comply with the 30 minute rule by 30 seconds?
Has the company planned for that inevitable scenario or is it just accepted that when it happens it will be a total cluster with inadequate representation on the ground, no preffered hotels organised , no transport to said hotels organised etc etc? If that is the case human nature will eventualy win over and the 30 seconds be ignored.
If the Captain had dumped those pax into that situation would the company have contacted him saying 'Good on you sir, well done on maintaining our standards by adhereing to our rules' or would operations have gone into a flat spin passing the companies problems onto him with questions like 'well what the hell are we going to do with all these pax tonight? Queenstown is full up and the bus companies can't help blah blah blah"
Ultimately a Captain will be above these pressures but that is in a perfect world. In todays environment with accountants reaching right into the flight deck and trying to fly the aircraft for you it is inevitable that not everyone will stick to their guns.
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Old 18th Apr 2011, 23:49
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As it's being reported the whole situation seems bizarre.

The captain violated company procedure therefore he violated the law but the takeoff clearance was lawful because it followed the rules.

HUH?

That doesn't sound so much like an election coming up as it does the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing in NZ.

"I give you permission to take off but you'd be breaking the law if you did so..." is not the type of position that anyone should be put into.
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Old 18th Apr 2011, 23:59
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The law is twilight. The company's rule is not within 30 minutes of twilight.

So the takeoff was 18 minutes from twilight, allowed by the law but not by company SOP/Ops specs, and the pilot is being charged for endangering safety?

What about everyone that takes off as late as twilight but who's SOP/Ops specs aren't more restrictive? Are they safer?
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Old 19th Apr 2011, 00:22
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What's the reason for the 30 mins for return?
Are there no takeoff alternates within 60 mins?

Last edited by cosmo kramer; 20th Apr 2011 at 12:35.
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Old 19th Apr 2011, 08:35
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Question Makes sense in Europe

A grant of approval in Europe (Ops, 145, 147 etc) is based on the company procedures meeting the requirements of the appropriate Part-XXX.
If your company procedures are more stringent than the Part and are accepted, then when you step outside of your procedures you effectively invalidate your approval (as it was based on your procedures).
As your grant of approval from the national authority is based on EU law then it could be argued that you have broken the law.
Is this the sort of logic that has been applied here?
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Old 19th Apr 2011, 09:50
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<<Queenstown, on New Zealand's South Island, required flights to operate under visual flight rules since the airport did not have approach and runway lighting.>>

Never heard that one before...??
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Old 19th Apr 2011, 12:23
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I have flown into NZQN and i know why they have that rule.
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Old 19th Apr 2011, 18:38
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It's strikes me as absurd that criminal charges are being brought against a pilot period, let alone for such nonsense.

If as stated, this pilot broke no civil air regulations but only violated a company procedure any disciplinary action involved should be exclusively between the pilot and the company. The CAA shouldn't even be involved and the prospect of a year in jail for the transgression of a company rule is rediculous, in my view.

Are you quite sure there is nothing more to this story than what has been published here?
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Old 19th Apr 2011, 19:25
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Please read Blue Coyote's post. In the UK, and NZ almost certainly closely follows that system, the ANO (the "law") is not overly specific about every little rule for specific types / airfields. If it was, it would be enormous, and every time something small changed, then Government would need to be involved

Instead, airlines etc. have "Operations Manuals". These have guidance, and also clear limitations / rules. If you deliberately operate outside these rules, then you have technically broken the law. The degree of negligence, safety implications and public interest would no doubt form part of a decision to prosecture rather than handle within the airline etc.

It would appear here there was a clear rule, specified for valid safety reasons, and that rule was clearly broken. I am not suggesting the crew should therefore be prosecuted, but equally, I cannot see why not? Breaking black and white rules in public transport operations is not really what 4 stripes is about

The CAA rule allowing takeoffs to twilight I would guess as with us here - a generic rule that applies equally to a C172. It would seem this airport/airline/type might have a visual (?) emergency turn procedure and return option, which requires decent vis and time prior twilight...

<<Queenstown, on New Zealand's South Island, required flights to operate under visual flight rules since the airport did not have approach and runway lighting.>>

Never heard that one before...??
I fly for "a large UK airline" out of Hounslow West No Edge/CL/App lights and it's Day only. A certain UK outpost in the western Med essentially requires "VFR" rules to land/takeoff (even with runway lights).

NoD
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Old 19th Apr 2011, 22:28
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Surely if the departure was lawful and the only regulations breached are company rules, it should have remained an internal matter?

Seems like someone needs to be seen taking public action. Any elections coming up?


You summed up my thinking, as I read the article. It seems that there are other issues with the flight, the "track" and the altitudes and attitudes used....could it be that these issues are difficult to prove and so the internal company rule is being used as the lever to get rid of a problem pilot???
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Old 19th Apr 2011, 22:31
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Queenstown sure as hell operates IFR, they have slope hill VOR/DME and RNP0.15 approaches for approved airlines. Not having lighting means that it cannot be used at night for either IFR or VFR operations
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Old 19th Apr 2011, 23:46
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Originally Posted by shafs64
I have flown into NZQN and i know why they have that rule.
How about sharing it with us?
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