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Italian ATCOs sentenced for allowing visual approach which went bad

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Italian ATCOs sentenced for allowing visual approach which went bad

Old 4th May 2011, 15:41
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Italian ATCOs sentenced for allowing visual approach which went bad

From IFATCA press release:

ITALIAN COURT ACTIONS THREATEN AVIATION SAFETY IN ITALY
In 2010, the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations (IFATCA) responded to the
ruling from the Italian High Court, which confirmed sentences against air traffic controllers on duty at the
time of a controlled flight into terrain accident, with the considered opinion that the pilots were fully
accountable for their decision to conduct a visual approach that night. The controllers acted within the
norms of internationally established procedures; and, it could even be argued, they performed beyond the
call of duty by asking the pilots about their ability to maintain their own separation from obstacles during
the visual approach. (http://www.ifatca.org/press/290310.pdf)
In this Cagliari accident on 24 February 2004, the pilot of the Cessna Citation requested to perform a
visual approach. The controller specifically asked the pilots to confirm that during such an approach they
could provide their own separation from obstacles. The pilots answer was affirmative that they could. The
controller subsequently authorized the visual approach, because, under the prevailing rules and
regulations in Italy at that time there was no reason from an air traffic control perspective to withhold such
permission.
The Italian High Court has recently released a statement of the “motivations” behind their decision.
Essentially, the court held the Air Traffic Controllers responsible for the physical actions of the pilots in the
aircraft; a situation the controller obviously has no direct control or influence over. The pilots concerned
had received and acknowledged a valid clearance for a visual approach and confirmed their ability to
maintain their own separation from terrain. This is entirely in accordance with the International Civil
Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards that Italy, as a contracting state, has agreed to uphold.
IFATCA, along with ANACNA, our Italian Member Association, is extremely disappointed to learn of the
reasons behind the court’s decision. “By this decision, the court is imposing upon controllers almost total
responsibility for all actions in the cockpit by an aircraft’s crew. This is obviously illogical and impractical,”
said Alexis Brathwaite, IFATCA’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
“The court’s published reasons for their decision demonstrates their lack of understanding of the
international standards set by ICAO, and sadly, also demonstrates Italy’s non-conformance with ICAO
and European Directives and Regulations to maintain a Just Culture in aviation” said Mr. Brathwaite.
Consequent to this court ruling, ANACNA, has appealed to its members not to authorize any visual
approaches in Italy anymore. IFATCA endorses the approach of our member association as being in the
professional interest of the Italian air traffic controllers. The Italian Air Force has gone so far as to ban its
air traffic controllers from issuing visual approach clearances. Recently ENAV, the Italian Civil Air
Navigation Provider has also issued instructions to its controllers to stop issuing visual approaches.
“The criminalization of air traffic controllers doing their jobs in accordance with their training and
experience will only have a negative impact on efforts to continually improve the safety and efficiency of
the aviation system,” said Mr. Brathwaite. “Directors representing the 138 Member Associations of
IFATCA will address this matter at our annual conference in April and will work with other international
organizations to highlight the Italian situation.”
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF AIR TRAFFIC
CONTROLLERS' ASSOCIATIONS
1255 University Street, Suite 408, Montreal, Quebec H3B 3B6 CANADA
Tel.: +1.514.866.7040, Fax: +1.514.866.7612, Email: [email protected]
well...no more visual approaches from my side as well....
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Old 4th May 2011, 15:45
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Utter lunacy... My feelings are with the ATCOs.
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Old 4th May 2011, 15:48
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Utter lunacy... My feelings are with the ATCOs.
me too, Heathrow Director - who's flying the a/c?

The lunatics are certainly running the asylum in this case.

So by that argument if you're cleared for an instrument approach under IFR and have a CFIT the controller is equally responsible? Sheer madness - hope this can go to some sort of appeal and the ATCO is exonerated!
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Old 4th May 2011, 16:39
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I apologize for my deficient search skills but does anyone have a link to an English version (if one exists) of the underlying accident report that precipitated this action.
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Old 4th May 2011, 17:15
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I'm highly embarrassed to be an Italian. They are moronic, but fortunately my parents had the wherewithal to GTFO of there decades ago. Their best and brightest have already left the country. To be fair, the North actually has their act together for the most part.. If they'd only secede from the rest of the third world.

Last edited by FIRESYSOK; 4th May 2011 at 17:31.
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Old 4th May 2011, 18:48
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The court appear to be lost in the fog ...
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Old 4th May 2011, 19:01
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To be fair, the North actually has their act together for the most part.. If they'd only secede from the rest of the third world
Have I to remind you where the Italian Head of Government is coming from?

Ulxima
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Old 4th May 2011, 19:24
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Always seems a bit of a contradiction that a country that exerts no authority over, and singularly fails to come to terms with, the biggest crook living there ,is so adept at issuing sundry sentences without any recourse to common sense.
Good to see that dictatorships & corruption at all levels are being kept alive on the world stage, by a "supposedly" European country.

Scandalous! their colleagues in every ATC centre in Italy should walk out, AND STAY OUT ! until this decision is reversed, lest the same fate befall them, but. . . . they probably wont have the b@lls to do so. They unequivocally should, this is way worse than ridiculous.
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Old 4th May 2011, 19:56
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fyresysoc

fyresysoc you are an idiot.

baobab72
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Old 4th May 2011, 19:59
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FIRESYSOK,

I would contend the idiot is the one who has disputed your assertions.
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Old 4th May 2011, 20:03
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Originally Posted by MountainBear
I apologize for my deficient search skills but does anyone have a link to an English version (if one exists) of the underlying accident report that precipitated this action.
I believe the Italian aircraft accident investigation board (ANSV) has released only the Italian version of the report (so far?):
http://www.ansv.it/cgi-bin/ita/ANSV%20OE-FAN.pdf

The ICAO Annex 13 investigation done by the ANSV concluded that the airplane descended to an altitude significantly below the area minimum altitude (AMA), insufficient to maintain the separation from the ground during a night visual approach in the absence of adequate visual reference.
Possible contributory factors included:
- The aircraft was not equipped with GPWS or TAWS, nor was it required to be by law;
- Premature VFR descent after misidentifying lights on the ground as the Elmas runway lights (induced by "black hole approach");
- Misunderstanding of the clearance given by APP at hand off to TWR ("CIT 124 continue not below 2500 feet, further descent with Elmas TWR 120.6 bye");
- Failure to use published procedures and available instruments under conditions of total darkness;
- Early deviation from airway and consequent overflight of areas with elevated terrain;
- Read errors of the elevations listed in the maps consulted, facilitated by the non representation of the ground color;
- Inadequate rest, which may have contributed to a reduction in the performance of the crew.


In Italy, a criminal investigation is compulsory for any non-natural death. This usually leads to a trial with charges for involuntary manslaughter, air disaster or endangering transportation safety. The prosecutor, the defense and the court have their own expert witnesses and (in principle) the criminal investigation is completely independent from the ICAO Annex 13 investigation. The ANACNA website has most of the relevant documents from the trial, but they are in Italian only.
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Old 4th May 2011, 20:31
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This sentence was utterably unbelievable, and demonstrates the disconnect between our judicial system and, er, justice. When it comes to aviation, it seems our prosecuting magistrates haven't a clue, as was also demonstrated by the recent Tunisian ATR-72 ruling.

Having said that, having a bash at the whole country seems a bit excessive, even though our PM is a bit of a joke (he's a northerner, by the way, as are most of our politicians).

They are moronic... Their best and brightest have already left the country.
Looks like some of the morons got out too.
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Old 4th May 2011, 21:16
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What a complete disgrace! All my sympathy to the ATCO's involved. This is obviously an unjust sentence.
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Old 4th May 2011, 23:01
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Not the first time that such a miscarriage of justice happens in Italy. Be very careful when flying there (or even over)...
Would you mind to bring the other accidents or MoJ that you seem to be aware to our attention? Or are you talking nonsense as often happens when the armchair expert takes the stage? What about Switzerland?

Such a comment is better kept for the pub, me thinks. Very offensive to the many professionals that every day to their best to make sky a safe place and, of course, all my support to the ATCO.
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Old 4th May 2011, 23:33
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eh...I firmly belive, that all are the same, not only in Italy. Once I was witness as ATCO on a trial to a mechanic, who managed to switch on the cessna cardinal while being outside the aircraft (don't ask). I was called at the end of the trial, when just before being dismissed by madam on the bench, she asked me: "sorry, what is UTC? All the times are with this UTC..."

Not to mention that all her case against the mechanic was that he endangered the safety of incoming A320 (it was night), since his plane ran away across the runway and over the fence, behind which she has found her resting place...

I have absolutely no doubt, that such sentence can be carried out in any EU country as well...
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Old 5th May 2011, 00:36
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Originally Posted by Drag King
Would you mind to bring the other accidents or MoJ that you seem to be aware to our attention? Or are you talking nonsense as often happens when the armchair expert takes the stage?
This one springs to mind:

Linate Airport disaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chuck them all in jail. That'll fix it.
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Old 5th May 2011, 09:21
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Chuck them all in jail. That'll fix it.
Yeah, right...another smart & constructive comment. Hope you don't have a license, dude!

So long

DK
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Old 5th May 2011, 09:26
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Originally Posted by Bloggs
Chuck them all in jail. That'll fix it.

Originally Posted by drag king
Yeah, right...another smart & constructive comment. Hope you don't have a license, dude!
I was joking.
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Old 5th May 2011, 09:28
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Irony is lost on soem people
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Old 5th May 2011, 09:43
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Irony is lost on soem people
Maybe. But some folks ended up in jail for real and not as part of a joke or prank. And as an Italian I am not the slightest proud of the court's outcome of both accidents nor I am of the way justice is handled but I have few ATCO friends over there, I fly as a commercial pilot in UK and I did the bulk of my training in USA. It all helped to figure out that despite a questionable English (in some case, not all...) and very little job-satisfaction (in monetary terms, compared to other colleagues i.e. the spanish) those folks are professionals with nothing to envy to other skywatchers. Comments like:

I'm highly embarrassed to be an Italian. They are moronic, but fortunately my parents had the wherewithal to GTFO of there decades ago. Their best and brightest have already left the country. To be fair, the North actually has their act together for the most part.. If they'd only secede from the rest of the third world.
or

Be very careful when flying there (or even over)...
are not even worth the time spent to read them.

Cptn Bloggs, my apologises if I misunderstood you joke and over-reacted but the way it was posted didn't sound like that.

Enough for me, I have never spared any criticism to my homeland (and I never will) when things weren't looking right but ruthless insulting is something I don't stand very well, especially when it comes from someone that hides behind a nickname like the 2 smart-asses quoted above...

Ciao

DK
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