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Judge rules crash black box should be handed over to police

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Judge rules crash black box should be handed over to police

Old 19th Jun 2015, 11:31
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Arrow Judge rules crash black box should be handed over to police

Fresh on the BBC
Judge rules Super Puma crash black box should be handed over to police- BBC News


Moved to R&N because the issues raised in this case apply to all pilots who fly aircraft equipped with CVR or FDR or both,
not just to helicopter pilots.

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Old 19th Jun 2015, 11:58
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An unfortunate precedent has now been set.
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 12:00
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A sad day for aviation safety culture. I was rather hoping that the judiciary's dislike of the Scottish government might win the day, but it seems not. Never mind, the next question will be how the police intend to decode and analyse the FDR data to any meaningful extent.


Just as well the Clutha heli had no black boxes!
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 13:11
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A VERY VERY sad day in aviation. Black boxes aren't there to be picked over by the courts but there for accident investigations.

I can see big implications to this ruling ! Your thoughts ?
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 14:01
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It seems to be just the CVR that is to be handed over, HC, so FDR decoding won't be a factor. However, this is a sad moment and a setback to a carefully nurtured culture of open reporting.
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 14:26
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Very sad day indeed, especially for for the future of the AAIB "The Lord Advocate maintains that given the serious consequences of the crash a thorough and effective investigation by the procurator fiscal and police is in the public interest." Does this mean that AAIB is now redundant and their investigations superfluous?
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 14:26
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I agree that a worrying line has been crossed. But why?
Trying to look at it from the perspective of the injured and bereaved, I did hear the operator's spokesman on the radio the other day saying they were doing everything possible to help the families and had already paid out 500,000 to them.
Quite aside from the four dead, I doubt many of those on board have worked since - and 500k between 16 offshore workers over a 2 year period wouldn't even cover loss of earnings
If the system isn't better at getting a swift and fair settlement (as if any settlement could come close) for the innocent victims of a tragedy like this, then I suppose its not entirely surprising if the courts are called upon to intervene to this uncomfortable degree in poring over the detail of the events.
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 14:49
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Originally Posted by keithl View Post
It seems to be just the CVR that is to be handed over, HC, so FDR decoding won't be a factor. However, this is a sad moment and a setback to a carefully nurtured culture of open reporting.
Well the original petition was for the CVR and FDR, and of course physically they are one and the same box. I suspect what they actually want is the data contained therein (be it voice or FD) although the petition didn't say that. Pretty hard to work out what went wrong just by listening to the CVR though, so whilst I hope you are right, I somehow doubt it.

Even if they got the FDR data in "engineering units" they would find it hard to get it interpreted and let's hope nobody in the industry prostitutes themselves to "help out for a fee".
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 15:43
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I've just seen the decision, the whole CVFDR is to be handed over to the police. UK CAA will download and interpret it. Whether they have volunteered for that or been forced, is not clear to me.

The relevant law relates to possible negative impact of disclosure of the data on this and future accident investigations, and adverse international reputation. The judge decided that these were not substantially affected in this case. He was made aware of possible negative impact on flight safety (voluntary reporting etc) but concluded that it was not a relevant point in the law.

A precedent is not set, the court would have to rule on each and every such request from the Crown. Data will be kept secret and any CVR transcripts used in any possible prosecutions will be redacted so as to only include relevant conversation.

So according to the law, vengeance and retribution is more important than overall flight safety. A great shame but I can't really blame the judge as that is what the law says, from ICAO through EU to UK law.
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 16:19
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Some further detail in this report:


Lord Jones said: "In my judgment, there is no doubt that the Lord Advocate's investigation into the circumstances of the death of each of those who perished in this case is both in the public interest and in the interests of justice."
The judge said releasing the cockpit voice reocrding and the flight data was necessary to help the Civil Aviation Authority's Safety and Airspace Regulation Group (SARG) give an expert opinion, which would help the Lord Advocate decide "whether and, if so, against whom to launch a prosecution".
"Accordingly, I hold that those data are strictly necessary for the purposes of the police investigation," he said.
He added that he was satisfied that disclosure in this case would have no adverse domestic or international impact on the current investigation or on any future safety investigation.
He also added conditionsthat the black box would be handed over to Police Scotland who would retain overall control and responsibility for it until it was retuirned to the AAIB.
The results of the analysis and any expert opinion following on were to be treated as confidential and only disclosed to the Crown Office and police, he ordered.
Lord Jones was told that 78 hours of flight data and two hours of audio recording had been downloaded from the black box by the AAIB during their investigation.
The audio material included communications between the commander and co-pilot, radio transmissions and passenger announcements.
But the judge said such recordings also capture "ambient sounds" which may be important to an investigation, such as a change in engine note.
The AAIB has issued three bulletins over the accident, one of which reported that wreckage examination and recorded data analysis had not shown any evidence of a technical fault that could have caused the accident, although some work remained to be completed.
The Lord Advocate said that in the apparent absence of any technical fault the police had asked SARG to provide an expert opinion on the performance of the flight crew.
A formal request was made to the AAIB to make the CVFDR available for the investigation, but it said a court order would be required.
Aidan O'Neill, QC for the pilots' union, told the court at an earlier hearing that "a culture of openness" was fostered so that when an incident or accident occurred in the aviation industry complete information could be obtained.
He said there was a culture of sharing information without fear of reprisals.
Lord Jones said accident investigators cannot be required routinely to disclose cockpit voice recordings and such a move can only be ordered in a particular case if the tests laid down in regulations were met.
The judge said his decision in the present case would not create a precedent.
Dave Finlay
Why isn't this thread in R & N?
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 16:23
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Let's just hope in the time it takes the CAA to analyse it all, the AAIB publish their final report.
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 17:41
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I`m sure that AAIB will appeal this rather one sided judgement.Although this judge was utterly myopic, sometimes the judiciary suffer from the same affliction, collectively....Such a request and judgement is unprecedented. However the Lord Advocate is taking the fashionable and PC way, so common in law these days,that because there was fatalities, no mechanical explanation, the crew have to be negligent and must be put before a court..

Seriously, thats the level, of childish logic you`re up against..The ones with common sense and ability got sidelined and resigned/retired....Good luck, I fear you`ll need it
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 19:07
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I'm sure that AAIB will appeal this rather one sided judgement.
No, they won't.

"An AAIB spokesperson said: 'Regulations allow for the release of this type of information if a court decides it is in the public interest to do so'."

Lord advocate seeking Shetland Super Puma crash voice recorder data from AAIB - BBC News
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 19:22
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I am not sure why some posters believe that pilots should be exempt from an investigation into possible criminal negligence?

If the pilot(s) are not found to be criminally negligent (based on CVFDR analysis by the CAA), no charges will be brought and no information from the CVFDR will be disclosed.

That is made clear in the judgement.
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 21:08
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Kkong. "Criminal negligence" is one thing. I have no intention to gloss over it. Failure to exercise the technical skill the licence demands is quite another. Losing a licence may be appropriate, criminal sanctions not. Satisfying a short term punitive objective at the expense of long term flight safety benefits will, to reduce it to its starkest terms, "compensate" a few and kill many more.

This is a time when passenger safety in the North Sea is in the spotlight as never before. If we are to reduce our crews to the insurer's - the lawyers', "Say nothing, leave us to argue the case", that cause will not be served.

Hell, why should I get heated about it? I've retired. But some people are trying to undo the progress flight safety has made during my 50 years in the business.
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 21:15
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Keithl
Well said
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Old 19th Jun 2015, 23:37
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Originally Posted by kkong View Post
I am not sure why some posters believe that pilots should be exempt from an investigation into possible criminal negligence?

If the pilot(s) are not found to be criminally negligent (based on CVFDR analysis by the CAA), no charges will be brought and no information from the CVFDR will be disclosed.

That is made clear in the judgement.
No-one is saying the pilots should be exempt from prosecution for criminal negligence. What we (I) are saying is that the AAIB are the experts, let's allow them to produce a properly considered report before contemplating prosecution. The AAIB already have a 2 year start, so to imagine that the CAA, who are not particularly good at interpreting flight data in the context of an accident, will be able to whizz through the data in a short period of time and then come up a valid opinion before the AAIB report, is ludicrous.

There were no technical factors in this accident as far as we know, that means the aircaft did what you would expect it to do given the control inputs etc. From that it is easy to deduce that it was "pilot error" which, at the simplest level, it probably was. However deciding it was "pilot error" and then hanging the pilots achieves nothing other than vengeance and retribution. The real question is why did the pilots do or fail to do what they did? If it was because they were texting their mates, reading the paper etc then fair enough they were negligent, but I think it's highly unlikely that they were doing anything other than their best. So the question is, why was their best not good enough and within that question lies a raft of issues around training, SOPs, legislation, company culture, national culture, commercial issues, human factors aircraft MMI and a host of other things.

To rush into it like the bull in the china shop achieves nothing except popularism and short term political expediency.
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 06:57
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Helicomparitor - Excellant, informative and balanced post.

Sound knowledge leading to appropriate procedures tempered by thorough and rigorous training in a progressive culture = Safety. What was missing?

The Captain of that flight was a notably hardworking, dedicated professional. If this action prohibits the capture of the fundamental systemic flaws that led to this accident we will all learn and achieve nothing!
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 10:03
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Nice one DB, totally agree.

What has BALPA had to say on this disgusting issue?
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Old 20th Jun 2015, 10:38
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What has BALPA had to say on this disgusting issue?
This
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