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‘Suicidal Pilots are becoming main cause of fatalities’

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‘Suicidal Pilots are becoming main cause of fatalities’

Old 19th Dec 2022, 19:28
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Heartbreaking story. My thoughts:

Originally Posted by megan
Judge George Bathurst-Norman did seem to hold a degree of sympathy for Stewart.......his refusal to levy a mandatory jail sentence reflected to observers the sense that Bathurst-Norman felt the case should never have come to trial.
Being unfamiliar with British jurisprudence, I'm wondering how a judge can refuse to impose a mandatory (my emphasis) sentence.

In my country there's been much debate over mandatory sentences. I do not know if a judge has ever succesfully refused to impose one in Canada.
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Old 19th Dec 2022, 20:02
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Originally Posted by Zombywoof
Heartbreaking story. My thoughts:
I do not know if a judge has ever succesfully refused to impose one in Canada.
It seems to me that just ain't wise...
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Old 19th Dec 2022, 20:15
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When is mandatory not mandatory?
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Old 19th Dec 2022, 21:35
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Originally Posted by Zombywoof
Being unfamiliar with British jurisprudence, I'm wondering how a judge can refuse to impose a mandatory (my emphasis) sentence.

In my country there's been much debate over mandatory sentences. I do not know if a judge has ever successfully refused to impose one in Canada.
Stewart was found guilty of an offence under Article 55 of the ANO. He was sentenced to a Ł2,000 fine in respect of that verdict.
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Old 19th Dec 2022, 23:30
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The above article on Glen Stewart is one of the best aviation articles that I have ever read. It should be mandatory study for every command candidate and read widely by all pilots.
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Old 20th Dec 2022, 02:56
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If pilot suicide is the primary cause of airplane crashes now, it will remain so in the future, but not for long. There will be a solution. If I was still employed as a pilot today, I would be giving that some very serious thought.

There are a lot of intelligent and knowledgeable people on this thread. If the discussion has not come around to potential solutions by now, that may be a good indication of just how tough this problem is. It may be the defining one of the future of commercial aviation.
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Old 20th Dec 2022, 04:52
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Zombywoof , I understand that CAA v Stewart is unpublished so it's not possible to examine the reasons for the decision, however DaveReidUK appears to have offered an explanation.

I note the article stated that an appeal was made, but that it was dismissed. I wasn't able to find said appeal, so either my research skills are lacking, or if any appeal was made it may have been to the CAA and not via the Courts.

Either way this was tragic, and I can imagine that Capt Stewart felt very strongly that he had no hope of justice prevailing. A full and proper investigation should have been carried out by the AAIB first, and any decision to begin proceedings extremely well considered out following that - not in the least what the CAA expected they and the aviation community would gain from such an action, and exactly how it would have helped Capt Stewart improve his skills (had that been determined necessary).

Lack of justice, improperly applied due process, and organisations with unlimited funding that are run by people who experience no moral or personal hazard (and who can act as judge+jury+executioner) can lead to deeply significant despair. While this isn't restricted to aviation circles it sees to me that the grounds are fertile for injustice to occur here, and as such the mental health of those involved adversely affected.

Just as with most aviation incidents or accidents I doubt that any responsible organisation would deliberately set out to be reckless or cause irreparable damage to anyone, however the hazard exists, and if it were to occur it should be as thoroughly investigated and properly dealt with. If this doesn't happen then, for multiple reasons, it will not lead to better outcomes, nor improve mental health amongst pilots.

FP.
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Old 20th Dec 2022, 07:31
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Originally Posted by First_Principal
Zombywoof , I understand that CAA v Stewart is unpublished so it's not possible to examine the reasons for the decision, however DaveReidUK appears to have offered an explanation.
I quoted directly from the posted article... judge refused to levy a mandatory jail sentence. That seems rather peculiar, given "an offence under Article 55 of the ANO".

Perhaps what was really meant was the judge refused to convict the Capt of an offence carrying a jail sentence.

In my country, in cases involving mandatory jail sentences it leaves judges no option, they must impose the sentence, and this doesn't sit well with the legal community here.

It's a very sad story.

Last edited by Zombywoof; 20th Dec 2022 at 07:50. Reason: clarity
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Old 20th Dec 2022, 18:56
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Originally Posted by Zombywoof
I quoted directly from the posted article...
Yes, and while it may be a very good article it's still a journalist's interpretation, not the actual court decision which might well have given further detail.

While I don't want to get too far away from the theme of this thread I just read something about Capt Stewart's case from someone whose opinion I respect. His comments were:

"I have discussed the case with two people (separately), one of whom was very senior in BA and the other very senior in the CAA at the relevant time. They both thought the prosecution was justified because Captain Stewart wouldn't admit what he had done was wrong. Although I have enormous respect for both of them, I was unpersuaded that it was a good reason. Why should he if he didn't think he had? Even if convicted (which he was), it was very unlikely to change his view.

That case may (I don't know) have been an illustration of the problems caused by the risk of prosecution. I do know from experience that pilots under criminal investigation and at risk of being prosecuted are, understandably and reasonably, cautious about what they say. An open discussion from which things may be learnt can only take place if there is no risk of prosecution. There is a very real risk that prosecuting does little or nothing to enhance flight safety, and can have precisely the opposite effect.
" (FL, PPrune 6th Jan 2007, 20:32).

In addition to those comments this article discusses prosecuting pilots, with particular reference to Capt Stewart's case. Neither give further insight into the judge's reasoning on the decision itself, but that's really an aside from the main issue (to me) of injustice, individual pilot health, and the general health of the aviation community.

FP.

Last edited by First_Principal; 20th Dec 2022 at 19:10. Reason: Additional information
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Old 20th Dec 2022, 19:24
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As I’ve previously written the official that authorised the prosecution was an ex instructor of mine, a Walter Mitty character who never made it into the airlines which was confirmed by a senior BA trainer who had a run in with his petty and pointless investigation into him.
If you are looking at the attitudes in BA read up on why Peter Berkil? felt it necessary to resign after he crashed the 777. One also needs to consider the arrogance of the manufacturers checklists being changed and the ignorance of ignoring dispatch’s flight planning recommendations.
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Old 21st Dec 2022, 19:33
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FP thank you for the link to the legal article. I contacted the Isleworth court to get a copy of records of the Stewart case about 6 years ago but was told they simply weren't kept.

FWIW my own feeling is that the part of the reason for the prosecution decision WAS because of potential harm. P357 of that Journal of Air Law refers to a comparison with then EL AL 1992 Amsterdam accident in which the death toll was 42, of whom 39 were on the ground.

In the NO event there was only an secretive and unpublished internal enquiry which states that "During a go around, [the aircraft] descended to 75 feet radio altitude, in the vicinity of an airport hotel and other buildings which rose to 70 feet." There is very little substance to it compared to what an AAIB investigation would have contained. We can legitimately surmise that would have been the case because of two other AAIB reports on serious incidents on the same fleet with some common factors - getting extremely close to the ground in the wrong place on an approach. These resulted in recommendations for procedural changes which were not implemented. Senior management noted subsequently that an AAIB enquiry into the November Oscaar incodentv could have been highly problematic for the airline because of this.

While the Air Law article notes in its comparison nis that the EL AL B747 was a freighter, but NO was full of passengers, it does not point out that the hotel was part of a large complex and almost always very occupied. The ground death toll in Amsterdam was actually relatively low (39 rather than the original estimate of about 200) because the aircraft hit the ground at the
intersection between two apartment blocks, while the NO wreckage path would have possibly taken out not only the line of hotels but the fire station and police station RFF facilities, and impacted or closed the major access routes to the airport (M4 spur and A4 highways in the morning rush hour), rendering rescue difficult and possibly closing the UK's principal airport for an indefinite period. So the potential death toll was at least an order of magnitude larger. My guess is that the "potential" was for a global worst ever transport catastrophe, with loss of life on the scale of the sinking of the Titanic, and uncountable economic impact on the country.


G-AWNO flight path and potential impact area

My gut feeling is that people in AAIB and the CAA must have been aware of how serious this event could have been. AAIB had no resources available to investigate what was after all simply a bad weather go-around with no injuries or damage, when they had their hands more than full with the PanAm Lockerby disaster and the BMA Kegworth accident.

On the other hand fact that the potential was so serious, possible common factors with previous events that had not been addressed, and the inadequacy of the airline's internal responses (exacerbated by the attitudes of the pilot concened, the union reps and the management at the time) meant that SOMETHING had to be said by the aviation establishment, as represented by the CAA. The end result was that the "SOMETHING that had to be done" meant that for lack of any more significant acceptance of responsibility, Glen Stewart ended up in the dock as the fall guy, paying eventually with his life for many other inadequacies, in the airline, the regulator, and the legal system.

PS: none of this is really on the same topic as the original thread; Glen Stewart quietly killed only himself, and did no harm to any of his passengers.

Last edited by slast; 21st Dec 2022 at 19:44.
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Old 25th Dec 2022, 01:36
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SUICIDE?? Look at the site [GOOGLE]for Egypt AIr Flt 667 . That fire in the CP's O2 line at altitude would have been non recoverable . The AC would have continued to fly . Look at the damage to the controls . IFF/SIF burnt UHF/VFH burn. Flight deck destroyed from the CP position . Pressurization gone in moments temps freeze in moments . I am an American, A Big Boeing fan. Boeing issued a fix for this fault on the 777.
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Old 26th Dec 2022, 09:14
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First Principal
thanks for the legal article; I didn’t realise that there had been so many “get it back to base” BAitis incidents which lead to the conclusion that the LAX engine surge incident with an eventual landing at MAN after declaring a Mayday should never have happened if BA management had been sufficiently overseen by the CAA.
With regard to NO and SOP; a couple of years after Staines I was on my annual route check with one of the witnesses at the Lane Inquiry.
This was during the continuous descent trails at Heathrow and at a time where we were attempting to reduce the Landing approach configuration and stabilised point from 3,000ft to 1,000ft with ATC asking us to maintain 180 knots to the OM.
The proceeding Alitalia DC 8 did not comply which found me initiating a missed approach from above 2,000ft which didn’t go too well. Iirc it was full power which the captain did under BEA monitored approach whilst I rotated the aircraft to a defined pitch attitude; having been brought up with the philosophy that the decision height was never to be breached it was rather brisk; my next call was for flaps and undercarriage- don’t remember which sequence- but presume it was the flaps; when I checked the speed it had reduced significantly and fearing a stall warning I considered calling for the gear but I would have then had the gear warning horn! I then thought f@ck it (I’m from Essex) and did then then unthinkable for a second officer in BEA and lowered the nose to accelerate. (The Trident was well on the back side of the drag curve during approach). It all went smooth after that; I got a standard from either Ken or Brian in the debrief and nothing was said about my go around.
‘The point being that Glen was ex Tridents and I would guess that I wasn’t the first pilot to modify the missed approach procedure (it had happened with a T3 at Madrid which was well publicised as the aircraft had diverted after loosing an engine out of Malaga without checking the WAT limits for approach climb).
It all comes back to the tail (operators and constructors) wagging the dog (the authorities) and is not unique to the UK.
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Old 26th Dec 2022, 12:24
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Aren't we missing the point again?

As much as the explained story has an emotional value, it is not what this is all about. It is about people with mental problems using aviation as the "escape". It's about people who are a part of society who end up in a moment where they want to step out of that society for whatever reason. When those people happen to be pilots, it can be a problem for aviation.

If you feel the story is a problem of aviation, you should talk more to people around you. It is by far a unique story related to aviation.
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Old 26th Dec 2022, 16:54
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Of course but it is a far more difficult problem to solve. I happened by a retired BOAC purser in a pub on Xmas eve who mentioned a colleague whose wife was leaving him and had hired an aircraft and taken her and himself out.

I felt sorry for the German Wings pilot despite the carnage that he had caused especially I had a few “difficult” times in my career..my first was chop flight with the CFI where I failed my third attempt at forced landings and was being flown back from Lee on Solent where his height keeping was atrocious so I launched into a verbal attack where upon he gave me another chance.

I did a rotation as a safety pilot for a DC9 co pilot trainee who was chopped in my view as a failing of instructors.

I had an hour of circuits at Stansted on the VC10 with a base trainer who didn’t know his job and snagged me unknowingly for a chop test... fortunately with a line trainer who did know his job.

One of my companies had pilot mentors with whom one could confidently discuss problems but I was failed by my last chief pilot )another Walter Mitty Brit) after I had a head injury combined with exposure to neurotoxins.

I honestly do not believe that it will change or can be changed more than marginally because of the system and personalities.

The best pilots I flew with (20 years RHS before my command) and three flag carriers with line pilots who didn’t want to be checkers nor trainers. The worst were management who for various reasons wanted to be in the office and chose their flights/crews including a mate who became fleet chief and chose mates to do his sim checks as well (such was his level of confidence). I had given him a room for a while, knowing that he was flying on antidepressants and one day he disappeared I went out searching for him in the local wood fearing the worse. Management saved his life imho.

As to the regulator, from a friend who went from the front line to the overseer he stated that the latter was filled with empire building and guarding one’s back.

The last year or so Good morning Britain has been doing a campaign of pledging minutes towards mental health - perhaps we need something in aviation.
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Old 26th Dec 2022, 17:02
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Originally Posted by blind pew
First Principal
thanks for the legal article; I didn’t realise that there had been so many “get it back to base” BAitis incidents which lead to the conclusion that the LAX engine surge incident with an eventual landing at MAN after declaring a Mayday should never have happened if BA management had been sufficiently overseen by the CAA..
BP can you clarify: by "the legal document" do you mean the Journal of Air Law and Commerce article? If so what pages ere are you referring to?

By the way all readers should note that while the Stephen Wilkinson "NO" article is generally pretty good (and unfortunately probably the only reasonably comprehensive piece in the public domain), it does contain some significant factual errors.





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Old 27th Dec 2022, 00:28
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it does contain some significant factual errors
Could you expand please slast.
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Old 27th Dec 2022, 04:56
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Three weeks after the MH370 event, Barack Obama made the first presidential visit to Malaysia in more than 50 years purportedly to get PM Najib Razak's signature on an ICAO treaty called the 'Proliferation Security Initiative', thereby giving Malaysia the Legislative Authority to make up whatever story they wanted to account for the disappearance of their triple seven and immediately bringing 100+ other signee nations into a conspiracy to support whatever deception this corrupt dictator saw fit.
Captain Zaharie Shah was neither homicidal nor suicidal and the damage to the trailing edge of the one recovered flaperon indicates it was deployed in landing configuration when the Boeing struck the sea, thus proving the official story of a hypoxic flight crew and the A/C falling out of the sky as patently false.
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Old 27th Dec 2022, 06:29
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Originally Posted by Wrightwing
and the damage to the trailing edge of the one recovered flaperon indicates it was deployed in landing configuration when the Boeing struck the sea
I think the jury is still out on the significance, if any, of the witness marks on the flaperon.

See the main MH370 thread for extensive discussion about this - no need to duplicate it here.
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Old 27th Dec 2022, 10:31
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Check PMs

Originally Posted by megan
Could you expand please slast.
Hi Megan, please see your Private Messages,
Steve
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