The sad loss of 5 people at Essendon in a B-200 this week as it impacted buildings on the airport, that are not associated with #aviation heightens the tragedy. Many warnings of this type of non-aviation have been warned of before today.
A similar accident occurred in 2014 – see causes below in italics and probable cause [Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/01/2016]
RIP the B-200 passengers and pilot
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Beechcraft B200 Super King Air, N52SZ: Fatal accident occurred October 30, 2014 in Wichita, Kansas
NTSB Identification: CEN15FA034
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 30, 2014 in Wichita, KS Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/01/2016
Aircraft: RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT COMPANY B200, registration: N52SZ
Injuries: 4 Fatal, 2 Serious, 4 Minor.NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The airline transport pilot was departing for a repositioning flight. During the initial climb, the pilot declared an emergency and stated that the airplane “lost the left engine.” The airplane climbed to about 120 ft above ground level, and witnesses reported seeing it in a left turn with the landing gear extended. The airplane continued turning left and descended into a building on the airfield. A postimpact fired ensued and consumed a majority of the airplane.
Postaccident examinations of the airplane, engines, and propellers did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Neither propeller was feathered before impact. Both engines exhibited multiple internal damage signatures consistent with engine operation at impact. Engine performance calculations using the preimpact propeller blade angles (derived from witness marks on the preload plates) and sound spectrum analysis revealed that the left engine was likely producing low to moderate power and that the right engine was likely producing moderate to high power when the airplane struck the building. A sudden, uncommanded engine power loss without flameout can result from a fuel control unit failure or a loose compressor discharge pressure (P3) line; thermal damage prevented a full assessment of the fuel control units and P3 lines. Although the left engine was producing some power at the time of the accident, the investigation could not rule out the possibility that a sudden left engine power loss, consistent with the pilot’s report, occurred.
A sideslip thrust and rudder study determined that, during the last second of the flight, the airplane had a nose-left sideslip angle of 29°. It is likely that the pilot applied substantial left rudder input at the end of the flight. Because the airplane’s rudder boost system was destroyed, the investigation could not determine if the system was on or working properly during the accident flight. Based on the available evidence, it is likely that the pilot failed to maintain lateral control of the airplane after he reported a problem with the left engine. The evidence also indicates that the pilot did not follow the emergency procedures for an engine failure during takeoff, which included retracting the landing gear and feathering the propeller.
Although the pilot had a history of anxiety and depression, which he was treating with medication that he had not reported to the Federal Aviation Administration, analysis of the pilot’s autopsy and medical records found no evidence suggesting that either his medical conditions or the drugs he was taking to treat them contributed to his inability to safely control the airplane in an emergency situation.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain lateral control of the airplane after a reduction in left engine power and his application of inappropriate rudder input. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to follow the emergency procedures for an engine failure during takeoff. Also contributing to the accident was the left engine power reduction for reasons that could not be determined because a postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation and thermal damage precluded a complete examination.
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On October 30, 2014, at 0948 central daylight time, a Raytheon Aircraft Company King Air B200 airplane, N52SZ, impacted the FlightSafety International (FSI) building located on the airport infield during initial climb from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (ICT), Wichita, Kansas. The airline transport pilot, who was the sole occupant, was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. Three building occupants were fatally injured, two occupants sustained serious injuries, and four occupants sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Gilleland Aviation, Inc., Georgetown, Texas, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a ferry flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The flight was originating from ICT at the time of the accident and was en route to Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport (MEZ), Mena, Arkansas.
The ICT air traffic controllers stated that the accident flight was cleared for takeoff on runway 1R and instructed to fly the runway heading. After becoming airborne, the pilot declared an emergency and stated that the airplane “lost the left engine.” The airplane then entered a shallow left turn, continued turning left, and then descended into a building. A controller called aircraft rescue and firefighting on the “crash phone” just before impact. The controllers observed flames and then black smoke coming from the accident site.
Witnesses in the Cessna Service Center building on the east side of runway 1R also observed the airplane departing runway 1R. They indicated that the airplane then porpoised several times before making a left turn. The airplane continued the left turn, barely cleared the top of a hangar on the west side of runway 1R, and then descended into a building. The witnesses reported that the landing gear was extended and that they could not clearly hear the sound of the engines. The airplane’s altitude appeared to be less than 150 ft above ground level (agl).
Airport surveillance video cameras captured the last 9 seconds of the flight. The videos showed that the airplane was turning left and in a nose-left sideslip as it overflew a hangar. The cameras showed that the airplane was about 120 ft agl when it impacted the FSI building, and a postimpact explosion and fire ensued.
The pilot, age 53, held an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine and multiengine land. On August 4, 2014, he was issued a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses.
The pilot’s flight time logbook was not located during the investigation. At the time of his August 2014 medical examination, he reported a total flight time of 3,067 hours with 200 hours in the preceding 6 months. A review of the pilot’s flight training records from FSI, dated September 18, 2014, revealed that he had accumulated 3,139 total flight hours, 2,843 hours of which were in multiengine airplanes. The King Air B200 did not require a type rating.
From September 4 to 19, 2014, the pilot received Beechcraft King Air 300 series initial training at FSI, Wichita, Kansas. The training was specifically for the King Air 350 Proline 21 model and included 58.5 ground training hours, 12 briefing hours, 14 pilot-flying simulator hours, and 12 pilot-not-flying hours. During the course, the pilot reviewed and completed the required emergency procedures. The pilot satisfactorily completed the course with an examination that included 2.5 hours written/oral examination time and 2.2 simulator flying hours.
On September 19, 2014, the pilot was issued an FAA ATP temporary airman certificate with the following ratings and limitations: airplane multiengine land ratings for Beechcraft (BE)-300, BE-400, Cessna (CE)-525, Dassault Falcon (DA)-10, Learjet (LR)-45, LR-60, LR-JET, Mitsubishi (MU)-300 airplanes; second-in-command privileges only for BE-400, CE-525, DA-10, LR-45, LR-60, LR-JET, and MU-300 airplanes; and private pilot privileges for airplane single-engine land.
The accident airplane was bought by Gilleland Aviation, Inc., Georgetown, Texas, on October 28, 2014. The King Air B200 was a six-seat, low-wing, multiengine airplane manufactured in 2000. The airplane was powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42 turboprop engines that each drove a Hartzell four-bladed, hydraulically operated, constant-speed propeller with full feathering and reversing capabilities. The propeller blade angle settings for this installation were -11.0° ± 0.5° reverse, 18.2° ± 0.1° low, and 85.8° ± 0.5° feather.
On October 30, 2014, at 0740, the airplane was refueled at ICT by Signature Flight Support. The two outboard fuel tanks (usable 193-gallon capacity each) were reported to have been filled to capacity. The two auxiliary fuel tanks (usable 79-gallon capacity each) were reported to be empty. The fueling receipt noted that 57 gallons of Jet A fuel were added to the left main tank and that 53 gallons of Jet A fuel were added to the right main tank.
A review of the airplane maintenance records found that major scheduled maintenance was completed at Hawker Beechcraft Services, Wichita, Kansas, on October 22, 2014. The maintenance included left and right engine hot-section inspections and an overhaul of the right propeller. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 1.4 hours and 2 cycles since it was released to service on October 22, 2014. The review found no maintenance record discrepancies that would have affected the operation or performance of the airplane.
Postmaintenance Test Flights
During the October 22, 2014, Hawker Beechcraft postmaintenance test flight, the following discrepancies were noted:
• The left throttle lever was ahead of the right by about 1/4 of the lever knob. • The cabin environmental system pressurization leak rate was high. All other systems functioned normally. The engine interturbine temperature (ITT) gauge indications were split, indicating that one of the engines was operating more efficiently than the other; however, both engines were able to achieve maximum power per the pilot’s operating handbook (POH) performance charts with no temperature ITT exceedance.
Maintenance was performed to address the throttle matching and cabin environmental system discrepancies, and a second maintenance test flight was conducted on October 27, 2014. During the flight, it was noted that the throttle lever mismatch was corrected. The environmental system bleed air valves (flow packs) pressurization leak rates were acceptable, although one was weaker than the other when tested independently. No other anomalies were noted.
Following the flight, maintenance personnel confirmed that the left flow pack output was higher than the right. Both sides of the system passed maintenance manual and ground operational checks. To better understand these findings, the airplane owner agreed that the left and right environmental system flow packs, electronic controllers, and thermistors should be swapped.
Rudder Boost System
The airplane was equipped with a rudder boost system to aid the pilot in maintaining directional control in the event of an engine failure or a large variation of power between the engines. The rudder cable system incorporated two pneumatic rudder-boosting servos that would actuate the cables to provide rudder pressure to help compensate for asymmetrical thrust. During operation, a differential pressure valve would accept bleed air pressure from each engine. When the pressure varied between the bleed air systems, the shuttle in the differential pressure valve would move toward the low pressure side. As the pressure differential reached a preset tolerance, a switch on the low pressure side would close, activating the rudder boost system. The system was designed only to help compensate for asymmetrical thrust; the pilot was to accomplish appropriate trimming.
The system was controlled by a toggle switch, placarded “RUDDER BOOST – OFF” and located on the pedestal below the rudder trim wheel. The switch was to be turned on before flight. A preflight check of the system could be performed during the run-up by retarding the power on one engine to idle and advancing power on the opposite engine until the power difference between the engines was great enough to close the switch that activates the rudder boost system. Movement of the appropriate rudder pedal (left engine idling, right rudder pedal would move forward) would be noted when the switch closed, indicating that the system was functioning properly for low engine power on that side. The check was to be repeated with opposite power settings to check for movement of the opposite rudder pedal. Moving either or both of the bleed air valve switches in the copilot’s subpanel to the “INSTR & ENVIR OFF” position would disengage the rudder boost system.
The airplane was equipped with an autofeathering system that provided a means of automatically feathering the propeller in the event of an engine failure. The system was armed using a switch on the pilot’s subpanel placarded “AUTOFEATHER – ARM – OFF – TEST.” With the switch in the “ARM” position and both power levers above about 90 percent N1, the green L and R AUTOFEATHER annunciators located on the caution/advisory panel would illuminate, indicating that the system was armed. If either power lever was not above about 90 percent N1, the system would be disarmed, and neither annunciator would be illuminated. When the system was armed and the torque on a failing engine dropped below about 410 ft-lbs, the operative engine’s autofeather system would be disarmed. When the torque on the failing engine dropped below about 260 ft-lbs, the oil was dumped from the servo, and the feathering spring and counterweights feathered the propeller.
For King Air B200 airplanes equipped with Hartzell propellers, the propeller autofeather system must be operable for all flights and be armed for takeoff, climb, approach, and landing. A preflight system test, as described in the King Air POH, Section IV, “NORMAL PROCEDURES,” was required. Since an engine would not actually be shut down during a test, the AUTOFEATHER annunciator for the engine being tested would cycle on and off as the torque oscillated above and below the 260 ft-lbs setting.
The King Air B200 POH outlined an Engine Failure During Takeoff (at or above V1) Takeoff Continued procedure, which stated, in part, the following:
1. Power –> maximum allowable
2. Airspeed –> maintain (takeoff speed or above)
3. Landing gear –> up
Note: If the autofeather system…is being used, do not retard the failed engine power lever until the autofeather system has completely stopped the propeller rotation. To do so will deactivate the autofeather circuit and prevent automatic feathering.
4. Propeller lever (inoperative engine) –> feather (or verify that propeller is feathered if autofeather is installed)
At 0953, the automated weather observation at ICT reported wind from 350 degrees and 16 knots, visibility of 10 miles, a few clouds at 15,000 ft, temperature 59° F, dew point 37° F, and altimeter setting 30.12 inches of Mercury.
The following is a chronological summary of the communications between the accident pilot and the ICT air traffic controllers.
0938 The pilot requested an IFR clearance to MEZ. Clearance Delivery read the clearance to the pilot, and the pilot read back the clearance correctly.
0940 The pilot requested taxi clearance with the automatic terminal information service (ATIS). Ground Control issued a taxi clearance to runway 1R at Echo 3 intersection via taxiways Alpha 5, Alpha, Bravo, Echo. The pilot read back the instructions correctly.
0941 Ground Control reverified that the accident pilot had ATIS Hotel.
0942 The pilot advised he had to perform a quick run-up and asked Ground Control for a location to complete the run-up. Ground Control advised him to proceed to the end of the taxiway or to the Echo 3 intersection.
0947 The pilot requested and was cleared for takeoff by Local Control on runway heading. The pilot read back the instructions correctly.
0948 The pilot declared an emergency and advised that he “lost the left engine.”
Cockpit Voice Recorder
The airplane was equipped with a Fairchild Model A100S cockpit voice recorder (CVR). The unit was removed from the wreckage and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Vehicle Recorder Laboratory for download. A timeline generated from the CVR recording determined that the time duration from liftoff to building impact was about 26 seconds.
The airplane was equipped with a Sandel ST3400 terrain awareness and warning system and radio magnetic indicator unit. This unit was retained and examined by the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory. The examination revealed that the unit sustained severe thermal damage and that the nonvolatile memory contents were destroyed; therefore, no data were available for recovery.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was located at latitude 37° 39.592 N, longitude 97° 25.490 W, at an elevation of 1,363 ft mean sea level. The airplane struck the northeast corner of the FSI building, which housed several flight simulators. A large simulator room on the north end was the point of impact and sustained most of the structural and fire damage. The simulator room was about two stories high, about 198 ft long (east-west), and about 42 ft deep (north-south). Most of the airplane wreckage was distributed from the northeast corner toward the southwest corner of the room and remained on the roof of the simulator room and the attached buildings.
A postimpact fired ensued and consumed a majority of the airplane. The left engine, propeller, and left main landing gear were found just inside the building on the ground level. A majority of the left outboard wing, flap, and aileron were found at the foot of the building’s exterior east wall. The fuselage, tail section, cockpit, right engine, and right main landing gear were located on the conjoined buildings’ rooftops. The cockpit, instrument panels, right engine, and right landing gear strut were located about 160 ft from the initial impact point to the south on the roof of the simulator room. The right engine and propeller came to rest next to the cockpit.
The cabin area of the fuselage and empennage came to rest inverted on the lower, west roof. The cabin area was mostly consumed by the postimpact fire. Portions of the wing center section and all of the tail section were located to the south on the lower roof of the conjoined building. The right wing had separated and came to rest on the roof of another attached building about 120 ft from the initial impact point. A separated portion of a propeller blade was found near the right wing. A separated propeller blade tip was found in a parking lot about 200 ft northeast from the initial impact point. The tail section sustained severe thermal damage, but remained recognizable. The horizontal stabilizers remained attached to the vertical stabilizer with the elevators attached. The elevator trim tabs remained attached to their respective elevator. The vertical stabilizer remained attached to the aft fuselage with the rudder attached. The rudder trim tab remained attached to the rudder.
The left main landing gear was found extended with the down-lock latched into place. The structure of the right main landing gear was not intact. The strut, wheel, and tire of the nose gear assembly were found in the parking lot on the north side of the building. Witness and video evidence, which is discussed in the “ADDITIONAL INFORMATION” section of this report, confirmed that the landing gear were extended before impact.
One of the four rudder cables in the tail section had the ball swage fitting still attached. The other three cables (one rudder and two elevators) were separated with rusty coloration at the separation point. The three cables were stiff 3 to 9 inches from the fracture surface, consistent with high-temperature oxidation and separation. The rest of the three cables remained flexible, which was typical of a control cable.
Rudder flight control continuity was established from the rudder to the flight control cables. One cable terminated at the aft fuselage in a thermal separation, and the other cable terminated at a more forward position at a cable end.
Down elevator control continuity was confirmed from the elevator surface to the aft fuselage. The up elevator aft bell crank segment was separated with the flight control cable attached. Both cables terminated at the aft fuselage in thermal separations.
A secondary examination of the flight control systems was conducted at a secure storage facility. The primary and secondary flight control cables were all accounted for from the cockpit to each respective flight control surface with cable separations that exhibited signatures consistent with thermal separation, tensile overload, and/or being cut during recovery.
The only flap actuator observed was the outboard left flap actuator, and the position equated to about 10° extended. A secondary examination of the flap switch handle determined that it was in the UP detent.
The flaps had three positions: UP, APPROACH, and DOWN. UP was 0°, APPROACH was 14° (+ or – 1°), and DOWN was 35° (+1°/-2°). According to the POH, the flaps could be set to UP or APPROACH during takeoff. Any of the three flap positions could be selected by moving the flap switch handle up or down to the selected position indicated on the pedestal. The flaps could not be stopped in between any of the three positions.
The rudder trim actuator position equated to greater than 15° tab trailing edge left (rudder right, nose right). The left and right elevator trim actuator positions equated to 0° trim. The right aileron trim actuator position equated to about 9° tab trailing edge up (right wing up).
Rudder Boost and Autofeathering Systems
The rudder boost system, autofeathering system, and their respective cockpit controls were mostly consumed by the postimpact fire. Due to the extensive thermal damage, an examination of the systems could not be accomplished.
The engines and propellers were relocated to a secure hangar where airframe components were removed, and the propellers were separated from the engines.
Engine teardown examinations were performed from November 3 to 5, 2014, at a Pratt & Whitney service center. Although the engine inlet housings, gearbox cases, and the accessory housings and tubing were severely fire-damaged, the core engines were intact and could be fully evaluated. No evidence of preimpact failure was found. Both engine compressors exhibited impact damage characteristic of foreign object damage. Both engines’ gas producer and power turbine rotor gas path components displayed circumferential friction, rub, and scoring damage characteristic of damage that occurs when normal operating clearances between rotating and stationary components are momentarily lost as the engine experiences abnormal axial and radial loading during an impact sequence. The left engine power turbine shaft was separated torsionally, consistent with the sudden stoppage of the propeller (blade strike) while the power turbine shaft continued to rotate.
The left engine fuel pump and fuel control housings were thermally destroyed; examination of the remaining (steel) engine fuel system and propeller governor system components and tubing connections recovered from the debris revealed no anomalies. The extensive thermal damage prevented full assessment of the fuel metering system, including the fuel control units and compressor discharge pressure lines (P3) to both engines. The left engine propeller governor and propeller overspeed governor were examined and tested at Woodward, Inc., Rockford, Illinois, with no preimpact anomalies noted.
The propellers were examined in Wichita from November 1 to 3, 2014, and again at Hartzell Propellers, Inc., Piqua, Ohio, on September 9 and 10, 2015. Fracture features and dimensions of the recovered propeller blade segments identified them as the missing outboard sections of two consecutive left propeller blades. Both blades were separated chordwise and exhibited leading edge tearing signatures. The left propeller blade damage also included other leading edge dents and tearing, aft bending, and moderate twisting. All of the propeller damage was consistent with impact loading or postimpact fire. The right propeller blades were thermally consumed.
All eight of the propeller preload plates displayed witness marks consistent with abnormal loading (blade strike). Although witness marks can reflect impact blade angles from later stages of the impact sequence, carefully analyzed preload plate witness marks can be a relatively reliable indication of the preimpact blade angle for this propeller design. The angular positions of the witness marks were used to approximate blade position at the time each impact occurred. The preload plate witness marks of the respective propellers indicated that the left propeller was likely at a 17° blade angle upon initial impact, and the right propeller was likely at a 22.5° blade angle upon initial impact.
Engine performance calculations using the derived blade angles and sound spectrum analysis-based findings (see the “CVR Sound Spectrum Analysis” section of this report) indicated that the left engine was likely operating but producing low to moderate power when the airplane struck the building and that the right engine was operating normally and producing moderate to high power when the airplane struck the building.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
This 53-year-old pilot had been an air traffic controller for more than 20 years at ICT and retired in 2013. Since his first medical certification in 1980, the pilot had reported thyroid disease, hernias, and recurrent symptomatic kidney stones to the FAA. Beginning in 1997, he had episodes of anxiety and depression, which required intermittent treatment with medication. During the first episode, he was unable to work for a certain time. A second episode began in October 2013 and continued through the accident date. He did not report his recurrent anxiety or his use of buspirone and escitalopram to the FAA. However, he visited his primary care physician about 1 month before the accident and was noted to be stable on the medications. In addition, the pilot had a procedure to treat kidney stones in 2013 that he did not report to the FAA.
On November 3, 2014, the Regional Forensic Science Center, Sedgwick County, Kansas, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was determined to be thermal injuries and smoke inhalation and the manner of death was determined to be an accident. According to the autopsy report, a thin plastic medical catheter was identified in the pilot’s pelvis, but it was not further described in the report. The Regional Forensic Science Center also conducted toxicology testing of the pilot’s heart blood, which identified carboxyhemoglobin at 39 percent, but no other tested for substances were found.
Toxicology testing performed by the Bioaeronautical Research Laboratory at the FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute identified buspirone and citalopram and its metabolite n-desmethylcitalopram in the pilot’s heart blood and urine. In addition, the carboxyhemoglobin was 35 percent; no ethanol, cyanide, or any other tested for substances were identified. Buspirone, also named BuSpar, is an anxiolytic prescription medication. Buspirone is different from other anxiolytics in that it has little, if any, typical anti-anxiety side effects, such as sedation and physical impairment, but it does carry a warning, “May impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery).” Citalopram is a prescription antidepressant, also named Celexa, which carries a warning, “May impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery).”
Airport Surveillance Video Data
Airport surveillance videos, which captured the last 9 seconds of the flight, including an image of the airplane within 1 second of impact, was used to estimate the airplane’s trajectory and speed. The estimations indicated that the airplane’s groundspeed increased from 85 to 92 knots and that the descent rate increased from about 0 to 1,600 ft per minute just before impact. The airplane’s altitude reached a maximum of about 120 ft agl before it descended into the building.
Sideslip Thrust and Rudder Study
The NTSB conducted a sideslip thrust and rudder study based on information from the surveillance videos. This study evaluated the relationships between the airplane’s sideslip angle, thrust differential, and rudder deflection. Calculations made using multiple rudder deflection angles showed that full right rudder deflection would have resulted in a sideslip angle near 0°, a neutral rudder would have resulted in an airplane sideslip angle between 14° and 19°, and a full left rudder deflection would have resulted in an airplane sideslip angle between 28° and 35° airplane nose left. Calculation of the airplane’s sideslip angle as captured in the image of the airplane during the last second of flight showed that the airplane had a 29° nose-left sideslip, which would have required the application of a substantial left rudder input.
CVR Sound Spectrum Analysis
A sound spectrum analysis was completed using harmonic signatures recorded on the CVR from the cockpit area microphone and an unconnected microphone jack. A graph of the harmonic signatures from the cockpit area microphone show signatures that likely represent the propeller blade tip sounds and propeller rpm diverging, consistent with one propeller rpm decreasing.
A graph of harmonic signatures from the unconnected microphone jack revealed electrical noise signatures generated from the engines. At the beginning of the graph, these signatures (two for each engine) increased, corresponding to increasing engine rpm. Later, two of the signatures began to decrease, consistent with one engine’s rpm decreasing.
NTSB Identification: CEN15FA034
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 30, 2014 in Wichita, KS
Aircraft: RAYTHEON AIRCRAFT COMPANY B200, registration: N52SZ
Injuries: 4 Fatal,2 Serious,4 Minor.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On October 30, 2014, at 0948 central daylight time, a Raytheon Aircraft Company King Air B200, N52SZ, impacted the Flight Safety International (FSI) building located on the airport after departure from the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (KICT), Wichita, Kansas. The pilot, who was the sole occupant, was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. Three building occupants were fatally injured, 2 occupants sustained serious injuries and four occupants sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Gilleland Aviation, Inc., Georgetown, Texas, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The flight originated at 0947 and was en route to the Mena Intermountain Municipal Airport (KMEZ), Mena, Arkansas.
According to the air traffic control (ATC) recordings, at 0947:06, the airplane departed runway 1R and was instructed by the controller to fly runway heading. At 0948:17, the pilot declared an emergency and stated that he “lost the left engine.”
According to witnesses on the ground, after the airplane departed runway 1R, a left turn was initiated and the airplane’s altitude was estimated less than 150 feet above the ground. One witness observed the airplane shortly after it became airborne and heard a reduction in power on one engine before it entered the left turn. Another witness saw the airplane from about 20 yards away. He said the airplane was in a left turn and approached the hangars east of FSI, then the wings were level as it flew west toward FSI. The airplane’s landing gear were “down and locked”, the flaps were extended, the rudder was neutral, and the right engine was at full power. The witness did not see the left engine. The airplane then disappeared from his view and he heard the sound of an impact. Another witness observed the airplane in its final seconds before it impacted the FSI building. He said the airplane was on a heading of 240 degrees and was in a “gradual” descending left turn. He thought the airplane was going to land on the west runway, but then it collided with the northeast corner of the FSI building. The witness said the landing gear were extended and both propellers were rotating, but he could not determine at what power setting. He said the airplane’s left engine struck the building first just below the roof line, followed by the outboard section of the left wing. When the wing impacted the building it separated and the airplane rolled to about 70 degrees bank angle. The nose of the airplane struck the roof of the building and the airplane slid for about 20-30 feet before the tail section came over the top of the airplane followed by a large explosion. A postimpact fire ensued.
Surveillance video from the surrounding buildings was obtained and will be reviewed.
The airplane was equipped with a Fairchild Model A100S cockpit voice recorder (CVR). The unit was removed from the wreckage and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Vehicle Recorder Laboratory for download.
The airplane was equipped with two Sandel ST3400 Terrain Awareness and Warning System / Radio Magnetic Indicator (TAWS/RMI) units. These units were retained by the NTSB and will be examined for recorded flight data.
At 0953, the automated weather observation at KICT reported wind from 350 degrees and 16 knots, 10 miles of visibility, a few clouds at 15,000 feet, temperature 59° Fahrenheit (F), dew point 37° F, and altimeter setting 30.12 inches of mercury.
The wreckage has been retained for further examination.
Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office: FAA Wichita FSDO-64
WICHITA, Kan. -The Regional Forensic Science Center has released the name of the fourth person killed in the deadly plane crash at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport on Oct. 30
He has been identified as Sergey Galitskiy, 54.
Russian Airline Tomsk Air tells Eyewitness News Galitskiy was in the FlightSafety building the morning of the crash. He was scheduled to be in the Cessna Caravan simulator.
Nataliya Menestrina was Galitskiy’s translator. She was also killed in the crash.
Other victims include the pilot of the plane, Mark Goldstein and FlightSafety instructor Jay Ferguson.
Services for Ferguson and Menestrina are set for this weekend.
Eyewitness News spoke with the Sedgwick County District Coroner and Chief Medical Examiner Jaime Oeberst asking if there are any differences in identifying someone from a different country. She said the actual scientific identification process is the same, though the records may be more difficult to obtain.
Those records could include fingerprints or dental records taken before death. It could also include personal items that have DNA, like a razor or a toothbrush.
“We would try to obtain records. We would try to contact the families and hopefully be able to identify those items and get them sent here to the Forensic Science Center,” Oeberst said. “So that might require research, phone calls, that kind of thing to identify the source and then hopefully we can get that information.”
Sometimes, depending on the country, the office has to get extra help.
“We can try to find translators. The county does have some translators and then also, we might reach out into the community, maybe local businesses that might use them,” Oeberst said. “We also might contact, depending on the country of origin and that kind of thing, contact an embassy or something like that to obtain some additional information and some assistance.”
Oeberst said it depends on how easily accessible the records are. She said timing depends on the individual situation and there really isn’t any “normal.”
Plane crash survivor Scott Mans has been released from the hospital. A friend says he’s now in a rehab hospital.
Mans was in one of the building’s simulators at the time of the crash. He broke his hip jumping to safety, and suffered burns as he crawled out of the building.
The Regional Forensic Science Center says it has positively identified three of the four people killed in Thursday’s plane crash at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.
They are 48-year-old Nataliya Menestrina, 78-year-old Jay Ferguson, and the pilot of the plane, 53-year-old Mark Goldstein.
The Center says the identity of the fourth victim has not been confirmed.
WICHITA, Kan. – Third body recovered from crash site at FlightSafety building since Friday, according to Wichita Fire Marshal Brad Crisp. Crisp says the focus for Saturday will be to recover the 4th body. Crisp will give another update about that progress at 6pm.
The National Transportation Safety Board continues to investigate the cause of Thursday’s crash. When Investigators first arrived at the site, they said it would take five days to complete a preliminary report about what happened. We are expecting that report early next week.
Fire crews remain on the site and continue to work to secure the structure and remove debris. Crisp expected it could take several days to complete that process.
Oct 31 (Reuters) – The bodies of four people killed when a small twin-engine turboprop airplane crashed into a building at Wichita’s airport remained in the smoldering ruins on Friday as federal officials investigated the crash, officials said.
A demolition contractor has been called in to make sure the Flight Safety International building is stable enough for crews to remove the dead, Wichita city spokesman Dale Goter said.
Pilots from around the world go to Wichita for initial and continuing training for Cessna aircraft in the flight simulators in the building that was struck Thursday morning by a Beechcraft King Air airplane, which had lost power in one engine after taking off.
“They’ll come out as soon as we can get them out safely,” Goter said.
The airplane ripped into the roof of the building and set off an explosion and fire killing three people who were in a flight simulator in the building and the pilot, who was alone in the airplane. Safety concerns forced firefighters from the building on Thursday, where some walls and ceilings collapsed.
“There is still some smoldering on the roof,” Goter said Friday, adding that parts of the building must be removed before crews can enter.
Five people were injured in the building. One person was listed in serious condition at a local hospital on Friday and four people were treated on Thursday for injuries and released.
The pilot reported losing power in the left engine shortly after taking off from the airport and the plane crashed as he tried to return, federal investigators have said.
Three witnesses have said the airplane started to drift to the left side of the runway after takeoff and then made a steep left bank into the building, Josh Lindberg, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator, said on Friday.
The airplane had undergone two maintenance test flights and showed no issues before the Thursday flight, Lindberg said.
The NTSB hopes to interview more witnesses and gain access to the crash site on Saturday, he said. They hope to recover a cockpit voice recorder and a digital flight data recorder for analysis, he said.
Authorities said more than 100 people were believed to have been in the building, which was operated by FlightSafety International, a Berkshire Hathaway Inc company.
The small plane that crashed into a Kansas building Thursday underwent two maintenance flights before takeoff and wasn’t malfunctioning in any way, investigators said Friday. The Beechcraft King Air twin-engine plane hit the top of a two-story FlightSafety International building after taking off from Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita Thursday morning, leaving the pilot and three people inside the building dead. The pilot, Mark Goldstein, who was the only person in the plane, had more than 3,000 hours of logged flying experience, NTSB Investigator Josh Lindberg said Friday.
NTSB investigators could not gain access to the site of the crash Friday because a portion of the building was not structurally sound, but they hoped to get in on Saturday to retrieve the plane’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder. Rescue crews were also hindered from getting into the building Friday to recover the bodies of the four victims, City of Wichita spokeswoman Lauragail Locke told NBC News.
NTSB investigators were able to review the plane’s maintenance log books and interview three people who witnessed the crash, Lindberg said. All three witnesses said the plane drifted to the left before the plane took a “steep” left turn and hit the building shortly after takeoff, Lindberg said.
Four people who were injured inside the building were treated and released from Via Christi Hospital, and one person remained in serious condition Friday afternoon, according to hospital officials.
ANDERSON — A former Anderson resident’s wife is among the victims of Thursday’s plane crash in Wichita, Kansas.
Larry Menestrina, a 1970 graduate of Madison Heights High School, confirmed Friday on Facebook that his wife, Nataliya Menestrina, died in the crash that claimed the lives of at least four people.
Several others were taken to the hospital after the plane crashed into Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport, causing a fire. As many as 100 people were in the building at the time of the accident, according to officials.
Menestrina said that his wife, who is from Russia, was inside the airport translating for two Russian pilots who were doing flight training when the plane struck.
WICHITA, Kan. – Eyewitness News has spoken with a close friend to one of the victim’s from this morning’s deadly plane crash.
Kevin Pham tells Eyewitness News Anchor Cindy Klose his friend Scott Mans was in a simulator when a King Air 200 hit the FlightSafety building Thursday morning.
Pham said Mans suffered a broken hip after jumping from a simulator. He also sustained burns to his hands, legs and arms while crawling to get out.
Pham said Mans was in a simulator with three other people, when he got a call to get out. He opened the door, found the conditions were hot and smokey and couldn’t find the bridge to get away from the simulator, so he had to jump.
Mans told Pham sheet rock and insulation were falling down around him and he just tried to crawl toward light.
Mans told Pham he urged the others with him to get out, but he doesn’t know if they did. Mans told Pham one person was from Germany and another was a translator.
Pham says police have already been to the hospital to interview Mans.
Barbara Lanning, Mans’ mother released the following statement on behalf of the family:
“We want to thank everyone for their concern and the excellent care that our son is receiving. We’ve received tremendous support from Scott’s co-workers at FlightSafety, close friends and members of our extended church families. We appreciate their continued prayers as we expect Scott to make a full recovery over time. For now, we ask that everyone respect our privacy as our focus right now is on Scott and his well-being and continued recovery.”
Mans remains in serious condition at a Wichita hospital.
WICHITA, Kan. – Friends and colleagues of Mark Goldstein say safety was always of major importance to him.
The 53-year-old pilot was killed Thursday morning when the King Air Beech 200 aircraft he was flying crashed into the Flight Safety building at Mid-Continent Airport. He was killed along with three others inside the building.
“We got the call that a King Air had crashed and I said, ‘Oh gosh, Mark’s flying a King Air today,” said Ron Ryan, a friend and colleague of Goldstein.
Goldstein spent decades as an air traffic controller, so when Ryan called to confirm who was killed, those at the tower knew right away.
“A good number of people at the airport, they knew Mark,” said Ryan. “He was a pilot’s friend. He’s respected by the other pilots in the community. We lost a really nice guy.”
Goldstein started as an air traffic controller in 1981 in the U.S. Navy. After serving five years there, he was hired to work in Salina, Kan. for the FAA. Goldstein then transferred to Wichita in 1989 and was there until he retired this past year.
“Safety is a big thing for him,” said Allen Goodwin, one of Mark’s flight crew members and friends. “He was always so interested in making sure, especially at his air traffic control job and as a pilot, that everything was correct and that we kept everything in line. He was very proactive in anything he saw that just needed a little help or maybe was just flat wrong. He wasn’t bashful, he would say this needs to be fixed and let it fall where it fell.”
That was part of why he won three awards for safety from the National Air Traffic Controller Association. According to their website, the first was in 2004 when he started his own investigation of some debris found on the runway. He was able to locate which flight lost the parts and helped the pilot land safely.
He won the award again when he heard an alarm in the background of a pilot’s call for landing clearance.
“As a pilot, he knew the familiar sound almost instantly,” the press release stated. “It was the plane’s landing gear alarm. Goldstein immediately contacted the pilot and advised him to check if the landing gear was down. It was not. The pilot had forgotten to lower the gear due to his high workload in setting up for landing.”
“Had it not been for Mark and his experience, the plane would have landed without its landing gear and who knows what could have happened then,” said Wichita Tower NATCA facility representative Pat Pelkowski.
He won the Archie League Medal of Safety Award for the Central Region in 2004, 2005 and 2006.
“He loved flying from day one,” said Goodwin, Goldstein’s crew member. “It’s very enjoyable to be around someone who was doing it not because they had to, but because they wanted to and that was his desire.”
Goodwin spent a lot of time in the cockpit with Mark as his crew member. Goodwin said Goldstein’s death leaves a void in the local aviation community.
“He’ll leave behind a big hole,” he said. “We’re going to miss him severely. I can see his face right now and his smile and I’m going to have that forever.”
Story, Comments and Video: http://www.kwch.com
Mark Goldstein: September 19, 2014 – “Received my first type rating in the BE350 and BE300 with an ATP today — at FlightSafety International Hawker Beechcraft Learning Center”: https://www.facebook.com/mark.goldstein13
WICHITA, Kan. — Four people, including the pilot, have been killed and others are hurt after a plane crashed into a building at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro says a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 200 reported losing engine power just after takeoff around 9:50 a.m. Thursday.
The plane crashed into the roof of a building shortly after declaring an aircraft emergency. The plane hit the north building of FlightSafety International Cessna pilot training center, located at 1851 Airport Road. More than 100 people, employees and visitors, were inside the building when it happened.
The crash ignited what Wichita Fire Chief Ronald D. Blackwell described as a “horrific” fire. It led to a two-alarm fire at the building, which took some time for firefighters to get under control. Part of the building also collapsed.
The Wichita Fire Department confirmed that four people died and five others were hurt. Everyone else has been accounted for, after an initial report of up to four people missing.
Ron Ryan, formerly of Ryan International Airlines, told KAKE’s Chris Frank that the pilot is among those dead. Family identified him as 53-year-old Mark Goldstein, a longtime Wichitan, contract pilot and retired air traffic controller.
Ryan said that the King Air had recently been inspected, and that Goldstein was ferrying the plane for its new owner. The 1999 King Air B200 was recently sold by Beechcraft, and was en route to Mena, Arkansas. Rose Aircraft Services in Mena said the plane was coming for painting and interior refurbishing.
The identities of the other three who died have not been released, but city officials said two were from Wichita and the other was from another country. They were found inside a flight simulator in the building. Investigators are still working to notify family members.
Those victims have not been removed due to structural concerns with the building. Crews said the crash impacted the structure’s north side, which houses four flight simulators. They were able to search three of those rooms, but are unable to get into the fourth due to collapse. Heavy equipment and a structural engineer will be needed to access that area. Additional equipment is expected to arrive on Friday to help remove portions of the building.
Those who were injured were taken to Via Christi St. Francis Hospital. As of 4 p.m., one is in serious condition and four others have been treated and released.
City of Wichita officials have created a hotline for crash witnesses, and those who are trying to locate family members. That number is (316) 946-4710.
Wichita Police are asking that other residents avoid the area unless they have a flight to catch.
Responding agencies include the Wichita Fire and Police Departments, Mid-Continent Public Safety Department, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas Highway Patrol and the FBI. The NTSB is expected to arrive on scene Thursday evening to assist with the investigation.
KAKE News has multiple crews on scene. Check back for updates.
FlightSafety International issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
All of us at FlightSafety International are greatly saddened by the tragic accident that occurred at Wichita Mid Continent Airport impacting our Cessna Learning Center. We are continuing to work with authorities to assist them in their investigation and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our Clients & Teammates. No further details are available at this time.
WICHITA, Kansas – Officials say at least four people are now dead including the pilot and four are missing after a small plane reported losing engine power and crashed into the two-story FlightSafety Cessna Learning Center at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport. The crash happened around 9:50 a.m. Thursday. It sent up huge plumes of black smoke which could be seen for miles around the city.
“He was an air traffic controller who retired less than a year ago and became a contract pilot and he would contract his services to different airplane owners and operators. In this case, he was ferrying this airplane from Wichita down to Mena, Arkansas,” said Ron Ryan, Ryan Aviation. “He talked to the tower before he crashed. They knew his voice. He lost left engine on takeoff or the worst thing that can possibly happen on aviation is to lose an engine on takeoff.”
Five people were transported to Via Christi St. Francis Hospital. One patient is still in serious condition and one is still listed in fair condition. Three patients have been treated and released.
Officials believe they have located all 100 people who were in the FlightSafety building at the time the plane struck the top of the building. FlightSafety released a statement to KSN:
“All of us at FlightSafety International are greatly saddened by the tragic accident that occurred at Wichita Mid Continent Airport impacting our Cessna Learning Center. We are continuing to work with authorities to assist them in their investigation and to ensure the safety and well being of our Clients & Teammates. No further details are available at this time.”
KSN has confirmed from the FAA that a twin-engine Beechcraft B200 Super King Air 200 N52SZ lost an engine on takeoff from Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport. The plane was trying to return to the runway when it crashed.
“”It was horrific, there was heavy smoke on the horizon as you approached the airport for miles. A very challenging fire as you might imagine. It appears the aircraft struck the top of the building, catching the building on fire, that would have caused some fire to be inside the building,” said Chief Ron Blackwell, Wichita Fire Department.
The plane was heading to Mena Intermountain Municpal Airport in Arkansas. The plane’s first flight was in 1999. It had 6,314 hours of flight time. The plane was registered to Beechcraft Corporation at 10511 East Central in Wichita. It was registered October 3rd and had two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-42 engines.
At least 50 to 60 firefighters from the Wichita Fire Department battled the fire. The firefighters were evacuated from the building which has been declared unstable.
FAA investigators and the National Transportation Safety Board are on the scene investigating.
Responding agencies included the Wichita Fire Department, Wichita Police Department, Mid-Continent Public Safety Department, Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas Highway Patrol and the FBI.
Mid-Continent flights are on schedule. Passengers should check with their airlines regarding any flight changes and arrive at the airport as early as possible due to traffic congestion in the area.
The Wichita Police Department is asking any family members who are unable to contact loved ones to contact police at Harry and Airport Road. They can also call 316-946-4710. In addition, anyone with information about the crash, possible witnesses or anyone with footage, please call 316-946-4710.
Wichita Mid-Continent Airport is used by private aircraft and served by several airlines and their regional affiliates, including American, Southwest, Delta, United and Allegiant. According to U.S. Department of Transportation figures, there were more than 13,000 departures and about 1.4 million passengers in 2013. The airport is several miles west of downtown Wichita.
This in today’s Australian by Paul Cleary ( @pgcleary) does not get to how Carmody really operates.
This is a letter to the editor of The Australian sent to me today:
In Paul Cleary’s article today, support is made for Shane Carmody as the next casa head. Over the past few years the industry has complained of a vindictive and obstructive regulator. I saw that at its worst yesterday when Carmody ordered me from Aviation House when I was in a public area talking to the Industry Complaints Commissioner. No reason was given. I travelled from North Queensland to Canberra to coincide with the casa board meeting, with whom I had two years ago, been promised a meeting and had three serious matters in front of them currently. Carmody is an ex officio board member. This is a public disgrace and demonstrates how out of control the regulator is and why a judicial inquiry is immediately required.
The matter still afoot and should have three casa personnel in front of a magistrate for making false statements, which subsequently were used to prosecute Mr. Rudd and were abandoned by the DPP at a later time. The false statements were never withdrawn.
The federal government has begun the process of recruiting a permanent air safety supremo, prompting influential figures to push for a candidate with broad commercial experience.
At a time when general aviation in Australia faces increasing cost and regulatory pressures, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has told The Australian it has initiated the recruitment process to fill the position vacated last October by Mark Skidmore, who left after less than two years in the job.
Industry insiders say the pressure on this key executive will be immense.
The CASA chief executive is also known as the director of aviation safety
“CASA is preparing an updated position description in anticipation of a search being undertaken to identify the preferred candidate. In the interim, Shane Carmody has been appointed as acting director and CEO on a term of up to 12 months, to October 2017,” a CASA spokeswoman said.
Mr Carmody previously worked in a senior role in CASA as part of a long public service career that has included stints in defence and veterans affairs. He was a deputy secretary the Department of Infrastructure prior to stepping into the acting role last year.
Influential aviator Byron Bailey said the CASA board should “stay away from ex-air force guys”, noting that past three chiefs had started their careers in the RAAF.
“These guys are great leaders but they do not deserve to be in civil aviation. All these air force guys bring in more regulation. You don’t want an air force guy who doesn’t know about being profitable.”
Former CASA chairman Dick Smith said the appointment of former RAAF personnel had led to over-regulation of the Australian aviation industry.
“I think it is excellent they are advertising.
“(In the past) they’ve gone for military people who haven’t had to pay for anything, or from the bureaucracy,’’ he said.
“In the military you just dial up what you want.”
Before Mr Skidmore’s appointment, CASA was run for five years by John McCormick, who began his career in the RAAF. His predecessor was Bruce Byron, who had spent a decade in the RAAF and the former Department of Aviation.
But Regional Airlines Association of Australia chief executive Mike Higgins said former pilots were “the wrong stuff” for the role.
“I have been in aviation all my life,’’ he said.
“I worked at CASA for nine years. We do not need another commercial airline pilot. What we need is someone who has experience in managing a large organisation, preferably in the public service, and preferably as a regulator.
“Aviation skills and qualifications are not mandatory because (the CEO) should be surrounded by experts who have that subject matter expertise.”
Mr Higgins said Mr Carmody would be an “excellent candidate”.
“I’m very, very happy to continue working with Shane. He’s got off to a great start,” he said.
After coming into the role Mr Carmody has had to juggle some complex regulatory reforms that were initiated by his predecessor. A key one is fatigue rules that regional airlines say put addtional costs on their operations.
Last month, CASA announced a review of the rules, which is due to report by September this year. The review was launched in response to pressure from regional airlines.
Mr Skidmore had sought to address problems with CASA regulations by introducing a 26-member internal group known as the Part 61 solutions taskforce.
The taskforce released its final report this week which in part urged the regulator to use plain English in all of its regulatory statements.
A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Darren Chester said it was up to the CASA board to run the recruitment process.
However, the government would be consulted prior to the new CEO being awarded the position, she said.
One Nation, #aviation policy and James Ashby deserves some investigation as the industry approaches a critical point in it’s future.
The numbers in the Australian Senate are critical and the way #casa has upset so many people, many of whom have become One Nation supporters, deserves quick scrutiny.
Dick Smith was one of the first, who many would consider to be an avid supporter of the Nationals or Liberals, to start a dialogue with One Nation. Of course it is well known that Dick Smith is a very vocal and critical of #casa, #airservices and #atsb.
The history of #pelair with #casa and #atsb being caught out by the senate committee is well know to #onenation. That #casa is attempting to get out of the proper #asrr recommendations to the Senate is well know by the industry with calls to immediately dump the #casa regulations and move to the #USFARs.
One Nation at present are putting together policy documents for over 20 policy areas.
#aviation is one of those.
The following article in Saturday’s Australian magazine is particularly incisive showing Ashby and his history leading to the election of four Senators to the Australian Parliament.
James Ashby is no stranger to controversy. Now, as Pauline Hanson’s key aide, he is still ruffling feathers.
The Weekend Australian Magazine, February 4-5, 2017
Story: Jamie Walker
In quiet moments, James Ashby has been known to wonder whether he would have been better off staying on the strawberry farm at Beerwah in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. His friend Val Bradford, the woman who started him out in politics with Queensland’s Liberal National Party, told him not to go near that man, the local federal MP Peter Slipper, and then sighed in heartfelt resignation when he became chief adviser to a battle-scarred Pauline Hanson three years later. While admiring what he has achieved, Bradford suspects Ashby would be happier with a simpler life.
But that’s not Ashby’s way. Never has been, probably never will be. There are those who say he is like a shark, perpetually in motion, scheming, plotting, his eye on the next chance. In barely half a decade in politics he’s been instrumental in bringing down a Speaker of parliament, Slipper – and in the fallout inadvertently destroying the comeback to office of former cabinet minister Mal Brough. Few advisers have stirred such controversy or divided opinion more sharply.
Those close to him, however, insist he is nothing like the calculating operator he has been made out to be: to them, he is “our James”, charming, chatty, funny, loyal. “I worry about him,” says Bradford, 78. “I’ve always found him to be a decent person. He comes from a good family; he is interesting, he’s very interested in other people.” She pauses, gathering her thoughts. “But I have felt sorry for him at times. The things that have happened… turned James into a different person.”
Smooth-faced at 37, whippet thin and by reputation whip smart, Ashby is said to be the brains behind Hanson and her resurgent One Nation party. When just about everyone had given up on her, he filled her diary with media appearances and told her to smile when the tough questions came. Tapping his experience in regional radio, he committed the threadbare party to an expensive regional advertising campaign in Queensland. It helped propel Hanson and a running mate, Malcolm Roberts, into the Senate last July, along with candidates from NSW and Western Australia.
Yet to the acute frustration of the Canberra insiders who need to take Ashby’s measure, few beyond a protective inner circle know what he is really like. What’s now dubbed “Ashbygate” – his pursuit of Slipper for alleged sexual harassment, a long and messy case described by then prime minister Tony Abbott as a “squalid, sordid, miserable period in our national life” – took a heavy personal toll. The outgoing young man people would quickly warm to is a closed book. He works 80-hour weeks and is obsessively private. His reputation, however, is larger than life.
In crediting him for her success, Hanson has referred to Ashby as her adopted son (“I can’t sack him, he’s too valuable,” she recently voiced), while her embittered former friend and ally of two decades, Ian Nelson, calls him the “anti-Christ” of politics and warns he will destroy her and the party.
Internally, One Nation is divided over the power he wields as His Mistress’s Voice. Ashby is the gatekeeper to Hanson and the crucial bloc of votes she controls in the Senate. When the Government wants to talk terms on its legislative program, he is on speed dial for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s emissaries. One way or another, a lot is being said about him.
He professes to hate the attention. His only comment on the record for this story is: “I am not the story – Pauline is the story.” This is exactly what political staff are meant to say; the orthodoxy is that when they make the headlines, it’s time to go. Yet Hanson has stuck fast, defending Ashby in public when he was accused of hurling a phone at a female colleague in a fit of pique, and she has ruthlessly cut loose those in the party who dare to criticise him.
Ashby tells journalists they need to earn his respect if they want their calls returned, which they do, because he is at the centre of one of the biggest political stories going. One Nation defines the dissenting spirit of the age, repudiating the elites and established order. Yet if it is to shake off a dysfunctional past and provide Hanson with the stable platform she needs, it will be up to Ashby to mortar over the cracks that crisscross the shaky edifice. Her success will then become his.
Give Ashby his due: he always seems to have known the score. In one of their now-infamous text exchanges from October 2011, when Slipper was buttering him up to join his personal staff, dropping the C-word in reference to an LNP rival and making crude comments about women’s genitals, Ashby explained that he didn’t want offensive comments attached to him online, in case he ever ran for a seat in parliament. Slipper: “You are a bad boy indeed! And your honesty is refreshing in my world where duplicity seems sadly to be the order of the day!”
Ashby: “I think I’ll either be badly burnt in politics or do very well.”
It’s been a tough 12 months for Val Bradford after two rounds of surgery and recuperation. She doesn’t get out and about on the Sunshine Coast as much as she used to. Still, the politics bug is hard to shake. She has been involved in the Queensland National Party and its successor, the LNP, for nearly 40 years, and is founder and chairwoman of the LNP’s Beerwah-Mooloolah branch.
Her little group gets together every two months on a Thursday night, and Bradford seldom misses a meeting. People like her are the heart and soul of a political party: they operate in the grassroots, not the marbled halls of power. She writes the local newsletter and encourages small businesses to donate. When an election rolls around, she helps arrange volunteers for letterbox drops and polling booths. She is also a talent spotter for the LNP: back in 2010, when Ashby was marketing manager of Gowinta Farms at Beerwah, she noted approvingly how he knew the who’s who of the local council and MPs. Smiling and happy-go-lucky, he would conduct tractor tours of the big strawberry and pineapple growing operation. Bradford knew his mother, Colleen, a popular local hairdresser. As a boy, James had wanted to be on the radio, not in politics. Music was his passion: classical, disco, you name it. His three sisters would tease him about a “half-arsed” attempt to learn the piano.
He had wanted to leave school early but his parents wouldn’t allow it. After completing year 12, he did some on-air work for community radio in Buderim, then landed a paying job with a commercial station in Roma, six hours’ drive to the west. But the 40ºC-plus heat was too much and he lasted barely six weeks. He returned to the Sunshine Coast, got a shot at the breakfast shift on Rockhampton’s Sea FM – which he left after falling out with a manager and being told he’d never work in radio again – and pitched up at the top-rating Triple M Brisbane. Talk about constant motion.
By 2002, he was drive host “Jimmy” on Newcastle’s NXFM. Again there was trouble. Ashby clashed with a rival broadcaster, Paul Fidler (a.k.a. Jim Morrison at NEWFM), and made abusive calls to Fidler at home. The police got involved. Although Ashby claimed it had been a prank, Fidler didn’t accept his apology; he said Ashby had threatened him and he was afraid to go out. Ashby was charged with using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, fined $2060 and put on a three-year good behaviour bond. Contritely, he told website radioinfo.com.au: “Just need to be a good boy for the next three years. That means if I upset you, just smack me out, don’t file a law suit.”
After moving to Townsville, he set up a printing business, which turned into another drama when regional internet provider Rawnet hit the wall in 2007, owing the company thousands for brochures. The job at Gowinta Farms must have felt like a respite. Owner Len Smith still speaks glowingly of Ashby, who was there from 2009 to 2011. “Good, reliable bloke,” he remembers.
In addition to running the marketing and PR, Ashby did the rounds of the local politicians while lobbying to protect Smith’s water licences (a change in the rules in Victoria had spooked the farmer, and he wanted to head off any such move in Queensland). The backbiting antics of the LNP MPs would have provided a masterclass in the political dark arts. Slipper held the federal, Sunshine Coast-based seat of Fisher and was locked in a bitter feud with fellow Liberal Alex Somlyay in neighbouring Fairfax. At the state level, a long-serving Labor government was on its last legs under Anna Bligh, giving rise to feverish jockeying for LNP preselection. When Brough (one of the big-name Liberal casualties in the 2007 election that demolished John Howard’s 11-year government) moved to the area it was clear something was on: the membership of Bradford’s sleepy branch doubled. At her urging, Ashby was among those who signed on.
Soon, he was attracting notice. Her patronage would have opened doors for him. By early 2011, Slipper was dropping by the farm to chat and pick up strawberries. Ashby was chummy with an intern in Slipper’s office, Rhys Reynolds; a firm friendship was sealed when Ashby agreed to help Reynolds run (unsuccessfully) for a seat on the local council.
A whiz with video and social media, Ashby talked Slipper into posting his first YouTube clip. Slipper professed to be impressed by the nine views the clip attracted. “The best piece of media advice I have ever been given,” he gushed in a text to Ashby on September 4, 2011.
There was talk in the branches at the time, now confirmed by Bradford, that Ashby might make a useful successor to senior state frontbencher Mark McArdle in his safe LNP seat of Caloundra. Meanwhile, Slipper was still trying to convince Ashby to work for him. Ashby, who is openly gay, was receiving increasingly risqué texts from Slipper, who seemed keenly aware of the young man’s clean-cut good looks and sexual orientation.
Further into their exchange on the evening of October 10, 2011, Slipper confided how he liked the “real James not the plastic version who takes down funny videos”.
Ashby was evidently thinking about a political career even then. “I’m not plastic, just mindful I could easily f..k things up for myself before the race begins,” he texted back. Later, when he told Bradford that Slipper had offered him a job as an adviser, she was adamant that he should turn it down, despite her personal regard for the then Speaker. She recalls: “I said, ‘Don’t get mixed up with him, James. The dirt will wipe off on you if you go and work for Peter’.” Having spent time in Slipper’s office, McArdle’s wife, Judy, offered similar advice.
At his printing business in Townsville in 2007, which almost went broke when a client defaulted.
There is something about Ashby that brings out the mother in older women. Bradford is not the only one to have taken him under a wing. Hanson, 62, seems to be devoted to him, and that’s not really her style at all. Mostly, she’s had father figures in her political career: think David Ettridge, the now 71-year-old co-founder of One Nation, who went to jail with her for 11 weeks in 2003, before the party imploded. Or Ian Nelson, 66, Ashby’s fiercest critic. A former president, state director and national treasurer of One Nation, Nelson talked Hanson into returning to the fold five years ago, only to be thrust into the deep freeze when they clashed over Ashby. “He is destroying the party and he will destroy her if she doesn’t wake up,” Nelson says. The tensions boiled over last year when Nelson accused Ashby of breaking party rules by failing to refer the preselection of candidates to the state executive. Hanson sided with Ashby.
Hanson bristles at the suggestion Ashby pulls her strings – though as her chief of staff his responsibilities range across policy-making, political strategy and horse trading with the Government, ALP and senate crossbench on legislation. “The whole fact is they all wanted to control me,” she says of the men who have moved in and out of her political life. “James doesn’t control me. We work very well together as a team. But Ian and the rest… they all thought they could be the one there, guiding and telling me what to do. They have become… very vindictive about James Ashby.”
Few who deal with him behind closed doors in Canberra are willing to say what he’s like, and none would go on the record. That’s testament to the clout One Nation has in a knife-edge parliament, not regard for Ashby. The consensus is he’s clever – but aren’t they all in the shark pool? “He is across the detail and you have to admire how he’s positioned Hanson,” says one insider. Another makes the point: “I think it’s fair to say he has got a healthy ego. He always seems keen to communicate his importance… we’re sometimes confused whether he is speaking for himself or Hanson.”
One senior figure in the Government has expressed irritation about having to go through Ashby to reach the One Nation leader. The issue of access is white hot inside a party that is increasingly split between an old guard of Ashby detractors and the crew Hanson assembled after her comeback.
Next month’s WA state election will be important to gauging whether she’s here to stay. However, the real test will be when her home state goes to the polls later this year or early next. Ashby will be judged on results, not hype, and the bar was set in One Nation’s breakthrough year, 1998. The loss of Hanson’s house seat – she had been elected two years earlier on a fluke, after the Liberal Party dumped her for disparaging indigenous welfare entitlements – was more than offset by the gain of a senator from Queensland and, at the state election, by the 21 per cent vote that propelled 11 One Nation MPs into the state parliament.
The Ashby of the day, David Oldfield, points out that One Nation was a much bigger player back then, with a membership rivalling that of the major parties and hundreds of active branches across the country. Broadly, its vote in 1998 was twice what Hanson achieved in her comeback last July. “Ashby may be a genius… I really don’t know,” says the former NSW MP, radio shock jock and newspaper columnist. “What I do know is that there is nothing in his makeup or background that equips him to run a national or state campaign.”
The wheels swiftly came off after the 1998 triumph, culminating in Hanson’s jailing and the party’s deregistration in Queensland (she and Ettridge were acquitted of electoral fraud by an appeals court). The spectacle of Oldfield’s acrimonious departure from the party, of the squabbling Queensland MPs quitting or being drummed out of state parliament one by one, has powerful echoes in today’s infighting in Hanson’s home division.
The rank-and-file was appalled when Nelson walked after a showdown at state executive last August: he had been a rock for two decades and loyalty counts among the Hansonites, as Ettridge emphasised in a statement to The Australian, slamming her for abandoning WA senator Rod Culleton, who was disqualified from parliament last month. This was like “leaving your wounded comrade on the battlefield,” he said. While Ashby wasn’t mentioned by name, Ettridge said Hanson’s actions were “poorly advised, petty and unnecessary”. The consequences were predictable: the headstrong Culleton left the party in a blaze of publicity.
Around the same time, Hanson had to go into bat for Ashby when he allegedly hurled his mobile phone at Culleton’s 58-year-old chief of staff, Margaret Menzel, during their now-famous altercation in Culleton’s parliament house rooms. While Hanson insisted the incident had been blown out of proportion by the media – Ashby had merely made an “underarm throw” – Menzel said he was “out of control”. Looking back, she says: “You get to the point that someone needs to tell James that this is not appropriate behaviour.”
Former One Nation candidate Shan Ju Lin blamed Ashby for losing her state preselection in Queensland over her social media comments criticising homosexuality. Lin had posted that “abnormal sex behaviour leads to abnormal crime”, before being shown the door last month. “You can only communicate with Pauline through him,” she complained of Ashby. “He can effect control by either what he chooses to tell her or by omission. The support base of the party could rot away and she could be blissfully unaware until it is too late.”
Nelson’s disaffection is such that he wonders whether Ashby ever separated himself from the LNP and was working for or with the conservatives all along. “All he does is plot; plot and plan, and plot some more. He’s a manipulator,” the old stager says. Even by One Nation’s us-against-them standards, that is some conspiracy theory. Bradford rejects it outright.
She saw up close the impact of the court case and police investigations on her young friend, on Slipper and wife Inge – both of whom she knew and liked – and on Mal Brough, a “good man”. No one in their right mind would have courted such calamity. “I don’t think anybody came out of it as a winner,” she says. “I wish James had taken the advice I gave him and that several others gave him not to work for Peter. I think it wrecked him.”
Here’s the most twisted irony of all: it was Slipper himself who set the hares running about Ashby being a secret LNP plant, oblivious to how his then trusted aide was about to tip a bucket on him in public. Ashby finally joined the Speaker’s staff in December 2011, a month after Slipper sensationally quit the LNP to become an independent and take the Speaker’s chair. The $155,500 pay package was “too good to be true to pass up”, Ashby told a friend. When Bradshaw challenged him, he explained that it would be invaluable experience, and people in the LNP would understand. This was a big call given how livid conservatives were at Slipper’s abandonment of the party, which delivered Julia Gillard’s minority Labor government an extra vote on the floor of the lower house. Bradford said, “Be careful.”
After a busy parliamentary sitting day in March 2012, Slipper had the Hungarian ambassador to dinner in the Speaker’s Courtyard. There was goulash and Hungarian dancers and wine. Lots of wine. Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne had just left when, glass in hand, Slipper “out of nowhere… turned around and said that he believed I was a spy,” Ashby would later say in a statement.
The exchange is buried in the mountain of documents that his lawyers produced during the “Ashbygate” affair before the Federal Court. He sued for sexual harassment in April 2012, alleging that Slipper had made unwanted sexual advances –including a sleazy request that he shower with the door open while staying with the MP during his first trip to Canberra, claims denied by Slipper. When the Speaker’s suggestive texts were put into evidence and made public, his already precarious position was rendered untenable.
Peter Slipper in the House of Representatives.
Ashby seems to have been particularly affronted by the spy jibe. He says he told Slipper: “Well, jeez, [I] must be a bloody good spy. I didn’t even apply for the job, you offered it to me, remember.” Slipper told the court he believed Ashby had been “placed” in his office as payback for leaving the LNP to become Speaker.
Ashby gave evidence that he had minimal communication with the LNP in Queensland after going to work for Slipper, though he evidently tried to keep the lines open. Mark McArdle was now a minister in the new state government led by Campbell Newman and rarely took his calls. Bradford was just about his only link to the old LNP circle: as the media heat intensified, she stayed true. This is the first time since that fraught period that she has spoken publicly about their friendship.
On Thursday, March 29, 2012, they had coffee and Ashby revealed what had gone on with Slipper, showing her some of the texts. “He wasn’t the same James… he seemed very depressed,” she recalls. Ashby told her he wasn’t coping and she feared he might be suicidal. Plaintively, he asked whether she could think of anyone who could help him.
Having known Brough and his wife, Sue, for 20 years, she said he might be worth a try, despite the obvious conflict of interest. Ashby approached Brough for advice and the wheels were set in motion. On April 22, Slipper stood aside as Speaker, pending the outcome of an AFP investigation into Ashby’s allegations that he had misused publicly funded Cabcharge dockets. But the subsequent court proceedings ended up more of a trainwreck than a victory for anyone.
Ashby’s sexual harassment claim was thrown out by Justice Steven Rares of the Federal Court, who ruled it was an abuse of process intended to cause “significant public, reputational and political damage” to Slipper. Ashby successfully appealed the finding, the Full Bench of the Federal Court disagreeing with Justice Rares’ position, but Ashby dropped the case before it went back to court.
Soon afterwards, Slipper was convicted in the ACT Magistrates Court of three counts of fraudulently using taxi vouchers (later quashed on appeal in February 2015). By then, Inge was reported to have ended their marriage. Evidently devastated, Slipper was for a time under psychiatric care.
Having romped home in Fisher at the 2013 federal election, Brough was in the ministry of the new Coalition government, his political career back on track. Until, that is, the AFP began to look into the question of who had procured copies of Slipper’s official diaries for use in Ashby’s legal action. Brough and Ashby had their homes raided. As the pressure mounted, Brough stood aside, insisting he would be cleared. In February last year he announced he was quitting politics. The AFP put an end to the investigation eight months later, saying there was insufficient evidence to justify any prosecutions. As for Ashby, well, he had already landed on his feet.
Ashby’s house in Beerwah being raided in 2015 by the AFP searching for anything relating to the Liberal National Party, Peter Slipper, Mal Brough, Wyatt Roy or Christopher Pyne. Picture: Jamie Hanson
Exactly how he entered Hanson’s orbit is, typically, hotly in dispute. After splitting with Slipper, Ashby returned to the printing trade, setting up a new business on the Sunshine Coast. As state director of One Nation, Nelson was running party HQ in Brisbane with former musician Saraya Beric, 32, who would become another victim of the power struggle. Their roles have been assumed by Hanson’s brother-in-law, Greg Smith.
Nelson blames Ashby for turning Hanson against him, destroying a 20-year friendship. “He’s poisonous,” Nelson says. “He never spent a minute in the office doing administrative things… but he is the first to point out to Pauline how incompetent everyone else is supposed to be. He has done it to me, to candidates, to everyone else.”
According to Nelson, Ashby contacted him by phone in April 2015 as the dust was settling on the state election that sank Newman’s LNP government and buoyed Hanson after her near miss in the seat of Lockyer. He offered to do the party’s printing at cost – but there was a catch. Nelson says Ashby’s condition was that he be introduced to Hanson.
Those close to Ashby insist he made no such request. But he had another string to his bow: he’s a licensed pilot. Ashby offered to fly Hanson to campaign stops and they hit it off in the cramped cockpit of a Jabiru 230-D. The ownership has been the subject of conjecture: Ross Jones of political news site IndependentAustralia.net, and the author of a book on the Ashby-Slipper saga, recently revealed the aircraft had been registered in Ashby’s name on June 5, 2015, as One Nation began to take off.
Financial returns filed with the Electoral Commission of Queensland show that One Nation paid Ashby’s companies $17,200 for advertising and printing in the first six months of 2016 yet nothing for use of the plane, and there is no record that it was bought for or on behalf of One Nation. Ashby won’t say if he shelled out the $106,000 for a new Jabiru and One Nation’s most prominent donor, Bill McNee, denies he paid for it. The Melbourne property developer made disclosed payments of $58,720 during 2015 to the party, including a year’s rent in advance for the Albion head office. “My God, if I am going to buy a plane, I would buy one for myself,” he says. In a statement to this magazine, the Australian Electoral Commission said it did not comment on “the status of individual matters under review as part of the compliance program”.
Hanson’s Queensland 2016 campaign plane.
If the niggling questions about the plane and One Nation’s finances won’t go away, neither will the whispers about Ashby and his reputed hold over Hanson. His hand is evident in the repositioning of his boss. She no longer rails at the establishment like she once did. Instead, she boasts that her word is her bond – and in a hung senate, that counts mightily with Turnbull.
Ashby recently reached out to the Opposition, proposing in a new year letter to Bill Shorten’s chief of staff, Andrew Thomas, that communication between their offices be stepped up. What One Nation’s contrarian supporters make of this remains to be seen.
The coming Queensland election will tell how good Ashby is. The political momentum is all for team Hanson. But while recent polling has One Nation’s vote at 16 per cent, Oldfield has some key questions: How will this translate into seats? Where’s the ground game? The branch structure? The teams of volunteers and the electorate by electorate strategy?
Ashby’s feet may already be itching. Nelson says it is an “open secret” that he is positioning to run for the Sunshine Coast-based seat of Kawana, and it’s difficult to envisage how he could marry that with the workload of managing a state-wide campaign. He could have killed the story, but hasn’t. “Pure speculation,” he harrumphed last month to The Australian’s Michael McKenna. Perhaps he is not so attention shy after all.
Ongoing challenges, appropriate balance, communicating with industry, a report to come, 48.1 referred to “experts”.
Well as I said, nothing has changed Mr. Carmody.
Nothing has changed #casa Board.
I have made it very clear to everyone in CASA, not just operational staff, that the regulatory philosophy must drive everything we do.
AND that’s what is wrong Mr. Carmody, we need the US-FAR’s now.
I put the statement in full below.
From acting Director of Aviation Safety and CEO, Shane Carmody
It seems every year in aviation is packed with issues to grapple with and challenges to meet and 2017 looks no different.
For CASA the ongoing challenges are to strike the appropriate balance in our regulatory work, be clear and consistent, understand the impact of our decisions and be willing to consider alternative ways to achieve required safety outcomes. A lot of work continues within CASA to embed our regulatory philosophy in all aspects of our operations and decision making.
This philosophy underpins all aspects of CASA’s work – making and implementing regulations, working with individuals and operators, developing safety education and support and communicating with the aviation community. I have made it very clear to everyone in CASA, not just operational staff, that the regulatory philosophy must drive everything we do.
I am pleased CASA has recently delivered on two ongoing commitments, with the release of the medical certification discussion paper in December and the first steps taken to conduct an independent review of the new fatigue rules. Both matters have been contentious, with a wide range of views expressed by people and organisations. The medical certification discussion paper covers a lot of territory.
I thank the many people who have already commented and I encourage as many people as possible to read the paper and have their say. CASA will look dispassionately at the submissions and undertake an open process in determining what changes may be appropriate.
We have gone to tender for the conduct of the fatigue review and will look to have the selection process finalised by March 2017 and a report delivered in the second half of the year. Finally on 2 February 2017 another longstanding initiative will have reached a milestone, with the implementation of the automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast mandate, a major improvement to Australia’s aviation safety system.
Best wishes Shane Carmody
First step in fatigue rules review
In October 2016, CASA and its Board decided an independent review would be conducted of the latest fatigue rules for air operators and pilots. These rules are in Civil Aviation Order 48.1 Instrument 2013. In January 2017, CASA issued a tender to engage the services of a suitably qualified independent specialist, or team of specialists, to undertake the fatigue review. This independent review will provide CASA with an informed basis on which to finalise reform of the fatigue rules. The review has four objectives – determining if the new rules are necessary, evaluating the research and evidence used in developing the rules, evaluating how research and evidence takes into account the Australian operating environment and evaluating the extent to which the latest fatigue rules are consistent with the principles in CASA’s regulatory philosophy and the directive about the development of new regulations. The review will consider a range of issues including the standards and recommended practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization, along with the current and proposed fatigue rules of the European Aviation Safety Agency, New Zealand, the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. Other issues to be considered include the results of investigations into fatigue related accidents and incidents and the approach to fatigue regulation by other transport regulators. The terms of reference were approved by the CASA Board.
A crack in an R22 main rotor blade has sparked new safety recommendations to pilots and operators. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA recommends main rotor blade inspections pay particular attention to the blade trailing edges. If there are sudden and increased vibration levels during flight the pilot should land immediately to investigate the cause, as increased vibration levels are a reason to suspect a cracked blade. The recommendations follow the discovery of main rotor blade cracking on an R22 Beta II helicopter fitted with A016-6 main rotor blades. This was found after the helicopter experienced an unusual increase in vibration levels and commenced a landing. Shortly before making a successful landing and while in the hover the pilot reported an increase in vertical vibration levels and a decrease in power available. Subsequent inspection revealed a crack approximately 160 mm in length emanating from the trailing edge and running chord wise toward the D section spar. The total time in service of the blade was 1782.7 hours. The manufacturer stipulates a life limit of 2200 hours or 12 years for these blades. The incident is being investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the root cause has not yet been identified. CASA is keeping the issue under a close watch and any blade defects should be reported using the online defect reporting service. Defects include corrosion, dents and chips, as well as any marks on the blade which may have been present at manufacture.
It’s time to have your say on pilot medical certification. CASA is seeking comments on a comprehensive discussion paper setting out a range of medical certification issues and options. Six options are contained in the discussion paper, ranging from continuing existing medical requirements to developing a new medical certificate for the sport and recreational sectors. Other options include re-assessing risk tolerances, streamlining certification practices, aligning sport and recreational standards and mitigating the risks of any changes through operational restrictions. The discussion paper also looks at a range of relevant issues such as CASA’s approach to aviation medicine, the approach to medical certification in four other nations, pilot incapacitation in Australia, accidents and risks, psychiatric conditions and the protection of third parties. The discussion paper says: “CASA’s operational objective, in practice, is to develop policy and guidelines that strive to let as many people continue to fly as safely as possible. However, CASA is aware there is a perception from some elements of the pilot community that CASA can take an overly rigorous approach in terms of testing and contesting opinions from other doctors. It is difficult to determine the accuracy of the allegation of ‘over regulation’ by CASA in aviation medicine when the claims made involve the health of different individuals and the advice of different medical practitioners, some of which may involve competing opinions.”
New regulations for ex-military, replica and historic aircraft come into effect on 28 January 2017. Warbirds, which are currently operating under experimental certificates of airworthiness, will transition to a limited category airworthiness certificate. Under a limited category certificate operational rules and airworthiness authorisations will be managed by a self-administering organisation in cooperation with CASA. Transition to the new regulations is required by 28 July 2017. A new manual of standards for the warbird, replica and historic aircraft regulations, which are in Part 132 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations, is now available. The manual of standards covers general requirements under the regulations, qualifications and experience requirements, certification and airworthiness requirements, issuing permit index numbers and historic aircraft. New definitions for design philosophy and maintenance levels are included. The manual of standards also prescribes requirements relating to the operation of aircraft, including the type of passenger warning placard that must be displayed and aerodromes unsuitable as landing areas. The new regulations require an extra safety briefing at the point of sale for any adventure flight, as well as before boarding, limits to passenger numbers and conditions for flights over populous areas. Overall, the new rules provide flexibility and certainty around the recreational use of warbirds and limited category historic or replica aircraft.
CASA is holding eight safety seminars for pilots around the nation during February 2017. Lessons for life seminars are scheduled at Devonport, Mildura, Hobart, Gympie, Bundaberg, Maryborough, Forbes and Temora. These seminars will focus on fuel management and handling partial power loss in a single engine aircraft. Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation reports nominate these issues as the cause of a high number of accidents. Lessons will be learnt from accidents, with everyone asked to consider how the accident could have been avoided. Other issues may be discussed such as electronic flight bags, regulatory changes, correct procedures to follow at non-controlled aerodromes and the requirements for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast. The seminars also provide an important opportunity for pilots to give feedback and suggestions to CASA.
Three new easy to understand online resources covering the safety regulation of drones are now available. The documents provide a basic overview of the rules for all categories of drones, remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificates and the remote pilot licence. In the basic overview the new rules for very small commercial operations are set out along with the operating requirements. Very small drone operators must obtain an aviation reference number and then notify CASA at least five days before their first commercial flight. Anyone flying a drone commercially that is not operating in the very small category must obtain a remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate. There are benefits from having a certificate such as being able to fly large drones and the ability to apply for a range of additional approvals beyond the standard operating conditions. These can allow operations such as flying at night or within three nautical miles of a controlled aerodrome. There are two ways to gain a remotely piloted aircraft pilot licence. People with no prior aviation knowledge can complete a course with an remotely piloted aircraft system training provider. If a person has already passed an aeronautical knowledge exam for a flight crew licence they only need to complete practical training with an approved training provider and log a minimum of five hours flight time.
In 2009, I was advised of an aviator who wrote to #casa at Bankstown NSW, that there were a large number of operators at that airport who were operating with no AOC (Air Operators Certificate) and “borrowed” or were “loaned” an AOC to operate.
#casa FOI breaches #aviation regulations:
This included a #casa Flight Operators Inspector (FOI), who worked from the Bankstown office.
This person (FOI), was borrowing an AOC, advertising for work, and flying charters. This is a breach of CAAct 28BD, CAR 206 and CAR 210.
#casa refused to deal with the matter.
The person has a letter from #casa Bankstown head, at the time, Malcolm Campbell. Malcolm Campbell it is alleged, had dubious relationships with the now defunct AirTex Aviation.
The AirTex operation also had a series of Company’s which bid on different jobs, which then “fell under a borrowed AOC”, when the bid succeeded.
That #casa does not do it’s “due diligence” absolutely astounds me and the reasons why must be brought out into the light of day.
That #casa continues to use material, on the other hand, which is at the very least based on supposition, shows why the regulator is treated with derision and limited trust.
An outback Queensland pilot has faced court accused of sabotaging planes and inflicting permanent head injuries on an aircraft engineer.
Josh Hoch, 31, was arrested on Tuesday after a protracted investigation into the alleged tampering of aircraft at Mount Isa Airport.
Police allege Hoch applied “abrasive material” directly into the engines of aircraft, resulting in “catastrophic engine failure” and two forced landings.
More problems were detected in another two planes before they took off.
Police said the damage was limited to two private air charter service providers and not the broader aviation community or major commercial airlines.
“There have been no further instances of aircraft being damaged, and police wish to reassure the traveling community of their safety,” police said in a statement.
It is also alleged Hoch inflicted permanent and life-changing head injuries on an aircraft engineer, aged in his 60s, at Charters Towers in July 2014.
Hoch appeared in Mount Isa Magistrates on Wednesday charged with 342 offences, including grievous bodily harm and endangering the safety of persons in a vehicle.
He was granted bail and had his case adjourned to the same court on February 22.
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
Call for urgent report on pilot Josh Hoch
A full review into how North Queensland pilot Josh Hoch, 31, got away with his alleged offending for so long has been ordered by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Federal Transport Minister Darren Chester has also called for an “urgent briefing” from CASA into the explosive case of alleged plane tampering in Mount Isa.
Josh Hoch, 31, was arrested on Tuesday afternoon in Mount Isa and charged with 342 counts across 14 offenses, including tampering with aircraft, dangerous operation of aircraft and fraud, allegedly committed from 2013 through to 2016.
Mount Isa Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday that Hoch had allegedly tampered with his competitors’ planes on five different occasions to win commercial contracts and had flown members of the Katter Australia Party around North Queensland, including Bob Katter spending $257,000 on chartering flights with Hoch.
Mr Chester yesterday asked the country’s aviation watchdog for a report into all aspects of the case and investigation against Hoch.
“Given the serious nature of the allegations I have requested a full report from CASA and an urgent briefing on all aspects of the investigation,” Mr Chester said.
“With legal proceedings underway, I’m not in a position to comment any further at this stage.”
A CASA spokeswoman said they had launched their own review into the dealings they have had with Hoch, their investigative process and auditing process.
“CASA has launched an internal review to determine whether any significant safety-related issues involving Mr. Hoch and the operations of Hoch Air were, or ought to have been, identified and acted on prior to launch of the police investigation and the arrest of Mr. Hoch,” the spokeswoman said.
“We are currently reviewing our records to inform such safety-related action as we may need to take now, and to ensure the integrity and sufficiency of our entry control, audit and surveillance activities. Should we need to, we will look more closely at any aspect of our regulatory functions should additional attention be required.”
The spokeswoman said CASA needed to have evidence to act on, rather than unsubstantiated claims of actions.
“It is important to remember that, like any other regulatory authority, CASA is only able to act on evidence that tends to show there has been a breach of the regulations, not on unsubstantiated claims of such conduct,” she said.
“It would be premature for CASA to comment further on this at this time.
“We will not comment on the criminal allegations against Mr. Hoch.
“These are matters before the court and any questions should be directed to the prosecutorial authority.”
Hoch walked from Mount Isa watch-house yesterday after posting the $50,000 surety he failed to produce when given bail on Wednesday.
Kennedy MP Bob Katter spent $257,000 on chartered flights with alleged fraudster pilot Josh Hoch, the Mount Isa Magistrates Court was told.
Hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars may have been paid to alleged fraudster Josh Hoch, with a court hearing Kennedy MP spent $257,000 on chartered flights with the pilot.
Prosecutor Sergeant Vaughan Cooper yesterday detailed Mr. Katter’s expenses with Mr. Hoch, at his bail application for more than 300 offenses.
“The offenses the defendant faces are serious, not only those five offences (tampering with aircraft), but also the offenses of fraud,” Sgt Cooper said.
“Your honor will note the defendant using, without accreditation, aircraft to fly the honourable Bob Katter without the correct accreditation.
“Allowing him to pilot and receive payment for these charters and that will be alleged your honour is some $257,000 and I do round that down.
“The case against the defendant regarding those matters is strong.”
According to documents from the Department of Finance, Mr Katter claimed more than $53,000 on chartered flights in the first half of 2016 alone.
The Kennedy MP is given a large travel allowance, particularly for charter flights, to traverse a massive electorate that is bigger than some countries.
Mr. Katter would not comment when contacted by the Bulletin over the charges against Koch.
“As this matter is now before the courts it would be inappropriate to comment,” he said.
Senator Ian Macdonald said he would take up industry regulation concerns with Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester.
“I will certainly be following this up with the Transport Minister … I’m quite confident he has already been briefed but this is clearly a matter for the police and CASA investigators to report to him with any recommendations of any new regulatory action,” he said.
“I’m very curious in this instance how this has not come to their attention previously … CASA should have been leading the charge rather than police.”
Herbert MP Cathy O’Toole said it was necessary to look further into the current level of oversight after the arrest of Hoch.
“Questions need to be asked, and answers provided, about what officials did and did not know,” she said.
“How can this happen surely needs to be the question. The real issue is that we have absolutely no certainty that incidents of this nature are not falling through the gap.”
The charter operator charged with 340 offenses of endangering public safety was issued with a CASA operator’s license as recently as last month, prompting leading figures to attack the regulator for incompetence and dysfunction.
CASA records show the regulator issued Hoch Air with an Air Operators Certificate on December 8, even though CASA had been co-operating with the Queensland Police investigation for two months. The AOC is valid for four years.
Queensland Police charged the principal and pilot Josh Hoch, 31, this week with offences that include five counts of tampering with competitors’ fuel. Police allege that Mr Hoch added an “abrasive material directly into engines” which caused a catastrophic failure and forced the landing of two aircraft. Engine failure occurred to two other planes prior to take-off.
Kennedy MP Bob Katter allegedly spent $257,000 on charter flights with Hoch Air although Mr Hoch was unlicensed at the time. Mr Katter’s office declined to comment. CASA’s licensing of Hoch Air appears to be inconsistent with the Queensland Police statement, which says that a “review of aircraft security and passenger safety at Mount Isa Airport was immediately commenced” as part of the investigation launched in October. “Additional measures were implemented to further ensure the safety of passengers and crews,” the police added.
A CASA spokeswoman said the regulator was “actively reviewing information arising out of the Queensland Police investigation and will take such further action as necessary”. CASA could not comment further.
Police asked the Mount Isa Court to refuse bail, but the magistrate granted it. However, Mr Hoch’s family was unable to raise the $50,000 bond by Wednesday afternoon and as a result he spent a second night in the Mount Isa watch-house.
Mr Hoch’s defence lawyer, Michael Spearman, blasted CASA, telling the Mount Isa court: “CASA has known about these flights since 2013. Now if CASA had any concern about a pilot it can invoke provisions of section 30DC of the Civil Aviation Act, instantly grounding a pilot if there is a serious and imminent risk to air safety.
“CASA has not done so, despite knowing of the allegations for months. These started back in October (2016) and certainly those charges from back in 2013,” the Townsville Bulletin reported.
Mr Spearman added that CASA had conducted an audit of Mr Hoch and his company earlier last year, yet he was allowed to remain in the air.
Ben Morgan, executive director at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said the incident showed CASA was far too focused on “misdemeanours” while allowing serious wrongdoing to go unchecked.
“If in fact CASA were not aware this is absolutely serious and it’s going to need the minister’s attention to work out how the regulator let this slip through the cracks,” he said.
“CASA is in court with misdemeanour pilot activities when something as brazen as this has been going on for four years.”
Former CASA chairman Dick Smith said the regulator was a “totally dysfunctional organisation”. He said he had tried to introduce an “administrative fines system” that would replace the system of continuously writing letters to non-compliers.
The investigation also uncovered extraordinary evidence relating to the alleged grievous bodily harm of an aircraft engineer at Charters Towers in July 2014. The engineer, aged in his 60s, sustained “permanent and life-changing head injuries”, the police statement said. Read more here: http://www.theaustralian.com.au
Dick Smith at a hangar in Bankstown Airport, Bankstown.
North Queensland aviators do not want a knee-jerk reaction by aviation regulators following a Mount Isa pilot’s arrest on Tuesday.
Hinchinbrook Deputy Mayor Mary Brown, who is also co-owner of North Queensland Aviation Services, said the alleged actions of Josh Hoch did not reflect the industry as a whole.
Chief pilot Joshua Liddle, of Liddles Air Service, said he was shocked by the allegations, but the Civil Aviation Authority was already “heavy-handed” in enforcing regulations.
Hoch, 31, was bailed on Wednesday over charges of tampering with aircraft, but has spent two nights behind bars after failing to pay a $50,000 surety before close of business on Wednesday.
Ms Brown said aviation in the North had a very strong safety record and backed CASA’s decision to await a review of police information before considering taking further action.
“I would appeal to people not to think in general aviation, behaviour in this manner is common,” she said.
“Fundamentally, we are a very safety-conscious community and on the whole, operators out there will also do the right thing.
“Unfortunately this particular case appears to have tarnished that and I would hate to see a knee-jerk reaction from the regulators that has a negative impact on general aviation.”
Mr Liddle said the industry was tightly controlled so he was “bewildered” by the allegations.
“I am extremely surprised,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of contracts with government agencies and bigger businesses and the qualifications and experience we need and the auditing process we have to go through as operators is very stringent.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, in Townsville yesterday for Australia Day commitments, would not be drawn on the aviation controversy or whether CASA should be reviewed.
“They would be Commonwealth matters but I think you would probably need to ask the Police Commissioner,” she said.
Kevin Gill, Queensland Airports Ltd’s chief operating officer for Townsville, Mount Isa and Longreach airports, did not return calls.
Josh Hoch’s solicitor Michael Spearman leaves the Mount Isa Police Station watch house on Wednesday afternoon.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has been plunged into chaos, labeled as “dysfunctional” in the wake of claims it knew about concerns over Mount Isa pilot Josh Hoch as early as 2013.
Lawyer Michael Spear told a court at Mr. Hoch’s bail appearance that CASA had known about conduct related to the 342 charges police had laid.
“(The flights) have happened since 2013, CASA has known about these flights since 2013,” he said.
“Now if CASA had any concern about a pilot it can invoke provisions of section 30DC of the Civil Aviation Act instantly grounding a pilot if there is a serious and imminent risk to air safety.
“Now CASA has not done so, despite knowing of the allegations for months, these started back in October (2016) and certainly those charges from back in 2013.
“CASA conducted an audit for Mr Hoch and his company and reissued his AOC (Air Operators Certificate) earlier last year.
“If CASA hasn’t grounded him, they don’t consider him to be a serious risk to the public and I would submit that CASA would be far more cognisant of safety in aviation than the police service.”
Entrepreneur Dick Smith, a former Civil Aviation Authority chairman and advocate for reform, said it did not surprise him to hear the authority had known about accusations but not acted.
“CASA is a totally dysfunctional organisation and because of that I would believe anything,” he said.
“This seems to be an ongoing problem. It tends to concentrate on the good players and the rogue ones are too hard I think. It’s basically very weak.
“Some of these alleged acts also seem to involve oversight at the local airports, I wonder if people have known about this bloke and done nothing.”
Mr. Smith said CASA did not aggressively pursue rule breakers.
“As chairman I introduced an administrative fines system. Instead of writing continuous letters to noncompliers they would be fined.
“After the Seaview disaster we discovered the regulator knew what was going on but just kept writing letters.”
But the organisation has held back on any pledge to conduct an internal review, with a spokeswoman committing to read the current police investigation.
“CASA personnel have been working closely with Queensland Police in Operation Oscar-Demotic since October 2016, culminating in Mr Hoch’s arrest,” she said.
“Our role involved the provision of specialist aviation-related technical advice.
“CASA is actively reviewing information arising out of the Queensland Police investigation and will take such further action as necessary.”
The department did not answer questions about whether CASA had received complaints about Mr Hoch in previous years or whether it would conduct its own research into how he received his licences
“It would be inappropriate to comment further on those matters at this point due to ongoing investigations,” she said.
“It is important to note that the vast majority of commercial aircraft operators in Australia are professional, responsible pilots who put safety as their number one priority and comply with all relevant safety regulations.” Source: http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au
The Mount Isa charter pilot alleged to have put glass beads in his rivals’ planes is to be granted bail from the Mount Isa Magistrates Court.
However, Josh Hoch will likely be in the Mount Isa Police Station watch house on Australia Day. Part of his conditions set by Magistrate Stephen Guttridge is that Mr. Hoch supply $50,000 surety before release.
The Mount Isa Court House had not received the surety or approved the paperwork by its closing time of 4.30pm, Wednesday. The court opens again at 8.30am on Friday. Thursday is the Australia Day public holiday.
Mr. Hoch is to appear again before the Mount Isa Magistrates Court on February 22. He is charged with 342 offenses.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Vaughan Cooper opposed bail and said five of the charges had a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
“He is at risk of flight, quite literally,” Sergeant Cooper said.
“His capacity not just to leave Queensland, but Australia.”
Sergeant Cooper said one of the charges related to a Piper Chieftain plane that lost power flying from the Northern Territory to Mount Isa. There were three people on board. Sergeant Cooper alleged that an inspection of the plane revealed glass beads in the oil filter.
Sergeant Cooper alleged also that oil had been removed from a Cessna plane kept at the Mount Isa Airport. This was discovered during a daily inspection on August 18, 2016.
On September, 2016, a Piper Chieftain about to fly from Mount Isa to Burketown experienced loss of oil pressure, the court heard. The flight was aborted. An oil sample allegedly showed glass beads, metals and dirt mixed in with it, Sergeant Cooper said.
On October 6 to 7 a Cessna belonging to the Northern Territory Air Services, travelling between Alice Springs and Mount Isa, experienced low pressure. Glass beads were allegedly found in the engines, Sergeant Cooper said.
On October 18 a pilot on another plane noticed a drop in pressure. The plane arrived in Mount Isa safely. It is alleged that an inspection found paste in the oil system.
Sergeant Cooper said other offences included fraud. Mr Hoch is alleged to have supplied two fraudulent insurance claims.
Mr. Hoch did not have proper accreditation of an aircraft, the prosecutor alleges.
The court heard that Mr Hoch has flown Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter and Katters Australian Party State MPs Rob Katter and Shane Knuth through his charter service. The Federal MP has paid $275,000 in total to Mr Hoch for his charter services.
The prosecutor alleges further that the defendant has flown an aircraft to hide it from police.
Mr. Hoch’s solicitor Michael Spearman, Resolute Legal’s principal lawyer, said the charges were “quite circumstantial” and said many of the charges “doubled-up”.
Mr. Spearman said that Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has known of Mr Hoch’s flights since 2013. They could have grounded him immediately if they had concerns with the pilot and audited the company, he said.
“Despite knowing of the allegations for months they could have grounded him.”
Mr Hoch has already suffered a “trial by jury” and it has affected his business. He also has two young children and a long-term partner.
“There are significant stresses in the family right at this point,” Mr Spearman said.
Other bail conditions is that Mr Hoch not apply for a passport. If he has one he must surrender it.
Mr. Hoch cannot pilot a plane or enter an airport. He must also report to the Mount Isa Police Station on specific days twice a week. He also must not contact witnesses.
A north Queensland pilot accused of sabotaging commercial rivals’ planes causing “catastrophic engine failure” has been charged with more than 340 offenses including grievous bodily harm.
Police arrested 31-year-old Josh Hoch, whose Linkedin profile lists him as the owner, director and chief pilot of Hoch Air, on Tuesday after a three-month investigation.
His charges stretched back to July 2014, when he allegedly attacked an aircraft engineer in Charters Towers, leaving him with “permanent and life-changing head injuries”, and raised serious questions about aircraft security at Mount Isa and Charters Towers airports.
Police alleged Mr. Hoch targeted two private air charter operations, but not major commercial carriers, at Mount Isa and Charters Towers.
Aviation experts found “abrasive material” applied directly into engines caused the “catastrophic engine failure” and the forced landing of two planes, police alleged.
Another two suffered engine failures identified before they took off.
The incidents sparked a safety review at Mount Isa Airport, which police said resulted in new measures put in place and no further aircrafts being damaged.
Police also alleged fraudulent insurance claims, flying without a license, dangerous operation of aircraft and “numerous” safety breaches, mostly at Mount Isa and Charters Towers.
Police said a “significant witness had come forward in relation to the aircraft damage but appealed for anyone else who knew anything to get in touch.
Mr. Hoch’s 342 charges include numerous counts of endangering the safety of a person in a vehicle with intent, dangerous operation of a vehicle, flying aircraft without a license, fraud offenses, and offenses in relation to aircraft.
He is due in Mount Isa Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
A North Queensland pilot allegedly poured contaminants into commercial rivals’ fuel tanks, faked crashes for insurance and flew charters without a license for years before his dramatic arrest in Mount Isa yesterday.
Josh Hoch, 31, was intercepted by police about 2.30pm yesterday on a highway east of the town and last night charged with more than 300 offences going back several years.
The company is a significant player in the western commercial travel market and it is believed VIPs, including politicians, may have flown with Hoch at times from 2012 to 2016 when he is alleged to have been unlicensed.
The arrest poses serious questions about rural airport security and will plunge the Civil Aviation Safety Authority into crisis as police and officials probe what the authority knew or should have known about the claims against Hoch.
Last night senior police told the Bulletin the arrest was the culmination of several months of investigative work.
Hoch was questioned for seven hours before being charged with 342 counts of 14 different offenses late last night.
Detective Inspector Chris Hodgman said it was only by sheer luck that no one had died when one of the allegedly sabotaged planes took to the sky.
“We are lucky over a number of years that an alleged rogue operator like this wasn’t responsible for a disaster,” Insp Hodgman said.
“Two engine failures and the forced landing of the aircraft has happened — the pilots … were lucky to walk away.”
Insp Hodgman said safety measures were put in place as soon as police became aware of the alleged offending.
“The safety aspect was considered right from the start of the investigation. We had methodologies in place to ensure the continued safety of aircraft on that apron,” he said.
“At no stage was there any chance for tampering on any commercial aircraft at the Mount Isa Airport.”
Insp Hodgman said it was one of the most in-depth and unique investigations he had been part of in 30 years.
“There was a dedicated bunch of detectives who put in a lot of long hours to pull this investigation off,” he said.
Detectives working under Operation Oscar-Demotic allegedly uncovered evidence of fraud, tampering with aircraft, dangerous operation of aircraft and numerous aircraft safety breaches.
Police will allege they became aware of Hoch’s alleged offending in October last year when another pilot reported damage to his plane for the second time that year.
It is understood detectives are investigating four such claims of tampering on three planes in 2016 alone.
It will be alleged each case was the same, with a contaminant poured into the fuel tanks of the aircraft, under the cover of darkness at Mount Isa Airport.
When the engines fired, the contaminant caused “catastrophic” damage to the aircraft, grounding the planes for months, it is alleged.
Hoch has also been charged with insurance fraud relating to the alleged staged crash landing of two planes in 2014 and 2015.
It is understood Hoch had flown Katter’s Australian Party politicians Bob Katter, Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth around the North and it is believed he has been chartered by other politicians and clients as well.
It will also be alleged Hoch was masking those commercial flights as private trips and would not log flight hours in order to bypass crucial maintenance checks.
Hoch is set to face Mount Isa Magistrates Court this morning.
HUNDREDS of thousands in taxpayer dollars may have been paid to alleged fraudster Josh Hoch, with a court hearing Kennedy MP spent $257,000 on chartered flights with the pilot.
Prosecutor Sergeant Vaughan Cooper yesterday detailed Mr Katter’s expenses with Mr Hoch, at his bail application for more than 300 offences.
“The offences the defendant faces are serious, not only those five offences (tampering with aircraft), but also the offences of fraud,” Sgt Cooper said.
“Your honour will note the defendant using, without accreditation, aircraft to fly the honourable Bob Katter without the correct accreditation.
“Allowing him to pilot and receive payment for these charters and that will be alleged your honour is some $257,000 and I do round that down.
“The case against the defendant regarding those matters is strong.”
According to documents from the Department of Finance, Mr Katter claimed more than $53,000 on chartered flights in the first half of 2016 alone.
The Kennedy MP is given a large travel allowance, particularly for charter flights, to traverse a massive electorate that is bigger than some countries.
Mr Katter would not comment when contacted by the Bulletin over the charges against Koch.
“As this matter is now before the courts it would be inappropriate to comment,” he said.
Senator Ian Macdonald said he would take up industry regulation concerns with Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester.
“I will certainly be following this up with the Transport Minister … I’m quite confident he has already been briefed but this is clearly a matter for the police and CASA investigators to report to him with any recommendations of any new regulatory action,” he said.
“I’m very curious in this instance how this has not come to their attention previously … CASA should have been leading the charge rather than police.”
Herbert MP Cathy O’Toole said it was necessary to look further into the current level of oversight after the arrest of Hoch.
“Questions need to be asked, and answers provided, about what officials did and did not know,” she said.
“How can this happen surely needs to be the question. The real issue is that we have absolutely no certainty that incidents of this nature are not falling through the gap.”
The Shayd Hector matter has reached a serious stage for a young man who has very serious personal obligations that have arisen since #casa charged him and brought Shayd before the Tasmanian Court system.
Today’s news report from 27th January 2017 is below.
An arrest warrant has been issued for a recreational pilot who crash landed his plane in the Bass Strait in 2013, after he no-showed his sentencing date on Friday for reckless flying.
Shayd Hector, of Tingira Heights, south of Newcastle, attempted to fly an ultralight aircraft from Bridport to Flinders Island in October of that year.
The journey took a turn for the worse for Hector and his passenger Joel Nelson when they ran into engine trouble at altitude over deep water.
They crashed north-east of Bridport and needed to be rescued, but suffered only minor injuries.
Their tale of survival headlined news bulletins across the state.
But Hector found himself in court in 2015, following the incident.
Along with reckless flying, he was also charged with drinking prior to the flight and flying unlicenced.
Last year his NSW lawyer Spencer Ferrier successfully negotiated a plea deal that saw the Commonwealth drop all charges except one count of reckless flying.
The Launceston Magistrates Court heard on Friday that Hector had since struggled to pay his legal fees for Mr Ferrier, however.
Last year Hector told the court the constant travel to Tasmania for his court dates was becoming a financial burden.
Mr Ferrier has ceased his representation of Hector, meaning he was not obligated to attend Hector’s sentencing on Friday.
But Hector’s non-attendance didn’t sit well with Magistrate Sharon Cure.
Hector now faces extradition from NSW.
Crash survivor mates Shayd Hector and Joel Nelson saved by $10 kids’ lilos
RICHARD NOONE, SALLY GLAETZER AND ELLEN WHINNETT, DailyTelegraph
TWO men who became the first in living memory to ditch an aircraft in Bass Strait and survive owe their lives to a couple of $10 kiddie’s lilos and a borrowed distress beacon.
Shayd Hector and Joel Nelson, both 23, of Newcastle, were reunited with their parents yesterday after they crashed their ultralight plane and spent two hours in icy, shark-infested, waters clinging to air mattresses before being plucked to safety.
“We had a life raft in the bottom of the plane but the way it landed we couldn’t access it so we just inflated the air mattresses to get us out of the water until we could be rescued,” Mr Hector said last night.
“The whole plane smashed in around us and flipped upside down.
“I purposely told Joel to have doors open, seat belts off and EPIRB in hand.”
Mr Hector told a Melbourne radio station he didn’t think the pair would survive as the engine coughed and finally stalled.
“We didn’t know if we were going to make it. We were nearly at the point of giving up in a way,” Mr Hector said.
“We were bleeding and there was blood on the mattresses (lilos). We were pretty paranoid knowing it’s a shark-infested area among the islands.”
Mr Nelson said he was grateful his mate was a good pilot, but that he was in no hurry to fly over water again.
“I’m just happy I’m alive and really happy the rescue team came and saved us,” he said.
A chef by trade Mr Hector got his pilot’s licence and bought the $28,000 two-seater Thruster
Ultralight T-500 aircraf while running a restaurant in Bridport, Tasmania, for the past four years.
He moved back to Newcastle a few weeks ago and, on Monday, flew to Launceston with his childhood mate with the view of flying the ultralight to Flinders Island, staying overnight, and then hopping their way over Bass Strait and up the coast back home.
They took off from Bridport about 3pm but not long into the flight the engine failed and Mr Hector knew he had to “put it down”.
He said he tried to land tail first, forcing the fuselage to belly-flop into the water instead of having the wheels hit first and risk `flipping straight over”.
The “three-point landing” he envisioned didn’t go exactly as planned but was enough to see them survive the initial impact.
With the plane sinking within 30 seconds the pair, wearing life jackets, clung to children’s lilos Mr Hector bought from Kmart for $10 on the advice of his flight instructor Eugene Reid.
Mr Reid said he spoke to the men when they arrived in Tasmania and reminded them to buy the lilos, which he said could be inserted in the wings.
“He’s a good pilot,” he said.
“We’d discussed purchasing the lilos to put into the wings. Obviously they took the lilos into the aircraft with them.”
But it was the EPIRB which enabled rescuers to zero in on their location 12 nautical miles off Waterhouse Island and save them from almost certain death by hypothermia.
Mr Hector’s new boss and Lakehouse Cafe owner Ray Fraser – an old open water sailor himself – said he lent him his.
“I felt a little bit uneasy about him crossing Bass Strait without one,” he said.
Acting Sergeant Matt Massie of Flinders Island police said they’d also managed to tether themselves together with their life vests.
Before crashing, the childhood mates were able to contact air traffic controllers at Air Services Australia, who alerted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre.
Three planes from Tasmania, Victoria and the Royal Australian Airforce flew to the area, along with helicopters from both states and a Sharp Airlines passenger plane, the crew of which managed to spot them.
Three police boats and a private sail boat also joined the rescue and Flinders Island police were the first to reach them just before 5pm.
Mr Hector’s relieved mum Lynda Hector said she didn’t want him to fly the plane back but “you know boys, when they get something in their head”.
“I thought `Oh my God’,” she said.
“I thought I’d lost him because I didn’t want him to fly from there home.”
Detective Sergeant Mike Gillies, who described the survival as a “miraculous”, said the men were extremely lucky to have made it at all, let alone unscathed.
“This instance while it had a very happy ending, it could have been quite the opposite,” Det Gillies said.
“To actually crash land in Bass Strait and be in hospital within three hours was a pretty good effort I reckon.
“They were very cold and they appear to be suffering from hypothermia, but apart from some minor scrapes and bruises they were uninjured.
“The water temperature was very cold, in the area of 13 degrees … in those temperatures it was serious the minute they went into the water, they had a very short time for survival.”
AMSA spokeswoman Andrea Hayward-Maher said the men’s emergency beacon, with satellite technology, was crucial to the rescue.
“That’s one of the things that’s crucial in search and rescue operations, especially if you’re on the water, it makes our job much easier,” she said.
A couple of excellent stories in today’s Australian. These are complemented by other aspects of the affair of #mh370. The Christine Negroni story has some relevance in this, but should be evidenced by the @MikeChillit research.
The search is over and the champagne corks are popping in Kuala Lumpur as the Malaysian government has dodged a bullet: as efforts to locate MH370 have been suspended, evidence from the cockpit voice recorder and data flight recorder will not become available.
We now know where the Boeing 777 is not. The hi-tech sonar equipment employed by the Fugro search vessels can detect objects less than 2sq m so a 170-tonne wreckage longer than 60m almost certainly would have been found had it been in the search area.
This area was based on the theory of an unresponsive pilot, which had absolutely no evidence to support it, and I am still waiting for an explanation from former transport minister Warren Truss why this was so.
I was informed 2½ years ago of the confidential deleted information obtained from pilot Zaharie Shah’s home computer simulator. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau dismissed this as a practice flight by a highly competent pilot with 18,000 hours of experience. As if!
The report I saw was a flight plan with six defined waypoints, with the final waypoint deep in the southern Indian Ocean at latitude 45 degrees south and zero fuel.
The interesting fact is that MH370 actually flew the first four waypoints as it tracked over northern Malaysia and up the Straits of Malacca to the turn point north of Sumatra, obviously under pilot control, when it turned south to head deep into the southern Indian Ocean, so why was a search not conducted along that final track?
In January 2015, Simon Hardy, a former British Airways pilot with, like me, thousands of hours in command of 777s, informed the ATSB that MH370 could not be within 30 nautical miles of the seventh arc on which it was basing its search. The Times contacted me for verification of Hardy’s calculations. Again, the ATSB was dismissive of input from experts. So we have the nearly three years of wasted effort searching in an area pushed by the ATSB and its supporting cast of armchair experts, who have never flown a jet airliner, based on the bizarre theory of an unresponsive pilot.
This theory is totally at odds with the views of proper experts — highly qualified airline pilots and overseas crash investigators — who contend that a responsive pilot was in control until the final turn south, after which only speculation is available.
The families of the deceased have every right to feel very angry at this farcical saga.
Byron Bailey is a former RAAF fighter pilot and trainer and was a senior captain with Emirates for 15 years, during which he flew the same model 777 as Flight MH370.
Search for Flight MH370: the riddle remains, the anger deepens
Six months ago, the man hired to lead the $200 million underwater hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Paul Kennedy, blurted out he thought maybe he wouldn’t find it, because the Australian bureaucrats who hired him were working on the wrong theory.
When he made the remarks in July, Kennedy, the project director of the Dutch-based Fugro marine survey group, had spent the better part of two years meticulously guiding the search for the Boeing 777 in a band of very deep water in the southern Indian Ocean, often in very rough seas.
The 120,000sq km target zone had been chosen on the basis of complex analysis led by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau of satellite tracking data, other calculations and one big assumption.
That assumption was that by the end of the flight, no one was flying the plane, the pilots having become “unresponsive”, perhaps losing consciousness through lack of oxygen due to decompression of the aircraft at high altitude.
The ATSB’s “ghost flight” theory was that the plane had flown on autopilot from, perhaps, its last turn south, then plunged down suddenly in a “death dive” after running out of fuel.
In that unguarded chat in July with the Reuters news agency, Kennedy unwisely said what he really thought: since the aircraft had not been found in the target zone, maybe MH370 captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had hijacked it and flown it to the end, gliding it after fuel exhaustion to take it out of the ATSB’s defined search area.
“If it’s not there, it means it’s somewhere else,” he said. “If it was manned it could glide for a long way. You could glide it for further than our search area is, so I believe the logical conclusion will be, well, maybe that is the other scenario.”
On Tuesday, Fugro Equator hauled up its torpedo-like autonomous underwater vehicle — an unmanned miniature submarine with sonar imaging equipment that can zip around on its own — for the last time. And that was the end of the search for MH370.
Kennedy’s words were prophetic: “It’s somewhere else.”
That conclusion comes nearly three years after MH370 disappeared. It deviated on a scheduled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, flying back over Malaysia to the Andaman Sea and then south, with its radar transponder turned off and no radio communications.
Kennedy might have wondered if the search should instead have looked farther south and west, where commercial airline pilots estimate it would be had, as they believe, Zaharie flown the aircraft to the end and taken it farther and possibly off the main track south to thwart its discovery.
Or maybe Kennedy thought the search should be switched to an area farther north that some aerospace engineers, satellite experts and other professionals calling themselves the Independent Group, who analysed the data of their own accord, thought was a promising alternative.
Separately, scientists at the Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change in Italy did a drift modelling study matching where debris from MH370 had washed up on the coast of Africa against ocean currents to try to work out where the aircraft came down. Those scientists also found that the area to the north of where Kennedy was searching was a promising place to look.
Just last month, the ATSB held a confab in Canberra bringing together a panel of international experts in data processing, satellite communications, accident investigation, aircraft performance, flight operations, sonar data, acoustic data and oceanography.
They reanalysed the satellite tracking and other data, and also had a new drift modelling study courtesy of the CSIRO. The group came to same conclusion the Independent Group and the Euro-Mediterranean people had reached many months earlier: the next place to look was north, and the experts identified a new 25,000sq km target zone.
But the political will to continue the hunt is gone. “We need to have credible new evidence leading to a specific location before we would be reasonably considering future search efforts,” Transport Minister Darren Chester said on Wednesday, defending the decision by the governments funding the search — Malaysia, China and Australia — to “suspend” it. “MH370 may remain as one of aviation’s greatest mysteries.”
Those in the ATSB leading the search privately told victims’ relatives they are keen to continue the quest. But the Malaysian government, which under international law has prime responsibility for the investigation, is thought to be quite happy to call it quits.
Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said this month, “The aspiration to locate MH370 has not been abandoned.”
But cynics suggest Malaysia would be happy for the mystery of MH370 to not be unravelled, because it would look bad if it turned out a Muslim Malaysian pilot had flown 238 people of various nationalities to their deaths.
This is especially so given one avenue of speculation is that Zaharie might have meant it as a political protest against the government’s alleged persecution of opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim, a distant relative of whom Zaharie was a supporter.
Critics of the search remain vocal in their belief the ATSB chose the “ghost flight” and “death dive” scenario over the “rogue pilot to the end” theory to avoid embarrassing Malaysia.
The ATSB insists the decision was based on the best analysis of the information available. No control inputs were detected in the flight route on the long last leg south, and the ATSB claims satellite tracking data shows MH370 was in rapid descent. A study of a flap from the aircraft that washed up determined it was probably in the retracted position, suggesting it was not lowered, as a pilot would do if ditching under power.
Pilots and air crash investigators take issue with each ATSB premise. Commercial airline pilots point out that aircraft are normally flown on autopilot except for takeoff and landing; had Zaharie been alive throughout the flight, he would likely have kept it on autopilot until he took it to the ocean at the end.
Inmarsat, whose satellite tracked the aircraft, has quietly let it be known the data cannot measure altitude, only relative changes. And former US airline pilot and senior air crash investigator John Cox has told Inquirer: “I do not believe there is sufficient data in the Inmarsat data to draw any conclusion on the rate of descent.”
Another top international air crash investigator, Canadian Larry Vance, remains convinced the pattern of damage on the trailing edge of the flap shows it was deployed in a controlled ditching.
But even if it was retracted, Vance says, that’s where it would be if Zaharie had glided the aircraft after fuel exhaustion, because without the engines running there is not enough hydraulic power to lower the flaps.
He also says had the aircraft come down in a fast dive, the two bigger pieces of debris, the flap and a flaperon, would not have been mostly intact, as they were found, but smashed into pieces.
“They conducted a very professional search, but unfortunately they started with incorrect assumptions,” Vance says of the ATSB approach. “There is solid evidence that the aircraft was intentionally ditched, but they went with a high-speed dive scenario.”
Chester this week said any decision to resume the search would primarily be up to Malaysia. That gives the families of the victims, whose international support and lobby group is called Voice 370, very little hope.
“Malaysia from the very beginning seemed a reluctant, unwilling participant in the search,” says KS Narendran, a Voice 370 spokesman and Chennai-based business consultant whose wife Chandrika Sharma was on MH370.
In a statement following the suspension of the search, Voice 370 made a critical point: if you don’t want to hunt for something unless you know precisely where it is in advance, it means you’re not going to hunt: “Expecting to determine the ‘precise location of the aircraft’ before continuing the search was at best an erroneous expectation and at worst a clever formulation to bury the search.”
Not everyone is sure MH370 will never be found, though.
John Goglia is a legend among air crash investigators. The American started as an aircraft mechanic, was a union delegate in accident investigation teams for more than 20 years, ran his own aircraft service company, and was the first and only licensed aircraft mechanic to be appointed by the US president to the National Transportation Safety Board.
Goglia was one of the key investigators of mysterious crashes of Boeing 737s in the US in the 1990s, where they just fell out of the sky with the rudders stuck all the way to one side, or “hard over”, as it is known.
After two years of experiments and theories, investigators reached a dead end, and the investigation was all but abandoned. But here and there, sometimes informally and in their own time, experts continued to analyse the possibilities, and another two years later an explanation was found, related to a rare combination of low temperature and tiny particles in the rudder hydraulic system. Design changes were made, and the problem fixed.
Like the 737 rudder hard over mystery, work behind the scenes on solving the MH370 puzzle will continue, Goglia says: “The work on the investigation will not stop because the government of Malaysia has given up.
“There are other people who have a vested interest in what happened to that aircraft, the most prominent of which is Boeing.”
Goglia doesn’t think Boeing is going to hire a ship to continue the underwater search, but expects the company’s experts will continue to analyse the available data.
A Boeing spokesman says the company “provides experts who assist on site as well as many more within the company who … are called upon to contribute.”
The fascination, sometimes to the point of addiction, with the MH370 riddle will stay with those directly involved, but also the informal army of professionals. “It’s the human element that brings it all together,” Goglia says.
“Every single one of the investigators around the world … are part of a community. They take it personally when they can’t figure out what happened.”
Pilot losses mount in Australia, which puts pressure on the provision of aviation services in the “bush” in particular to very remote areas.
A recent phone call to Charleville reveals there is only one charter operator west of Toowoomba. This situation extends into northern NSW as well.
All is not well for #aviation and we must work to #saveGA due to the negative effects of #casa.
Press Release AOPA – The Future
In Atherton today [15th January 2017], the AOPA Project Eureka Strategy was introduced, to the Aeroclub at their monthly brunch. This strategy was developed over a 18-month period by active participants in aviation.
These include AMROBA [ www.amroba.org.au ], Dr Robert Liddell [Formerly CAsA Head of Medical], a range of AOPA – Australia members who have been trying to deal with a range of problems created by the regulator CAsA which are gradually destroying aviation.
This is exemplified by the loss of at least 34% of GA pilots in past 15 years.
The intention of AOPA Australia is to re-vitalise aviation in Australia.
Project Eureka identified nine separate, but interrelated GA areas, which need bold and innovative policy reform if the Industry is to be revitalised:
1. Flight Regulations and Operations
2. Industry Funding and Taxes
3. Airport and General Aviation Business Security of Tenure
4. Charter and Air work Operations
5. Flight Training
6. Aviation Medicine
7. Airspace Management
9. Future Technologies
The aeroclub has it’s monthly meeting on the third Sunday of the month.
AOPA Northern Australia Representative
0428 483 155
The letter by Richard Harding, emeritus professor of law in today’s Australian reminds us of a series of occurrences by #casa of movement from identified criminality to code of conduct breaches.
Richard Harding says: “….It should be remembered that the code of conduct cannot override the ordinary criminal law…..”
Examples include that of Richard Rudd, where accusations were made of an offence under the Civil Aviation Act and it’s regulations. These were supported by false statements by #casa employees.
A Wilga aircraft was involved in the accusations.
Wilga Aircraft with one-piece elevator
Richard said today he wrote to Acting CEO Shane Carmody, this month saying in part:
Prior to you signing off (and witnessed) on 15 May 2009, an “Authority to Obtain Information” for the contracted investigation into the activities of CAsA personnel by G. Birrell / ACkTiF Solutions you would have been aware that the statement in para. 1 of that document was untrue.
You were also a recipient 17 April 2009 of an answering email to me from then in-coming CEO McCormick following my letter to then CEO B. Byron stating quite clearly that for CAsA employees Larard Retski and Clark “… that I have lodged documents with the AFP with a view to criminal charges being laid…for perjury, conspiring to pervert the course of justice and misfeasance in public office.”
He asks Carmody:
On the basis of Sec. 3 (2) (a) relevant to the ‘alteration’, ie..the change from criminal to code; and Sec 4 (1) (a) applicable to myself as ’an affected party’ to that downgrade decision, I again request from you the reasoning’s for that decision under the ADJR Act 1977.
Richard has had a series of investigations undertaken by #casa, which lead to issues of criminality by #casa officers being identified.
But these were not “untruths” but discrepant statements a #casa senior staffer wrote in an e-mail.
Richard requested #casa deal with the matters of criminality identified in the independent investigations as identified by ICC Michael Hart and later by Investigator Birrell.
A letter to Richard, from the current acting #casa CEO Shane Carmody in May 2009, indicates an investigation to take place and advising of this:
Today’s letter to the Australian, from the Western Australian University Professor Richard Harding, emeritus professor of law , shows the degree to which the use of “Code of Conduct” vs. “Criminality offences” have been improperly used by #casa.
Richard’s “grenade letter” to CEO Byron in …. [produced below] demonstrates that the reply by “Shane Carmody” intended to “pervert the course of justice”.
This is the real base to the professor’s letter today, that a crime is a crime and cannot be negated by a decision to place it as a “Code of Conduct” violation. In the meantime, #casa continue the type of practice identified by Richard Rudd and with impunity.
I believe Shane Carmody does not deserve the position of “Acting CEO” of #casa and that immediate action is required by the #casa Board to stamp out this practice.
That a Code of Conduct is invoked, does not change real criminality.
Whenever a question arises as to whether a minister has made an unjustified claim for expenses, it is usually characterised in terms of whether he or she has breached the ministerial code of conduct. This is the case with Health Minister Sussan Ley.
It should be remembered that the code of conduct cannot override the ordinary criminal law.
If the claimant either personally made a claim, or allowed one to be made on his or her behalf, aware that it was false and with intent to defraud, and as a consequence obtained payment of a sum of money, prima facie he or she has committed the offence of obtaining by false pretences.
In these circumstances, it is not enough for a prime minister to establish an inquiry. The more rigorous standards of the criminal law of the land should always be met in such cases, and any inquiry should address this question.
Richard Harding, emeritus professor of law, University of Western Australia
Truss sets ETA on safety review [Address to “SAFESKIES]
Steve Creedy The Australian October 18, 2013 12:00AM
THE Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister, Warren Truss, expects to detail the final terms of reference and timing of the aviation safety and regulation review by the end of the year.
Mr Truss told the Safeskies Conference in Canberra this week he would also issue a new strategic direction to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority once he had considered the review.
The government flagged the review in its pre-election policy statement and is looking for a qualified and experienced member of the international aviation community to head it.
It will review the structures and processes of aviation safety agencies, look at how well they work together and examine the long-running regulatory review process at CASA.
Mr Truss told Safeskies it would also benchmark Australia’s regulatory framework against international best practice.
“We will appoint two additional members to the CASA Board and strengthen its aviation skills and experience to ensure the board is well-placed to oversee CASA’s new strategic direction,” he said.
“We will also enhance the role of the independent CASA Industry Complaints Commissioner and improve the ICC’s reporting and resourcing arrangements as required.”
The minister also opened the way for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to request more funding, saying the government was aware of significant pressures on its resources.
He also addressed delays at key capital city airports, particularly Brisbane and Perth, as they struggled to meet demand. He said the single most important step for air-traffic management in Australia would be the implementation of a new national system involving Airservices Australia and the Department of Defence.
A request for tender was with industry for a harmonised system that would provide greater operational efficiencies and work seamlessly with other systems in the region.
“These harmonised systems will accommodate future air traffic in the region, which is expected to grow by more than 50 per cent over the anticipated life of the new air-traffic system platform,” Mr Truss said.
There was no change in the stance on a second Sydney airport, which Mr Truss reiterated would be informed by the Sydney Airport master plan due to be released in December.
On aviation security, he said the government recognised that “a one size fits all” approach did not always produce the best outcome.
“We will therefore work to ensure that security measures are appropriate to the level of risk, without imposing unnecessary cost burdens or affecting the viability of services,” he said, noting that the government was committed to reducing bureaucratic red tape on industry by $1 billion a year.
“Requirements should be implemented in a practical and common-sense way while, of course, ensuring that aviation security is not comprised,” he said.
General aviation also came in for a mention, Mr Truss promising to re-establish regular talks to address industry issues and committing to establish a regulators’ regime that reflected “best-practice safety arrangements and is appropriate to the risks”.
Separately, the minister entered the climate change debate by claiming the removal of the carbon tax would lower the cost of transport and infrastructure for all Australians. He said the aviation sector was paying 6.279c-a-litre carbon tax on aviation kerosene and 5.313c a litre on Avgas.
Senator Xenophon raised an important point in the October estimates on ADS-B, particularly with the lack of a safety case by #casa. I believe Shane Carmody was misleading the Senate, in a similar fashion to that made an art form by McCormick and then Skidmore, along with the other usual suspects such as Anastasi and Aleck.
In fact the original proposal for a move to ADS-B, was to give a substantial subsidy to all aircraft owners, as there would be a large benefit to Airservices in operating cost post ADS-B installation and the ability to retire a large proportion of the radar system – which had a huge advantage in overall operating cost.
That proposal disappeared, somewhat like babies and bathwater!!
What Australia got was a costly early innovators expensive package, three years earlier than the US and at a huge cost that in part saw large numbers of aircraft “parked up” and pilots leave GA in droves.
The cost then reverted to the suffering operator, with a mandate to install over 3 years before the US and a huge cost. The recent #casa back-off for private IFR, has given some assistance, as shown in the attached article in Australian Aviation.
ADS-B changes for private IFR extending deadline to 2020
Changes have been made to the requirements for fitting and using Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast equipment (ADS-B) in private aircraft. Private aircraft flying under the instrument flight rules will now have longer to fit ABS-B equipment – with the deadline extended from 2 February 2017 to 1 January 2020. This aligns with the ADS-B deadline in the United States. However, aircraft conducting private operations under the instrument flight rules without ADS-B will be subject to a number of conditions. They will be required to operate below 10,000 feet in uncontrolled class G airspace and in class D airspace they will be subject to air traffic control clearance. They can only operate in class C and E airspace to facilitate arrival or departure from a class D aerodrome, with prior clearance from air traffic control and only if fitted with a secondary surveillance radar transponder.
The new ADS-B deadline for private operations will mean the remaining aircraft can be fitted with the equipment in an orderly manner – reducing the burden on owners, operators and avionics suppliers. All Australian regular public transport, charter and aerial work aircraft must still be fitted with ADS-B equipment by 2 February 2017.
To date 88 per cent of instrument flight rules operations are conducted in aircraft fitted with ADS-B. This is anticipated to increase to 94 per cent by February 2017. Aircraft flying under the visual flight rules are not required to fit ADS-B equipment.
The Senate QON reply from acting ceo, #casa carmody is interesting.
Topic: ADS-B Prices
Proof Hansard Page: Written (21 October 2016)
Senator Xenophon, Nick asked:
What empirical or other data does CASA have to ground the claim that that ADS-B prices will go up as a function of time?
CASA does not have empirical or other data regarding the fluctuations in the price of ADS-B equipment.
However, the avionics costs were considered as part of the ADS-B Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) and then reviewed by CASA in 2015. It was found during that review that the RIS costs were generally consistent with the current prices.
In addition, the US-based Aircraft Electronics Association, representing the manufacturers of ADS-B equipment, recently suggested that the ADS-B equipment costs had reached their lowest price point.
A typical reply by #casa, attempting to justify the position of #casa and it’s routine lack of a safety case to support a major change in operations within the #aviation industry.
Carmody denies that ADS-B will become cheaper, yet the evidence from the AOPA-US article in September 2016 says:
I would expect this to become more prevalent, as ADS-B becomes a more mature technology. The case could be made for a 2020 deadline on this pricing alone.
The Company, Stratus, says:
Stratus ESG was designed with non-glass panel aircraft in mind. Our simplified solution includes a 1090 ES transponder and certified WAAS GPS in the same box. It’s truly an all-in-one box solution for 2020* [US] compliance.
TSO’d 1090 ES Transponder
Built-in WAAS GPS
GPS antenna included
Recommended price: $(US)2,995
Stratus says: “…Even while we’re adding to our STC AML, you’ll have no trouble getting Stratus ESG installed in your Piper, Mooney, or any other Part 23 aircraft, based on our lead STC (for Cessna 172-172S)….”
Hansard October Senate Etimates
The third aspect, if I may say, is that there is nothing to suggest that the prices will decrease as fitment increases in the United States and elsewhere. In fact, there might be more competition for equipment, and the prices may not decrease. It may be more difficult to get equipment closer to the time. The view from one group of people is that it will get cheaper if we wait until afterwards. The challenge for us is that ADS-B is a safer technology, because it indicates where every aircraft is. That is the safety case we are working towards.
My final point on the United States—
Senator XENOPHON: That is not all aircraft and, with apologies, Senator Sterle, ADS-B stands for—
Mr Carmody: Okay, it is not all.
Senator XENOPHON: Automatic Dependent Surveillance-broadcast.
CHAIR: Senator Xenophon, I do not mean to interrupt, but you are coming to the end.
Senator XENOPHON: I am. I am very close. Can I just say that if aircraft fly below cloud cover, visually—if aircraft do not have ADS-B, they have to fly visually—correct?
Mr Carmody: Yes, they have to fly visually. That is correct.
Senator XENOPHON: The point that Dick Smith has made to me just again today is that that poses a risk to pilots. There has never been a case of a mid-air collision in this country involving aircraft in clouds—is that right?
Mr Carmody: I did see a quote to that effect. I assume it is correct; I have heard that.
Senator XENOPHON: He has expressed a concern previously and again today that requiring pilots who cannot afford to install ADS-B to fly visually below clouds itself is problematic from a safety point of view.
Is that something you have assessed?
Mr Carmody: Not to my knowledge. I can take that on notice and see whether we have. I do not know the answer to that, I am sorry.
Senator XENOPHON: Could you take it on notice. Is there any possibility—and I emphasize the word ‘possibility’—that, given the alarming numbers in respect to general aviation in this country, there may be consideration on CASA’s part to consider a stretching out of the date for the implementation of ADS-B?
Mr Carmody: There are no plans at this stage to delay the implementation, but I have only been in place for a week. I would like to look at the possibilities. At this stage there are none, but I will see.
Senator XENOPHON: My final question is a follow-up. The base of your assertion is that it might be more expensive in a few years time, and that did not work for flat screen TVs or other technology.
Mr Carmody: Different technology. But that is just an assertion in the same way as it is an assertion that it will get cheaper, if I may, by AOPA.
Senator XENOPHON: And that generally happens with new technology?
Mr Carmody: It might.
Senator XENOPHON: Could you get back to me on that. Thank you, Chair, for your patience.
No mention of the real issues facing #aviation such as the catastrophic fall in pilot numbers or
What is planned to turn around the #colmarbrunton report and
The negative perception of #casa by the #aviation community.
Nothing at all for a good year Mr Carmody.
From acting Director of Aviation Safety and CEO, Shane Carmody
I am thoroughly enjoying my time back at CASA and I am looking forward to getting stuck into the work in 2017, assisting the aviation community to deliver the best possible safety outcomes. Since starting in October I have been looking at governance and accountability within CASA and I expect to be making some adjustments in the New Year. I have also been reviewing our performance management and training regimes and will do some fine tuning in those areas as well. I have been impressed by CASA’s strong relationships with the aviation community and encouraged by many positive messages I have received during the last two months.
I wish everyone in Australian aviation a safe and enjoyable Christmas and hope that as many people as possible can get out and go flying over the holiday period. Right across the aviation community there is a great passion for flying and the holidays are a perfect time to express this passion and share it with others. Like many organisations CASA will be taking a short break between Christmas and New Year, although we will have people on standby to meet any urgent aviation safety related requests.
Happy Christmas and best wishes for 2017 from everyone at CASA.
Comment now on medical certification
Australia’s aviation community is being called on take part in a detailed discussion about the future of aviation medical certification requirements. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has issued a comprehensive discussion paper setting out a range of medical certification issues and options. This discussion paper forms the basis for any future consultation between CASA and the aviation community on potential changes to medical certification. The paper does not contain any proposals or draft regulations. Six options that may be considered for future consultation are identified, although further options will be considered on the basis of responses to the discussion paper. Options range from continuing existing medical requirements to developing a new medical certificate for the sport and recreational sectors. Other options are re-assessing risk tolerances, streamlining certification practices, aligning sport and recreational standards and mitigating the risks of any changes through operational restrictions. The discussion paper looks at a range of relevant issues such as CASA’s approach to aviation medicine, the approach to medical certification in four other nations, pilot incapacitation in Australia, accidents and risks, psychiatric conditions and the protection of third parties. CASA’s acting Director of Aviation Safety and CEO, Shane Carmody, said aviation medicine is a complex area of decision making involving medical, regulatory and legal considerations. “Due to these complexities CASA recognised a wide discussion with the aviation community is essential before any proposals for change should be considered,” Mr Carmody said.
Smart phones have been ranked the least wanted dangerous goods in Australian aviation for 2016. This follows an increasing number of passengers accidently crushing their phone in the reclining mechanism of their aircraft seat. This can result in the damaged smart phone battery going into thermal runaway, possibly igniting a fire. The growing rate of these incidents has seen airlines review seat designs and update safety videos to warn passengers not to move their seat if they lose their smart phone. There were 39 reports of lost or damaged smart phones in 2016, with nine cases requiring emergency procedures. Lithium batteries and portable power packs come in at number two on the least wanted dangerous goods list with passengers still failing to carry spare batteries safely. Spare batteries must never be carried in checked luggage at any time but should be taken on board aircraft in carry-on baggage with the battery terminals protected. Hover boards have made the least wanted dangerous goods list for the first time, with passengers still packing the self-balancing scooter in luggage despite widespread warnings.. The lack of manufacturing standards for hover boards is believed to have caused several fires around the world. Compressed oxygen also makes the dangerous goods list, with passengers requiring oxygen for medical purposes failing to contact their airline before travelling. While medically required oxygen canisters are allowed on aircraft, travellers must gain approval from their airline before flying and cylinders, valves or regulators fitted on the cylinder must be protected from damage. Other least wanted dangerous goods include chainsaws, whipper snippers and other devices with internal combustion engines, gas cylinders and camping stoves, paint and paint related products, fireworks, lighters and matches.
The Christmas-New Year holiday period is a great time to go flying with family and friends. Before getting behind the controls there is a lot to plan and think about and one of those is the health and well-being of the pilot. To help pilots focus on their well-being CASA has developed a suite of on-line information and advice on topics such as fatigue, diet, hydration, alcohol and other drugs and mental health. Pilots need to have the knowledge and self-awareness to monitor their own fitness and performance and address any issues that could affect safe operations. The old adage of ‘you are what you eat’ applies both on the ground and in the air. In fact, the leading cause of pilot incapacitation over the last decade wasn’t laser pointer strikes, fatigue or hypoxia – it was upset stomachs and food poisoning. Diet can have a significant impact on how a pilot feels and performs. Large meals require energy to digest and a full stomach draws blood away from the brain, leaving you feeling tired. Smaller meals, more often, can avoid this effect. Keeping properly hydrated is also very important, with the recommended daily amount of water around two litres, or more in physically demanding or hot conditions. Certain medications as well as alcohol and caffeine consumption can also impact hydration and performance levels.
Question is: Do Advisory Circulars improve knowledge or are these documents being used by #casa to “bash GA” as another tool for this purpose.
The easy comparison is the indexing system used by the #FAA, which starts at the Parts [see below, after you scroll through the #casa example], then directs [as a good index system should] to the relevant AC’s.
In the #casa system, all the AC’s are listed [you can do a search] together with no reference to the Parts at all [see below]. This is, again despite Australia moving towards this system!!
The #FAA AC, is at 47 pages, but which show how the system works, rather than what #casa provides which is a separate micro-management version.
Let’s use a simple comparison of the US-FAA Ac for:
and the #casa AC for a similar purpose.
#FAA –Advisory circular (AC) refers to a type of publication offered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to provide guidance for compliance with airworthiness regulations. They define acceptable means, but not the only means, of accomplishing or showing compliance with airworthiness regulations.
#casa – Advisory Circulars (ACs) provide advice and guidance to explain particular regulatory requirements of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR) or associated Manual of Standards (MOS).
An AC should always be read in conjunction with the referring regulations. It should still be read as guidance material even if referred to in a ‘Note’ below the regulation.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has called on Malaysia to compensate the families of victims of doomed flights MH370 and MH17 in a “timely manner” after concerns were raised that the airline had restructured its business to delay legal proceedings.
Almost three years after the crashes, lump-sum payments of about $50,000 have been made to the relatives of Australian victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean, and MH17, shot down by a Russian-made missile.
There are more than a dozen legal battles under way in various Australian federal and supreme courts.
Under the Montreal Convention, an agreement in 1999 to fast-track compensation to the families of air disaster victims, relatives of those who died are entitled to about $200,000 — more, if the airline is shown to have been negligent.
Ms Bishop told The Australian Malaysia should move to fulfill its duties under international law quickly. “The government is aware that a number of families of Australian victims are seeking compensation from Malaysian Airlines,” she said.
“We welcome previous undertakings by Malaysian Airlines that it will compensate the families of all victims and would urge Malaysian Airlines to meet its obligations under the Montreal Convention in a timely manner.”
In late 2014, the company was renamed and received nearly $2 billion in state aid after a dedicated act of Malaysia’s parliament, known as Act 765, established Malaysia Airlines Berhad in the place of Malaysia Airline System Berhad.
Documents filed this year in a US court on behalf of dozens of victims of MH370 against the airline and its insurer, Allianz, accused Malaysia Airlines of attempting to “dodge” its legal obligations to those who died and their relatives.
“This sleight of hand by the Malaysian government after hundreds of people on two Malaysian flights are killed in as many months, was clearly a blatant, illegal dodge of its responsibility to the dead, missing, grieving and bereaved,” Mary Schiavo, who represents 98 victims and their relatives, wrote in a submission to the District of Columbia’s District Court.
A spokeswoman for Malaysia Airlines Systems (Administrator Appointed) denied the change from Malaysia Airlines System, or MAS, to Malaysia Airlines Berhad, or MAB, would delay payments to relatives.
“MAS has been committed to ensure all next of kin are fully compensated and to date it has not evaded its obligations to pay compensation in accordance with the principles set out under the applicable international conventions and local laws,” she said.
The search for the wreckage of MH370 is in its final stages, after an Australian Transport Safety Bureau review found the plane would never have been in the 120,000sq km area authorities have spent $200 million searching in the past two years.
The following was released yesterday by AOPA Australia.
The AOPA organisations throughout the world are a formidable force with a combined membership of over 470,000.
The International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) is a nonprofit federation of 73 autonomous, nongovernmental, national general aviation organizations. IAOPA has represented international general aviation for nearly 50 years.
The combined total of individuals represented by these constituent member groups of IAOPA is over 470,000 pilots, who fly general aviation aircraft for business and personal transportation. General aviation is defined by ICAO as “All civil aviation operations other than scheduled air services and non-scheduled air transport operations for remuneration or hire.”
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) of Australia commences work on Minister Chester’s review into General Aviation Decline.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) of Australia this week met with representatives of the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) to commence work on Minister Chester’s, review into general aviation decline – the first of a number of meetings planned.
Leading the BITRE review team is Director of Aviation Statistics, Mr Glenn Malam, who provided AOPA Australia with government data that confirms graphs released by AOPA Australia in August 2016, showcasing the serious decline in general aviation over the past 10 years, including;
General aviation pilot numbers have declined by 34% (loss of 8,000+ from the industry)
General aviation fuel sales have declined by 35%
Number of general aviation aircraft not flying has increased by over 50% (over 3,000+ aircraft parked)
The AOPA Australia has put forward a range of valuable feedback during the first meeting, which included;
Amend the Civil Aviation Act so that the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is required to foster general aviation industry growth and development
Adopt and harmonise to the world’s most successful general aviation regulatory framework, the United States Federal Aviation Regulations
Extend the ADS-B install deadline to 2021 without restriction to both commercial and private operators
Remove unique Australian aging-aircraft requirements (ie. Cessna SIDs)
Remove the unnecessary ASIC requirement for general aviation users
Immediately implement Class 2 Medical Reform to re-introduce thousands of GA pilots to flying
Remove unreasonable industry charges and fees for interactions with the safety regulator
The AOPA Australia also confirmed its stance on aviation regulatory management;
Only regulate where necessary
Deregulate everywhere we can
Reduce cost to industry
Create a vibrant and dynamic general aviation industry for all Australians
The BITRE team have until 30th June of 2017 to complete their review and will shortly commence interviewing general aviation business operators seeking to understand the industry’s view with regard to general aviation decline.
The AOPA Australia welcomes aircraft owners, pilots and general aviation business operators who would like to provide direct input to this important review to contact the AOPA Australia office by telephone
on: (02) 9791 9099 to register your interest in participating.
Executive Director – Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
On 31st October 2016 I caused a letter to be sent to Minister Chester in the following terms. I have not had a response, in the normal typical fashion of the different Minister’s for Transport, to letters and e-mails.
Unanswered letter to the Minister is below:
Dear Mr. Chester;
PO Box 486, Sale, VIC 3853
P. (03) 5144 6744 F. (03) 5144 3945
RE: Question raised following your Press Release on Friday
I believe that this release is only a diversion of attention from the real problem, which can only be solved by the immediate introduction of the US-FAR’s and changes to CAAct 9A to reflect “aviation effects of decisions”.
Given that your Department is such a large organisation and has a very wide range of responsibilities, of which aviation forms an important part. There being over 75 million single journeys on the majors, supported by a wide ranging industry scattered through most small and intermediate size towns:
a. When will you appoint a responsible Junior Minister to oversee this area??
b. How are you going to re-gain the confidence of the aviation industry as shown by the dismal performance of CASA in the recent Colmar Brunton review??
c. When will you be up-dating the Civil Aviation Act and regulations to meet the requirements of the Abbott government to reduce red-tape and regulatory impact on industry?
d. What are you doing to rein in the excesses of the regulator – CASA [Civil Aviation Safety Authority]?;
1. I have submitted to the Forsyth ASRR, and join 31% of submitter’s who were marked confidential as I am concerned about retribution by CASA on the basis of my submission;
2. I have given substantial back-up information [over 200 pages of documents] to the ASRR;
3. I have no confidence in the regulator;
4. As you are aware, I have raised substantial matters of concern with my local member, Minister Susan Ley.
Announcement by Minister Chester for “…another…” aviation review although this time by the self interested Mrdak Department of Infrastructure on 28th October 2016.
Major study of General Aviation sector
MEDIA RELEASE DC160/2016 28 October 2016
Australian Government commits to major study into general aviation in Australia to remove barriers to growth
Representatives of the general aviation sector invited to contribute to work
Study will cover issues ranging from regulatory and cost issues affecting the sector
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester today announced a major study will be undertaken to identify priorities for General Aviation (GA) in the future.
“I am keen to remove barriers to growth in this vital part of the aviation industry including reducing costs and regulatory burden,” Mr Chester said.
“General aviation has a rich history in Australia and I’m confident it can have a prosperous future. This study will help get the public policy right to support growth in the sector.
“The study, to be conducted by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE), forms an important part of the Government’s response to proposals from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and The Australian Aviation Associations Forum (TAAAF).
“As part of the response, I can confirm that CASA will be undertaking a review of the private pilot medical requirements—an area that I know has been a key issue for the GA sector.
“The BITRE study will cover a range of issues, including assessing the key drivers and influences on the sector.
“That means identifying trends, what the economic, demographic, and regulatory factors behind these trends are, as well as outlining the key challenges facing the industry.
“Representatives from the general aviation sector will be offered the opportunity to assist with this work.
“I will be requesting that the General Aviation Action Group, which was formerly a sub-group of the Aviation Industry Consultative Council (AICC), report directly to me in future,” Mr Chester said.
“The Action Group will also act as a reference group for the BITRE general aviation study.
“I am looking forward to seeing the results of this study as we work with industry and other key stakeholders on the common goal of a safe, growing and sustainable Australian general aviation industry,” Mr Chester said.
Allan Kessing, a former Customs officer convicted of leaking reports about serious security flaws at Sydney airport, has described passenger screening terminals as a useless facade and said more resources must be poured into intelligence gathering to stop terrorists from launching attacks.
Mr Kessing wrote two damning reports on Sydney airport security in 2003 that dealt with a range of security concerns including alleged illegal activity by baggage handlers and surveillance “black holes”.
In 2007 he was convicted of breaching Section 70 of the Commonwealth Crimes Act after the courts found he leaked the long-ignored reports to this newspaper that revealed criminality and security flaws at Sydney Airport.
The exposure of those reports triggered a far-reaching probe into airport security, the Wheeler report, which prompted the Federal Government to spend $200 million establishing airport police commands and boosting Customs surveillance.
But fronting a Senate committee investigating airport and aviation security in Canberra last night, Mr Kessing said that despite those upgrades many security protocols in place at today’s airports were ineffective at stopping terrorist attacks from occurring.
Whistleblower Allan Kessing.
Mr Kessing, who worked as a Customs intelligence officer for 15 years, singled out passenger screening terminals as being an ineffective “facade”.
“Passenger screening as we know it is about doing something but it is not effective, and in fact I think it is deleterious,” he said.
Mr Kessing pointed to the examples of the so-called Shoe Bomber and Underwear Bomber.
Richard Reid, also known as the Shoe Bomber, evaded security checkpoints at airports and attempted to detonate explosives packed into his shoes while on board an American Airlines flight in 2001.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, known as the Underwear Bomber, attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board a Northwest Airlines Flight in 2009
“Both of them were not detected and yet because they were failures (in security) is why we have to go through these screening procedures,” Mr Kessing said.
“I would not feel safe without passenger screening but (it’s there) only as a facade.”
Mr Kessing said passenger screening terminals were only effective at deterring lone wolf terrorists who did not possess the means to bypass security and who had been kicked out of criminal and terrorist organisations for being “loose cannons”.
“However I would advocate that real resources be put into intelligence gathering … to ensure the real terrorists are caught before they have breakfast and leave home,” he said.
Mr Kessing took the opportunity of the Senate committee hearing to again protest his innocence in the leaking of the Sydney Airport security reports, saying that despite being charged, he was not the whistleblower.
“I was not (the person who leaked the reports),” he said.
Mr Kessing also said he was “very much” annoyed at being characterised as a whistleblower.
When asked who could have leaked the report, Mr Kessing said drafts were available to people in his covert Customs unit as well as other officers in intelligence organisations.
“The only person who had access to full draft was my senior officer but other members of our team also had access to select sections,” he said.
Mr Kessing was given a suspended jail sentence of nine months when he was convicted of the leaks in 2007.
Despite his protestations of innocence, the Federal Government has rejected a pardon application from Mr Kessing.
It is time to stop, get rid of the dreadful mess of regulations made by #casa and immediately use the #US-FAR’s
Recently published is Jim Davis’s response, which is in line with the GA industry and highly critical of the regulator and the #casa [#atsb] responses:
Yet Carmody, acting ceo #casa in his address to a RAAA meeting, in part says:
The Aviation Safety Regulation Review (ASSR)
CASA’s schedule for implementing the Government’s response to the ASRR was embedded into the CASA Corporate Plan and we provide a progress report to the Minister Chester on a quarterly basis.32 of the 37 ASRR recommendations related to the functions and performance of CASA. We have already completed over 20 of these and are making good progress on all remaining recommendations (except the delays agreed with the Minister/industry in making regulations).
When I was appointed, Minister Chester made it very clear to me the implementation of the reforms contained in the Government’s response to the ASRR remains the highest priority. The Government expects CASA to complete implementing required reforms by the end of this year, except where CASA and the aviation community have agreed that regulation implementation should be deferred.
And we must individually lobby our local politician’s to show them the mess that #aviation has become, whether it was Minister Chester, Minister Truss or Minister Albanese.
In fact your State Senator is a good place to start.
“…..I intend to lead CASA to be a firm, fair and balanced regulator. We need to get the right safety outcomes without unintended consequences, unreasonable requirements or unnecessary costs to the aviation community. It is not an easy balance to strike, yet that is our job. Of course, this doesn’t mean CASA must be a ‘heavy-handed’ regulator either – our intention is to keep everyone flying in a safe environment. To achieve this, we need to work hard to ensure we have a robust and effective safety system that allows risks to be identified without sanction, and addressed quickly…..”
That is not what is currently happening, but more of the same as given by McCormick and Skidmore, where #casa is not at all transparent or is living by “Rule of Law”.
Look at the following, which despite #casa being aware of the problems caused, has done nothing to rectify the situations.
From acting CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody
My first weeks in the role as CASA’s acting CEO and Director of Aviation Safety have been very busy, with visits to most of our offices and meetings with a range of people and organisations across the aviation community. CASA faces many challenges in today’s aviation environment and discussing issues and listening to feedback is one of the keys to finding the right responses to these challenges. I have made it very clear I intend to lead CASA to be a firm, fair and balanced regulator. We need to get the right safety outcomes without unintended consequences, unreasonable requirements or unnecessary costs to the aviation community. It is not an easy balance to strike, yet that is our job. Of course, this doesn’t mean CASA must be a ‘heavy-handed’ regulator either – our intention is to keep everyone flying in a safe environment. To achieve this, we need to work hard to ensure we have a robust and effective safety system that allows risks to be identified without sanction, and addressed quickly. A system that only interferes with the legitimate day-to-day activities of the aviation community when necessary and in the interests of safety. This balancing act between a weak regulator and a harsh binary (black and white) regulator is a fair but firm regulator.
I made these points in a speech to the Regional Airlines Association of Australia, where I stated I was absolutely confident of the support of the CASA Board in this approach. I also said I look forward to the support of the aviation community to contribute to this significant commitment through a collaborative and co-operative approach. To ensure we harness the support of the aviation community I will continue to meet with people and organisations from across all sectors to listen to ideas and concerns. As my predecessor made clear on many occasions, CASA doesn’t have all the answers and isn’t the source of all aviation safety wisdom. We are continuing to work hard on key areas such aviation medicals, fatigue regulation and regulatory reform to take into account the various views from across the aviation community while striving for the best possible safety outcomes.
Pilots are being reminded that runway strips should not normally be used for landings and taking offs. Concerns have been raised with CASA about pilots using the grass or dirt surface next to a sealed runway surface, inside the gable markers, for standard operations. This is not the usual intention of the runway strip area. The purpose of the runway strip is to reduce the risk of damage to an aircraft if it runs off a runway and to protect aircraft flying over it during take-off or landing operations. This purpose is set out in the Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 139 manual of standards. Clearly, this does not imply suitability for normal aircraft operations. However, this does not prevent an aerodrome operator preparing a runway strip for landings and take-offs if they choose. When considering using a runway strip for landings or take-offs pilots should first check in the En Route Supplement Australia (ERSA) if the runway strip is suitable for operations or directly contact the aerodrome operator. Unless it is clear the runway strip is suitable for normal operations it should not be used. An example of where a runway strip can be used for normal operations is Temora aerodrome. This runway strip has been prepared and maintained for glider operations and is also available for use by tailwheel aircraft. The availability of the runway strip for these operations is notified in ERSA.
Changes have been made to the requirements for fitting and using Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast equipment (ADS-B) in private aircraft. Private aircraft flying under the instrument flight rules will now have longer to fit ABS-B equipment – with the deadline extended from 2 February 2017 to 1 January 2020. This aligns with the ADS-B deadline in the United States. However, aircraft conducting private operations under the instrument flight rules without ADS-B will be subject to a number of conditions. They will be required to operate below 10,000 feet in uncontrolled class G airspace and in class D airspace they will be subject to air traffic control clearance. They can only operate in class C and E airspace to facilitate arrival or departure from a class D aerodrome, with prior clearance from air traffic control and only if fitted with a secondary surveillance radar transponder. The new ADS-B deadline for private operations will mean the remaining aircraft can be fitted with the equipment in an orderly manner – reducing the burden on owners, operators and avionics suppliers. All Australian regular public transport, charter and aerial work aircraft must still be fitted with ADS-B equipment by 2 February 2017. To date 88 per cent of instrument flight rules operations are conducted in aircraft fitted with ADS-B. This is anticipated to increase to 94 per cent by February 2017. Aircraft flying under the visual flight rules are not required to fit ADS-B equipment.
CASA’s acting Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody, said the changes to ADS-B requirements will benefit a small number of private aircraft operators who have not yet been able to fit the equipment while ensuring safety. “CASA continues to strongly encourage all aircraft owners and operators to fit ADS-B equipment due to the many safety benefits this technology provides. ADS-B provides better air traffic information outside controlled airspace, greater ability to avoid bad weather, more accurate and faster search and rescue and more direct flight paths.&rdquo. CASA is also making a provision for a very small number of foreign registered aircraft to continue operating without ADS-B until the European deadline of 6 June 2020, subject to air traffic control clearances and flying under 29,000 feet in continental airspace.
Commitment to collaboration and service
CASA’s Board chairman Jeff Boyd has given a commitment to a continuing focus on collaboration with the aviation community while ensuring service delivery obligations are met. The commitment was delivered in CASA’s latest annual report. Mr Boyd said CASA will be a regulator that listens and develops safety partnerships that benefit everyone. “The travelling public and people in the aviation community expect safety to come first for all sectors of aviation,” Mr Boyd said in the 2015-16 annual report. “CASA was cognisant of the need to keep the regulatory burden as reasonable as possible to get the right safety outcomes without unintended consequences, unreasonable requirements or unnecessary costs. However, increasing the pace of change associated with the reform of regulation can be a source of regulatory burden. CASA will continue to strive for an appropriate balance. I believe that the aviation community generally welcomes the better regulation reforms and would like to see more tangible progress in a shorter period of time, but it recognises that better regulation is also about cultural change, which will not happen overnight.”
CASA will be closing as usual for the Christmas-New Year holiday period. That means CASA services to the aviation community will be unavailable from close of business Friday 23 December 2016, until Tuesday 3 January 2017. All services will resume from start of business on Tuesday 3 January 2017. Anyone who anticipates needing CASA services during the holiday period should contact CASA well before the closure. Please contact the relevant regional office or the CASA Client Services Centre for the assistance you require. CASA will be available to help with urgent aviation safety matters during the Christmas-New Year period but resources are limited. If urgent assistance is needed call 131 757 and follow the prompts. Foreign air operators who require urgent assistance over the Christmas-New Year period should contact CASA through +61 7 3144 7400. This is for urgent matters such as non-scheduled medical flights. There will also be a 24 hour telephone contact for emergency or urgent airspace requests. These can be lodged on +61 2 6217 1177.
A comprehensive review of the operations and functions of CASA’s Office of Airspace Regulation has been released. The review found the current structure of the Office of Airspace Regulation and allocation of responsibilities and tasks is sound. It also found the Office of Airspace Regulation was generally effective and efficient, although improvements can be made to processes, tools and systems. A total of ten recommendations were made in the report, with a suggested timeframe for implementation. Recommendations include the development of a strategic work plan, greater standardisation of airspace studies, setting up an airspace classifications database, strengthening key performance indicators and greater identification of future challenges such as unmanned aircraft. The report also made two recommendations in relation to Regional Airspace and Procedures Advisory Committees (RAPACs) based on feedback from members. Some RAPAC members said in submissions to the review there was frustration at getting issues resolved. The review recommends CASA set up an online portal to direct people to the appropriate consultative forum to raise a specific issue or topic. It also recommends investigating the benefits of having a nationally elected RAPAC representative to be a part of CASA’s other national consultative forums.
A package of five online videos covering essential elements of the new flight crew licensing and training regulations is now available. The videos provide an overview of the new regulations, managing training, competency based training, safety management systems and helicopter training. They explain the reasons and approaches behind the new licensing and training regulations and set out the support and tools CASA is providing for transition by the aviation community. The videos feature of a range of people from aviation organisations across Australia who talk about how they are working with the new regulations and the benefits flowing to their operations. One chief pilot says the new licensing requirements in Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations provide flexibility, while a chief executive officer of a flying school says they provide a stronger framework. Another chief pilot says it is not difficult to develop competency based training. In relation to safety management systems, a chief pilot states they add value to business. The head of training and checking of a large helicopter operator says they have been working collaboratively with CASA on the transition to the new training regulations.
New rules regulating the operations of ex-military, certain historic and replica aircraft will come into effect early in 2017. The rules are in Part 132 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. They apply to the owners, operators, and pilots of limited category aircraft. The new rules also affect individuals and organisations that sell and conduct adventure flights in warbirds. There are important administrative and safety enhancements to the previous regulatory requirements for these operations and the new rules provide more flexibility and clarity around recreational use and operational limits. People who currently hold an experimental certificate for ex-military aircraft will need to transition to a limited category certificate. The regulations introduce new permissions for air racing, glider towing and personal flights. For paying passengers of adventure flights in warbirds, the rules bring in a requirement for an additional safety briefing at the point of sale for the flight. They also set out the qualifications an individual must hold and the procedures that must be followed to issue certification, advice and approvals for modifications, damage and repairs for limited category aircraft. Transition to the new limited category rules will begin on 28 January 2017 and end on 28 July 2017.
On November 18th 2009, and a Westwind became a short term floating wreck at Norfolk Island.
In 3-metre seas, in a dark part of the Pacific Ocean, six individuals combined to survive a ditching as the jet had run out of fuel and despite a number of attempts to land at the Norfolk Island strip, never became visual to effect a landing.
The unknowing participants on the medivac flight from Samoa to Melbourne, were the patient [who died in Melbourne almost two years ago], the nurse Karen Casey, the Doctor and the patients husband.
Two pilots were sent on the mission, with, as it turns out, little support from the owner and operator – Pelair a subsidiary of REX Aviation.
The official accident report issued two and half years later by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) attracted wide criticism, and resulted in an Australian Senate Enquiry that found both the ATSB and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had failed to carry out their responsibilities with respect to the accident investigation.
After the landing on water, a series of issues arose, which were to continue from that time until today and the final release of the #atsb report, which will be after the appeal by the insurance company against giving the seriously injured nurse – Karen Casey.
The re-opened investigation raises additional questions, although it remains to be seen if the Government or Opposition has the intestinal fortitude to pursue all of them.
In terms of public expenditure, CASA is a very expensive federal authority. In relation to the oversight of air operators, the only conclusion that can be made from the Pel-Air fiasco is that it squandered millions of dollars failing to perform its most basic and important duties to the Australian public and the industry.
How the mess that is CASA and the ATSB today can be cleaned up, and genuine reform achieved, remains a questions that demands actual results, not more weasal words from both sides of politics.
Pel-Air could yet become the catalyst for this to happen.
In reading the 2015 – 2016 Annual report of #casa, one can see how ignorance could rise to the point where the Minister may be misled by the Department.
As early as 2013, it was becoming obvious that #casa (and probably the Department) were trying to slow down the movement of information in what is important data for the public – Annual reports. This reduces proper and immediate scrutiny of the process and leads to a situation where the Minister can be misled.
From Ben Sandilands today, following an incisive Fran Kelly ABC interview.
The efforts to destroy the ABC by making it host BBC quiz show Pointless as well as not providing transcripts of political interviews did not go unnoticed by aviation professionals today, who have found a record of what Darren Chester, the minister responsible for aviation safety, told Fran Kelly on ABC radio national’s Breakfast program this morning.
The transcript is provided below, with some further notes as to why the minister’s knowledge of his portfolio is of legitimate concern.
FRAN KELLY: Darren Chester is the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Minister, welcome to Breakfast. DARREN CHESTER: Good morning, Fran. FRAN KELLY: Airservices Australia says the job losses are all back office and technical. Can you guarantee, because I think a lot of people are pretty attuned to this, that not a single air traffic controller or airport fireman will lose their job?
DARREN CHESTER: Well, as you’d expect, Fran, as the Minister responsible I take the safety issue incredibly seriously, and since taking on this role I’ve met with the Airservices Chairman, Sir Angus Houston, and the Chief Exec and sought assurances and received assurances that there’ll be no impact on safety as a result of the restructure. Now, keep in mind Airservices has been through a phase of quite significant back office staff increases and the view was taken, and I agreed with this view more than a year ago, that there was a need to reduce the costs in terms of those service providers from the back office, and there’s no impact on the front of house office, if you like, where you’re talking about our air traffic controllers and the aviation firefighting rescue services.
FRAN KELLY: We always say that, Minister, what does that mean? All these 900 people are sitting around doing not much?
DARREN CHESTER: Well, they went through a phase during the mining boom where there was an increase in service provision that’s no longer part of what’s required from Airservices going forward. Now, it’s important to note that Airservices Australia isn’t just doing this off its own bat, it’s actually overseen by CASA, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and it has been consulted throughout the process. Now, if the union has some genuine concerns, they can certainly raise those with Airservices, they can raise them with CASA, or they can come to me directly. It would be no surprise to you that I meet with stakeholders on a daily basis across my portfolio. If the union has genuine safety concerns, rather than put out a press release they could come and meet with me and raise those concerns.
FRAN KELLY: Well, they have raised concerns and they’ve lodged an urgent application with Fair Work Commission to stop the job cuts, now the Virgin pilots, they’ve also joined those speaking out publicly in terms of safety concerns. I think more than 500 jobs have already gone. Have you considered ordering the Board to slow the process down and so that some of these concerns can be addressed? DARREN CHESTER: Well… FRAN KELLY: Would that be a good idea? DARREN CHESTER: No, I don’t think that at all, Fran. I think it’s quite irresponsible and inaccurate to be scaring the travelling public with unfounded claims about safety issues. Now… FRAN KELLY: Well sure, but if you’ve got genuine concerns, then isn’t your – because any kind of air safety problem can be catastrophic, isn’t it responsible to speak out?
DARREN CHESTER: Well, what we’re talking there’s a total workforce of around four and a half thousand and the order of about 500 people have accepted voluntary redundancies. You’ve got Sir Angus Houston, who has an exemplary record in terms of service to the nation as a… FRAN KELLY: Sure. DARREN CHESTER: …military person who understands safety more than most. I’ve sought assurances from Angus and received them, I’ve sought assurances from the Chief Exec and received them in relation to the restructure process that there would be no impact in terms of air traffic control or the firefighting services. Both of those areas haven’t grown, while the staff numbers in the back of house have grown exponentially over the past decade, so I think it’s been a necessary restructure of an organisation which needed to cut back on some of its services behind the scenes which weren’t adding to its core business of providing safety for the travelling public.
FRAN KELLY: What about engineers? Earlier this year there were serious malfunctions in radar systems operated by Airservices Australia that led to some planes briefly vanishing from Sydney Airport tracking system. What about the engineers who keep that aeronautical equipment in working order? Are they amongst the redundancies? DARREN CHESTER: I’m not aware of the incident you’re referring to, I’m certainly happy to follow it up with Airservices, so that is not something that has come across my desk, I’m happy to follow it up for you. But I can only repeat the assurances that I’ve sought and been given, Fran, in relation to the safety of the travelling public. If the union has concerns and has genuine examples where they see safety as being impacted, the responsible thing to do is to come and talk to the Minister responsible or CASA, the agency responsible, who are overseeing Airservices, rather than simply issuing a press release. FRAN KELLY: So will you ring the union and say, why don’t you come in and talk to me? DARREN CHESTER: I’d be happy to meet with the union. I meet with unions on a regular basis across my portfolio, because they have a valid role to play in a range of my portfolio responsibilities. But the process in Australia for managing the safety of the travelling public is world class and one that we should be very proud of. I just think it’s irresponsible and unfair to the travelling public to be scaring them this way, rather than actually pointing out any particular concerns and allowing the agencies responsible to follow them up.
FRAN KELLY: Is this cost cutting exercise all about preparing Airservices Australia for privatisation? DARREN CHESTER: Short answer – no. FRAN KELLY: Because back in May an Estimates hearing was told the Government had paid KPMG $600,000 to conduct an efficiency review of Airservices, and the committee was told KPMG recommended a different ownership structure such as – quote – part private ownership. Why would the Government commission a report if you’re not thinking about a sale? DARREN CHESTER: Well, the Government’s commissioned reports into other agency bodies in the past and not proceeded with any privatisation. I can only tell you what I’ve just told you a few seconds ago – no, there are no plans to privatise Airservices. Airservices keep in mind has been heavily criticised in recent years by the industry as becoming too bureaucratic, bloated, and costing too much to maintain without adding any value to the safety outcomes, so on the flip side of the conversation you and I are having, Airservices come in for a fair bit of criticism that they’re growing exponentially. So no, there are no plans to privatise Airservices. I’ve made those comments publicly before and I making them here again today. FRAN KELLY: And will you release that report from KPMG? Because there has been an FOI request from the Opposition, I understand. DARREN CHESTER: I’m not aware of that request and I’ll happily follow it up for you. FRAN KELLY: You’re listening to RN Breakfast, our guest is the Federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester. Airservices is currently trying to implement the OneSKY air traffic control program, I’m sure you know a lot more about this than I do, but as I understand it, essentially it involves combining the separate civil and military traffic control systems into the one very sophisticated network by 2021, and that comes with a pretty hefty price tag, I think it’s about $1.5 billion. Will these job cuts have any impact on OneSKY? Have you sought assurances on that?
DARREN CHESTER: Well I think you have touched on a very, very important point. If you’re going to move to this modern air traffic system, we can’t do it with an outdated organisational model. So that is part of the preparation to move towards that OneSKY system, which will see our skies managed, what we will regard as the most efficient, modern and safest system in the world. So we’re going to see some pretty significant changes and improvements in terms of the longer term, but you’re right in terms of referring to the OneSKY program. It’s a very important program. We will see this – the civil services and Defence services working more closely in providing greater technology to improve even more significantly safety in our skies. FRAN KELLY: And just before we leave this issue, Minister, you stressed several times that you know public confidence in the safety of our air systems is paramount, is essential and I absolutely agree with that. Given that, and given the intervention by the Virgin pilots – these are the pilots who were using the air traffic control system – will you seek a meeting with the pilots and speak to them about their concerns in the interest of understanding as much as you can about the impact of these cuts? DARREN CHESTER: Look absolutely happy to give that undertaking to you, Fran. If the pilots or the union has a genuine concern on a safety issue they want to raise with me, I’m very happy to meet with them and discuss those concerns, just as I’m sure CASA or Airservices would be happy to meet with people …
FRAN KELLY: But proactively, will you go and seek a meeting with the pilots? DARREN CHESTER: I’m happy to have that meeting.
Some notes on the above:
The Minister’s professed lack of knowledge about the earlier radar issues at Sydney Airport (not to mention ATC issues between the adjacent Melbourne and Essendon airports) is horrifying. His two immediate predecessors were criticised for many things, but they were acutely aware of a number of issues concerning the competency of frontline Airservices staff because of training and fatigue related issues, which were highlighted by the ATSB in scathing reports into lapses in aircraft separation in Australian skies.
Those instances have declined, fortunately, in the last two years, because of the heat Mr Chester’s predecessors applied to Airservices, and the ATSB’s unusual candour when it came to the circumstances of some of those serious ATC incidents.
The RN interview this morning raises concerns that the current minister responsible for aviation safety may not have read all of the files, or that be believes anything that the bureaucracy decides to tell him.
When the executive branch takes the integrity of the administrative branch for granted, good government is compromised. It’s to be hoped that Minister Chester knows this and will act accordingly when it comes to putting aviation safety ahead of broad government policy dictates to slash costs.
The change of the #casa CEO from Skidmore to Carmody, who was the Deputy Director of the department, reporting to MrDak.
Carmody at #casa replacing Skidmore
This is a major show of strength by MrDak in the struggle to keep a lid on the #aviation industry and show that there is “…nothing wrong….”.
In the Senate estimates on October 14th 2016, Mrdak used substantial time, resulting in the #atsb section not proceeding and the #casa section cut short. This is a scurrilous waste of the senators time and shows the contempt for the parliamentary process.
The third meeting of the Aviation Industry Consultative Council (AICC) was chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon Warren Truss MP, on 29 January 2016 at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Offices, Sydney.
The AICC brings together senior industry participants from across the aviation industry including airlines, airports, general aviation, sport and recreational aviation, maintenance, and flight training sectors.
The meeting focussed on issues related to aviation skills and training and safety regulation.
The Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council presented its key issues paper, which is part of the aviation workforce skills study previously endorsed by members.
Members discussed outcomes of the recent meeting of the General Aviation Action Group which was set up as a sub group of the AICC. Issues raised by the Action Group included skills and training and reform of regulatory requirements applicable to general aviation and ageing aircraft.
The Deputy Prime Minister updated members on progress in implementing the Government’s response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review Report.
The AICC was briefed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore and the Acting Chief Executive of Airservices Australia, Jason Harfield on the major priorities for those organisations this year and into the future.
Some other issues raised by members at the meeting included fatigue management, flight training, regulation of remotely piloted aircraft systems, CASA Board governance and legislative review.
In closing the meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister noted that he expected the AICC will meet again in mid-2016.
The federal government will kick off a major review today to assess the forces destroying Australia’s once-vibrant general aviation sector, which is being strangled by red tape and onerous costs.
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester will announce the review, which will be conducted by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics.
“I am keen to remove barriers to growth in this vital part of the aviation industry, including reducing costs and regulatory burden,” Mr Chester said.
“General aviation has a rich history in Australia and I’m confident it can have a prosperous future. This study will help get the public policy right to support growth in the sector.”
As part of the study the Civil Aviation Safety Authority will also be ordered to review private pilot medical requirements, a key issue for the GA sector.
The government said the study will cover a range of issues, including “assessing the key drivers and influences on the sector”.
“That means identifying trends, what the economic, demographic, and regulatory factors behind these trends are, as well as outlining the key challenges facing the industry,” Mr Chester said
Representatives from the GA sector will be offered the opportunity to assist with the work. Mr Chester will also ask the General Aviation Action Group, formerly a subgroup of the Aviation Industry Consultative Council, to report directly to him in future.
“The action group will also act as a reference group for the BITRE general aviation study,” Mr Chester said. “I am looking forward to seeing the results of this study as we work with industry and other key stakeholders on the common goal of a safe, growing and sustainable Australian general aviation industry.”
The review comes after months of vocal dissent from industry groups including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Australian Aviation Associations Forum, which have railed against what they describe as the death of Australian general aviation.
Earlier this year the AOPA — which represents 2600 general aviation aircraft owners and pilots in private, commercial charter and airline operations across Australia — issued its 130-page Eureka report, a scathing indictment of aviation bureaucracies that blamed creeping over-regulation for a dramatic decline in aircraft movements at secondary airports, a drastic reduction in aviation mechanical engineering apprenticeships and the destruction of small aviation businesses.
The review comes after The Australian revealed data in August — collated by AOPA using CASA, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics sources — showing the number of GA pilots in Australia had plummeted 34 per cent (by about 8000 licensees) since 2000. In the same period aviation fuel consumption fell 35 per cent. Aircraft registrations fell 13 per cent since 2000 and 53 per cent since 2007.
AOPA executive director Ben Morgan said the review would finally put an end to the debate regarding the large-scale decline of Australian general aviation.
“For too long general aviation has suffered under an overly bureaucratic regulatory framework that has driven up costs, reduced competitiveness and sent businesses broke,” Mr Morgan told The Australian. “The minister now has a unique opportunity to hit the reset button and to address the significant declines that have been caused by regulatory mismanagement.”
A Senate committee is considering launching a new inquiry to get to the bottom of suspect financial dealings surrounding Airservices Australia’s $1.5 billion OneSky air traffic control program.
The move follows dissatisfaction among senators across the political spectrum over Airservices’ handling of contracts for OneSky and the performance of the government-owned organisation’s chief executive Jason Harfield at a Senate hearing this week.
Mr Harfield came in for a grilling in the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee on Monday, with senators accusing him of trying to talk over his interrogators.
The committee’s chairman, National Party senator Barry O’Sullivan, deputy chairman, Labor senator Glenn Sterle, and independent senator Nick Xenophon took turns demanding answers following a damning report by the Australian National Audit Office into one aspect of Airservices’ contracting for OneSky.
Senator O’Sullivan revealed the committee was considering launching an inquiry into the broader issues of Airservices’ handling of OneSky.
“This committee is very concerned about the operations of your body,” Senator O’Sullivan told Mr Harfield and Airservices chief financial officer Paul Logan.
“So I too would urge you to get to the point — hair on it and all — because this is an ongoing matter. The committee sits on a deliberation as to whether it will have an inquiry into these matters, and it would certainly assist us if you were able to get to the heart of the question without too much window-dressing.”
In August the Audit Office tabled its much anticipated report on contract arrangements between Airservices and an obscure Canberra-based group with military links known as the International Centre for Complex Project Management.
Among the findings, Airservices paid ICCPM consultants up to $5000 a day over 18 months to advise on the OneSky project, which is designed to integrate the military and civilian air traffic control systems into a single state-of-the-art network by 2021.
“Overall, Airservices’ approach to contracting ICCPM was ineffective in providing value-for-money outcomes,” the Audit Office said in its report.
The report was particularly critical of the appointment of one ICCPM consultant, Harry Bradford, dubbed “the Million Dollar Man”. Airservices had engaged him (and paid more than $ 1 million) to negotiate on its behalf with the lead contractor for the OneSky project, European aerospace group Thales.
“Airservices did not apply any consideration to potential, actual, or perceived conflict of interest,” the report said.
At Monday’s hearing, Senator Xenophon asked Mr Harfield if any individual had “got their backside kicked”. Mr Harfield responded that there had been “counselling taken on how practices were not adhered to”, but, said “no one has done anything untoward”.
Senator Xenophon: “A noncompliance on probity issues is not untoward?”
Mr Harfield: “They were what we would call authorised exemptions to the probity practices.”
Senator O’Sullivan yesterday told The Australian any decision on whether to launch a new inquiry would be guided by all members of the committee, and most likely after the Audit Office tabled a further report in May after investigating Airservices’ appointment of Thales.
But he said his impression was that senators across the committee were “dissatisfied with what they have before them” and that they would not rest until convinced its administration was “100 per cent right”.
Senator Sterle said he would “support any motion from the committee to have a further inquiry into Airservices”.
Around 11th October 2016, a fire broke out after changed wind conditions and is suspected to be from a controlled burn about 15km south of Ravenshoe on the Wooroora Road. By Saturday, it was under control with just over 3000 hectares burnt.
Fire Controller, Bernard Grech of the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services reports that in some of the more difficult areas, trees and other materials were left to burn out.
There was a high level of technology displayed at the Control Centre with Ipad updates following the fire lines and monitoring slow spread of the fire fronts into the wind.
Air attack supervisor Barry Semple from Rockhampton was on the scene during Friday and Saturday, with three helicopters used to check on the fire progress and deployment of firefighters and equipment.
Of three aircraft Robinson R44, Bell Longranger and a $3.8m Airbus H125 two were used with one on standby.
Limited use was made of the Bambi Bucket during the week, with only 42 minutes of direct water drops being made on ember attacks to surrounding areas from the fire.
Mr. Grech said ” The air use was invaluable to fire fighters to assist in determining strategies and tactics to keep the fire within containment lines”
Airbus H125 departs from Ken Holt’s property for an aerial survey on Saturday afternoon
John lost his flying licence on this basis and #casa has failed to make amends since.
John Quadrio’s case:
A similar report is made by #casa’s prime witness, Ben Coglan, when he told John Moore, the #casa investigator for Quadrio. Remember, although Haslam never appears in this paperwork, an interview with John tells us that Haslam was in the background.
A CAIRNS woman has been forced to leave town and change her phone number multiple times after being persistently stalked by a former partner she met online.
The woman, aged in her 40s, who does not want to be named, said she was virtually living in fear, was forced to uproot her life and a good job in the Far North and claimed the harassment had continued despite her move.
The offender, Benjamin James Coglan, 31, was sentenced in court in June for a number of offences against her, including one instance where he posed as a Cairns detective and convinced the woman’s daughter to pass on her new contact details.
The woman said he continued to email several times a week and had attempted to find her address in Brisbane.
“Having to move from Cairns was pretty much the ultimate straw,” she said.
“It was very stressful having to move from a job I love and friends. I’d been there for 10 years.
“I’ve had to change my phone number three times. He got my work number in Brisbane and I had to change that.”
She said the pair dated briefly after meeting online in 2015, when he passed himself off as a pilot and had the Jetstar logo tattooed on his arm.
She ended the relationship after about four months and he kicked in her car door.
She said she had been left furious with the legal system.
At his sentence in June he was handed a jail sentence for four of the offences, but granted immediate release and given a 12-month intensive community order.
She said she continued to report the ongoing incidents to police, but felt it was falling on deaf ears.
“I don’t think the police see it as a big deal,” she said.
“No one is corresponding with us and telling us what is going on.
“The advice I was given by police was if he does come to my door to call triple 0 and then it’s already too late.”
Her current partner, who also did not want to be named, described Coglan as a “sicko” whose behaviour has had permanent effects.
“If anyone contacts her who she doesn’t know we have to assume it’s Ben and that’s not a life to live,” he said.
“The bottom line is he’s a germ and he won’t back off.”
The Cairns Post understands Coglan is facing two other charges in relation to the woman and is due to face Cairns Magistrates Court again on October 21.
Far North police Det Acting Insp Mick Gooiker said persistent stalking incidents were a major concern.
“Police will always treat these matters seriously,” he said.