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For reading on PelAir:


report Senate Inquiry Report – PelAir

PelAir Inquiry – senate May 2013

Nick Xenophon – Independent Senator for South Australia

Ben Sandilands reports again:

Monday, September 9, 2013


Air safety failures will dog Albanese as Labor leader or contender


Ex deputy PM and Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese carries some excess baggage related to the Pel-Air crash fiasco and the abuse of due process he tolerated in CASA and the ATSB should he contest or win the Labor leadership, as widely speculated today.

Albanese had an outstanding term as minister in those portfolios in relation to rail and roads, and a dismal record when it came to his responsibilities in relation to air safety in this country.

The evidence for this is on the parliamentary record in the proceedings of the recent Senate committee inquiry into the ATSB’s investigation into the crash of a Pel-Air ambulance flight near Norfolk Island in 2009.

While the jet involved was a small Westwind, and no one died (miraculously) the accident gave rise to a series of appalling disclosures of deliberate malpractice in the two aviation authorities, the safety regulator, CASA and the accident investigator, the ATSB.

The findings of the Senate committee support fears that neither body has the integrity of management nor the technical skills or the commitments to aviation safety that most Australians would take for granted as being delivered and maintained on their behalf.

The incoming government need go no further than to obtain a briefing from Senator David Fawcett, (Liberal, South Australia) who with his state’s independent Senator, Nick Xenophon, pursued and disinterred a rotten state of affairs in both bodies which ought to be of considerable concern to whomever becomes the minister responsible for aviation in the Abbott Government.

The findings of the committee include an entire chapter detailing its dissatisfaction with the testimony given by the chief commissioner of the ATSB, Martin Dolan.

Anthony Albanese had a responsibility to parliament to respond to the Senate report in 90 days, and late in May gave such a commitment in the clearest of terms, yet he did not honour his word.

Senator Fawcett made a measured speech concerning the state of affairs in relation to the Pel-Air crash which should be read in conjunction with the committee’s final report.

While aspects of the crash, its investigation, and the Senate’s own inquiries have been reported at great length in Plane Talking, these are among the main matters:-

CASA withheld from the ATSB, contrary to the wording of the Transport Safety Investigation Act, an internal document related to the crash which revealed that had CASA carried out its duties of oversight in relation to Pel-Air, it may have prevented the accident happening.

The Director of Safety for CASA, John McCormick, admitted in testimony that he withheld the document, saying inter alia that he didn’t think it mattered to the investigation the ATSB was conducting, and that he didn’t want to pollute its deliberations.

The documentation that McCormick withheld containing damning evidence of CASA’s inadequacy and incompetence as a safety regulator.

The documents reveals that Pel-Air the operator of the crashed jet was in multiple serious breaches of its air operators certificate at the time of the crash, and that it had no rigorous fuel policy for oceanic flights like that being performed by the Pel-Air jet.

The Senate inquiry, comprising Senators of all parties, heard that the ATSB report into what was the world’s first ditching of a fully functioning Westwind jet (but which was about to run out of fuel) failed to make any safety recommendations even though all of the safety equipment on board the aircraft failed to work as intended.

It also learned that the ATSB had declined to recover the flight data recorder from the wreckage, which lies at a recoverable depth near Norfolk Island, and which should have established what meteorological updates were given to the pilot during a flight that had started in Apia, and whether that information was in fact correct.

The captain of the jet, Dominic James, says he did not become aware of the deteriorated state of the weather at his intended refueling stop at Norfolk Island until after he had flown passed the last point of opportunity to divert to airports in Noumea or Fiji.

(After four missed approaches and nearing fuel exhaustion, he made a controlled ditching at sea, while all of the aircraft’s controls and systems had the benefit of full power).

The ATSB’s final report into the Pel-Air crash stitched up the pilot for incorrectly fueling the flight, ignored the systemic issues in CASA, and does not meet the expectations of the international air safety community in alerting it to safety issues or deficiencies in a particular type of aircraft.

The Pel-Air report is a festering embarrassment in Australia’s once unquestioned place as a first tier state in relation to air safety.

It is an embarrassment Albanese carries with him should be seek Labor leadership, and it is a matter needing urgent attention by his ministerial successor in the new government.

The remedying of the Pel-Air report, and the reform of the ATSB and CASA ought to be the top priorities of the incoming minister.




Chris Reason and the prime report led off then, The gloves are off, with the Ben Sandilands article in Plane Talking and the pprune posts:

Old 28th Aug 2013, 22:00   #1379 (permalink)
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Top article tonight by Ben following Chris Reason on Prime tonightCome on albo. you must answerPel-Air on prime time TV snares Minister’s false statement | Plane Talking

Last edited by Up-into-the-air; 28th Aug 2013 at 22:03.

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Old 28th Aug 2013, 22:16   #1380 (permalink)
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DPM’s false statement on PelAir report!

FFS did he think the IOS wouldn’t notice??

Pel-Air on prime time TV snares Minister’s false statementThe Minister for Transport Anthony Albanese was caught out on 7 News tonight in a report by Chris Reason on the festering sore that is the proven hush up by CASA and the ATSB of all of the circumstances that were relevant to the crash of a Pel-Air operated air ambulance flight near Norfolk Island in 2009.Albanese said he was unable to take action over a damning Senate committee report on lies and deceits of Australia’s two air safety authorities because parliament went into caretaker mode.Minister, this is total unmitigated rubbish. Caretaker mode began on 5 August.On 29 May after consultation with your department Plane Talking published this story as to the urgency with which you and your departmental head Mike Mrdak were claimed to be responding to the unanimous report of the Senate Committee inquiry into aviation safety investigations with particular reference to the performance of the ATSB (the safety investigator) and CASA (the safety regulator).At that inquiry the Director of Safety at CASA, John McCormick, admitted to withholding an internal audit by CASA that found that the accident was preventable if CASA had actually carried out its duties and obligations in law in relation to the oversight of Pel-Air.Mr McCormick also apologised for his actions, which the committee has referred to the Australian Federal Police to resolve whether or not it was action that constituted an offence under the Transport Safety Investigations Act of 2003. (If the words in the act mean what they say, McCormick broke the law.)

The committee went on to devote an entire chapter of its report into its lack of confidence in the testimony given by the chief commissioner for the ATSB, Martin Dolan. The committee’s findings, made by a panel drawn from Labor, the Coalition and the Greens, was unanimous in its findings.

It also recommended, among other things, that the ATSB reconsider its final accident report and in the process retrieve the data recorder from the wreckage of the jet, which lies at a recoverable depth on the sea floor near Norfolk Island where it came to rest after being ditched immediately before it ran out of fuel. (All six persons on board were subsequently rescued by a fishing boat in the middle of the night).

The ATSB has deliberately chosen not to recover the data, which carries the distinct possibility of proving that the pilot did not receive correct meteorological information before flying the jet to a position where it could no longer divert to an alternative airport in Noumea or Fiji should it be unable to land at Norfolk Island for a refueling stop.

The ATSB failed to honor its international obligations to make safety recommendations in relation to the failure on board the ditched jet of all of the safety equipment to perform as intended. It regarded the eventual discovery that CASA had found Pel-Air to be in breach of dozens of safety requirements at the time of the crash as ‘immaterial’, and it framed its final report to visit the entire blame for the accident on the captain Dominic James, who was central to the 7 News report, which should be readily found by a search query on the internet later tonight.

As Mick Quinn, the former deputy chief executive officer of CASA told Chris Reason on 7 News tonight, this corrupted and untruthful circus performance by the safety bodies in relation to the Pel-Air investigation has destroyed Australia’s reputation as a first class nation when it comes to the administration of air safety.

Minister, you are personally responsible for this. You allowed commitments to be made on your behalf, which were not honoured, and you have demonstrated contempt for the Senate of Australia by not responding to the committee’s recommendations within 90 days.

This means you have not acted in a timely manner to correct or restore the integrity of the aviation safety authorities, and that means the safety of Australian air travellers, and those of foreign airlines and their passengers using our air space and airports, is no longer a given.

On 30 May Plane Talking reported on the intention of the department of Infrastructure and Transport to ‘ride out’ the controversy over the disgraceful report issed by the ATSB into this accident.

Minister, surely you are not a party to ‘riding out’ critically important air safety issues? The world is unlikely to let Australia get away with such a poor attitude, as explained in this more recent report.

If the Minister can say so during caretaker mode, what was he thinking when he gave his misleading answer about his inability to repond to these matters in the Chris Reason interview?

Was it amnesia? Or did he think no one would notice that what was broadcast tonight was in conflict with his position at the end of May?

And here’s a link for Ch7 news piece : Pilot’s scathing attack on air safety agencies

And Albo not just anyone can refer a matter to the AFP…doh!

Referrals to the AFP
{lie 2 in about a dozen words from the DPM}

When a matter can be referred to the AFP An Australian Government department or agency may refer a matter to the AFP Operations Monitoring Centre (OMC) in the State or Territory where the suspected offence/s occurred if it:

  • identifies any serious breach of federal legislation
  • considers the AFP Case Categorisation and Prioritisation Model
  • considers the matter is appropriate for referral to the AFP
  • requires AFP assistance or advice in relation to an investigation being conducted by that department or agency into suspected breaches of Federal legislation

How to make a referral

For initial enquiries or pre-referral advice, departments and agencies should call the local AFP Operations Monitoring Centre.

All referrals should be made using an AFP Referral Form (DOC, 100KB). If you are having trouble accessing this document, please call the local AFP Operations Monitoring Centre.

Referrals should be sent to the AFP Operations Monitoring Centre in the State or Territory where the suspected offences occurred. The referral should include all relevant referral information and documents (letter and attachments).

Referrals may be sent by email or post, or delivered by hand. Agencies should consider the security classification and sensitivity of the information contained in the referral when deciding how to send it to the AFP.

All referral letters to the AFP must, as a minimum, include the following:

  • copies of all documents relevant to the referral
  • action being requested of the AFP
  • if the department or agency wants the AFP to consider a joint investigation, details should be included (such as which resources they are able to provide)
  • the suspected breaches including specific legislation offence(s)
  • details of the suspected offender(s) including name, date of birth, location (where known)
  • the suspect’s criminal history, if known, and information relating to circumstances where they have previously come to the department or agency’s attention
  • a chronological account of the facts or evidence supporting the suspected breach(es)
  • value of the revenue loss or potential losses for the department or agency
  • a summary of all enquiries or investigations already undertaken by the department or agency
  • details of witnesses
  • if the suspect(s) is aware of the department or agency’s investigation/allegation
  • references to any specific legislative provisions including consent to prosecute or time limitation regarding commencement of prosecution
  • copies of relevant legal advice sought by, and provided to, the department or agency
  • significance or impact of the referral to the department or agency
  • the department or agency case reference number and other reference details, including the operation’s name
  • details of the department or agency’s nominated case officer and/or contact person including their contact details

Where search warrants or operational action is proposed, departments and agencies are requested to provide Standard Tactical Plans or similar planning documentation with the referral documents.