Its worth having another look at the March 2008 audit of PelAir.
1. An audit had been planned in October 2007, but this audit was terminated as the majority of pilots did not submit their logbooks. The audit was rescheduled for 12-13 March 2008. Page 3.
2. PelAir hasd been operating under a Fatigue Risk Manaement System (FRMS) for 11 months. However pilots had not received training in FRMS. This non-compliance was considered by CASA to be an imminent safety threat. On 12 March 2008, CASA issued an immediate Safety Alert, which precluded further operations under the FRMS. On 17 March 2008, PelAir advised CASA the required training had been completed. On 18 March 2008, CASA approved PelAir to resume operations under the FRMS – possibly a record turnaround by CASA. Page 3.
3. There were other deficiencies in addition to the FRMS training. Review of pilots records showed 80% had no evidence of training in emergency procedures (page 4), and irregularities in the renewal of instrument ratings (page 4).
4. On 11 October 2008, CASA formally documented that all active pilots had been trained in the FRMS. Page 45.
Which should be all well and good.
But it does make you wonder why the 2009 post-crash CASA special audit (only 12 months later) again found serious issues with fatigue and the FRMS. Four pages (22-25) of this 2009 audit deal solely with faitgue management deficiencies.
- “Most crew itentified a lack of understanding of the FRMS processes, and crews regarded the training as inefficient and ineffective.” Page 22.
- There was an “FRMS knowledge gap displayed by the pilots.” Page 22.
- “PelAir have not managed fatigue risk to a standard considered appropriate…” Page 23.
These 2009 audit findings appear at odds with all the training condcuted by PelAir and approved by CASA in 2008, and with CASA approving a return to FRMS operations.
These audit findings also raise questions why the final ATSB report was not critical of CASA’s regulatory oversight of PelAir throughout this period.