It was my intention to avoid the hand wringing and hair pulling associated with the fatal CFIT event which occurred during and instrument approach by a Metroliner to the remote coastal airstrip of Lockhart river. There where 15 fatalities that fateful day. I can see no practical or intrinsic value in rehashing the event or the appalling behaviour of the CASA before, during and after the event. There was, rightfully a huge to-do, a Senate inquiry, miles of press coverage, much embarrassment and enough righteous anger to carry through the past decade. Result – only one thing changed. The system was manipulated and managed to a point where in any accident, no matter what the truth was, a predetermined outcome could be guaranteed.
You may believe I am drawing a rather long bow; but proof of this is highly visible and readily discernable through a study of the ditched Medi-vac Westwing jet off Norfolk Island nearly five ago. The lessons learnt, by CASA during the Lockhart debacle were on display. Once the deliberate, callus manipulation of the ‘blame game’ was exposed through the Senate inquiry, once the willing acquiescence of the ATSB was exposed, once the Rev Forsyth’s independent examination was complete; and once the Canadian TSBC had completed their peer review; a thinking person could expect some major changes and at least a couple of heads on a spikes. Not a bit of it, not a flicker of conscience, no apology, no changes. Just the arrogant staring down of honest folk and a demand for a fee increase and the like it or lump it introduction of even more flawed legislation which further removes CASA from any shadow of responsibility – if that were possible.
…..More for my own satisfaction than in any hope of real change resulting from the exercise, I redrafted the abridged PAIN analysis replacing Transair with Pel-Air and paralleling, with some literary licence, the cause and effect. In the essential areas, the similarities are as striking as the regulatory and safety bodies behaviour was disgraceful.
I will despite my misgivings, post this; and the link – HERE – will provide from the AP library the abridged PAIN Lockhart analysis, produced for Shane Urquhart and his fellow travellers, so you may draw your own conclusions.
That’s it from me on Lockhart, it is terrible that there was a fatal preventable accident, but I believe the behaviour of the regulator and the safety body since then, having embraced the devil, revel in being firmly on the road to perdition.
My sincere condolences to Shane and the other families so deeply affected by their loss, made worse by an uncaring, cynical system.