The sexual life of the camel

Of Medicals and Mathematics.

“And thus, by combining the uncertainty of chance with the force of mathematical proof and by the reconciliation of two apparent opposites, she derives her name from both of them and rightfully assumes the wonderful name of Mathematics of Chance!”

And that exactly sums up Avmed's conundrum – no matter which way the flipped coin lands. The proposition that a weight limitation on the aircraft operated by those who hold an exemption against a mandatory medical check will reduce the risk matrix is mathematically flawed. The AVMED base tenet is that should the pilot of a 2000 Kg aircraft be incapacitated, and collide with an inhabited area the carnage would be less than if a 2100-- 2500 – 3000 – 5700 kg aircraft in the same scenario.

There is a certainly logic in that notion; a PA 31 (Chieftain) with 9 passengers landing out of control in an urban area is potentially catastrophic – remember the Canely Vale event. So size does matter; fair enough. However; and this is where it becomes debatable; is why select an arbitrary weight limit which precludes a fairly substantial range of popular light aircraft. A 'risk' matrix would not be too difficult to build, one  which would allow the private citizen some latitude. 

“A likely impossibility is always preferable to an unconvincing possibility. The story should never be made up of improbable incidents; there should be nothing of the sort in it.”

For example – Charlie owns a 'war-bird' – drags it out once a fortnight, dusts it off and ambles off for an hour or so of aero's and a few circuits. Percentage chances of incapacitation during that 90 minutes; or, even the percentage chance of that occurring over a 'critical' area – slim to anorexic.

For example – Peter owns a Bonanza – half a dozen times a year he and some friends depart a city aerodrome for a weekend 'in the bush'. Couple of hours each way – four airborne hours in total. The time 'city' environs are at risk from wheels up to clear the area – what – six, eight minutes. Percentage chances of a catastrophic medical event – somewhere over the far mathematical horizon.

In both cases the percentage chances of either pilot becoming totally incapacitated during the airborne time are mighty slim; and, given that 99.9% of pilots are sensible folk who are very aware of their own personal 'health' condition; and risks, realise that it it most unwise to fly with even a head cold – then the setting of an arbitrary weight limit seems a little pointless. There other alternative solutions which make good sense, based on sound logic and the laws of probability.

“I know that two and two make four - and should be glad to prove it too if I could - though I must say if by any sort of process I could convert 2 and 2 into five it would give me much greater pleasure.”

I doubt anyone would object to an annual check up from their GP; nor taking any of the tests their Doctor requested or required; nor complying with advised restrictions or medication directions. So, why not simply make it a rule that an annual check up, from the local GP is mandatory for those who own and fly their own aircraft, no matter the MTOW. For those who choose to hire an aircraft the receipt from the GP showing the date of the medical exam (copied and filed) should be sufficient 'legal' currency to allow the use of an aircraft. Routine care and maintenance for the non professional cohort.

“In these matters, the only certainty is that nothing is certain”

The 'mathematics' and probability analysis beggar the Avmed argument that 2000 kg MTOW is a 'safe' bet, it ain't; its a nonsense. Analysis shows clearly that the Avmed argument is lazy, emotive and logically flawed. A simple one page analysis of the UK and USA data makes Avmed and panel look like a bunch of amateurs desperately trying to cover their nether regions with Teflon coated stainless steel.

“Positive, adj.: Mistaken at the top of one's voice.”

That adjective may be liberally applied to both Morgan and Avmed; sensible parents would bang their silly heads together and send 'em off to bed with out TV or supper.

Steam off – but seriously -

“Common sense is seeing things as they are; and doing things as they ought to be.”

Toot – toot....

Sandy's reply to this week's LMH -  Wink

 Medical reform? 

“ This issue has been going on for far too long, and now it's time to get it done, easy way or hard way.”

There were great expectations in 2014 from the Government’s General Aviation (GA) inquiry that culminated in the Forsyth Report.  It produced some 35 recommendations for reform accepted by government. That inquiry was informed by 269 submissions but the regulatory environment for GA has, arguably, become worse. For one example look at the horrific treatment by CASA of Glen Buckley and the loss of flying schools, some like the Rockhampton Aero Club that have been around for donkey’s years training generations of pilots. 
I wrote an article at that time to this magazine at the editor’s invitation entitled “High hopes or Soft Soaps?” As predicted ‘soft soaps’ won hands down. As for medical reform, people seem to have extremely short memories, only about six years ago we given the wonderful new GP assessed Basic Class 2 which was a great idea but required a higher standard (unconditional) than a heavy commercial vehicle standard. 
If CASA was genuine it could immediately allow the Basic Class 2 to operate as a GP assessed medical to the same standard as commercial heavy vehicle standard which allows conditions to be imposed, or to the car driver standard. As one pilot who drives fuel tankers wrote, he could drive a tanker full of avgas through a city but wasn’t fit to fly privately according to the Basic Class 2 “reform.”  

MTF...P2  Tongue

Ben Morgan fires a broadside at Su_Spence, Manderson and LMH!!   Rolleyes

Via Facebook:

CASA bollocks 'stating the facts' presser:

Quote:Type: Stating the facts
Date: 23 June 2023
An update on the industry technical working group looking at aviation medical reform.
[Image: aviation-medical-news-article.jpg?h=10d2...k=J0aBD1Lj]
A key area of focus has been on finding the right balance between the level of medical assurance and the level of operational freedom that would deliver the greatest benefit to private and recreational aviation in Australia.

Anyone managing risks is familiar with the two sides of the risk equation – consequence and likelihood. If you can keep the consequences low, you can accept a higher chance of something going wrong. If the consequences are high, we all expect more effort to assure safety.

In practical terms, the group has been debating what level of operational freedoms is important for sport and recreational activity across the wide range of aviation in Australia – so that the level of medical assurance can be appropriately matched.

Parameters like the size or weight of an aircraft, or the altitude that you want to operate at will affect how much medical assurance is needed to keep the risks to passengers or third parties appropriate. These are the types of operational parameters the group has been providing guidance on.

We expect to be putting a proposed model to the aviation community for comment soon.

The Technical Working Group consists of representatives from across the aviation community bringing diverse and different perspectives.

We’re disappointed that one working group member from AOPA has been unable to accept that there are views beyond his own and participate respectfully. He won’t be participating further but we can assure members of that industry association that we value their input and that their interests will continue to be represented by others.

Kind of sounds very similar to the Hooded Canary's instigated ATSB correcting the record??

Ref: MH370 reporting by The Australian

MTF...P2  Tongue

I’m sorry, but no.

The original issue was self certification.

That means that the decision to fly is solely in the hands of the aviator, period.

That decision may be informed by certain official caveats or not but it remains the pilots decision

AVMED have neatly perverted the so called consultation into “what level of medical assurance is appropriate (to who?????) for various categories of aviation activities.” This is dishonest farce because it opens the door to the same hair splitting and outright dishonesty AVMED and CASA is famous for.

By all means set a weight limit, but set it for the purpose of ensuring commercial and private licence capability limits don’t overlap

After that, leave it to the pilot, period. If you don’t - by falling for Mandersons snake oil and leaving the door open to fine distinctions - starting with requiring “a little chat” with a GP annually, then your reform is useless.

Why??? Exactly who is going to brief your GP?? AVMED that’s who! Do you actually think that ANY GP, or their insurance company is going to be delighted to say “Sure Fred, I think you are good to go for another year, have fun!”. My GP read the basic class2 paperwork and said words to the effect that there is no way in hell he was going to sign anyone off “unconditionally”.

Leave the door ajar and AVMED will prise it open. It’s self certification or nothing.

Couldn't agree more – but, (for sake of discussion) –

Wombat  - “My GP read the basic class 2 paperwork and said words to the effect that there is no way in hell he was going to sign anyone off “unconditionally”.

Couldn't agree more – but, (for sake of discussion) –

This is one of the 'flaws' in the Avmed system – a DAME sign off is a requirement with legal whistles and bells – insurance ramifications and etc. for commercial operations. But it begs the question – will the insurance company covering Fred's Bonanza accept a self declared medical? I reckon they would – take the money – and deny any claim made on the basis that Fred was 'unfit' to fly on the day of the prang. Evidenced that he had not been within cooee of a Doctor's office for years. This has sod all to do with Avmed though – a simple private record of annual check up by GP (and any treatments recommended and complete) would put a lid on the insurance denial of payout.

Wombat - “That means that the decision to fly is solely in the hands of the aviator, period.”

Couldn't agree more – but, (for sake of discussion) – there's a couple of bumps within the concept which need to be ironed out. The decision 'to fly or not to fly' has always been solely the decision of the individual, no matter what the medical certificate held. Which is great; and very much part of the 'command' discretion one could expect from a pilot, no matter the class if licence held. But, nearly all decisions made by pilots are based on 'knowledge' – of what they know, can see, hear or discover – depending on the level of training required to gain the qualification held. That may make 'em their own master – airborne – and decisions made based against certain knowledge are valid.  What they are not is 'medical' experts and a self diagnosis made without a solid 'base line' is an elevated risk.  Your car gets a 'once over' every year for rego – good to go out of the shed – but, there's nothing in that to guarantee 100% that it wont pack up half way home; it's a fair bet that it won't – and that is a reasonable assumption to make before a long road trip – you know the car is 'fit'. Same - same with pilots – a once year 'inspection' to make sure the 'essentials' are up to snuff; or have had the repairs required done is not too big an incubus; no need for 'official' interference; just common sense to check the tyres and under the bonnet once in a while.   Would you go flying without a valid MR and a daily inspection?   

Wombat - “By all means set a weight limit, but set it for the purpose of ensuring commercial and private licence capability limits don’t overlap.”

An old puzzle, but does setting a weight limit achieve anything? This is where it becomes debatable. Why select an arbitrary weight limit which precludes a fairly substantial range of popular light aircraft? Baron @ 2300 Kg – Bonanza 1726 Kg. A simple risk matrix, based on operations, annual flight time, type of operation etc would help define the actual 'risk' of medical incapacitation to a realistic median.

Oh, I don't know where the solution lays – but the UK and the USA seem to have managed to do it, quite nicely, without the ructions and angst. Perhaps we could just  follow the lead of the 'gold standard' first world nations and just get on with it.

Toot – toot..

The MTF part:-

– but the UK and the USA seem to have managed to do it, quite nicely, without the ructions and angst. Perhaps we could just  follow the lead of the 'gold standard' first world nations and just get on with it. “

I spent an educational half hour on the AOPA USA web site – HERE – and it was time well spent. Always a treat to watch an expert at work. Just how they managed to get things sorted out is a tribute and credit to them. The video below needs but 10 minutes to watch, time well spent IMO.

A neat package, probably not everyone's ideal solution, but by Golly, it is a very workable compromise to a complex matter. Nicely done AOPA (USA)...

Toot – toot..

Sandy email to Stakeholder Engagement Executive Manager Andreas Marcelja Rolleyes

Via the AP emails:

Quote:Dear Andreas Marcelja,
I’ve been given your email address by Ms. Pip Spence in regard to a proposed medical certification reform that’s being considered. 
I understand that there’s a possibility that a weight limit of 2000kg may be imposed on a new self declared medical standard for private pilots. 
I would object to that limit on the basis of safety and efficiency. 
The heavier aircraft such as the Beechcraft Baron, 2313kg, that I fly privately has two engines and flies well on one engine. 
1/.Statistically the chances of a General Aviation aircraft crashing by engine failure, the great majority being single engine types, are greater than the risk of aircraft crashing due to a pilot medical incapacitation. Flying twin reduces that risk of injuries on the ground due to a forced landing. 
2/. Heavier twin engine aircraft are usually faster than their lighter counterparts. For example my Baron cruises at 190 knots. If the 2000 weight limit exists I will be encouraged to sell my Baron and most likely buy a slower 120kt aircraft thereby increasing the risk (albeit an incalculably minute risk) of experiencing a medical incapacitation event whilst in flight. In other words faster aircraft spend less time in the air, thus reducing ‘risk’. 
3/. By encouraging Private Pilots to migrate into slower, and usually single engine aircraft, the market will, to some extent, devalue the heavier and more capable aircraft. Due to our low value dollar even more aircraft will be sold to overseas buyers. This reduces the fleet available to provide the most capable aircraft for the various uses that all of General Aviation needs, particularly for training that flows into commercial pilots and aircraft for all sorts of crucial purposes like air ambulance, firefighting, air rescue, aero medical and business charter. 
The health of General Aviation and safety of flight are interdependent, overly restrictive rules and increasing expenses means less flying and it’s well established that pilots that fly frequently maintain and increase their safe abilities. Financial stress can cause short cuts;  and excessive, ever changing and complex rules do not contribute to the health and safety of GA, including jobs growth and the importance of GA for National security. 
I have been subject over 20 years to an annual stress test that my specialist and DAME deem as not necessary. 
The USA statistics plainly show that  aviation specific medicals have no bearing on the (extremely low) occurrence of accidents caused by medical incapacitation. See below. 
As a private pilot might typically only fly 50  - 100 hours annually compared to, say, 200 hours driving a motor vehicle, if medical incapacitation was a problem it would surely show up on our roads. 
It has become obvious that the USA standard is one successful answer to private pilot medical certification with some 80,000 certifications accomplished in the five or six years of BasicMed implementation in the USA. 
Main limiting provisions of their BasicMed being six seats and 18,000,’ but does include IFR. The six seat provision caters for the ‘size’ argument, though statistically there’s no basis for that as creating an appreciable risk. 
Please pass this submission to the appropriate groups and please advise me of any questions or outcomes. 
Thanking you, 
Alexander Cran (Sandy) Reith
CPL (1968) 010873 
MTF...P2  Tongue

Clinton McKenzie discussion on CVD with John O'Brien -  Wink

Via Youtube:

Quote:Along with Dr Arthur Pape, John O'Brien fought CASA Avmed's damaging overreach on colour vision deficiency. John is going to discuss his career progression and perspectives on the differing regulatory approaches to CVD.

MTF...P2  Tongue

Thanks to Clinton McKenzie as organiser and the panel of John O’Brien and Arthur Pape for their informative discussions about AVMED’s latest backwards attack on pilots who don’t have full colour vision. This in light of the incontrovertible fact that they have proven totally capable of flying in keeping with accepted standards, and having passed internationally accepted tests of vision relating to their flying licences.

Shining light on the damaging machinations of CASA’s aviation medical branch is necessary if Australia wishes to have the benefits of a healthy aviation industry.

For clarification, "OCVA" means the Operational Colour Vision Assessment". It is the Assessment implemented in NZ and was the Assessment adopted by CASA for Australian purposes. The OCVA was then dumped by CASA, without notice and explanation, about 18 months ago.

CASA Avmed decided that it will reinvent the wheel and call its invention the "ACVA" - the Australian Colour Vision Assessment. The air and colours in Australia are, of course, different to the rest of the world and CASA Avmed knows best.

An FOI request for access to the documents showing the decision-making process and evidence taken into consideration leading to these decisions was too hard for CASA to comply with. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is now reviewing, at my request, CASA's refusal.

CASA Avmed continues to stuff around, with no commitment to an implementation date for the ACVA, which will almost certainly be a colour vision test poorly disguised as the simulation of an operational situation. CASA Avmed does all this with insouciant indifference to the stress and upheaval caused to their CVD guinea pigs by the unannounced changes and uncertainty.

This is yet another disgraceful manifestation of governance failures in CASA.

Clinton McKenzie on a mission with CASA AVMAD!! -  Wink

Via the UP:

Quote:Clinton McKenzie

What’s CASA doing with our sensitive medical information?

Among the most sensitive – if not the most sensitive – information about us is our medical information. Each time we make an application to CASA Avmed for a medical certificate, we provide them yet more sensitive information.

Because of my concern for aviation safety in the real world, where Avmed’s increasingly overreaching behaviour is resulting in pilots being increasingly unwilling to disclose information to Avmed and – worse still – to seek medical advice on potential issues for fear that it will get back to Avmed – an outcome inimical to aviation safety - I entered into some correspondence with CASA’s privacy folk recently. My correspondence was precipitated by my recollection that, years ago, there was a ‘tick box’, on the medical certificate application form, which you could tick to consent to the information in the form being used in medical studies. That tick box has gone. These days we’re apparently simply “acknowledging” that our information – “deidentified” – can be used in “research” (and “internal audit”).

(This is one of the many reasons for my description of us medical certificate applicants as “guinea pigs”. Each time we’re sent off to some expensive and sometimes risky tests which qualified specialists say are not justified, it appears we’re providing more data to Avmed for “research”. My educated guess is that the results of the “research” are used to justify Avmed’s own existence and the ‘need’ to intrude into the ‘management’ of the ever-increasing number of ‘aero-medically relevant’ conditions they keep discovering. I anticipate the results are also the subject of Avmed conference echo chambers.)

For my part, I disclose my information for the purpose of, and only for the purpose of, being assessed against the statutory criteria for the issue of a medical certificate. I either meet those criteria or I don’t, and whether my information – deidentified or otherwise – is used in research is irrelevant to that question.

In essence, I asked how CASA got the job of using or disclosing our deidentified sensitive medical information for “research” purposes. I noted that the word “research” appears nowhere in CASA’s functions in the Civil Aviation Act. (CASA does have the function of, for example, cooperating with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau in relation to investigations under the TSI Act that relate to aircraft, and the ATSB can compel CASA to provide medical information about us in the course an investigation. There’s no deidentification required in that case, for obvious reasons.) CASA doesn’t have the corporate competence to do the jobs that are actually stated in the Civil Aviation Act – among the elephants in that room is “developing … concise aviation safety standards” – so better to focus on those than chasing medical research butterflies.

In essence, the CASA person’s response is that CASA has the function of using and disclosing our deidentified sensitive medical information for research purposes, and CASA can do that whether we consent to it or not.

I have raised this issue, among related issues, with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

Assuming CASA does have the function of using and disclosing our deidentified sensitive medical information for research purposes, and CASA can do that whether we consent to it or not, it raises the question as to effectiveness of the procedures used in fact by CASA to achieve deidentification. (The OAIC has much to say on deidentification.) Given my first-hand experience in AAT matters against CASA and the content of CASA documents, disclosed under FOI, about how Avmed conducts itself, I have little faith in the effectiveness of whatever little governance arrangements are placed around Avmed’s activities.

I have submitted FOI requests to CASA in the following terms on Friday (18 Aug 2023):

Quote:All documents containing current CASA policy on and procedures for deidentification of originally sensitive medical information supplied by applicants for medical certificates, prior to disclosure or use by CASA for the purposes of research.

All documents containing information about the assessment of the effectiveness of CASA’s deidentification procedures, including the application of the ‘motivated intruder’ test, to mitigate the risks of reidentification of the individuals to whom the originally sensitive medical information relates.

All documents containing information about results of audits, conducted by auditors internal or external to CASA, of CASA’s compliance with CASA policy on and procedures for deidentification of originally sensitive medical information.

All documents containing information about the disclosure or use by CASA of deidentified originally sensitive medical information supplied by applicants for medical certificates, if the information in the documents includes any one or more or all of the following: The purpose of the disclosure or use of the deidentified information; the identity of the persons – natural or otherwise – to whom the deidentified information was disclosed; any description of the disclosed deidentified information; the results of the use to which the disclosed deidentified information was put.

I will keep everyone informed of the OAIC’s response and the outcomes of my FOI requests.

And Sandy in reply.. Wink

Quote:Sandy Reith

Many thanks Clinton McKenzie for raising and acting upon an important issue. I completely agree with the points made, myself having had to repeatedly undertake medical tests by AVMED against specialist advice and which tests my DAME believes are unnecessary. The latter gentleman having been in practice for at least some 40 years, and pilot to boot.

But time money and real life outcomes mean absolutely nothing to AVMED, as instanced by CASA’s answer to the highly successful BasicMed reform in the USA.

Our version, the Basic Class 2 (BC2), is a perversion.

It could have been very useful had CASA followed the USA model. But of course no, our model is ‘better’ because it’s far more stringent and doesn’t allow IFR. Well naturally you wouldn’t want to encourage people to fly around when they can’t see out the windows would you? Surely that’s not safe.

But wait, there’s more, and wait, and wait, presently CASA is looking again at a new self declared type medical certification. Interminable discussions are proceeding at a sluggish snails pace to further this possible reform when with stroke of pen the current BC2 could have the car driver standard instead of ‘unconditional commercial heavy vehicle’ and even allowed IFR. ‘Conditional’ fuel tanker drivers are on our roads everywhere but flying your Cessna around at that standard is way to risky for CASA. Meanwhile there are droves of pilots giving up on AVMED and either leaving the field entirely or taking up flying with RAAUS. Several thousand of that cohort not doing aviation medicals at all, no problem the last 40 years.

Truth is CASA has no incentives to simplify or create clear and concise rules or practices because that would result in less ‘work.’ It’s disgraceful that we’ve not had a Board or CEO with the fortitude of character to correct the numerous failings of CASA or recognise that aviation has taken a battering for no good reason.

In the absence of political leadership, in particular stuck as we are with a wrong model of governance, should be a Department with responsible Minister (it’s called Westminster democracy), we must hold to account CASA itself to see the huge opportunities for services and job creation if only rational policies are enacted.

MTF...P2  Tongue

CM on a mission with CASA AvMad: Part II  Rolleyes

Interesting discourse from Clinton McKenzie on the UP, in regards to 'CASA delays in granting medicals - is our old certificate kept alive?

From here:

Quote:Clinton McKenzie

Follow up correspondence today.

This to Ms Spence:

Quote:Dear Ms Spence

More than 10 working days have passed since I sent my letter to you about CASR Subpart 11E and medical certificates. I request that you at least acknowledge receipt of my letter. (My apologies if receipt has already been acknowledged and I’ve overlooked the acknowledgement.)


This to the ‘Guidance Centre’:

Quote:As more than 15 working days have passed since I sent my clarification question, I seek an update on progress. For convenience, here is the clarification question and my reasons for the question set out in my email of 1 August 2023:

Quote:What provision of CASR results in flight training certificates issued under Part 141 ceasing after a particular period, or gives CASA power to issue flight training certificates issued under Part 141 with limited duration?

I have searched Part 141 for any provision to that effect, to no avail. I also note that even though CASR 11.010(3A) says that Subpart 11.BA “contains rules about granting authorisations, including the duration of, and the imposition of conditions on, authorisations”, no provision of Subpart 11.BA that I can find deals with the duration of authorisations. There is, for example, a provision dealing with when an authorisation comes into effect – CASR 11.065 – but I cannot find a provision of Subpart 11.BA dealing with when an authorisation expires or ceases to be in effect or operates for only a specified duration. (I do hope CASA would not seek to rely on the mere ‘note’ under CASR 11.065 as the source of any power to impose time limits on authorisations.) My apologies if I’ve overlooked the operative provision.


Meanwhile, I note that according to CASA’s published service delivery statistics, the percentage of medical certificate services completed within target are:

Class 1: 55%

Class 2: 47%

Class 3: 44%

This highlights why the question whether CASR 11.140 applies to medical certificates is so important.

(Medical certificate service performance doesn’t win the prize for the most abysmal against targets, though. First, Second and equal Third Prize are won by Domestic Initial Licence – RPL (16%), Domestic Initial Licence – PPL (36%) and Domestic Initial Licence – CPL 44%.)

(For reference here is CASR 11.140:

Next Su_Spence finally responds CM's queries:

Quote:Clinton McKenzie

PS: Ms Spence has now responded, to the effect that the question whether CASR 11.140 applies to medical certificates is still being reviewed.

CM then follows up personally with Dr A... Wink :

Quote:Clinton McKenzie

I sent an email to Jonathan Aleck today, in the following terms, after a discussion on Monday (28 Aug 23). The content is a good SITREP. (I note that I said to Jonathan, in advance of our discussion, that I would not treat the content as confidential, and the discussion proceeded on that basis.)

Quote:Hi again, Jonathan

Thanks for the discussion on Monday afternoon (28 August 23). My understanding is that you have been asked by the CEO/DAS for advice on the question whether CASR 11.140 applies to medical certificates. I look forward to being informed by the CEO/DAS of CASA’s position after the CEO/DAS has had an opportunity to consider your advice.

In the interim, are you able to explain the ‘status’ of the position stated by CASA’s ‘Regulatory Guidance’ staff? We are apparently now in circumstances in which the CEO/DAS could conceivably settle on a position different than that stated categorically (twice) by ‘Regulatory Guidance’ staff in response to my question and follow-up. Do ‘Regulatory Guidance’ staff communicate with CASA’s authority?

Apart from my view that I consider the position expressed by CASA’s ‘Regulatory Guidance’ staff to be dubious as a matter of statutory interpretation, I wrote to the CEO/DAS about CASR 11.140 because I’m mindful of reports that CASA told the ATSB, in the course of the latter’s investigation of the evolution of the OLS at Essendon, that written confirmation given to the operators of Essendon by a CASA officer as to the interpretation of the applicable rules was wrong and had no legal validity. I hasten to add that I realise this is just one (hearsay) side of what will almost certainly be a story with at least three sides. Nonetheless, I’m disconcerted by any prospect of CASA subsequently resiling from the substance of written communications, on serious matters involving the interpretation of civil aviation safety rules, sent by CASA staff in response to questions about those matters. That’s why I said, in my email to you of 25 August 23, that: “I’m surprised that the DAS’s/CEO’s response [to my letter of 7 August 23] was anything other than to confirm what the ‘Guidance Centre’ has already told me.”

In any event, I reiterate my thanks for the discussion and that I look forward to being informed by the CEO/DAS of CASA’s position after the CEO/DAS has had an opportunity to consider your advice.

MTF...P2  Tongue

PMO at Estimates; & Class 5 consult opens??

Via APH:  Hansard out, see - HERE - or PDF Version - HERE:

Quote:CHAIR: Welcome back, everyone! I welcome officers from CASA. I won't ask for opening statements; if you have one you can table it. Senator Fawcett, who is 60 today, has the call. Happy birthday—there's no better way to spend it than at Senate estimates!

Senator FAWCETT: We won't be asking for your age, either, Ms Spence, you'll be glad to hear!

Ms Spence : Happy birthday, Senator!

Senator FAWCETT: Thank you. In fact, this does actually take me back a little bit. I'm assuming that in preparation for your role you read through the Hansard transcripts of many years and that you're aware that between 2014 and 2017 your predecessors and I had many discussions about colour-vision-deficient pilots?

Ms Spence : Yes.

CHAIR: I'm aware of it!

Senator FAWCETT: Eventually, as you'd be aware, in February 2020 your predecessor, Mr Carmody, announced something to the world, which I will read from the statement that he sent out:

Research in recent years has shown relying on diagnostic tests alone may be unnecessarily limiting when considering the impact of colour vision deficiency on aviation safety. Advances in technology, operating techniques and human factors training can now mitigate many of the safety risks of colour vision deficiency. Technology to assist pilots has developed significantly and the impact of colour vision deficiency on aviation safety should take these changes into account.

At the end of his statement he said:

CASA has carefully examined all relevant safety issues and believes this new approach—

Which is the same as in New Zealand and for the FAA—

offers a practical alternative assessment for colour vision deficient pilots. We have listened to the views of pilots and made judgements based on research and evidence.

That is a fantastic outcome. They changed the lot of pilots, which had been thrown into confusion by a new senior medical officer within CASA who didn't like Australia's position, which was to allow pilots to do an operational test. Despite losing AAT cases et cetera and despite reviews of evidence that finally proved we should do this operational test, like the New Zealanders and the FAA, it's all happening again. Could you explain why CASA is spending half a million dollars on a review? What is the evidence base to justify this change of position? What incidents have occurred? What evidence has led to the decision to spend half a million dollars of taxpayers' money and overturn what has been in the CASRs for some years now, to the detriment of a group of individuals in our aviation community?

Ms Spence : I wouldn't describe it in the same way that you have, in terms of someone coming in and not supporting the previous position. I will ask our principal medical officer if she wouldn't mind joining us at the table, but I think the first thing really is that it's a question about what's consistent with the standards versus what's okay from an operational perspective. I don't think we've changed our position that there aren't ways of overcoming the issue of colour blindness from an operational perspective. I think there is a different question about whether that is consistent with the standards, and that's a harder question to answer, so I might pass to Dr Manderson to provide a bit more detail.

Senator FAWCETT: Dr Manderson, welcome.

Dr Manderson : Thank you very much. Regarding the colour vision assessment, what we found a couple years ago, and going back a bit before that, was that there was a lot of difficulty and confusion in how that colour vision assessment was being applied by the flight instructors who were assessing the pilots with colour vision deficiencies and in how the pilots themselves knew what they would be expected to demonstrate in their flights. We had some difficulties where the forms and the flights were not being conducted to a consistent standard across the board. Someone might have one kind of flight or assessment with one assessor and a completely different one with somebody else. With that degree of confusion and lack of clarity, we realised that, having established that an operational flight based assessment was really important, how we did that was where there was a big gap in what we were doing and why we were doing it, and it was that gap that led to all of that confusion and some difficulties in what standard was being met by whom and when. That's why we saw that gap in the how that hadn't been filled by any of those other organisations or jurisdictions.

We've consulted really quite extensively. Even last Friday we had an international meeting here in Canberra with our colleagues from FAA, New Zealand and ICAO. The United States military have come across as well to share their experiences with us and how we do it now. There really is a global consensus that the approach we've taken is world leading and will make a big difference to the consistent application of a good standard that our instructors and pilots can rely on to make a safe decision.

Senator FAWCETT: Sure. I don't have a problem with standardisation. I think that's excellent. I do note my understanding is that New Zealand did have a course to standardise their examiners, which we didn't adopt, even though we adopted their operational test. Am I correct in my understanding of that?

Dr Manderson : I'm not familiar with the detail of the way the New Zealand team initially applied theirs, but they're certainly very excited about looking at what we're doing and learning from what we're doing. That's because we have gone to the next level. There's much more depth and it's much more comprehensive. The CAA New Zealand chief medical officer is very interested in learning from what we've done.

Senator FAWCETT: My understanding is that, because we didn't have any standardisation initially, the initial batch of flight examiners went to New Zealand to get their training there. In fact, we encouraged or enabled it, saying that, if pilots wished to bear the cost to go to New Zealand to be tested by the New Zealanders, we would accept that as a valid system that did have standardisation and did the test. I don't have a problem with standardisation. What I have a problem with is this. When I look at your website, we have gone back to the days of saying: if you pass the operational test, we are still going to limit you in terms of what you can do as a pilot; for example, fly as or with a copilot. Given everything Mr Carmody said, everything the AAT found and cases back in ancient history—30 years ago now—when Australia became a world leader, what evidence justifies that imposition of a restriction on someone who passes the operational test?

Dr Manderson: The evidence is based around the demonstration of being able to do the elements of the flying task that have been assessed by this international group of expert pilots and flying instructors as being the time-critical, safety-critical colour-vision-dependent tasks of the flying task. That was a gap that was there in the work that was done leading up to the New Zealand assessment that we've now been able to produce. It is not about the medical diagnosis; it is what it is with the diagnosis of colour vision deficiency. The evidence is now about being able to know exactly how that medical status affects a person's fitness to fly and fly safely. That's exactly the same as we do with people with kidney disease, hearing deficiency or heart disease. They don't meet the standard, but now we can—in very great detail and very safely—effectively and consistently assess whether or not the way they meet the standard presents a hazard to safe air navigation. That's the way we do all of our medical assessments.

Senator FAWCETT: In theory that is fine. What you're describing is that your test is now focusing on some discrete task elements that you believe are important. But what your website says is that even if someone passes that test—they've now jumped through these additional hoops of specific tasks—you're still going to put limitations on what they can exercise as captain in command of an aircraft. What is the evidence to justify those limitations? That is my question.

Mr Marcelja : Could I jump in? The website and some of that information sits in my area. I think what you're describing, if that is correct, is not our policy. Our policy is that there are various conditions that we can put on medical certificates, depending on how you go in the test, but if you pass the test and can demonstrate that you're operationally safe there is no condition of a copilot. What Dr Manderson is saying, though, is that, because you have not met a medical standard that's internationally accepted but have proven you are safe, we will grant you a medical certificate. We can't say that you've met a standard but we can say you're safe to fly, and those conditions will be applied depending on the way you've gone. If that's on our website, I'll take that up, because that's not the policy.

Senator FAWCETT: I have two points. I think it was amply proven almost a decade ago, and two decades before that, as we dug into the history, that those standards emerged from maritime standards that were applied in the United Kingdom in the days of Sopwith Camels and things in World War 1, and the reason we no longer require them is that we have secondary means of communication. We've demonstrated through a whole range of flight profiles and cockpit modifications, particularly with the advent of EFIS screens et cetera, that many of the old colour hierarchies around warnings et cetera are no longer relevant. They're not required to do the task. Even the red and green lights are not required. Pilots wear Bluetooth headsets.

I come back to the fact that your website—at this stage, this is what industry is seeing—states that a pilot who passes the test will have these restrictions until they have 100 hours of flight at night, the ATPL standard, or 75 hours of instrument time. I've done just a very quick bit of research on the current costing of something like a Cessna 172RG, which is the kind of aircraft for night VFR or instrument flying, the costs between Moorabbin, Dubbo, Adelaide and Sunshine Coast vary from about $250 to $355, excluding GST. We're putting a burden on pilots who want to enter the industry of $30,000 to $40,000, and I'm not aware of any evidence that would justify those restrictions if they have passed the operational test.

Ms Spence : I think what we're saying is that we think our website's wrong. We will go back to review it, because that doesn't sound like our policy. As Dr Manderson said, we're working—and we're working internationally—looking at how we manage this issue. But the whole point, in the simplest terms, was that if you pass the test then you've got a permission to fly. Those sorts of conditions you've just described should not be applying. If you can bear with us, we'll review the website, because what you've read out just doesn't sound right.

Senator FAWCETT: I'll have a look tomorrow afternoon. I'll be very pleased to see that gone. This is my last question. My understanding is that, in accordance with the regulation—which I could look up; I've got it written here somewhere, but I'm sure you know what it is—CASA was still advising pilots to do the operational test, which they did at some cost, and then AvMed were denying them an aircrew medical because CASA had changed its mind, even though the regulation still said it was possible and even though pilots have been directed to that. Some pilots now, over periods in excess of 12 months, have forked out thousands of dollars to take a flight test and have had their application refused. What is the situation for people who have previously done it, before this change in approach? What is the situation for those who did it in the intervening period, when the regulation said they would be approved? They committed to a flight test on that basis and have now been told they're not able to fly. What is CASA going to do to enable those people to move ahead with their lives, and can you guarantee there's going to be no retrospective action against the many pilots who did the original operational flight test as announced in 2020 and have been flying—single-pilot, in RFDS type operations, and multi-pilot, in RPT operations, both domestically and overseas—without incident since they got their medicals? Can you guarantee that they will be able to continue to exercise the qualifications that they have earned in accordance with the regulation, or will there be any retrospective action that CASA is looking to impose upon them?

Ms Spence : Can I just jump in first: if you've got people who've come to you saying that they haven't been approved, I would really encourage you to refer them to me, Mr Marcelja or Dr Manderson, because that doesn't sound like that's consistent with our policy. I would have thought, with medicals, that they're things that come up every two years or whatever, depending on where you are, and so there would be no retrospective requirements. If matters change over time then get your medical renewed, but there's certainly not an intention to have a retrospective element to all of this. Again, for anyone who's spoken to you and said that they've been refused on the grounds that you've described, please encourage them to talk to us, because that just doesn't sound right.

Senator FAWCETT: This is my last question, Chair, before you wind me up. Industry had been told that the new test and all of its conditions would be released in September this year. We're now approaching the end of October. Where are we at, and when will these people have some certainty about their future or current careers?

Mr Marcelja : We have slowed that down just a little bit because we're working through some of those implementation issues that you just mentioned. As Ms Spence said, we don't expect people to automatically have to prove things themselves, but, where we've discovered that a test maybe has some uncertainty around it, we might ask somebody to do that test again. In that circumstance, we would fund that. These are the policies that we haven't yet settled, which is why you haven't seen a policy come out. They haven't been finalised, but they're very close. As Ms Spence said, we'd very happily follow up any individual case where someone's been disadvantaged, because our understanding was that the existing scheme was in place while we were settling the new one.

Ms Spence : As far as my understanding goes, no-one has been refused—

Dr Manderson : There have been no refusals or cancellations for colour vision deficiency.

Senator FAWCETT: Okay. I'll go back to the email trail that I have been given and see if I can see whether there's substance to what was reflected in that email. If that's the case, I will come to you, Ms Spence, as the best person to—

Ms Spence : That'd be great. Thanks, Senator.

Some comments, via Youtube:
19 hours ago

I completed and passed an OCVA in January 2022, at direction of CASA. I was then subsequently refused a medical in April 2022. I have been battling and advocating ever since. This completely disproves Dr Mandersons committed statement of, "no refusals have been made"

3 days ago (edited)

the lights are in fixed positions, what does being color blind have to do with it? Fighter pilot need color vision...but domestic pilots???? what the hell. If the left light is on, all good, if the right light is on it is bad....derrrrr

CHAIR: Senator Roberts.

Senator ROBERTS: Thank you all for appearing tonight. Dr Manderson, the last two times I've requested your attendance at Senate estimates, you've been otherwise engaged. Does your role at CASA have your full attention?

Ms Spence : Can I just intervene briefly on that question? The first time, I think, Dr Manderson was traveling overseas for CASA work. The second time, we only got notice, I think, 24 hours before the actual estimates hearing. So to suggest that Dr Manderson wasn't available and didn't have full—

Senator ROBERTS: That's true. Does your role at CASA have your full attention?

Dr Manderson : Yes, it does.

Senator ROBERTS: How many hours per week do you complete work specifically in relation to your role as principal medical officer at CASA?

Dr Manderson : I don't keep a logbook, but I would say in excess of 40 to 50 hours per week.

Senator ROBERTS: Are you full time with CASA?

Dr Man derson : Yes.

Senator ROBERTS: What other roles and positions do you hold on boards or in businesses?

Dr Manderson : Any roles I have at present have all been listed and notified to CASA on my required reporting.

Senator ROBERTS: Do you have any personal businesses or clinics?

Mr Marcelja : We went through this a couple of hearings ago.

Senator ROBERTS: I want to hear from Dr Manderson.

Ms Spence : There is nothing further that we would add from what was previously said.

Senator ROBERTS: I want to hear from Dr Manderson.

Ms Spence : From my perspective, Dr Manderson has done the same thing as all CASA staff do, which is she has provided advice on any potential conflict of interest, mitigation arrangements have been agreed, and to my mind—

Senator ROBERTS: Ms Spence, the senators ask the questions. I have a question for Dr Manderson. I want her to answer.

Ms Spence : As I said, I am happy to turn to Dr Manderson—

Senator ROBERTS: Thank you.

Ms Spence : but I do feel that there has been advice provided to this committee previously.

Senator ROBERTS: Dr Manderson?

Dr Manderson : Could you please repeat the question?

Senator ROBERTS: What other roles and positions do you hold on boards or in businesses?

Dr Manderson : I have declared on my declarations that I have a role on the Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine board and I have a role on the Australasian College of Aerospace Medicine board. Both of those have been declared to CASA. Also of course my role at CASA is declared to those boards, and the potential for conflicts are managed appropriately there.

Senator ROBERTS: Do you have any clinics that you operate?

Dr Manderson : I have businesses that support doctors in their practices, but I don't—

Senator ROBERTS: Could you tell me more about them please?

Dr Manderson : Sure.

Senator ROBERTS: Are they declared?

Dr Manderson : Yes, they are declared. The structure of the way many general practice services work in Australia is that there is a company that is set up that employs the nurses and the receptionists and pays that for the electricity and pays for the internet connections. The doctors that work in those clinics see their patients in those clinics, and they are supported by nurses and receptionists, the internet, the computers and whatnot. I have a service company that provides nurses and receptionists so that other doctors can look after their patients.

Senator ROBERTS: Do you work in those clinics?

Dr Manderson : No.

Senator ROBERTS: Have you ever received benefits or payments directly or indirectly for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines or injections?

Dr Manderson : I was operating a GP respiratory clinic under the Commonwealth GP respiratory clinic program. Those clinics were funded by the government to deliver COVID vaccinations and to do assessment and testing for people who may have COVID.

Senator ROBERTS: Was that while you are doing your job at CASA?

Dr Manderson : Partly.

Senator ROBERTS: Can you tell me more? What do you mean by 'partly'?

Dr Manderson : I established the GP respiratory clinic in Sanctuary Point in early 2020, and I started with CASA in July 2021. The respiratory clinic was closed in September 2022.

Senator ROBERTS: What is the definition of 'subclinical'?

Dr Manderson : Subclinical is a term that's usually used to describe the fact that someone has the presence of an illness or a symptom or syndrome that is not overtly obvious to them or to other people. An example might be subclinical hypothyroidism, where we do a blood test and find that your thyroid level is low. It might be causing some non-specific or vague symptoms, but it isn't really obvious to everybody. That would be subclinical hypothyroidism.

Senator ROBERTS: That was excellent, thank you. We had evidence at the last estimates that the buck stops with CASA with regard to whether a pilot is fit to fly aviation safety and medical certification that would support aviation safety, and no other department has responsibility within that remit. Do you accept that, Dr Manderson?

Dr Manderson : Only to suggest that the buck stops with the individual pilots to make their own self-assessment of their wellbeing each time they go to the aircraft, and we encourage them to do that every time.

Senator ROBERTS: Apart from that, do you agree?

Dr Manderson : Yes.

Senator ROBERTS: Can you confirm neither you nor CASA have evaluated the aeromedical implications of the pilots taking the new mRNA technology injections at low atmospheric conditions?

Dr Manderson : No, we haven't.

Senator ROBERTS: Do you consider that you have any additional responsibility to evaluate in an aeromedical context or at least surveil a new medical technology that only has provisional approval?

Dr Manderson : No, that is not the responsibility of the safety authority.

Senator ROBERTS: So you don't think you have any additional responsibility, yet you agree the buck stops with CASA on aeromedical safety?

Dr Manderson : If somebody is unwell enough that they can't fly and has a medication that means that they can't fly, then we would look at that. But we don't decide whether or not a medication is safe.

Senator ROBERTS: How does a drug make it to 'prohibited or restricted use' for pilots?

Mr Marcelja : Senator—

Senator ROBERTS: Dr Manderson.

Dr Manderson : We look at the work that is done by the authorities that are responsible for assessing medication safety and approvals in Australia, and we have a look at all the literature and the evidence that's available, based on the assessments by those expert authorities, to see whether or not there are any aeromedical implications for that. For example, a new antidepressant might change the way someone thinks or feels, or it might be sedating. So we would look at the degree of sedation that that antidepressant has been shown to have and decide whether or not a person ought to fly while taking that antidepressant.

Senator ROBERTS: So who completed this evaluation for the COVID-19 products—injections specifically, Dr Manderson?

Dr Manderson : AVMED looks at all medications that are available to pilots to see whether or not they're a concern. They were assessed by the aviation medicine section in the same way we assess any medication that's available to pilots and air traffic controllers.

Senator ROBER TS: The answer we've been given before is 'we've relied on the experts', who weren't named.

Ms Spence : Senator, I think what Dr Manderson is saying is that we don't do the actual assessment of the medication, but, knowing what we know about the medication, we assess whether it will have a negative impact on a pilot.

Dr Manderson : That's correct.

Ms Spence : So we do not go into the detail of—

Senator ROBERTS: Okay, let's continue, then. I want to respect the committee's time. I've got a few questions to go through. In answer to SQ23-003972, CASA states it has no role in the black triangle medicine scheme. The TGA says the black triangle 'means that the medicine is new or is being used in a new way'. It says:

We encourage people to report any adverse events for these new medicines to help us build a medicine's safety profile over time.

So CASA does have a responsibility to report any adverse events if it comes across them.

Dr Manderson : The black triangle is designed for the people who prescribe, dispense, administer or take medications, and that's not part of the role of aviation medicine centre at CASA.

Senator ROBERTS: In a February 2022 Zoom meeting with Virgin pilots, Dr Manderson, you stated that the provisionally approved mRNA vaccines or injections can cause myocarditis and pericarditis, but that you'd rather pilots got these conditions from the vaccine rather than COVID, which you claimed to be a higher risk. What evidence do you have to substantiate that claim that the risk of myocarditis is higher from COVID infection?

Dr Manderson : There's extensive medical literature and evidence in peer reviewed—

Senator ROBERTS: Can you give me the references, please—titles, authors, publications.

Dr Manderson : Not immediately, but—

Ms Spence : We can take that on notice.

Senator ROBERTS: On notice. Thank you.

CHAIR: Senator Roberts, have you got many more? I might cut you off and go around, and then come back to you if you've got more.

Senator ROBERTS: Just on this thread, I've got a couple more.

CHAIR: Just on that thread. Then I'll go to Senator McDonald.

Senator ROBERTS: Can I point you to a study entitled 'COVID-19—Associated cardiac pathology at the postmortem evaluation: a collaborative systematic review', published in the Clinical Microbiology and Infection journal, 23 March 2022, which concludes that there was no increased myocarditis as a result of COVID infection. Can you please take on notice to provide what evidence or studies you have that refute a systematic review like that?

Dr Manderson : Sure.

Senator ROBERTS: Thank you. In relation to question on notice SQ23-003393, does CASA still not capture information in your medical records system in a way that allows conditions like myocarditis, Guillain-Barre syndrome and other COVID adverse events to be accurately reported?

Dr Manderson : We do capture that information in our medical records system. We ask every pilot and air traffic controller that's applying for a medical certificate to tell us if they have any symptoms or signs or diagnoses of any of those conditions, and they can write that in. We also ask their doctor, their medical examiner, to write in any details about any of the diseases or diagnoses or symptoms that that pilot or air traffic controller may have.

Senator ROBERTS: So there are no incidences? How exactly do know that if you can't give me a report on how many cases of myocarditis or any other recognised side effect you've recorded for each year? How can you say there have been no pilots with adverse events?

Mr Marcelja : Senator, the way we answered that question when you asked the question was that we said that—

Senator ROBERTS: I'm after Dr Manderson's answer.

Mr Marcelja : No, the medical records system is my responsibility, Senator.

Senator ROBERTS: My question is still to Dr Manderson. She's overseeing the whole of CASA—

Ms Spence : Sorry, Senator, my view would be that the most appropriate—

Senator ROBERTS: I didn't ask for your view, Ms Spence. I asked for Dr Manderson's view. I want to know if she's aware—

Ms Spence : But it is not Dr Manderson's responsibility. It is Mr Marcelja's responsibility, and he is trying to answer the question that you asked.

Senator ROBERTS: She is responsible for CASA's safety and aeromedical—

Ms Spence : Mr Marcelja is responsible for—

Senator ROBERTS: I want to know her relationship with that. I am asking her if she knows—

Ms Spence : That is a different question.

Senator ROBERTS: That's correct.

Mr Marcelja : Dr Manderson sets medical policy. The medical record system doesn't capture—

Senator ROBERTS: How do you know that?

Mr Marcelja : Because it does not capture the information about whether there was an adverse event or whether there was simply a suspicion of an event.

Senator ROBERTS: It doesn't capture that?

Mr Marcelja : It captures comments that may have been entered into—

Senator ROBERTS: Is it capturing it or not?

Mr Marcelja : It is not capturing it in the way that you are asking about, and that is what we were providing to you on notice.

Senator ROBERTS: How does it capture?

Mr Marcelja : Through text comments which might refer to symptoms, diagnoses or a comment that a patient made. So it does not capture the information in the way you have asked for, and that was the response that we gave to your question last time.

Senator ROBERTS: Dr Manderson, does CASA still maintain that no pilot has been grounded or had a medical restriction placed on them because of a COVID-19 vaccination injury?

Dr Manderson : Yes.

Senator McDONALD: Dr Manderson, I was in the Northern Territory the other day and met with a pilot who lives in Mataranka, 400 kilometres south of Darwin, who requires a medical every two years to maintain his licence. Until 2019 he was able to visit a designated aviation medical examiner in Katherine. Now of the four DAMEs registered in the Northern Territory on the CASA website only one conducts medicals just once a month at Alice Springs, which, as you know, is 1,100 kilometres from where this particular pilot lives. So we have a DAMEs shortage, I assume. Do you know what the problem is? Are fewer GPs registering to carry out this work?

Dr Manderson : I would suggest that it is not so much a DAME shortage but a distribution issue, which is a symptom of the health workforce issues in rural and regional Australia across the board. That is one of the reasons why we have looked at training more DAMEs, particularly focusing on DAMEs who live in rural and regional areas. At our Brisbane DAMEs course earlier this year, we did have a doctor from Alice Springs. She is happily now going to be a DAME there.

Senator McDONALD: Nobody north? Nobody in Katherine or Darwin?

Dr Manderson : Unfortunately we can't compel GPs to take up this particular role. We just invite them to and encourage them and provide that training to them if they choose to.

Senator McDONALD: I appreciate you can't force them to, but it is problematic for the closest one to be 1,100 kilometres away. Do you have a plan for what you might be proposing to do going forward?

Dr Manderson : I would say that part of the plan is to look at ways to get medical certification without needing to see a DAME. Some of the new programs and systems are looking into a self-declared medical certificate where the pilot can assess themselves in collaboration with their treating doctors and a GP issued medical certificate in future as well. This would mean less need to see a DAME for all those pilots. Hopefully that will make—

Senator McDONALD: That is very exciting. I can hear cheering all over the country.

Dr Manderson : Watch this space.

Hmm...'watch this space'?? - Rolleyes

Well today CASA AVMAD released their (intended DRAFT) version of the self-declared medical; IE Class 5 for consult:

Quote:Class 5 medical self-declaration - (PP 2302FS)


We are seeking your feedback on a new Class 5 medical self-declaration policy. It will allow private pilots to self-assess and self-declare without requiring a medical assessment if they meet fitness requirements and operate in accordance with specified operational limitations.

The policy aims to improve accessibility to a streamlined medical self-certification pathway for the general aviation and recreational aviation community.

To support the implementation of the new Class 5 medical self-declaration, there will be comprehensive guidance material for applicants, certificate-holders and healthcare practitioners.

We are proposing to enact the policy through an exemption instrument to the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASRs). This will enable industry to access the new Class 5 medical self-declaration as soon as practical.

This proposal has been developed with input from the aviation community, including the aviation medicine technical working group.

This is also one of the initiatives in our General Aviation Workplan for simplifying health arrangements.

Your feedback will inform the finalisation of the proposed policy, supporting documents, and the regulatory review process.

MTF...P2 Tongue

AATA decision: Nam and CASA (AVMAD)

Via the Oz  ):

Quote:CASA gets it wrong on Ritalin-taking pilot, finds tribunal

Australia’s aviation regulator has been reprimanded for denying a pilot medical clearance to fly because he is taking Ritalin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Melbourne’s Oliver Nam was diagnosed with ADHD three years ago, and prescribed 40mg Ritalin a day to treat the condition.

The 35-year-old holds private and commercial pilot licences but was refused the class 1 and class 2 medical certificates required to operate aircraft in Australia, in late 2021.

The Administrative Appeals Tribunal heard the Civil Aviation Safety Authority based its decision on the fact Mr Nam was using Ritalin, rather than his diagnosis of ADHD.

“Prior to his having been diagnosed with, and being treated with Ritalin for ADHD in 2020, Mr Nam had demonstrated significant air navigation skills,” the tribunal noted.

“According to CASA, Mr Nam was able to ‘obtain his pilots licence in record time’ and is a highly gifted individual with exceptional cognitive performance.”

It was not the ADHD diagnosis that concerned CASA which was considered “mild” but the use of Ritalin which was regarded as “the showstopper”, the tribunal heard.

[Image: c0a2eb685c1d3c545e5415103a8fca63]

CASA identified that the “potential side effects” of Ritalin use included anxiety, irritability, insomnia, dizziness, aggression, rapid heart beat, psychosis and fatigue masking.

Dr Michael Atherton, a CASA-designated mental health expert, said it was “well recognised in aviation circles that amphetamine-based medications have potential side effects, and these side effects potentially could lead to safety issues”.

“Medications such as amphetamines can affect perception, motor and cognitive skills and importantly, it is also harder for those using stimulants such as amphetamines to understand and have self awareness of when they are feeling tired,” Dr Atherton said.

Evidence was presented by psychiatrist David Tofler, Mr Nam initially experienced some anxiety along with headaches and a dry mouth when he began taking Ritalin, but these ceased when the dosage was adjusted.

In addition, neuropsychologist Robert Bourke found that “while medicated on Ritalin, Mr Nam had entirely normal and extremely high-level cognitive abilities”.

In their ruling, AAT members Chris Furnell and Stephen Lewinsky found CASA’s decision was based on the possibility of Mr Nam suffering side effects, rather than the reality.

“It was said (by CASA) that Mr Nam ought to be considered to experience side effects, if Ritalin had the potential to cause side effects for anyone,” said Mr Furnell and Dr Lewinsky.

“While it is appropriate to err on the side of caution when construing Civil Aviation Safety regulations … this does not constitute a licence for decision makers to ignore the plain meaning of the words used in the regulations.”

In conclusion, Mr Furnell and Dr Lewinsky ruled they were not satisfied that Mr Nam had not met the criteria required by CASA for the relevant medical certificates.

As a result, they ordered the original decision be set aside, and for CASA to reconsider Mr Nam’s application.

In doing so, CASA was instructed that Mr Nam “not be considered to have failed to satisfy the safety relevant condition criterion or the medication criterion by reason of his ADHD, his use of Ritalin or a combination thereof”.

A CASA spokeswoman said they were reviewing the AAT’s decision in Mr Lam’s case.

“We are committed to finding ways to support as many people as possible to be able to fly safely,” she said. (Cheers Wannabe -  Wink

Link for the decision:  Nam and Civil Aviation Safety Authority [2023] AATA 3574 (2 November 2023)


We set aside the decision the subject of review and remit it for reconsideration by the respondent subject to a direction requiring that the applicant not be considered to have failed to satisfy the safety relevant condition criterion or the medication criterion by reason of his ADHD, his use of Ritalin or a combination thereof.

MTF...P2 Tongue

The Empire Strikes Back - AGAIN!

Courtesy John O'Brien, via the UP:


Empire Strikes Back! on Colour Defective Pilots... Again.

It's been discussed in some other threads recently that CASA have changed the way they deal with CVD pilots. Given the importance of this issue to so many current and aspiring pilots, I have started this new thread to highlight the topic and offer perspective on behalf of the Colour Vision Defective Pilots Association (CVDPA).

10 years on from the Empire Strikes Back! on Colour Defective Pilots saga and the dark days of the AvMed Navathe era, it disappoints me to see that we're back here again. At the time, that PPRuNe thread ran for 36 pages and was highly successful in raising awareness of the plight of CVD pilots and our unjust treatment by AvMed zealots at the time.

After my own AAT win in 2014 (and two previous AAT wins in the late 1980s) it seemed like we were finally making progress, albeit slowly. New Zealand led the way with the introduction of the Operational Colour Vision Assessment (OCVA) and there was a brief period of enlightenment in Australia during 2020-2021 when former CASA CEO Shane Carmody and former PMO Dr Simon May followed NZ's lead and implemented the OCVA here too. Myself and many others were finally able to progress our careers to the fullest extent possible and get on with our lives again.

When CVDPA learnt in early 2022 that CASA had suspended the OCVA due to apparent concerns around lack of standardisation, we contacted the new PMO Dr Kate Manderson. She responded via email on 18/01/22 and advised:

Quote:This is something that came up in December last year, and we are still working through what the issues are and how they impact on people who have submitted their assessments recently, and what we need to do to be able to make sure the OCVA is acceptable and its results can’t be questioned in the future. Please be assured, there is no change to CASA policy, the OCVA is here to stay. These issues are, I hope, going to push us along so that the OCVA is as strong as it can possibly be for the longer term, and perhaps even for other jurisdictions.

This all sounded quite positive and despite early indications from the PMO that she wanted CVDPA to be involved in the working group tasked with reviewing the OCVA, we were quickly excluded from the process when the Deputy PMO Dr Tony Hochberg took over as the project manager and filled it with medical 'experts'. As of today, we still have no knowledge of the persons comprised in this panel (this information was redacted in recent documents obtained under FOI). However, I'd be willing to bet that at least some involved stand to make money out of the continued administration of clinical CVD tests, including the CAD.

Despite this, we continued to work proactively with CASA in an attempt to achieve a timely and satisfactory resolution. However, almost 2 years after the OCVA was suspended, it has become increasingly clear in recent months that AvMed wish to return us to the dark ages again and have proposed including restrictions on pilots' medicals, even if they pass the new test - to be renamed the ACVA. They're also refusing to recognise the pass results of some candidates who passed the original OCVA in the months leading up to it's suspension.

During the recent Senate Estimates hearing, CASA provided advice to Senator David Fawcett that this was incorrect:

Quote:Ms Spence : I think what we're saying is that we think our website's wrong. We will go back to review it, because that doesn't sound like our policy. As Dr Manderson said, we're working—and we're working internationally—looking at how we manage this issue. But the whole point, in the simplest terms, was that if you pass the test then you've got a permission to fly. Those sorts of conditions you've just described should not be applying. If you can bear with us, we'll review the website, because what you've read out just doesn't sound right.

The responses provided during Estimates are contrary to the advice that CVDPA has been given by CASA in their communications with us and also contradict information contained in documents recently obtained under FOI, which make it abundantly clear that the AvMed seek to continue to impose restrictions on CVD pilots. CVDPA have raised our concerns directly with CEO Pip Spence and yet 7 weeks on, our emails have gone unanswered.

We can only hope that she is using this time to get the zealots back in check. Stay tuned for more!

John O'Brien

In case anyone's in any doubt about CASA's true intentions to wind back the clock again, the below Aviation Safety Committee Paper from 18/01/23 obtained under FOI is revealing.

During Estimates questioning, the Exec Manager Stakeholder Engagement advised:

Quote:Mr Marcelja: Could I jump in? The website and some of that information sits in my area. I think what you're describing, if that is correct, is not our policy. Our policy is that there are various conditions that we can put on medical certificates, depending on how you go in the test, but if you pass the test and can demonstrate that you're operationally safe there is no condition of a copilot. What Dr Manderson is saying, though, is that, because you have not met a medical standard that's internationally accepted but have proven you are safe, we will grant you a medical certificate. We can't say that you've met a standard but we can say you're safe to fly, and those conditions will be applied depending on the way you've gone. If that's on our website, I'll take that up, because that's not the policy.

Interestingly, the CASA website was updated after Estimates to remove mention of the proposed restrictions, but perhaps Mr Marcelja forgot that he approved this paper (prepared by Dr Hochberg)?

[Image: 1a_f1b8fb44b1d034a9721a06c14927bd70cb69926c.jpg]

And from Arthur Pape:

Quote:Thanks jonobr!

As I've stated over and over, I have been challenging this perfidious "standard" for over 40 years, and I want to make some further observations that I have made about the matter.

  • The church of the TRUE BELIEVERS that colour recognition and naming are essential and indispensable in acquiring awareness of operationally safety-relevant information and has a worldwide membership. I know all the senior clergy, and they are: Doug Ivan (Ret Colonel USAF), Sally Evans (CAA UK PMO), Tony Evans (long-time PMO in ICAO), and Dougal Watson (now ex-PMO CAA NZ). Each of these has had roles in the AAT cases concerning the colour vision standard, opposing relaxation in any form.
  • In NZ, Dr Watson trained his team well in matters of colour vision and then promptly encouraged their migrations at various times to become PMOs or deputy PMOs with CASA: Pooshan Navathe, Michael Drane, and Dr Tony Hochberg.
  • They are encouraged and supported by senior members of the various faculties of optometry, who feed them just what they want to hear. I'll mention a few: Prof. Barry Cole (Victorian College of Optometry); Dr Alys Vingrys (also VCO and a disciple of Barry Cole); Prof John Barbur (City, University of London). Last but not least, there is Dr John Parkes, an occupational physician, who has one of the two CAD machines in Australia. The second CAD is in Sydney and operated by an ophthalmologist I have never met. Each individual, except the owner of the Sydney CAD, has also played roles in AAT colour vision proceedings, supporting the CASA position.
  • Over the long years, I have collected and studied hundreds of works and documents derived from these people, including the many research projects commissioned by CASA and their overseas counterparts (NZ CAA, UK CAA and the FAA). Bringing them all into the spotlight would take more than a book. However, if and when they were relied upon as evidence in the AAT, I drew upon highly qualified research professionals to critically analyse the contents. These critics formed the backbone of witnesses for the appellants in the three AAT CVD hearings. I'll leave it there, but note that CASA did not fare well in the three proceedings.
  • A common theme I have found used by proponents of strong CVD regulation is that the matter is "self-evident". That is, you just need to show where and how colour is used in the wider aviation environment (i.e. colour is used ubiquitously), and it is "self-evident" that an individual who cannot reliably recognise and name those colours is going to be "unsafe".
  • CASA's medical staff like to parade "Evidence Pyramids" as evidence that their decisions are "evidence-based". Yet, in their professional conduct, they give scant regard to the truth or otherwise of what they present to the plebs. Ask, and I can provide many examples of this.
  • Truth has been a victim throughout the colour vision discussion, which leads me to the question: where is the ethics in all of this? The medical profession is supposed to be bound by a set of fundamental ethics. Now, granted that Aviation Medicine is not fundamentally a branch of the profession entrusted with treating sick people, I'll avoid referencing the "Hippocratic Oath" (I'm tempted to misspell the word). But there are other ethics relating to avoiding bias in decision-making and detecting and declaring a conflict of interest, to mention just a couple. The history of the debate over the colour perception standard is replete with glaring instances of poorly hidden conflicts of interest. They are particularly poignant in the current atmosphere, where lies and conflicts of interest can be easily demonstrated about the CAD test. The CAD is an expensive tool to buy, and the inventor of the CAD, Prof John Barbur, also conducted the validation process (which is a misnomer). He is the director of a spin-off company that markets the CAD worldwide. This marketing initially claimed that the CAD was "aviation specific" and that it would be a reliable predictor of performance by a CVD pilot on the PAPI.
  • Dr John Parkes' should declare a conflict of interest in current deliberations, as he makes his living mainly from his CAD testing. But no, Dr Parkes is the chief instigator of the move to discredit the OCVA and replace it with something far more beneficial to himself (the ACVA as a supplement to his CAD testing).
  • Finally, I congratulate John O'Brien on the way he has stuck to his guns and fought hard for his phenomenal career while staying in the fight. I know hundreds of pilots whose careers were salvaged from CVD obscurity by the likes of John and who took the rewards and vanished. As you can see, we are once again faced with a dreadful enemy that is immune to sound evidence and probably will not willingly make the right decision: to give us back the OCVA and stop harassing good, honest people who want to be professional pilots.

I am, and I know John is, determined to achieve that outcome, even if it means going to the Federal Court.

Please consider contributing to the fight with financial support for the CVDPA.
There is a PayPal link on our website at

Plus this from Clinton McKenzie:

Quote:I encourage every pilot, every aspiring pilot and anyone who cares about them to consider providing financial support for the CVDPA. Ultimately, the only thing that keeps the CVD zealots in check is exposure to the glare of external scrutiny of courts and tribunals.

You may not have CVD, but your turn will come when the zealots decide that your ‘condition’ justifies the sorts of egregious, intellectually dishonest nonsense through which pilots with CVD are put.

And an important disclaimer: Neither Dr Arthur Pape nor John O’Brien nor I make a red cent directly or indirectly from fighting the zealots. In contrast, there’s an entire industry making money out of CVD, and some of the people who make that money are invitees to CASA’s CVD echo chamber.

The truth will out, one way or the other, again, but we’re again up against ‘Brandolini’s Law’, commonly known as the ‘bullshit asymmetry’. That ‘Law’ says that the amount of energy and resources necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude greater than the energy and resources it took to produce it.

Another analogy: The views of CVD zealots are like Paterson’s Curse or Salvation Jane, depending on where you live. They’re a noxious weed that propagates so easily and therefore take so much time and energy to get back under control.

To read and keep up to date with the full UP thread click 'HERE'.

MTF...P2  Tongue

Quote Clinton McKenzie:-
“ You may not have CVD, but your turn will come when the zealots decide that your ‘condition’ justifies the sorts of egregious, intellectually dishonest nonsense through which pilots with CVD are put.”

I’ve been victim of exactly this type of behaviour from AVMED. For over twenty years I’ve been required to make an annual cardio test against the written advice of the conducting cardiologist on the basis that I have no symptoms that would call for such a test. AVMED’s illogical regime with its expenses and time wasting are repeated for hundreds if not thousands of pilots and will continue while its authority and mindset goes unchallenged. CASA’s current move, at glacial pace, toward a self declared medical is presented with so many restrictions it will make the proposal barely useful for small percentage of private pilots. Again the same thinking that’s confounding the CVD pilots.

We all need to support the CVD organisation, including with our donations.

The Empire Strikes Back (AGAIN) on CVD Pilots: UPDATE!

Via the UP:

Quote:Clinton McKenzie

Some further ‘highlights’ from the documents disclosed under FOI and some comments arising from the content of the posts above.

When will the madness end?

When will the madness end? When some proper governance is applied again to CASA AvMed. As a consequence of inadequate governance, combined with how stressful and costly it is to take them on, CASA AvMed reckons the medical standards can practicably be whatever they reckon the standards should be, rather than what the law says the standards are. If the people paid to secure compliance of these zealots with proper governance requirements – Ms Spence and the CASA Board – won’t do it, it’s left once again to individuals to fight them in the courts and tribunals.

The awful safety risks and the change in name

The CASA AvMed echo chamber papers released under FOI list 3 ‘safety concerns’, the third of which is:

Quote:3. CVD cases recently cleared of all colour vision endorsements include:
- Cl 1 pilot who failed OCVA but passed Farnsworth - all CVD conditions/ restrictions removed
- Cl 1 pilot who fail PAPI but passed Farnsworth - all CVD conditions/ restrictions removed
- Cl 1 pilot with 0.5 hours flight experience severe CVD – passed OCVA which was incomplete

Newsflash, zealots: A person who has ‘passed Farnsworth’ in accordance with either CASR 67.150(6)(b) or CASR 67.155(6)(b) has demonstrated compliance with the colour perception criterion of the corresponding medical standard in Part 67. Full stop.

It should not matter whether the CVD zealots have an attack of the vapours about that. If they understood their duties as public officials administering the law they would understand that their personal opinions as to what constitutes compliance with the colour perception criterion are irrelevant. Unfortunately, they don’t have proper governance around them and they’ve been left to their own devices to implement the system their religion dictates, despite the law. These are public officials in government agency in the 21st century.

Someone who has ‘failed OCVA’ may be plain incompetent. Have the zealots been running a control experiment requiring pilots with ‘normal’ vision to undertake the OCVA to confirm that no pilot with ‘normal’ vision will ever fail the OCVA? (And by the way: the person who failed the OCVA puts the lie to the suggestion that no one has failed the OCVA.) I’ve never passed the Farnsworth test, the CAD or the OCVA.

And in the case of the OCVA “which was incomplete”, whose fault is that? The candidate just did whatever the candidate was told by the examiner, for as long as the candidate was told to do it by examiner. Maybe AvMed should have a chat with the examiner who did not administer a ‘complete’ OCVA?

I initially attributed the change in name from OCVA to ACVA to a manifestation of the self-appointed leadership of the Australian zealots. But then I was reminded, by the discussion above, that it’s another manifestation of the zealots’ obsession with CVD being a medical issue not an operational issue. I’ve seen the proposed ACVA described in CASA correspondence as a “medical flight test”.

The zealots’ religion simply refuses to accept that the ability to interpret information from an environment with different colours is an operational assessment, because being a doctor does not qualify someone to test whether a pilot is interpreting information adequately. And the zealots can hold their breath and stamp their little feet until their faces turn blue, but the applicable CASR says – remember that mere bagatelle the law – that the third tier test must ‘simulate an operational situation’.

More from the CASA AvMed echo chamber papers released under FOI. And this is the gist of the ‘safety’ issue arising from CVD, in the zealots’ religion:

Quote:[C]olour dependent cues are most important in critical phases of flight, add to this an emergency on-board, with heightened stress levels, the reaction time can become the determining factor between safety and accident.

And there you have it: Twofold nonsense.

The first nonsense is that in the aviation environment the colour of something is the sole cue and sole source of important information. The second and most palpable nonsense is that pilots with CVD are never put through any stressful, emergency situations and tested against objective standards of performance.

You couldn’t make this stuff up. It would be laughable if so many people’s careers and career aspirations weren't on the line.

When the zealots can specify the number of milliseconds that marks the boundary between ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ recognition times for each piece of information in the operational aviation environment, they can get those numbers put in the MOS and get every candidate tested against those numbers. At the moment, their religion dictates that it ‘must’ take pilots with CVD ‘longer’ to interpret information and therefore they must be ‘less safe’ than pilots without CVD. Just like female pilots must be less safe than male pilots because female pilots can’t lift as much weight as quickly as males and physical strength can become the determining factor between safety and an accident in an emergency.

Compliance with ICAO

As was so eloquently pointed out earlier – with reference to the number of pages of differences filed by Australia – the claimed ICAO compliance issue is a smokescreen. As CASA is so quick to point out – correctly – when it is convenient for CASA: There is only one obligation on member states to the Chicago Convention, and that is to notify of differences from SARPS. That’s why Australia has ‘filed’ so many ‘differences’. But for the zealots on the CVD crusade, their interpretation of the Convention provisions on colour perception is immutable, holy writ. Any difference from that interpretation is, by definition, unsafe.
(Yet strangely, as I pointed out earlier, CASA isn’t calling loudly and courageously for the ‘banning’ of anything that would expose us to the risks arising from those dangerous CVD pilots from the NZ or the USA, for example.)

Lying by omission

That oft-repeated statement by various CASA people, from various CEOs down, about the number of medical ‘approvals’ or certificates granted and refused falls within the scope of what I define as a “lie by omission”:
Stating a fact but omitting another important fact in order deliberately to foster a misconception.

An ordinary member of the public would assume that if CASA has issued a person a medical certificate in fact, that person has nothing to whinge about. CASA issues (a claimed and oddly consistently round figure over years of) 25,000 medical ‘approvals’ or certificates (the word varies depending on who’s speaking) and knocks back fewer than 100. How could the holder of one of these approvals/certificates possibly have any ground to complain?

Of course, us guinea pigs in the process know the whole truth about the costly and dangerous tests imposed by AvMed which tests qualified medical professionals say are unnecessary, and the conditions imposed by AvMed which effectively destroy – among other things – careers and career aspirations.

The only way in which I am able to give Ms Spence the benefit of the doubt is to assume that she’s completely ignorant as to what medical certificate applicants are put through and what ends up on their certificates.

“We issued driver’s licences to all those aspiring race car drivers with CVD!” (Forgot to mention: all of those licences are subject to the condition that the holder never exceed 60kph.)

Intellectual dishonesty

I was first struck by the extent of the intellectual dishonesty of the CVD zealots when I read some of the stuff produced by Dougal Watson. I could not believe that someone so obviously blinded by prejudice and his consequentially flawed reasoning could be taken seriously in any forum of qualified academics and medical professionals. I literally could not believe it. Then through discussions with Arthur Pape I came to realise that these ‘forums’ are actually echo chambers in which the CVD zealots perform their religious rites.

Then I read the NTSB report on the Tallahassee B727 which landed short in 2002. That report is referred to and partially quoted at Annex C of the CASA echo chamber papers released under FOI. Conclusion 13 of 16 conclusions is that: “The first officer suffered from a severe color vision deficiency that made it difficult for him to correctly identify the color of the precision approach path indicator signal during the below-glidepath, nighttime, visual approach to runway 9 at Tallahassee Regional Airport.” I came to that report with an open mind and the presumption that it would be the product of cold, hard analysis by disinterested professionals.

I then read the report.

I commend the report to anyone who hasn't read it. I’ll cherry pick bits below, but everyone should read the entire report and form their own views. I would particularly like to hear from people who, first, do not have any direct or indirect interest in CVD and, secondly, consider that CVD had any causal connection with the accident.

Quote:The accident flight crew consisted of three reserve FedEx pilots. The accident flight was the first time all three crewmembers had flown together; however, the captain and flight engineer had flown together once previously.

So pause there and note: 3 pilots on board.

Quote:According to the CVR transcript, about 0511, the flight engineer received the TLH weather information from the Gainesville Flight Service Station, which indicated: scattered clouds at 100 feet, 18,000 feet, and 25,000 feet; wind from 120º at 5 knots; visibility 9 statute miles; temperature and dew point 22º C (Celsius); and altimeter setting 30.10 inches of mercury (Hg)

So pause there and note the local time and the meteorological conditions - in particular the temp and dew point.

Quote:The flight engineer then briefed the captain and first officer regarding parking at TLH and, in accordance with company procedures, advised them that FedEx considered TLH a moderate controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) risk.

Recall that the ‘flight engineer’ is also a pilot.

The flight continues, with discussions about what runway would be used etc. Ultimately they decide on 09. Then…

Quote:About 0530:32, the CVR recorded sounds similar to a microphone being keyed five times within about 1.3 seconds. About 7 seconds later, the captain radioed “Tallahassee uh FedEx fourteen seventy eight uh extended uh left base leg for runway nine.” The first officer indicated that he thought he saw the runway about 0530:56; he called for “flaps 2” about 0531:10 and “flaps 5” about 12 seconds later. About 0532:34, the first officer stated, “I hope I’m lookin’ in the right spot here.” The captain responded, “see that group of bright lights kinda to the south down there and you see the beacon in the middle of it? right over there you’re kinda on about ten mile left base or so.” The first officer then indicated that he had been “ìlooking at the wrong flashin’ light.”

About 0533:05, the first officer repeated, “I was lookin ‘at the wrong light,” and the captain responded, “yeah okay, yeah.” The first officer added, “yeah, with the direction I took, we coulda used [runway] 27, eh?”, and the captain responded, “yeah, it dudn’t matter. Yeah, it’s about ten miles south of the VOR.”

About 0534:11, the captain stated, “I guess the lights came on, if not I’ll click ‘em again here when we get a little closer.” About 20 seconds later, the CVR recorded a sound similar to a microphone being keyed five times within about 1.5 seconds, and, at 0534:35, the captain said, “there we go.” The first officer requested “flaps 15” about 0535:24. About 0535:31, the first officer stated, “gear down, before landing check;” about 2 seconds later, the CVR recorded a sound similar to the landing gear handle being operated followed by a sound similar to the nose gear door opening.
About 0536:20, the first officer said, “sorry about that. I was linin’ up on that papermill or something.” As the first officer started speaking, (at 0536:20.2), the CVR recorded the ground proximity warning system (GPWS) announce that the airplane passed through 1,000 feet above ground level (agl). About 0536:23, the captain said, “that’s all right, no problem.”

So note: The captain (no CVD) effectively told the first officer (with CVD) that the GPWS warning was nothing to worry about.

It's about here that I started to get an inkling of the intellectual dishonesty that infects this report:

Quote:About 0536:37, the airplane was slightly more than 2.5 nautical miles (nm) from the airport and was transitioning from an angled base-to-final leg to line up with the runway. The Safety Board’s airplane performance study indicated that, about this time, the PAPI would have been displaying one white light and three red lights when viewed from the cockpit. About 0536:40, the PAPI display would have shown four red lights.

Note the words “would have”. Not “should have” or “would probably have”, but an expression of certainty: “would have”. The only people qualified to give first-hand evidence of what was being displayed at the time of the approach of the accident aircraft are the people who were looking at what was being displayed at that time.

PAPI used to have a latent defect. But it became a patent defect decades ago. The patent defect is that in some atmospheric conditions PAPI does not do what it should do. “The Safety Board’s airplane” did not fly the approach at the same local time in the same weather conditions as the B727 involved in the accident did.

I’ll jump forward a bit in the report to highlight these two tidbits:

Quote:The Safety Board notes that the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) submission on this accident stated that there was a “high level of physical particle contamination” on the runway 9 PAPI boxes at TLH. However, investigators who examined the PAPI boxes during the on-scene investigation (including the NATCA representative and other members of the investigative team) noted no such contamination, and the investigation developed no evidence to support this contention.

Presumably NATCA just made it up. Presumably posters on this forum who report observing ‘four pinks’ on Australian PAPIs are making it up too.

Strangely, though, the report also says:

Quote:On December 12, 2002, the FAA issued CertAlert Number 02-08, “PAPI Operation” which advised that 14 CFR Part 139-certificated airport operators should “rewire pilot controlled PAPI systems to make them operate continuously in order to preclude environmental contamination of the lenses.” The TLH PAPI lights were subsequently rewired in accordance with the CertAlert.

Go figure. Why would that rewiring be necessary if there was never any contamination of the TLH PAPI lights just before dawn with the reported temp and dew point being the same?

But back to what the report says about the accident sequence:

Quote:During postaccident interviews, all three crewmembers described a normal flight until the last seconds of the approach. The captain stated that the airplane was established on final as it descended through about 800 feet. He stated that during the approach, he observed “white pink, going to white red” on the PAPI and that, as the airplane descended, “we started picking up a few little wispy, I want to say clouds or mist, but it didn’t obscure the airport.” The captain stated that his last recollection was of a “white red” PAPI indication, then “we started feeling a little bumping, and the rest of it I don’t recall.” The captain stated that the last thing he remembered about the approach was that “everything visually looked normal, based on the runway and that’s why I was somewhat shocked when I felt the thumping”.

The first officer stated the following about the approach:

“Everything was running exactly the way it was supposed to run. When we got down closer to the field and we had slowed down and the field was in sight and the wind was still prevailing down runway nine. And that’s when I mentioned should we go ahead and land on runway nine, since that’s where the wind is. [The captain] said okay, that’s fine. We were kinda lined up that direction anyway. And the speed was well within parameters Got the nose pointed to the airport, started slowing down, started dirtying up rolled out on the centerline on the PAPI I remember specifically adding a touch of power because I recall rolling out on centerline but 2 knots slow and a hair under the bug that’s the last I can remember I have no memory of the remainder of the flight.”

The first officer stated that when he first saw the PAPI lights, they indicated white next to red, showing that the airplane was on the glidepath. When investigators asked him to describe the PAPI system, the first officer described two white lights with two red lights next to each other. The first officer said that he would not have considered landing on runway 9 if it did not have the PAPI light guidance. He went on to state, “from the time I rolled out, I saw that I was on glideslope, added that power for the 2 knots, and it never changed. After that, since I have no memory of the remainder of the flight...I don’t know where the rest of the flight went.” When asked about power settings, the first officer told investigators that fuel flow for a normal visual approach would be 3,000 to 3,500 pounds per hour (pph) at 500 feet.

The flight engineer told investigators that he first saw the airport about the same time the first officer remarked that he had the runway in sight, when the airplane was on a modified left base leg for runway 9. The flight engineer stated that, when he first saw the runway, he observed a white, a pink, and two red lights on the runway’s four-light PAPI system. He further stated that, throughout the approach, he was scanning his instruments and looking outside for other air traffic and that, as they neared the runway, they could see the runway lights “plain as day, including the PAPI.” He stated that the visibility was good during their approach and indicated that he did not observe any of the low, scattered clouds that were reported in the TLH weather observation.

When I read that, as someone without CVD and no direct or indirect pecuniary or other interest in CVD testing, I conclude that, to the extent - if any - that colour vision had any causal connection with the accident, it’s ‘normal’ colour vision that is the problem. Or maybe pilots with ‘normal’ colour vision, like the captain and flight engineer in this case, are more prone to lie about what they saw. Maybe the NACTA people who stated that there was a “high level of physical particle contamination” on the runway 9 PAPI boxes at TLH were liars, too.

And then you find out that the first officer also spent 16 years in the USN.

And then there’s all this analysis of military colour vision testing. And on it goes.

But when you scratch the surface of the cited authorities, you see the names of the ‘usual suspects’. The adherents to the religion. The same people in the same echo chamber.

Please read it for yourself and let me know what you think.

And CM to do a YouTube SITREP at 2pm today:

Plus from Sandy & Arthur Pape:

Quote:Sandy Reith

Tallahassee B727

Anyone who has followed the some forty year saga of colour vision impairment in pilots won’t need to be persuaded.

Just as it appears that the sun orbits Earth so it is necessary (not) that all pilots must have exemplary colour vision in order to accomplish their flight duties in a safe and efficient manner.
In my view the lessor colour perception of around one in ten men should not be called ‘deficient’ because it’s so common as to be normal.

Whilst we do battle with The Empire in Australia, more correctly that we continue to be steamrolled and frightened into submission, we often look longingly to the US of A where their system is light years in advance of ours. But occasionally their ‘Empire’ has a slippage, some of their crew, hopefully a tiny minority, go the path of CASA.

One memorable example concerned the remarkable Bob Hoover who lost his USA medical because the FAA decided his red nose indicated he was drinking too much. He came to Australia and performed at the Avalon Airshow, having passed our medical.

It was my privilege to watch his incredible aerobatic flying routine which terminated after his rollout off the sealed strip onto the grass, both engines feathered, and he braked to a stop placing his left hand spinner in the upraised palm of the announcer’s hand.

He exited the Shrike to be interviewed by the said announcer, yours truly hanging by the fence just a few meters away, and he forcefully announced that he was grateful to Australia and that he could now fly anywhere in the world except in the USA because of an intransigent FAA medical officer. Not long after his return to the USA he regained his medical, they were shamed into restoring his flying status.

Asked to describe how it is to fly his airshow routine, he said in his Southern drawl, “well it’s like milking a mouse with big heavy gloves on.”

But that’s another story, the colour vision saga continues because the make work salary factory must keep on finding new and complex reasons for its existence, the truth or commonsense is too obtuse to the mind when power and money are the drivers.

Arthur Pape

Underlying science

Following Clinton's brilliant post, I thought I'd inform the debate further with the following links "Clark and Gordon Hazards of Colour Coding in Visual Approach Slope Indicators

This link is to a document, published by the Australian Defence Research Laboratories, which very clearly describes the inherent risks of contamination of the PAPI code, based on red/white discrimination, resulting in the distortion of the signal and ultimately, when it fails, it fails "UNSAFE".

When you've read this, and compared it with the NTSB report, it will be manifestlyclear that the crash was entirely due to a "fail unsafe" scenario with the Tallahassee RWY 9 PAPI.

The second link is to a paper, co-authored by myself and Boris Crassini, analyzing the dilemma inherent in the crash investigation, and proposing an alternative explanation (to that reached by the NTSB) of the crash.

:Thank you Clinton for bringing on this discussion.

Do note that the Clark and Gordon document does predict that CVD pilots may have difficulties identifying the PAPI code in certain circumstances, a conclusion I don't have any problem accepting.

To me the Fedex crash circumstances were a perfect fit for the predictions made by Clark and Gordon

MTF...P2 Tongue

The Empire Strikes Back on CVD Pilots - Update: 29/11/23

Arthur Pape, via the UP:

Quote:Apologies for the slowing down of the posts on the thread: A lot is happening in the direct communication space between the CVDPA directors and the CASA hierarchy, in particular the Director, Pip Spence.
I am working through the material that has come to me from the FOI section of CASA. It is disgracefully inadequate in that the lead players who were invited by CASA to help formulate their crusade, the identities of these individuals, as well as their qualifications that one would expect to be told, have been totally redacted (blacked out!).
In due course, we will be publishing the entire response obtained through FOI, but in the meantime, I intend to highlight some of the perverse logic promulgated by CASA to justify its equally perverse conclusions.
Example 1. CASA states: "There is a proposition that the absence of air accidents among CVD pilots could well be due to the fact that there ARE restrictions by way of the Colour Vision Standard.

Then there appears this gem, copied verbatim:
"Safety concerns:
For colour vision deficient pilots, while able to pass OCVA, the colour cues within and outside the cockpit (or flight deck) are vital during the critical phases of flight. During an emergency, with heightened stress levels, the reaction time can become the determining factor between safety and accident. This human factor aspect cannot solely be defined by medical certification, instead has a direct bearing on safe operations, in turn safety of air navigation.
Deutan or Protan CVD defect is a lifelong disability with potential safety impacts:
Reduced or absent ability to assess glide slope by reference to colour cues
Reduced or absent ability to identify and interpret colour cure as used in instrument landing such as PAPI and VASIS and where no redundancy systems can be employed
Reduced or absent ability to identify and interpret colour cues used at airports, including but not limited to, aerodrome markings, holding points runway lighting, marked obstructions, rotating beacons on ground vehicles and precision guidance systems
Reduced or absent ability to identify and interpret colour cues used in cockpit instrument including but not limited to electronic weather displays, indicator and warning systems" End of Quote

I offer you this. There have been three landmark AAT cases since the mid-1980s, and between them, each and every point made in the preceding paragraphs was rejected by the AAT. It is nothing more than pure sophistry, intended to deceive and blind the gullible observers of the debate. We have records of hundreds of pilots with severe colour vision defects that pass and keep on passing every operational test put to them, and I mean BIG TIME! These folk fly every conceivable modern RPT aircraft, and that's just the Aussie part of the sample. In the USA, no one cares to keep the exact figures, but there are thousands of severe CVD pilots representing many thousands of accumulated flight hours performed in safety, and thousands of check and training examinations.

More in a day or two.

Next I note that Senator Fawcett has submitted written QON to CASA in Supplementary Budget Estimates:


1.Mr Marcelja indicated that the information on the CASA website did not reflect the intended policy.
a.Who has a role in authorising changes to the CASA website?
b.Does CASA have a policy or approved process for ensuring due diligence is applied to check for alignment with approved policy before changes are made?
c.If the answer to b. is YES, why wasn't this process followed?

2.Ms Spence also indicated that the information was inaccurate.
a.Who drafted the information which was published on the website?
b.What steps have been / will be taken to ensure that individual employees are aware of their responsibility to curtail their personal views and support the agreed corporate policy position?


Providing evidence during Estimate (23 Oct 23) Dr Manderson discussed:
1. an international group of ''expert pilots and flying instructors''.
a. How many people were in the group?
b. How were the members of the group selected?
c. How many members of the group had recent (within the past 12 months) industry flying operations experience as CPL or ATPL qualified pilots?
d. How many members of the group had recent (within the past 12 months) industry experience as a flying instructor, flight examiner, approved testing officer or equivalent?
e. How many members of the group were CASA Flying Operations Inspectors?
f. How many members of the group were/are employees of CASA?

2. a meeting of colleagues from FAA, NZ, US DoD and ICAO.
a. How many of these colleagues had expertise in aviation medicine or academic/clinical fields related to the colour perception standard?
b. How many of these colleagues had expertise in aviation flying operations or flight examiners/instructors or equivalent?

3. that no medical certificates had been denied since the decision to review the operational test. This evidence was provided during a line of questions in respect of whether CASA would provide an ''unrestricted medical certificate'' to a candidate who has passed an operational test. While assertion that no medical certificates had been denied is technically correct, it is not accurate in the context of the Estimates hearing and evidence of restrictions being applied to candidates who have passed the operational test.
a. How many CVD candidates have been issued an unrestricted medical certificate since the OCVA operational test was announced by Mr Carmody??
b. How many CVD candidates have been issued an unrestricted medical certificates since the decision to review the operational test?
c. How many CVD candidates have been issued a medical certificate containing CVD related restrictions since the decision to review the operational test?
d. On what day and by what means did CASA make a public statement that the changes announced by Mr Carmody (2020) relating to CVD testing options and outcomes under CASR 67.150 (6)© were no longer going to be implemented / accepted by CASA AVMED?
e. What guidance was provided to DAMEs and CASA AVMED staff relating to changes CASA would implement during this period?


A senior aviation medical officer from CASA has indicated in written communication to CVD stakeholders (30 Aug 23) that:
1. ''Passing Farnsworth and or CAD test is considered equivalent to a pass for PAPI practical test, noting only those pilots with severe CVD are offered ACVA because they cannot pass the desk-based test we are accepting as proxy for PAPI - especially the CAD''.
a. In practice, this reliance on a desk-based assessment has occurred over some years regardless of a candidates flight experience (ie: many have no flight time when they do their medical). What evidence is CASA relying on to apply restrictions on a pilot who passes on operational test (regardless of flight experience) where they have demonstrated that they can correctly interpret the visual cues provided by a real PAPI in a real operational environment?
b. How many CAD testing locations are available in Australia?
c. Is it the intent of CASA to change the 2020 provisions and require a candidate to undertake the CAD before having the option for an operational test?

MTF...P2 Tongue

The Empire Strikes Back on CVD Pilots - Update: 14/12/23

Via YouTube:

Quote:Interview | Australia's first ACVA fight test candidate

In 2022, with no notice or clear direction, CASA suspended the Operational Colour Vision Assessment (OCVA), and has long promised a replacement flight test.

Join the CVDPA as we sit down with Simon Choice, the first person to undertake the Aviation Colour Vision Assessment flight test, and discuss the test, how it compared to the OCVA, and his experience with CASA AvMed.

We will also discuss what this means for aspiring pilots, and the challenges that continue to exist with CASA's proposed (although allegedly not yet implemented) policy.

Support CVDPA today to fight for fair implementation of the *actual* legislated rules:

MTF...P2  Tongue

Spot the difference??

NTSB Chair Homendy on 'Navigating Mental Health in the Aviation Industry':

Quote:National Transportation Safety Board
3d •

The video recording of the hashtag#NTSB safety summit, Navigating Mental Health in Aviation, is now available. The summit featured viewpoints from the aviation industry, academia, the mental health profession, and government, and concluded with a call for the industry to embrace collaboration and continue working to improve conditions for safety-critical aviation professionals.

“I don’t want action to take years,” NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said. “It needs to happen now. Change is overdue.”

There's a lady acknowledging there's a aviation safety issue and attempting to proactively address/mitigate that issue, meanwhile Downunda Popinjay is naively providing top-cover for the serious deficiencies of safety oversight within the Pip Spence led CASA: Popinjay's Croc-o-shite report: The systemic investigation that wasn't?? 

[Image: Swiss-Cheese.jpg]

MTF...P2  Tongue

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