Much to be ashamed of minister. – AP Forum version.
Of all its flaws – and there are many – the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s greatest problem may well lie within its very title.
It was once known as the Civil Aviation Authority but now this regulatory authority has been burdened with the oxymoron of “safety.”
Apart from the confusion it creates in the minds general community because of its branding collision with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau CASA’s title is, quite simply, an absurd contradiction in terms.
CASA’s self-appointed role as a Big R law enforcement agency ensures it actually works to undermine the aspiration of safer skies.
It is clearly a regulatory enforcement agency which has never embraced “safety” as its primary mandate.
I have extracted some excerpts from the Professional Aviation Investigation Network Report 3rd Aug 2017 that expose a hostile and adversarial relationship between the GA industry and the Regulator (CASA).
“In general, it must be stated that the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has an unique approach to ICAO compliance, with record number of ‘notified differences’. Many of the notifications may, at face value, seem insignificant.”
It is our opinion that the noted differences are structured to support the complex, contradictory, flawed rule set in place.Reform of this rule set has been in train for thirty years, with successive government ministers and directors of civil aviation promising to complete the task ‘within the next three years’.
This is an important consideration as it reflects on the operational approach taken to both open reporting of ‘incident’ or event; and, the tangible fear of prosecution.
Australia’s Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR) are founded on the ‘criminal code’ and ‘strict liability’; this, standing alone, provides a strong disincentive to openly reporting safety related matters. This attitude is reflected in the government safety bodies approach to ICAO compliance and reporting.
So it is hardly surprising to witness the industry’s adoption of a culture of “never Reporting incidents or accidents” when the obvious option for survival lies with concealment and in-house fixes.
It’s more disturbing than ironic to see CASA has developed a similar culture of not reporting all accidents to ICAO (as required by annexe 13) which might result in a downgrading of Australia’s overall safety approval by ICAO.
The Australian Government has in fact been lying by failing to submit reports to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, as required since 2009.
Over 30 years this has had a major negative impact on aviation safety in this country.
….Late start this morning – much to consider and read; mostly to do with Bruce Roades and his run in with at the CASA gristmill. The story begins with tragedy, a failed engine leading to an air accident, ending with a fatality. A raw day for all concerned; services swung into action and did their usual sterling work (thank you – once again); ATSB arrived ‘on-site’ and began the task of ‘investigation’. This is what we have become used to after an accident; the ATSB attempts to define what happened, why and place, when required, some form of advisory or recommendation designed to prevent a reoccurrence. The CASA often buy in, they are quite entitled to run an investigation; there are matters which they need to be across, matters of law and operational well being. So the scene is set…
We cannot learn from our own mistakes or those others if they are not reported for fear of retribution.
And no one is doing anything constructive about this (that is working).
I propose we build-up a file of unreported incidents and accidents from the last 20 years.
I can most certainly start with one with which I am familiar of about 20 who have already written to me.
We could even publish suitably redacted stories on the auntypru.com web site.
All contributors would remain anonymous except to the keeper of the file who would be required to testify to the veracity of the authors if required.
I imagine this file would build to considerable proportions in a very short time and continue to build over time.
This file would then be presented to the Senate enquiry to highlight the true extent to which CASA’s punitive enforcement culture has had a disastrous and worsening effect on Australia’s safety.
Supported by reputable industry organisations such as AOPA I believe government could not ignore such a stark reality of the failure of CASA.
As this file built up in size it would become a larger and larger cudgel with which to beat the Minister and the Senate over the head with.
Initially I would put my hand up to collect and file these confidential reports.
My email is email@example.com
This is an incident that should have been reported.
…A charter company operating a X hired 172 from a maintenance organisation.
The pilot was on a final approach to an ALA with 3 pax and 20 degrees flap (very fortunately not 40 degrees) and down to 200 ft. There was a loud bang followed by the aircraft rapidly rolling right.
Fortunately the pilot recognised that the flap extension cable to the right flap had broken causing it to instantly retract and causing the left flap to operate as a massive aileron attempting to roll the aircraft over.
Needless to say at such a low altitude on final approach with an aircraft attempting to barrel roll this was a critical situation.
The pilot recognised the problem and instantly retracted flap stabilising the aircraft and landed flapless…
As he later told me he had read about a similar incident in the old Aviation Safety Digest (Crash Comic). As a direct result of his having read and learned from someone else’s misfortune he was able to recognise and react significantly faster which may have averted 4 more fatalities on that day.
We don’t have a Crash Comic any more and no one would be stupid enough to write in to CASA’s version of it.
Obviously the fault in the aircraft was an extremely sloppy maintenance inspection by the maintenance organisation (or several prior inspections not to have noticed corrosion in this crucial cable at the wing root roller).
And yet this incident was not reported to CASA by the company as no doubt CASA would have grounded all aircraft in the company subject to a lengthy investigation in spite of the fact that they did not own the incident aircraft.
No doubt there are many more similar stories which should/would have been reported if the industry did not have such a mistrustful attitude to CASA.
Clearly you cannot have an industry body which accepts confidential reports and makes safety recommendations in the best interests of safety and yet is also an enforcement body. The 2 roles are virtually in opposition to each other.
Finally we need a federal anti corruption investigative body with a mandate to root out corruption in all of our federal bureaucracies, they would be busy for quite a while.
P2 footnote: Great initiative Bruce, FYI just a hint for perhaps why this miniscule and DPM McDo’Naught will simply hang off the coat tails of CASA’s Iron Ring:
From the Airports thread this AM: Magic; stuff that makes you go Uhmmm!
K said: “..The duckling building was and remains a serious safety hazard; it is a significant part of the ‘investigation’ and it’s being located where it is remains a major part of the investigation into the Essendon accident. How can it possibly be ‘removed’ and treated as a ‘separate’ stand alone element, before the final report is released?
Post report – fair enough – let’s have a look at the why and how’s this thing was allowed to park within the boundaries of an active runway and why the ‘documents’ failed to notify aircrew of the hazard or a reduced runway safety zone. The encroachment of buildings into operational airspace is a major concern and worthy of it’s own enquiry – but, the DFO at Essendon is part of the causal chain and it MUST be treated as such, not snapped off and put on the wait-a-bit shelf, marked ‘do later’…”
A possible explanation to this disturbing disconnection lies in the “K” statement that followed…
“..Hood working his own brand of magic – yet again; to delay, distract, defer and protect his masters by prostituting the once proud ATSB…”
But why would Hood so obviously compromise the independence and veracity of the ongoing investigation? Well perhaps because the BJ affair has created a perfect political and ministerial vacuum in which Hoody can weave his top-cover magic without being challenged or afforded any Government oversight from the distracted minister’s office?
Remember that 6D Chester as the former miniscule for non-aviation managed to convince the Chair Barry O and the committee to defer their – Airports Amendment Bill 2016 [Provisions] – Inquiry till 19 March 2018 and the inquiry completion is now dependent on those findings:
1.17 The committee recognizes that the findings and recommendations of the
investigations into this tragedy, and the work of NASAG, may have implications for
the bill. It takes the view that sufficient time should be provided to allow the
investigations to proceed and for the committee to then properly consider their
1.18 Therefore, the committee recommends that its inquiry on the bill be extended
to allow consideration of the investigations and any other relevant aviation regulation