Thursday, February 17, 2022

Underlying Factors

I'm re-reading the TSB Report on an air crash at Fond-du-Lac, in preparation for another class I'm teaching. At every step of the recounting, pilots who have never worked in the north will be crying, "What?" and "No!" while pilots who have may nod their heads with understanding. 

When I got to this sentence ...

Early in this investigation, it became clear that more information was needed to determine whether the underlying factors identified in this occurrence were present elsewhere in the Canadian commercial aviation industry.

... I said out loud, "Where have you been?" How can someone be working in accident investigation in Canada and need any more information in order to know that the underlying factors in that accident are omnipresent across the land? 

The summary refers to "the inadequacy of de-icing equipment or services at these locations."  Inadequacy doesn't begin to describe it. You'd be lucky to get potable water at Fond-du-Lac. They say, like it makes any difference:

There are many defences in place to ensure the clean aircraft concept is followed, such as regulations, company operating manuals, and standard operating procedures. However, all of these defences rely singularly on flight crew compliance.
And sure, that captain could have picked up that cell phone and called company to tell them there was too much ice on the plane and he was not departing. How would that have worked out for him? Well, probably better than the serious back injuries he received in the crash. That sentence should finish, "... defences rely singularly on flight crew ability to defy company expectations." No, the company doesn't expect crews to fly with iced up aircraft. They just expect you to fly, and don't want to hear about the difficulties.

I think five to ten percent of my training in anything is assuring pilots that I really want them to follow the regulations, the company operating manual, and the SOPs, that they won't get in trouble for cancelling a flight if the conditions aren't right, or for grounding an airplane with a snag. By the time I get them, and I'm by no means at the top of the aviation food chain, the industry has already taught pilots that there is one set of rules for the classroom and another set for the skies. I have to beat it out of them. And myself.

Saturday, February 05, 2022

Missing? Search Again!

 As well as training pilots, I train flight followers, the people responsible for, in the words of the legislation ...

CARS 722.12 (2) Flight Following

Flight Following for a Type D system is the monitoring of a flight's progress and the notification of appropriate air operator and search and rescue authorities if the flight is overdue or missing.

Naturally if I train people to notify the authorities when a flight is missing, they have to know what that means, so I looked it up. First hit was on Wikipedia ...

According to Annex 13 of the International Civil Aviation Organization, an aircraft is considered to be missing "when the official search has been terminated and the wreckage has not been located"

That doesn't make any sense, but it wouldn't be the first time Wikipedia was wrong or that Canada had a different definition than the international one. I find a Transport Canada source.

Advisory Circular (AC) No. 100-001 Subject: Glossary for Pilots and Air Traffic Services Personnel

An aircraft is considered to be missing when the official search has been terminated and the wreckage has not been located.

So, according to Transport Canada, I am to train the flight followers to report an overdue aircraft promptly to SAR, and then, weeks later when the search and rescue experts have failed to locate the aircraft and advise that they are discontinuing the search, to report the missing aircraft once again to SAR. At least I won't have to look very hard for relevant humour to spice up this part of the instruction.

Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Not Always the Best

 I am busy preparing training, as I always seem to be these days, but something in the regs made me giggle:

"A pilot who accepts an aircraft with defects, the repair of which has been deferred in accordance with an approved system, has a good defence against any possible charge of flying an unairworthy aircraft, whereas a pilot who undertakes a flight with an aircraft that is not in compliance with the approved system commits an offence."

So what they are saying is that a good offence is not always the best defence. Or perhaps this would be a bad offence.