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  1. #126
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    From the Dail Yesterday:
    Air Accident Investigations

    5. Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Defence if he will order the reopening of the military enquiry covering the crash of an Air Corps Pilatus PC-9 aircraft in County Galway on 12 October 2009 resulting in two fatalities and the concerns raised by the parents of one of the Air Corps personnel killed (details supplied) regarding the conduct of the investigation. [13525/13]

    Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: I wish first to extend my sympathies to the families of the deceased. There have been three separate reports into this tragic accident. The air accident investigation unit of the Department of Transport conducted an inquiry and published its report on 24 January 2012. It found that the probable cause of the accident was spatial disorientation of the instructor-pilot in conditions of poor visibility, resulting in a controlled flight into terrain. The subsequent inquest into the deaths of the two crew members recorded an open verdict in respect of the instructor-pilot who was piloting the aircraft at the moment of impact and a verdict of accidental death for the cadet.

    The court of inquiry’s findings are in complete agreement with those reached in the earlier investigations, namely, that the accident was caused by spatial disorientation of the instructor, who was piloting the aircraft in conditions of poor visibility. All of the reports agree that the cadet bore no responsibility of any kind for the accident. The Minister, Deputy Shatter, is willing to address any questions about the court of inquiry and has asked the Attorney General for advice in this regard. However, he is satisfied that the court of inquiry has done its work in a thorough way and that its members acted professionally, impartially and with integrity.

    Deputy Joe Higgins: On 12 October 2009, as the result of a crash on an Air Corps training flight, Cadet David Jevens tragically died, as did Captain Derek Furniss. In the question I tabled I asked that the court of inquiry's investigation be reopened. The Minister of State indicated that the Attorney General has been asked to provide advice, and I welcome that in so far as it goes. However, much more needs to be done.
    The father of the late Cadet Jevens's is observing in the Visitors' Gallery. The family of the late Cadet Jevens, in particular, are deeply unhappy with the conduct of the court of inquiry for a number of specific reasons. The first of these is that Defence Force regulation A5(2) directs that a certified copy of the proceedings in the Coroner's Court be forwarded to the court of inquiry. This was not done. Evidence was given at the Coroner's Court and the cross-examination of witnesses in that court yielded vital evidence about the tragedy. Important parts of that evidence were contracted during the proceedings of the court of inquiry, but no attempt was made to reconcile the differences that came to light or to cross-examine witnesses. The second reason is that no safety audit was carried out in the flight training school between 2004 and early 2009. There was criticism of this fact in the air accident investigation unit's report. However, the then flight safety officer was never called before the court of inquiry. The third reason is that the commanding officer of the flight training school was on other duties for more than half of the time leading up to and during 2009. He was never called upon to give evidence before the court of inquiry.

    An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Will the Deputy please ask a question?

    Deputy Joe Higgins: The final reason is the fact that witnesses were given copies of the questions to be asked a long time before the court of inquiry sat. They presented written statements, in respect of which they were not cross-examined, and which in some cases differed substantially from the evidence of the air accident investigation unit and of the coroner. No attempt was made to reconcile this. I put it to the Minister of State that there is a compelling argument to reopen the court of inquiry and I ask that this be done.

    Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: I again offer my deepest sympathies to the families of Cadet Jevens and Captain Furniss in respect of this awful tragedy. I reiterate that the Minister for Defence, Deputy Shatter, has arranged for all of the relevant issues that were raised to be forwarded to the Attorney General for advice. The Minister is available to meet the families of the deceased at any time.

    In the context of the findings of the air accident investigation unit, all of the seven safety recommendations have been implemented and acted upon. However, due the nature of some of those recommendations, work remains ongoing in two specific areas: the recommendation concerning external input into the Air Corps safety management system, SMS, and that concerning the implementation of flight data monitoring. The position in respect of the former is that the Air Corps has accepted a suggestion with regard to the inclusion of external inputs in the SMS auditing process and is sourcing a suitable expert in this regard. The position on flight data monitoring is that a study has been completed and steps have been taken to commence the implementation of recommendations to equip all aircraft in the fleet with flight data monitors

    Deputy Joe Higgins: I take it the Attorney General would be prepared to accept a submission from the family of Cadet Jevens. I shall so advise them; that would be normal. I have to ask that, in the reopening of this court of inquiry, the family of Cadet Jevens be represented, and the family of Captain Furniss should they wish. It is vital that the families would have the opportunity of being represented to represent the name and vindicate the rights of their loved ones who tragically died.
    Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: I accept the points Deputy Higgins has made and I will ensure they are brought to the attention of the Minister, Deputy Shatter. All of the issues raised up to now, and I am not familiar with all of them, have been addressed in the context of being sent for legal advice but if there are any other submissions the Deputy or the families wish to make, I have no doubt that on receipt of them the Minister, Deputy Shatter, will pass them on.

  2. #127
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    Sorry, did I read that correctly? The Defence Forces held a Court of Inquiry into a fatal aircraft accident and never interviewed the unit OC or the Flight Safety Officer. Comprehensive enquiry there so......

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  4. #128
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    Well, in effect, the day-to-day OC was dead and the FSO covers the whole Air Corps, not just the PC-9s, so the number of people who had direct input into the PC-9 flight is very small. If existing practise was anything to go by, they(the AC) would have seized the aircraft logbooks immediately and got hold of the NCO ic and the men who dispatched it and quizzed them first.

    regards
    GttC

  5. #129
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    The day-to-day OC (CFI) yes but not the OC FTS.

  6. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoneToTheCanner View Post
    Well, in effect, the day-to-day OC was dead and the FSO covers the whole Air Corps, not just the PC-9s, so the number of people who had direct input into the PC-9 flight is very small. If existing practise was anything to go by, they(the AC) would have seized the aircraft logbooks immediately and got hold of the NCO ic and the men who dispatched it and quizzed them first.

    regards
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    Thats all fine and well iff the aircraft condition is a material factor in whatever befell it.

  7. #131
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    But surely the FSO should have questions to answer regarding no safety audits taking place between 2004 and 2009?

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  9. #132
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    Thinking about it again, wouldn't the OC be responsible for what training his instructors should be doing. For example should the then OC have been questioned on why low level abort training was not done?

    That added to my last point makes it very worrying and in my mind very suspicious that the then OC and then FSO were not questioned by this inquiry. Unwillingness to ask hard questions and discipline anyone?

  10. #133
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    hi all,
    Seizing the maintenance logs is standard so that no-one can enter anything after the fact. So is quizzing the techs. All persons connected directly or indirectly with a flight are questioned, so omitting persons in the command chain, especiallyon such a short one as the PC-9 chain is wrong.

    regards
    GttC
    Last edited by GoneToTheCanner; 17th March 2013 at 17:32.

  11. #134
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    It's my honest opinion that if the AC really wanted to know ALL the factors that led to the accident they would have left no stone unturned so that it could never happen again. To do anything less is disrespectful to those that died and their families.
    This inquiry was not comprehensive enough and was just a tick the box exercise to be seen to do something.

  12. #135
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    I wouldn't rely on the papers to be 100% accurate.

    Who is to say that written statements weren't given

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  14. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    I wouldn't rely on the papers to be 100% accurate.

    Who is to say that written statements weren't given
    Who's to say they were? The family seem to be dis satisfied, I am sure they know more than the papers.

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  16. #137
    Moderator DeV's Avatar
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    Exactly, I assume the report is (at least) restricted which is why it is not available to the public.

    Is it even made available to the families?

  17. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeV View Post
    Exactly, I assume the report is (at least) restricted which is why it is not available to the public.
    That usually means someone has something to hide. This has nothing to to do with national security or "opsec" which is used as a get out of jail type card. When these things are kept from the public, which is wrong as they foot the bill, people smell a rat.

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  19. #139
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    In fairness the AC are neither unique nor innovative regarding restrictions on reports.Do the rounds of State Orgs,none make all internal reports fully public without any redaction.

  20. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    In fairness the AC are neither unique nor innovative regarding restrictions on reports.Do the rounds of State Orgs,none make all internal reports fully public without any redaction.
    Example???
    The Gardai even have their own Ombudsman's office.

  21. #141
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    The garda ombudsman is an independant body like the AAIU.

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  23. #142
    Non Temetis Messor The real Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    The garda ombudsman is an independant body like the AAIU.
    You cannot compare the powers of the AAIU to those of the Garda ombudsman. If the AAIU had similar powers this would not be happening.

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  25. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    In fairness the AC are neither unique nor innovative regarding restrictions on reports.Do the rounds of State Orgs,none make all internal reports fully public without any redaction.
    The Tusker rock crash off Wexford in 1968. When the investigators went out to Air Lingus to take possession of the maintenance logs
    of the Aircraft, They had mysteriously disappeared never to turn up again. So we just blamed the Brits.

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  27. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by The real Jack View Post
    You cannot compare the powers of the AAIU to those of the Garda ombudsman. If the AAIU had similar powers this would not be happening.
    I am not comparing powers of the aaiu wrt Garda Ombudsman,just highlighting that these are independant bodies whose reports are not internal reports such as a court of inquiry which under A5 is confidential.

  28. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    I am not comparing powers of the aaiu wrt Garda Ombudsman,just highlighting that these are independant bodies whose reports are not internal reports such as a court of inquiry which under A5 is confidential.
    What difference does their supposed independence make? One is a dickless report generating organisation the other can have people jailed. What's needed is somewhere half between the HSA & the GSOC. What does the DF gain by not publishing the results of this "court of inquiry"? What does the taxpayer gain by the DF being unaccountable wrt potentially avoidable ("non-operational") fatal accidents?
    Last edited by The real Jack; 18th March 2013 at 00:44.

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  30. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    I am not comparing powers of the aaiu wrt Garda Ombudsman,just highlighting that these are independant bodies whose reports are not internal reports such as a court of inquiry which under A5 is confidential.
    What purpose does it serve to keep the findings confidential? National security? Or more like a desire to keep it all hush hush and not name and shame a few senior AC officers?
    Not that it matters anyway as it seems some if the key players in the operation at that time were not called in and questioned.
    Wa it true that written statements were Also given by some? And that questions were put to them in writing in advance?
    Sounds like they really wanted to get to the bottom of the systemic failure alright!

  31. #147
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    DCOS OPs was GOC AC at the time?

  32. #148
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    Personaly I think that this reflects badly, not only on the Air Corps but on the Defence Forces in general. The IAC is a CORPS of the Irish Defence Forces not a standalone organisation.

    Who provided aviation expertise to the CoI? The organisation under scrutiny???? Should this be a non aligned board, ie Army and Navy, assisted by a non IAC aviation expert (selected by the Army or Navy!!). In my opinion this crap again and again and again does nothing but expose IAC crews not only to accidents but to ultimate blame from their superiors when shit goes wrong. Don't they see that!! They will always be the scape goat!!!!

    At the end of the day the IACs failing is the entire DFs failing. CoS, take control for God sake, there your personnel!

  33. #149
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    It's also a government failing. Just as the IAC is an arm of the DF, the DF is an arm of the State. It should not be a closed shop. When an organisation as small as the IAC self scrutinises and disciplines there's bound to be a certain amount of covering each others arses. Failure to impose control is a failure at departmental level.

    All the while Shatter is off in Israel passing off personal political views as state policy.

  34. #150
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    Just so you know all CoIs are restricted (at least)!

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