Sweeping the Dirt Under the Carpet…

Why the European Union is blocking access to safety records?

On an unexpected, not so transparent move, the European Union will begin blocking public access to the aircraft incident reports – MOR’s – Mandatory Occurrence Reports that were previously released under the Freedom of Information Act.

To understand it better, these Incident Reports include all ground and flight operations of an aircraft such as an aircraft collision with a vehicle or a building, runway excursions, bird strikes, loss of control, extreme turbulence, near mid-air, ATC conflicts, or any other event that is not a catastrophic crash.

In the U.S., the NTSB, National Transportation Safety Board provides public access to all incidents and accidents reports through their website, these reports include all occurrences and are considered a valuable tool on the learning process of every professional pilot.

Some guy sitting behind a desk took this decision on benefit of who? Airplane manufacturer? ATC? Government? The argument is that public gets scared if they read the bad news. This is totally untrue, millions of persons around the world take an airplane everyday to go on a business trip, vacations, etc., knowing that is the fastest way to go from one place to another. Same as millions of persons take their car and use the roads knowing that car accidents still are have the highest score on human life loss.

Remember the old saying? “Learn from others mistakes, you wont live long enough to make them all yourself” Absolutely true, prevention is rule number one in aviation, but unfortunately 100 % safe does not exist, precisely because we are humans. And as humans prone to errors.
Those errors have contributed to form the foundation, for example, of CRM – Crew Resource Management.

Up until now only incidents or accidents reports that involve military or government aircraft, police, etc., are keep sometimes confidential for national security reasons. All events that involve civilian aircraft, either private or of public transport must be reported and investigated to know the causes of the occurrence and avoid it happen again.

We don’t need only a tragic occurrence or a catastrophic crash as a source of information for prevention. Thousands of small events that happen everyday feed the basket of information used by everyone involved in aviation to develop safety procedures.

Many people considered aberrant this initiative from the EU is already taking actions to stop it.

We all hope this big step back never happen.

Capt. Ivan

Life Goes On…..

….long time away from here, life and events go very fast. My last post at Cockpit Chatter was last year. Not easy to keep writing on a regular basis, specially when schedules are tight and work is hard.

Sometimes an event can hit you like a hard slap in your face and make you feel that you have been lucky to survive up until here. Can make you think that better be careful, try to learn from other’s mistakes and approach every flying day with a learning attitude or next time you may be not so lucky.

Carlos was not a good pilot, he was an extraordinary good pilot. Retired from a major airline, he flew all kind of jets during his career. Good sense of humor, addicted to teach to the first one showing interest in flying, he gave more than once some flight tips that I still use today. A guy capable of flying a Boeing 727 in the morning, a single engine Cessna in the afternoon and a helicopter at the end of the day. Being the kind of guy that cannot stay home after retirement he became a hangar rat flying everything that was within reach and sharing his knowledge with the young generations.

But he was also addicted to fly on the edge and when you fly always on the edge even a small mistake can end everything. The water of the lake was too close from the helicopter’s skid to react on a timely manner.

See you in the clouds someday Carlos, we will always remember you and your harmonica on the ATC frequency.

On the other hand everything is Ok, same news, little lessons learned from recent accidents. US airlines continue blaming the pilot’s shortage on the 1.500 hrs. requirement, not assuming that even working in a McDonald’s you get more salary than flying an airliner. The aviation industry tries to squeeze their expenses as much as they can on an sector where profit margins are very slim.

None wants to go to the root of the problem, because solutions involved mean development and training, in other words: More investment.

Autopilots are blamed on poor pilots performance. Good criteria, understanding and skills are obtained only through experience. How can you define three professionals stalling a perfectly airworthy airliner on a beautiful sunny day? Since the moment we became fixed wing pilots we all knew that speed and altitude is life. Seems that some people seated on modern aircraft cockpits still need to understand this.

Life goes on…

Capt. Ivan

  •   GDL 39