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SlamClick
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Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:55 am

The current issue of ALPA's magazine has an article about the "growing trend" to pursue criminal prosecution of the flight crew following aircraft accidents. Perhaps this is not really technical but I'd like to invite some viewpoint on this of a type generally not found in Civ/Av.

For those of you outside the US let me make a couple of generalities. Here we tend to seek crimininal prosecution only when the INTENT was criminal, or the negligence was SO obvious, so profound that no one in their right mind would have pursued the course of action. And we will pursue it for actions taken voluntarily that are completely outside the normal rules of conduct. For example, last year a couple of airline pilots were sent to prison in Florida after they were pulled out of the cockpit drunk.

In an accident, even one that you or I might deem a no-brainer, if the crew was doing what they thought was correct at the time the matter is subject to FAA penalties only. These can include taking your license up to the rest of your life, some pretty hefty fines (over a million against some companies) so they are not just a slap on the wrist.

ALPA takes the position that criminal prosecution degrades safety.

I agree for three reasons:

1. The criminal prosecution may take the place of an investigation by actual experts and thus, nothing will be learned from the accident (except don't crash in Japan!)

2. It makes it very risky for people to speak freely regarding circumstances that led up to the accident.

3. It seems obvious to me that a pilot, performing his job with criminal intent would be acting suicidally. So unless you can prove suicidal intent you have not demonstrated the intent to crash.


The article included a sidebar listing some places where criminal action was pursued against aircrew.

1974 Kenya
1977 Portugal
1979 Greece
1982 Japan
1983 Turkey
1985 Japan
1987 Mexico
1987 Italy
1988 France
1989 Libya
1995 New Zealand
1997 Japan
1999 UK
2000 Switzerland
2001 Japan
2001 Switzerland

I'd like to hear from you - what do you think about this?
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2H4
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Acciden

Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:08 am




Quoting SlamClick (Thread starter):
2. It makes it very risky for people to speak freely regarding circumstances that led up to the accident.

Exactly. If the threat of criminal prosecution is present, nobody will volunteer information regarding accidents....or near-accidents....for fear of legal action.

And if nobody volunteers information regarding accidents and/or near-accidents, it will become nearly impossible to be proactive with regard to improving air safety.


2H4


Intentionally Left Blank
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:22 am

I agree with you Captain Click. As in most cases where safety is concerned, being afraid of the consequences of speaking out degrades safety. There have been numerous discussions on this board about firing ramp rats for a mistake. If you fire instead of allowing said employee to learn from the mistake, the organization is weakened.

However, the current mentality from many employers in the US is "fire first, ask later". Note that this applies especially to less qualified so called "McJobs". I think the trend really indicates a failing of the managers, not the employees (in general). As the old saying goes: "There are no bad crews, only bad Captains."

In the ever growing "I'm entitled" culture, the lawyers and victims smell blood in the water and figure they can get something out of it. Quite frankly I find it vulgar and in many cases it is no better than shameless treasure hunting with little regard for the dead themselves. That is, many survivors are more concerned with money than the memory of their loved ones.

I also think it is important to let the NTSB or equivalent deal with the investigation first. Any criminal proceedings should be on hold until after the investigation. This ties in with your point one. If nothing else, an NTSB investigation is a pretty good "expert witness". The fact that they are impartial and thorough doesn't hurt either.


Air crashes are sensationalized well beyond any rhyme or reason. Simply having to wait until the investigation is over may stop many criminal proceedings because things have calmed down a bit. If people start seeking criminal prosecution on the basis of tabloid headlines instead of an impartial investigation into the actual causes of a crash, pilots will second guess themselves to an increasing degree. This will lead to lowered ACTUAL safety.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
atct
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:23 am

I am with ALPA on this one. Its going to force the pilot to be human and try to stick out for their own behind (rightfully so).

Whats next....prosecuting pilots for filling out NASA forms?


ATCT
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SlamClick
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:38 am

Quoting ATCT (Reply 3):
Whats next....prosecuting pilots for filling out NASA forms?

Cue SlamClick in his best Scott Glenn-playing-Alan Shepherd-doing-his-Bill Dana-as-José Jimenez voice:
"Oh I hope not!"
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
MDorBust
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:52 am

Quoting SlamClick (Thread starter):
The article included a sidebar listing some places where criminal action was pursued against aircrew.

Don't forget Brazils recent scandle of justice.

Everyone got lawyered up, nobody's talking and oh yeah... the government is staging a coverup. That'll surely help fix the problem and prevent future re-occurances.
"I KICKED BURNING TERRORIST SO HARD IN BALLS THAT I TORE A TENDON" - Alex McIlveen
 
Areopagus
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:52 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 4):
Cue SlamClick in his best Scott Glenn-playing-Alan Shepherd-doing-his-Bill Dana-as-José Jimenez voice:

"Oh I hope not!"

Why not just SlamClick-in-his-best-Bill Dana-as-José Jimenez voice? You were around then.  Wink
 
SlamClick
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:22 am

Quoting MDorBust (Reply 5):
Don't forget Brazils recent scandle of justice.

I did forget that. It was probably the whole reason ALPA ran the article at this time.

Ernie Gann wrote a book about this; fiction, set in Taiwan and centered on a 727 crash. If I remember it right, the criminal action was part of a government coverup of the fact that the plane got false navigation signals from a missile base.
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speedracer1407
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Acciden

Tue Jan 30, 2007 12:25 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 2):
In the ever growing "I'm entitled" culture, the lawyers and victims smell blood in the water and figure they can get something out of it. Quite frankly I find it vulgar and in many cases it is no better than shameless treasure hunting with little regard for the dead themselves. That is, many survivors are more concerned with money than the memory of their loved ones.

My understanding of the intricacies of our legal system is pretty lacking, but as far as I know, criminial prosecution doesn't have anything directly to do with money. Or does it? If not, then the opinions on this thread are even further suported because nobody actually gains from criminal prosecution of crew who do no intentionally cause plane crashes, even if they were negligent, incompetent, lazy, or whatever.

Seems to me as though, conceptually, the criminal legal system is designed to "improve" society as a whole by administering punishment to those responsible for harming it, incarcerate those who pose a threat, rehabilitate those who accept punishment and wish to return to society as a productive member, and deterr future acts of anti-social behavior. According to Slamclick's summary of criminal negligence and criminal intent, VERY few pilots involved in crashes should ever be tried under these perameters. As mentioned, it does not protect society from pilots, as the FAA makes sure that pilots who make major mistakes never fly again, or at the very least, are repremanded, retrained, and kept under close scrutiny. It does not offer a lesson to those pilots (for the same reasons), and it encourages secrecy during investigations. Even worse, as mentioned above, it opens the doors to investigation by non-experts and conclusions by historically partial and uninformed juries.

Is someone, somewhere in the dark about all of this? Or are criminal suits perhaps simply used to secure greater cash rewards from the civil suits that come after?
Dassault Mercure: the plane that has Boeing and Airbus shaking in their boots.
 
MrChips
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:55 pm

Quoting Speedracer1407 (Reply 8):
My understanding of the intricacies of our legal system is pretty lacking, but as far as I know, criminial prosecution doesn't have anything directly to do with money. Or does it?

I would say that this has everything to do with money. Winning a civil case is likely a lot easier if the defendant has already been found guilty in criminal court - thus allowing for a larger settlement, with the paycheque increasing accordingly for the lawyers. Call me jaded and cynical, but that's what it sounds like to me.

Either way, this whole thing flies in the face of thirty years of CRM. As we all know, the captain is ultimately responsible for anything that happens on their airplane; how do you think this would influence his/her thinking if they knew that a visit to criminal court could potentially lie beyond their next decision? Despite the obvious success of CRM, the lawyers know best, I guess.
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n685fe
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:15 pm

If the intent is to improve safety in the industry, then why limit this to just pilots. Why not have this attitude towards all professions? How about driving your car, how would your driving tendencies change knowing that you would never be prosecuted for an action in the name of safety? I am sure the dangers of driving would increase 10 fold. Another scapegoat that gets under my skin is the use of an excuse used by flight crews is training. The attitude of, well they didn't say I couldn't do it this way. My opinion, and you can flame away all you want, every person on an a/c is putting their trust into the hands of the flight crew. They are literally placing their lives on the decisions they make. Why shouldn't the crew be held responsible for turning down the wrong runway or not ensuring their a/c is RVSM compliant for a given altitude. I agree that an accident is not usually the result of a single action, but why do pilots think that they can hide behind ALPA or lawyers to try and dismiss their role and responsibility in the accident. People are also forgetting that a lawsuit forces the airline and lawyers to investigate and release findings to the families. Many times this is the only way that family members are given information and have a chance at complete closure. I am waiting for the day that the surviving ComAir pilot is man enough to face his demons and over come them, then face each family and honestly tell them what happened to their loved ones. To many of these people it is not about the law suits or the pursuit of safety, it's about wanting to know what exactly lead to their loved ones deaths, how a professional pilot could make such a mistake. How can a person have closure when there are unanswered questions, I know I couldn't. This is a subject that I am very passionate about. If you don't want the responsibility then don't get into the profession.
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speedracer1407
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 5:45 pm

Quoting N685FE (Reply 10):
Why shouldn't the crew be held responsible for turning down the wrong runway or not ensuring their a/c is RVSM compliant for a given altitude.

Without criminal prosecution, they ARE held responsible. Being banned from flying and fined large sums of money, to say nothing of a ruined reputation, is indeed punishment. Is it enough? Well, if criminality is defined by intent, then yes, it is enough, and I can't see why you think that personal and professional ruin is just too lenient.

Quoting N685FE (Reply 10):
People are also forgetting that a lawsuit forces the airline and lawyers to investigate and release findings to the families. Many times this is the only way that family members are given information and have a chance at complete closure.

Do you really want lawyers "investigating" the intricacies of a plane crash? Wouldn't you rather have the NTSB or FAA doing that? Does "closure" for grieving families really equal criminal prosicution and imprisonment of the pilots who made mistakes? What more information can a criminal law suit give to grieving families?

The point is that aviation disasters are investigated by experts and then covered by the media to death. Your post implies that, without criminal prosecution, nobody, including grieving families, will really know what happened to their loved ones and why. This isn't the case. As long as aviation accidents happen, the goal should be to learn from them and prevent them in the future. This doesn't mean ignoring flagrant negligence or criminal intent, but in the vast majority of accidents involving pilot error, the pilots involved are not, by definition, guilty of anything that should put them in jail. Furthermore, after experts have investigated the causes for an accident and revealed them, suggested measures for future safety and then implemented those measures, and the pilots involved have been stripped of their licences, fined, and otherwise ruined professionally and personally, what's left? Isn't throwing them in jail for an unintended consequence of an unintended mistake (however severe) simply revenge? How does that improve society and and validate the criminal justice system?

Quoting N685FE (Reply 10):
To many of these people it is not about the law suits or the pursuit of safety, it's about wanting to know what exactly lead to their loved ones deaths

As mentioned above, criminal prosecution does nothing to uncover MORE about what leads to their loved ones' deaths. And if it's "not about law suits," then why are you advocating criminal law suits on top of the civil suits that will already ruin a pilot's life? And why isn't it about the pursuit of safety? Just because greiving families might be hurt and outraged, do we involve the criminal justice system to satisfy their hurt and anger? What does tha solve?
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n685fe
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 6:22 pm

Quoting MrChips (Reply 9):
As we all know, the captain is ultimately responsible for anything that happens on their airplane; how do you think this would influence his/her thinking if they knew that a visit to criminal court could potentially lie beyond their next decision?



Quoting Speedracer1407 (Reply 11):
Being banned from flying and fined large sums of money, to say nothing of a ruined reputation, is indeed punishment.

Why should their actions be any different? No, I am not suggesting that the investigating be left up to the lawyers. I am sure they would rely on the appropriate authorities to conduct the technical aspect. You are correct, I do not believe that a fine and surrendering a license is worth even one life let alone every pax on an a/c. If you do, then are you willing to give up your family for $10,000, $100,000 or $1,000,000 and one license?

Quoting Speedracer1407 (Reply 11):
pilots involved have been stripped of their licences, fined, and otherwise ruined professionally and personally, what's left? Isn't throwing them in jail for an unintended consequence of an unintended mistake (however severe) simply revenge? How does that improve society and and validate the criminal justice system?

If it is shown that there is criminal intent or neglect, then by all means prosecute. Call it what ever you want. This is what society as a whole accepts, eye for an eye. As far as a civil suit, each family has a unique situation. Some children may have lost one or both parents. This is a personal decision and I am not one to belittle ones decision in a time of need.
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PhilSquares
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:02 pm

Quoting N685FE (Reply 10):
am waiting for the day that the surviving ComAir pilot is man enough to face his demons and over come them, then face each family and honestly tell them what happened to their loved ones.

Isn't that a little melodramatic???

From my perspective, I think you're confusing responsibility and criminality.


Quoting N685FE (Reply 12):
I am sure they would rely on the appropriate authorities to conduct the technical aspect.

Do you really believe that? I wouldn't want to bet my future on that at all. When a prosecutor is looking for a scapegoat, things can get lost. You'd have "experts" (read paid) testifying on both sides. The safety implications/improvements would get left in the dust.

No one has stated they don't believe the pilots, captain in particular, are responsible for their actions. They are and that's the bottom line. When a crew has a mishap, the airline assumes financial liability, that's the norm in the industry. Are you suggesting the crew do away with that protection? I would argue that is worse for the families involved, since there would be very little to no payout at all.

Quoting N685FE (Reply 12):
If it is shown that there is criminal intent or neglect, then by all means prosecute.

I guess I don't really understand where you're coming from. I can't think of any US accident where there's even been a hint of any criminal intent. After all, the crew have their own lives at stake, why jeapordize that. To me, I know I base all my decisions on what's good for me and my safety. If I do that, then all of my passengers will be assured of their safety.

Maybe you could elaborate further to help me/us understand.
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n685fe
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:31 pm

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 13):
Are you suggesting the crew do away with that protection? I would argue that is worse for the families involved, since there would be very little to no payout at all.

Not at all.

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 13):
I know I base all my decisions on what's good for me and my safety. If I do that, then all of my passengers will be assured of their safety.

As do most all people, self preservation. If you reread Slamclick's opening statement, I agree with it except on the point that if ALPA is promoting an attitude of being untouchable a sense of being beyond the law.

Quoting SlamClick (Thread starter):
For those of you outside the US let me make a couple of generalities. Here we tend to seek criminal prosecution only when the INTENT was criminal, or the negligence was SO obvious, so profound that no one in their right mind would have pursued the course of action. And we will pursue it for actions taken voluntarily that are completely outside the normal rules of conduct. For example, last year a couple of airline pilots were sent to prison in Florida after they were pulled out of the cockpit drunk.

In an accident, even one that you or I might deem a no-brainer, if the crew was doing what they thought was correct at the time the matter is subject to FAA penalties only. These can include taking your license up to the rest of your life, some pretty hefty fines (over a million against some companies) so they are not just a slap on the wrist.

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Molykote
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Acciden

Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:51 pm



Quoting SlamClick (Thread starter):

1. The criminal prosecution may take the place of an investigation by actual experts and thus, nothing will be learned from the accident (except don't crash in Japan!)



Understanding that we in the industry take all reasonable actions to prevent accidents in the first place, my foremost concern (if and when the inevitable accident happens) is extracting lessons to prevent future accidents. However, I wouldn't see a reason that two investigations couldn't be conducted independently. Let the appropriate authorities/experts investigate an incident for information releveant to their respective disciplines. I can see problems with such a situation but I don't see the possibility of joint/parallel investigations being precluded.

If a criminal prosecution results in a just outcome following an accident I am not against such prosecution. I am a powerplant engineer (and not a flight crew member) so I don't pretend to appreciate all matters of concern to pilots.



Quoting SlamClick (Thread starter):
In an accident, even one that you or I might deem a no-brainer, if the crew was doing what they thought was correct at the time the matter is subject to FAA penalties only. These can include taking your license up to the rest of your life, some pretty hefty fines (over a million against some companies) so they are not just a slap on the wrist.



Is there any more to this? More specifically, what are the implicit assumptions behind what a crew believes to be "correct at the time"?

Obviously, a drunk pilot could believe he's doing what's correct but cause a disaster.



Quoting SlamClick (Thread starter):
2. It makes it very risky for people to speak freely regarding circumstances that led up to the accident.



Agreed.

Quoting SlamClick (Thread starter):
3. It seems obvious to me that a pilot, performing his job with criminal intent would be acting suicidally. So unless you can prove suicidal intent you have not demonstrated the intent to crash.

I don't believe that this necessarily has to be the case.

"Suicidal" would suggest that a pilot is looking to willfully end his own life and by association (in your post) has an intent to crash. Perhaps I misunderstand this situation or the legal principles at work here but I don't understand why other circumstances couldn't result in an accident and criminal behavior on the part of a pilot.

How would legalities play out of a pilot was engaging in criminal behavior (with no intention of ending his own life) that resulted in an accident?

Say for example that an airline pilot is smuggling some contraband and is sufficiently distracted by this action that it is a primary factor in his failure to competently operate his airplane and therefore leads to an accident?

i.e. "I have 20Kg of coke/diamonds/whatever in my bag (or on the flight deck). I've never done this before. I am nervous. I hope I don't get caught when I arrive." (followed by an accident on approach/landing)

I freely admit that this isn't a great example but perhaps it will inspire a better example from another poster (I've been up for 15 hours so far tonight).

I am sure if such a situation were played out in court that we'd receive arguments that he "wasn't in his right mind" but I'm not about to entertain such arguments within the scope of this forum.


I am against criminal prosecution for pilots under most foreseeable accident circumstances. By the same token, I don't think that ruling them out entirely is a great idea.
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PhilSquares
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 7:52 pm

Quoting N685FE (Reply 14):
As do most all people, self preservation. If you reread Slamclick's opening statement, I agree with it except on the point that if ALPA is promoting an attitude of being untouchable a sense of being beyond the law.

I don't get the same read as you. He isn't advocating immunity for all situations. In fact, that doesn't exist today in the US. What he is advocating is keeping the system the way it is in the US and if possible it should be implemented, or some form in other countries. My wish is ICAO would take a position on this issue.

In other countries, society, the judicial/criminal system, demand someone has to be at fault. However, I think most professional pilots would argue, sometimes it's the system that has a weak link. Having a witch hunt conducted to find the "culprit" won't improve the system at all. In fact, over time, the system will degrade and eventually fail in that country.

Just to use a recent example, the Comair accident. As a Captain, I can't understand how it happened. Every "glass" cockpit I've flown had some type of FMS entry of the departure runway. If when you activated TOGA (or it's equivalant) and the FMS didn't think you were on the correct runway, you received a warning. In addition, you had the runway alignment staring you in the fact on the ND. Now, either that system wasn't in that aircraft or there are some basic training issues that need to be revisited. Conducting a "criminal" investigation, with the sole objective to find criminal wrong doing will not lead to improved safety.

I'd suggest perhaps you might want to re-read his post and those of others on here. No one is advocating what you're saying.
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Buyantukhaa
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:37 pm

Either system (technical or criminal investigation) will work only if there is a will to find the cause and then give it a consequence (be these technical/operational improvements or punitive sanctions, or whatever). Now what if the will is not there? Think of the recent Adam Air crash. Very little is known about it at this stage, but it is obvious that many parties involved do not want the truth to be known. Yes, corruption isn't a problem in the US (or rather, extremely uncommon) or in other Western countries, but the problem is that most people die in air accidents exactly in those countries where positively-corrective mechanisms do not work. Scapegoats may be found, but will aviation get any safer?
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airfoilsguy
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 9:57 pm

American law treats the the airline industry is no different then they treat any other American industry. In order to be charged with a criminal offence you have to have "the criminal mind" and "criminal intent". With out both of these happening together no crime is said to have been committed. Other countries have a different standard for criminal prosecution. I seem to remember a railroad accident that involved a bad wheel design causing the derailment of a train in another country. The engineer who designed the wheel was charged with manslaughter. In America that engineer would not have been charged because he had neither the criminal mind nor intent. I like the way the system currently works in America.

Here are a few examples of how things would be different if we pursued justice as other countries do.

When the airliners hit the trade towers on 9/11 the security screeners would have been charged with manslaughter

The Iowa crash of the DC-10 The maintenance personnel who performed the maintenance on engine 2 would have been charged with manslaughter


I like the American system as it stands. It does have it flaws but so does every system. Also, the real criminals do get prosecuted. For example

Enron; the management of that company clearly set out to defraud the public and got prosecuted accordingly.
It's not a near miss it's a near hit!!
 
n685fe
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 10:02 pm

PhilSquares, I reread the original post several times and I still have a problem with the following:

Quoting SlamClick (Thread starter):
ALPA takes the position that criminal prosecution degrades safety.

I agree for three reasons:

1. The criminal prosecution may take the place of an investigation by actual experts and thus, nothing will be learned from the accident (except don't crash in Japan!)

2. It makes it very risky for people to speak freely regarding circumstances that led up to the accident.

3. It seems obvious to me that a pilot, performing his job with criminal intent would be acting suicidally. So unless you can prove suicidal intent you have not demonstrated the intent to crash.

I just don't see why being a pilot they need to feel like they are special, need to be protected from the judical system. What about the millions of people who are members of AAA. If AAA were to object to it's members from prosecution in the name of safety, far more lives could be saved from auto accidents if this ideology could perfect automotive safety. I just don't believe that all pilots involved in any accident should be exempt. You don't have to be suicidal to commit manslaughter.

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PhilSquares
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Jan 30, 2007 11:08 pm

Quoting N685FE (Reply 19):
I just don't see why being a pilot they need to feel like they are special, need to be protected from the judical system.

Again, perhaps you need to re-read the post. NO ONE is advocating that position. However, the current system of a independant investigation, outside of any judicial system ensures there are no hidden adendas.

Having a biased party conduct any investigation would only serve to handicap any effort to get a truely unbiased idea of just what happened. If the investigation's only purpose is to assign a criminal charge it can't be objective.

Currently, the NTSB will turn over any criminal aspects of an air crash to the appropriate authorities to then pursue criminal charges. However, their sole purpose is to improve the safety system.

Plus next time you want to compare ALPA or airline pilots to AAA, I'd suggest you get a better clue!
Fly fast, live slow
 
n685fe
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:02 am

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 20):
NO ONE is advocating that position

alpa is.

Quoting SlamClick (Thread starter):
ALPA takes the position that criminal prosecution degrades safety

I am not comparing alpa to aaa, I am just showing how ridiculous is would be to have an organization with members who have no accountability. Just because your a captain doesn't mean your always right. I never implied that the NTSB be taken out of the investigation process. I agree, "the NTSB will turn over any criminal aspects of an air crash to the appropriate authorities to then pursue criminal charges. However, their sole purpose is to improve the safety system." I can see both sides. The information gathered from the crew would be helpful to the NTSB.

Enough said, we will simply have to disagree on alpa's intent or spirit behind their opposition.
psp. lead by example
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:03 am

Quoting N685FE (Reply 10):
Many times this is the only way that family members are given information and have a chance at complete closure. I am waiting for the day that the surviving ComAir pilot is man enough to face his demons and over come them, then face each family and honestly tell them what happened to their loved ones.

Oh please! what would you expect him to say? "I took off on the wrong runway, crashed and killed your -----"(fill in the blank.) That should add a lot of closure.
Just to support the previous posts the definitive word here is criminal intent vs. incorrect judgement during a time of duress, fatigue and/or confusion. Real problems and emergencies in the jet are never like the sim.
 
n685fe
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:10 am

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 22):
Oh please! what would you expect him to say? "I took off on the wrong runway, crashed and killed your -----"(fill in the blank.) That should add a lot of closure.

It would help me, what is wrong with admitting when you made a mistake?
psp. lead by example
 
SlamClick
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Wed Jan 31, 2007 12:56 am

Quoting N685FE (Reply 14):
agree with it except on the point that if ALPA is promoting an attitude of being untouchable a sense of being beyond the law.

You could not possibly be more wrong about this.

In the first place you have not read ALPA's position on this. You are probably going on the break-room conversation where you work. Let me tell you this: the people you listen to there don't know ALPA's position either. When I was a ramper I sat in these places and listened to ground personnel bitch about pilots every single shift. While your grievances against them might be valid that has nothing to do with this discussion.

There is a widespread myth that aircraft accident investigations are all about whitewash to protect the crew or something. It is simply not so. Accident investigations proceed along standard protocols no matter what happened. For example, in a midair collision the weight and balance will still be checked even though it obviously had nothing to do with the crash. ALL factors are investigated in ALL accidents.

Let's swing the question around to mechanics. Do you know how many times I've found a wrench or other tool in the wheel well, or found damage to, or defects in an airplane that an A&P mechanic had just signed off as airworthy? In all cases I confiscated the tool I found. All the Snap-On in my toolbox came to me this way. In the case of other problems I called it to MX attention and it was fixed and we were on our way.

Well how about criminal prosecution? How about in addition to fines, loss of your license, loss of your job, damage to your reputation and all the hardships these things impose, how about we also throw you in jail?

Seem fair? After all, it is the precise equivalent of selling heroin or holding up liquor stores or stealing cars, right? Those are acts with criminal intent.

Quoting N685FE (Reply 10):
Why shouldn't the crew be held responsible for turning down the wrong runway or...

They are. Nobody, not even even ALPA is proposing that we change that. The intent (if you actually read my initial post without emotion-filters on) of their article is to discourage the practice IN OTHER COUNTRIES. The article says that criminal prosecution is the rule in Africa. Well we can sure see how well that works - Africa is by a wide margin, the most dangerous place in the world to be an airline passenger.

This is a really important point.


ALPA is not proposing "exempting" flight crew from criminal prosecution. If a crewmember commits a criminal act ALPA will throw them to the wolves just as fast as the company will. The ENTIRE issue here is whether or not unremarkable mistakes made by pilots ARE criminal.

Again, under our law it is the INTENT that makes a thing criminal, not the results.
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SlamClick
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:12 am

I've been thinking about a crash a few years ago as an example for this discussion.

A crew had a long and difficult day, with weather delays and diversions and plane changes and at the end of it all they are departing in heavy rain from a runway that does not shed water all that well, for their last leg "to the hotel" as we say.

The agent comes to give the pilots the final count and stands there with his foot on the back of the center pedestal talking to them. No one notices that his toe is holding the (unguarded) electric rudder trim switch - driving in full left rudder. The rudder trim position is a preflight check item, to be done on initial cockpit setup and at what point on a through-flight, I just don't remember, having maybe only once or twice in my whole career having moved the rudder trim. The indicator is well aft of the pilots' eyeballs.

On takeoff roll, as some speed was gained and the rudder became effective, the plane steered off the runway on the left side. The infield was concrete and the crew just steered the plane back onto the runway and continued the takeoff but during this excursion V1 was passed without being called by the PNF.

As soon as the plane was back onto the runway surface the captain rejected the takeoff, but above the decision speed. The runway was wet, and the area where they were now trying to get maximum braking was the touchdown area for the reciprocal runway and it was covered with rubber from the planes that had been landing in that direction over the past few months. They got into "reverted rubber hydroplaning" and went off the end of the runway.

Both pilots survived as did almost all the passengers. Now here is where it gets controversial. The NYPD tried to arrest the pilots. ALPA did spirit them away, got attorneys into the deal and had them drug and alcohol tested! Now ALPA has complied with the safety-related investigation. The only thing they did short-circuit is somebody's plan to throw them into a big-city jail in uniform on a Saturday night. I tell you the truth, I'm okay with that.

• Did this crew commit a criminal act? Which one? More than one?
• Did the airplane manufacturer in placing a flight control in an inconspicuous but vulnerable place?
• Did the FAA commit a criminal act in issuing a type certificate to an airplane without an aural "rudder trim in motion" warning?
• Did the airline in not training their ground personnel regarding the hazards of rudder trimming.
• Was the airport authority criminally negligent in not scrubbing the rubber off the runways more often.
• Should the airport have been closed because of the slippery runway?

Everything the crew did wrong has been trained out of the rest of us now. Important safety lessons that were not obvious beforehand are now understood.

Guards have been placed on the rudder trim switches.

Ground personnel have been advised not to...

and so on.

The crew going to jail would have served what purpose in all this. The taxpayers would get what in exchange for jailing these pilots? I don't think I'd like a night in jail but I'd choose that over crashing an airplane any day. Wouldn't you?
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Starlionblue
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:07 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 25):
The taxpayers would get what in exchange for jailing these pilots?

The pleasure of paying for their stay in jail and not very much else.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
lowrider
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:09 am

Quoting N685FE (Reply 10):
I am waiting for the day that the surviving ComAir pilot is man enough to face his demons and over come them, then face each family and honestly tell them what happened to their loved ones.

What purpose would this serve? The guy is already a multiple amputee, paralyzed, and brain damaged. Being physically unable to recall the incident has little to do with his manhood.

No one is advocating that pilots be treated as "special" or "exempt from the law". However, ALPA's position is that the actions should be examined objectively first, and with regard to criminality second. Airplane crashes are usually large spectacles, and prosecuting a large spectacle is usually career enhancing. Look at the Duke rape case.

Increasingly, people seem to want to be protected from everything. No one will accept that life is dangerous. Sometimes things happen for reasons we do not understand. These are known as accidents. Treating every accident as a criminal case is the surest way to guarantee we never learn anything about preventing them.
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saab2000
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Wed Jan 31, 2007 9:54 am

Slamclick is a contributor whose knowledge and clarity I value. Let me preface my comments by saying that.

At first I was going to agree 100%. But I can maybe only agree about 95%. I saw the list and saw the two accidents in Switzerland where criminal prosecution is occurring. Since I had my beginnings in aviation there, and personally knew the captain of the 2001 accident, I have to comment.

SlamClick says, rightfully so, that we don't normally prosecute for an accident where there was no intent to crash. But can we prosecute where there was gross negligence involved? That appears to have been the case in at least one of the two Swiss cases and possibly both. Is it possible that there was not enough of an intent NOT to crash?

At the time, there was massive growth of Crossair in Switzerland and alarms had been raised about the quality of the selection process in recruiting new pilots, often from places where qualifications could not be easily or accurately verified. At the time, pilots were recruited to Crossair from all over the world.

I do not know all the facts on the first crash, but as far as I know, the crew submitted falsified documents regarding previous experience and may in fact not even have been type rated in the aircraft. The crew in this case clearly did something illegal under probably any normal justice system. They may have been aided by the licensing authority of their native countries, in Eastern Europe.

The second crash is more murky. The captain of that airliner was a very experienced pilot, but one whose career had not been very clean. He had had a number of incidents during his career which should have raised alarm bells at both the employer and the certificate-issuing authority.

Why was this pilot allowed to continue flying when it could have been thought he posed a risk to the flying public?

Where do we draw the line with regards to simple ignorance of safety issues and honest negligence? It is generally thought that in both of these cases a blind eye was turned to legitimate safety concerns and in the first case a crime was committed by someone, though possibly only the pilot who falsified his records. No crew members survived either accident, so the only ones possibly criminally negligent would be the ones who hired the pilots in question or authorised them to fly under suspect circumstances.

I am not nearly as elegant a writer as some here. While I generally agree with the idea that we must learn from accidents and putting people at risk of criminal prosecution in case of an accident is setting a dangerous precedent, I think we need to leave the door open to the idea that crimes are committed in aviation. The drunk pilot example is a good one.

In both cases a perfectly good airplane was flown into the ground by people whose qualifications to fly those airplanes was at least grounds for questioning and at most criminally negligent, especially in the first case.

BTW, I worked the night of the second crash and landed maybe 10 minutes before it occurred. It was snowing in ZRH and because it was after 2100 or so local time, RWY 28 was in use for noise abatement purposes. The approach to 28 at the time was a VOR/DME approach and was not a straight-in approach. Rather it was a complicated, 2-VOR approach with hilly terrain not far below. It was being conducted in poor weather down to close to minimum weather.

As long as we are talking about negligence, the people who clammored to ban the approaches to 16 and 14 in ZRH after 9 PM should also be held responsible. Yes, a VOR approach is a normal approach but it also holds more risk than an ILS, especially the approach to 28 in ZRH. Nobody brings this up. While the pilot was ultimately responsible (and went below steps on the approach - inexcusable), there is also some shared responsibility for having run approaches to 28 that night in poor weather when a perfectly functioning ILS was available.

There is enough blame to go around in both accidents.

[Edited 2007-01-31 02:04:52]

[Edited 2007-01-31 02:06:18]
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SlamClick
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:12 am

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 28):
the crew submitted falsified documents regarding previous experience and may in fact not even have been type rated in the aircraft

Okay, that is pretty bad. That might or might not get a criminal prosecution here but it certainly would warrant the most severe possible administrative action by the FAA, which is (if you survived) lifetime revocation of your license. The FAA can levy fines per event so if you were not legal to fly and operated a hundred separate takeoffs and landings that would be a hundred separate violations. A hundred thousand dollar fine, potentially. It would certainly also leave you open to civil suit.

Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 28):
one whose career had not been very clean. He had had a number of incidents during his career which should have raised alarm bells

We've had similar cause factors in accidents here in the US. We now have a compulsory reporting system where all previous employers must share training and any other pertinent records on any crewmember. Screw up in one place and you are probably pilotus extinctus.

Falsifying records is pretty serious and very quickly gets us into an area where I believe criminal action is justified.
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Blackbird
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Wed Jan 31, 2007 10:22 am

I think the criminal prosecution of crew following accident is generally wrong with a few exceptions

1.) The pilot is high or inebriated or screwed up by drugs he/she took
2.) The pilot did something that was so grossly in violation of proceedure that anybody with a half a brain would realize it was.
3.) The pilot tried to off himself...

Few people with the risk of being prosecuted would be willing to be completely honest. They'd be afraid of being thrown in jail for a long time and would likely lie, or bend or distort the truth to save their ass. As a result, the real cause of the accident might be clouded up, and might be much more difficult to solve because you'd also have to spend extra time trying to figure out what is and what is not the truth.

Andrea K
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:54 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 29):
Falsifying records is pretty serious and very quickly gets us into an area where I believe criminal action is justified.

Here at this co. falsifying any co. document will get you fired even for a seemingly benign reason.
 
dl757md
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Thu Feb 01, 2007 12:30 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 24):
In all cases I confiscated the tool I found. All the Snap-On in my toolbox came to me this way.

SlamClick I respect you (your on my RR list) but I have a problem with the quoted statement. How does it support your position that open investigation helps make us safer. You intentionally covered up someone's mistake - to your material benefit no less. You intentionally made it so that the offending mechanic could not realize his mistake and potentially do something to prevent future occurrences. This negatively affected the safety of yourself and your passengers so you could say that all of the Snap-On in your toolbox was acquired this way. Do you know you found every tool left on the planes you flew? How many tools where left on other planes because you didn't report this. Hypocrisy? hmmmmmmm.......

DL757MD
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SlamClick
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:56 am

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 32):
I have a problem with the quoted statement

Okay, fair enough.

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 32):
How does it support your position that open investigation helps make us safer.

It doesn't. It was not intended to. It is a throwaway line in a minor off-topic excursion. I was pointing out to N685FE that mechanics (apparently his profession) make mistakes too and are subject to the same protection from/exposure to criminal prosecution as pilots are. The purpose being to show that pilots do not enjoy any special dispensation. Fact is, I've seen a dispatcher make a serious blunder that caused my plane to be overfueled by nearly twenty thousand pounds. No one was hurt, the mistake was passed back to those who could correct it and everyone was happy without the district attorney calling a press conference.

As for taking the tool: It is a joke, a cliché in the airline business that our mechanics DO NOT have their name, initials or other identifying mark on their tools - for exactly that reason! Here is the script:

Mechanic comes up to the cockpit to attend to last-minute paperwork.
Pilot turns around holding up a pair of safetywire pliers. "Are these yours?" He asks the mechanic.

Not once in forty years, military, Part 91, Part 135 and Part 121 have I ever had a mechanic claim ownership - and admit to having left them in the intake of a multimillion dollar jet engine. I've never located the mechanic that DID own the tool so I end up dropping a $100 Snap-On tool into my flight bag right in front of their eyes. Speak up, claim your tool and you get it back. Remain silent and lose it. Simple test.

Now, how does this relate to safety? Well, if causing or contributing to an accident is a criminal matter then mechanics must have their identification put on all their tools just as we sign the logbook and have our voices recorded. After all, it is potentially evidence.

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 32):
You intentionally made it so that the offending mechanic could not realize his mistake and potentially do something to prevent future occurrences

If I see the mechanic, he gets asked if the tool is his. If not he soon becomes aware that he has lost an expensive tool. I believe A&P mechanics are serious, professional, responsible people. I know many of them, have roomed with them and on and on. I'll bet their blood goes cold when they ponder where they might have left the tool. I'll bet it reinforces their orderly methodical procedures when they work on airplanes.

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 32):
This negatively affected the safety of yourself and your passengers

That is one point of view. Alternative method: Get on the company radio to maintenance, demand to talk to a supervisor, get management into the loop and start a blamestorm. Sorry, I don't think middle management doing the blame-wave enhances safety all that much. Just an empirical observation there.

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 32):
Do you know you found every tool left on the planes you flew?

I don't know. And for my own sanity I've never dwelled on it for more than nanoseconds. Fact is, I truly expect to die in bed, but I still manage to find the courage to crawl into one every night.

A guy I worked with many years ago had been a tech inspector on B-36 delivery at Convair in San Diego. One day he took a team of his inspectors out on the ramp and boarded a B-36 that the Air Force had already accepted. It was signed for and awaiting only the ferry out. They went hunting for objects that did not belong.

They found, according to him, 27 pounds of tools, clecos, tuna cans full of hardware and the like including a five-pound bucking bar.

You do a proper preflight and you count on everyone else doing their job right.

Hey, I might have a really thin spot on an artery in by brain too, but I don't lose sleep over that either.

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 32):
because you didn't report this.

Well, I sort of addressed my feelings on getting the shift supervisor involved and I said that if the mechanic was on or around the airplane he could claim the tool. Beyond that, it is my preference to solve problems as close as possible to where they occur. If you do something that I don't agree with I'll take it up with you first. It would have to be pretty important before I'd go beyond talking to you about it. I appreciate it when people do that with me. Too many ill-considered policies and procedures that get in the way of our doing our jobs seem to originate with middle management who perceive that some minor hiccup is a "problem" and "something must be done" about it.

I like to think that I know when something is important enough to become a memo and when it is not. I hope I'm right more often than not.

Anonymous reporting is a safety tool used all over the whole world of aviation, has been as long as I've been around. Formal reporting to supervisory personnel rarely remains anonymous for very long. The more non-licensed or non-practicing people in the situation the less hope I have for the outcome unless it is a really big, persistent, system-wide problem.

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 32):
Hypocrisy?

I'll ponder that a while.

One last thought: I started this thread (and titled it) being about pilots but the issue is really the same for flight attendants, mechanics, dispatchers and others who affect the safe outcome. For example, is mis-loading or mis-reporting the bag load a criminal matter? It can cause a crash. Should the cops swarm in and throw a net over the whole lot of you every time there is a crash? I'll bet that has happened in some countries. Elsewhere in our civilized laws intent makes the crime. Should it not also be true for us?

Slam
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Pihero
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:25 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 7):
Ernie Gann wrote a book about this; fiction, set in Taiwan and centered on a 727 crash. If I remember it right, the criminal action was part of a government cover up of the fact that the plane got false navigation signals from a missile base.

Correct : "Band of Brothers", his second best book.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 33):
I started this thread (and titled it) being about pilots but the issue is really the same for flight attendants, mechanics, dispatchers and others who affect the safe outcome.

Living in a country where an accident investigation is under the direction of officers of justice I could add a few elements to this thread :
-As a pilot, who has been involved, and for a long time, with air safety, the French system is the worst because the subject of the trial would be drawn by those officers who can in fact write the accusation brief.
Although, the BEA (French for NTSB) is at least as capable as any other western, industrial country, its conclusions have to be carefully tailored to the judicial findings.
-Results : 12 years later, we don't have the end of the Mt Ste Odile crash.
About Concorde, some are still looking for the owner of a piece of metal which hasn't been proven as accessory to the accident.
18 years after Habsheim, the final report still depends on an endless column of experts' briefs...and so on
Have all these investigations served safety ?

Now look at the Sharm El Sheikh crash...Two judicial investigations against the French/US accident investigation... We'll be lucky to have one result some day, as here, it's not about prosecuting a pilot but keeping his memory intact.

One of the results of the French approach is that the technicians try to get infos before the justice officers do, which make a joke of the needed objective serenity of an investigation.

We, in this country look with envy to the Maritime Tribunal, whose findings are totally unhindered by justice people, who only enter the fray after the conclusions of the tribunal have been communicated.
I would advocate an independant investigation service, the people of which would be sworn as justice officers (the right to impound elements of an enquiry, fi).
It would be only after the accident report is published that any judicial complement could take place.
Of course I' dreaming !
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SlamClick
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:06 am

Quoting Pihero (Reply 34):

Thank you for an interesting perspective.

I guess that is what I worry about here. Not ME landing in jail because I don't intend to violate rules and procedures to the point of risking a crash, but rather, the hogtying and inevitable politicisation of the investigation process by an organization that needs a VICTORY of some kind, like a conviction in court, in order to protect its reputation. Safety investigations should have no opponent beyond the unknowns that litter the crash site in the first hours.

My introduction to it came through the US Army, where I served as an investigator on a couple of fatal crashes. To sum up, we had two initial avenues of investigation:

1. The safety investigation which examined all possible aspects of the crash, whether or not they were actually factors. The purpose of this was to learn exactly what happened with a view to preventing future similar accidents.

2. Collateral investigations (if deemed necessary) to determine responsibility for losses, pecuniary liability, recommend disciplinary action up to court-martial. This investigation could not use any material gathered for the safety investigation but had to conduct its own research.

I thought this a reasonable model for the process and the US military has a rather good safety record despite a frightening level of exposure to risks.

Anyone who thought these investigations were a whitewash never sat on the lonesome side of the long mahogany table.
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Starlionblue
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:21 pm

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 33):
Anonymous reporting is a safety tool used all over the whole world of aviation, has been as long as I've been around.

And in many other industries. Heck, even working at a company where any mistakes I make are pretty much harmless in terms of life and limb, I still like to keep management out of the loop where possible. It's just faster if I speak directly to the customer without someone looking over my shoulder. It also tends to make a deal happen faster. And this means more money for everyone.

I'm not saying management does not have it's place, but as has been said in this thread, trust me to do the job I know how to do. If I make a (non potentially lethal) mistake, let me know during the debrief, not while the fecal matter is flying.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 35):
I guess that is what I worry about here. Not ME landing in jail because I don't intend to violate rules and procedures to the point of risking a crash, but rather, the hogtying and inevitable politicisation of the investigation process by an organization that needs a VICTORY of some kind, like a conviction in court, in order to protect its reputation. Safety investigations should have no opponent beyond the unknowns that litter the crash site in the first hours.

Indeed. Trials are about assigning blame. In crash investigations, I would say that an ideal outcome is to allow the prevention of recurrence. These objectives are often contradictory.

Since I am very unlikely to benefit from a ruling blaming a pilot for an accident, but very likely to benefit from a regulation enhancing safety as a result of a crash investigation, you can see where my loyalties would lie.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
speedracer1407
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Thu Feb 01, 2007 6:43 pm

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 36):
Trials are about assigning blame. In crash investigations, I would say that an ideal outcome is to allow the prevention of recurrence. These objectives are often contradictory.

Indeed, which points to a damaging misconception about the criminal justice system in any "developed" country. Some seem to believe that, after a tragedy, nobody's happy untill someon, somewhere SUFFERS in equal measure for taking part, however benignly in the incident. The fact that emotional satisfaction is inextricably linked to assinging blame perverts the value of assigning "blame" or "responsibility." If we allow the assignment of blame to provide "closure" to a disaster, we risk satisfying ourselves that the disaster was an isolated incident, and not the result of broader misunderstandings, misconceptions, innefective procedures, etc. Because the criminal justice system's goal is to achieve "victory" through blame, it cannot and should not involve itself in any aviation investigation untill it is complete.
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BoeingOnFinal
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:08 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 29):
We've had similar cause factors in accidents here in the US. We now have a compulsory reporting system where all previous employers must share training and any other pertinent records on any crewmember. Screw up in one place and you are probably pilotus extinctus.

What kind of mistake would have to take place for an airline to fire a pilot? Forgetting to lower the landing gears before landing? Filling up on to much fuel, way over the safety limits?
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Blackbird
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:39 am

Boeing on Final,

Being Arrested and being Fired aren't the same thing. We've seen cases where pilots have been fired. For example back in '89, Captain Davis, and F/O Kirkland, and S/O Judd were fired for the crash of Delta flight 1141 back in August 31, 1988.

The crew violated the sterile cockpit regulation and instead were talking about airplane crashes, the dating habits of a flight attendant in case they crashed, the captain's pasture, and the F/O's experience with gooney birds at Midway Island. As a result of this they missed a turn/off because they didn't switch to departure, they missed all but one time to check the flaps (the time they did, the pilot off rote memory called out the correct setting when they were up), there was a flight attendant in the cockpit when she shouldn't have and was chatting up a storm. The crew barely went through the check list, until the last minute when they flew through it virtually as quickly as they could.. then the F/O called out an engine failure after lift-off which resulted in the Captain not applying full-power which would have allowed them to clear the ILS antenna they rammed. Oh, and a fire broke out in the tail and 14 people died and the plane was roasted.

Andrea K
 
ULMFlyer
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:18 am

First of all, let me say that I agree with the SlamClick. Second, I thought this was relevant to the thread (found on AvWeb).

http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=558574

A Wisconsin Rapids pilot has been charged with homicide by negligent operation of an airplane for a Wood County crash that killed a woman during a fundraising event more than two years ago.

According to a criminal complaint, Mark A. Strub, 44, was negligent in flying his 1941 Stearman biplane at an altitude of about 50 feet while giving a ride to Kimberly Reed, 39, of Eau Claire, Mich. Strub had been giving 10-minute rides in the plane during the Children's Miracle Network Balloon Rally and Music Festival on Aug. 28, 2004, at Alexander Field in Wisconsin Rapids.

Investigators determined that Strub was flying at an altitude of about 50 feet when the plane struck power lines and crashed into the Wisconsin River.
Let's go Pens!
 
Valcory
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:32 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 24):
Do you know how many times I've found a wrench or other tool in the wheel well, or found damage to, or defects in an airplane that an A&P mechanic had just signed off as airworthy?

What if the incident occurs after the AW release has been signed off?I have seen cases where the aw release has been signed off and other mechanics went to work on the airplane (ie working on clearing an MEL etc etc) or how about when the cleaners goes in the cockpit and damage something or the catering truck hits the airplanes.Just because that person signs the AW doesn't mean he/she work on the airplane.( not everyone that works on the A/C can sign the AW release and yes if someone is signing for someone else work they should inspect it.(it doesn't always happen that way) I will give you an example the airline i work for i am AW for 737 757 and 767 i work on 777 but i can't sign the AW release or sign off an ETOPS predarture checks because i am not AW on the 777

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 24):
Well how about criminal prosecution? How about in addition to fines, loss of your license, loss of your job, damage to your reputation and all the hardships these things impose, how about we also throw you in jail?

Mechanics goes through that too!!!!!!!!!!
 
Valcory
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Sat Feb 03, 2007 5:58 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 33):
Now, how does this relate to safety? Well, if causing or contributing to an accident is a criminal matter then mechanics must have their identification put on all their tools just as we sign the logbook and have our voices recorded. After all, it is potentially evidence.

Work done on the airplane by the mechanic is documented.Log page,job cards non routines etc etc
 
SlamClick
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RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:09 am

Quoting Valcory (Reply 41):

I don't think you read all my posts very carefully.

I started out talking about pilots (because that is what I know best) and criminal prosecution but I've since expanded it to flight attendants, mechanics and dispatchers at the very least.

The tone of your two posts is as if I started some pilots vs. mechanics rant or something. Absolutely not the case.

Go back and re-read and if you still have the same questions you posed in replies # 41 and 42 I will address them.
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dl757md
Posts: 1483
Joined: Mon May 24, 2004 9:32 am

RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Sat Feb 03, 2007 12:01 pm

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 33):
cliché in the airline business that our mechanics DO NOT have their name, initials or other identifying mark on their tools - for exactly that reason!

That is no longer the case. In commercial aviation due to new TSA rules all of our tools are required to be identified with either our employee number, SSN, or A&P number.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 33):
just as we sign the logbook

Where I work the only people who sign the logbook are mechanics. Pilots make entries of the flight legs and discrepancies but NEVER do they sign it. Usually they're doing pretty well to use the required type of pen and correct color of ink.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 33):
Not once in forty years, military, Part 91, Part 135 and Part 121 have I ever had a mechanic claim ownership - and admit to having left them in the intake of a multimillion dollar jet engine. I've never located the mechanic that DID own the tool so I end up dropping a $100 Snap-On tool into my flight bag right in front of their eyes. Speak up, claim your tool and you get it back. Remain silent and lose it. Simple test.

I guess we work(ed) at vastly different companies with vastly different types of people. Even before mandatory tool ID I've claimed ownership of tools left behind when they are mine and thanked the pilot for returning them while apologizing for my mistake. It happens, especially in a line environment. There are a few of my coworkers who have letters in their files for leaving tools on airplanes when it reached management's attention. Any way different viewpoints and different experiences.

I just wanted to say that I agree in principle with your stance on this subject.
Sorry to hijack the thread in a direction you never intended for it to go.

DL757Md
757 Most beautiful airliner in the sky!
 
lowrider
Posts: 2542
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:09 am

RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Sun Feb 04, 2007 6:18 am

Quoting Dl757md (Reply 44):
Where I work the only people who sign the logbook are mechanics. Pilots make entries of the flight legs and discrepancies but NEVER do they sign it.

Every place I have worked the PIC signs the log book certifying that the entries are correct, and due dilligance has been performed with regard to preflight, postflight, and other checks. Further, a record of who flew which aircraft on which flight exists with either dispatch, crew scheduling, or both.
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hangarrat
Posts: 428
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 12:24 pm

RE: Criminal Prosecution Of Crew Following Accident.

Tue Feb 06, 2007 5:29 am

This is more or less on point, except for the mode of transportation. Let's pick this apart for a while. The NTSB found the boat had was overloaded. Should the "captain" be held criminally liable?

Quote:
QUEENSBURY, New York (AP) -- The captain of a boat that capsized in 2005 in upstate New York, killing 20 elderly tourists, and the cruise line owner were indicted Monday on criminal misdemeanor charges.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/LAW/02/05/boat.overturned.ap/index.html

[Edited 2007-02-05 21:32:15]
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