The CEO of CASA, John McCormick, confirmed at this afternoon’s Senate inquiry session that it had demanded an explanation and remedial action from Qantaslink after 15 stick shaker incidents in its Dash 8 fleet going back to about 2007.
McCormick said CASA’s main concern was how it learned about the incidents. He undertook to provide the committee members with a written account of the issues with Qantaslink, and what he said was its satisfactory responses to CASA’s concern. McCormick also told the Senate inquiry to write to the ATSB and ask it what it had done to investigate these incidents and how they were reported to it.
Considering the fact that the committee had only just taken testimony from the chief commissioner of the ATSB, Martin Dolan, this seemed somewhat pointed.
(However there is a minimally detailed ATSB report into at least two of these incidents which occurred within 10 seconds on a Qantaslink flight in 2008 in which a first officer disobeyed the instructions of a captain to discontinue an unstable approach and do a go around, seriously compromising the safety of the flight in the process.)
McCormick said some of the incidents did ‘relate to pilot errors.’
Both McCormick and Dolan volunteered their opinion that the main factor in the near crash of a Jetstar A320 at Melbourne Airport during a go-around in foggy conditions was the changing of the standard operating procedures for missed approaches by Jetstar management (then lead by Alan Joyce) several weeks before the incident.
However the committee did not take up what looked like a clear invitation from the respective heads of the safety regular and the safety investigator to discuss that root cause, which Qantas, in its submission to the inquiry, doesn’t even acknowledge.
Dolan confirmed that it was media reports (in Crikey, and Aviation Business, on September 11, 2007) that lead to the ATSB investigation into the incident.