Archive for March 2015

Interim report on the loss of MH370. Gives rise to more Questions than Answers



The Malaysian authorities have just released an Interim Report on the loss of MH370, one year after its disappearance. The interim report can be downloaded from the website here.

However, it tells us very little that is not already known and does not offer any solutions to the mystery. Things that stand out in the report are:

• Confusion between KL and HCM air traffic control centres which lasted for much too long. It was only sorted out when Singapore came into the action.

 • Slow reaction to the problem when HCM took 20 minutes to start asking about MH370. International protocols demand that this should have happened TWO minutes after the expected transfer time from KL to HCM airspace.

 • Reading the transcript of coordination calls between both ATC centres shows lack of understanding between both units. Language problems may have been part of this. However, all controllers and pilots are required to pass tests in English language so that they all have a common language. 
Without passing this test, they cannot legally hold an ATC or pilot licence.

 • Transcripts between Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur air traffic controllers reveal the following item:
2123:18 UTC [0523:18 MYT] KL ATCC Aaaa… never mind laa I wake up my supervisor and ask him to check again to go to the room and check what the last contact all this thing lah.
It would appear that 4 hours after MH370 disappeared, the supervisor in KL air traffic control was so relaxed about it all that he was sleeping.

 • This is the sort of search and rescue situation that should be the subject of periodic exercises to drill all parties in the correct procedures for such action. It appears that this has never happened as none of the personnel appeared to understand what was required of them.

 • A STAND OUT ITEM IS … WHY WAS THERE NO COORDINATION WITH THE MILITARY TO ASK FOR ASSISTANCE USING THEIR SURVEILLANCE RADAR?? BUT ALSO, WHY DID THE MILITARY NOT CONTACT KL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TO ASK ABOUT THE UNIDENTIFIED AIRCRAFT THEY WERE TRACKING? HOW DID THEY KNOW IT WAS NOT A THREAT TO MALAYSIAN SECURITY?

• The report that the battery on the Pinger Locator transmitter was expired is serious. It indicates a break down in the MAH maintenance control system and brings into question whether there may be other omissions also. Is it a symptom of lax maintenance procedures at MAS??

 • Overall, the report is simply an INTERIM REPORT which gives rise to more questions than it answers. It also seems to provide a basis for legal action against the Malaysian authorities and the airline by family of passengers and crew who have been lost on MH370.
Sunday, 8 March 2015
Posted by Des Ross

Is Asia's pilot shortage putting passengers at risk?


Des Ross writes an article for CNN.

We're taking to the skies in ever-increasing numbers, and increased demand for commercial flights -- which is pushing down prices -- is creating a stranglehold that may ultimately lead to unsafe skies for all of us.

As a former pilot and current industry consultant, I have learned that nothing is ever the same on any day in aviation. Change is inevitable and learning never ceases. My colleagues and I thrive on this change and work with airlines and governments to manage it. The number of high-profile air accidents involving Asian carriers last year, and the attendant coverage that these tragedies generated, has placed a lot of focus on air travel in the Asia-Pacific region. Yet even as we reel from coverage of yet another accident, airlines are expanding rapidly, particularly in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East in order to meet unprecedented growth in passenger demand. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), passenger numbers rose almost 6% for Asia-Pacific in 2014, and a staggering 13% jump for the Middle East that year.

The big question is: Can carriers square this increase in demand with training commitments that don't compromise air safety and security?

Read more here
Posted by Des Ross

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