CLEARANCE: Top Secret
- Jul 6, 2006
- Reaction score
Ok thanks, So how does that compare to the LionAir/Ethiopian's crew actions ?Okay, the basics of law around professionals and responsibility. English law, which I'm most familiar with, has the wonderful concept of "the man on the Clapham omnibus", which is just another way of saying the average man or woman on the street. The man on the Clapham omnibus isn't expected to have any special responsibility for the things they produce or work on. But when you become an expert in something, whether being a doctor, fitting a gas boiler, or piloting an aircraft, the law demands a higher standard of responsibility from you. You are expected to be aware of all aspects of your role, to identify risks, and to take actions to address those risks. Not doing so makes you culpable in law, either for civil action or disbarment by your professional body, or, if it is bad enough, to legal sanctions up to and including a manslaughter conviction, the generic term being criminal negligence. It's the kind of thing that regularly sees doctors disbarred, and occasionally jailed, and the same principle applies to engineers and pilots (also to the organisations that employ them, though corporate manslaughter prosecutions are somewhat rare).So where are hiding the "criminals"?
Turning to the Mulhouse flight, let's look at the pre-flight planning:
Airshow flypast. Okay
Airshow flypast at high alpha, low speed and low altitude*. Dubious, let's leave that one to the Airbus test pilots*.
Turning off the Alpha-Floor to allow that. Very dubious. Definitely one to leave to the Airbus test pilots (preferably at 10000m in case they need to recover the aircraft).
Doing it with a full load of passengers. Hell no!
At this point in his pre-flight planning the pilot should have refused to carry out the flight with passengers. The crew can volunteer to risk themselves, but they have a professional responsibility to not place their passengers at unnecessary risk, such as by taking them into coffin corner at 100ft**.
Note that I haven't discussed what happened in the air, I believe the pilot was criminally negligent from the moment he agreed to conduct the flight. And yes, prosecutions should have followed up the chain of those who authorised the flight.
* Yes, Asseline had been the Air France rep on the flight test team, but as far as I'm aware he wasn't a qualified test pilot, so professionally he was incapable of assessing the risk of the proposed manouevre, and in either case you treat risk assessment for a passenger flight very differently to a test flight.
** BTW, does anyone know where on the fuselage the A320 measures its altitude from? (Not necessarily the radar altimeter location, I can see a case for subtracting several metres in software to allow for the difference between the radalt sensor and the wheels). I've never been clear whether that planned 100ft/actual 30ft was the actual lowest point on the aircraft, and at 30ft that starts to become very significant.
And what is the point of bringing this specific Mulhouse case here in the first place, apart from trying to associate LionAir/Ethiopian's crew with the nut Mulhouse pilot (moreover flying a different plane).