Discussion in 'U.S. Coast Guard' started by HercDriver, Dec 2, 2011.
Bingo, we have a winner !!!
Point I was trying to make.
Right, and the point YOU all missed, in my many posts, is that while I agree he does NOT need to be prosecuted, he sure as fuck doesn't deserve an EP and an out the door NAM. (or CGAM, or whatever) I think we might as well agree to disagree, I think he was fucked up (just like the guys that spun the P-3) and should have his FITREP reflect that...otherwise, why bother?
To add to the discourse, this occurred just before the H-60 crash: http://articles.cnn.com/2011-07-12/..._1_patrol-boat-fatal-boat-crash-ntsb?_s=PM:US
The boat accident occurred in December 2009 and the helo helo crash occurred in July 2010.
Maybe Big Coast Guard is looking at two incidents in which the neglegent actions of the Coast Guardsmen resulted in the needless loss of life (The San Diego case was a civillian death, in this case it was other Guardsmen) and said 'enough is enough'?
In both cases the Coast Guardsmen were "flat hatting". The boat accident had excessive speed as the causal factor and there has not been stated reason stated that the helicopter was flying low enought to hit 250' wires in that area.
I am well aware of why we fly helos at low altitude but hitting wires that are depicted on a chart is pretty inexcusable.
I'm not saying the pilot deserves a court martial rather than a FNAEB (or whatever term the USCG uses), but maybe Big Coast Guard is taking a hard-line on these types of mishaps and this case just happened to have the bad luck of following the San Diego incident and the Coast Guard decided to go "high and right" on the survivor.
Pickle - perhaps, but can't/won't a strong CoC and community leadership handle this internally, on a case by case basis? Is it really in CG aviation's interest to condone actions & processes that will serve to harm the investigation process going forward? I know (and served with) the PPC at the controls in the KNUW P-3 incident. Was he publically raked over the coals like this CG Officer? No, he was not. Do you know where this PPC is now and where he is going? I do, it might surprise you. We have a good system in place to learn from our missteps - maybe tweaking is required from time to time, but micromanaging from the outside doesn't serve anyones best interest.
I agree, and we ought to be concerned (as you mentioned) about what this precedent will mean for the sanctity of the process. The Pickle v. Helo crowd argument seems to have a lot of people talking past each other. In my mind, I don't think the argument boils down to whether the mishap aircraft should have been in the low level environment - we should all be fine with that. I know the Art. 32 was arguing that it shouldn't have been that low, but I don't think we, here on AW are (or should be). The argument (or lesson) should be, if you're going to operate in the low level environment, do your due dilligence and don't hit obstacles that are marked on the chart. Seems simple enough. If you do, stand by for the deluge of negative consequences. As we've seen in this case, an adverse FITREP might be the least of your worries.
This thread has worn me out - I'll pitch out of the fight with this:
Pickle, you're swimming with sharks when you start talking like this with your experience level (young JO just heading to a hazardous shore tour). I'll repeat that I genuinely hope you have a spotless career and never find yourself out of altitude, angles, knots, or ideas - but if that event ever does occur I think the maturity that will be forced upon you will take the edge off your blade just a little bit.
I'm sorry, I know this is a serious conversation. . .but I almost laughed hard enough to piss myself when I read this.
I'm down with agreeing to disagree... If only because of the phrase "sustained, superior performance." He had a mishap, and your mindset is "destroy him." "P" on his fitrep. He has peers in his squadron (actually air station, that's how the USCG works) that haven't had a mishap. Some of them are borderline dangerous pilots, and can't lead their way out of a wet paper bag - but fuck it. They didn't have a mishap, so their careers are intact.
Is that seriously what you're saying? That a mishap is the ONLY fucking think that should be considered in this young man's record?
We're all talking to things we don't really know here.
I'm an ex-helo guy, so I do know the deal on the low-level flying. If they were flying low-level for a legit reason, e.g. weather, terrain, training, whatever, and they happened to not catch the wires because of poor lookout, poor route study, etc, then this should be treated as an honest, yet severe, mistake. It does reflect poorly on the professional competence of the pilots and evaluations should reflect that. Should it be a career-ender? Not necessarily, but if your fuck up kills people, you can't expect to just say "my bad" and go on your way.
If they were low-level for flathatting, which I think is defined as "flying at low altitude and/or high rate of speed for thrill purposes" it is doubly bad. If there was no reason to fly low and they did, they were wrong. You can say it's something we do all the time, and that may be true, but again, if you kill people doing that, you're on your own. Now, this guy was the copilot. His culpability is about 1/100000th of the HAC's. Just because the HAC is dead doesn't mean he pulls all the weight for this.
In neither case does this represent criminal culpability, e.g. willful disregard for human life. Unless the testimony says that the aircrew raised objections and the pilots said,"Fuck you, we're doing this," it's not a criminal case.
There's definitely grounds for an FFPB/FNAEB/Coastie whatever, but criminal charges? No.
Way to keep it professional phrog...
BLUF: Read the FAM: http://www.uscg.mil/foia/docs/CG 6017 FAM.pdf
Because I've already seen too much incorrect info that formed the basis of some folks conjecture in this thread- They were at 114' AWL at 115 KIAS, NOT 250'. They FILED for 1000'-CG3710 requires 2000' in sensitive environmental habitat areas, FARs require "500' from any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure" w/ the helo cavet that allows for lower as long as you don't pose a hazard to anyone or anything else. They flew the majority of the flight below 200' and above 125 KIAS (which is a CG imposed airspeed restriction). They were also "flying by" a 48' Coast Guard small boat, which is also coincidentally prohibited by the CG3710 except for emergency operations, just prior to the impact.
All of these tidbits available here: http://www.uscg.mil/foia/docs/CG 6017 FAM.pdf
Criminal charges- Over the top. Career kill shot- Maybe over the top...but he got caught playing around with Uncle Sugar's toys around and sadly 3 Coasties died and a fresh from depot 60T was destroyed. I'm not sure why everyone is flapping about the sanctity of the mishap investigations- The Admin investigation made the findings and they would not have needed any statement at all from the crew to figure out what happened. Between in-helo "telemetry" and flight plan/actual route, scene investigation-They had everything they needed to make all the findings they did.
As far as flying lower is better- Can be, if you are concerned about speed and/or weather. This was a ferry flight and the weather was clear with light winds. And the difference between 200' and 500' just ain't THAT much.
So lets everyone just Keep Calm and read the FAM....
To hit a couple more things:
~This was one of the last in a string of mishaps that Coast Guard had to deal with. I'm not sure that means that this CP should be made an example of. But I think the FAM shows there were some differences with the mindset in that cockpit versus what the senior leadership felt should be going on.
~The other pilots that don't have mishaps at his Air Station but might or might not be shitty leaders, administrators, or human beings- But like has been said so many times about piss poor leadership- People don't have the intestinal fortitude to do the right thing...so they shovel it off to someone else. This instance- his ass got shown for him-Not alot you can do to unring that bell.
Sorry for the wall of text...Just take a look at the FAM and go from there.
I apologize, it was a drunk post - I edited the less than professional part...
Not familiar with helo flying, so I won't get into the whole should/shouldn't have been that low thing, BUT, I have been witness to this career kill shot personally and its the same kind of shit that made me want to leave AD. When an honest (maybe/maybe not in this case, but only know whats been public here) mistake gets made and this dude lives to tell about it, yet has to deal with this stuff after the fact DOES set the precedent, been there and seen it. Pickle, I'm not saying you think this should or shouldn't be the end of this guy because of this one mistake (and it was a pretty damn big one), but reading the last few pages of this thread it is definitely the vibe you are putting out, that he fucked up and should be done flying. Just my friendly .02c as I crawl back to my hole.
I just read through the FAM, and I'm assuming that an AEB is the Coastie version of FNAEB/FFPB? If so, it appears that one was directed to be convened. I don't disagree that they fucked up, and that he should have to face the music. It just seems that big Coast Guard wasn't happy with the results of the AEB, so they convened an article 32. When they weren't happy with those results, they went after him FitRep wise.
I'm not an admiral, so maybe I don't understand these things, but seems to me that if you're going to shoot some poor bastard for the encouragement of the others, your message better be clear and unambiguous. I'm not sure what lesson breaking this guy and trying to court-martial him is supposed to send to the rest of the Coast Guard...deviate even slightly outside the rules and we will fucking bury you? Fuck up once and you're done?
Pickle, sorry, but I strongly disagree with your argument as I understand it. The argument that fucking up in an airplane indicates you're an unfit officer and should be thrown overboard seems to me exactly the "zero defects" mentality everyone bemoans. Since this guy's culpability in this mishap is debatable, and I've seen nothing to indicate he had a history of reckless or irresponsible or incompetent flying, what exactly is the rationale for drumming him out of the service? Keep this guy around, and you'd have a pilot in your ready room who is your strongest advocate for good CRM and lookout doctrine, obstacle clearance, etc. Maybe most importantly, the pilot who gets the newer guys' attention when it comes to discussing these things.
I don't think the CG was ever going to be able to make a court martial stick, and the fact that they at least created the appearance of wanting to could have a negative effect on an individual's willingness to be fully honest with a mishap investigation. That's unfortunate.
But backing off and nuking him from orbit on his FITREP? Perfectly valid - he allowed the HAC to screw around and kill his crewmen, and that would be reason enough for me not to trust his judgement. I'm not one for yanking wings for every mistake, even stupid ones. But just sitting there as he allowed the other pilot to piss it away on this scale while flathatting is inexcusable. IIRC he was a prior HAC in another airframe, which makes the failures even worse.
On another note: I don't fully buy the "we're safer at 200' than 500'," argument. That is only true for an actual main xmsn malfunction or being on fire. For T/R EP's, engine failures, etc you will be far safer at 500', because we don't train people anymore to enter autos from non-standard (500' minimum, 80 or 100kts) profiles. Give somebody a loss of T/R drive in the sim at 200/100+ kts and watch the clowns come tumbling out of the VW (honestly, we are very poor at T/R emergencies in general, but that is a topic for another time).
I've been in Phrog's shoes and had pieces in the filter basket you could read part numbers off of (aft XMSN chip light and fluctuating pressure 40 miles out over the sea of Japan at night) and I've had a no-warning, instantaneous, complete loss of T/R drive in flight. I've done dozens of x-country ferry flights and if I did another one today I'd be 500' +.
I believe the Aviator Evalution Board is the same as an FNAEB, Phrog; one was convened and found him safe to continue flying. In parallel the Art 32 hearing was convened for accountability; it wasn't because of unhappiness with the results of the AEB (they are two very different things), but there are a host of things that they did that were contrary to policy and regulations. If you have a bad day and get in an accident while you are following rules and regs, you don't have much to worry about in terms of your career. If you ignored those rules and regs you are going to be standing in front of the man in some fashion. Not saying I agree or disagree with how this has proceeded - but it is what it is.
I would echo what Brunes said (thanks for posting that, by the way): read the Final Action of the Admin Investigation - that is what folks should be debating.
But mishap investigation information can't be used in a court martial.
On page of of the FAM is mentions the lack of cockpit warning tones for the crew.
That was always one if the issues that was always discussed with the 60F/H, the lack of Aircrew hearing the RADALT Warning or the Stability Automode Fail auidible alarms.
Did the Romeo and Sierra have that incorporated or are the Aircrewmen still not hearing cockpit alarms?
Yep, and hopefully the average young guy will maintain his faith in that system. But if they know they've screwed up, and they think that their leadership will try to hunt them down for it, will they still feel trust in the system? Ideally a young guy with doubts would access the SIR, compare it to the administrative document you posted, and see that, yes, the system kept the trust. But I don't know if that will happen.
Don't get me wrong, I personally don't have an issue with the article 32 itself: they did it, they made the decision (correct, in my mind) not to prosecute, and one could say the system worked. But the impression left behind is that your leadership wanted to make the prosecution happen. Fair or unfair, that is how I think the average aviator is going to look at it.
No problem Sir...
If they had convened the AEB, found him able to return to flying and tanked him on a FITREP, I'd say that's perfectly valid. However, by going to an Article 32 - then nuking him? Perception would be they are making an example of him. Perception is reality.
I have never argued that we're safer at 200' then 500'. As you well know in the Phrog, no emergency kills you instantly - and the only one that will has no associated EP. We get some warnings something bad is about to happen (and even more so now that we have AIMS, but I digress). If I had indications of a coming transmission failure or flight boost failure, you can bet your ass I'm going to be at 200' - eyeballing every single possible place to land. A buddy of mine and I went to the sim one day and decided to give emergencies to each other in TERF regimes (200' and below), not telling each other what they were going to be. It was about 50/50 if we survived.
And for what it's worth - I do my x-countries at 500' AGL...
I think we are agreeing here. My thought is they want to make a public example of him: but my concern is that they are doing it in a ham-fisted way that isn't inspiring confidence in their aviators.
It's great that you and your buddy are doing that kind of training, but the problem is that the average Fleet first tour guy isn't from anything I've seen recently. I'd finish my NATOPS checks in the sim and give the instructor a list of other scenarios to give me, and I'd routinely hear "We don't really practice that," in reference to things we used to practice in the plane back in the day. I'm not saying we need to go back to practicing AFCS off autos or deliberately drooping generators offline doing HOGE's in the bird, but the least they could do is expand what we practice in the sim past the same canned EPs we do in the bird.
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