Pilots respond to final report on Cork air crash

The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) branch of IMPACT trade union has responded to the publication today (Tuesday) of the final report by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) into the Fairchild Metro III  accident in Cork on the 10thFebruary 2011.

IALPA president, Captain Evan Cullen, said “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the bereaved families of the flight crew and passengers at what will be a very difficult time for them as they revisit the tragic circumstances of their profound loss.

“The most cursory review of the report clearly indicates that there are significant issues to be addressed in the wider aviation industry, as well as issues directly related to the accident.

“The report clearly indicates that regulatory, technical and human factors were centrally involved in this tragic accident.  It is clear to IALPA that the voices of professional pilots operating on the front line of aviation need to be heard and listened to at every level of the industry, to ensure we minimise the possibility of such an accident happening again” he said.

Captain Cullen said that many of the conclusions in the report clearly indicated that minimum standards were operated at “every level” of the commercial operation of the flight. He said IALPA welcomed the recommendation calling for rigorous improvements in the regulatory regime. “If these recommendations are fully implemented, they will help to reduce the commercial practices that rely entirely on the use of minimum standards, and help to ensure that such a tragedy can be avoided in the future.”

Among the reports conclusions, IALPA noted the following:

  • There were no maintenance points for the aircraft at either of its destination airports (Belfast and Cork)
  • There was no record of a technical fault in one of the aircraft’s engines in the aircraft’s technical log. However, the flight data recorder (FDR) shows that the fault was present for 106 hours before the accident occurred
  • Both the pilot and co-pilot had insufficient rest before their flight duties on the day of the accident. The co-pilot had exceeded the flight time limitations (FTLs) just two days prior to the day of the accident
  • The co-pilot’s training and checking had not been completed
  • There was no oversight by the competent state authority where the aircraft was registered

Captain Cullen added, “We will review this report in detail and provide a more comprehensive response on behalf of our professional pilot community.”

IALPA is the pilots’ branch of IMPACT trade union and the professional body for Irish airline pilots.