Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Pilots' Union Drops Appeal on Recorder Release
A pilots’ union will no longer appeal a court order turning over a helicopter’s combined flight/voice recorder to police investigating four deaths in a 2013 Shetland Islands crash. International safety officials have been working for years to establish global legal standards to prevent the public disclosure through criminal probes and lawsuits of safety information used in crash investigations and flight data monitoring programs. An ICAO working group in March proposed changes toward that end to its rules, which shape aviation laws around the world. In the 2013 case, the British Airline Pilots’ Association remains “deeply concerned about the safety implications of this unprecedented legal intervention.” But the union said it ended the appeal of the June 19 court order because the U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s probe of the Aug. 23, 2013 CHC Eurocopter AS332 crash “is now well advanced.” Investigators have issued a draft report on the crash to parties involved in the probe for comment. Four of 16 passengers on the helicopter died in the crash; the two pilots survived. "Pilots fully understand it is difficult for the families of those affected by accidents to wait” for the AAIB “to complete its painstaking, difficult and vital work,” a union statement said, but it is essential that accident investigators be permitted to do that work “without distraction."