“THE CURIOUS CASE OF SULLY”
SULLY STEPS DOWN FROM ICAO
- “Sully” Sullenberger, who landed an Airbus A320 on New York’s Hudson River in 2009 after hitting a flock of geese, has announced he would step down as U.S. envoy to ICAO on July 1.
- Sullenberger was only confirmed in December as U.S ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
- Sullenberger said in a statement that “relinquishing my role” was not an easy decision. He however did not offer a reason for his hasty departure after only six months as ambassador.
ICAO IN SAFE HANDS?
If there ever was an advocate for flight safety Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III is your man. “Sully” is the one airline pilot everyone recognises. Indeed his feat, alongside first officer Jeff Skiles in landing an Airbus 320 into a freezing Hudson river was made into a block busting film starring Tom Hanks. Sully even appeared in the comedy ‘Daddy’s Home 2’
So, given his high profile, who better for the USA to announce in December 2021 would become the U.S. Ambassador to ICAO. The public would now be able ‘sit back, relax and enjoy the flight’ knowing that they could not possibly have a more safety centric pilot with at least one hand on the ICAO controls.
However this marriage made in aviation safety heaven appears to have had the same longevity as that of two Hollywood ‘A’ listers.
The question is, why after only six months has Sully packed his bags and moved out of the ICAO mansion.
JUST A COINCIDENCE?
Sully’s announcement to leave IACAO comes only a month after Sullenberger raised concerns about attempts by regional airlines to reduce pilot requirements. He made the obvious comment that, at a stroke, if allowed, this would “weaken safety”.
Last month, a pilots union circulated a statement from Sullenberger raising concerns that regional airlines were attempting to reduce new pilot requirements. They quoting him saying they were “trying to weaken critically important pilot experience standards that are needed to keep passengers and crews safe.”
If indeed Sully’s announcement to leave ICAO does relate to the organisation having an opposing view on safety, it would again call into question ICAO’s true motive in relation to the profit v safety balance.
ICAO state that ‘It changes the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.’
WHAT DOES ICAO ACTUALLY DO?
As those who have read the first book in the series ‘Pulling Wings From Butterflies’ will already be aware, I referred to two incidents at Charles de Gaulle I had been directly involved in. The incidents raised such safety concerns I highlighted this issue to the safety authorities and predicted if the issue was not dealt with, it was only a matter of time before there would be a tragic event. A year after I gave the warning, my prediction came true. There was a fatal collision that directly resulted from two languages being used at France’s busiest airport.
Both incidents related to French being spoken on ATC along with English. I highlighted this presented the non french speaking pilots with a real issue. It was impossible to construct a meaningful mental image of ‘who was where and doing what’. In other words it severely hindered spatial orientation.
ICAO recently made a posting. The headline read “The importance of English language proficiency in aviation. It described how vital it was for clear and concise communication to be used in the interests of passenger safety. I replied and asked ICAO what action they had taken over this deadly threat.
Their response to my direct question was, to say the least ‘enlightening’ As is made clear by ICAO themselves within the thread. They don’t actually ‘do’ anything apart from talk about doing something. Instead they leave it to the local regulator who is invairably hamstrung by “Regulatory Capture”.
The link to the entire thread is below.
Maybe it was the dawning realisation by Sully that he was operating within a ‘safety talking echo chamber’ that prompted his decision to leave. Lots of meetings, lots of posters, zero actual action.
FOREWORD WRITTEN BY KARLENE PETITT
I am pleased to announce that the foreword for the second book in the “Pulling Wings From Butterflies” trilogy has been written by Karlene herself.
The book is to be released once the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK complete their review of the case surrounding information brought to police attention that are contained within the three book series.
FOREWORD BY KARLENE PETITT
The year was 2016 when I first connected with Captain Mike Simkins and learned of his case that ultimately became the story on which you are about to embark.
While these events in Mike’s life are nothing short of a legal thriller, I was not surprised at the depths that Thomas Cook management dove to sink him for refusing to operate a flight while fatigued. I was not shocked that the CAA provided management with the oxygen tanks to ensure his drowning.
I wasn’t even stunned when BALPA stood smugly on the shore, watching the attack without assistance. However, I was slack-jawed as I read the details of this courtroom drama that paralleled a tragedy on the other side of the world, one of which I was personally involved.
Mike’s story is not unique to the UK. Airline management is attacking pilots in the US for reporting Federal violations that impact safety, calling in fatigued, or refusing to operate an aircraft illegally. Be it a letter of warning, suspension, termination, or a fabricated psychiatric evaluation that would ground a pilot for life.
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part one - Tercio de varas
The first book in the trilogy begins by following the unique journey of Captain Mike Simkins from touring Europe as a drummer and performing with some of the most prominent musical artists of the late ’80s, to becoming a commander on the world’s most advanced passenger aircraft.
Ultimately, the wings were pulled from the butterfly of a dream career when, Mike stood alone to confront a multibillion-dollar aviation establishment when he refused to place profit before safety.
PArt TWO - Tercio de banderillas
part three - Tercio de MUERTE
Crews admit that they are knowingly flying duties in the full expectation they will suffer fatigue. They are committing these criminal acts due to the “Bullying” culture at one of the UK’s biggest airlines.
The CAA is provided with irrefutable proof that duty times are knowingly falsified to make it appear they conformed with strictly laid down maximum times and that pilots are flying at the equivalent effectiveness of a drunk driver. Their response? ‘Get over it.’ .