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Atleo Air Services Being Sued.

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...I kept him in the cockpit after the crew left and asked if he smelled the weed? He acknowledged it. I told him to get a different crew and that I would be ready to go in 10 minutes. I explained the shutdown to my concerned engineer to alleviate his concern. Ten minutes later the crew came back minus two guys that were sent packing and we went on our patrol...


Well handled, 412. Finding that balance between the desire to support the operation, yet ensuring that those who do (or should) understand the regs that go with operations are respected, would be key. I won't pretend to fully understand the relationship between a paying client and the operator, but I can only imagine the no-duff challenges and conflicts that result from some who have/had an "I'm paying you to do this, so get it done" attitude that could exist.


In the subject case, it is indeed sad that litigation is inappropriately drawing attention away from the issues of principle.





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That was a good decision 412 driver. Seriously.


But I can't help but wonder if you were on some logging or seismic job what would happen?

There probably wouldn't be a replacement crew...


I assume you would stick to your guns and shut it down for the day or longer. Maybe some companies would stand behind you, maybe some wouldn't ?


Judging from your Past posts you have decades of experience, me too. Put a pilot just starting out, maybe a little financial pressure and the decision might be a little more difficult.


Don't get me wrong something has to change and it slowly is, the industry has a ways to go.

Cases like this will hopefully accelerate the process.

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Hybrid - good for you for thinking that way!


"Maybe some companies would stand behind you, maybe some wouldn't ?"


And there's the problem. I had another incident when I was at Remote in 2003, where I was picking up a crew just at first light and the usual landing site was right next to the radio antenna and full of cables, so I elected to land in another spot and the poor customer had to walk 100 metres with a suitcase. There was much jumping up and down and wailing and gnashing of teeth, but I essentially said if he didn't like it he could walk home, as I have a right not to be abused in my workplace.


His crew boss supported me, as did Al Ascah (Safety Manager - "1000%") and Doug McArthur (Chief Pilot), but the Ops Manager whose name escapes me, didn't. Support was also significantly absent from him when a customer complained that one female pilot had to be replaced because she wasn't as well built as the other one. And was stupid enough to put that down on paper. The fact that she refused to take a heavy helicopter out of a hot hole apparently didn't signify.


I can only pass on my own experience - to you newer guys it's a scary thing to say No to somebody, but it comes back much in a more positive way much later in your career. I have been removed from jobs because I wouldn't keep the engine running while I refuelled the machine by myself, with nobody at the controls, I have refused attempts by Niagara Helicopters to put 11 passengers in my 407 (babes in arms etc), and I have refused many times to take passengers who wouldn't wear a shoulder strap. I even had someone complain that I took them round 20 compressor sites by map reading and working out the headings in my head rather than using the GPS, yet I am still working, and am still being offered slots, presumably because of those qualities.


You guys also have something that we didn't have, the SMS and what in Europe is called Health & Safety. The need for what is politely called a strong personality has reduced a little, but you still can't be a shrinking violet in this game. I am all for being a little anti-authority as it helps protect you against such situations.


Being a Captain (as opposed to just a pilot) is an internal process, and until you think you are a Captain, and make the appropriate decisions, nobody else will.


Good luck!



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I was still a young pilot when I sent fire fighters away because it was clear to me they were under the influence. Bottom line is you have to be able to back up your decisions and not be wishy washy. Like Phil said, you are the Captain of your machine and fully responsible for it.


Also, I have almost always (one exception) had great bosses who backed me up. EVERY time. If they don't then move on because you probably do not want to work there. I was a 100 hour pilot going out on my first job and my Boss took me to the side and said: "Never do anything you are uncomfortable with. If you do not like it, do not do it. I will always back you up!" Here I sit 23 years later flying a summer contract for the same Boss!


As to your question about not having crew to replace them? We would have sat on the ground until they did. The days of being under "pressure" should be long gone. Yes, it may still be out there but it is up to you to quash it. Above all, be professional.


Just imagine sitting in your Bosses office and trying to explain why some stoned firefighter threw his shovel into your main rotor blades.


Sorry, ranting now, as to the topic? Having been on the bad side of a lawsuit by someone who was just after a money grab I can only say: I hate lawyers, especially the scummy ones. In my case I remained professional throughout and the "other" guy is no longer in the industry and settled for less than I earn in a week.

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"Having been on the bad side of a lawsuit by someone who was just after a money grab I can only say: I hate lawyers, especially the scummy ones."


LOL! :) One of those tried that here. Not only did he not realise that there's a 60-day limit on serving someone, he applied a scattergun approach and sued everyone at once where they should have been sued in a particular order. He then blinked first and settled for such a low sum after writing himself out of any future prosecutions in his proposal. The only reason we gave him any money at all was to get it sorted before he realised, as he hadn't a leg to stand on - it was just a money grab. As a lawyer he makes a pretty good plumber. I hope his piloting skills are better.


The best advice I can give any one here is don't go to law if you can possibly help it, because you might end up with someone like him representing you (the fact that someone appoints themself to a position does not mean to say they know what they are doing).


Somebody previously mentioned that you should fly as if you were in front of a jury - that's good advice. Remember that one definition of a jury is twelve people not smart enough to get out of it (yeah, cynical, I know), and you may have to explain your actions to them one day.



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