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Fred Lewis

Food For Thought

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While there are several rules and regulations in the Aeronautics Act and the CAR which charge the pilot with the responsibility for the safe operation of his aircraft, nothing can be found that protects the pilot from repercussions should he be resolute in adhering to them.

 

Most helicopter pilots and engineers work without contracts, which makes them at-will employees. Their employers can fire them at any time and no reason for dismissal is required. Some manner of legislation should be in place to protect pilots from fallout resulting from refusal to overload, fly in bad weather or transport impaired passengers.

 

An association of helicopter pilots could operate to help pilots in this regard.

 

Perhaps pilots are naïve about the legal peril they may face for having an accident which results in damage or loss of life if it can be shown that the accident was caused by ignoring the law. For the sake of completeness, some of the rules which pilots are bound to obey are listed. We realize that most if not all pilots are intimately familiar with these rules.

 

From the CAR:

 

Weight and Balance Control

703.37 (1) No person shall operate an aircraft unless, during every phase of the flight, the load restrictions, weight and centre of gravity of the aircraft conform to the limitations specified in the aircraft flight manual.

 

Standard passenger weights do not provide the pilot with an accurate measure of aircraft gross weight.

 

Take-off Weight Limitations

704.46 (1) No person shall conduct a take-off in an aircraft if the weight of the aircraft

(a) exceeds the maximum take-off weight specified in the aircraft flight manual for the pressure-altitude and the ambient temperature at the aerodrome where the take-off is to be made;

 

This means density altitude is important. Relative humidity, which is not taken into consideration in most performance charts, can be a significant factor.

 

Fitness of Flight Crew Members

602.02 No operator of an aircraft shall require any person to act as a flight crew member and no person shall act as a flight crew member, if either the person or the operator has any reason to believe, having regard to the circumstances of the particular flight to be undertaken, that the person

(a) is suffering or is likely to suffer from fatigue; or

(B) is otherwise unfit to perform properly the person's duties as a flight crew member.

 

It will be interesting to see how the courts view the effect of working 42 consecutive 14 hour days if fatigue becomes an issue in an accident. Some experts claim this sort of schedule is ludicrous.

 

Aircraft Operating Limitations

602.07 No person shall operate an aircraft unless it is operated in accordance with the operating limitations

(a) set out in the aircraft flight manual, where an aircraft flight manual is required by the applicable standards of airworthiness;

(B) set out in a document other than the aircraft flight manual, where use of that document is authorized pursuant to Part VII;

© indicated by markings or placards required pursuant to section 605.05; or

(d) prescribed by the competent authority of the state of registry of the aircraft.

 

While the height velocity diagram is not included in the limitations section of a flight manual, the manual cautions the pilot to avoid the shaded area. Again, how will the courts view the liability for damage that results from operation in the shaded area? Perhaps the Cranbrook accident of December 2009 will shed some light on this.

 

VFR Flight Minimum Flight Visibility - Uncontrolled Airspace

703.28 (2) Where a helicopter is operated in day VFR flight within uncontrolled airspace at less than 1,000 feet AGL, a person may, for the purposes of subparagraph 602.115(d)(i), operate the helicopter when flight visibility is less than one mile if the person

(a) is authorized to do so in an air operator certificate; and

(B) complies with the Commercial Air Service Standards.

 

We know the limit for helicopters can be one-half mile and clear of cloud. If it can be shown that an accident occurred because of operation in lesser conditions, there may be repercussions.

 

From the Aeronautics Act:

 

ENFORCEMENT

Pilot-in-command may be found liable

8.4 (3) The pilot-in-command of an aircraft may be proceeded against in respect of and found to have committed an offence under this Part in relation to the aircraft for which another person is subject to be proceeded against unless the offence was committed without the consent of the pilot-in-command and, where found to have committed the offence, the pilot-in-command is liable to the penalty provided as punishment therefor.

 

If the owner or the operator contravenes the Aeronautics Act, the pilot may also be held responsible.

 

From the Canadian Criminal Code:

 

CRIMINAL NEGLIGENCE

219. (1) Every one is criminally negligent who

(a) in doing anything, or

(B) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,

shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

(2) For the purposes of this section, “duty” means a duty imposed by law.

 

If the pilot contravenes the rules and something bad happens, he may be found criminally negligent. In a civil action, the court may order the pilot to make restitution if he is found responsible. Even if he is dead, his estate may be pursued.

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Some manner of legislation should be in place to protect pilots from fallout resulting from refusal to overload, fly in bad weather or transport impaired passengers.

 

 

There is .... it's call morals. Whoever wants to work for a company that wants you to break the law should investigate his own morals.

 

An association of helicopter pilots could operate to help pilots in this regard.

 

Really?

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There is .... it's call morals. Whoever wants to work for a company that wants you to break the law should investigate his own morals.

 

 

 

Really?

An association of some sort would help at so many levels.Take for example the Australian model.

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Some manner of legislation should be in place to protect pilots from fallout resulting from refusal to overload, fly in bad weather or transport impaired passengers.

 

There are provincial and federal regulations regarding the rights of employees to refuse unsafe work. Below is a quote from the federal Labour Code:

 

Refusal to work if danger

128. (1) Subject to this section, an employee may refuse to use or operate a machine or thing, to work in a place or to perform an activity, if the employee while at work has reasonable cause to believe that

(a) the use or operation of the machine or thing constitutes a danger to the employee or to another employee;

(B) a condition exists in the place that constitutes a danger to the employee; or

© the performance of the activity constitutes a danger to the employee or to another employee.

 

See the whole section here: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/L-2/page-59.html#docCont

 

 

 

Their employers can fire them at any time and no reason for dismissal is required.

 

Again, there are provincial and federal regulations regarding unjust dismissal. From the federal Labour Code:

 

Reasons for dismissal

241. (1) Where an employer dismisses a person described in subsection 240(1), the person who was dismissed or any inspector may make a request in writing to the employer to provide a written statement giving the reasons for the dismissal, and any employer who receives such a request shall provide the person who made the request with such a statement within fifteen days after the request is made.

 

See the whole section here: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/L-2/page-106.html#h-95

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Exactly right, Lunchbox and 212 wrench. Anyone paying attention at all to the Court decisions and legislation that's occurring almost daily regarding employment standards and employee rights has to be aware that being terminated for unjust cause is simply a non-flyer now.

 

Of course, unscrupulous employers will always be eager to take advantage of those unaware of their duties as pilots and their rights as employees.

 

But, Fred, let's not waste EVERYBODY's time going around the association merry-go-round again. It comes up every 10 or 12 years, and creates a lot of argument and enmity to no avail. By the time there's enough 'new blood' to form something looking like a consensus, yesterday's new blood are 'old-timers' who just aren't interested in beating their heads against the wall again.

 

For what it's worth, I still believe the largely underutilized individual membership category of the HAC, is a vehicle waiting to serve industry professionals coming together to discuss and research their important issues and to provide a common voice that already has the ear of the audiences you need to address. Stop whining and 'if-only-ing' on forums and get into HAC. Create local or regional chapters and WORK on your legitimate issues.

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Grass Hopper

 

How do you figure that a local HAC chapter ( if it existed representing the interests of pilots ) would assist said pilot or engineer who is an employee of one of its members in a case where the Employer has violated say employment standards for example?. I suppose they could suspend the Member or take punitive actions... but hold! on dont companies that have membership in HAC pay huge dues??

 

In short i would think that operators that get pee pee slapped by HAC would think twice about writing that check... and who then funds HAC?

 

Its a non starter. ( conflict of interest)

 

Perhaps i have missed somthing though...Please do tell..

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Well Fred you are giving us all somethings to think about, and thanks for that. Here's one for all of you and I will ask Fred what one should do. I was reading my flight manual supplement for 205 today. eagle vertical reference door.,,,I dont have the precise wording but basicaly it says,,in order for the door to be used the dual controls have to be in place. Now lets assume this is correct. Any one want to tell Ontario that you cant take the duals out and you dont have a stock door with you.,,, Lets see how that fly's ( and again if I am right how many other operators will try to argue thats not so,,,so much for sticking together) and whats your guess that no company leader will stand behind you....well they might but it will be around the corner out of sight. And while we are at that ..how do we water bucket in Ontario with a passenger on board,,aka ,,a spotter..no other province demands it ,,he/she is not an essential person and if one where to ask Transport there is an option and that is for the spotter to fly above in another helicopter...oh oh ..I almost forgot..Ontario wont let their people be on board if we are actually longlineing...correct me if I am wrong but is not ANYTHING on the hook an external load...So Fred how does one deal with all these little technicalities and not get punted from both Ontario and from your job for been a rabble rouser..???

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Helirider:

 

If you feel your situation is unsafe, you have every right to stand up for yourself and your employer cannot fire you if your unsafe situation is legit.

 

As for flight manual supplements and other documents, there are avenues to pursue alternate methods of compliance or changes to existing documents to better suit your company needs. Talk to your DOM or other maintenance people about that if you feel it's important.

 

Bottom line in any of this kind of stuff is that people need to stand up for themselves and speak out. If you're driving or wrenching in unsafe conditions, it's up to you to do something about it. The law will protect you in certain circumstances, but at the end of the day if one continues to work within unsafe conditions without speaking up, one is implicitly accepting those conditions. Potentially losing work or a job (in the context of 205 bucketing for Ontario forestry) over something like that is a decision in life that one sometimes has to make.

 

Speaking out and trying to do the 'right' thing is usually difficult and time consuming, which is why the majority of people don't: it's just too much work for them and so they meekly accept their situation. They may complain, but in the end they do nothing about it, and thus the system rarely changes for the better...

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I was reading my flight manual supplement for 205 today. eagle vertical reference door.,,,I dont have the precise wording but basicaly it says,,in order for the door to be used the dual controls have to be in place.

 

For you to STICK YOUR HEAD OUT THE DOOR AND USE IT, you have to sit on the left and have dual controls. and then that would negate you having anyone on the right hand side, as Ontario don't allow their crews to be in a pilot seat if there are controls there...

 

how do we water bucket in Ontario with a passenger on board,,aka ,,a spotter..no other province demands it ,,he/she is not an essential person and if one where to ask Transport there is an option and that is for the spotter to fly above in another helicopter

If vertical reference, you need to be in the left side, so thus they cancel themselves out...

 

No biggie.

 

The CAR's allow for the MNR etc to allow you an observer, "MINIMUM CREW" means anyone essential for the operation/job at hand, so if OMNR wants a dude to point out where to drop the water, then that is in fact legal, don't understand the need to quarrel??

 

If you waterbucket on the long line in ontario, well I guess the crew-boss would just stay at home!

 

Cheers

H.

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