13 September 2008
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2008 20:58:42 -0700 (PDT) From: KEVIN GAUTHIER <email@example.com> Subject: update Re: Onset of Uncontrolled Aircraft Movement Please find the following fifteen page update. http://cryptome.org/acars-mail3.pdf (15pp, 1.2MB)
5 September 2008
Date: Fri, 5 Sep 2008 08:57:25 -0700 (PDT) From: KEVIN GAUTHIER <rockev[at]rogers.com> Subject: todays update I am submitting more updates. BTW just starting to get feed back - today is first. http://cryptome.org/acars-mail2.pdf (21pp, 2MB)
1 September 2008
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2008 08:07:22 -0700 (PDT) From: KEVIN GAUTHIER <rockev[at]rogers.com> Subject: update I forward the following attachments: 1.) Statement of Claim (Draft Copy) Originally filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice as file # 07-0316 on March 23, 2007, later amended to file # 07CV341512PD3. Statement-of-Claim.doc 2.) Amended Statement of Claim Amended-Statement-of-Claim.doc 3.) Paradox of Times A-Paradox-of-Times.doc 4.) Paradox of Times - Part II A-Paradox-of-Times-Part-II.doc Kevin Gauthier
28 August 2008. Related correspondence:
http://cryptome.org/acars-mail.pdf (9pp, 690KB)
28 August 2008. Thanks to Kevin Gauthier.
Related letter to Mr. Gauthier from the Canadian Industrial Relations Board:
http://cryptome.org/cirb-1444.pdf (6pp, 380KB)
Draft Case Summary: ACARs Safety Issue
Kevin Gauthier is a former Air Canada pilot who flew for various airlines from 1991 to 2004, with a clean track record, no accidents, and no letters of discipline on file.
Public Interest Issue
ACARs is an automated system for monitoring and reporting airline on-time performance, introduced in 1988 and used internationally by more than 120 companies. Airlines apply intense pressure to their own staff to achieve good ratings, and as a consequence it has apparently become common practice to use certain tricks to fool the ACARs system into reporting better on-time performance. These practices violate aviation safety regulations, create safety significant risks to passengers and staff, and create a climate of disrespect for other safety regulations the beginning of a very dangerous slippery slope for commercial aviation safety.
ACARs detects that a flight has begun when all doors are closed and the aircraft parking brake is released. The system can be fooled by releasing the parking brake early before the aircraft is ready to push back, thus signalling a false departure time.
ACARs detects that a flight has ended when any door is opened and the parking brake is applied. For safety reasons, doors are supposed to be opened only after all engines are shut down and the aircraft is safe to approach. The ACARs system can be fooled by momentarily applying the parking brake and opening a door prematurely, thus signalling a false arrival time.
Both of these unauthorized practices greatly increase the risk of aircraft standing at the gate with the parking brake left off. In this situation the aircraft may or may not immediately move it may be held stationary by the wheel chocks and/or the small tug vehicle that is used for pushback. However it may spontaneously start to roll later, at any time. Most ramps slope slightly for drainage and a large aircraft fully loaded and fuelled weighs hundreds of tons. In an uncontrolled roll it becomes a massive slow-motion projectile that can injure or kill ground staff and collide with gate structures, ground equipment or other aircraft. It is also quite conceivable that a ground collision involving two aircraft could result, potentially injuring or killing many people.
Gate incidents are a significant source of risk for passengers and crew: internationally, hundred of such incidents are reported every year, some of them involving fatalities. Uncontrolled or unplanned rollbacks represent a significant proportion of gate incidents.
It is impossible to determine how many of these incidents are related to these ACARs-related practices, however various sources (such as online forums frequented by pilots) suggest that such practices are widespread and are a matter of concern to many airline staff. In addition, a NASA aviation reporting system (now discontinued) showed a sustained increase of 50% in gate incidents from 1988, the year that ACARs was introduced. This anomaly has never been explained.
In February 2008 Gauthier reported his concerns to the USA Department of Transportation, which has assigned a Hotline number and indicated that an inquiry will be conducted. No information is available from DOT regarding the timing, scope or thoroughness of this inquiry.
There has been no media coverage of this issue in Canada.
Potential Allies / Interested Parties
It is not clear what potential allies can be found in Canada, especially since ACPA is not supporting Gauthiers concerns. However, since this issue affects a large number of jurisdictions and since the airline business is international by nature, it may be possible to find allies in other countries and/or in bodies that have an international mandate.
Retaliation and civil lawsuit
Kevin Gauthier filed a safety report on this issue in December 2003. He has been in conflict with Air Canada since. He is no longer employed (or employable) as a pilot due to actions taken by Air Canada.
Gauthier was not supported by his union, the Air Canada Pilots Association (ACPA). He speculates that this could be because ACPA, through its role in defending flight crew against disciplinary actions, must have been fully aware of the frequency of this problem. By not speaking up, ACPA may have found itself implicated in Air Canadas apparent denial of the issue.
In March 2007 Gauthier launched a civil lawsuit against Air Canada and ACPA for wrongful dismissal. He has had great difficulty in finding / affording adequate legal counsel, and the case has gone very badly. It would appear that he has been outmanoeuvred by the defendants lawyers and misled by his own lawyer, thus placing him in a perilous situation.