Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trust Me. I'm from the Government #89

Once again I have come across a classic example of where we would assume something is heavily regulated for safety reasons, and the safety regulations are not enforced. The regulations may well have been adequate but the enforcement very clearly and very obviously was not. I am not directing this particularly at NZ as I don't think we do any better.

Remember the tragic balloon fire and crash in New Zealand earlier this year where eleven people died? A preliminary report has been handed down.

The balloon pilot had cannabis in his system. This may or may not be relevant. If he smoked cannabis a week before, it could still show in his system but he is hardly likely to be affected. If a cause has been determined, I have not seen it in the newspaper or the report.

The investigating authority stated that the balloon should not have been in the air. The burners and LPG fuel system had not been correctly inspected, the balloon material had not been properly strength-tested, and a safety logbook was left incomplete.

The Civil Aviation Authority inspected all of the seventy four hot air balloons in New Zealand and sixteen were found to be potentially not airworthy.

One wonders what the CAA had been doing to ensure ballooning safety standards were being met? Ten people subconsciously put their faith in the fact that they live in a first world country where safety standards are high, are monitored and maintained, and their faith was misplaced.

Next time you feel you will be safe from hazards because you live in a first world country and there is strict government regulation, think again.


  1. I've always wondered how closely the balloons are monitored. Regardless, you won't find me going up in one. No adventure here.

  2. Now you've given me another valid reason why i won't ride in a hot air balloon and still prefer to have my feet firmly planted on solid ground :-).

  3. I'm sure we have similar horror situations lurking in Australia.

  4. Yeh, I wouldn't get in one of those either! *shudders*
    They do look pretty from the ground however!

  5. We went in a hot air balloon at Alice Springs in 2009 and I guess it's a 'bucket list' experience to tick off but you do wonder about the 'authorities' and how stringent they are....

  6. It never ocurred to me that these things wouldn't be properly inspected for faults etc. If I ever do go up in one (still would like to), I'll be going up with a parachute firmly strapped on. they get up high enough for a parachute to properly activate?

  7. Try the parachute off a high building first to make sure it works.

  8. I always have the same feeling about airline checks. You note that even in first world countries, we cannot be sure about the exhaustiveness of inspections. But on top of that, the airlines sent all assessments and repairs off-shore!!! So we have even less accountability for inspections done (or not done) in other countries.

  9. Rubye, you sensible self remains firmly grounded, and centred too.

    Windsmoke, it really isn't all it is cracked up to be.

    Victor, I know we have. None come to mind, but there have been some.

    Really Fen? I thought you might be a taker. They are not cheap either.

    Kath, very much bucket list stuff for us. I hope the NZ deaths weren't in vain in that authorities sat up and took notice.

    River, there won't be room for a 'chute. Take an umbrella and you can do a Mary Poppins.

    RH, at least parachutes have a secondary 'chute in case the main fails.

    Hels, we can only hope that inspections are extra vigilant. CASA's record is not great.

  10. You see..this is what I'm talking about! Feet on terra firma is how it's meant to be!!!! That's a shocking story Andrew, I hope some heads rolled in the CAA for that one.

  11. Grace, I very much doubt anything would have happened about from some blame on the lowest rungs of the ladder.

  12. Andrew that goes for everything - the more they say they are doing the less seems to get done - and no one ever seems to be accountable

  13. That's it MC. No accountability.