Saturday, 8 November 2008

Sultan's Shooting Team Holds Up Flight To Doha

As pilots, we have limits and so do our airlines, both through Standard Operating Procedures and also International ICAO Regulations - rules which cannot be broken. 

So, when HM's Shooting Team rocked up to a recent Muscat to Doha flight with a small arsenal of weapons and several crates of ammunition - eyebrows were raised as a lot of shifty maneuvering was performed down at the cargo doors. 

Rifles, pistols and guns in general are relatively harmless when unloaded and only really serve as a replacement for a big stick or a hammer in the league table of weaponry. 
However, there are limits to the amount of ammunition that can be carried - in this case - 5kg per container. 
A quick lift of one crate in particular was enough to determine that this limit had been grossly exceeded. 

Therefore, the pilots stated that they could not be carried under any circumstances, as it was a breach of important procedures. 
And here is where the trouble started. 

People in Oman, who are in positions of authority be it in the police, customs or anywhere else - need to be very careful when using HM as leverage to get something done. 

Telling a fully-trained and competent member of flight crew to bend the rules because "HM has ordered you to" reflects a very false impression of a leader who, in my opinion, would never endanger the safety of a passenger flight. 
So, that tactic is going to get you nowhere with us.

Then of course, Royal orders or not, nobody wanted to be the one to sign a manifest for the pilots to state that the crates were within limits, instead insisting that they be merely trusted. 
The then demonstrated lack of trust by the crew resulted in each crate being weighed and (surprise, surprise) found to be well overweight.

All it would have taken was for the ammo to be repacked in 5kg crates and all would have been well but, no.

Instead, we now have an incident that is beginning to spread through the international aviation grapevine, recounting how the flight had to be held back and members of the team called off the aircraft to supervise the weighing and re-weighing of the projectiles, while names were taken and visiting pilots accused of being "unhelpful" and waiting passengers being told about "problems with guns on the plane".

Local officials - you need to wise up! 

Rules can be bent sometimes, but not in professional aviation and especially not where guns, bullets and the paying public are involved, or you are too busy texting your habibi to do a proper job of enforcing regulations and respecting the limits proposed on aircraft...
FOR THE SAFETY OF PASSENGERS AND CREW!

It's easy for even a village idiot to work out that HM does not like bad press - especially for incidences that he has had no part in. 
I think that in this day and age, where technology means that word travels faster than it ever has, using his name in vain may come at a high price!

On a more positive note, reports abound that all members of HM's Shooting Team were highly courteous and did everything they could to remedy the situation. 
A great reflection of how professional they are and a shining example of the way things should be. 

I wish them the best of luck in Qatar.

4 comments:

Bobby said...

yay!
You guys (pilots) had really guts to say *NO*. I am proud.
coz in India, no one would have said anything!!!!!!!

boxster said...

It's the strict procedures and adherence to them that keeps airline casualties statistically low.

What surprised me was that the team was flying civilian aircraft.

Couldn't they get a lift on the Sultan's jet?

That's some lame wastah these guys have if you ask me :)

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upurbooty said...

jd: u did rit ...

my mind goes out to the shooters

you can understand that only if you ever been on a shooting team

i hv been..till very recently