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C-17 4-engine flameout/SIB/FEB questions in here

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Good post, and good points. I guess I just keep thinking of a legal analogy. If a jury finds you not guilty of manslaughter, the case does not automatically go to a single judge for review, who then sentences you to 20 years in prison for manslaughter. I realize this is admin versus a legal case, but the whole thing still scares me.

Good advice on asking for a lawyer. So my next question - are you normally read your rights at the beginning of a safety investigation, or were you just talking about other legal stuff in general? As far as a SIB - do they just start asking questions, or do they specifically say this part is under immunity while this part is not?

The difference here is that the FEB only gets to make a recommendation to the convening authority and he gets to make the final decision. Different than a trial where you are found not guilty.

No the safety board doesn't read you your rights...they try to get you to talk and answer their questions. Don't talk to them. Always ask for legal counsel.

Three holer is correct about the privilege issue. Only specific people are authorized to grant privilege as well. Get it in writing.

On a seperate note, in general, when you do get read your rights, whether you think you have done anything wrong or not, ask for a lawyer. You would not be getting read your rights unless the person doing so suspects you of something.

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If anyone is interested, there is a mil only link to the "C-17A Mishap Primer" floating around (put together by McChord), it includes plenty of relevant non-privileged (but FOUO) information including the 4-engine flameout and plenty of other mishaps you may or may not have heard about in the C-17.

Still pisses me off they put a picture of Sitka 43 ~2 seconds from impact on the cover.

And 2 on everything said about lawyering-up/not saying anything to anyone.

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The difference here is that the FEB only gets to make a recommendation to the convening authority and he gets to make the final decision. Different than a trial where you are found not guilty.

No the safety board doesn't read you your rights...they try to get you to talk and answer their questions. Don't talk to them. Always ask for legal counsel.

Three holer is correct about the privilege issue. Only specific people are authorized to grant privilege as well. Get it in writing.

On a seperate note, in general, when you do get read your rights, whether you think you have done anything wrong or not, ask for a lawyer. You would not be getting read your rights unless the person doing so suspects you of something.

Good advice, and thanks for the clarification.

On your side note about cops reading you your rights - be careful what you say before being read your rights too. They can ask you whatever the fuck they want in their initial investigation of a possible crime. Unless you are talking your way out of a speeding ticket, I would pretty much not answer anything a cop asked me - pre or post being read my rights. Like you said, there is a reason they are questioning you.

In my only non-speeding ticket run in with the law, back when I was 16, a cop called the house and asked if I was at a party that night because he took down my plate. Like an idiot, I said yes and mentioned that I drank "a beer." Yes, extremely dumb to say that, but I only said it because two dudes who were at the party told the cops they only drank a beer, and the cops let them go for being "honest." But the cops wanted to know who bought the keg, and I told them I didn't know. A week later, I have an underage drinking ticket in the mail due to that phone conversation of admitting one beer. Of course, I was never read my rights or ever even saw the cop. Lesson learned, don't drink at age 16 don't give cops any evidence in their initial investigation, because they don't have to remind you that you have the right to remain silent during that initial investigation.

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No the safety board doesn't read you your rights...they try to get you to talk and answer their questions. Don't talk to them. Always ask for legal counsel.

A safety investigation has no legal authority to do anything, that is what an AIB is for. Either you talk to the IO, get privilege, and have faith that they system will work and bros will learn from your mistakes. Or, you don't talk to the SIB, the IO has to either A) Be really good and figure out what happened on his own, or B) nobody ever knows and whatever happened will repeat itself, possibly with a deadly outcome.

If what Day Man is saying is true...because in reality him saying that the AMC/CC used privilege to make a punitive decision is pure speculation, then I would hope there is enough integrity in the safety system that people are going to be fired and answering questions about a breach of privilege.

Bottom line: we have privilege so that we can all learn from each others mistakes and make an inherently dangerous profession a little more safe. Get your privilege statement (you will always get it in writing because you are required to sign documentation), talk to the IO, and have faith that the system will have your back.

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Either you talk to the IO, get privilege, and have faith that they system will work and bros will learn from your mistakes.

You can talk to the SIB without receiving privilege. I am suggesting that you hold out on talking to the SIB unless and until they offer you privilege. At that point, talking to them in order to help out your bros is encouraged.

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Well I've seen so far the system has resulted in this crew be booted out of the AF and another court martialed (KTCM airdrop incident). The overall general belief from everyone I talk to (including those who know the pilots personally) is that since there was no AIB the AMC/CC got his info from the SIB. Might not be true but I haven't seen anything to counter it; so much is the belief that my Flt/CC (who knows personally the crew) sat me and some other new pilots down and said privilege no longer means what you say can't be used against you.

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Well I've seen so far the system has resulted in this crew be booted out of the AF and another court martialed (KTCM airdrop incident). The overall general belief from everyone I talk to (including those who know the pilots personally) is that since there was no AIB the AMC/CC got his info from the SIB. Might not be true but I haven't seen anything to counter it; so much is the belief that my Flt/CC (who knows personally the crew) sat me and some other new pilots down and said privilege no longer means what you say can't be used against you.

DayMan confirmed that although there was not an AIB that there was a (CDI) Commander directed investigation(i think that is in his first post). That CDI could be used for punitive action and there is a combat camera video that was confirmed to not be privileged and used in both the CDI and FEB along with any of the SIB report that was not privileged.

Don't know what the AMC/CC used, but it sounds like there may be other substantive information absent the SIB to justify any action that he took.

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Don't know what the AMC/CC used, but it sounds like there may be other substantive information absent the SIB to justify any action that he took.

It is important to note, here, that no "justification" is required as there is no legal minimum standard that must be met for the Convening Authority to make a ruling. Flying service is not a UCMJ-protected activity.

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The AIB won't start any interviews until after the SIB is complete, so the answer to your question xaarman is no. The intent is to get the SIB/safety information out to the aircrews as quickly as possible.

Also, there isn't always an AIB or a CDI.

It's important to stress that regardless of being read your rights, an individual ALWAYS has his or her 5th Amendment and Article 31 rights. Being read your rights just means the interviewers have some sort of inclination that you have done something negligent/illegal, and are trying to make it admissible under rules of evidence.

And I also hope people realize that safety privilege does not equal legal immunity. Look up the safety AFI for the rules.

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AMC is the new SAC when it comes to throwing crews under the bus.

FWIW I did a Class A ISB while at OAKN for an ACC asset. Luckily no one died or got seriously hurt but the aircraft was destroyed. I saw zero talk of "so, what did the crew screw up? The leadership wants to know" with that one or the other Class Bs I ran. But I got asked that during the three AMC mishaps...there was definitely a different tone.

And your office did a great job ISBing that one and handing it over to us.

If I'd been in your shoes when leadership came calling, I would have quoted the job of an ISB (gather and preserve evidence), and then asked them what was taking their SIB so long...

Threeholer you are correct. Privilege used to be granted by the IO when they felt it was necessary to extend privilege to get the whole story. Now they are saying to grant privilege when the Board President authorizes it or if someone requests it...and even then I believe the BP can deny the privilege.

Regarding who can give privilege, in the ISB phase, it's the BP. In the SIB phase, the SIO, IO, or BP can. And they don't have to actually be present when the request is made, they can provide guidance to the rest of the SIB members conducting interviews.

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Since the IG was brought up in the SARC thread, I figured I'd post up my experiences with that route...

After being notified of the AMC/CC decision to disqualify me, I filed an IG complaint at my WG/IG for 2 reasons:

1. My case took 363 days to process; AFI 11-402, paragraph 1.10 says "When an aircrew member or parachutist is suspended pending disqualification, MAJCOMs will complete processing of the case within 180 days."

2. I was notified of the FEB on 18 Feb 2011. AFI 11-402 table 4.1 note 4 states "Notification to the respondent must be done within 5 calendar days of the occurrence of circumstances requiring FEB action."

The Wg-level IG concluded it was a MAJCOM issue, so my complaint was forwarded to AMC/IG, who decided AMC/A3T would be the best ones to answer my questions. Their reply:

1. "Our review finds that the referenced paragraph 1.10. is not part of the Chapter 4 Flight Evaluation Board (FEB) instruction and not part of the FEB prescribed timelines. The 180-day timeline begins after convening authority makes a recommendation and FEB package arrives at the MAJCOM. The intent is to ensure wings do not suspend individual pending disqualification for lengthy periods without taking appropriate action to resolve the suspension. While the FEB took more than 180 days to complete, because an FEB was in process, we feel the wing and this HQ were constantly working toward resolution of the suspension."

2. "After discussions with the Air Staff OPR, our review found that, though the definition of "occurrence of circumstances" appears vague, it is not intended to be the date of the flight incident. It is believed that the date of the "occurrence of circumstances" in this case is the date the wing commander made his decision after review of his Commander-Directed Investigation. While it is difficult to discern exactly when that decision was reached, it appears to be within the 5 day rule."

The 1st one is BS because they say it doesn't apply, then go on to explain how it applies. Ridiculous.

The 2nd one is BS because even if their interpretation of "occurrence of circumstances" stands, I have a document stating WG/CC approved the CDI 21 days before notification of the FEB.

Because of these BS answers, I submitted a SAF/IG complaint this April...the only correspondence I've received was acknowledging it had been 60 days since they received my complaint.

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words

Are you that surprised that AF IG's would protect the system and their boss at all costs?

If you really want to make some impacts, get a civilian lawyer and go to the New York Times or 60 Minutes. If there's anything that terrifies management the most, it's negative publicity.

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Are you that surprised that AF IG's would protect the system and their boss at all costs?

If you really want to make some impacts, get a civilian lawyer and go to the New York Times or 60 Minutes. If there's anything that terrifies management the most, it's negative publicity.

That's my plan if, God forbid, I am ever in this type of shitty situation and get royally screwed by the institution.

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What are you hoping to achieve as a result of the complaint, Day Man?

The FEB system needs an overhaul. There is an obvious lack of clarity in the reg (as noted by the ambiguity in the responses I got) for such an important event. My FEB seemed unorganized, and several parties were not clear on proceedings. The fact that the MAJCOM/CC is thoroughly briefed on what should be privileged information before making an FEB decision is a foul. AFI 11-402 allows the MAJCOM/CC to delegate that responsibility no lower than MAJCOM/A3, but doesn't require it. There needs to be someone appointed in the chain to refrain from hearing any privileged SIB info or testimony to make the call.

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I'm with Dayman on this; if all of the "privileged" SIB info can just be used against you anyways by the guy deciding your fate in the end (in an FEB situation like this), then really I have zero incentive to tell the truth/give every detail during the initial SIB interviews. The whole point is "spill everything" in the SIB to ensure 100% of the lessons learned are had by the aviation community to avoid further accidents of similar nature. The AIB is where "the legal shit" should happen. If the two are not mutually exclusive (as I have always understood it), then fuck it, I have nothing to say to the SIB board if there's even a remote chance the AF could find me even partially at fault for something.

On that note, I've been involved in two SIBs (one for me, one for a guy in my 4 ship), and both actually seemed to work how it should. In the end the SIB for the other guy found him totally at fault, but then in the AIB it was determined to be mech malfunction. Nothing happened to him and he went on his way continuing to fly in the AF. Maybe this is more a MAF problem than a CAF problem...I don't know, but the story above seems pretty fucked up (at least how it was technically handled).

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The FEB system needs an overhaul. There is an obvious lack of clarity in the reg (as noted by the ambiguity in the responses I got) for such an important event. My FEB seemed unorganized, and several parties were not clear on proceedings. The fact that the MAJCOM/CC is thoroughly briefed on what should be privileged information before making an FEB decision is a foul. AFI 11-402 allows the MAJCOM/CC to delegate that responsibility no lower than MAJCOM/A3, but doesn't require it. There needs to be someone appointed in the chain to refrain from hearing any privileged SIB info or testimony to make the call.

This is why you need a civilian lawyer...and why so many people who should go to FEBs don't. I've been a part of several FEBs, and most of the time it is the first time most leadership (Sq/CC, DOV, DOT, OGV, OST, etc) goes through the process. The reg is a mess. It comes down to documentation...and if there isn't good documentation...well...

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No argument the system is jacked up, especially since he used SIB data for the FEB. Just wondering if you had any personal goals associated with the IG complaint.

Good on you. I wouldn't be able to say "SEEE YA" fast enough to the AF.

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I think the entire system is flawed...especially when you relate the issues in this thread to the issues in the MC-12/Safety System thread.

Ridiculous that privileged findings are used to hang a dude...but in other instances, privileged information is safe-guarded or not emphasized in training enough to gain real lessons learned.

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...and if there isn't good documentation...well...

...well, the MAJCOM/CC can still make whatever decision he wants to, regardless of the facts in the case or the recommendations of the FEB.

Documentation doesn't mean a damn thing when the leadership all ready believes something not supported by evidence or contrary to the recommendations of the FEB, and the system is set up so that it is ultimately the MAJCOM Commander's decision as to the final outcome. The respondent has absolutely zero -- ZERO -- recourse within the confines of the USAF (not including the BCMR process) to appeal or have a MAJCOM/CC's ruling on an FEB recommendation overturned.

An FEB is essentially a kangaroo court; the appearance of having "due process" but without any of the protections that an actual due process system affords. The AF is perfectly happy to tell respondents that "you had your due process at the FEB, and then leadership decided to not go with that recommendation" and honestly believe that such a statement makes any sense whatsoever.

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...well, the MAJCOM/CC can still make whatever decision he wants to, regardless of the facts in the case or the recommendations of the FEB.

Documentation doesn't mean a damn thing when the leadership all ready believes something not supported by evidence or contrary to the recommendations of the FEB, and the system is set up so that it is ultimately the MAJCOM Commander's decision as to the final outcome. The respondent has absolutely zero -- ZERO -- recourse within the confines of the USAF (not including the BCMR process) to appeal or have a MAJCOM/CC's ruling on an FEB recommendation overturned.

An FEB is essentially a kangaroo court; the appearance of having "due process" but without any of the protections that an actual due process system affords. The AF is perfectly happy to tell respondents that "you had your due process at the FEB, and then leadership decided to not go with that recommendation" and honestly believe that such a statement makes any sense whatsoever.

Then why are commanders afraid to press to FEB when they have someone who should be removed from flying?

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