Unintended Consequences


Recent judicial intrusions into aviation accident investigations – and what’s much worse, the ensuing, often baseless, criminal prosecutions – seriously threaten the commendable improvements in aviation safety which the aviation safety community is now achieving.  These judicial ‘inquisitions’ also threaten to stifle general progress in civil aviation –  not just product development such as new and improved aircraft & avionics; but in fact the entire gamut of civil aviation operations.


 And in stifling this important progress, these overreaching judiciaries threaten nothing less than global prosperity.   It is high time that the entire civil aviation industry – not just the aviation safety specialist community –  recognize, and begin actively opposing these completely un-warranted judicial intrusions.


Furthermore, according to legal traditions dating back at least hundreds of years, a legal finding of genuine criminality requires a finding of wilfulness or intent on the part of the accused (in legal terminology, “mens rea”).  Great societal harm results from confusing mere civil negligence with criminal negligence – or worse, arbitrary attempts to change that key legal standard of distinction after-the-fact.




The aviation safety community is well-suited to spearhead opposition to these dangerous judicial oversteps.  The safety community has been a pioneer in recognizing the benefits of, and institutionalizing, non-punitive human-error data collection and analysis.  It’s now necessary to publicize the benefits of these principles much more widely – and not just within the civil aviation industry in general.


The judiciary, and governmental judicial oversight bodies, are another audience in need great need of this vital understanding.  Finally, the “general public” needs to be alerted to the very real threat not only to the benefits they enjoy from improved aviation safety, but also to the threat to global prosperity generally, which inevitably result from even the suggestion of such inquisitions.



LET’S GET GOING ON THIS!                                                                                                                     will wohler, founder


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