Thursday, June 20, 2019

Spanish officer has no right to denounce the poor state of equipment

SuperPuma del Escuadrón 802 de Gando.A Lieutenant in the Spanish Air Force charged that the Super Puma search and rescue (SAR) helicopters, manufactured by Airbus, have been subjected to a saline environment for 40 years and should not be permitted to fly.  "They are all a crucifix, no one wants to fly them.  I can't keep silent, even if it costs me my career, I too could die in one of these things within six months . . ." he said.

The Lieutenant made these statements first on-line on Facebook and then to the Spanish newspaper "El Mundo" in 2016 after  a Super Puma accident in Morocco, the third accident after two fatal accidents in March 2014 and October 2015, with four and three fatalities, respectively.

The General, chief of the Air Command, sentenced the Lieutenant to 30 days arrest at the air base Son San Joan (Palma de Mallorca) for the serious disciplinary offense of making public complaints against military discipline.   The punishment was reduced to 15 days arrest by the Military Chamber of the Supreme Court, despite the fact that it rejected the Lieutenant's main argument that he was exercising his freedom of speech.

The Supreme Court reproached him for making the denunciation public through the media rather than going through the regulatory complaint procedures of the Air Force.

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