It was ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt who said to MacArthur “when you’ve got ‘em by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow”. Which, when you think about it, ain’t a bad maxim.
Easier said than done; slippery little buggers are those of the politicians, small and bloody well protected. But industry must find a way to get the ‘attention’ of those who can make the changes so desperately required. Let’s have a quick, retrospective look at what has failed to work thus far:- Royal Commission; a long, long list of parliamentary ‘Reports’ ; a long, long list of official ‘Inquiry’; countless pages of industry input, contribution, submission and dialogue. Lately the Senate Pel-Air inquiry, the Forsyth report and the TSBC review – All failed, dismally to have any effect; unless you count the productions of Skidmore Arts and Crafts school of window dressing and fine floral display.
So, what to do? A solution which is quick, highly effective, inexpensive and ‘do-able’ is needed. But, in primus, what is the fundamental problem that the ‘solution’ should address? In the opinion of many, it is not the ‘mystique’ of aviation safety; but the public concept that aviation is safe; safe as houses; the Australian version a world exemplar. Ask anyone in the pub or the fish and chip shop; same answer, Australia #1, rock solid, sound as a bell, best in the world. Qantas has a lot to do with this notion and rightly so, but this stellar reputation was earned not through the efforts and guidance of the ‘departments’, quite the reverse in fact. More ‘officials’ have been told to ‘go boil their heads’ by Big Q than by any other airline in history, which is also fit and proper. The hard won reputation is jealously and fiercely protected, this is as it should be. So the task of convincing the ‘man at the back of the room’ that all is not well becomes difficult, particularly when the ‘departments’ ride pig-a-back on the Big Q exemplar.
The public see ‘aviation’ as Qantas, not Bog-it and Leg-it aviation services. The public and politico’s also fails to grasp that a company like Q can absorb the impost and foolish notions, like Part 61 with ease; the only real problems generated are those of ‘medical’ certificate delay and pilots off line because of the latest definition of a problem perceived by the clerical medical mares nest, laughingly referred to as Avmed.
So, what to do? Well, perhaps we have a weapon. I humbly recommend the Senate Pel-Air Inquiry and the subsequent Forsyth review for consideration. Do the public and politicians understand the deep significance of these two very important documents; I mean really understand it.
I think not. There are at least 60 serious, significant, far reaching, clearly enunciated recommendations within those documents. None of which have been honestly embraced, let alone implemented. Sure, we have the latest window dressing and floral displays, much in the way of rhetoric and lip service; but we are a beggar man when it comes to real, demonstrated, meaningful change.
This lack of will from the departments is not only denying that problems exist but deceiving the public into believing all is well. It is not; this denial is not only eroding the standards, but by denying the very real, urgent need for material, quantifiable change; without which, the risks to the safety of the travelling public are increasing. It really is that simple; IMO the industry needs to get this simple message out to the public, who vote; not the politicians. Unless ‘we’ make it an election issue, you can bet your boots and nav bag – no one else will.
Here endeth the Sunday ramble; (well it’s Sunday for me) a second coffee twiddle and my two bob’s worth.
Quote:“It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.” Niccolò Machiavelli.