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Aye Needs must, when the devil drives.– AP Forum version

An interesting ‘phrase’ in common use since 1420 (ish). John Lydgate’s Assembly of Gods, written about 1420: “He must nedys go that the deuell dryves”.

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Shakespeare, a little later –  “My poor body, madam, requires it: I am driven on by the flesh; and he must needs go that the devil drives”. (All’s well that ends well).

What is the fool banging on about now? Fair question – I shall, in my clumsy fashion, attempt to explain. There are, of matters aeronautical, ‘things’ which demand answers: important things, stuff which cannot wait until the ‘Chair’ of the RRAT committee takes the brakes off. We are delayed, yet again, by the RRAT committee on important matters such as drones; which is almost insignificant when measured against the ‘real life’ issues we face. Such airfares to regional centres. Why are those prices so high? The answer is so simple it almost beggars belief. There is no competition, zip, zero, nada. Why? Well, have you ever taken a long, hard, realistic look at what it actually costs to provide an ‘air service; the time, money and risk involved.

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That same money, on the overnight money market is as safe as houses. Once you even begin to contemplate ‘mounting an air operation’ the sheer cost of compliance will send you back to the Hilton bar, a happier, wiser man than before. This, on bare numbers alone would put any investor ‘on notice’. But when you actually do a due diligence – the bottom falls out, real fast.

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For instance the present Senate RRAT committee has been dancing around the daises since the Norfolk Island ditching of a chartered, contracted ‘patient transfer’ flight. They are quite happy to leave this ‘fact’ unchallenged and accept that the flight was conducted under the rules for ‘Aerial work’. Despite all the lip service to ‘black letter’ law, this one vital fact has been obfuscated to a fare-thee-well, for decades. But enough of triviality. Lets discuss the current Senate committee and how ‘effective’ it has been. There is a really long saga, going back decades, of inquiry into the actions of our air safety system management. The serious student must compare the progress of the grown up aviation nations, like the UK, the USA and NZ against the Oz version. For stark, unvarnished realism, the NZ history is far and away the easiest comparison. Their CAA was a basket case; the government tried to patch it up a couple of times, but met with the same resistance the Australian government does. So, they grasped the nettle; started again, wrote some modern, sensible (not perfect) rules, hired a new crew with a different mind set and have never looked back since. Swift, decisive, effective change, driven by a determined government, with the best interests of a small nation at heart. Bravo.

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“Some ring the Changes of opinions.”

One need look no further back in history than the 37 recommendations of the Senate inquiry into Pel-Air which have been completely ignored to see the differences. Can you imagine a board of directors issuing 30 odd serious edicts, which required major changes being ignored by the managers? Or, a chief pilot making some 30 odd changes to the way things must be done, being ignored by the flight crew? I can, the carnage would be horrendous. So why does our Senate committee meekly accept being told to ‘buzz off’? Even strong, well informed ministers have failed, some dismally, to ring the changes. Considering the cost of this farrago is monumental, perhaps it’s time someone, somewhere, haunting the corridors of power actually got their finger out and made reform happen. Create an environment where an investor could be persuaded to invest in a rural and regional air service. It is the entrenched attitude which must change; the sense of immunity must be revoked, the sense of untrammelled power must be removed; these folk must be made aware that they are accountable.

“D’you know, Georgie,” he said, settling back comfortably in the deep grass, that there song you’ve been a-singin’ at all day – it ain’t much of a song and it ain’t much of a tune, but there’s real good *sense* to it, though you probably don’t know it. And I’ll tell you why – because there always *is* new Folks comin’, that’s why. There’s always new Folks comin’ and always new times comin’.” – Robert LawsonRabbit Hill

For example; let’s start with the P2 dot joining and breadcrumb following through a reasonable request:-

It is a longish read, the response from Lachlan typifying the well practiced deflection technique, framed in platitude and not really addressing the ‘core’ issues. Most decidedly insincere. Not that it will dissuade our resident bloodhound; he’s a hard man to brush off and the man does do his homework; the response to P2’s reply will be ‘interesting’.

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There has been approximately two dozen (24) RRAT estimates sessions since 2010 (estimated); many questions have been asked, framed, taken on notice but eventually answered. One of the problems is the time lapse between ‘question’ and answer – months go by; then at the next estimates there is no follow up or discussion of the answers provided, no change effected; just another round of the game – more questions, more ingenious answers and nothing, absolutely nothing gets finalized. This standing alone is of concern; but when the brakes are put on by the committee while they do even more research and ponce about seeking even more clarification, separate again to the thirty odd year old mountain of evidence which clearly indicates ‘something is rotten in Denmark’ then it’s time to start asking questions on notice of the committee itself. Q1, What the hell are you waiting for – the second bloody coming? Q2. – When are we to have a minister with the requisite brains and backbone to sort out this unholy mess you have allowed to continue for thirty years? Get off your arse and get on with it. Aye, Enough, enough already. The only benefit is that the whole sorry affair is enough to drive you to drink and pay for the taxi home.

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“Nothing is ever settled until it’s settled right” – Rudyard Kipling

Estimates on Monday – if you can be bothered to watch paint dry; all the usual suspects. Airports, Air Services, ATSB and CASA all ‘Kool Aide’ keen and well rehearsed.

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O’Sullivan operating at grass growing speed, trying to convince all and sundry that he has done his homework, the rest looking at the clock, preoccupied with whatever is going on that directly affects them. Too little, too late and way too bloody slow.

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No matter; history will simply keep repeating until one day, someone does something about it. Meanwhile I have a commission, a paid job, to execute. A fish tank stand no less. I shall earn the princely sum of one pint of ale on satisfactory completion. One of the very young ones has taken an interest in fish, hence the tank which of course requires a suitable support, built to very exacting specifications (colour coded drawing supplied). My instruction are clear, no fooling about with the dogs, no loitering and drinking beer with Grand Papa; delivery before bedtime – please. So, I’d best crack on; Celery top pine for the top (easy to make water tight joints with), Oak for legs and under pinning. (Drifts off to stable to look in the off cut bay).