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Balancing acts and Shanghai darts.

Walked into a cheery session of the BRB last evening, good turn out, more to do with roster than anything else, but even so; the place was buzzing.  P7_TOM ambled off to get them in, for it was settling up day and I had four pints on his slate, so there we were.  The first inch off #2 pint was sliding down when the ‘guests’ arrived; the crew all went quiet (ish) and looked over to my corner.  “Wuzzup?” I asked TOM – “a challenge” he says nodding toward the door.  It was my old, treasured FO, now a Skipper, he only ever had one fault which was he beat me at darts – regularly.  Game on.  I’ll bore you a little, he and I only ever play a game called ‘Cricket’; it’s complicated, but essentially unless you can ‘Shanghai’ a selected number three times, you can’t score; a ‘Shanghai’ is where a double, treble and single, in the same number wedge can be hit with three darts – it’s tricky.  I had some better luck than my old mate and this time, scrambled to a narrow win.  I only mention this because the game set the tone for the evening discussion, tricky, complex an element of risk and a degree of concentration required.


First up was the good Doc. Godley, AAAA, Hurst and the implications of that nexus.  Unanimously declared as the most positive step taken in many a long year.  The notion that a crew of experts in the field, could meet with an ATSB specialist to develop a program to measure and assess the results of a safety analysis then translate that into a practical, useful risk mitigation tool received a rousing cheer and much overt support.  Should be made mandatory and could only be improved by CASA adjusting the rules to meet the benchmarks set.  Enough said, kudos to all, in spades.

Item next – Board, Boyd and changes.   Tough call this one; the wrangle went on for a long while; two clearly defined groups, no abstainers.  The younger crew v the older hands defined the two sides.  The older troops thought the Boyd fresh air approach a good thing. BUT, cited reality.  The Senate recommendations produced no positive changes; Forsyth recieved the same treatment; and, history supports the claim that rhetoric is fine and dandy; but has put no whisky in the jar, not ever.  Plenty of hot air and an equal number of broken promises.  The final and most compelling argument (IMO) was the performance of the new DAS.  The CVD episode has angered many; the Part 61 speech and several other blunders have revealed a straw man, captivated by the iron ring.  Not only out of his depth but unable (or unwilling) to challenge the existing situation.  That was agreed 92/08%

The others argued that Boyd could fix it; lead the DAS to the light and with the support of the minister, the Senators and with a decent COO, turn the desert into a garden.   The minister had, they argued met his promises and had delivered the tools to do the job; the road blocks were now internal resistance to change which could be overcome by a determined assault.

No consensus on this topic was reached.  What was agreed is that the Senate and Forsyth recommendations could be used as the benchmark to measure change asking the Estimates committee to monitor progress (Umpire).  It was also agreed to promote DPM Truss from minuscule to minister for providing the tools, with upgrade to Minister if it all pans out.

Airspace reform came in a poor third; the ‘old school’ won that round 87/23%.  Arguing that even if the unions could be persuaded to cooperate; there is a 20 years track record of abject failure to say that even if change can be made; the resistance to it will simply go underground and a sabotage campaign will result.  It’s a big call to ask Boyd to move a mountain with just a shovel and a wheelbarrow.  He will need help and lots of it, even then the sceptics airspace change bets seem fairly safe.  The wild card is Dick and sustained, public political pressure.  Even money is the best I can offer.

We shall, as always just have to wait and see.  But Boyd and his board have the best wishes and full support of the BRB, now that was unanimous.  The ball is rolling, if we want meaningful change we all must help keep it rolling.  Standing on the side-lines, hiding in the pavilion or sitting in the spectator stands is no longer an option.  Loose this one and it’s all over for industry as we know it.

Ends Sunday ramble with much to think over.   Coffee with TOM and Mamma awaits, maybe even a muffin to share with the dogs, sometimes, I get lucky.

MUFFIN’ s ??

Toot toot.  TGFD, they have their own cat – long story.