Find time to read a second, good post from Gcafinal: (on Pprune ) or #90 this AP thread. There were some sound points made. One of the more interesting points raised was the disbandment of the Flight Service Units (FSU).
One of the things I never understood was why the FSU service was abandoned; it was first class, like flight watch, but on steroids. Back in the day FS provided a ‘flight following service’ and a benign form of ‘operational support/control’, with almost everyone on a flight plan and mandatory position reports. It was, IMO a first rate, worlds best system; no control service of course, but full traffic advice, up to date weather and accurate estimates (based on position reports) for traffic heading to a destination. Much better than Unicom, which is mighty handy, but cannot, by nature, be as informative as the FSU. With FSU advice you knew where all the traffic was, not just some of it. Neatly filling the gap between ATC hand off and landing at ‘Kickatinalong’ But I digress.
The posting and discussion took Tom and I back to the Gordian knot which secures the binding around the package we call ‘aviation oversight’. There are three elements, airspace, regulation and safety analysis, three separate, expensive departments which seem incapable of providing a ‘package’ which works, despite the stated, bi-partisan intent that cost shall have no bearing. Great idea, but I am certain gross waste was never meant to be part of the deal. Yet this is what we have achieved, a great waste and a truly awful system. For example.
A simple issue, like should Unicom be made legal. The sane ‘philosophy’ is that an aircraft approaching an aerodrome must have access to all the latest weather and all traffic information. So, we could reasonably expect that those charged with oversight would provide exactly that service – in an effective manner – within a reasonable cost frame work. The basic tenet is simple to understand and we pay huge sums of money to the agencies involved to provide a system which delivers just that product.
Had that service system been provided, then the Unicom debate could be resolved by a simple statement; perhaps, that there was no objection to Unicom, provided the PIC understood the limitations and bore the responsibility for determining the value and reliability of any information provided. If the ‘official’ system was truly delivering the requisite product, there would be scant need for Unicom, except to order fuel, taxi’s parking and the like.
So, the questions stand. Why is there a call for an additional layer of home made ‘safety’? Is there a need of an additional layer? Who is to decide?
The ‘Cor Blimey’ of it is controlled airspace and a manned tower at every airport; the ‘ridicules’ opposite is open slather with no radio. Somewhere between, there must be a ‘happy medium’ this is why we hire expensive ‘experts’ in the field; to design and implement such system. But as it stands, the arbitrator of ‘Safety’ the ATSB cannot provide the checks and balances required to examine and report on any system presented; the ASA cannot present or provide a system which abrogates the need for Unicom and the regulator cannot provide a framework on which a system can be developed. This to answer the very simple question of legalising Unicom. It is no where near good enough, nor value for money.
In short Senators; the blind are leading the deaf in ever diminishing circles toward the cliff and nothing seems to able to prevent the inevitable. Inquiry recommendations are ignored, ministerial edicts are ignored, near accidents are ignored; in fact almost every single warning, prayer or curse is dismissed. Forsyth wasn’t kidding neither were the TSBC, in fact the only ones who are joking about are the very agencies charged with maintaining the safety of the travelling public – that’s all the travelling public, by the way; your kids and loved ones included.