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Essendon Airport in 1973.

But screw your courage to the sticking place, – AP Forum version.

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Lady Macbeth used this phrase to steel the nerves and warm the ‘cold feet’ of her husband to murder the king. Rough justice in the old days. Machiavelli understood the need for direct action as well as any; and, better than most. The cold logic of spilled blood to affect a desired outcome is, metaphorically speaking, as valid now as it was in the cave. The big question for aviation who’s metaphorical blood will be shed to achieve a desired end result. The BRB indaba was unanimous – only the removal of ministerial incompetence will satisfy the desire for change; they even awarded our current incompetent an additional 2 ‘G’s. – Gormless and Gutless; making him McComic 8G. Tough judgement and a unanimous call for Reform or Resignation. Motion seconded and carried.

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As Tom and I ambled home; quiet, as usual, deep in thought; it occurred to me that perhaps (maybe) the BRB call was a little harsh. With your indulgence I shall attempt to explain. This bloke ain’t no King Duncan, he’s a journalist with a penchant for apples and a liking for the poetry of children, hustling his way through the political maze, trying to keep his rice bowl intact. – Furry muff, it ain’t a real job, but with a bit of blarney, a whiff of bull-pooh, a soupçon of bluster; AND sound advice, he can do as much as any of his ilk can do – in the time given (which ain’t usually much – by the by). But, what the devil does he know of the intricacies of the aviation industry? SDA is the correct answer. Yet suddenly he is faced with several serious crisis points. Not too much fun, not for anyone, let alone a genial half-wit. So, what does he do; nay, must do, to retain any semblance of credibility, let alone his ‘seat’? Why he turns to the trusty advisors and experts. The same motely crew who have been leading ministers about by the ears for thirty years. It’s the only ‘safe’ road he can travel. The folks he relies on are well paid ‘experts’ protected and practiced in the dark arts of the mystique of aviation safety: safe as houses for a No Duckling Clue (NDC) minister you’d say. But are they?

This past week, P2, myself and others have been examining the Essendon disaster in some detail.

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“A lie that is half-truth is the darkest of all lies.”― Alfred Tennyson

And that children, in the form of the ATSB report is what the minister is looking at, on his blotter at the moment. A half truth, half lie which will, if he don’t straighten up, will follow him, as the minister responsible into political oblivion. In simple terms minister; it don’t pass the sniff test, let alone forensic examination. Essentially, it is a copy and paste from a NTSB report, carefully massaged to ‘fit’ the accident. While it ain’t anywhere near the ‘whole truth’,   it is certainly good enough to fool the public and the insipid media. It will not get past the FAA or NTSB. Too many holes in the knitting. There are too many essential differences between the Hayward incident and the Essendon fire-ball to provide a safe, credible, political, stance. The experts and legal eagles will; in short order, tear the ATSB to shreds. In doing so, the developers, the DoIT assistance to the same and the CASA blind –eye and the ATSB’s obliging PR exercise will be stripped bare for all to see. Thus, the minister becomes, like it or not, the Patsy. Institutions survive; ministers get to shuffle off to spend more time with their remaining marbles and such family as will stick by ‘em.

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“I do know that the slickest way to lie is to tell the right amount of truth–then shut up.” — Robert A. Heinlein

PAIN, the BRB, the IOS and AP have voted to do all they can to assist the inevitable American litigation following the Essendon accident to succeed. The incumbent minister and his puerile ‘advice’ have been happy to assist in perpetrating what can only be described as a typical, orchestrated, pilot error call: placed alongside a carefully scripted ‘no blame’ and ‘no responsibility’ blurb, reflecting a well rehearsed government agency obfuscation tactic. This bollocks has to, must,  stop.

If the minister is too Gormless and Gutless to call a halt to this ongoing, habitual feeding of the myth that the Australian safety agencies are unimpeachable; then, there is little choice for this industry other than to disavow world leading aviation nations of this notion. This time, we will see it done, settled and settled right; once and, hopefully for all.

“Seems only fair to give the minister a clue” says P7. “OK” says I. Herewith, for ministerial redemption, three, solid, no brainer clues to arse saving Nirvana. (i) Building codes and runway safety zones; (ii) flight path differences between the USA (NTSB/Hayward) story and the Essendon comparison; (iii) Propeller pitch settings; (iv) (bonus) You’ve been conned..

That’s it, the BRB have spoken; one voice, one word – ENOUGH!

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“And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With odd old ends stol’n out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.” ― William Shakespeare, Richard III 

Time to climb the wooden hill; the dogs are settled and tomorrow we start to assemble P7’s new bench, which will involve a christening of same – provided, that is, it all works out square, flat and solid. Then even if it don’t – everything in its season; it can wait another week. The old one has done (we worked out) 103 years of hard work and it still has the original vise. Honest craftsmanship and good workmanship has preserved a powerful working tool. What minister can claim the same. And so; candles out, quietly close the stable door, a nod to Venus and on, to blessed sleep.