The Sunday Brunch Gazette.

“It's an ugly, dangerous business, Watson.”

A.I. Conan Doyle wrote Sherlock Holmes into legend and a household name. One of the better known tales is 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'. A dark story of 'deception' using 'fear' of the unknown, unseen threat to cover the true intent and purpose of the plot.

“When the crisis comes, Watson, and it will, report to me.”

Unlike Doyle's work, I doubt (very much) that should I pen a similar tale; based on the same principals it would ever be published; or ever sell as many copies. However, a tale entitled 'the Hounds of Bastardville' could be construed to represent the same, dire plots and dark schemes, designed to instil fear in order to achieve the ultimate purpose could be woven into such a story. It would be story nowhere near as far fetched as Doyle's hound. Ah well, perhaps in my dotage; the clear facts could be woven into such a fiction; however, today, we like Holmes, must deal with that which is presented, as dark a plot as any Doyle ever dreamt up; herewith a dollop (or two) of fiction.

It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

The opening scene would have two Senators (Gunna & Blitzem) standing on a blasted, open heath, just on sunset, distant thunder rumbling punctuated by the odd lightning flash. Ahead of them, an aerodrome. They watch for a while; lots of aircraft sitting idle, many with their wing and tail lights merrily flashing; they seem to be waiting for something. “I wonder what the hold up is” mutters Gunna. “They've been sat there far too long” - the terse response from her companion; “something is amiss”. Never were truer words spoken. In my yarn, our hero's would investigate and discover negligence, incompetence and some shocking waste of public money, providing a service to the long suffering which would only work, as scripted, in Outer Mongolia. The difference in my version would be that the 'investigation' resulted in sweeping changes which brought a grateful nation much needed efficiency and some very real 'safety' outcomes.

But, this is a fiction after all said and done; ain't it? Couldn't happen in the real world.  (Links courtesy Pprune).

Chapter two.

After their strenuous efforts to get the great airspace fraud uncovered and running 'properly'  our stalwart companions take a short holiday at a remote destination; famed for wondrous sunsets, balmy weather and a very relaxed atmosphere. Out for a stroll, they find an elderly, well dressed lady at a bus stop, clearly distressed and obviously in some pain. “Can we assist?” asks Gunna. “Oh please, if you could; I'm trying to get to a hospital but the bus hasn't turned up, I am most unwell and need to see a doctor”. Well a taxi was hailed and the trio set off to the local hospital. The next day the two friends returned to visit their new friend; and, naturally were curious as to how she had ended up in such dire straits. As the tale unfolded our two shocked companions realised that they still had much work to do; and, determined to cut short their sojourn because of it. It seems that toward evening, our lady began to feel unwell, problem was that she and her husband were out at sea, on a holiday cruise and the only way to get to medical assistance was to use a helicopter. The boat had a pad, so it was only a matter of whistling one up and the drama would be over. Seemed simple enough; “but why” asked Blitzem, "were you sitting in that bus stop." “Well, that's were the pilot said I was to connect with transport to hospital; I got out and he disappeared into the darkness. I couldn't tell which way as he'd forgotten to turn on his lights”. “I must say, that considering the cost I am not at all happy with the service provided and I sat there all night waiting for that bus”. Back in the city after a cursory look at the back yard helicopter operation; our two companions raised seven kinds of Hell. This 'hell' descended on the heads of the controlling authority; the in-depth examination this event and many, many other aberrations showed that apart from making sure that no 'legal' matter could ever be won against the monolith; and, all hands were spotless – nothing much in the way 'policing' matters aeronautical was actually done; except for the odd crucifixion of 'easy' targets, to keep the fiction alive. No matter, the good Senators and members of parliament clearly saw the gross indecency and 'rip-off' and put a full stop against it all; fast type. 

But, this is a fiction after all said and done; ain't it? Couldn't happen in the real world.

Aye, scribbling fiction is great fun; perhaps I'll save Gunna and Blitzem for rainy days when the curse of boredom rules. There is great scope for fiction and fantasy and even a dash of 'conspiracy' to work with; gods forbid any of it should reflect 'the true realities' of aviation life, Australian style. No Sir; we pay for and, with gratitude and reverence,  receive the very, very best aviation support services tax payer money can buy. Just ask the powers that be; they'll tell ya.

Aye well, the sun is shining, I wonder if the fish are biting – maybe a visit to the beach is in order. The 'pup' has yet to discover this new world; should be fun.


Marcus a touchstone.

I expect that when 'living-the-life'- in a protected environment; with plenty of money, mortgage and cards all paid on time, full (free) and 'safe' access to testing of whatever 'illegal' substance you (illegally) bought; to enhance your 'personal 'time to relax'; the woes and cares of those who live outside of the 'bubble' don't signify too much at all.

“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”

Except, my 'spirit' is troubled. When I 'look things in the face' and actually 'know' them for what they are; then it is no wonder that as Christmas approaches, as I see the smiling faces and expectations of children and Grandchildren looking forwards, in so much hope and trust, that it turns my thoughts toward a family now bereft of their child.

ABC - “The family of a 12-year-old girl killed in a helicopter crash in Broome three years ago is calling for drastic changes to the regulation of tourist flights and private pilots after a scathing report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau outlined a series of failures in the lead-up to the crash.”

Amber Jess Millar- Requiescat in pace. We all hope that this 12 y.o. child does; but what of her parents?. Can you imagine – a bright, happy, 12 y.o. Thrilled with the notion of going for a ride to the beach – in a chopper – Wow!! But what a chopper? No serious safety conscious, professional pilot would even risk his own life on a 'test'.  A fight to determine the root cause of the 'vibrations' in the environment proposed.. Indeed if the 'engineers' own qualified pilot declined to attempt a high power, vertical take off, given the flight path restrictions clearly visible. Why then, next day would the flight have even been considered: Why? – Well, the rest is history now. But will this event prevent the great Christmas down tools in Canberra? No. Not a duckling chance; the media  have now got a 'villain' to sell to advertisers; a couple of mutts (numb nuts?) out hunting croc eggs – and, some kind of micro media 'personality' to flog the story with, to a fare-thee -well and beyond. So its all camera's out and focus on an event CASA simply allowed to happen. But what of the Broome event?

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”

Seriously; the aberrations, the blatant disregard or lack of respect for 'the rules' which must be (under criminal code) followed by all operators (or else) have been pissed on, repeatedly, over time, from a height, by a back yard operator who literally got away with a 'murder' of the rule set; thumbed his nose at the legislative code and even charged people for the privilege of his illegal operations. Then killed himself and a bright young lady, who simply went along for a ride, trusting that 'the system' made it safe; Hell's bells,even her parents trusted in it. They really should be able to do that. Alas..

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”

And so they should – Alas; not only did 'the system' fail them; but all attention is now focused on another 'operation' – one completely out of any constraint or scrutiny; one which even managed to hoodwink the CASA board into a joy flight (at no charge). Seriously? Can you believe this? Despite the money, the 'hands – off' government approach; the endless assertions that we are 'all safe as houses” that this type of complete 'cluster duck' – now years old – could actually slide by CASA? A CASA which went to extraordinary lengths to completely destroy a dying man; Bruce Rhodes -for an entirely demonstrable 'accident'. It don't make any sense; not operational, not 'safety' or even any 'legal' sense. But no matter; the Press have their artificial 'rabbit' to chase while the powers that be slope off on holiday at tax payer expense; unscathed.

“One of the hardest things in this world is to admit you are wrong. And nothing is more helpful in resolving a situation than its frank admission.”

Did CASA know; or even been made aware of the antics of this aeronautical hooligan in Broome?– Of course they did. Was the 'general aviation' community aware - course they were; were the local, licensed operators aware of the 'business' being rifled from them? - Course they were. Every man and his bloody dog knew – so why did our 'fearless' authority not step in and put an end to it all, before someone (or two) got hurt.  Nope; it has all been carefully manipulated to shine a bright light on the 'Croc- Idiot'. The 'resident evil' has passed away from that light; shuffled off this mortal coil and taken a young life with him. So, Act 1, scene two, the 'great diversion'. A fully approved CASA operation under the spotlight; press all 'agog' and rabid for details; except how the Hell the operations all passed muster-  for years, without either let, hindrance; or, even sensible questions being asked by 'the' doyen of aviation safety. Oh. FCOL - give me break.... But: (pay attention now) the deeper, more terrible story of incompetence, negligence and blatant avoidance of all responsibility; despite the billions paid to ensure 'oversight' and 'safety' go unsung, almost unnoticed and worse; remains unchallenged by the bright, greedy young things chasing the 'Wrangler' about the court front entrance. Investigative journalism – Bollocks and shame on that pack..

“I believe that nothing in newspapers is ever true," said Madame Phoebus. "And that is why they are so popular," added Euphrosyne; "the taste of the age being so decidedly for fiction.”

But then. Some decisions matter. Normally, at week's end, the tool belt is emptied of pencil 'bits', errant screws, the odds and sods stuffed in during the course of a week. Not today; I'll get to it in due course, but, from today I declare shift over. I did a quick scratch though the log books, (five of) and decided that far too many Christmases have been spent away from home,with a lump of machinery strapped to my ageing nether regions. So, FWIW – the tool belt can stay where it is and I will, this year, do the whole Christmas thing – soup-to-nuts. Staring now; but how am I to deck the halls (ain't got one) with boughs of Holly (in Australia?) etc. Not too much chance of snow either – 40°C here today – Frosty the Snow man? – Not a chance; no matter, we shall 'improvise' and make do..The big question is, do I want to wake three sleeping, heat weary animals sprawled on the stone floor. Probably not, and the prospect of a cold Ale is enticing. No brainer really..........



The original verse appeared in 'Mother Goose's melody' circa 1769; or, so the story goes. But, I've always liked the reality fix embedded; because, no matter how dreamy, or soothing the notion of being gently swayed into a sweet, dreamless sleep, when the 'bough breaks' – the shit hits the windmill. The symmetry, of itself, is perfection. A little indulgence required here, there is a point and I shall endeavour, in my own clumsy way, with an extension of the Gunna and Blitzem 'tall tales' of fancy, fantasy and fiction; (with the rider) -once upon a time, in a land far, far away: construe...& etc.......{Con su permisso}..Or not...

“Curiosity” mummered Blitzem one evening as they sat by the pool; “you are correct, it is definitely a curse”. “So” Gunna replied, “ the back yard events in Broome still intrigue you.” “Not intrigue” said Blitzem, (sotto voce) “but there are so many loose ends and bits missing, I find it hard to simply accept the whole story as 'complete'; some things, (parts, if you will) just don't fit or, are missing.” “It is a puzzle without corners and precious little logic or even explanation: intriguing, is it it not” A long silence followed this; fresh Ale was delivered, and the friends were about halfway through when Gunna had a bright idea. “I know” she exclaimed – why don't we each, independently, write down the 'things' which trouble us most; then, we can compare and, we can examine the items which perplex us both: what say you?” And so, it was agreed and without further ado, pencil and paper were provided and the pair began their deliberations. After a while, Gunna put down her pencil; ordered more Ale and waited patiently while Blitzem dotted his 'I's' and crossed his T's.

“She swore, in faith 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange;
'Twas pitiful. 'twas wondrous pitiful, “

Of the many 'passing strange' items noted, they finally winnowed the list down to their 'top 10'. It took while and several more libations; but eventually their 'starting format' was agreed:-

WA Coroner – no inquest into the events at Broome which led to the death of a young life.  Why not?

WA police – clearly Broome was 'a fatal accident'. Had it been two killed in a vehicle collision event; or a push-bike mess; or, even two mowed down on a Zebra crossing; at very least there would be, in one form or another, a Coroner on the job and prosecution of some type. But only 'Crickets' from that August body. Why? Gods know it was 'high profile' event..

The 'Shire of Broome' does indeed have a Council. Now the friends wondered how 'the neighbours' felt about a helicopter operations; working all hours, over their houses and kicking up dust and a hellish racket? Not one complaint? No. Nothing to see; move along? Bollocks; you can hardly break wind on the verandah without some one howling from the roof tops. So how come the (ahem) heliport was never mentioned in dispatches?

A big ticket item is the 'role' CASA played in all of this. Consider that every man, woman and their dog in a 'remote' area, such as this knows, though the 'drums' who did what, when, to whom and what it cost. It may take a day or even two for the 'word to get around' but, make no mistake, the local operators knew. Now we have a 'private' pilot; operating commercial services; close to sunset, from ships and all manner of 'awkward' places, losing the odd airframe and generally 'operating' as and when pleased – 'quasi' commercial operations? Carefully consider the CASA track record; then ask the only question that really matters; Why? Why was this allowed to go on, and on, and on: despite the clear regulatory breaches? Easy enough to track down; pilot log books, bank records, flight logs and maintenance release. Simple audit, well within the CASA lexicon. But 'crickets' and 'tumble-weeds' in the 'surveillance' logs. Illegal operations and not a Dicky bird from the mighty legal machine. Bollocks.

Then we look at the ATSB reporting; factual enough – for what its worth. Why wasn't the roof off the hanger? Broken aircraft, too tight a take-off profile; engineering advice ignored; high power vertical take off in a close area; in defiance of the AFM profile; blood and bodies and ambulances and services – then nothing? Bollocks.

Item almost last – Money; dollars in v dollars out/ lease/insurance/maintenance/ fees/ fuel/ etc, It is quite a long, expensive list; income from operations equal?

“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”

Item Last – The great 'Croc o' Shite' saga; some serious attention being paid to that inelegant, fully CASA certified, buggers muddle. ATSB have 'shuffled' the deck providing a bastardised 'systematic' report; taking full advantage of the wriggle room' inside the 'guidelines' as presented. Popinjay running interference, Spence hiding out away from the bright lights, the CASA board still belching from the largess offered during their 'jolly' in a chopper over the GAFA. Anyone bright enough to have escaped from the local 'facility' for the mentally challenged could read through the 'operational' approvals and marvel at the latitude and the lack of 'CASA' oversight/audit/surveillance etc. – Considering the treatment of 'other' operators. No doubt there is enough legal wriggle room for Spence, the wretched 'minister' and the entire dog and pony show to waltz away unscathed. All there in black and white. Pity the dozy media can't read ain't it?

“Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.”

Aye, well said that man (again). However, and for what its worth; that is the short list of 'puzzles' our two friends will attempt to solve. Intriguing patches of smoke and mirrors and a great deal of top cover will probably put an end to speculation and awkward questions. But, no matter, No doubt it will all be put away, neat, tidy and forgotten long before those investigating the prospect of 'real' crimes' have done their work. We shall, no doubt, see in due course. But; as Blitzem said “'something' is off”.

On my 'big' blackboard are the Christmas orders; I note the improved spelling and handwriting, every year it improves; as the 'little un's progress to big un's. I have saved up many off-cuts of some truly lovely timber; enough to meet the blackboard orders. Christmas begins with a great 'sharpening' up; followed by selecting the right 'billet' for the job; easy work, in my own time – can't wait to start. Its too late to call up the piles of fur sleeping on cool stone. I shall slip away for a quiet smoke and enjoy the cool of the morning – just like departing Madrid – mid summer 0300. Ah, Happy daze.


(Too hot to sleep)......

“FUBAR! ” – exclaimed Rudolph.

Always enjoyed reading 'Dickens' – at Christmas. You really do need a quiet room, a fire, a comfortable armchair, a standard lamp, a bottle of good red and the luxury of solitude; then you can slip away into other, older worlds and 'taste' the reek of old London town. Of course, in the morning reality comes crashing back, with a vengeance; and deal with that you must. Reading the Dickens tales, the 'story' belies the stark reality of everyday life in those times; tough don't cover it, not even close and it was those realities everyday folk had to deal with.

“Look after the senses and the sounds will look after themselves”

So much for whimsy..Its much the same as Australian aviation has to– indeed, must – come to terms with the realities of its fragile existence. One of the stark realities is that the 'government' of the day and its Minister are deliberately and cynically removed from responsibility by mutual consent (and indecent haste). Fully isolated by a veritable army of disposable 'cut out' modules masquerading as a 'service to the public'. It is the best top cover any politician could wish for, paid from the public purse. But, to add insult to the fiscal injury, the minister when presented with inescapable 'fact' and unequivocal evidence, simply slides out of the spotlight and dumps the problem back onto the handmaidens and acolytes. They, in turn set about diluting the major issues into either a something of nothing; or, provide credible deniability through agency double speak – result, open, bare faced denial that there is any sort of 'real' problem'. 

“You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are.”

But enough; it is Christmas time. Traditionally, a time of good will to all men etc.. But, I find it hard to have any of that 'good will' remaining after this year; not too much at all in fact. We have the almost cataclysmic collapse of the Air Traffic Service; held together, by the skin of it's teeth and the good will and work ethic of a dedicated crew. We have the artful, clever meaningless words the ATSB pad out important 'reports' with; when they are eventually published, achieving too little, too late, (or anything worthwhile): only just serving the obligations to convention, while providing top cover, on demand for the 'Authority'. Something to do with a MoU and 'directives'. As it is Christmas, and 'cussing' is discouraged; we may keep comment about the 'Authority' out of the mix; lest I completely 'loose it' and open that Pandora's box of misanthropic incompetence and bloody minded, self righteous twaddle and outright daylight robbery of the public treasury. For a 'nut-shell' study, if you are bored rigid by Boxing day; take a stroll through any of the P2 analysis relating to the Broome events and the 'crock wally' sleight of hand. Any careful analysis will reveal all that needs to be known but is not acted on. It is, in short M'lud, a ducking shambles of epic proportions – an expensive one at that.  But enough....(for now)..

“Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said. 'One can't believe impossible things.'

It is tipping down rain at present; storms – the whole works. Pilots flying, ATC on duty, the ever faithful Fire, Rescue and ambulance services on deck; the police crew all: 'on duty'. Ever ready to weigh in when the proverbial hits the what's it. If you do nothing else this Christmas, spare a though and offer best wishes for those 'on duty' tonight. The 'services', the aircraft loaders, cleaners, re-fuellers; ground crew, the ever patient boys and girls behind the check in, the Customs, the security, those in kitchens making the sandwiches – plenty of good, decent folk working to make sure the 'holiday' season is enjoyed by those who can. Thank you and a merry Christmas to one and all from Aunty Pru and the houseboat crew..

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Aye well; mopped up as best I could the half inch of water blasted through the stable doors by the passing storms; barked at the ever playful pup, shouted at the cat, DT had enough sense to stay out of it. But no matter. On the bench sit the 'requested' items; a jewellery box of superb, old Rose wood glows in the lamp light; a set of kitchen steps in American oak; a blackboard trimmed with Mahogany on a stand; an easel made from recovered Baltic Pine and; my favourite, a small cabinet with a 'nest' of four small drawers within; it took about 40 hours to make and finish – but it looks a treat, Hell I even took a photo of it.  That's it; a full week off for me now; who knows where my feet may lead me?

“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Merry Christmas to one and all. Selah.........

The 'Spence' gambit.

A 'gambit' (in Chess) is an opening move – risk taken – to a purpose. This supposes that the game is 'new' and both sides have the same number of pieces in their place and the game may begin. But Spence ain't at the start line; the opposition has had decades to consolidate and position their pieces; many of their sacrificial Pawns have been used and the back row is beginning to look decidedly 'light on'. If this were a game of Chess, the Spence game would be in serious trouble; but, alas it ain't. To paraphrase 'Wilde'  - “to lose one Bishop may be seen as unfortunate, but losing both might be perceived as a lack of attention or responsibility”. Spence has no such problem; two Bishops lost, easily replaced and no questions from the umpire? Or was there? The department of 'funny coincidences' (a.k.a. The BRB) thought it passing strange that the almost secret ICAO audit (quite a read) preceded the sacrificial offerings.

“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.

The problem with the simple explanation is of Gordian proportion; perhaps a sharp sword could solve the 'problem'. Are the dynamic duo (McKenzie and Fawcett) the right tool to set matters to rights? Aye, questions, questions and more questions; mostly without clear definition, let alone 'one stroke' solutions. Take the 'Broome' / 'Croc Wally' imbroglio as an example. 

"a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,"

The 'riddle' part is the least complicated; there is only one question begging answer. Why the wide disparity in treatment of individual cases. John Quadrio, a sensible, respected, talented pilot hung, drawn and quartered on a very 'shaky' evidence of 'dangerous' flying; provided by a witness of dubious reputation, promoted by an 'investigator' with little on the credit side of the ledger. Or; take the Bruce Rhodes event; or the Andy Pascoe case; Buckley, or anyone of another dozen 'cases', where a small alleged 'infraction' has resulted in all manner of 'action' being taken in the name of 'safety'. Then consider the events in Broome over a longish period of time. Take the time to read through the P2 data – HERE - . To lose one helicopter may be 'unfortunate' etc. But the accident and hull loss history ending in the death of a young lady was inevitable and should never, not ever ever been allowed to happen. And yet, there are the bare facts – a litany of high risk, unsanctioned operations which should have been the subject of CASA attention; all waived off and ignored. Why?  All of this occurring while the Croc Egg foolishness was allowed, like 'Topsy' to keep growing. Then there is the 'money' angle; take stock of the inventory, the cost of that equipment and the income streams supporting. It may make sense to a forensic auditor, but to the ignorant layman – it is a mystery. The enigma rests within the WA Police raft of photographs of the operations.

No matter; in the grand scale of the morass the Australian aviation industry is slowly, but inevitably sinking, the affairs 'up North' are but a pimple on the arse of the Elephant. The large one; rudely parked outside Parliament. It carries the remnants of a once world class accident investigation outfit; the tattered remains of a once functional air traffic control system and the few remaining scraps in the controlling 'Authorities' sanity and integrity; now, long bereft of any semblance of global or domestic respect. 

There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,

Aye; tomorrow will do, today would have been better; and last year may have saved an innocent young life. But will that be enough to trigger the reforms we so desperately need? Even an alignment somewhere close to ICAO compliance would be a good place to begin the reform. That reform will not be found in more regulation or treaty, or even Senate Estimates. It must, in the new year come from within the government, a will to set to rights the complete shambles the governance of an essential industry has become. McKenzie and Fawcett could (and should) at least grease the wheels and get this wreck off the tracks. Pulling down the Essendon DFO would be a good place to begin; or, failing that, an inquiry into the many (many) unanswered questions beginning with the Broome fiasco. Don't care what, but for Ducks sake – do something........

“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

I like to keep the North country tradition of the 'first foot'; it is old. The 'first foot' across the threshold (midnight) is always the youngest, dark haired child, carrying firewood, candle, bread (cake) drink (ginger beer) to bring warmth, light, food and drink into the home for the new year. Always great fun and an excuse for the menfolk to have a quiet drink (or two).

Happy New Year to all.. Selah....

Of setting the 'odds' and stacked decks.

It is a 'classic' summer evening; sea breeze, birds settling in for the night, sun setting (as it should) toward the West, BRB notes all sorted and the Australians won at cricket- Perfect.

"Oh, how beautiful is the summer night, which is not night, but a sunless, yet unclouded, day, descending upon earth with dews and shadows and refreshing coolness! How beautiful the long mild twilight, which, like a silver clasp, unites today with yesterday! "

I have a freshly pulled cool Ale and the stable doors are wide open, the 'beasts' are fed and watered. Perfect – DT has salad and the chops are cooked – what could possibly trouble my evening? - The 'Sand Trap' Cup is what.. Aye, smile if you will, but, as the BRB 'Bookie' and after the uproar at the last indaba; there's some serious 'head-scratching' to be done, lest I lose my shirt. 'Tis essentially nothing more than a four horse race; with 'support' runners in the pack to create interference  and distraction – nuisance value – 'legal' credibility; when the judges call the game.

Is the deck 'stacked' ? – of course it is; always was. 

As you may glean from the video; and, if you cannot spot a 'stacked deck' or an 'agreed' race outcome; you too have 'lost your shirt' if you were silly enough to play beyond three hands. But, back to the race which must be run –  and 'soon'. Before next Senate Estimates. Someone is going to end up snookered, deep in the sand trap at fence four. Who? The 'Tote' is open (at BRB behest).

Interference – 110/1.
Distraction – 100/1.
Department support 70/1.

So much for the 'life preservers'. About furlong three you will spot the blue cap of the Minister with a shotgun; decimating the 'support' as they clear the second fence; this stacked 'deck' has 'Bias – by Us' writ all over it. Makes sense the minuscule must be protected; or, failing that, sort it out for herself – she ain't running; but has some pretty heavy bets to cover - with 'the Mob'. Losing is, most definitely,  definitely, not an option, what with the Qantas fiasco having her job on a razors edge; (just don't mention Qatar).

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

So, to the field – I should explain that the 'Sand-trap' is camouflaged; and deceptive. A classic 'Steeplechase' is made up thus:-

“The steeplechase is 3000 m long with four barriers and one water pit per lap. The water pit is a barrier followed by a 3.66-m long water pit, typically about 0.7 m at the deepest point (Fig. 1). A steeplechaser encounters a total of 28 barriers and seven water pit jumps during the race.”

Now; to cover the ministerial derrière; one of four entrants must complete the course – in primus': secundus may survive the knackers yard; but third and fourth are well buggered. This is a winner take all event; with secundus having to behave properly and fall in line. Only four entrants worthy of consideration; to wit:-

(1) Suspenders – an ageing filly, a known ditherer at high fences and reluctant to tackle the water barrier; not known for speed or finishing power; and, unhappy when ridden hard. Use of the 'whip' strongly discouraged as it leads to loss of direction and a slowing pace due to a sensitive nature which takes umbrage and sulks. Not a 'front runner' in any competition and the head jockey has departed the fix. 6/1 on the Tote.

(2) 'Popinjay' – Muddied bloodlines and some eccentric 'mores' make this showboat a temptation for those who like good odds – 16/1 on the board. Basically, this entrant is, on the record, as one of  limited ability, a 'pace maker' (meant to loose) against other more likely prospects. Got lucky and had a couple of 'wins' in second tier starts and attracted some support as a pliable , willing second place to better horses. Bookies can influence the 'selected' races; and, what should have been relegated to the 'Ladies riding school' is given a big wrap up and off sent into races to 'assist' with the odds. For some reason, the 'connections' hold hope that their gelding can escape the knackers yard. anything better than 4/1 is reasonable odds.

(3) Stable name 'Halfwit' – on track race name, Dollar Blower. This gelded, prancing 'No-Pal o Mino has had more starts than Clancy; and, cost his backers dearly. Despite the groomed, coiffured polish. At the end of every race the 'excuses' become fact; never mind the incredible amounts punted and lost backing this show pony; when push comes to shove and the 'big' questions are asked; there is no way I can offer better than 'odds on' for the sacrificial lamb. At those odds, even retirement before starters gun leads to the knackers bolt.

(4) One slot left – Each Way Beta: a safe one at each-way. This is a serious contender to avoid the sand trap. The 'owed' support on track will be ferocious. Figure it out, if (big one) this horse stumbles or ducks it up, it will take many, many ardent supporters jobs with it – one of them being the ministerial one. This squirming, wriggling excuse for a thoroughbred has the support required to slither home without getting anywhere near the water barrier, let alone the dreaded sand trap. A bet of five will win you one – 5/1 odds on.

You see boys and girls there's Hell to pay across the board; Croc Eggs and Broome; Sea-world; for examples. ATSB an international embarrassment; CASA – well what can you say. Air 'Services' (tongue in cheek). Basket cases all – the minister, under severe, sensible, righteous 'pressure' from McKenzie – aided and abetted by Fawcett. Government is batting against an aligned industry, historical and current data and fact, clearly defining the total fiasco (Balls up) the 'support' system for the aviation industry has to endure

“I learned long ago never to predict. All you can do is influence what you can and endure the rest.”

So that is, as they say, a 'wrap' – the Sandpit Cup and odds. The only certain thing is that somewhere, somehow, someone is going to catch all the blame and a metaphorical bullet (the sack in Oz parlance). That will be parlayed into a 'problem' solver. IT A'INT. It may fool some of the people, some of the time and etc. But unless government get a grip and bring in some 'professional' help; Sea world, Broome, and a dozen other aberrations (like Quadrio; like Ross Air, and like Pel Air and Par Avion and the Hawksebury fatal, to mention but a few, & etc... It is a very long list, a very long list indeed; one of bull shit in action, covering the appalling lack of 'quality' in government ranks.-

“Politicians are a lot like diapers. They should be changed frequently, and for the same reasons.”

Time to call up the fur bearing crew; they've had a quiet day while the radio plays the cricket (can't watch the TV). I made a workshop set of drawers while listening to the 'Test' – rough timber – off cuts discarded from 'other' work – but 'twill suffice; just big enough to park on the workbench with 'bits and pieces' like dovetail templates and other stuff which can never be found – when needed. Even found some nice little draw pulls to fit – so for the moment; tidy workshop. Now then; 'Away' and off they go – 'the pup' at six months – faster by a furlong – the first one any way – but it can run; 'quick' would an appropriate descriptor.; but, there's terrier in there, somewhere.


"Nothing propinks like propinquity," (And; knitting).

Wiki refers you back to an 'interesting' character - one George Wildman Ball. Any way, essentially the phrase infers that "the more direct access one has to the president, the greater one's power regardless of title". Seems a reasonable POV, however, it relies on one major factor; that before 'the power' afforded by a 'presidential' personage may be utilised; one must, in primus, know 'who' is actually the man/woman/ or whatever 'with the shoes'. You do see the problem; look at it from the other end; you want XYZ so you tug the front door bell of XYZ; get a meeting with 'the man' and discuss ways, and means and expected results; then toddle off happy, thinking that you had actually been talking with a qualified, authorised decision maker. Maybe, maybe not and that children, is where the 'bogey men' live. Take a simple 'no brainer' as an exercise in 'understanding' - your Doc says, Yep, no problem, good to go and signs away his licence in full belief that 'medically' a standard has been met; his insurance and his reputation is carried in that signature. It should be enough; a qualified, accredited, fully trained an approved medical examiner says 'good to go'; and so it should be. Enter the Dragon; suddenly, despite first class medical treatment and all that entails; you wind up in the AAT, spend a small fortune, only to discover that "nothing propinks, like propinquity". The Jumblies hold the propinking championship - and have buggered off for a while.

And when the Sieve turned round and round,
And every one cried, ‘You’ll all be drowned!’
They called aloud, ‘Our Sieve ain’t big,
But we don’t care a button! we don’t care a fig!
In a Sieve we’ll go to sea!’  (Lear)...

I've used this bit of 'poetic licence' (with sincere apologies to the real ones) as a guide to an alternative route to perdition. For that is where we are currently headed and we must find an exit. Tug at the end of one of the many, many 'loose ends' in the aviation safety net knitting - any one will do: try to follow it all the way to 'the knitter' and you will run up against enough snarls, tangles and co-joined knots as to make the Angels weep. It is virtually impossible to define a clear line, through neither law, nor operational logic without even coming close to ICAO compliance or even basic logic. The State Safety Program (SSP) is basically a piece of nifty legerdemain consigned to the basement; dusted off as and when it suits those who "propink". Three recent 'case studies' - the Broome disgrace; the Croc Hecs fiasco and the Gold Coast mid air; all fatal.  Tug at anyone of the multiple loose ends in any of those events and try to unravel the knots; I'll save you the time - you cannot. So well organised is the ministerial arse covering, so distanced from any responsibility; so good is the smoke screen of 'deniable credibility' it is almost an impossibility to sheet home any sort of responsibility to the 'approving' agency, or the failure of the investigating agency to provide a sensible, logical, beneficial report toward prevention of repeat.

From any logical, safety based, operational or even 'legitimate' compliance with the 'spirit and intent' of the SSP; or jurisprudence; or rule of law; or even common or garden decency and integrity of purpose. We are looking into the void.

“If you look long enough into the void, the void begins to look back through you.”

You may, patience and time permitting, peruse any one of a number of first class posts provided by P2; across this forum relating to 'current' matters aeronautical; those which have, unnecessarily, claimed multiple lives. Not in 'clearly defined' circumstances; but shrouded in a Teflon coated bubble of 'pass the parcel of responsibility' through a system designed, manipulated and bastardised to protect those earning well above the national average; those who have, publicly, failed in their duty of care and responsibility to the public which pays them. None; not one of the three accidents mentioned were 'accidental'; all could have been prevented; they need not have happened. Well, not if those responsible had been doing what is both 'requested and required' by the public - (by the by)  who pay for the 'safety' service alleged to be provided. Three completely preventable events; multiple fatalities; and yet:-

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

The purblind, ineffectual, incompetent, ignorant (probably incontinent) minister, protected,- aided and abetted by the over weaning DoIT 'ProPinker' need to shape up or ship out. Oh, Australians will just accept all as just 'the way things are'. BUT; for how long will the 'international, professional, independent' community tolerate more: more  of that which they already know as fact?

Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Should you be remotely interested in discovering, just how "Nothing propinks like propinquity" simply take a coffee and read though P2's research, draw a conclusion and consider what must be done to unravel this tangled, expensive web of half truth, blatant deception and the 'machine' which keeps Australia from regaining the lost credibility of decades now long passed.

“To talk in public, to think in solitude, to read and to hear, to enquire and answer enquiries, is the business of a scholar. He wanders about the world without pomp or terror, and is neither known nor valued but by men like himself.”

That's it. The cat is literally 'in-my-face' one dog is hopping about on three legs, the other has fetched my boots; the 'pup' sits by the door, plaintively but quietly complaining. Time we were away; long, long quiet walk required to soothe and repair: P7 along for quiet companionship - lovely.  Right then; boots, smokes -- Away then. And off we go at a canter; cat in the lead.


A thoroughly Pickwickian conjunction.

Occasionally (once in a while) 'heavenly bodies' get 'close' and 'interact' on a stellar scale; this is called a 'conjunction'. However; every now and again, two or more actually collide; the results are phenomenal. The size, scale and ramifications of these 'conjunctions' are almost beyond human ability to imagine; let alone qualify or quantify; and thus, 'put-in-a-box'. So much for astronomical conjunctions and collisions: but what of the more earthly ones. When three very large, very expensive, very 'self interested' bodies are on a clearly defined collision course? What then? Fallout is a given, but where will that mess land and what form will it morph into? Aye, tis a puzzle right enough and someone will need to follow the Lord Mayors parade with a dung cart to scrape up not only the 'fallen', but those who waited patiently at the bus stop only to be pushed under it as it thundered by. And what a bus service it is.

I expect by now you could be forgiven wondering what the fool is rambling on about. Wonder no more; take a serious look at not only the unassailable evidence, the present day facts and documented, tangible, credible, completely ignored history. There were only ever two possible outcomes: complete reform of system and compliance with ICAO; or the absolute 'bugger's muddle' the tax payer is stuck with today along with the huge bill for the cluster of ducks a once thriving industry is saddled with - today (now - now in real time). First world Air Traffic service"- No. then Top notch accident investigation and changes aimed at prevention? No. Well then surely the 'safety watch-dogs' are on to it all and sorting it out (tout de suite}? No. Well what then?

“Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars.”

And that is what we are awash with; and it is obscuring the cold hard facts. There is an imminent collision of our 'heavenly' safety entities. Inevitable. The 'bitch-slapping' and the 'he said - she said' combined with the total focus on self preservation, alongside self glorification, all aimed at convincing government who really just don't want to know' that the present cast of crew of the aviation safety pantomime are hopelessly trapped, deep within a 'Grimpen Mire' entirely of their own construction. The ticking clock has been started by the squirming, condescending, purblind (and wool blind) 'Each-Way Betts'. Exposing the flip-flop willingness of Popinjay to 'save the Roo' (always with a camera handy). The Pup Spence dog fart reaction to Popinjay daring to throw clarts and highlighting the total lack of control the free-bee 'joy-flight' (with {ahem} celebrities') CEO has over the operation she is paid $1,000, 000 of tax and industry money to manage. With Broome and all that entails live, kicking and ignored. Spare me.. It can only get worse and the 'conjunction' could, very easily end in a collision. But, no matter, it won't be very long before not only flight crew but airline management 'pick up sticks' and start hunting for the lunatic running the asylum the air traffic services have become. Just in case you have no idea what a mid air 'conjunction' means, in bonny pictures - Watch again:-

Non of this is remotely anything like a 'new' phenomenon. Quite the opposite in fact; industry analysts, professional flight managers; qualified experts and a handful of very 'savvy' folk in the political world have been 'trying' to penetrate the veil of what is tantamount to, in the opinion of many, a deliberate deception relating to avoiding adopting (selfishly IMO) - world best practice. One can only hope that somewhere, sometime in the future; there is a minister and a 'will' to bring to a full stop the existing system and end it's detrimental effects on the prosperity, safety and function of 'safe' aviation in this wide brown land. 'Accidents' especially those which were totally and completely preventable cannot be allowed to continue on the repetitive scale we see today. The Broome event was an anathema; a picture post card of a failed system; add multiple mid-air events; and, the most popular way of departing this life - VFR into IMC. This particular statistic always makes me wonder 'WTD' are we playing at. Angel Flight  'done and dusted' on a placebo 'statistical' ATSB analysis (plus a classic Aleck/ Commode load of bollocks' in support) ; but the rest of the nation's VFR pilot deaths in IMC goes by without an ATSB fart in 'forecast' let alone an 'analysis' based on mythical assumption. -  BOLLOCKS!

“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.”

Try to find a coffee and a half hour to read and consider 'all' that P2 has pieced together; you can find it - HERE - and more in the 'Blog' library; all there. End of rant..But, this ain't over. The BRB have been 'summoned' to an indaba; the sole topic, for as long as required will be the increase of VFR pilots entering IMC. The intent to provide a sensible, realistic range of option to reduce the entirely preventable body count. Legislation and 'black letter' margins fail, utterly, anywhere but a court room to reduce this number. We can begin by declaiming ' LOUD and LONG that there is no such animal or excuse or 'bias; contained within the opening argument of 'INADVERTANT". That children is 'moon-shine' of the finest quality; perhaps we shall start with that neat little 'cop-out'. It is, by law, a criminal act; malice aforethought - i.e. they meant to do it and paid the price; in cash, no bullshit.

"Deliberate avoidance of common sense has no cure.”

Aye well; best crack on, I've a roof to pitch and put on next week; something called 'cathedral' all exposed this and that; the trusty mitre saw has a new blade installed; I was amazed at the prices for such a basic necessity; all the tools seem have risen into the realm of 'made with gold' trim. My old hammer has almost 150 years of operational use; 24 oz in old money and the existing original handle (first one) gave up the ghost last week. Replacement cost $11.00 at Bunnings; that is what I call a bargain. Not Hickory of course, but, Google came to the rescue (again) and I made a new friend in the US of A who has dispatched a made to length one in old wood. Can't wait to fit that; but, the Bunnings one does the job quite nicely. Dinner smells great, fine evening, and an early finish for once. Time for an Ale or, even possibly two.


Helter Skelter.

Long - (long) before the 'Beatles' cribbed' the phrase as a song title; since about 1592, the phrase has been adopted and adapted to suit a general theme. In use for about 400 odd years :-even Shakespeare managed to used it.

"Helter skelter, have I rode to thee, and tidings do I bring."

The phrase easily lends itself to 'confuted' - "Another reduplication with a similar meaning is pell-mell (a confused throng or, in disordered haste). This originated around the same time - the first recorded use dates from 1579. Others which came later, but which are in shouting distance in terms of meaning, are harum-scarum (reckless rowdiness) and hurly-burly (commotion and confusion)."

Aye, no prizes for guessing where this twiddle is heading (none). But the phrases do, quite neatly, define exactly, nicely and neatly, the almost unbelievable mess the governance of 'the' allegedly world best aviation safety system has, by it's very own hand, (well, + the ignorance, arrogance, ineptitude - and a stoic deafness) landed itself in.

"We were born for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of upper and lower teeth. So to work in opposition to one another is against nature: and anger or rejection is opposition.”

And, it is 'opposition' - no question about it. For almost all of my adult life now, I have been involved' in 'matters aeronautical'. There is quite a load to carry when one straps on an aircraft; as and when required, to take whatever, to wherever, as requested. Most of that 'burden' is found in the full weight of 'legal' responsibility loaded onto the company and the individuals it employs. 'Legal' in Australian aviation terms is a dangerous game played against 'the house' using their very own loaded dice. 

“Not only does God play dice with the universe, He’s using loaded dice.”

Didn't take long to realised just how 'one sided' the 'odds' were stacked against, particularly 'at home'. The differences are remarkable between the 'Land of Oz' version and the NZ, UK, USA systems. Here in Oz - those in government (quasi) pay have their nether regions well and truly Teflon plated. No responsibility, no matter what. From the BoM (+/-70% error margin):  to the hapless Spence @ One million a year, plus benefits for 100% protection. Halfwit on the same class of money blows a cool Five Billion on a white elephant and still claims his bonus. The blow-hard 'Popinjay' , totally without a clue or shred of qualification to go anywhere near an aircraft accident is handsomely paid to do little but embarrass his professionals (and this nation). That level of remuneration and protection is gifted against all comers, from industry to top tier government - all, like the unspeakable Betts - remain completely untouchable, unaccountable and immune from any and all 'inquiry' made by the Senate committees. Aye, water off the Duck's back.

“It has sunk him, I cannot say how much it has sunk him in my opinion. So unlike what a man should be!-None of that upright integrity, that strict adherence to truth and principle, that distain of trick and littleness, which a man should display in every transaction of his life.”

I often wonder how many folks have accurately joined up all the dots in P2's research. Several of the BRB 'qualified' experienced subject matter specialists have; it is no exaggeration to say they are troubled by their conclusions. One needs but a single topic to begin the journey; the answers to QoN from the Senate should ring an alarum bell; any investigation of an 'accident' event will set up a howl of indignation; medical folk simply shake their heads in response to questions related to matters medical; legal folk rolling about the floor laughing (and counting) when legislation is mentioned, well, except for those who support 'the rule of law'; ATCO and aircrew incapable of further expletive relating to the ATC 'service' and safety; the list goes on and on. Gods alone know what our overseas counterparts really think, despite the sympathy and head shaking. But; we must begin somewhere.

“You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

The events at Broome demand a spotlight; the Croc o' Shite debacle demands an orchestra, all that is needed is an audience. Oh, its all there, it is a tale that should shock an audience into demanding their money back. We could name the production 'Snakes on Ladders'.

“The fact-finding mission was now the traditional Washington substitute for policy.”

But enough; I was going to mention 'the shambles of AVMAD', a farce worthy of a John Cleese production; be hilarious if it was not so true and 'off the planet'. It will however keep for another day. That's it; but find time to join P2 and take a wander through the details, it is worth the time - but remember to have a bucket near by - just in case..

“Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”


"Bias a Beer old son"

Quoth P7 as he ambled into the stable; took a heart beat, but I got it; so, in the transitive sense I took an angled path to the keg; turned aside the tap, slanted the glass at an angle and filled a pint; then I sloped it across the bar top , thus skewing the angle to one which made lifting it easy; heavily biased toward that is TOM. "Thanks" he growls - "smart ass; I'm parched, been RASP 'd till I GASP'd and its hard thirsty work is that. Well, of course we continued in that vein - for a short while - using 'buzz-words' and 'quotes' from the current 'attributive' lexicon until it got to be 'too much' the jokes rude and ribs aching - funny as, but you can't keep it up for long, not with a straight face anyway..TOM has been digging for data within the SSP, GASP and RASP. MFT follow on this. .

"Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as he ability to investigate systematically and truly all that comes under thy observation in life."

It is remarkable though, just how fast a phrase or a 'buzz-word' can quickly come into 'common use' even 'non words' such as the Blow-hard Popinjay likes to use; words like 'Learnings'; it is not a word; but it trips from the toque in an easy fashion and makes the speaker seem as a wise guru, to the uneducated media. Trivial I know, but the use of it 'irritates' , the bull-shit associated with the usage however infuriates. But, when the blow-hard Popinjay blusters his way - again- into the media circle - talking PR Bollocks, well, let's just say the BRB response has gone beyond making it a joke or used for a once hilarious imitation. Aye, well beyond a joke now.

"You don't see faith healers in hospitals; and never see psychics winning the lottery every week - "

This continuous ATSB PR is becoming serious enough to warrant proper examination; lots of professional questions begging answers and remedy and solution. But what I really want to know demands three questions be answered. One; how many folk on a cool early morning, could wade out into Lake Burley Griffen, lay hands on a Kangaroo taking a righteous morning bath; keep hold of it and plonk it back on dry land, and walk away in one piece? Try it, find a 'Roo, grab hold of it and try to carry it away from where it was standing? (but let me know before you try it, I want a video). Two. How coincidental was it that there was a camera handy to immortalise our 'Hero' - after the alleged 'rescue' looking 'heroic'? Three. How come the event made the national papers?  This BS  typifies the  rule of Popinjay the first.  Seriously; do you see posed shots of those who rescue folk from fire and flood? Bollocks; puerile, embarrassing bollocks. I only mention this because it sets the tone for some serious questions about the sorry state of our 'Safety' systems. Those which garner lip service and pay big wages; and of our State Safety Program (SSP) which is now little more than a very expensive piece of 'shelf ware' only used as and when required to clean a ministerial rump, or wipe the dribble off some Spin doctor's smirking face.

"You may talk o' gin and beer
When you're quartered safe out 'ere,
An' you're sent to penny-fights an' Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An' you'll lick the bloomin' boots of 'im that's got it.'

Kipling's verse IMO relates to 'the bubble' and those cocooned within it; gin, beer and no bullets flying about the place - hell you can even have your illicit drugs, bought from a criminal tested as 'safe' before use; at public expense - can't get much safer than that. But, when it comes to burning bodies; smashed up aircraft and a real potential for a serious mid air event; it is time to send in the cannon fodder. Police, fire fighters, ambulance, all do a tremendous job, unsung mostly, left with managing their own 'trauma' and precious little in the way of thanks. Next into the 'slaughter' come the 'investigators' - trained, qualified, 'brave' in a quiet, unspoken sort of way; they do what must be done and try to 'sort it out' and prepare their reports. So far the system is functioning, on water, as perfectly as it can. Bravo, well done and thanks.

...the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel

It is, without doubt, the next part which is of great concern and this rests squarely with the 'gin and beer' crowd. Here we enter the realms converting stark reality into 'no blame' particularly for the minister who technically and legally has sod all to do with it - by law. "Just sign here Ma'am' and we'll take care of the rest." - 'The rest' lands squarely on the desk of our sacrificial cow; we call's it 'Betsy'. We used to have one called 'Murky' he was a good'un. Master of the game, respected and feared for his ability to stay as the only 'Bull' in the paddock - and earned his laurels. But, we have doubts about 'Betsy'; on her old farm, they used to lay down petals before her as she moved through the yards - cosseted and spoilt and always the 'trend' setter. Alas, when Betsy arrived at the new place, dressed in the casual agricultural style and expecting a level of adoration similar to that which had been taken for granted; was in for a rude shock. But, no matter. The SSP sits on a low shelf, out of sight and dusty, a 'clerical matter' beneath the dignity, let alone responsibility of one so self important. ATSB provide the spin, CASA provide the top cover and the wheels turn (spin) just as they are supposed to. So where is the problem the fool is rattling on about? Good question that one.

“The question that sometimes drive's me hazy, am I or the other's crazy?”

I will attempt to put this simply - it ain't; (not by a long chalk) but we must begin somewhere. Tangible 'improvements' brought about through the SSP being 'used' correctly. That is say - a tangible reduction in repeat events; or, positive action taken before a 'known' situation devolves into a body count. In short, the safety agencies performing design function - as scripted and intended. For example; the events in Broome WA; or, the Croc o' Shite embarrassment; the glaring lack of 'operational oversight' at the Gold Coast; the repeated deaths of VFR into IMC; the Ross Air debacle: there is long list of 'events' - seriously long. There is a very, very, very short list of 'proactive' - partnership, without pecuniary cost between accident, event, incident and 'potential' events that have been actively tackled by our 'safety agencies'. There's lots of top cover and rhetoric out the Ying - Yang. But; take a close look at the events in Broome; CASA knew what was going on; they could have stepped in and ruled a line under the illegal operations; there were lessons for others within that exercise. Take the Gold Coast events; blind Freddy could see the potential for a close encounter (or even two)- so where is the CASA proactive advice, analysis and recommendations ? Same with ATSB - what is the point of any of their 'reports' over the last few years?  I (and many others) cannot find one offering from ATSB or CASA which produced a positive reduction in any of the 'fatal' - oft repeated 'events'. Loads of top cover and spin and bull-twaddle and Spence platitudes; but not a scrap of positive reduction; sage advice or even a hint that a 'problem' area, with statistical support has been addressed in any meaningful manner. The safety loop is a hang mans noose after a no chance of win prosecution.

“Bond didn't defend the practice. He simply maintained that the more effort and ingenuity you put into gambling, the more you took out.

For far too long has this nonsense of ticking boxes and covering arse been allowed to continue; from Avmad to ATC; from ATSB to CASA; expert at the 'no - blame' for them game; but little in the way of real life, real time 'safety' progress. This despite the progress and cooperation enjoyed by 'the real world'. Aviation in Australia is moribund; world wide it is growing and achieving; we must ask the eternal question; Why is it so? Then demand answers; the agencies are far too ensconced, far too comfortable within their cocoon and far too dug in to merit their inflated salaries. Right then, back in my box I go. But don't say you cannot read the writing on the wall.

"The moving finger writes; and, having writ, moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it. Nor will I: ever write a word that fades in light, this I must be certain; else lay desolate at bight."

Aye; indeed long ramble; perhaps our friends in Singapore or the US of A or maybe even ICAO itself could cast a long close look, one without the rose tinted specs and 'hospitality', at what, exactly is happening to 'safety culture' and administrative oversight of this nations aviation sectors. God's know we could do with the help.:: End-it.

"But I am faint, my gashes cry for help."

That is defiantly it- my computer has recovered from it's very own little episode and seems to working just fine once again. DT has cooked a favourite; animals fed (walk later) and my 'scarf' joints in the cathedral roof look great. I was amazed though that the fellahin' on - site' wanted to use steel plates and etc. which would have (IMO) ruined the 'look' . Anyway (FWIW) here is a 'how-to' make an elegant, strong, joint between to lumps of large timber. Great fun.



Catch 22..sub para A-through -Z.

"You mean there's a catch?"  - "Sure there's a catch," Doc Daneeka replied. "Catch-22. Anyone who wants to get out of combat duty isn't really crazy."

Estimates; another round next week. 

P2 - "Airservices up early (1245)? Don't believe that's a good sign for Harfwit and his fellow exec trough swilling mates.."

Beg to differ M'lud, the political 'fix' is already in. 'Missy' over on Pprune caught on to the government team reducing the opposition's ammunition stock pile,  _ HERE_.

Ref:  Albo/Bandt Coalition vote down supporting GA industry??

It makes sense, there is no way ASA could withstand a direct assault from McKenzie's crew. The ASA position is indefensible; if the facts related huge amounts of money wasted, the shortage of critical, essential manpower and infrastructure,  if the sheer incompetence demonstrated was ever publicly exposed and forensically examined, well; I'll leave that to your imagination. But I wonder that the media aren't all over it; the delays, the addition miles, the complex departure routes and procedures, in place to pander to a loud minority add huge costs to the price of travel; this impacts across the board in many ways. The increase in miles and time translates into higher maintenance costs and fuel bills, this is simply passed along to the business and holiday groups. The additional costs in fuel, maintenance and overtime exponentially increase, the time 'out-of-service' due maintenance impacts across the network - why? That's a no-brainer.

“In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.”

There are two spin off 'burdens' forced upon the travelling public; subtle but serious. The increase in 'running time' for an aircraft, decreases the the time it can stay in service before mandatory maintenance must be carried out, by qualified engineers. Which would not be anything other than a cost increase; IF we had the qualified manpower available to actually do the work. We ain't got 'em. Despite all efforts, and much money being thrown at the problem; it remains. Slower turn around time due to staff shortages just add cost to the ticket price. AMROBA have been attempting to to bring a modicum of sanity (and compliance) into the training of LAME for a good long while now; getting nowhere fast.

"CASA senior management refuse to promulgate EASA Part 66/147 AME class hours. This also means the ICAO SARPs are not being met – not compliant with SARPs. This is the real reason why the shortage has happened."

Once again, we find CASA senior management confounding sensible progression toward realism and world best practice. Now, you cold be forgiven for thinking that considering the vast sums spent on the 'top and middle' order batsmen; that at very least, good sense would prevail. But at every whip and stitch, we run into this 'Kook-Aid' induced torpor; a kind of dream like state, where the realities of the aviation world are but part of the dream like, slow motion state CASA operate in. For example: you would think that the top dog would, at very least, be politically 'astute' (savvy) and realise (early) that not everyone was thrilled at the appointment. Venal, vicious and unscrupulous is the ego driven kitchen crew. Take the way Spence was 'set up' for a tumble - from a chopper - without a HEC strap. Consider the naivete of the Holly-Hobby mind running the CASA. Several pieces in this jigsaw puzzle, so bear with me: the 'management' of matters aeronautical in Broome and the NT must have been fully aware of the 'anomalies' within the two outfits - no way they were not. Who set up the board and Spence to pay a visit, take a joy flight and walk away feeling good about the operation? Smiles and thank you all around, the operators high five-ing each other when the Board and Spence toddled off, replete. IMO, if Spence cannot see how the world she is tolerated in works, what right has she to be running aviation in this land? The short answer is --- ? I reckon about as much use as three men away from home at harvest time.

“Is ours a government of the people, by the people, for the people, or a kakistocracy rather, for the benefit of knaves at the cost of fools?”

There is a short, easy to follow path for the less interested; that of aviation medicals. The rule of the pack in the trough, in the face of sound, medical evidence from peer aviation nations has beaten a DAS into submission to their barking and whining. Nowhere else, in the first (or even the second) world, has a simple matter of medical certification become a Frankenstein monster, ruled by mad, homemade science. Time to get a grip methinks. IMO - if you can't manage the job - time to quit. In the real world; Spence would probably never have got the job; but even within the protection of the bubble; the lack of 'control' should lead to a 'graceful' exit. I have more control over the rate the earth spins at than Spence has of the aviation world..

“Because there are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, the third is useless.”

Can't see much value in mentioning the ATSB; its all there, in the media. I marvel at the media reporting of events; they just grab a few seconds, surround it with advertisement and wander off thinking they've done a good job. There is a real story behind all the twaddle and spin; bit of a travesty really, just from a value for money perspective alone; let alone the rest. Funny, no one seems to really give a monkey's until its their loved ones tangled up in burning wreckage, wrapped around a tree. Aye, funny old world though; ain't it?

“All is mystery; but he is a slave who will not struggle to penetrate the dark veil.”

No matter; Estimates will proceed as per usual; the cost simply ignored, the results will be more answers to QoN and nothing further will happen; time will pass by and nothing, SFA will happen to change the expensive dream time vision of Australia's great aviation fiasco, pretending to be at gold standard. Good enough? Oh, I think not.

“The secret to success is constancy of purpose.”

Aye well, DT has a list pinned to my dartboard; the 'or else' unwritten but it is there. Best crack on, I noted the makings for sausage rolls during my last coffee run; a clear incentive to grab some tools. Fingers crossed for McKenzie and Fawcett - we shall watch with interest, if not hope.


Hmm: more of Methane than Muck methinks...

P2 has tacked his 'You Tube' channel onto the blog - HERE - apart from being an invaluable research 'tool' there are some interesting side bars and data which spin off from the video segments. For example; the 'Sen. McKenzie' "Shit Show" clip has attracted 5, 800 views and 46 comments. The down to earth questions, the support of a top class team (Fawcett and Caravan) backed up by their own crew came awful close (no cigar - yet) to unmasking some seriously unpalatable truths. These 'truths' have been, for a long while now, self evident. Stand out like 'dog's balls' in the vernacular.  One can go back over a decade in estimates video captures and witness intelligent, able Senators framing the same, similar questions, seeking answers which are; or should have been, blindingly obvious in this week's episode of the great Australia Aviation Shit Show. Results (as per the tote)  - zero change. The pathway to today's 'episode' (clearly identified way back), has, irrevocably, led us to the current untenable mess; as witnessed across the globe by all aviation related areas of governance.

“This muck heaves and palpitates. It is multi-directional and has a mayor.”

Traditionally; when one mucks out a stable, wellington boots, a wheelbarrow, pitch fork, shovel and hose pipe are required. The sequence of use as old as man and animal in mutual dependence. These are the tools the Senators use in their attempts to ring the changes - IMO those tools are currently useless. I watch the video and see the earnest attempts made to 'nail a fart to the wall' - which, as the even the village half-wit knows; is nigh on impossible. But that is the task set for the Senators. They must get through the nebula of noxious gas which protects the deepest pits and strong, deceptive defences built solely to protect 'the system'. A system which is far beyond any controls intended and 'signed up' for under the Chicago Convention/ICAO. Those controls gradually eroded over the decades to being the legal equivalent of a wet noodle; one which the Senators are trying to stuff up a tigers arse.

“It wasn't fair, but what is? Life is a crap carnival with shit prizes.”

Many wise heads have 'solutions' - there exists a body of seriously qualified, experienced expert assistance. There is ICAO and the Convention; there is world best - 'gold standard' - law, practice, assistance, process, practice and experience available. Yet every once a while, we have to endure the expensive, non productive Estimates farce. Good, honest, well intentioned Senators striving to get to grips with what has been a national disgrace for a couple of decades. The last episode defining, in graphic, gory detail just how little control may be (has been?) exercised by government and its Mandarins and blatantly ignored

"I've seen monkey-shit fights at the zoo that are more organised than this."

Aye; it is down to those responsible for organising the 'shit fights' for the current mess; they are the names at the top of a long list of 'appointees' hired for almost anything other than actually having a blind clue how to restore Australian aviation back to the first world standards. CASA - Spence - led around by and reliant on a bloke who should be selling used cars. ATSB (words fail) and ASA has been allowed to degenerate into a shambles. ICAO compliance reduced to a lawyers expensive mind game and legal arm wrestle. Not Bloody well good enough; Engineering in the pits; medicals a complete dogs breakfast; air traffic control ridiculous; accident investigation a little more than publicity top cover; - the list; just like Topsy grows and grows. Airports in the hands of developers; RAAF paying fees on Commonwealth land for an aerodrome built with public money. Top tier of the half wit class on a million plus a year.  Time methinks for 'government' to grow a set; acknowledge the glaringly obvious truths and get off it's well protected rear end and sort it out - fast type. Fat chance - right?

“Come on! Laugh at it all! Or at least laugh at something!
All the shit will still be there to deal with when you're done,
but you'll be in better shape to deal with it!”

But enough; the You tube videos clearly and unequivocally demonstrate where the problem lays. Take a 'head count' of those at the last Estimates session; take a guess at the cost to the public - in dollars per hour - for the entire pantomime : then ask "what's the benefit of that expenditure"? No brainer question really - you know the answer; its writ large, in public for your viewing pleasure. Buckets $2.00 a piece - available at the entrance; (you'll need one).

“There are many pleasant fictions of the law in constant operation, but there is not one so pleasant or practically humorous as that which supposes every man to be of equal value in its impartial eye, and the benefits of all laws to be equally attainable by all men, without the smallest reference to the furniture of their pockets.”

It looks very much as though it may storm tonight; the air is 'close' as Grand mamma used to say; big dog, who is wise in the ways of the weather is paying attention - sniffing the breeze; cat has decided to settle in 'her; workshop box (made on request) and the lumber for next weeks work is quietly getting used to the workshop. I reckon it will only take one word from me and the whole crew will be at the door, ready to roam. "What say you dogs?" Ayup, they are ready/ "Away then".

“We love the night and its quiet; and there is no night that we love so well as that on which the moon is coffined in clouds.”


IMO - Failed, fatuous and fatal.

Interesting evening? Well that would depend on personal perception, but, when rain stopped play one of the BRB made a short video of 'snips' from the Estimates sessions; silent - (sans verbiage) - picking out the various 'body language' and poses presented during the 'show'. Open to interpretation and much ribald comment, but in it's own way 'telling'. I won't dive too deeply into it; but, an example, before a long look at 'what's going on' behind closed doors, will serve as signposts toward what is widely considered inevitable.

"The quiet sense of something lost"

Watch the Joe Rule 'pen twirl' - the RPM varies; watch when those fluctuations occur. Then note that Spence not once turns toward Rule; in fact she shuts him out. Then, watch when a curly question - 'close to the knuckles' is phrased - count the number of times Spence turns toward her snake oil provider for 'the' right answer. When you consider the move the department (Betsy) has made, would you look to 'snake oil' or Joe Rule for safety? Tax payer money at work? 

'Like the moth whose feet are caught in the molten wax of a candle, Rouget rapidly used up his remaining energy.'

If you set aside the dissembling, obfuscation, deflection and plain, everyday BS the depth of the deception becomes clear. McKenzie, Fawcett, Roberts and Canavan are standing on rock solid ground; the big question is, can they drain the swamp and get clear water flowing again? They surely need to; indeed, it is a must if the nation is to benefit from the Billions invested in the 'aviation' buggers muddle. A pig's ear of a system; dressed up as a silk purse. There exists, in recent times, a sorry tale which should have had the lid torn off this can of poisonous worms. The events in Broome and the 'Crock o' Shite' saga should have rung every politician's bells. Consider the words below, carefully. There is no finer example of why the swamp must be drained. Read 'em and weep:-

"The Civil Aviation Safety Authority denies responsibility for the fatal chopper crash that killed Netflix star Chris Wilson because the destroyed helicopter “should not have been operating at all” when it crashed."

The breath taking audacity; the purblind stupidity and the heart breaking washing of hands; it is disgusting and shames not only this nation, but the politicians who could and bloody well should be jumping up and down, demanding radical reforms and a first world system; we pay enough for this 'Shit-fight' to justify, at very least, a passing interest and nodding acquaintance. But believing CASA have got 'safety' by the nuts is pure, lapped up, fiction - spoon fed.

“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.”

The Spence + Board - happy clappy joy flight gig qualifies that ignorance is bliss. It also demonstrates not only the clear lack of control the top layer have over the ground troops; but that no effort will be spared to support whatever floats into their purview as the truth and nothing but the truth etc. Many ludicrous examples of this legerdemain exist within the current list of the outrageous, the corrupt and the blind eye syndrome. Spence is clueless and ensnared in a web of spin and arse covering.

"But things have worked out for the best and now we all get to work together,' he said, and a smile spread across his face as easy as a politician's lie.”

Personally, I don't believe even a Royal Commission could lift the lid of this basket weaver's mad creation. Perhaps a small, honest, well experienced task force, supported at ministerial level could quietly, but seriously, bring some compliance and sanity and integrity and logic and common sense back to industry through good governance. We really should peal off the many, many 'Band aids' plastering over the festering wounds inflicted on a once thriving industry; no! really we should. Augean Stables? Anyone? Australia needs to act, and soon, before the grown up aviation world brands it for what it has degenerated into.

“She was all too sunk in the inevitable, and the abysmal.”

The real 'tell' resides within astute legal minds; those which can frame 'the inevitable'.

"The ATSB’s final report also made damning findings about Helibrook’s safety management system, and failings by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to ensure appropriate and adequate risk management. On the back of those findings, Mr Wilson’s widow Danielle launched civil proceedings against CASA and helicopter company Helibrook, and was now seeking to add Mr Wright to the action.

A hearing before the Federal Court on Thursday, was told an interlocutory application had been filed “joining” Mr Wright to the case, and seeking a “freezing order” on the reality TV star and his wife Kaia.

Barrister David Lloyd SC for Ms Wilson, said they were hoping to get an undertaking about “not transferring or disposing of assets” while the case was being heard. He said it was yet to be determined if Helibrook was insured for the crash, which prompted the freezing order.

Barrister Tom Brennan SC for Helibrook, said “the insurer needed to consider its position and make clear to Helibrook what its position is”.

“If that’s to decline liability, your honour won’t be seeing me,” said Mr Brennan. (Passing strange comment - to a Judge in court)..

Which, IMO, drops CASA and Spence right into the night man's cart. The Broome saga and this 'Helibrook' dogs breakfast should be the spark which lights the fuse.

Nessun dorma?  Aye well; maybe better to quote Shrek "better out than in." Time to 'pop' the giant methane bubble containing ASA, ATSB and the CASA methinks, before it gets let loose. But enough of my rambling and ranting; the wind is fair, the weather suited and the ocean is in good fettle; time to run up the sails, leave the land far behind and just stare at an endless horizon, filled with birds who neither know, nor care for man's fate; they just get on with it, whatever befalls 'em.


Say what?  -"(mandatory non-acceptance contrasted with avoidance)".

Recommendation 1.

"Given the contradiction this presents (mandatory non-acceptance contrasted with avoidance), it is recommended CASA’s Hospitality and Gifts Policy be amended to remove reference to avoiding lobbyist gifts to ensure the intent of never accepting gifts from lobbyists is captured." ICC.

Should you have the time, patience and intestinal robustness the rest of this may be read -HERE - . I 'd say WTD! This whole fiasco in Estimates is like watching the Ladies first XV playing two men down against the All Blacks; no matter how well mounted the attack; the relentless, massive defence prevails against the light weight attack on the try line. Year after year, estimates after estimates we see the same impenetrable defences mounted. Positions change, players shuffle about the paddock; tactics are cunningly designed to fool the referee, exquisite, exotic interpretations of 'the rules' are argued and the referee is mostly looking at something else, despite the howls of protest from the grandstand.

“For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.

Yet, 'genuine change' is the answer; indeed it is the only answer. IMO it should begin with government responsibility at ministerial level for the 'departments they are purported to 'oversight'. Shuffling the deck chairs and hanging up the odd departmental scalp is meaningless when a 'Dolan' is replaced by a 'Popinjay' or a Spence or another Halfwit. Any impartial examination of real performance and 'value' added to the aviation industry would arrive at the inescapable conclusion of gross incompetence; and, an abject failure to perform design function. Would you ask a Plumber to wire a building; or an electrician to drain a swamp; of course not; so why is there a parade of 'departmental heads' who could not hit the side of the shed, with a shovelful of shit - wind assisted? Watch the estimates videos - HERE - you will learn how to change a nine dollar note into three's; how to slide around the 'facts' and be given an object lesson in who, exactly, is running a once thriving industry out of existence, at the grass roots; and, perhaps an inkling of why.

I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times.

Examples are not too difficult find; some 'simple as' other slightly more esoteric, but nevertheless valid for that. On the simple end of the plank - CVD pilots; a no-brainer in the USA, the UK, NZ and most of the grown up aviation world - but in Australia the brangle has gone on and on for many long years now and they still can't just follow the leaders; the cost of this prevarication should scare any budget conscious parliamentarian. ATSB 'investigations' - such as they are - have a long think about the latest load of 'cobbler's' - HERE - 867 days to complete a 'short report'. A report which completely failed to get anywhere near the 'radical' causes. Yet those 'causes' (not learnings) have been completely lost even after a diligent 867 day 'investigation'. How many here have had the cross-feed open for fuel transfer (or whatever). How many here have failed to note the little blue light telling it's tale; why was this not noticed? Or even missed during subsequent checks? There is really only one answer; and ATSB have gone a long time and a long way to avoid that answer. Enough said.

We've had enough." He took back the report and jammed it under his arm. "We've had a bellyful, in fact." "And like everyone who's had enough," said Control as Alleline noisily left the room, "he wants more.

Item last - CASA and the Crock o' Shite debacle. Caution, against stepping on some very large toes here prevents further 'speculation' but the BRB has formed some pretty firm notions and are content to let the grown ups fossick away and unbutton the true nature of this event. However, in this week's press blurbs, much has been made of the destruction (not disappearance) of a mobile telephone. "to protect the widow" (paraphrased) - Bollocks. Seriously? - I rest my case M'lud...

“Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever.”

That's it; I am uncertain of who is shagging whom, but it is beyond reasonable doubt that the tax payer paid for the party. One could be forgiven for thinking that given the facts and the history and the bull-shit; that there may have been some sort of changes made to bring matters aeronautical back; on if not an even keel, then at least into wind and making forward progress. Alas...............

But, no matter, it is a glorious late summers evening; warn, balmy with just enough seas breeze to take the 'heat' away - long evening ramble a racing certainty. It should give me enough time to work out what to do and how to proceed with a load of lumber delivered by a builder mate. They were - since circa 1870 - ceiling joists in an old home; tap 'em with a hammer and they 'ring' - rock hard, incredibly close grain and resistant to the (power) saw blade; yet, responsive to a sharp steel handsaw. No one seems to be able to identify this wood; smart money on a 'gum' variety. We shall see; I took all the 'lath' nails out of a piece and planed a face - pink-ish/ tan colour and quite lovely under a century and a half of soot, muck and whatever. There's enough there to make a piece of furniture; gods willing, weather permitting, it's secrets will be revealed. Come; away dogs; the orchard at sunset is the place to begin our ramble, then we shall see where fancy and the breeze leads us.


"Wonder is the beginning of wisdom."

So said Socrates; if that holds true then many of the aviation fraternity must be in the Methuselah class for time spent 'wondering'. Wonderment aligned with confusion often begins with an an expletive; 'What the Hell is ICAO playing at?" There stands an outfit with enough 'clout', influence and horse power to drag the recalcitrant Australian 'service to industry' into the modern era and alignment with the rest of the grown up nations; and, enforce (politically) world best practice. So why are they (ICAO) not camped on the doorstep, diplomatic as all get out (iron fist:: velvet glove style) ensuring compliance with the Convention and gold standard alignment?  Please; don't trot out that they have no 'authority' - they do; don't say not in their remit; it bloody well is and even if that ain't true; they do have considerable 'influence' and a rock solid audit system. So how much more rope is the Australian bugger's muddle going to be allowed continuance along the road to perdition?  They come , they 'audit' and slope off again; no one gets to see the 'audit'; in fact most have NDI that it has taken place. Is there any hope of open clarity? Perhaps; maybe - there is just a hint of claws and fangs:-

"The report highlighted areas where Australia could more fully realise the benefits of closer alignment with ICAO’s standards and practices.

Consider "Australia could more fully realise the benefits of closer alignment with ICAO’s standards and practices".

Fine sentiment; impeccable logic and a thing the industry has been dreaming of and screaming about - for decades. It would be 'beneficial' to the industry; no doubt about that. But, and it is a Topsy sized BUT - the 'industry' set up to govern 'industry' is highly protective of it's rice bowl. High wages, many side benefits, minimum qualifications, comfortable environment, light work and no responsibility without an escape clause and someone else to blame. It only attracts a certain 'type' - but Nice work if you can stomach it.

“Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy."

Any 'rationalisation' of responsibility, qualification, earning capacity or 'comfort zone' would cause ructions; any hint of being forced into 'compliance' with the real world would see the 'stress leave' budget sky rocket. Too many comfortable niche jobs, earning a goodly whack would suddenly not be needed; much paper shuffling would stop and - horror of all horrors - someone would be accountable. That simple statement from ICAO will set off an alarm bell; aerodrome developers will be in a panic, on the phone to their tame supporters; and the politician cohort will have a mini melt down - responsibility and accountability - unheard of. The notion of an ICAO fix is an addendum to stark reality, not to mention the possibility of admitting a total, expensive failure of epic proportion; that to perform design function. However; hope is at hand, smooth, entrenched, practised and proven:-

"and these areas will be responded to through corrective action plans agreed with ICAO and updates to our SSP."

Instant excuse, pathway to obfuscation, a gift of time and wriggle room - 'action' for more plans and even more 'meetings'. The last bastion of the defence; endless meetings and committee's and time and more words deflecting the spirit and intent of the gentle ICAO suggestion. BOLLOCKS - ICAO need realise that they are having the piss taken out of 'em; there is no intention, non whatsoever to become 'compliant. Too many snouts in the trough with skin in the game for that. ICAO either grow a set; man up and sort this bloody, mindless, piss-potical mess out; or, stay away and forget all about the Australian Abomination - a.k.a. ICAO compliance al'a Albo et al.. Anyone hear a bell tolling?

Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee

Can you imagine the internal furore within the offices of power? Suddenly 'the boss' must actually make a decision, on time and be responsible for it; depending on a bunch of professional dodgers. What about demanding supportable evidence and proof that the offerings from his minions had merit? Why? well because his arse would be in the fire if a 'responsible' minister was caught on the hop. Or; imagine even Betsy having to answer questions based on demonstrable fact. - What price his thinly veiled contempt for those elected Senators who had the temerity to question the Betsy management of departmental performance? Lord, I'd pay money to see that.

"Frank and explicit – that is the right line to take when you want to conceal your own mind and to confuse the minds of others."

The top cover provided for the abject lack of ministerial responsibility costs a great deal, in many ways. Fiscally it is a ministerial 'no brainer'; just sign off the ever increasing 'bill for service' and toddle off to a press club lunch. But look at what is left behind. A creature like Halfwit; paid a great deal of money to ensure that the travelling public have the best air traffic system and service money can buy - Ahem. A Muppet like Spence on a huge salary to ensure that 'matters aeronautical' are provided the best oversight and operational management within the bounds of 'the law' as writ - no experience, zero credibility and NDI, she being run by a bunch of 'experts' - in milking systems, deflecting responsibility and dodging bullets. Accident investigation descended into little more than a PR exercise, all to promote Popinjay from his level of incompetence to new heights. Meanwhile the 'industry' slowly but surely sinks ever deeper into expense, frustration, loss of investment and curtailment due to limitations imposed by regulation, designed solely for public service use, but totally useless to anyone else. Regulation fit for purpose - dream on. See -  HERE - recommendation 8.

8. Fit-for-Purpose Regulations

Example 1 of a first class factual, evidence based submission, comes from the 'Honourable Company of Air Pilots Australia (HCAPA)'

Aye well; almost bed time; there is I believe one Ale left in the fridge; I shall take it with me and sit on the kitchen steps and enjoy the cool, calm quiet of the night. No luck yet identifying the joists, can't even work out how it was milled. Swirls and curls in the grain, colour changes by the inch, I tried to cut a mortise and it beat two really sharp chisels in a matter of minutes, half an inch and sharpen up again. But I know a fellah, who knows 'wood' particularly the older models used in the era the house was built; but, this tree was felled long before that (drying and milling) so perhaps the mystery may yet be resolved. We shall see.


Interlocutors, ICAO and Lachie.

Words beginning with the letter 'I' seemed to dominate the BRB indaba this evening; {blame P2}- it all kicked off when the ICAO 'audit' was mentioned. It is no secret, the BRB firmly believe that all ICAO audit results should be published; placed on the ministerial desk and examined, publicly, by a Senate committee, at least in Estimates. The reasoning for this is self evident; clearly visible across the spectrum of the current fiasco. Although ; 'crisis' may be a better noun, given the wide gulf between that which is reality and that which currently postulated. This is not a 'new' notion; but, for an example of why there is a great 'need' for open, frank discussion related to 'ICAO' compliance read  - HERE - or;  any of the excellent letters published by the peerless AMROBA. - HERE -.

“And thus I clothe my naked villain
With odd old ends stol'n out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.”

What we have, in reality, is the very antithesis of open, honest compliance with the ICAO, the convention, the Act and even a honest reason for not adopting world best practice; excuses by the mile, endless words and meetings and committees; but nary a skerrick of 'real' compliance. Just a deceptive smoke screen and a government which would gladly close down all aviation; bar the executive jet travel sector. The incumbent government has never been a 'friend' of matters aeronautical; indeed, the speed at which the oversight of the safety agencies was abandoned is 'politically' breathtaking; by both sides of the 'house'. What we are left with are two anathemas.
 In primus, we count the three agencies 'responsible for aviation best defined by the 'I' words used in this evening's indaba:-

Incorrigible, insouciant, Insincere. Incompetent, Insolent, Insular, Imposturous Insidious.

Secundus; we must look at the 'department' which provides the circuit breaker between the ministerial posterior, public opinion and stark reality; to wit; the DoIT and it's boss - Betsy.

Who is Betsy? what is she' (or him,
    That all our swains commend her? (or him)
Holy, fair, and wise is she; (or him)
    The heaven such grace did lend her, (or him)
That she  (or him)might admired be.

Who is this postulating, virtue signalling buffoon, seriously? What's this crap on 'Linked in'  "You have been warned" (BRB cowers in terror?)  Who the Duck does this confused Muppet think he is - the bloody Messiah. Well he ain't; he just a very naughty boy who needs to learn some manners  and realise that he ain't the brightest spark in the universe and he has IMO made some folks I would not want 'off-side' just a little cranky. The Murky Mandarin a.k.a. 'Murky' could, single handed, take on a Senate Committee and without outraging those interested, win a round or two and fight his corner with dignity and aplomb'. He was respected - and returned that respect to the Parliament and, by extension, the people of this nation. Betsy may win the bubble crowd with his 'virtue signals' - but a visit to our pub would tell a very different story. 

That's it; the Indaba dragged on a bit longer than expected; how to get ICAO to the party (or the Pub) was a major topic. Somehow or another, many believe that ICAO compliance is the only long term solution to the current mess. Beginning with sorting out a line of 'responsibility' and enforcing the ICAO objectives. To limp along any further, the way things are is untenable; seems everyone in the industry knows this; it is convincing a reluctant government to take a walk on the bright side which is problematic; especially with Betsy whispering and pandering to the Bubble-Heads. But enough; early start tomorrow, best get my my addled head down for a while. Oh! Sorted out the timber; Iron Bark; Eucalyptus Paniculata - tough stuff, but quiet lovely.


Mushrooms v Bubble Heads (Round 27).

With a vengeance; but, before the chickens came the eggs and them as laid them. The notion of an essential 'public service' becoming a profit centre, detached from government (ministerial) responsibility and control is a great idea; for the government. But to the public and business, its about as much use as - (pick your favourite idiom). I wonder if both the business and public sectors realise just how essential Air Traffic Control (ATC) is to the economy? Yep, sure it is a 'safety' essential, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. The existing 'system' is a win-win for the government coffers; there's even a benefit in every delayed flight; one more coffee - a thousand times a day; revenue generated through tax. So, why would 'government' be remotely interested in anything else, other than a system which generates so much, without being even remotely responsible for it? The airlines are not overly concerned; the price of travel just increases and the tax paying traveller must either take the bus, train or drive - and just put up and pay up for it all. Cynical and self serving. But, I digress. We seem to have several large Elephants in the cloistered rooms:-

“The zoo lost its elephant again. It never forgets where to go. I found it in the middle of my room.”

There are three elements involved in this piece of alchemy; each of which could, if treated 'honestly' relieve much of the burden imposed on the travelling public, the air operators;and, improve the percentage 'safety' margins, a much needed improvement. It would take about ten pages to spell it all out; all fully supportable; but here we encounter the elements supporting the zero improvement/ change outlook for the industry, which impacts on the ever weary traveller:-

"Alchemy is the art that separates what is useful from what is not by transforming it into its ultimate matter and essence".

Element 1. The government; or rather the well paid bubble dwellers who continue to treat Senators like Mushrooms. There's no point in my elaborating or labouring this road block. Watch any of the video recordings on the 'You-Tube - channel - HERE -. Note the one or two Mushrooms trying to find some daylight and an army of Bull Shit shovelers laying on like possessed Stokers on the Titanic. There is at least a decade of this 'art house' available on video. Talk about a pen knife to a gun fight - not once have the Mushrooms scored any sort of a goal. let alone brought in the changes desperately needed by travellers and industry. Mushrooms Nil - Bubble Crew 147.

Element 2. ICAO compliance. Why? bellows a Mushroom "are we not fully ICAO compliant"?  - "Oh; but we are Senator; we have, for example over 3000 registered differences to Annex 14 and the rest; - registering those difference 'makes us' compliant with the ICAO; so, Sod off and boil your bottom". (Bubble Head shuffles paper and winks at nearest neighbour).  Mushroom retires in confusion; game, set and match.

Element 3. Money - A Mark a Yen a Buck or a Pound etc.

Aye; filthy Lucre; the root of much that is evil and underpins many of the squabbles we see in the public arena. A classic case is about to garner some public sympathy, if not huge support; and, rightly so. The cost to the tax paying travelling public for air traffic services is not an insignificance number. As matters stand; the cost to airlines in additional operating costs due to a lack of ATC services is significant. These additional hours operated and the delays imposed cost the operators a packet. Maintenance schedules only have time to do the bare minimum, small defects are differed until there are personnel, time and parts available; flight crew rosters are impacted etc. etc. The lack of a fully crewed and functioning ATC system is having an impact across the board; safety, efficiency and 'the bottom line' all reflect this. But, the Bubble Head in charge is earning about a Million a year for making an utter balls up of the system; managed to protect himself and his KPI but will not meet the modest increases in pay for the ATCO who work more hours in overtime a month than the Halfwit has in a year - they now have to 'fight' for their pay rise. Not him; just a cruise through indexing and KPI and etc inure this gesticulating speaker of Double Dutch from the harsh realities of life at the coal face. We wish Civil Air and the boys and girls at the consuls Bon Chance; and, fortune favours the bold.

“Did not learned men, too, hold, till within the last twenty-five years, that a flying dragon was an impossible monster? And do we not now know that there are hundreds of them found fossil up and down the world? People call them Pterodactyls: but that is only because they are ashamed to call them flying dragons, after denying so long that flying dragons could exist.”

Aye well; the battle continues, so reminiscent of Monty Pythons sketch of 'King Arthur'  and the French guards at the castle walls. It would be great to get the public behind the ATC they would benefit most; alas the the Bubble defence system built at tax payer expense is formidable; and much like Monty Python; they have a sacrificial cow 'Betsy' to sling over walls to confound their foes. Pay good money to see that.

The 'Pup' is a pocket rocket with serious stamina; big dog flat out this morning and he can shift; Pup paced along side, got bored and turned on the after burn; Wow; back to the stable; everyone else at a gentle, sedate pace - Pup beat us home by five minutes and never even looked like being out of puff. At least he had the good manners to leave the sausage rolls left on the bench for our morning tea; enough ramble. Beer o'clock is nigh, 'tis a pleasant evening and P7 is coming up the drive. Best crack on and pull a couple of pints. find the matches and cigars. Outdoors tonight seems appropriate. 


Mushrooms v Bubble Heads (Round 30).

"Perversely no one will listen until there is an actual accident. Near misses are seen viewed by our regulator as a successfully managed event with a safe outcome."

The quote above comes from one G.F. Ramsay Esq, - HERE - . It is a minor masterpiece of putting a complex issue into a nutshell. Not only clearly defining the cynical, self serving attitude of the very expensive agencies purporting to be world class 'safety agencies'; but how they get away with it and still  manage to increase the huge budgets which support the edifice every year.

One 'pillar' of the 'safety system' is Air Traffic Control (ATC) ; now, even a Minuscule as absent and purblind as King must see the benefit in preventing aircraft banging into each other.

"something is fundamentally wrong, as even the most purblind apologists must surely come to recognise"

But, set that 'no brain required' notion aside and examine the fiscal cost of such an event; then compare that cost to the cost of an ATC strike action. International and domestic traffic: stopped; even if just for a day. That lost revenue alone would meet the modest demands of the ATCO; but IMO the political 'blow-back' from the air carriers and the travelling public would, (at least should), bring an end to the ministerial tenure. But should there ever be a major event involving passenger transport aircraft and the state of the ATC system is exposed; (IMO) the government would be gone. The cost and waste within the 'administrative' side of ATC v the cost of the 'operational' side of providing a world standard ATC system is worthy of a Royal Commission.

“For this can be said of men in general: that they are ungrateful, fickle, hypocrites and dissemblers, avoiders of dangers, greedy for gain; and while you benefit them, they are entirely yours, offering you their blood, their goods, their life, their children,...when need is far away, but when you actually become needy, they turn away.

Aye, the ATC saga should (you'd think) be enough to galvanise 'government' into action; alas. But many believe this is only the visible part of a much bigger problem within the entire 'aviation safety' system. There are several fairly large signposts pointing toward the real danger areas of an imploding system. ICAO compliance being a muted, but important one, nevertheless. P2 has been rummaging through the dusty basements and discussing his finds with folks who actually know, not only what they are looking at; but 'how' to translate it into something Joe Average can fathom. Take the time and read through the - ICAO - and AMROBA offerings - for a reality fix.

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

All well and good in theory; much fodder for thought and consideration, even makes for some lively discussion at the workbench or in the Pub. In fact, anywhere outside the Bubble, sensible qualified folk despair the wreckage left  in the wake of what should be, for money thrown at it for political distance, be at a gold standard. It ain't; not by a long shot it ain't. DoIT obsessed with signalling how ducking virtuous they are while stonewalling Senators; CASA head Muppet who has never read a rule book being led about like a lamb to slaughter; ATSB - well: least said the better about that particular aberration, much better.  It looks as though the only real hope for 'deep and meaningful' change - a real one; is the Fawcett/ McKenzie alliance. They will need help, time for the industry to step up and pick a side. The opposition has had much time to fortify their castle in the clouds; time to whistle up the 'heavies'. IASA and ICAO have the clout - it is only a matter of 'interest' for them now; they have known for donkey's years the path Australia is on - and it ain't compliance. Tick Tock...

“A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.”

It is not fear of a major accident event which troubles; to me, it seems the gradual slide into an obfuscated, confused morass of ineptitude, ignorance and lack of clear leadership which will, inevitably lead to this once world class aviation nation becoming a pariah; not 'up front' - but a behind the hand butt of jokes. This shames all of us.

“And some that smile have in their hearts, I fear, millions of mischiefs.”

Ayup, my scribbles may not bother those on the gravy train; but spare a thought for the victims; those at the pointy end of an aircraft; those sitting at consuls directing traffic and those being extricated from smashed up aircraft pending eventual 'investigation'. That's it - dogs to walk and things to do and incoming flack from the kitchen means finish my coffee and 'get to it'..


Of responsibility and a duty of care.

"The ATSB also found that CASA did not have an effective process for assuring an authorisation would be unlikely to adversely affect safety. As a result, CASA delegates did not use the available structured risk management process to: identify and assess risks ensure suitable mitigation were included as conditions of the instrument  assess the effects of changes on the overall risk."

"CASA implemented significant changes to its internal processes to ensure that the assessment and management of safety risks of new aviation activities (and associated approvals) were standardised in accordance with the CASA Risk Management Manual and that decision-making was appropriately documented. Additionally, CASA developed an ‘exemption protocol suite’ of documents, which detailed the principles, protocols and work instructions for CASA’s regulatory exemption process".

Bollocks! - I got that far and switched off. Codswallop - nothing more than an exemplar of how the 'system' is rigged to protect those who actually 'do' have 'responsibility' and a duty of care. Spence at the top of that line on the flow chart - WTD? - And - back to Broome we go.

“Men who reject the responsibility of thought and reason can only exist as parasites on the thinking of others.”

Consider, for a moment those at 'the pointy end' of many 'professions' - (no particular order) - all have 'tough' jobs to do and carry not only a willingness to accept a 'duty of care' alongside 'responsibility' - but must answer for that, in court for their part in 'the event': one which dragged them into a court or to an inquiry. ATC, Fire fighters, Ambulance, Police, Pilots, Ship's masters etc - But - when the 'what's it' hits the windmill; there they must stand and justify every action (and bodily function). Criminal penalties apply in many cases, a tough nut to crack - when the deck is stacked against those who can actually become a convenient scapegoat. 'Tis true - a hard fact of accepting 'responsibility'.

“That's just the way: a person does a low-down thing, and then he don't want to take no consequences of it. Thinks as long as he can hide it, it ain't no disgrace.”

But, what of those who are not held 'accountable' or even likely to be so? Hundreds of 'em, all tucked away, cosy and warm in plush offices, with all 'mod-cons'. Fellah's the likes of Crawford and Martin - charged with a 'duty of care' and responsibility for ensuring that matters aeronautical - up North were conducted according to Hoyle - as approved by CASA? Three elements here: who approved the operations; and, who provided the over-sight to ensure compliance; as writ? Then finally; who carried the responsibility for ensuring Crawford and Martin where actually doing their job - outside of the paper trail? You do see; a pilot buggers it up and there's all Hell to pay and a criminal record; these two Bozo's seem to have blithely ignored operations which were, if not black letter strictly illegal; then, at very least worthy of being kicked 'up-stairs' for advice and action. Had they been 'on the job' and able to be held responsible for the Broome aberrations; then perhaps they could have actually done something and saved a few machines from the scrap yard and even prevent unnecessary deaths. Who knows?

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

Back in the snug confines of the bubble; the deck chairs get shuffled; the duty of care is only a slogan and the notion of anyone employed taking any 'responsibility'; in any way shape or form,. is simply a vague, partly understood notion from the world outside. But, dammit all - there is no committee to hide behind in a cockpit or a fire truck; or an ambulance; or, at an ATC consul - the burden is far too often placed on those in the field of fire. Perhaps it is time for those who live comfortably, within 'the bubble' to accept (feel the weight of responsibility) that they, and they alone are actually responsible - even if only in part - for their committee edicts and the escape clauses; those denied to 'coal face' crew; but fully supported for those who weasel their way away from Senator's questions. Aye - blame the ones at the pointy end and keep the office crew out of the spotlight. Shameful, dishonest and downright disgraceful; all this with pay scales nowhere near the bubble rates. Really? I ask you? Can this clever shifting of responsibility ever be remedied?

“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.”

True enough - and damn near impossible to achieve considering how deeply entrenched and protected are those who 'can' affect change; but choose instead to hide behind convenient committees, shuffle the deck chairs and make edicts which ensure that at all times; no matter what - their Latte is delivered on time and no one has dirty hands at lunch time. Despicable, dishonest and a serious drain on the resources of this nation; with very little in the way of return on tax payer money fed into the monstrous machine. The Broome debacle is a classic case of 'no one' at fault, bar the deceased fool operating the business. Where was CASA and Crawford (Scots git) and the Martin??- (words failed here) - when all the wreckage and illegal charters took place? Snug in the office? or, being 'comfortably' entertained and carefully blind?

Life is divided into three parts: what was, what is and what shall be. Of these three periods, the present is short, the future is doubtful and the past alone is certain.”

Aye: So much for the fool's ramble; those as script the 'laws' and regulations take no responsibility for the results; those at the sharp edge carry all the burden, the responsibility and 'must face' legal challenges (scapegoat clauses) brought about by those as wrote the rules, as they neatly avoid any and all part of support for those 'at the coal face', those who must live without the very convenient (handy) avoidance of and serious top cover provided against all departmental responsibility for the outcomes. Nice work - if you can get it (and the pay scale for such wonders).

But enough; the Autumn weather looks to be set fair; the ground is drying which, when you have an easy week to erect 24 meters of fence, and can take the dogs; and they make a great coffee - well - sometimes, you just have say Thank you with a nod to the Gods who, occasionally, smile on a rambling idiot who just likes knocking nails in. Beer o'clock has arrived, there is a small delegation of the BRB in attendance for an old friend's birthday party (I've hidden the cigars). Ever notice how quickly 'reformed' smokers will slide away with an illicit 'smoke' - given the chance? I have QED.


"Now is the winter of our discontent."

A mild enough adjective - 'discontent' - "the feeling that you have when you are not satisfied with your situation." What with winter on the way, the word seems to reflect the wider body of those folk connected with 'transport' in one form or another in this wide brown land. From the insignificant 'busy' modern Mum who can't get the latest 'electric' tarted up milk float charged 'on demand' to the international air carriers using some pretty hefty aircraft types. Boats, trains or aeroplanes; all 'unhappy'.

"before there can be change there must be discontent"

A neat enough statement and given the large scale 'discontent', one could be forgiven expecting the incumbent government; looking toward re-election would 'roll it's sleeves up' and set about 'getting it right'. In my experience, the best way to avoid 'bother' is early prevention; nip it in the bud, so to speak. But to achieve this highly desirable, important situation, in primus, one must be 'paying attention'. The incumbent government (such as it is) is getting seven bells thumped out of it by a very savvy opposition. An apposition which is actually 'paying attention' and seems to know what it is looking at.

18 - "Change your proceeding when you become aware that the enemy has foreseen it."

Machiavelli (as always) makes good sense - but this notion will only work when one is certain of the 'loyalty' of the troops; and the current government, particularly the incumbent 'minister' cannot rely on this; watch any one of the You Tube videos - _HERE_ to get an inkling of where the 'loyalty' and diligence and focus of those troops lays. It is in self preservation; protection of rice bowl and a determination to avoid any and all accountability for the almost unbelievable state the Australian aviation industry has been reduced to. It almost beggars belief; almost, until one takes the the time to examine the entire 'situation'. A 'situation' which should never, ever have been allowed to develop and take hold.

"The remedy is worse than the disease."

There are two 'basic' fundamental ingredients to 'the cure'; all well within the ministerial purview; (should the foot ever be put down, with a firm hand) From these two basic tenets, properly applied and enforced, many of the outlandish situations the aviation industry has to contend with would be 'automatically' reduced. Mouldering away in some deep basement is an important document - 'the State Safety Program' - SSP in jargon. The open, flagrant disregard for this enforceable document , the twisted, conjured 'lip-service' and the incredible cost of producing this oft sneered at legislation is clear and demonstrable. Look no further than the ATSB accident reports. But wait; there's more. Sat alongside the SSP is the ICAO and the 'conventions' appended, along side of the IASA agreements. Across the planet; aviation nations large and small - all signed up - strive to achieve a high percentage of 'black letter' compliance; it makes good operational and political sense to do so; with the added bonus of a 'transparent' safety culture. Many of these nations - to be absolutely 'compliant' register - quite legally - any minor excursion from the scripted norm. No problem, it is not only allowed, but encouraged. The Australian public service claims to be righteously 'ICAO compliant.  Compliant through exploitation of the 'loop hole' This outlandish claim is promoted and managed through the Western world's highest number of registered differences. Millions spent on 'ICAO compliance' without even coming within a Bull's roar of honest compliance.

“Compliance is not just a box to check, but a core aspect of responsible business practice.

“Legal compliance is not a cost, but an investment in long-term success.”

Aye well; such is my feeble fool's attempts to assist getting the aviation industry off it's knee, carrying what should not be an additional burden. But, something has to give; sooner rather than later. No matter which page of the book you open; there is little to stimulate serious investment or development - unless you own (as the nation does) several large aerodromes; from which the profits should benefit the nation, alas: - then the free ride on the government  gravy train awaits. There is a slim (anorexic) hope that Fawcett, McKenzie and Canavan, given an 'unobstructed' shot might just turn the tide of ineptitude, insincerity and incompetence around. But then, as 'Gordon say's in Batman - "In a town this bad who ya gonna Peach to?" Fair question I reckon..

"The best argument for supposing that there is intelligent life out there is that they haven't tried to contact us!

No matter: Two saws, three plane blades and half a dozen chisels are on the bench; all in need of sharpening; then there is a 'rescued (from the Tip {Dump} if you can believe it) a lovely, large Tassy Blackwood table top which will make a great nest of drawers: got a sketch - cutting list to follow after morning tea. Nothing wrong with Sunday; So far..


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