The Sunday Brunch Gazette.

Ah; Whimsy…An odd or fanciful notion.

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From AP PelAir MKII thread post: Media coverage Part II. 

To become a master, a journeyman has to submit a master piece of work to a guild for evaluation. Only after evaluation can a journeyman be admitted to the guild as a master. Sometimes, a journeyman is required to accomplish a three-year working trip, which may be called the journeyman years.

There I was; when whimsy struck – I mentioned, last week, that I was obliged to put together a ‘complex’ piece of joinery, with expensive material. Well I managed; ‘twas “no easy read” as they say in the music game – but manage I did. Not perfect you’ll understand, but, if one listened to the Ooh’s and Ah’s of the recipients; an ego could be built on such. It set me to wondering – at best it was (against the old guild standards) a competent, journeyman’s piece. Sure the crowd loved it – but, I wonder what some ‘master craftsman’ would have made of it? So there I was. Imagining what the ‘master’s’ of their craft would have made of my piece. Every dodgy ‘two thou’ error (a hairs breadth), every bit of sawdust added to ‘fill’ that gap while the glue would accept it; every pubic hair out of square; Hells bells, if I could see ‘em; older wiser more accurate eyed could spot ‘em; why? Well that’s easy to answer – they’ve done it themselves and have not only made the same errors, but attempted the corrections. Journeyman workmanship – top quality – but as a ‘masterpiece’ well; it needs a little more work. Which of course led me to the ‘Manning’ attempt to shovel the whole Pel-Air mess under the carpet. Good quality journeyman stuff – but…..Etc.

I had, (for my sins) completely forgotten the company (due whimsy) I was keeping and why we were all sitting down with pints of ale in ‘comfy’, quiet surrounds. P7’s bark roused me from my reverie. “Well son; what would you do if James were ‘your pilot’? - I know this ‘bark’. Time to speak up.

I look about the table (as I scramble for focus) at the grey heads and grizzled faces attending. No light weight crew this one; no Siree. I can count at least 140, 000 collective hours of flying experience and at least 150 years collective experience as chief pilots, heads of check and training, writers of SOP and Operations manuals; etc. etc. This is a heavy duty crew, each with a copy of the invisible Manning’s’ report.  A poor ‘journeyman’s piece’. The crowd loved it – but the guild ‘masters’ who will allow a journeyman to become a master are not impressed. Aye; Manning’s work is on display. The useless minister may like it, the press will toy with it for a day – but: at the end of the shift; what Manning has produced is not a ‘masterpiece’ – not as the experts judge it. Too much putty, pubic hair and paint to fool the experts.

Six stony, aged, weathered faces look at me with ‘that’ look they reserve for idiots who float off into reverie. “No pixies ‘K’ - not tonight” say’s TOM. So I must collect my thoughts – as a master of one craft – and speak plainly; as if to equals. If I am to be counted among the ‘master craftsmen’ of my trade that is.

So; there I sat. “Well” says I – quiet like “no pilot of mine would have been out there without the tools to do the job in the first place”. “What, in the seven hells was an uneducated, un trained child doing buggering about, at night, trying to land on Norfolk’ (of all islands) in the middle of the bloody night, when he was half asleep, unassisted by the nominated ‘pilot in command’ who seems to have snoozed (without headset) (as was her habit) for a great part of the flight?” “It was supposed to ‘her leg’ after all, acting in command, more to follow on that line of reasoning”. “In short, this event gentlemen, reminds me so much of ‘Lockhart River’ that it almost beggars belief. A fully CASA approved operation, sanctioned by fools and approved charlatans who believe that ‘they’, as the law, have the experience and knowledge to judge an operation as ‘sound’. So completely out of touch with the realities of operating on the ‘raggedy’ edge of reality that they were quiet happy to say ‘Go boys’. How many audits did the half baked Pel-Air system survive?

James, as a product of that system should never had command of the flight. End of.

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From the indubitable LB, a gem, in a nutshell.

A trap was set for the PIC by the system in which he was variously allowed, encouraged and forced to operate. The ‘tripwire’ on the fateful flight was the incomplete and erroneous weather information about YSNF that misled the PIC.

The PIC’s primary sin was that he did not have ESP.

Half the ‘battle’ of long haul is knowing the ‘legal’ and operational constraints on the operation and on the pilot in command. Long haul is, however a misnomer. A one hour ‘expected’ flight with one hour and ten minutes in the tanks is a ‘log haul’. Sydney to Dallas is what; 16 hours. Piece of cake with 20 hours in the tanks; but problematic when the total fuel on board is seventeen hours and you must land with thirty minutes in board. It becomes a question of training, education and experience. Non of which our erstwhile ‘captain’ had or was given. This event needs to be stripped right back to the bare bones. Manning’s journeyman piece takes 500 odd pages to tell us pretty much what was already known; what it fails to encompass is the operational anomalies, the normalised deviances all enshrined within the company system, approved and tolerated by CASA ‘experts’.

The controversy around the classification and standards applicable to this kind of operation are merely a manifestation of the broader classification of operation dog’s breakfast that will never be cleaned up by CASA.

For example; Manning has not raised an eyebrow when we hear that there was no pre departure discussion related to the proposed flight, in terms of weather, residual fuel on board, fuel uplift or options available. The FO sat back and read a magazine while the PIC loaded the fuel uplift; no ETP; no PNR’s; no cross check of the flight or ‘fuel plan’. WTD. There are several other serious elements such as fatigue, lack of operation control etc. which we will examine as time goes by. Not today; I will, in a short while, drag out a favourite ‘old drum’ and start beating it. James is a distraction – nothing more or nothing less.

The Manning epistle is of little value as a ‘loop closer’; it simply deals with ‘the flight’ and manages, quite neatly, to step around the real issues; such as the relaying of weather information. This is artfully done; just enough mention of a massive flaw, to diminish it; but just enough to say “we covered it”. One could present a sound argument that CASA has been criminally negligent in the matter; one could argue equally strongly that ATSB have been remiss and derelict in their duty. You could, over a beer or two even get away with a cover up argument. Why? Well any sensible comparison between the treatment of Airtex and of Pel-Air will highlight exactly and incontrovertibly what was (and probably still is) wrong not only with ‘the Bankstown’ chapter of Sleepy Hollow; but the whole rotten system.

There remain 26 recommendations from the Senate and a further 30 something recommendations from the ASRR outstanding which are being stared down, contemptuously dismissed as ‘opinion’. Meanwhile the minister is pissing about with the ASAP, further delaying the changes demanded by industry. Nowhere near good enough, is it.

However, to answer the question posed. Any system which fails to address the basic, must have, essential tools for ‘long haul’, international (fuel related) requirements and provides an FO who not only failed, due lack of interest, to take part in discussing the residual fuel on board (FOB) or the uplift for the sector to be operated as PIC, but seems to have eliminated herself, (preferring to read a magazine) from any pre departure discussion needs to be examined. The operating system was badly flawed; from the operations manual (CASA accepted) to the Check and Training system (CASA approved) to the ‘fuel planning’ (CASA accepted) to the Multi crew procedures (CASA accepted). In short, the operation was a long standing buggers muddle which had never been corrected – not by the company or the CASA. This is a fundamental part of the result – a ditching – at night, in open water.

The thing ‘we’ would all like to know is why (how) Pel-Air got such a soft ride in the aftermath; why the Senate committee was ‘misdirected’ and why the spotlight should fall on the flight crew who were as much a victim of the ‘system’ as the passengers. James is no longer the centre piece, he is a bit player in a farce of epic proportions.

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Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

Aye well; I’ll forgo the pleasure of using the new report to keep the office door open – it’s not worth the ream of paper or the ink to print it.

There are some wise, experienced, knowledgeable heads looking with a jaundiced eye at the Pel-Air debacle. I’d bet my boots on a big push to get the wrappings off this entire package, strip it back to bare bones and sheet the blame home where it belongs. Problem is finding a ‘platform’ and a crowd of people who’s recommendations will not be treated as ‘an opinion’; to be summarily dismissed – again.

More to follow? Absolutely. P2 has started the ball rolling - Guidelines not rules- If the minister won’t do it, seems Aunt Pru must. Gods alone know what has been spent so far on this pantomime; but I get a horrible feeling, looking at those seated about me, that the whole story is about to be rewritten as a factual discussion, rather than a confection wrapped in a thin tissue, artfully decorated to disguise the disgusting, mouldy filling.


“When the hurlyburly 's done, when the battle 's lost and won”

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Macbeth Act 1, Scene 1: In this opening scene, the three witches, or Weird Sisters (possibly Shakespeare’s version of the Fates?) convene and decide when to approach Macbeth and Banquo with their prophecy. 

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“Compromise cannot be allowed in cases where the exact truth is ascertainable.” - Arthur Lynch.

Read properly, the point of the quote, to the government minister for transport could not be made any clearer. Even our Hi Viz Canary and the ‘three monkeys’ knock off CEO of CASA can relate to the crystal clear message. A fair and equitable solution to any major cultural divide is essential. Same as my Grandmamma said of any healthy ‘relationship’ – “I don’t mind putting the toilet seat down, if he don’t mind lifting it up”. Common sense. Fair, reasonable: and, most importantly, completely sane.

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A Tragic Situation Blossoming. – Aunty Pru Forum version

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So, the puzzle; how do we breathe common sense, decency and honesty into ATSB and CASA doings? Must we dredge up the history? Draw the parallels and drive home the simple, clear message that the time for reaching common ground has past – lost in the mists of time – descended into shadow; lost forever in myth and legend. I believe it is; the situation has polarised; mediation is beyond reach and it is time both ATSB and CASA took a long, hard, honest look at what they have become. The ‘bully’ who insists that the toilet seat must always remain in the upright position – unless he leaves it down – a’ purpose. To do this we must first look to the past.

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“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,...Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

The Lockhart River CFIT event was a fatal accident. One of the younger members of the PAIN network asked me WTD it had to do with the Pel-Air affair. I got us both a beer and sat down with him; “well” say’s I – “how much do you know about Lockhart; or, Seaview?” “Not much” say’s he, “Metro, CFIT, fatalities and a couple of ‘Senate inquiries’; that’s about it”. Not too much point in continuing that discussion, waste of wind and time. “Check your email tomorrow, I’ll send you some data”. End of. Two days later – the phone rings – “Duck me” say’s the youngster. “Exactly” say’s I. You will excuse (I hope) the long winded preamble, but if we are to truly determine exactly how nothing has changed since Lockhart, properly and clinically examine the Pel-Air ‘incident’ and the rape of Airtex (amongst others) we must begin with history.  With your indulgence, a short ramble.

Back in the day, when PAIN first became a living creature, ‘we’ met Shane Urquhart, father of a daughter killed in the Lockhart accident. It was decided that whatever the outcome, for Shane, we would take a long, hard, holistic, unbiased look at the accident. What we discovered, from a purely operational analysis was almost unbelievable. So we checked, and checked again. Then, drafted a report, mostly for Shane and let the matter rest there; for there was little else which, realistically, could to be done. Endit…

Then, the Pel-Air event popped up. We watched, waited; and of course, speculated. Apart from providing some ‘interesting’ discussion at the BRB indaba’s, there was little for PAIN to analyse or even comment on; until the Senate crew brought it on. Ever hear 1000 voices shout BOLLOCKS at the same time; I did. So the digging party was assembled and dig they did. Deep, hard and long they dug; the elusive nuggets drawing them deeper into the squalid swamps of Sleepy Hollow.

I do hope that the above will suffice as an introduction to the next passage of play. A rough (as in unrefined) E&OE report was prepared for Shane Urquhart on the Lockhart event. It is (warts and all) available from the AP library. I intend to quote some passages from that ‘report’ – as part of the Pel-Air puzzle. The parallels are astonishing. All that is asked of the reader is to consider those parallels in the context of the Pel-Air event.

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PDF Link -

I will finish with those quotes from that rough ‘report’; but I would ask that you consider the following. Pick the international ‘heavy’ carrier you prefer; then consider ’how’ their Captains achieve that rank. I can, if you permit it, save you some brain work. It is simplicity itself – they train ‘em. Train ‘em hard, long and often: then they send ‘em off with ‘experienced’ Captains, first as ‘second officers, then as First officers who eventually progress to Captain. The great big skies and far off destination gambit is not an environment for aeronautical children, not when fuel, weather and ‘the law’ and company SOP and the bogey man haunt the night skies and Murphey is everyman’s co-pilot. Airlines, like Qantas, take extraordinary pains, learnt from hard won experience to make absolutely certain that a brand new Captain, taking out his first long haul flight has had the benefit of watching, then helping experienced airmen doing the job; properly: in all manner of conditions, circumstances and, occasionally, danger. Danger not only in an operational sense, but in the ‘legal’ sense. Flying a modern aircraft these days is much more fraught with legal peril than it is of some of the more ‘life threatening’ dangers of the past.

Quote:The aircrew involved in both the Lockhart and Pel-Air accidents were, theoretically, to be afforded the protection and support of an over sighted, sound company operational, administrative and maintenance infrastructure.

There is ample evidence that this was not the case.

The aircrew involved in the accident were, theoretically, to be afforded the protection of a fully functioning Training and Checking System to prevent potentially dangerous, unsafe practices and procedures becoming the accepted 'norm'.

There is ample evidence that this was not the case.

The aircrew involved in the accident were, theoretically, to be afforded the protection of a Safety Management reporting system through which anomalies, potential and real hazards to operational safety could be brought to the attention of and addressed by management.

There is ample evidence that this was not the case.

The aircrew involved in the accident were, theoretically, to be afforded the protection of a routes and ports SOP which, through developed experience would provide clearly defined limitations for instrument approach, aircraft speed profile management and highlighted potential areas of high CFIT risk management.

There is ample evidence that this was not the case.

The aircrew involved in the accident were, theoretically, to be afforded the protection of properly constructed Company Operations Manual (COM) which, as a last resort would supply the information required to enable an aircrew to safely and legally conduct any proposed operation.

There is ample evidence that this was not the case.

Extract: from a 'standard' Company Operations Manual.

1) The company directors are aware of, and have considered pertinent regulatory material and acknowledge, that as a Company officers, there is a duty to exercise care and diligence under the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (the Act) [CAA 28 BE], with regard to the activities conducted under the Air Operator Certification.

2) The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as "the operator" is to ensure that the company obligations in relation to flying operations are met, conducted in compliance with the regulations and in the manner prescribed within the Company Operations Manual (COM).

I ask you consider the James case in these terms. A veritable ‘babe-in-the woods’. Absolutely NFI of what could go wrong, no experience, no training, no mentoring, no back up. You could be forgiven believing that the CASA would see the gaping holes in both system and safety net. They failed in the Pel-Air case as badly as they did at Lockhart River. There was suspicion of a second agenda in the Lockhart affair; there is deep suspicion of a second agenda in the Pel-Air debacle; but it goes deeper than that. When you begin to compare Pel-Air to Airtex; or even Barrier Aviation, the whiff of honesty putrefying in the dark corners and the stench of long dead integrity becomes (IMO) too much to countenance.  The minister knows this, the PMC and the DoIT know it, the Senate committee know it. At the end of the long weary shift, there is only one question which demands an answer – why do they tolerate it? Most folk clean up a mess dumped on their doorstep.

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Shall I tell you what the real evil is? To cringe to the things that are called evils, to surrender to them our freedom, in defiance of which we ought to face any suffering. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Not too many laughs this Sunday – sorry about that; but Aunt Pru is vexed, and wants this out there, in public and dealt with. The tooter the sweeter. But now, the day is my own – the Gazette out early; domestic tyranny has abated; repairs all done, the dogs are bathed and, with any luck at all, a load of very old Cedar (Australian) and Sandalwood will arrive after second coffee; one soft and obliging, ‘tuther a beast; can I meld them into something of use and purpose? We shall see..

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The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail — its roof may shake — the wind may blow through it — the storm may enter — the rain may enter — but the King of England cannot enter — all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement! (Pitt).


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Quantity v Quality. - via AP FORUM        

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“It is quality rather than quantity that matters.” - Seneca.

A quick dip in the chequered history of Australian aviation safety management shows a steady but significant decline in ‘the quality’ – for wont of a better descriptor. You can define it yourself through the everyday things we use; even in this ‘throw away’ world we live in. There is still a demand, although diminishing for ‘quality’ products and the old maxim “can’t afford cheap stuff” remains valid. As always caveat emptor is the golden rule; you can still pay a premium price for alleged ‘quality’ and end up with dross. This is, IMO where the Australian travelling public have fetched up; we pay, unstintingly, incredible sums to ensure ‘safety’. Even every ticket sold contributes to the carrier air safety systems – from apprentice engineers to pilots; from audit to system improvements. It costs money, real money, to do this. The airlines return this investment to the passenger by way of ‘good standards’ and safe travel. They may not always deliver – but in the vast majority of cases they do. The beauty part of this is that the passenger has the choice of carrier and some say in the ‘quality’ of product.

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“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”

So much for the commercial side of flight; what about the really expensive side? The side over which no one has any real control i.e. the ‘government agencies. The cost of maintaining ATSB and CASA is astronomical; yet we must have the agencies. For the class of money we spend it seems fair and reasonable that the service provided should be first class. Alas. Thirty years and an estimated cost somewhere North of $300, 000, 000. 000 has been invested into what is one of the worst set of ‘safety rules’ ever produced. We had a much better safety record back when the Air Navigation Regulations were a slim volume of practical application and the Air Navigation Orders sat on the book shelf about the same thickness as the telephone book. Since then nothing has improved, the regulation becoming more complex and difficult to comply with, which is bad enough. Now we see the distinct pattern emerging which is becoming unhealthy. CASA seem to believe they are a legal firm - or, the ‘police’ and ATSB seem to believe they are nothing more than a press agency for both airlines and CASA. These are not things from my imagination, the story of Dom James, John Quadrio and several others bear stark witness to the appalling state to which the Australian aviation regulatory and safety agencies have descended. The cost of achieving SDA in terms of ‘quality’ assurance is disgraceful.

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“The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.”  - Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2.

It is small wonder that the aviation world is looking more and more to the Senate and the Senators to lend a hand and get a rope on the lunatics. The ATSB were emasculated during the Lockhart River affair and CASA dodged a large calibre bullet; many years later we have the Pel-Air and Norfolk Island farrago. The total cost of this debacle is staggering, the quality of the result disgraceful; but by far the worst is total zero improvement in system or safety lesson of value; to anyone. When the dust has settled a long, hard look, in terms of value for investment will be taken of this almost unbelievable saga. Perhaps by then there will be a minister who actually gives a damn and finally matters aeronautical will take a turn for the better. Do not hold your breathe…….

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Waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industry and frugality, nothing will do, and with them everythingBenjamin Franklin

Nevertheless; Sen Rex Patrick in his maiden speech to the Senate seems to have joined the ‘good guys’ and will assist in the quest for accountability, honesty, quality and integrity from our agencies. The sooner this happens, the better off we will all be.  Do not hold your breathe…….

It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and the voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. Unless Congress have and use every means of acquainting itself with the acts and the disposition of the administrative agents of the government, the country must be helpless to learn how it is being served …

Easily said; difficult to do. A small sample, representing just some of the monsters the Senate has to grapple with may be quickly seen:-

P2- in #32 -  takes a little of the muck off the top of the deep, murky, expensive, pointless Pel-Air scandal.

Hitch in Australian flying sums up another debacle which has some ‘interesting’ conflicts, operational and ‘safety’ wise. A perfect, simple example of why reform is needed.  

The Independent Australian asks some pertinent questions. Doc Sanders article smacks of truth and reality.

Two governments, three ministers, two new directors of CASA and a new CC at ATSB have failed to produce one single solitary piece of ‘reform’ which is worth anymore than yesterdays newspaper or likely to improve the quality of service to the travelling public. The scary thing is the meek acceptance of this as the ‘norm’. That ain’t right – not by a long shot it ain’t and anyone who believes hiding under their rice bowl will provide protection is barking.

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Enough: I’ve important matters to deal with. I own a rather lovely bench plane, which was made in 1898. It is delight to use, or rather it was until it was dropped onto a stone floor and the back handle got broken, beyond repair. It will take the best part of today, probably some blood, the occasional tear and lots of sweat to remake one from scratch, finding the right wood is a challenge, but I believe there is a lump of suitable material lurking in the ‘bin’ I use for off-cuts of ‘special’ timber. I shall tip it all out and see what I have. Right; best crack on.

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Turns off the computer (without a second glance), whistles up dogs – exeunt.


P2 - Charlie Brown's final word on Quality v Quantity   Rolleyes

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The trick that wins the rubber.

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Occasionally, one meets people with ‘real’ money, clever folk who know how to make a goose  jump through hoops and land safely without a ruffled feather to deliver a golden egg. Those with connections, influence and know how. They do exist, some even have a passing interest in aviation. “Well my boy” say’s one such worthy, “how fares the aviation racket”?”  “Aw” says I “I’ve just enjoyed one the best meals I’ve ever eaten and it has been an exceptionally pleasant evening; let’s just sit quietly, have another Brandy and let sleeping dogs lay – at least for tonight”. The only sounds which disturbed the ensuing silence was the rustle of bow ties being undone and the rasp of matches being struck to light the forbidden cigars – peace reigned. Then, through the smoke; “tell me again - why I shouldn’t invest in aviation”? Aunt Pru arrived about this time with impeccable timing, bearing a box of cigars and a decanter; “thought you boys may be out here for a while” a swoosh of silk, a whiff of perfume and she’d gone. How could I refuse – “there is no nutshell” say’s I; “but, I’ll tell you the latest stupidity story; it is not mine to tell – too much at stake – however, the time will come when this chapter of the aviation story may be read out loud, in its turn”. I told the tale – well the last part of it at least as the evening breeze carried the words away. I ended the soliloquy with “but this senseless, expensive, non productive rule of embuggerance, as and when pleases, has to stop; it must, before anyone sane would invest a large sum for small return”.

It was a short way of illustrating where ‘aviation safety’ in Australia is parked. There are so many ‘agenda’s’ being worked; not all of ‘em ‘above board’ that it is hard to know where it all begins, where it is going and how it is to end. I ended the potted story with:-

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"Ah, Miss, hope is an excellent thing for such as has the spirits to bear it!" said Mrs Wickam, shaking her head. "My own spirits is not equal to it, but I don't owe it any grudge. I envy’s them that is so blest!" - Charles Dickens Quotes

Hoping to wriggle off the hook, alas. My glass was refilled, the cigars nudged closer and an eyebrow was raised – more…I tried again for a shortened discussion.

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“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli.

Y’ just know; for a fact, that old Niccolò had, whatever game was afoot – by the nuts and knew just how hard to squeeze to ensure that hearts and minds followed; and, IMO, that’s the trick which takes the rubber.  

This current system cannot possibly continue; the cost of it all alone is staggering. The return on investment is enough to promote mass suicide of speculators and more than enough to drive even the most interested investor as far away from the industry as quickly as possible. No faith in the government agency which has, effectively a life or death hold the proposed investment spells only one possible result – no funds; ergo, no business opportunity. I can, without too much effort, find a half dozen companies which, for want of a little financial shove, could have blossomed into a sound investment. But the uncertainty of being able to operate, proven by history, discovered under due diligence, drives away a potential investor faster than a cockroach in a beer glass.

There exists a great conflict within the aviation industry, one founded not only on fear; but on the uncertainty of governmental ‘support’ that an investment will be defended. What is the fool raving about, you ask. Well I shall try, in my clumsy manner, to explain.

Agenda – (Wiki) –“It usually includes one or more specific items of business to be acted upon. It may, but is not required to, include specific times for one or more activities.”.

Conflict – (Wiki)- “a serious disagreement or argument, typically a protracted one.

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(Wiki) - “A conflict of interest (COI) is a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple interests, financial or otherwise, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation or decision-making of that individual or organization.

Or: as we say in the trenches – WTD? There are solutions, there are ways to work around – always; when serious folk sit down to discuss matters of great importance – even the most inutile politician knows this – as fact – even our very own – Daren 6D (AGAD).

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Handling Conflicting Agendas
December 22, 2016 by Colin Gautrey

When you are clear about what you want to achieve, it is often frustrating to find that others do not share your enthusiasm. A great deal of time and effort is expended building the case, considering the risks and planning the execution. Everything seems to make sense and you are keen to get going – you want to implement swiftly. Then the problems start.

Manage Turf Issues, Hidden Agendas and Conflict.

Collaboration is hard work. If you could get the results you want without having to work with so many other organizations and people, you would have already done so. When you decide to collaborate, you decide to settle differences among the organizations in your community – whether you meant to or not.

Karen has helped hundreds of organizations and people get past the turf issues and other conflicts that plague partners  If you’re stuck, or your efforts to move forward haven’t paid off, this is the time to ask for help. Remember, if it was an easy problem to solve you or one of your colleagues would already have found the solution.

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“But injustice breeds injustice; the fighting with shadows and being defeated by them necessitates the setting up of substances to combat.” - Charles Dickens Bleak House

Oh, I forget the faery tale – another prince charming and yet another sleeping beauty were involved. It runs in my mind that a midnight swim was involved, or it could have been a glass slipper - no matter: for the more classically inclined the tale of Romeo and Juliette smacks of symmetry. Conflicted interests, separate agenda’s, divergent interests, power, pride, arrogance and investments to protect all play a part. You could always, academically, extend this to ‘total corrupting power’.

W. Shakespeare Esq, penned R&J circa 1594. The undelaying subtext is a matter not only of pride, but of power; control, especially of ‘facts and circumstance’. No one, is going to relinquish one solitary inch of ground to a pair of love struck teenagers; certainly not the Don’s who head up the warring camps. So it comes down to logistics; (forget the lovers). Men, money and ‘top cover’. Look back at prohibition; did it prevent booze from flowing or did it simply criminalise drinking? The villains did exactly as pleased them, the influence, men and money power did very well for them. Again, I digress, the industry is playing in a rigged game, against a stacked deck, run by the villains. That is bad enough, standing alone, but when you get a subterranean tunnel running under the earthworks – well; what’s to be done?

You see, I believe that the CASA top end has much to hide – which leaves the middle layer of cannon fodder, acting under instruction needing to cover their tracks; and they will. But what of the foot soldiers; the disposable assets? Their only hope is that the next layer up will protect them; or they have enough information to protect themselves. Possibly even enough to ensure promotion. All this depends on what manner of pressure the next tier up is feeling. But with enough pressure – sooner or later, someone will ‘’Peach’ – they always do..

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What has always brought playtime to a halt is ‘the canary’, the squealer, the rat, the dobber; the one who will realise that salvation, through protection by the authorities will almost guarantee life goes on. Many take the fall, do their time and are reunited, but never 100% trusted – ever again – by either side. You must choose your squealer carefully. Easy enough to spot. You want a collector of information, a system player, willing accomplice to dastardly deeds etc. but, one who will, when faced with a real case against fold like a wet paper bag in a rain shower. Structural integrity of a rice pudding, sweaty top lip etc.

So, what has all this to do with investment in ‘matters aeronautical’? Everything, is the answer, as every law enforcement officer worth the title knows. Proving it – well; well we can leave that to the legal eagles, can’t we?

Proving that lies were told to support a fallacy is always a problem; ain’t it. Dragging in crown ministers to admit their part is problematic. So why would you not just invest in a gin mill with dancing girls and a cat house upstairs; instead of a wannabe aviation enterprise – governed and controlled by ‘the mob’? At least a cat house has some integrity, at least you know, up front, what you’re buying into (rates and rules); and, it’s a bloody sight straighter and more respectable than a line of CASA ‘experts’.

That’s it; twiddle ended – just don’t post on the UP and all will be well; CASA say so.

Right then, boots; dogs; Purdy; cartridges, and the gods help those clay pigeons.

Toot - toot.

P2 comment - Finally a word from our a well manicured, fearless miniscule overseeing aviation, see here (- 01:25):  

For more see: Miniscule 6D AGAD Chester bellys up at West Sale

CASA Sydney Regional Office: The last bastion of the McComic Stasi era?

Quote from today's Alphabet's post: Industry feedback on Chester dumping;

Quote:Hmm...passing strange that this week's SBG - The trick that wins the rubber. - would appear to highlight that the CASA Sydney Regional Office has missed the Carmody memo on embracing the ASRR reforms and indeed the DAS's very own instruction/directive on CASA adopting a 'just culture' - refer: E is for?? Part II: Proof is in the pudding; or Legerdemain– a handy skill. - so who is a poor dumbass knuckledragger meant to believe?
On a quick ring around of operators across Australia, represented by different CASA regional offices, the word was (besides one or two minor aberrations), that there was a definite cultural shift within the CASA coalface ranks that seemed to reflect the recent Carmody initiatives:
Quote:Oz Flying article: Carmody - "Most of the Aviation Safety Regulation Review recommendations are now ongoing as they are embedded into CASA's new policies, processes and procedures. Many of these will take time to bed down but we are making significant headway."

Carmody also revealed he had been collaborating with ASRR chairman and report author David Forsyth to track progress.

In early 2016, Forsyth assessed that CASA had completed only 29% of the reforms that applied to them, but indicated today that progress had been made since then.

"While a number of issues are still in work, there is clear progress on necessary improvements and re-establishing a trust based relationship with industry," Forsyth said.
Carmody also reiterated his belief in the value of the ASRR and the impact reforms are having.

"The review was a very important and valuable benchmarking exercise that has focussed CASA on making worthwhile improvements that are now paying dividends to the aviation community," he said.
However from recent evidence in the DJ embuggerance etc. it would seem that the Sydney Regional office is either in open defiance thumbing it's nose at the Carmody adopted ASRR policies; or the Carmody initiatives are nothing more than a 'show and tell' exercise to appease the pollies and industry till such time as big-R regulator 'business as usual' can be enforced.
The following historical collective Aunty Pru post extract IMO almost perfectly highlights why Carmody (or someone at a Crown Minister level) needs to clean out these former McComic acolyte grubs from the CASA Sydney Office ASAP: Ref - On joining the dots and making of dashes. post #18.

From earlier post#33 "K" said:
Quote: Wrote: Wrote:..History then shows a clear shift in the approach of the ATSB to a ‘softly softly’ approach where organizational issues are brushed aside. A classic is the Air North Brasilia fatal where a whole string of ‘organizational’ matters of great import were written out of the script.  In short, a routine check and training flight ended with two deaths. The question left begging is why two experienced, qualified pilots died that day. The ‘new’ procedures being used were ‘approved’ by CASA, have to be. The practices used in the simulator take the aircraft into ‘borderline’ dangerous situations; which is fine, and; in theory, those practices should translate into in-flight scenario. Well, they did not. There is a CASA FOI who we believe has much to answer for, still gainfully employed, at the well hidden roots of this accident. Part of the ‘organizational’ causal chain; sure, but acknowledged? Don’t be naïve...
And just before the Senate PelAir inquiry, on the 6th August 2012, a certain 'senior' ATSB Transport Safety Investigator (who I believe was actually Dr (BASR) Walker), said this about the Braz tragedy:
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{P2 comment - To put this in context this was just prior to the release of the original nearly 3 year, totally shambolic, politically & bureaucratically obfuscated VH-NGA ditching investigation final report}

Now in an effort to track down the 'unflattering comments' that so offended Dr (BASR) Ghost-Who-Walks, I raided the UP archives based on the timing and this is (much to my amusement..[Image: biggrin.gif]) was what I discovered: Air North Brasilia Crash in Darwin (Merged) #446
Quote: Wrote: Wrote:Without this diverging into a mixture vs closed throttle vs Flight idle vs zero thrust debate has anyone noticed the gradual decay of the quality of investigation reports coming out of the ATSB?

Besides the Hempel Inquest, where the ATSB appears to have abrogated all responsibility to investigate at all, the ATSB report into the Brasilia accident in Darwin is nothing short of totally spare in its conclusions!

There also appears to be no 'Safety Recommendations' generated from a training accident that I think we could have all learnt a lot more from.

Take a look at a couple of extracts from the report:

Quote: Wrote: Wrote:Terminology used in training and checking

The operator’s documentation did not contain any specific terminology for discontinuing a manoeuvre, but did provide clear instruction as to how control of an aircraft was to be changed between crew members.

To take over control from the pilot flying, or for the pilot flying to relinquish control to the other pilot in a multi-crew aircraft, very specific terminology was used. To avoid any confusion as to which pilot was manipulating the controls, the operator’s General Policy and Procedures Manual, section Crew Communication - Handing Over and Taking Over stated:

The process of handing over control of the aircraft shall always be conducted in a positive manner. To minimise confusion or operational risk, the following terminology shall be used.

To assume control, the pilot monitoring shall call "taking over". To relinquish control, the pilot flying shall call "handing over".

Control of the aircraft cannot be handed over until the pilot monitoring has called "taking over"...

The term ‘disengage’ that was used by the PIC during this simulated engine failure was not standard phraseology. Other EMB-120 pilots reported that they had never heard the term ‘disengage’ used for any action other than deselecting the autopilot/yaw damper and had never heard it used to discontinue a manoeuvre.
They also reported that if a training or check pilot decided to discontinue a simulated engine failure procedure, they would expect that check pilot to restore power to the ‘failed’ engine. Alternately, if the training or check pilot wanted to assume control of the aircraft, they would expect to hear the term ‘taking over’.

Which is pretty basic stuff in a multi-crew aircraft....and then in regards to the Yaw Damper....

Quote: Wrote: Wrote:The operator’s flight operations manual for the EMB-120 stated that the yaw damper was not to be used for takeoff or landing, and that the minimum speed for its use during one engine inoperative (OEI) flight was 120 kts indicated airspeed (KIAS).

.....and then more in relation to the apparent Yaw Damper activation...
Quote: Wrote: Wrote:The use of the yaw damper during asymmetric flight was introduced to the simulator testing following consideration of the cockpit voice recording references to the PIC’s command ‘disengage’ and the pilot under check’s response, ‘yeah, disengaging’. It was assumed that the reference was to the yaw damper and not the autopilot because the chime that sounds when the autopilot was disengaged was not heard on the CVR recording. Additionally, the simulator instructor reported having previously observed pilots engage the yaw damper during simulated engine failures in the EMB-120 in response to pilots ‘overcontrolling’ rudder and aileron following a simulated engine failure.

All of the above is all good factual investigative methodology a lot of which points to a number of operational issues (company SOPs etc) and regulator oversight issues....right?? Wrong, take a look at the first paragraph of the ATSB conclusion.

Quote: Wrote: Wrote:No organisational or systemic issues that might adversely affect the future safety of aviation operations were identified as a result of this investigation.

Maybe this conclusion is a result of the regulator putting in place the Mandatory Simulator program and subsequent NPRM leading to the current NFRM, but does it excuse glossing over what was a particularly significant training accident event that, although tragic, we could all have learnt from![Image: eusa_naughty.gif]

ps ....and what gives with the no 'Safety Recommendations' issued![Image: eusa_wall.gif]

With "K" in tow, the discussion went on down the page:

Quote: Wrote: Wrote:Now I'm curious

I find I am once again forced to read between the lines of an ATSB report. Technically it's spot on; for example, reading the time line analysis, there is a temptation to question the rudder v aileron input, however this is clearly resolved in the computer simulation graphics. Not having operated a Braz – there are a couple of points of interest which perhaps can be explained by someone who has.

Disengage ?? –could this refer to the Flight Director or is it the Yaw Damper ?. I note the AFM mentions –(paraphrased) FD Before take off (SET), expanded to PF select GA and check 7° pitch up; and, that the AP or YD may not be engaged during TOFF and LAND manoeuvres.

Has it been SOP for the PF to engage the YD as part of an EFATO or was this a recent innovation ?.

The V1, Vr and V2, V2 +10, etc. schedule. The AFM seems to be clear about the speed schedule and the acceleration to V2 +, then flaps up then Vfs (paraphrased). There appears to be a deliberate reduction from V2 + 4 (at – 23 seconds) to V2 (at -20.7 seconds). Is this a norm for the type or a new innovation ?.

Is the un monitored management of the OE, the over torque (124%) and the corresponding rudder/aileron excursions normal for the airborne exercise being conducted ?.

It is suggested by the ATSB final analysis that the BASI recommendations made after an investigation into the Flight Idle v Zero thrust (auto feather) scenario have been ignored. There is much documented proof that CASA have been enforcing 'black letter' CAO 40.1 requirements which conflict with both the AFM (see CAR 138) and a common sense approach to airborne EFATO exercises.

It is noteworthy that simulator based training had been recently introduced; and, conversely that Air North have safely, successfully conducted many 'in flight' simulated failures prior to the introduction of 'simulator' techniques. It is of concern that several things occurred which should give a check pilot the screaming heebie jeebies, airborne.

Perhaps we could ask of the ATSB to investigate 'in depth' the contributing factors to this situation occurring. We have the almost self evident facts of the accident, we have the why, but maybe it would be nice to know the wherefores.

P.S. Categorically not having a pot shot at the crew, the company or the simulator. Just seeking a satisfactory explanation of why and how this 'abnormal' chain of events occurred. If this was a new ME instructor and an initial twin conversion, perhaps this event may have occurred, but it wasn't – was it.
Which I followed with:
Quote: Wrote: Wrote:
Quote: Wrote: Wrote:It is noteworthy that simulator based training had been recently introduced; and, conversely that Air North have safely, successfully conducted many 'in flight' simulated failures prior to the introduction of 'simulator' techniques. It is of concern that several things occurred which should give a check pilot the screaming heebie jeebies, airborne.

Perhaps we could ask of the ATSB to investigate 'in depth' the contributing factors to this situation occurring. We have the almost self evident facts of the accident, we have the why, but maybe it would be nice to know the wherefores.

A lot of what was covered in the ATSB report touched on the areas of operational concern and hinted to several differences in history where the Check Pilot had started to diverge from his 'norm'. This quote from page 54 of the report is significant:

Quote: Wrote: Wrote:Two of the pilots who were recently assessed by the PIC reported that he selected flight idle (zero torque) to simulate an engine failure after takeoff in their check flights. It was possible that the PIC had decided to deviate from the operator’s approved procedure in order to test the recognition by the candidate of the additional failure of the autofeather, before setting zero thrust.
However it isn't clear whether this 'divergence' from his 'norm' started after he had been to the simulator or before. If it was after then one may suggest that he was operating in a 'simulator induced complacency' manner i.e. it was proven that Flight idle (aircraft) or 'Autofeather Failed' engine failure (simulator) could be successfully recovered from while conducting a V1 cut.

This also appears to have been an area of concern for the regulator, as they used this accident as an example in Annex A of the NFRM for Mandatory Simulator, see here:

Quote: Wrote: Wrote:From CASA NFRM Mandatory Simulator training Annex A:

Some respondents proposed adding wording to allow training and checking to occur in the aircraft provided the exercise had been conducted by all pilots in a simulator in the preceding 12 months.

CASA Response
CASA is firmly of the view that where a qualified STD is available for aircraft of this size, this should be used for all training and checking activities. The ATSB has reported that the training captain of the aircraft involved in an accident in Darwin in March 2010 had undergone training and checking in a flight simulator, however the actions by the training captain in simulating an engine failure in the actual aircraft during the accident flight was not consistent with the training received during the simulator course. This suggests that doing one session of training and one check per year in an STD (with the subsequent session/check in an actual aircraft) does not satisfactorily address the risk of conducting non-normal exercises in an actual aircraft.

If the Check Captain was inducing this scenario (FI V1 cuts) prior to having gone to the simulator, whereas previously he always only induced a Zero Thrust EFATO scenario, then there must have been input from somewhere/someone to change him to suddenly start breaching the company T&C SOPs??

As 'K' suggests there has been many takes, ambiguity and debate..etc..etc..on the regulatory requirements of CAO 40.1.0:

Quote: Wrote: Wrote:Quote:
There is much documented proof that CASA have been enforcing 'black letter' CAO 40.1 requirements which conflict with both the AFM (see CAR 138) and a common sense approach to airborne EFATO exercises.

Maybe there is an element of rogue FOI's, that lack the necessary industry experience, that insist on adhering to the letter of the law in CAO 40.1.0. Instead of applying practical safeguards and risk management to high risk training and checking scenarios!!

In light of the Kharon post and considering it is still way to early to really speculate, but reflect that this is not realistically about some spurious lack of training in a 1 in a million auto fx or rudder boost failure after EFATO. Potentially this is about why two experienced professional aviators - one a senior Training & Check Pilot with years of experience instructing and C&T; the other a 38 year experienced Charter Pilot with presumably much experience on type (B200) that was recently checked (& re-checked) by CASA - would appear to have deviated from what would be regarded as their baseline 'normal' for dealing with (simulated or real) abnormal or emergency twin turbo-prop aircraft operations - just saying... [Image: undecided.gif]

Can we please have a judicial inquiry or equivalent before these self-serving parasitic grubs kill someone else - FDS! Angry  
MTF...P2 Cool

Wouldn’t it be lovely if for just 24 hours; once a year, on a mutually agreed date everyone would just put their weapons aside for a day of peace. The ‘war’ will still be there tomorrow, but for just one blessed day in a year could everyone not just sit quietly. I, for one would appreciate it.

That’s it – stay safe….


Delusion, Illusion or Quandary?

If you have the time to spare and an interest in ‘magic’ or ‘illusion’ an article by Robertson – on the life and times of ‘The Great Lafayette’ is worth a coffee. The article speaks of a forgotten time when the masters of illusion were household names and people flocked to witness the ‘illusion’. Half the fascination was probably to do with trying to work how the illusion was managed. Folks knew they were being tricked, the eye deceived and the mind baffled – but, nevertheless, they were fascinated by it all.

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Which is terrific – as a form of entertainment; but I doubt few were seriously deluded into believing it was all very real. So the illusion became a quandary, subject of dinner party discussion, providing endless scope for discussion and theorising, across a wide range of topics. But there was no delusion.

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Delusion is a whole different animal - “an idiosyncratic belief or impression maintained despite being contradicted by reality or rational argument, typically as a symptom of mental disorder.”

These diametrically opposed notions are the nub of the dilemma Barnaby Joyce must now deal with. One could, in a better world, understand the need for presenting the tax paying public with the ‘illusion’ that all was well within the aviation business sector. Bit of smoke, cleverly placed mirrors, dramatic background, beautiful assistants and a star performer working his ‘magic’ to the Ooh’s and Ah’s of the paying audience. Illusions can be fun and are, essentially, harmless. However “Delusions, carefully implanted, are difficult to correct.” (Dr. N. Houston).

It is when the ‘magician’ begins to believe that magical power has been granted that the delusion begins. The thing reaches a critical mass when the public become as deluded. As matters aeronautical stand, both public and parliament are becoming IMO deluded. Now, before the torches and pitchforks emerge, take any piece of the last weeks jig-saw puzzle and join it with any other piece of your choosing. It does not take very long or much effort to see an ugly picture emerging; which, decries the illusion that all is well – it ain’t.

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It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so; and, has been so for quite a while. (Twain) - There is a ‘nutshell’ version – HERE – from an astute, qualified observer.

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“If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I wouldn't pass it around. Wouldn't be doing anybody a favor. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don't say embrace trouble. That's as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say, meet it as a friend, for you'll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.” 

― Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

‘Trouble’ for the new minister comes in several ‘interesting’ areas; several of which are being nibbled at by the Senate committee. I may add that to involve a Senate committee in these matters is not done lightly, and when a truly bipartisan, united committee is affronted, then it’s a fair bet that trouble, with a capital ‘T’ is not too far away; if it has not already arrived, in the form of a ‘restructure’.


For your consideration this week :-

The endless catch up battles of the Drone Wars. The ongoing illusion that the second Pel-Air report was ‘fair-dinkum’.The truly horrendous cost of trying to run a flight school operation and the major loss of taxable revenue as a side product. Then, with a thumbnail dipped in the proverbial tar – one of the many serious matters relating to the way CASA likes to do business with the aviation community – it is a ‘small’ story, but it illustrates why there is much lip service and dogged ‘compliance’ to the often risible edicts of CASA field officers.

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“If it is necessary sometimes to lie to others, it is always despicable to lie to oneself.” ― W. Somerset MaughamThe Painted Veil

After the Christmas holidays we will have yet another new minister for transport. Much will depend on whether he accepts delusion as the norm or prefers to explore the illusion and work out exactly how he and the audience have been cleverly deceived. We shall, I expect, see the result in time.

Well - I can hear the picnic table groaning under the weight of lunch being laid out for the multitude which will arrive shortly. A last look about the stable confirms that all is as clean and tidy as a workshop can be, the mice are fed and all is quiet; I shall lock the door to keep sticky little fingers away from surgically sharp tools – and off my keyboard. No need to look for the dogs, they know exactly where to park when there is a picnic. DT wants the BBQ fired up – best crack on.


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Fort Fumble deckchair shuffle - incognito? Confused

K said: "...I may add that to involve a Senate committee in these matters is not done lightly, and when a truly bipartisan, united committee is affronted, then it’s a fair bet that trouble, with a capital ‘T’ is not too far away; if it has not already arrived, in the form of a ‘restructure’..."

Must have missed the memo but another restructure "K" - surely you jest?  Undecided

Nothing mentioned in either of the last 2 Carmody weasel word confections - November 2017 & December 2017 . However a quick flick through the FF hiring page and you soon get the impression that there is indeed something afoot...  Dodgy :

Quote:Aviation Safety Inspector (AIM/IFP) Canberra or Brisbane Permanent Full Time 07/01/2018

Procurement Coordinator Canberra Permanent Full Time 07/01/2018

Branch Manager, Air Navigation, Airspace & Aerodromes Canberra Permanent Full Time 09/01/2018

Executive Manager, National Operations and Standards Canberra Permanent Full Time 09/01/2018

Branch Manager, Training Brisbane or Canberra Permanent Full Time 09/01/2018

Manager Aircraft Certification Canberra Permanent Full Time 21/01/2018

Aerospace Medical Training Program - (AMTP) - Medical Trainee Canberra and Sydney Temporary/Full Time 28/01/2018

Section Manager Business Engagement & Program Management Canberra Permanent Full Time 28/01/2018

Now let's take a look at what sounds like Greg Hood or Gerard Campbell's old job - Executive Manager National Operations and Standards - Applicant info pack - December 2017.pdf

The bits that would appear to support the "K" restructure statement:

Quote:..Under new structural arrangements due to take effect on 1 January 2018, the CEO/DAS will manage CASA with the direct support and input from senior leaders in four primary areas...

Organisation structure

CASA is implementing revised organisational structure arrangements, due to come into effect on 1 January 2018.

From 1 January 2018, CASA’s structure will be as follows.

[Image: CASA-Org-chart-from-01-Jan-2018.jpg]
Now compare that to the currently published Org Chart:

[Image: casa_org_structure_diag.png] 

Hmm...interesting but does it actually mean anything? Or is this just another cynical smoke'n'mirrors attempt by Carmody to appear to be actually doing something to address the obviously still toxic culture within the halls of Fort Fumble... Dodgy  

MTF...P2 Cool

Devils and details.

P2 – “Hmm...interesting but does it actually mean anything?”

Good question. There’s one small move on the ‘new’ flow chart which is interesting; the Industry Complaints Commissioner (ICC) now on the same line as the CEO. On the old flow chart the ICC had direct access to the board, which reads a whole better than it actually was in real life. Long delays between actually getting into the board room to speak and limited time allocated rendered the ICC almost nugatory. The constraints placed on the ICC sphere of action and ‘time’ boundary’s further reduced the effectiveness of what has become almost a ‘lip service’ to ‘complaint’.

Nothing wrong with Hanton; one of the ‘goodun’s’ but hamstrung and reluctant to break the imposed boundaries. Nonetheless, he has helped cure a few embuggerance ills. But even then, he is hamstrung as the CEO and the infamous ‘ethics’ committee will never allow the prosecution of a CASA officer – unless of course it is on some matter unrelated to aeronautical embuggerance, like goat shagging or credit card fraud; even then CASA have been known to overlook the odd afternoon and evening where long, liquid lunch has ended up pleasantly, in a cat house, on the tax payers card. Boys will be boys eh?

I digress, blame it on the Bankstown Chronicles; back to the ICC. So now it appears the ICC is aligned with the CEO – does that mean direct access, regular meetings, minutes taken and a general above board approach to complaint? If it does, then this is one of the best moves in recorded history, provided the ethics committee can be kept out of it.

For far too long there has been no way to progress a complaint beyond the stone wall of denial. Maybe integrity, honesty and clarity are a bridge too far, the smart money is on nothing changing despite the window dressing and Hanton’s best ongoing efforts.  

So P2 – does it actually mean anything?. Your guess is as good as mine, but going on past performance and current worth – I’d say not. I would be delighted to be proven dead wrong and retract that opinion. Problem is, by the time we work out that it’s a wheel barrow full of pony-pooh – it’s all too late – again – to undo the damage done.

Toot toot.

The future - In the rear view mirror.

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I did not, not intentionally, mean to start a new year by looking backwards; but before doing anything on the road, you normally at least glance in the rear view mirror.

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At last NY’s day :-SBG #1 - .1/.1./.17. -" for example the Australian aviation industry, where, clearly, it is to everyone’s advantage to make things ‘better’. Did that happen in 2016? Of course not. Could it have happened in 2016? It bloody well should have – alas. Australian aviation enters the new year still burdened by the same troubles; the same unresolved issues, the same deft deflection of meaningful reform, the same denial that there are serious problems. Mind you, as the industry shrinks, real reform and good management become of less concern to the people who not only created the aberration, but have the power to fix it". Amazing.

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“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

It certainly is amazing – a whole 12 month has past; the enormous amounts of money awarded to both ATSB and CASA have been spent; millions of words have spoken and written; the impost on the government purse for ‘Inquiry’ has been used; in short, we have chewed through a small fortune to achieve what ?

It is rare thing for me to re read any of my scribblings; but I sat here and looked at the first SBG for 2017. Drones still feature high on the ‘to-do’ list; although the Senate Committee seem to be getting a handle on the matter – albeit at a snails pace; but, the consensus is that they at least will produce an outcome. Their inquiry has at least publicly highlighted the CASA attitude and lack of imagination; many believe their lack of competence has been exposed throughout the inquiry.

In fact, when you start to add up the lacklustre CASA performance on just about any subject mentioned at Estimates, you have to start wondering about cost v benefit.

Mind you, they were handicapped by what was probably the worst Minister for transport in the history of this country. Chester will long be remembered as Australia’s Greatest Aviation Disaster although it is fair to say he was only as good as his advice – which was CASA advice – so there is loophole there for 6D to dance through. But, replacing him with the tea lady would have raised a cheer. Now we have Barnaby. The question is will he actually do something? There is talk about how he was seriously ‘pressured’ into taking on the portfolio, which begs the question; is his heart and soul in the job or will he just do the minimum required? We may be able to answer that question by this time next year. Gods willing, weather permitting…

“I remain just one thing, and one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plane than any politician" ― Charlie Chaplin

Just as Carmody was the ministers pick for DAS, the ATSB was also so inflicted with the Hood specimen. How, in the seven hells, someone so conflicted by association with the Pel-Air disgrace could ever wind up in charge of the agency ‘re-investigating’, while that agency was in the middle of investigating themselves will, forever, be a puzzle to me. That hurdle to be cleared before we even get down to the Hood competency to manage the ATSB. Even without the Hood impediment, the time taken to produce second rate ‘reports’ and the casual approach to ICAO compliance; and the lack of credibility; and, this latest load of bollocks on Pel-Air, ATSB is looking increasingly ‘shop-worn’ and second rate. Morale must be at an all time low for the dedicated ‘tin-kickers’(1) who have made a lifetime commitment to a honourable, respected profession.

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...What most journalists outside of Australia did not know was that prior to its involvement in the search for MH370, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau was embroiled in a controversy that called its own competence into question.

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The investigation into the ditching of a Pel-Air jet triggered years of scrutiny of the ATSB. (Courtesy of ATSB)

A multi-year examination of an overwater aviation accident (read more about it here) involving a Pel-Air medical transport plane was so mishandled it was the subject of a national television investigation, a Senate hearing and an unflattering review of its practices by the otherwise non-confrontational Canadians.

Insiders in Australia snickered at the amount of confidence the rest of the world had vested in the ATSB...

Above quote from Christine Negroni 2016 Forbes' article: see HERE

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AOPA seem to have progressed nicely over the past year in spite of the impediments; well done. Contaminated water around airports has been sucked into the murky depths of ‘inquiry’ and MH 370 remains as big a mystery as it was a year ago. As predicted, it is even harder a year further down the road, to find anyone not connected who has more than a dim memory of the disappearance, let alone 'interest' in the event.

Do you know that sheep are the masters of passive resistance and reluctance to change is their sworn motto; well they are and it is. The beating of those two characteristics is why top class sheep-dogs are highly prized. What we have in the 'safety' agencies is a very stroppy mob of ovine specimens which have been allowed too much free range and are  desperately in need of clipping and culling. This wily mob has so far escaped both. Maybe, this year, the farmer will get ‘fair-dinkum’ about it and send in the dogs. We shall see, as we always do, in time, the results of his efforts.

That’s it; my Sunday retrospective twiddle is done. In another week or so, things will settle down to work mode and the silly season will be over for another year. Perhaps next year I will be able to fill a page or two with good news of real reform and honest accident reporting. They say hope springs eternal – but do I have an eternity to play with? I think not

No matter – I have managed to ‘acquire’ some lovely, 25 mm thick Oak boards; long enough to make a ‘proper’ carpenters tool box for a young sprig, aspiring to the medical profession, but with a deep appreciation of the solace and satisfaction a workshop can provide. Starting with rough material and finishing with something of value to show for the work done. ‘Tis enough for this, the first day of a new year.  “Away to me dogs”.

Stay well, safe and happy.


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Addendum: bugger. I forgot. The bloody numbers. For those who are interested, the Forum and Blog together achieved 2, 289,401 ‘reads’ this year. I can’t work out the ‘stats’ from the data base; so we just count each time someone reads a post as one. What is important is that there has been contact made from 178 different countries. Thank you to all those who spared the time had the patience and interest enough to visit Aunt Pru. It is very much appreciated. Happy New year to one and all.

Toot toot....

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Times up for Pel_air MkII via Google images

What will a Quarter buy you?

Not too much these days – unless it’s a quarter million. Carefully spent, in the right place, it can buy you a lot of ‘assistance’ with your small problems. Not in Australia of course – No Sir; not a chance. The best you could hope for here that ‘mate-ship’ or old favours are repaid in kind; or, perhaps an old marker is paid in full. A blatant Baksheesh attempt will land you in hot water. This all makes it difficult to investigate a ‘passing strange’ series of events, then to make it even harder, there is the entrenched culture of ‘say-nothing’. For to speak up places you at the mercy of those about whom you speak, while others shun you.

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IF you wake at midnight, and hear a horse's feet,
Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,
Them that ask no questions isn't told a lie.
Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by. - Rudyard Kipling

So for the investigator or even the curious, non partisan person with an itch to scratch, getting to the roots of as puzzle is a long, weary road. P2, myself and others became fascinated by the arrival of nine documents to the Pel-Air inquiry. Nine files in a virtual avalanche of ‘paper’ provided, by the truck load to the investigating Senate Committee. When you begin to try and unravel a puzzle, there are shed loads of ‘paper’ to wade through and it gets ‘messy’; almost impossible for a casual reader to follow. However, if you persist, go back to the beginning – several times – re-hash it all; then spend hours shouting at each other to reach a consensus, you can (eventually) emerge at the end of the journey with a fairly clear picture of events. ‘We’ started to get a handle on certain things about – HERE – when P2 touched on Safety Management Systems (SMS) which included Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS). We became particularly interested in the FRMS element and the ‘cloud’ surrounding some assessments offered. One thing the majority of the network agreed on – that the Pel-Air crew were in no condition to fly the return sectors.  

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“It is the knowledge of the unendingness and of the repetitious uselessness, the do it up so it can be done again, that makes Fatigue fatigue.” -  James JonesFrom Here to Eternity

The next milestone on the journey –HERE – but before you venture into that maze – take the time to consider – THIS – before hand; it will save some head scratching when you arrive – HERE -.

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"Toughen up princesses"

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“The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.” ― Susan B. Anthony

Nearly done – in P2’s Part IV there are more breadcrumbs to be followed – but if you run out of patience or time – skip to the bottom and consider the implications from the following paragraph and the listed documents:-

P2 - “To set the scene for answering my (above) QON, here are some document links for the NINE ( 9 - anonymously provided) Senate AAI inquiry documents, which were 'received' by the RRAT committee Secretariat on the 10 October 2012 i.e. 12 days before the first public hearing”.

I could, I expect, sit here and spoon feed you the information, just like ATSB and CASA do for whoever is in the ministerial seat, once it has been tested for poisons and carefully seasoned by ‘the department’ to make it palatable. Nick Xenophon and his small crew aren’t lazy, nor are they gullible; they triggered events through the Pilot training inquiry - which, IMO, had a great impact on the Pel-Air inquiry, right from the beginning. Those  which have continued on and on, right up to the carefully deceptive ‘New’ report on the radical causes of the Pel-Air ditching. Pivotal items which are mentioned – in passing; just enough to say ‘we covered that’ but not enough depth to raise any eyebrows being the stand out parts of the whole confection.

The casual reader will have abandoned the breadcrumb trail ages back, eyes glazed and early Massive Interest Failure (MIF) onset leading to other more easily understood topics; which is fine by me. However; there will be some readers who really need to buckle down and do their homework – if for no other reason but self protection. For the FRMS is the very thin end of a very hefty wedge, which will be driven in hard, by the biggest hammer we can find.

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“Sometimes what you think is an end is only a beginning. And that wouldn't do at all.”Agatha Christie, Death Comes as the End

Dick Smith and the media have picked up sticks for the beleaguered Falcon Air; “an act of sheer bastardry” they have labelled it; and, rightly so. But they have only, quite politely scratched the surface of ‘acts of sheer bastardry’, particularly in relation to the CASA office involved. It is not the only ‘office’ with a chequered history, indeed, many tales are whispered in bars and discussed on flight decks – some of the tales are the stuff of legend and used to frighten newcomers, control those affected and retain the myth that CASA can and will crucify those who dare to step out of line. Of course it depends on who you are – CASA leave the ‘big boys’ strictly alone, whilst they cosset their mates. But to balance that largesse they lay in wait to pounce on whoever they choose using extreme interpretations of ‘black letter’ law, with the full knowledge that few can take ‘em on and win a game of chance, against a stacked deck.

[Image: dick-e1515283968119.jpg]Life-saving heart transplant prevented due to ‘air safety technicality’ - Alan Jones 2GB

I know, I keep banging on about reforming, not restructuring the Regulator. But until this happens and the lessons driven home, firmly, then nothing, absolutely nothing will save the industry. The problems are internal and attributable to the ‘individuals’ who protect and foster the culture of selective bastardy used to support the unsupportable. Has Barnaby got the balls to sort it out, once and for all? He is a ‘leader’ of this nation; in times of real trouble, the country looks to it’s governments leaders for solutions. Well, IMO, we are teetering on the brink of the abyss with the cavalry tied up by red tape. Barnaby has the option and the call – Hero or just another useless hack, poncing about in a ministerial suit, being led about by the foreskin until it is all too little, too late.

Arggh enough. Anyway, it is Sunday – day of rest they say. Unless you happen to be one of the ‘essential services’ on duty. While the majority are setting up to enjoy the days events, there are police, ambulance and fire services on deck, ready to go and face the horror of tragedy. They did very well for us on the Hawkesbury River last week, while the rest enjoyed NYE there were divers in the river, alone, faced with the task of recovering the bodies of those killed in the crash.  The 'services' have had a busy year with aviation related fatal accidents. A simple Well done and Thank you seems to be a pitiful reward for their brave, dedicated, selfless efforts. But it is heartfelt and most sincere.

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Now: Workshop therapy required, keeping up with the research is work enough, but to try and beat it into some easily digested nutshell is exhausting. Perhaps a second coffee, a cigar purloined from a dinner party (smoke it later excuse) to keep me company while I walk the dogs will knit the ravell'd sleeve of care; it usually does. Then; I can finish the Oak tool-box which will take me to afternoon tea in the garden. Sounds like a plan to me.

Toot – toot…

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Runway excursion - Boeing Co 747-438, VH-OJH, Bangkok Airport, Thailand, 23 September 1999

A candle, against darkness?

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What a monstrous, dangerous, nebulous beast Fatigue is. No matter what approach you take ;or, how good the ‘research’ is, the individual human element cannot be totally eliminated. You can see the problem – an outfit like Qantas with hundreds of pilots and schedules to keep must address many problems, in several important legal and operational areas, before even scratching the surface of union and individual preferences. One size don’t fit all and what makes one man weary to the point of being ineffective, may be a stroll in the park to the next. Even the ‘experts’ disagree on some of the major premises and base building blocks. Yet the problem exists and it is very real. A 17 hour long haul is a very different animal to the short haul, high frequency inter-city services, which is different again to the 24 standby roster for ‘charter’ operators; and different again for folk like the RFDS who man a station 24/7 when a shout may come at any tick of the clock. Since 2003 the ‘fatigue’ debate has been raging, that’s 15 years by my reckoning. CASA have buggered about the edges but achieved very little except CAO 48.1 which is a complex hodgepodge of compromise and ignorance. FRMS has been a ‘on again - off again’ soubriquet, often abused, incorrectly used, misunderstood system. Perhaps it is time there was a serious indaba called, no one gets out of the room until a proper regulatory policy, free of business and union influence was developed; one for each ‘branch’ of industry. Spend some of their ill gotten gains on expert opinion (we do have some) and come up with a plan which may be modified to suit operations – but within qualified maximum and minimum limits for the different operations. Such a policy would never please all – but at least it would provide a sensible place to begin addressing a burgeoning problem, which cannot be ignored for too much longer, not by men of good conscience, with the safety of the travelling public at heart.  

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“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure”.Abraham Lincoln

Foreign pilots – when Australian pilots are unemployed – WTD. This has to be one of the greatest faery stories ever told; Australia is not and I do repeat not short of ‘pilots’. We may well be short of the cardboard cut out model HR require; or, of the ‘right’ type to suit a CASA bound C&T system; or even the right type with a reputation tarnished by gossip. I could, without any trouble whatsoever put together a dozen crews, give ‘em a type rating and have ‘em running like a Swiss watch within a month – and that’s just from the pub. There are dozens who have left industry unable to get jobs and gain ‘experience’; there must be over a hundred sitting around in the bush, flying ‘charter’ and living on a minimum wage. One chap I know well is a very good operator, plenty of the ‘right’ stuff but has little in the way of the surface skills HR seem to require; rock solid but can he get a start? Can he hell. Anyway – it’s BOLLOCKS; we ain’t short of pilots we are short of independent operators who can see beyond the next audit and the CASA frowns and the HR bullshit. End of, before I get cranky.  

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“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see”Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Well, much of the week has been taken up researching and analysing the Pel-Air debacle. The backyard is a mess and P2 keeps pulling the old bones out of the garbage can for one last chew.

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There is a daunting pile of these, now we must get out the super glue and stick it all back together and see what manner of beasty we have unearthed. Like palaeontologists do; clean up the parts, assemble them, start at one end and finish at ‘tuther. From the long buried skeleton, muscle and sinew may be added, the outer skin stretched over the whole and the beast will emerge to frighten the children. It has been quite a dig, the ground unyielding and reluctant to part with it’s secrets. Even so, we are nearly done – although I must admit, I’m at a loss to know what to do with it. DT will not allow it in the house and the workshop just ain’t big enough. No matter, finish first then think on what to do with it all.

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“I have a different idea of elegance. I don't dress like a fop, it's true, but my moral grooming is impeccable. I never appear in public with a soiled conscience, a tarnished honour, threadbare scruples, or an insult that I haven't washed away. I'm always immaculately clean, adorned with independence and frankness. I may not cut a stylish figure, but I hold my soul erect. I wear my deeds as ribbons, my wit is sharper than the finest moustache, and when I walk among men I make truths ring like spurs.” Edmond RostandCyrano de Bergerac

But not today; the dogs have departed the fix – I made the mistake of putting the dog shampoo out on the workshop bench earlier; Ayup, bath day. I shall finish my second coffee, find my boots and toddle off to see if I can find them. Bath day is quite often missed as they always find a quiet, shady spot to lay low in and I am often tempted to linger with them until it is too late to ‘do the deed’ – all I really need is a good excuse for non performance. Hmmm, let me count the ways.

Toot toot.

P2 - For a laugh...


While we continue to examine the many passing strange dichotomies that the PelAir MKII investigation and chronology seem to endlessly throw up (see both the search 4 IP & WTFInc's layman summary on dots & dashes); I thought the SBG might be the perfect place to focus on another alarming issue, that of HVH's growing 'conflict of interest' list... Confused

Reference search 4 IP post: Hoody's (growing) COI list taints ATCB search for IP

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AAI & the implications of bureaucratic O&O - Part II

..So did Hoody declare himself possibly conflicted with this investigation as well?? And remembering that he was also involved with the Mildura Fog duckup investigation - so where does it stop??[/color]...

First it is interesting to note the following answer to a NX QON asked at the 18 March 2011 Senate Pilot training inquiry public hearing:


1. QUESTION: Conflict of Interest Policy

Senator XENOPHON—Is there a requirement within CASA—or, indeed, the ATSB, Mr
Dolan—that if an employee of CASA or the ATSB is going to go somewhere else for
employment to advise CASA that they are going to an airline, for instance, from the date that they know that they have got that job?

ANSWER – ATSB Conflict of Interest Policy:

The ATSB has in place policies and procedures to manage real and perceived conflicts of
interest. The policies and procedures are consistent with the Public Service Act 1999.
Subsection 13(7) of the Public Service Act requires that an Australian Public Service
employee must disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with APS employment.

The ATSB Quality System Manuals provide the practical requirements for complying
with this requirement of the Public Service Act. The Investigation Guidelines Manual

As the transport investigation agency, the ATSB and its staff must be independent of
the transport industry and be seen to be so.

At no time should staff members involved in an investigation, as a team member or
involved in the review process, be seen as being too close to any participant, company
or organisation, including other government agencies.

At the same time, however, the bureau must establish and maintain good relationships
with the organisations and individuals in the wider industry.

Where there is the potential for a real or apparent conflict of interest, or relevant
background of a potentially controversial type – for example, prior employment with
the body being investigated – the investigator must immediately inform the relevant
Manager. The Manager is to inform the appropriate General Manager of the conflict.

If operational requirements of the ATSB require an investigator, who may be
perceived to have a conflict of interest, to investigate the occurrence, a written
declaration by the investigator must be placed on the investigation record together
with the Chief Commissioner’s agreement to continue with the investigator being
involved in the investigation.

Further, the Manual advises:

At the time of an investigator’s six monthly performance exchanges, any potential
conflict must be declared to the relevant Manager. For example, ownership of shares
or a directorship in a company, organisation or body that may be investigated should [i][b]be declared. Managers should advise the ATSB Executive of any such conflicts.[/b][/i]

Outside of the six monthly performance exchanges, investigators are still required to
declare conflicts to their Manager wherever it may arise.

During a very high profile investigation, consideration will be given to placing a
statement on the ATSB website concerning any relevant background of investigators
involved that could be misperceived as a potential conflict.

This action is to ensure transparency so that the independence of the investigation is [i][b]not brought into question by a subsequent inquiry.  [/b][/i]

Extract from the Pel-Air: A coverup: a litany of lies? - Version III chronology:

Quote:18 November 2009: Ditching 3 NM south-west of Norfolk Island Aerodrome.

18 November 2009: ATSB notified of accident and ATSB subsequently notify CASA. The
ATSB decide to carry out an investigation and CASA decide to run a parallel
investigation, initiated 19 November.

19 November 2009: Pel-Air voluntarily suspend Westwind operation.

20 November 2009: Quote from page 97 of PelAir MKII Final report - "The ATSB asked CAAF for ATS records for the flight and the weather information that was provided to the flight crew of VH-NGA. CAAF forwarded the request to the ATS provider and then obtained the records in December 2009 to pass on to the ATSB. This included copies of the 0630 METAR, 0800 SPECI and 0830 SPECI."

23 November 2009: Richard White MALIU correspondence to ATSB Director Aviation Safety Investigations, Ian Sangston notifying CASA will be conducting a regulatory investigation into the actions of the flightcrew. Note that there is no reference to 'parallel investigations' under either the 2004 or 2010 MOU (ref link - #122 &  #28).

23 November 2009: Richard White receives from Airservices Australia  the complete list of Norfolk Island Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAFs) applicable to the occurrence flight timeframe. This included the Nadi non-relayed 0803 AMD TAF, which appears to be underlined (ref link - #122 & #85 )

25 November 2009: Greg Hood file note email (cc'd Jonathon Aleck, Terry Farquharson, John McCormick.). File note No.4 reference to flight recorder recovery would appear to show, at that point in time, that recovery was inevitable (ref link - #125 )

26 November 2009: CASA initiate a ‘Special Audit’ conducted between the 26/11/2009-
15/12/2009 at the Pel-Air Bases in Sydney, Adelaide and Nowra.

30 November 2009: Richard White email to John Barr (cc Roger Chambers) confirming Airservices passed on weather & received flight plan details from PIC Dominic James by phone in Apia. (ref link - #122 )  

7 December 2009: Audit team meet with Pel-Air management to discuss a number of
deficiencies within the Westwind Operation. This was backed up by correspondence from
CASA on 9/12/2009.

7 December 2009: FAA/ICAO brief on 'next steps' after poor results/findings in the ICAO USOAP 2008 & FAA Nov 30- Dec 4 2009 Australian audits. (ref links - #53 & WikiLeaks cable PDF:

8 December 2009: E-mail from ATSB to CASA raising the possibility of contributing to a
joint fund sharing arrangement to recover the black box and CASA advised they didn’t
have the necessary funds.

11 December: Advice from the UK Civil Aviation Authority to CASA providing an assessment of the fatigue scores for the accidental flight (ref link - #122 & PDF 881KB 

16 December 2009: CASA accept the Pel-Air ‘Management Action Plan’ which consisted
of three phases.

16 December 2009: Dominic James was 'informally' interviewed by CASA  legal and investigative officers. (ref link - #112 )

18 December 2009: Pel-Air successfully completed Phase 1 items and were able to
recommence domestic operations.

21 December 2009: CASA Special Audit of Pel-Air Fatigue Risk Management System ( ref links - #217 & PDF 5428KB )

23-24 December 2009: CASA overseeing FOI of Pel-Air Eric Demarco issues 14 RCA and
a number of AO. The RCAs needed to be acquitted by 28/01/2010.

24th December 2009: Dominic James notice of suspension of CPL, ATPL, CIR pursuant
to CAR 265(1)(a). Also given notice to undertake examinations under CAR 5.38.

24 December 2009: Pel-Air successfully completed Phase 2 items and were able to
recommence international operations.

As per the terms of...

...Subsection 13(7) of the Public Service Act requires that an Australian Public Service employee must disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with APS employment...

...At no time should staff members involved in an investigation, as a team member or involved in the review process, be seen as being too close to any participant, company or organisation, including other government agencies...

I would argue that due to HVH's significant involvement in the above diabolical segment of the PelAir cover-up that the Chief Commissioner should be precluded from involvement in any active ATSB aviation accident investigation... Dodgy

The main reason being that while HVH was the CASA Executive Officer ultimately overseeing the enforcement actions against both PelAir and Dominic James I also have, on good authority, information that HVH was also the designated co-ordinator/liaison officer dealing with the FAA audit team and therefore the consequential cover-up of the actual FAA findings that could have led to the possible Cat II IASA rating.

This also means that by association that HVH is also implicated in obfuscating the possible proactive actions/risk mitigation on closing the fatigue safety loop for the better part of nine years... Confused 

MTF...P2 Cool   

During a very high profile investigation, consideration will be given to placing a statement on the ATSB website concerning any relevant background of investigators involved that could be misperceived as a potential conflict.

Hood ain’t an 'investigator' - he just runs the joint; ergo not conflicted’. Bollocks.

He was and remains up to his neck in Pel-Air and yet he runs the very body which is ‘re-visiting’ the original shambles – Oh, please. Hood is probably as guilty as Chambers, Campbell and Worthington of meeting the wishes of the then DAS. At very least they were all ‘willing accomplices’ – and still earning a good living as a protected species.

Well; their conscience is a matter between them and whatever pagan god they prefer; but as a matter of law – there are questions, serious questions, which need to be answered.

The problem; as I see it, is no one is asking the right questions.

Ayup – two more here please; it is going to be a long night – BRB estimates preparation always is…..

HVH - "..The other point I might add is the ATSB is very much the canary in the mine—and let me tell you, we will sing.."

Speak softly; yonder, as I think, he walks.

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The Comedy of Errors - Wikipedia

“I wonder; was he promised Halfwit’s job?” Not a question directed at me – more like thoughts being spoken aloud. It’s early in the evening, P7 is staying overnight (there’s to be a BBQ). We have retired to the sanctity of the workshop, P7 has his favourite armchair, I’m at the workbench, gently dismantling a very, very old grandfather clock case which is in need of some TLC and repairs, so I hardly heard the words as they floated off into the sunset. I waited; sure enough – “it’s a bloody disgrace.” This little storm has been brewing for a while now, the BRB keeping pace with the P2 research have drawn some pretty damning conclusions, which is bad enough, but to watch as the press aid and abet confounding the travelling public is grating on a lot of nerves. Most of the media (with notable exceptions)  ain’t doing it knowingly or even willingly, they are as easily led as the public and almost duty bound to publish whatever rubbish is spouted by the safety agencies and their acolytes. Silence reigns for a while. “It’s a hard game to stop” says I. “Even so” says TOM – “we have to try". I can see my Sunday plans disappearing like the millions wasted on producing nothing of practical or intrinsic value in the way ‘reform’ and safety report.

‘The great game’ is essentially a confidence trick, played by the top ranks of ATSB, ASA and CASA. One has to admit, it is played very well; slick, smooth, practised and it has stood the test of time, a proven winner. Well, it is, they have never lost a hand yet. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” It goes something like this. Chester 6D provides the quintessential case study and a superlative example of ‘the game’ at it’s best. The raw material was readily obtained:-

Alas, these days government ministers are little more than expensive parrots, endlessly squawking the day's party-political talking points without understanding them, in the hope they'll flap their way up the greasy political ladder to ring their little bells on the top perch”.

There are big, serious, ugly problems within the Australian aviation world which should be dealt with. The problems have been around for better than 30 years, the government solution is to simply throw more money at them and hope the ‘experts’ can keep the lid on those problems, long enough to get the government, the incumbent minister in particular, off the hook.

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P7 - Nah! – wrong way round P2. The minister is always the first protected; otherwise – what use are ATSB and CASA – if not to protect the shiftless, lazy, only interested in retaining power government. Many governments have had an opportunity to resolve the three decade long problem of ATSB, CASA and the “safety” argument. All failed; beaten by a bunch of ‘expert’ opinion which they have never gainsaid or even bothered to question. Why would they ?– they’re safe behind the Iron Ring. That class of top cover costs a fortune and the tax payer meets the bill – all in the name of “safety” of course.

You can actually sit back and watch the current game developing, advert free. The opening gambit is readily seen in the media – see: there’s Hood, doing a Geoffrey Thomas (he of Sunrise fame). This is not a top quality act, but ‘twill suffice. Firstly, we must examine the ‘props’ used, the title for a start will impress – ‘top dog in the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and a natural performer. Always seen looking ‘windswept’ and interesting, dressed in his canary yellow vest, wearing his ‘courage’ wrist band. The ‘shrinks’ would have a field day with that little lot, no matter. The long suffering public will not know the lack of qualification, or the association with some of the most disgusting ‘Acts of bastardy’ which hover about the ‘windswept’ visage. They will have no concept of conflicted interest or even ‘departmental’  manipulations. No; they just see the ‘fluff’ and hear the soothing words, reassured; they happily hop on the cheapest flight and toddle off to booze in Bali. For the incumbent minister, this is solid gold. With the ‘public’ alarum assuaged, confidence is restored, the whole thing calms down and the party continues. The trough dwellers return to Sleepy Hollow, safe in the knowledge that their expert advice has worked it’s magic and the never ending flow of money will keep the reform game going for another decade. Public lulled into the usual somnambulic state, the minister all relaxed, basking in public confidence and; blow me down - everything is rosy again.

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“Practise your confidence tricks on the street and you risk getting shot by trigger-happy security guards; do it in the office and you get put on the board.” ― James Scudamore, Heliopolis

The best and probably the only way to beat the game is through deep research and ‘dot joining’. Of course that means reading and head scratching; not for the feint hearted, the shiftless or the lazy. If the cap fits – wear it.

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"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”― Martin Luther King Jr.

The question begging is which path will Barnaby take? Well children, for those brave enough to take a flutter, the tote board is open for business  and once the BRB have firmed up the field – Aunt Pru shall have it.

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P7 - (not so sotto) “I said I wonder; was he promised Halfwit’s job?” “Probably” says I “but remember why Canaries were taken into a coal mines, not gold mines.


Napoleon Bonaparte in Paris 

Lost – perhaps in translation.

This, from Wiki rang a bell. As the ‘third’ is one of my all time favourites, I followed up. Oh, the parallels – “I was the first to tell him the news that Buonaparte had declared himself Emperor, whereupon he broke into a rage and exclaimed, "So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of Man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!" Beethoven went to the table, seized the top of the title-page, tore it in half and threw it on the floor. The page had to be recopied, and it was only now that the symphony received the title Sinfonia eroica.

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“To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.” ― Ludwig van Beethoven

The end of January approaches, Amen. Often called ‘the month of the dead’ in the land of the long weekend, for nothing of any value has occurred since the last week of December; the weather is hot, steamy and generally horrible, which is fine - if you don’t have to work or try to get ‘stuff’ done. The end of January also heralds the approach of Estimates, in February, which means a new supply of midnight oil for the houseboat. For ‘us’ January is the month of research, February is the month of consolidation and condensation. There are, literally, hundreds of pages of data in raggedy piles, covered in scrawl, post-it notes (coffee, pizza and beer aside), miles of e-mail responses; heaps of opinion and analysis to sort; a shed load of ‘legal’ to decipher; and, no less than three decades of ‘submissions’ to various aviation related inquiry to consider. Yes, it is a lot (a significant plenty) - but there it sits. Why you may reasonably ask.

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Beware the man in the red tie   [Image: confused.gif]

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Beware the man with the big ears [Image: biggrin.gif]

Rather than ramble on, for the serious student I shall provide just one, solitary link. Fair warning, there are some 37 pages to digest – however; the first dozen or so may be skipped past as they are the written Questions on Notice (QoN) and are repeated as part of the intriguing answers. The questions, standing alone, are incisive; IMO the answers are incredibly revealing.

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At the end of an hour, spent with the demi god Beethoven’s #3 playing in the background, you will probably only have one question to ask – WTD has changed? The answer is short and non too sweet – Sod all is what. Carmody may be a slightly more polished McCormick, the intent better covered, smooth as silk. The only difference is he manages to tell the Senators, the Rev Forsyth and Dick Smith (bless) to bugger off; but, Oh so politely.

Anyway – P2 is coming to the end of his stint digging in the garden and hauling old bones into the kitchen; we still need some answers from ICAO and a FOI response from the FAA; but that aside, we should be able to distil the contents of the cauldron in to a short, succinct briefing – although who the hell we’ll send it to has me beaten. No matter, the wise owls will have a plan – and mine is not to reason why eh? Thirsty, dusty, dirty work though, this diggin’. Aye well.

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Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

I am impressed with the patience and forbearance of the ATR manufacturer; and, Virgin do seem to be wrecking a lot of their product. The ATSB up to their collective necks in smoothing it all over, CASA in denial of any and all interference in the way turbo prop aircraft should be operated.

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But what a lovely job for an aging airman – training the very young to operate such a terrific, tough aircraft; even as a line captain – the rewards of seeing a young pup grow into a ‘proper’ pilot would be a fitting end. Bit like the ‘Eroica’ from about 42minutes into the recording – (which is where I am now) – I shall pause, close my eyes and just listen, until the end. What an exit line; what a mind – Wow, you can almost imagine the ‘brass’ getting the string section ‘airborne’ and flying them about the room: now I do, decidedly digress. Mea culpa.

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We’ve not much to offer in the way of light entertainment this Sunday – unless you find the HVH PR gambits, through the auspices of Thomas as amusing as we all do. The crew had a field day last BRB, some of the ‘take offs’ were hilarious; one chap who may not be named – wearing a lampshade -  had the crowd rolling about the floor. You can fool the politician all the time, that’s a fact, you can bamboozle the press most of the time, that’s a given. Busy folk trying to get on in the world may or may not; as pleases ‘em take note for about two minutes – but after that – it’s only the ‘industry’ which pays close attention. Very close attention indeed. In hindsight – I should have recorded the ‘Windswept’ BRB session – Monty Python eat your heart out – Hood would not ever dare show his face, silly little courage wrist strap or his ‘Hi-Viz’ vest in a public place again. I wonder?  Does he know, exactly, what his industry peers think of him? The real experts, those with a life invested in air accident investigation.

A fool, a fool, I met a fool i' th' forest,
A motley fool. A miserable world!
As I do live by food, I met a fool,
Who laid him down and basked him in the sun
And railed on Lady Fortune in good terms,
In good set terms, and yet a motley fool.
“Good morrow, fool,” quoth I. “No, sir,” quoth he,
“Call me not ‘fool’ till heaven hath sent me fortune.” - Shakespeare 'As you like it'.

Even so; there are some good catches this week – AMROBA and the inestimable Ken Cannane for one. Even the good Rev Forsyth speaks out; and, Dick Smith (bless) borrows the good Rev’s drum for the encore.

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“Australia has quite a lot of unique regulations, unnecessarily so,” Mr Forsyth

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Mr Smith characterised Mr Carmody’s letter as “to say, in effect, get lost”.

Can so many small threads all form an inescapable net around the ‘beast’ from the Sleepy Hollow swamp? We must hope so children; indeed, we must hope very hard and help when and wherever we can.

Enough! – I have two tea chests full of off cuts saved from ‘exotic’, old, valuable timber used in other jobs. The ancient Grandfather clock needs some repair of rare timber parts – if I can find some small pieces – I will have to match grain and colour very carefully otherwise it will look as though as I have just glued a patch in and made it fit. That may well be acceptable, in some circles; but not in mine – I must own and abide with my own errors. Joinery is usually done in 3/4 time - perhaps some Burl Ives - Aye; peace reigns.

“Away, to me dogs" -

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but be swift; for we have a mans work to do this day – Hallelujah.


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The mirror crack'd from side to side;

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Finally, the silence breaks and the phony war is over. The Oh so polite, delicate, diplomatic wrangling has come to it’s inevitable, sterile end and it is time to test the mettle of our Senators and the latest minister for ‘transport’. That man ‘Iggins has blown the clarion call; now is the time for all good men etc.

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Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars
And brought in matter that should feed this fire;
And now 'tis far too huge to be blown out
With that same weak wind which enkindled it.

The Falcon Air story is a classic, a cautionary tale, featuring the very worst denizens of Sleepy Hollow and the ‘Babes in the Woods’. Aunt Pru has taken a keen interest in the story since day one and tracked the ‘Babes’ team on their troubled journey through the swamps and the traps set by the dark forces. It has been quite a journey to reach the final chapters, but like all good tales it must, soon or late, reach a conclusion.. Ean Higgins has published a very good lead in, an appetizer as a prelude to what may yet become a milestone along the road to Reform. But, you will either have to read the book or, wait for the movie to reach – ‘the end’. We are however allowed to provide some ‘hints’ and speculate on the ending.

"Not the pain of this but its unfairness was what dazed Peter. It made him quite helpless. He could only stare, horrified."  ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

The first serious clue may be found – HERE – in the chronology of the Pel Air fiasco. You may note several items of interest, pertinent to Falcon. The most obvious being the indecently short time Pel-Air was non operational; over a Christmas/New Year period, despite having a fairly hefty stack of ‘Non compliance’ notes to jump over. Some of those NCN or RCA (whatever) were of a serious operational nature and yet with a twirl of the magic golden pen, Chambers signed them off.

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 Nothing to see, move along sang the CASA benevolent society choir. Bollocks. The Senate inquiry – (their ‘opinion’) missed many of the sign posts to the very soft ride Pel-Air were gifted, which is not really surprising – considering the focus of that inquiry was deflected by the heaping of blame onto the pilot. The operational approvals, oversight and auditing of Pel-Air, before and subsequent to ‘the ditching’ does not withstand independent scrutiny.

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Some would say - ‘Furry Muff’ Pel-Air and CASA got away with it; others may say common sense and cooperation worked well and it was acceptable to allow Pel-Air back to operational status. Which is fine – provided that largesse was extended to other operators. Any reasonable comparison between the Pel-Air, Airtex and Falcon case studies clearly and unequivocally defines the willingness and ability to ‘translate’ the rules to mean whatever CASA want them to as and when pleases. The extremes of law, the black letter application or; the blind eye, all supported options. The final hint is related to the personnel involved; in the ‘funny coincidence box’ we find the same motely crew involved in all three cases. Remarkable. Aye well, Marc De Stoop has a fight on his hands now, starting on the back foot. It is time this industry stopped pretending and spoke up; CASA may well be able to stop small, mildly critical voices on social media – but they cannot prevent a national outcry. Up to you of course, but then; I’d rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.

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We should spare a thought for Barnaby – there are many aviation chickens coming home to roost; will the eggs they lay become ammunition for an army of hacked off industry participants? AMROBA, for one is mounting a campaign to deliver the message. The ‘airports’ fiasco and the increasing delays and cost to the public is, as yet, but a distant rumble. But, if something is not done, and soon, I reckon the mess will land on BJ’s door step.

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“The whole thing is quite hopeless, so it's no good worrying about tomorrow. It probably won't come.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Airports takes us to accident investigation and the abysmal performance of the ATSB to deliver, on time, the Gubbins. Even then the value of those reports to industry is scarce worth the wait – or the expense. As ‘the minister’ BJ has to, eventually, begin to wonder WTD is going on and why a Hi Viz- Courage strap wearing air traffic controller is running our once prestigious accident investigator; - we are.

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Although, current thinking takes us directly back to Pel-Air, ICAO and FAA audit and the missing 89 million dollar fix industry paid for and is still being milked.    

Ayup; it’s no wonder Barnaby has gone to ground. Even the most mundane subjects like providing affordable, reliable air services to rural Australia is proving to be another bureaucratic bun fight. “Give him a chance” howls the mob. OK, we will start the clock the moment he mentions the word ‘Aviation’, but then the gloves are off. Too many useless, incompetent, gutless, manicured, perfumed, man scaped bottoms have polished the ministerial throne. Reform or resignation – two options and little in the way of choice.

A large, hairy paw has just landed on my knee, the amber eyes fixed directly on mine, the message is simple and succinct. “Let’s go”. I shall, if I can find my boots, comply with the polite, eloquently phrased request.


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“Never laugh at live dragons.” ― J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit

A lack of foreknowledge is a very dangerous thing –well, it is. Think about it; it is probably one of the most dangerous things in the world. If you are standing on a railway track and don’t know there’s a train ‘a coming …---…?

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“Wisdom consists of knowing how to distinguish the nature of trouble, and in choosing the lesser evil.”

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

Machiavelli understood, very well indeed, the nature and disposition a ‘Prince’ must have; no matter how contrary to the Prince’s very own nature that may be. You see children, there is a great deal of difference between that which Machiavelli ‘knew’ must be done and what our CEO of CASA is prepared to do. Oh! our CEO knows well enough what must be done. But lacks not only the balls, but both the ‘external and internal’ political support to do  that  ‘which is necessary’. There are those within CASA who know, categorically, what must be done and to whom it should be done – alas. Moving folks around to ‘neutral’ positions and ‘side-lining’ the odd ‘squealer’ ain’t truly a ‘fix’. Yet without a ‘fix’ CASA is doomed, for lack of fortitude, to continue down the same sewer pipe, with the same rubbish clinging on, until the very industry in this once proud country becomes as foetid, dysfunctional and dishonest as CASA currently is. Rumour has it that Carmody was sent in to discreetly, smoothly and, preferably, maintain some sort of credibility while quietly sorting the sheep from the goats–alas.

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Or: -

But then, Carmody is no ‘Prince’, just another smooth bureaucrat making it look good for yet another do nothing minister. Fire them Shane – you know you want to; you know where the skeletons are buried and you have some serious top cover. For pities sake – will you not just do it and tough it out? No, thought not. Well then, don’t say you were not ‘forewarned’ – you were.  

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“The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present."Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

Now, I ain’t one for throwing pennies into fountains and wells, making a wish and hoping that wish comes true; but I have a secret one. I wish, for just one day, a short 24 hours, our ATCO’s could run air traffic the way they know it should be done. They are very good you know, seriously, they are. I would like to have 0.01% of the money they could save given free reign to run the system for that day. Worth the odd penny in a fountain I’d reckon. Their association, CA is a very savvy, efficient outfit and yet the media this week make mention that they have been ‘given a cold shoulder’ regarding input into the Defence orientated “One Big Pie” scam. The incredible amounts of money the ‘top end’ of Defence get through is seriously crazy; and yet, no one ever challenges them. IMO ‘Defence’ has a lot of questions to answer. Questions related to ‘civilian budgets’ purchasing their mates One Sky system, to the exclusion of all others and to the benefit of a very small, privileged, inside group. All was well until a Halfwit was overdosed on self esteem, delusion and faux expectations. The One Sky – pie in the Sky and those feeding on it will disappear when the lights get turned on. Provided the associated minister grows a set and turns the bloody things on. The bus is late: but no matter– it will turn up and old Bill Heffernan will be laughing his socks off.

“The point is not that I don't recognise bad people when I see them — I grant you I may quite well be taken in by them — the point is that I know a good person when I see one.”
― Enid Blyton, The Rubadub Mystery

Two of the most arcane, dark arts known to aviation are air space design and aircraft performance. Both subjects are devilish tricky and we who rely on the expert's arts to prevent banging into buildings, mountains and radio masts must have absolute, total faith in the official data provided. Most pilots can struggle through an aircraft performance graph and work out how to avoid hitting things; what they cannot do is measure the dimensions of the runway and the all important safety boundaries between the centre line of the runway and stuff built alongside it – like the terminal building. For this information aircrew rely on published data, provided by ‘the authority’. You only need to examine the flight path of the King air which ploughed into a DFO at Essendon (a year ago?) to realize just how quickly an aircraft, travelling at take-off speed covers the ground and just how essential the along side safety zones are. CASA keep diverting attention to the runway end zones which are a different animal to the ‘along side’ (runway width) zones. I refer you, once again to the excellent data provided by Mr. Peabody – HERE.

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MOS Part 139 Version 1.14 (January 2017)

Ref: Airports thread post: #323 &/or    #

“The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters 

P2 has, finally, (we believe) managed to unravel a serious puzzle. It should be noted he did this with some of the first class assistance we have come to expect from the unsung ‘Secretariat’ for the Senate estimates. We are not allowed to send ‘em Choc Frogs etc. but if we could; be assured, we would. Anyway, Bravo, thanks and Cheers. Within the P2 post, there is an extract from Hansard, from Glen Sterle.  

Senator STERLE: As we have heard, there were three different stories from the pilot as to how much rest he got. With the greatest respect, I think it deflects from the work of the committee, because if you have one man saying three different things—and no one knows about fatigue management more than me, because I do not do it too well. Coming from my ex-industry, that is all I was doing for four years—arguing the toss about fitness for duty.

There is a Hansard video of this section, can P2 oblige during his graffiti session?

P2 edit: From about 03:30 above

I often wonder if the good Senator realizes just how closely related the two industries are; particularly regarding fatigue, ‘schedule’ and maximum legal load? It is no wonder at all that the Senator is confused – given the unbelievable, tangled mess our good intentions regarding fatigue and safety management systems have descended into. At the moment everybody is angry and confused. When you add the mindless fools at CASA who ‘track’ flights, using ‘flight aware’ and parlay their assumptions into real penalties, with serious consequences, you have to ask just which lunatic is running the asylum. Fatigue is a very individual, personal thing. Operators will use ‘the maximum’ legally acceptable duty time as routine. Unions will want more dollars for the minimum; none of this has to do with a ‘tailor made’, agreed fatigue protocol for each individual operation. SMS and FRMS lip service and window dressing almost cost Australia it’s first class ICAO rating. Experts were called in; volumes were written; a solution was offered. What happened – SFA is what; unless you call sweeping aside top class ‘advice’ from experts SFA. No wonder Glenn Sterle is confused – he joins a long line of fellow confusees.

“Is it a very wicked place?" I asked, more for the sake of saying something than for information.  [Cont/..

I probably should say a few words about the latest ATSB report, indeed, I am expected to. So; here they are. Any professional aviator who is prepared to swallow the latest offering of unmitigated bollocks – HERE – should hang up the helmet, scarf and goggles and get a job with the post office. There, that’s a few words; – ain’t it?

/.."You may get cheated, robbed, and murdered in London. But there are plenty of people anywhere, who'll do that for you."

"If there is bad blood between you and them," said I, to soften it off a little.

"O! I don't know about bad blood," returned Mr. Wemmick; "there's not much bad blood about. They'll do it, if there's anything to be got by it.”

"That makes it worse."

"You think so?" returned Mr. Wemmick. "Much about the same, I should say.” - Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.

Well, parliament is back in operation, estimates due soon and the aviation world stumbles along pretty much as it was, with little in the way of real, dynamic change on the horizon; unless you count the impending CASR part 135 as something to look forward to. It will come as no great surprise when that legislation is greeted with dismay and outrage. Even less surprising will be the meek acceptance of the rule set by the few remaining operators forced to work within ‘new’ safety vision. They may bark a little bit, but they won’t bite; they simply dare not, for fear of loosing their investment, not to mention their super funds fighting a vainglorious action in court.

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“There is much pain that is quite noiseless; and vibrations that make human agonies are often a mere whisper in the roar of hurrying existence. There are glances of hatred that stab and raise no cry of murder; robberies that leave man or woman forever beggared of peace and joy, yet kept secret by the sufferer—committed to no sound except that of low moans in the night, seen in no writing except that made on the face by the slow months of suppressed anguish and early morning tears. Many an inherited sorrow that has marred a life has been breathed into no human ear.” ― George Eliot, Felix Holt: The Radical

Long ramble today, but there is much to consider. Each of the subjects mentioned could easily be developed into a 10 page briefing for the minister. What’s that you say? All been done before, nothing changed, well then; best we pack up, mind our own business and toddle off back stage, out of the way. (Exit - scruffy rabble).

How could you say No to the dog who sits patiently at the stable door with your boots between it’s paws – not too subtle I’ll own, but very effective. “Right, go and find your mate and lets go”. Exeunt stable door; rubs dog ears, retrieves slightly slobbery boots, fades from view down the orchard pathway – whistling.


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Happier times - 30 minutes later "K" sent me this pic [Image: biggrin.gif]

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Of Webs; woven, tangled and broken.

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“Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive." - Walter Scott, Marmion.

It is not very often that I get moved to saying thank goodness for the heavy weight bureaucrats, but the performance of our senior government ministers and parliamentarians over the past week in the political world makes you glad there are some cool, sensible heads keeping the wheels turning. I have no idea the cost involved ‘running’ the parliament for a week; I have even less idea of what major decisions, those which affect the lives of the people have  been delayed, again, while the hair pulling and bitch slapping games are played out. No wonder there is opposition to a federal ICAC – Barnaby leading the charge

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#Beetrooter - Twitter

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” ― Mark Twain

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Joyce said an anti-political corruption watchdog was unnecessary in Australia, and he didn’t want to get to the point “where people are scared for the government to govern”.

“I don’t think there is a real sense in Australia of a concern with the political system,” he said on Sunday.

“We don’t lack any capacity in our federal system to pursue issues that are a concern within the political frame. We’ve got a Senate in federal politics which all the time calls inquiries, it can basically subpoena people, it has the capacity if there is a query to follow that through.

“I just don’t want to get to the position where people are scared for the government to govern and all that happens is departments govern, because any time you make a decision that’s different to your department you have the potential to end up in front of Icac, that would not be governing.”

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Yes; well. While we are ‘on politics’ as part of the ongoing ‘digging’ into the Pel-Air fiasco; P2 dug up a carefully concealed bone, which, when examined, provided some ‘interesting’ data, which explained much.

P2 – “However it wasn't till I stumbled across the former Minister for Non-aviation Albo's explanatory speech, for the introduction of the amendment, that the penny dropped that this was nothing more than Albo creating further 'degrees of separation' between himself, the government and anything remotely resembling responsibility and oversight of aviation safety - read it and weep...”

P7 –Abrogation of ministerial responsibility and a perfect system for both ATSB and CASA to be responsible to no man. The CASA board may be seen as being completely inutile, ATSB answer to no man. Both may, with legally approved, ministerial sanction tell the world and it’s wife to go and ‘boil their bottoms’. And they do, repeatedly and often. O'Sullivan's next for the pot, if he don't get a shift on and catch up.”

P7 – “When you add the ‘Act’ to the untrammelled power bestowed on the incumbent ‘Boss’ of either department there is a clear picture of total separation from question, inquiry, responsibility and governmental control. A free hand with a lovely big circuit breaker between them, the DoIT, the minister, the Senate or even the gods themselves.

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“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

There are now three (3) additional, separate ATSB investigations, within active investigations. You have to wonder what the devil Hood is playing at; since when and with what expertise can the ATSB tackle the big end of developers, retailers and the DoIT? Many believe Hood is merely kicking up a dust cloud to distract from his part in the last FAA audit and the Pel-Air ditching debacle to divert questions about how, in the seven hells, he got the top job at ATSB. There are other valid theories; some not quite as savoury, but we’ll keep those for another day.

Which brings us neatly to ‘Estimates’, which ain’t really ‘politics’ but important to the aviation world. There are some interesting rumours in the wind, much theory and some disappointment must be expected. I have this week had the opportunity to catch up with not only P7 but the other two attending a ‘briefing’ for the Estimates committee to get the finer details and the nuances etc. from that session. P7 was supposed to be there to ‘hold the jackets’, perhaps weigh in to the ‘technical’ areas and, most importantly, to observe (he is good at it). Now then, I can’t reproduce our conversation from about the third beer, what I can do is leave it up to the reader to work that out from the following:-

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Sen Rex Patrick is star quality, an intelligent, articulate gentleman who has diligently done his homework and completely ‘get’s it’.

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Sen David Fawcett – brilliant; with a crystal clear view of the ‘problems’ aviation faces and, more importantly, how to fix those problems.

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Sen Glen Sterle – See’s the big picture, knows the problems and just wants to get on with it, get it all sorted out so he can move on to other matters which demand his attention.

Three star quality players in the front row; waiting for the delayed kick off whistle, they must wait for the ‘drones’; then they must wait for the regional airlines, then wait for whatever else is hanging in limbo while the referee makes sure all the boot laces are regulation length, tied in just right manner and the studs are exactly the right make, style and size. The main hold up is that the referee is used to overseeing the parliamentary ladies badminton matches, not a full blooded version of ‘the game they play in heaven’. It would help greatly if he actually understood the game- alas.

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“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.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

There is a call for certain CASA officers to be present at the next ‘Estimates’. Seems the Falcon Air horror story may get an airing. N.B. I did say ‘may’. Much depends on the referee; but it would be great if it happened. Not that much will change afterwards – but these sort of events do amuse the crowd. So, “throw him to the floor.”

The dogs and I met the sunrise this morning – that wonderful hour where night and day merge and the world shakes itself awake. The stone floor of the stable is cool and the dogs are sprawled over as I sit, with an illicit smoke and decadent second coffee, waiting for P7 to turn up with a couple of tools (and expertise) we need to complete a repair. Peace, for the moment rules supreme.

Toot toot.

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Aye: Needs must, when the devil drives.

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

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

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

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

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

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"Some ring the Changes of opinions."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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