The Mt Isa Snakes and ladders championship.
#1

“In the 1870s, surveyors around Warragul found an animal that they thought may have been a snake.”
 
In 2017 the question still valid; is it snake or a worm wearing an expensive suit? We do need an answer and the test is an essential one. Why? Well, read the following posts then ask, can you believe this – the farmer asks the foxes to investigate the chook shed massacre?
 
A FULL review into how North Queensland pilot Josh Hoch, 31, got away with his alleged offending for so long has been ordered by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
 
Federal Transport Minister Darren Chester has also called for an “urgent briefing” from CASA into the explosive case of alleged plane tampering in Mount Isa.

 
 “CASA has launched an internal review to determine whether any significant safety-related issues involving Mr Hoch and the operations of Hoch Air were, or ought to have been, identified and acted on prior to launch of the police investigation and the arrest of Mr Hoch,” the spokeswoman said.
 
It is tale full of sound, fury and not a little arse covering. Read on McDuff, read on
Reply
#2

(01-25-2017, 12:12 PM)Cap Wrote:  An interesting article here..

Quote:[Image: 8f6c19874e9b4f1e1bc25cf62512e615?width=1024]Chief Pilot of Hoch Air Josh Hoch is starting flights to Lake Eyre.


Police claim Mount Isa pilot put contaminant in fuel tanks

[img=0x0]http://pixel.tcog.cp1.news.com.au/track/component/article/0cb77693ceb1901be3344aea45c37c32?esi=true&t_template=s3/chronicle-tg_tlc_storyheader/index&t_product=TownsvilleBulletin&td_device=desktop[/img]CHRIS McMAHON, exclusive, Townsville Bulletin
January 25, 2017 8:39am
[img=0x0]http://pixel.tcog.cp1.news.com.au/track/component/article/0cb77693ceb1901be3344aea45c37c32?esi=true&t_template=s3/chronicle-tg_tlc_storymeta/index&t_product=TownsvilleBulletin&td_device=desktop[/img]
A NORTH Queensland pilot allegedly poured contaminants into commercial rivals’ fuel tanks, faked crashes for insurance and flew charters without a licence for years before his dramatic arrest in Mount Isa yesterday.

Josh Hoch, 31, was intercepted by police about 2.30pm yesterday on a highway east of the town and last night charged with more than 300 offences going back several years.
The company is a significant player in the western commercial travel market and it is believed VIPs, including politicians, may have flown with Hoch at times from 2012 to 2016 when he is alleged to have been unlicensed.

The arrest poses serious questions about rural airport security and will plunge the Civil Aviation Safety Authority into crisis as police and officials probe what the authority knew or should have known about the claims against Hoch.

Last night senior police told the Bulletin the arrest was the culmination of several months of investigative work.

Hoch was questioned for seven hours before being charged with 342 counts of 14 different offences late last night.

Detective Inspector Chris Hodgman said it was only by sheer luck that no one had died when one of the allegedly sabotaged planes took to the sky.

“We are lucky over a number of years that an alleged rogue operator like this wasn’t responsible for a disaster,” Insp Hodgman said.

“Two engine failures and the forced landing of the aircraft has happened — the pilots … were lucky to walk away.”

Insp Hodgman said safety measures were put in place as soon as police became aware of the alleged offending.

“The safety aspect was considered right from the start of the investigation. We had methodologies in place to ensure the continued safety of aircraft on that apron,” he said.

“At no stage was there any chance for tampering on any commercial aircraft at the Mount Isa Airport.”

Insp Hodgman said it was one of the most in-depth and unique investigations he had been part of in 30 years.

“There was a dedicated bunch of detectives who put in a lot of long hours to pull this investigation off,” he said.

Detectives working under Operation Oscar-Demotic allegedly uncovered evidence of fraud, tampering with aircraft, dangerous operation of aircraft and numerous aircraft safety breaches.

Police will allege they became aware of Hoch’s alleged offending in October last year when another pilot reported damage to his plane for the second time that year.

It is understood detectives are investigating four such claims of tampering on three planes in 2016 alone.

It will be alleged each case was the same, with a contaminant poured into the fuel tanks of the aircraft, under the cover of darkness at Mount Isa Airport.

When the engines fired, the contaminant caused “catastrophic” damage to the aircraft, grounding the planes for months, it is alleged.

Hoch has also been charged with insurance fraud relating to the alleged staged crash landing of two planes in 2014 and 2015.

It is understood Hoch had flown Katter’s Australian Party politicians Bob Katter, Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth around the North and it is believed he has been chartered by other politicians and clients as well.

It will also be alleged Hoch was masking those commercial flights as private trips and would not log flight hours in order to bypass crucial maintenance checks.

Hoch is set to face Mount Isa Magistrates Court this morning.

So what did CAsA know?  Or did he not fart in the cockpit loud enough for them to hear?

P2 - Excellent catch Wannabe, although a very disturbing tale and like you say where the hell was CASA.. Dodgy  

(01-25-2017, 07:19 PM)Peetwo Wrote:  
(01-25-2017, 01:32 PM)Peetwo Wrote:  
(01-25-2017, 12:12 PM)Cap Wrote:  An interesting article here..

Quote:Chief Pilot of Hoch Air Josh Hoch is starting flights to Lake Eyre.


Police claim Mount Isa pilot put contaminant in fuel tanks

[img=0x0]http://pixel.tcog.cp1.news.com.au/track/component/article/0cb77693ceb1901be3344aea45c37c32?esi=true&t_template=s3/chronicle-tg_tlc_storyheader/index&t_product=TownsvilleBulletin&td_device=desktop[/img]

More here Wannabe, via the NQ Register... Wink :

Quote:Charter operator to appear before Mount Isa Magistrates Court

[Image: w100_h100_fcrop.jpg]
Chris Burns@fatburns10

25 Jan 2017, 1:30 p.m.



The complaint triggered investigation Oscar-Demotic which was completed on Tuesday when police arrested a 31-year-old charter operator

The operator based at Mount Isa Airport has been charged with 342 offences from 14 sections of Queensland and Commonwealth legislation. 

These charges include tampering with airplanes, unlicensed flying, and dangerous operation of a vehicle.

Detective Inspector Hodgman said these offences had nothing to do with commercial airlines. 

Police would not identify the man who is scheduled to appear in the Mount Isa Magistrates Court at 2pm, Wednesday, or even to confirm the name of the accused is Josh Hoch, published elsewhere. 

Police are opposing bail due to the “serious nature of offences”. 

“As soon as we found out about the offence we put methodologies in place to make sure the safety of the public was not compromised,” Detective Inspector Hodgman said. 

The story The operation against a 31-year-old charter operator  | Video first appeared on The North West Star.
 

Update: Via Brissie Times... Wink

Quote:January 25 2017 - 6:32PM

Queensland pilot Josh Hoch granted bail once he supplies surety

Chris Burns

The Mount Isa charter pilot alleged to have put glass beads in his rivals' planes is to be granted bail from the Mount Isa Magistrates Court. 

However, Josh Hoch will likely be in the Mount Isa Police Station watch house on Australia Day. Part of his conditions set by Magistrate Stephen Guttridge is that Mr Hoch supply $50,000 surety before release. 
  
[Image: 1485333160624.jpg] Josh Hoch's solicitor Michael Spearman leaves the Mount Isa Police Station watch house on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Chris Burns

The Mount Isa Court House had not received the surety or approved the paperwork by its closing time of 4.30pm, Wednesday. The court opens again at 8.30am on Friday. Thursday is the Australia Day public holiday.  

Mr Hoch is to appear again before the Mount Isa Magistrates Court on February 22. He is charged with 342 offences. 

Police prosecutor Sergeant Vaughan Cooper opposed bail and said five of the charges had a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, Mt Isa's North West Star reported today.
 
"He is at risk of flight, quite literally," Sergeant Cooper said. 

"His capacity not just to leave Queensland, but Australia." 

Sergeant Cooper said one of the charges related to a Piper Chieftain plane that lost power flying from the Northern Territory to Mount Isa. There were three people on board.

Sergeant Cooper alleged that an inspection of the plane revealed glass beads in the oil filter. 

Sergeant Cooper alleged also that oil had been removed from a Cessna plane kept at the Mount Isa Airport. This was discovered during a daily inspection on August 18, 2016. 

On September, 2016, a Piper Chieftain about to fly from Mount Isa to Burketown experienced loss of oil pressure, the court heard. The flight was aborted. An oil sample allegedly showed glass beads, metals and dirt mixed in with it, Sergeant Cooper said.
 
On October 6 to 7 a Cessna belonging to the Northern Territory Air Services, travelling between Alice Springs and Mount Isa, experienced low pressure. Glass beads were allegedly found in the engines, Sergeant Cooper said. 

On October 18 a pilot on another plane noticed a drop in pressure. The plane arrived in Mount Isa safely. It is alleged that an inspection found paste in the oil system. 

Sergeant Cooper said other offences included fraud. Mr Hoch is alleged to have supplied two fraudulent insurance claims. 

Mr Hoch did not have proper accreditation of an aircraft, the prosecutor alleges. 

The court heard that Mr Hoch has flown Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter and Katters Australian Party State MPs Rob Katter and Shane Knuth through his charter service. The Federal MP has paid $275,000 in total to Mr Hoch for his charter services. 

The prosecutor alleges further that the defendant has flown an aircraft to hide it from police. 

Mr Hoch's solicitor Michael Spearman, Resolute Legal's principal lawyer,  said the charges were "quite circumstantial" and said many of the charges "doubled-up". 

Mr Spearman said that Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has known of Mr Hoch's flights since 2013. They could have grounded him immediately if they had concerns with the pilot and audited the company, he said. 

"Despite knowing of the allegations for months they could have grounded him." 
Mr Hoch has already suffered a "trial by jury" and it has affected his business. He also has two young children and a long-term partner. 

"There are significant stresses in the family right at this point," Mr Spearman said. 
Other bail conditions is that Mr Hoch not apply for a passport. If he has one he must surrender it. 

Mr Hoch cannot pilot a plane or enter an airport. He must also report to the Mount Isa Police Station on specific days twice a week. He also must not contact witnesses. 
For more Mt Isa news see the North West Star
 

MTF...P2 Cool

(01-26-2017, 06:45 AM)kharon Wrote:  Shades of inaction - revisited.

It seems we must once again say a thank you to the Queensland police. They have, very effectively stepped in again, to assist with an aviation matter; their track record impressive. So thank you, your very professional efforts are appreciated.

There was a similar case several years ago at Bankstown; where complaints of ‘interference’ and even theft were made. All of which fell on deaf ears – ‘you get the evidence and we may take a look’ were the essentials of response. I am told that video evidence was provided, but this too was not deemed enough to kick start any form of investigation, from Federal or State police or even CASA, who could have asked for such assistance. Unsubstantiated, but on fairly good authority, it is said that the repair bills were substantial and some of the CASA fall out, created through a stolen document landed back on the complainant. Go figure.  But that part of the tale is in the realm of pub hearsay, from a gentleman wearing a lampshade.

Anyway, the point is why were CASA not leading the Qld investigation – surely there would have been investigation into ‘engine failures’ and the like; why then were alarm the bells not ringing. Same same Hempel – hells bells, the Qld police did a mighty job there; stopped again by CASA and ATSB; same –same Lockhart River and other incidents which seem to slip past the ‘regulator’ unscathed. Gods help any poor sod 10 Kg overweight or with a time expired WAC chart; or, even a log book error; but when it come to serious policing of anything else associated with ‘safety’ – like multiple engine failures; then it seems that the professionals must be called in.

Enough – well done Queensland, well done Mt Isa – thanks again.

Toot toot.

(01-26-2017, 05:47 PM)Peetwo Wrote:  Shades of tendentious blogging - revisited.  Rolleyes

Ben S followed up his report yesterday with this excellent and historically relevant piece today Wink :

Quote:Rogue pilot revelations show CASA tolerated his activities for years
Ben Sandilands Jan 26, 2017

Details of the rogue pilot police operation reflect very poorly on air safety regulator CASA

CASA has given information to the Townsville Bulletin about the rogue bush pilot Josh Hoch which confirms its utter contempt for the safety of the flying public and its inability to effectively regulate air safety in Australia.

A Queensland police investigation has this week led to Hoch being charged on 342 counts concerning 14 alleged offences involving among other matters the claimed sabotaging of aircraft flown by rival general aviation or small regional operations out of Mt Isa airport.

Two of the aircraft Hoch allegedly tampered with by putting plastic beads and other contaminants into their fuel talks had crash landed without loss of life.

Three aircraft are alleged to have been interfered with, risking potential loss of life, on four separate occasions by Hoch in 2016 alone.

Hoch has also been reportedly charged over several alleged cases of insurance fraud involving aircraft.

However in the Townsville Bulletin story, a CASA spokesperson confirms that the safety regulator knew about claims about Hoch’s activities since 2013, and had worked closely with the police investigation since last October.

What happened in relation to Hoch’s activities between 2013, or possibly ever further back, and a very large police operation toward the end of last year, has yet to be laid out for public scrutiny.

But Plane Talking has a copy of a CASA document showing that Hoch and his company didn’t receive a charter approval and air operator certificate until December 8 last year, by which time the safety regulator on its own admission had participated in the police inquiries for two months.

If as this implies Hoch’s operations were unlicensed and unapproved by CASA for all or part of the time they were taking place up until December 8 last year the safety regulator is in obvious and quite possibly criminally negligent breaches of a number of acts.

How CASA could claim to have conducted a satisfactory audit of Hoch’s operations given the brief published by Queensland police and extensively reported in the Townsville Bulletin is a vitally important question.

CASA is on its record an organisation totally indifferent to the blood on its hands from recent blatant failures to carry out it duties. It doesn’t recognise its guilt or its incompetence, and it has made fools of the aviation ministers responsible for its activities for at least as far back as the Seaview disaster of 1994.

The safety regulator also knew of the lethal potential of the operation and principal operative of Transair long before it flew a small turboprop into a hillside when attempting to land at Lockhart River in 2005, killing all 15 people on board.

CASA failed to act on the unfavourable results of an audit of the operations of the Pel-Air fleet of Westwind corporate jets before one of them ditched in stormy seas off Norfolk Island in 2009. It subsequently attempted to suppress that audit with the co-operation of the ATSB, the accident investigator, but was found out by a highly critical all party Senate committee hearing into what remains an unfinished saga. The ATSB was forced to withdraw its first accident report into the Pel-Air crash, which was a shamefully inadequate investigation, and its new inquiry, which was supposed to report more than a year ago, is understood to have run into a number of ‘difficulties’.

The actions of CASA in relation to a pilot who may have been unlicensed for the purposes of his operations for a prolonged period of activity during which police allege he could have killed the occupants of planes which he had sabotaged require very close scrutiny by the Minister for Infrastructure, Darren Chester.

Not scrutiny passed off to his discredited civil servants who have apparently talked nonsense to him since he took up the portfolio last year.  Real scrutiny, by the Minister, of the performance of what many see as a rogue organisation that has a culture of tolerating known unsafe operations.

Will the Hoch scandal be a turning point in the restoration of effective air safety regulation in Australia, or is it just another ‘nothing-to-see-here-media-beatup’ along a pathway to future catastrophe?
MTF...P2 Cool

(01-27-2017, 07:12 AM)Peetwo Wrote:  Update 27/01/2017: Via the Oz

Quote:CASA under fire for issuing licence to pilot under probe


[Image: a9a19a6ead0724d0428cc8bff440d3fe?width=650]
Josh Hoch, right and on a Hoch Air plane, above left, has been charged with 340 offences of endangering public safety. Picture: Wesley Monts

[Image: f3400483558aee27bc3ec06bc155c4db?width=650]Josh Hoch on Hoch Air charter plane. Picture: Facebook.

The Australian
12:00AM January 27, 2017
Paul Cleary
Senior writer

The charter operator charged with 340 offences of endangering public safety was issued with a CASA operator’s licence as recently as last month, prompting leading figures to attack the regulator for incompetence and dysfunction.

CASA records show the regulator issued Hoch Air with an Air Operators Certificate on December 8, even though CASA had been co-operating with the Queensland Police investigation for two months. The AOC is valid for four years.

Queensland Police charged the principal and pilot Josh Hoch, 31, this week with offences that include five counts of tampering with competitors’ fuel. Police allege that Mr Hoch added an “abrasive material directly into engines” which caused a catastrophic failure and forced the landing of two aircraft. Engine failure occurred to two other planes prior to take-off.

Kennedy MP Bob Katter allegedly spent $257,000 on charter flights with Hoch Air although Mr Hoch was unlicensed at the time. Mr Katter’s office declined to comment. CASA’s licensing of Hoch Air appears to be inconsistent with the Queensland Police statement, which says that a “review of aircraft security and passenger safety at Mount Isa Airport was immediately commenced” as part of the investigation launched in October. “Additional measures were implemented to further ensure the safety of passengers and crews,” the police added.

A CASA spokeswoman said the regulator was “actively reviewing information arising out of the Queensland Police investigation and will take such further action as necessary”. CASA could not comment further.

Police asked the Mount Isa Court to refuse bail, but the magistrate granted it. However, Mr Hoch’s family was unable to raise the $50,000 bond by Wednesday afternoon and as a result he spent a second night in the Mount Isa watch-house.

Mr Hoch’s defence lawyer, ­Michael Spearman, blasted CASA, telling the Mount Isa court:

“CASA has known about these flights since 2013. Now if CASA had any concern about a pilot it can invoke provisions of section 30DC of the Civil Aviation Act, instantly grounding a pilot if there is a serious and imminent risk to air safety.

“CASA has not done so, despite knowing of the allegations for months. These started back in October (2016) and certainly those charges from back in 2013,” the Townsville Bulletin reported.

Mr Spearman added that CASA had conducted an audit of Mr Hoch and his company earlier last year, yet he was allowed to remain in the air.

Ben Morgan, executive director at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said the incident showed CASA was far too focused on “misdemeanours” while allowing serious wrongdoing to go unchecked.

“If in fact CASA were not aware this is absolutely serious and it’s going to need the minister’s attention to work out how the regulator let this slip through the cracks,” he said.

“CASA is in court with misdemeanour pilot activities when something as brazen as this has been going on for four years.”

Former CASA chairman Dick Smith said the regulator was a “totally dysfunctional organisation”. He said he had tried to introduce an “administrative fines system” that would replace the system of continuously writing letters to non-compliers.

The investigation also uncovered extraordinary evidence relating to the alleged grievous bodily harm of an aircraft engineer at Charters Towers in July 2014. The engineer, aged in his 60s, sustained “permanent and life-changing head injuries”, the police statement said.


MTF...P2 Cool

(01-28-2017, 07:17 AM)kharon Wrote:  Russian roulette – Ministerial style.

It had to happen – one day; inevitable. The ‘safety’ agencies have been risking ministerial careers ably aided and abetted by disinterested ministers, content to hide behind the barricades listening to the weavers of fantasy tales. Chancy business, the old Russian roulette, one chance in six of getting a bullet in the head. Mind you, on a percentage basis, the ministerial head is probably the best area to be shot in, not too much in there to be damaged.

The Mt Isa story reflects only one small part of why there is  rightful contempt, distrust and fear of this infamous CASA organization. The reputation earned over many years now, supported by fact, all contemptuously dismissed by an arrogant deceitful management.  Well, its on the ministers bullet now; like it not, the bullet does stop there and ignorance is no excuse, the legal eagles tell us. When consecutive ministers prefer to ignore the protest, deny the facts and turn a blind eye to the abysmal state CASA has degenerated into, then, it only seems fair that the minister should catch the load in chamber 6. You can only spin the chambers of a revolver so many times.

I wonder, does the minister have a taste for investigating legends? There are several specimens within his box of frogs which are toxic; for example, among the protected species of frog is the confidential informant frog. Any Copper worth his salt will tell you the value of this species. It is not difficult to catch and tame one of the species, usually it is a matter of a willing buyer and a willing seller; or, simply leverage. Then, it becomes acceptable, if distasteful to look the other way when your tame frog hops off the reservation – provided it shares the spoils. CASA will never admit to using the species; but, a careful look at cases brought against hearsay information provided, leaves a small but definable breadcrumb trail. Oh, you need to look hard to see ‘em but the tracks are there.

“What has this to do with Mt Isa”, you ask? “Join the dots” I say. I will give you a clue or two; but that’s it. Why has CASA not claimed all the kudos and credit as the lead agency in the Qld police investigation?  Why, when serious criminal, black letter law, strict liability charges are laid for even not sharpening your pencil correctly, has the accused managed to escape the eagle eye of the CASA auditors for so long? The gods know how many operators and pilots have been crucified on very shaky ‘evidence’, carefully construed into ‘facts and circumstances’, prosecuted by the full might of CASA ‘legal’. So, the questions begging - WTF were CASA really doing?

Of course I may be, once again, barking up the wrong tree. Even so; without any investigation into the deep, dark doings of CASA officers, there is enough rope there to hang a minister and force an enquiry into the way CASA do business. The only road to salvation for the minister is through an open, public inquiry, independent of government influence (well as close to as possible), accept the findings and be known as ‘the man’ who grabbed CASA by the scruff of the neck and beat seven bells out of it. Then industry may move forward.

This is not a comfortable situation for the willing accomplice; government may move to smother it, the minister may try to wash his hands of it, CASA can bring all hands on deck to man the pumps; spin until as giddy as my Aunt Mable.  But this time around, make no mistake,  the ship is going down; rats, frogs and all.

Toot toot.

(01-28-2017, 07:29 AM)Peetwo Wrote:  
(01-27-2017, 07:12 AM)Peetwo Wrote:  Update 27/01/2017: Via the Oz

Quote:CASA under fire for issuing licence to pilot under probe

The Australian
12:00AM January 27, 2017
Paul Cleary
Senior writer

The charter operator charged with 340 offences of endangering public safety was issued with a CASA operator’s licence as recently as last month, prompting leading figures to attack the regulator for incompetence and dysfunction.

CASA records show the regulator issued Hoch Air with an Air Operators Certificate on December 8, even though CASA had been co-operating with the Queensland Police investigation for two months. The AOC is valid for four years.

Queensland Police charged the principal and pilot Josh Hoch, 31, this week with offences that include five counts of tampering with competitors’ fuel. Police allege that Mr Hoch added an “abrasive material directly into engines” which caused a catastrophic failure and forced the landing of two aircraft. Engine failure occurred to two other planes prior to take-off.

Kennedy MP Bob Katter allegedly spent $257,000 on charter flights with Hoch Air although Mr Hoch was unlicensed at the time. Mr Katter’s office declined to comment. CASA’s licensing of Hoch Air appears to be inconsistent with the Queensland Police statement, which says that a “review of aircraft security and passenger safety at Mount Isa Airport was immediately commenced” as part of the investigation launched in October. “Additional measures were implemented to further ensure the safety of passengers and crews,” the police added.

A CASA spokeswoman said the regulator was “actively reviewing information arising out of the Queensland Police investigation and will take such further action as necessary”. CASA could not comment further.

Police asked the Mount Isa Court to refuse bail, but the magistrate granted it. However, Mr Hoch’s family was unable to raise the $50,000 bond by Wednesday afternoon and as a result he spent a second night in the Mount Isa watch-house.

Mr Hoch’s defence lawyer, ­Michael Spearman, blasted CASA, telling the Mount Isa court:

“CASA has known about these flights since 2013. Now if CASA had any concern about a pilot it can invoke provisions of section 30DC of the Civil Aviation Act, instantly grounding a pilot if there is a serious and imminent risk to air safety.

“CASA has not done so, despite knowing of the allegations for months. These started back in October (2016) and certainly those charges from back in 2013,” the Townsville Bulletin reported.

Mr Spearman added that CASA had conducted an audit of Mr Hoch and his company earlier last year, yet he was allowed to remain in the air.

Ben Morgan, executive director at Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said the incident showed CASA was far too focused on “misdemeanours” while allowing serious wrongdoing to go unchecked.

“If in fact CASA were not aware this is absolutely serious and it’s going to need the minister’s attention to work out how the regulator let this slip through the cracks,” he said.

“CASA is in court with misdemeanour pilot activities when something as brazen as this has been going on for four years.”

Former CASA chairman Dick Smith said the regulator was a “totally dysfunctional organisation”. He said he had tried to introduce an “administrative fines system” that would replace the system of continuously writing letters to non-compliers.

The investigation also uncovered extraordinary evidence relating to the alleged grievous bodily harm of an aircraft engineer at Charters Towers in July 2014. The engineer, aged in his 60s, sustained “permanent and life-changing head injuries”, the police statement said.

Update 30/01/17: Via Townsville Bulletin

Quote:[Image: 6af162f161d369b4301ce485bbb726fa?width=1024]Chief Pilot of Hoch Air Josh Hoch.

Call for urgent report on pilot

[img=0x0]http://pixel.tcog.cp1.news.com.au/track/component/article/38fbcf038be3a35fac7ec06d4f1a23d8?esi=true&t_template=s3/chronicle-tg_tlc_storyheader/index&t_product=TownsvilleBulletin&td_device=desktop[/img]
CHRIS McMAHON, Townsville Bulletin
January 28, 2017 1:00am
[img=0x0]http://pixel.tcog.cp1.news.com.au/track/component/article/38fbcf038be3a35fac7ec06d4f1a23d8?esi=true&t_template=s3/chronicle-tg_tlc_storymeta/index&t_product=TownsvilleBulletin&td_device=desktop[/img]
A FULL review into how North Queensland pilot Josh Hoch, 31, got away with his alleged offending for so long has been ordered by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Federal Transport Minister Darren Chester has also called for an “urgent briefing” from CASA into the explosive case of alleged plane tampering in Mount Isa.

Josh Hoch, 31, was arrested on Tuesday afternoon in Mount Isa and charged with 342 counts across 14 offences, including tampering with aircraft, dangerous operation of aircraft and fraud, allegedly committed from 2013 through to 2016.

Mount Isa Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday that Hoch had allegedly tampered with his competitors’ planes on five different occasions to win commercial contracts and had flown members of the Katter Australia Party around North Queensland, including Bob Katter spending $257,000 on chartering flights with Hoch.

Mr Chester yesterday asked the country’s aviation watchdog for a report into all aspects of the case and investigation against Hoch.

“Given the serious nature of the allegations I have requested a full report from CASA and an urgent briefing on all aspects of the investigation,” Mr Chester said.

“With legal proceedings underway, I’m not in a position to comment any further at this stage.”

A CASA spokeswoman said they had launched their own review into the dealings they have had with Hoch, their investigative process and auditing process.

“CASA has launched an internal review to determine whether any significant safety-related issues involving Mr Hoch and the operations of Hoch Air were, or ought to have been, identified and acted on prior to launch of the police investigation and the arrest of Mr Hoch,” the spokeswoman said.

“We are currently reviewing our records to inform such safety-related action as we may need to take now, and to ensure the integrity and sufficiency of our entry control, audit and surveillance activities. Should we need to, we will look more closely at any aspect of our regulatory functions should additional attention be required.”

The spokeswoman said CASA needed to have evidence to act on, rather than unsubstantiated claims of actions.

“It is important to remember that, like any other regulatory authority, CASA is only able to act on evidence that tends to show there has been a breach of the regulations, not on unsubstantiated claims of such conduct,” she said.

“It would be premature for CASA to comment further on this at this time.

“We will not comment on the criminal allegations against Mr Hoch.

“These are matters before the court and any questions should be directed to the prosecutorial authority.”

Hoch walked from Mount Isa watch-house yesterday after posting the $50,000 surety he failed to produce when given bail on Wednesday

Tick..tick..tick..tick..tick miniscule 4D....  Confused

What say you "K" & Gobbles - think it's about time we started re-visiting the dirt file on the tales of embuggerance and shambolic duplicitous shenanigans of CASA FNQ -  Dodgy


MTF...P2  Cool

(01-28-2017, 07:38 AM)Sandy Reith Wrote:  Whatever the truth is I find it nothing short of disgusting to talk of rogue pilot. Did no one learn from the infamous Chamberlain case? Remember the blood spatters found under the dashboard of their car? The experts, so called, supported by the full force of the law got it horribly wrong because years later it was found to be a sound deadener spayed on during manufacturing. What have we here? I read glass beads, plastic beads and paste. I do know that all sorts of stuff accumulates in engines sometimes natural wear and tear and sometimes through carelessness or mistake. Could it be that here's a made to order scapegoat? A target for an unscrupulous competitor? Unlikely but possible. Queensland operators please don't take offense, I argue in general and ask you to consider if the boot was on the other foot at some time in the future. I'm afraid human nature is what it is and that is precisely why we have legal sanctions against those whose make judgmental pronouncement outside the court system. Trial by media is full on already and in an uncivilised manner that will not serve justice. Gorging on speculation and the miseries of anyone irrespective of the facts is unworthy. Innocent before proven guilty is not just a fancy legal saying, it's a bulwark against injustice, a fundamental discipline.

In regards to GA charter in 1969 I commenced my charter ops with a bare Commercial licence, no chief pilot exam, a no fee charter licence was quickly obtained, supported by a twelve page ops manual supplied for a few dollars by someone with a spotter in DCA (forerunner to CASA). In many cases private owners would go the extra training for business reasons, tax and cost defraying for example in addition to the satisfaction of a higher flying skill.

There were hundreds, if not thousands, of charter qualified, and insured, operators everywhere because the system was sensible and affordable.
Then two things conspired to change that rationality, private flight cost sharing and a new bureaucratic load, exorbitant fees coupled with time consuming procedures totally out of proportion to the market.

I do know that from around 25 years ago private cost sharing became the new charter flying and the number of charter operators dropped to a handful. I tried 10 or 15 years ago to obtain the figures from CASA, they were not available.

Billy Vincent AO was a legendary charter operator in Tasmania, a wonderful pilot and Australian gentleman, with say 20,000 hours, on a private licence. Yes a private licence. Eventually CASA, or was it CAA? took him to the magistrates court for a multitude of illegal charters. The charges were reduced dramatically when it was shown that DCA /CAA/DOT/CASA (watch this space) had chartered him to investigate aircraft crash sites on Bass Strait islands. He received a bare minimum fine. Thereafter he employed a couple of commercial pilots who crashed his planes and he then practically quit the charter scene.

(01-28-2017, 08:07 AM)Gobbledock Wrote:  P2;

"What say you "K" & Gobbles - think it's about time we started re-visiting the dirt file on the tales of embuggerance and shambolic duplicitous shenanigans of CASA FNQ"

Funny you should say that P2, I was just thinking (and I shall express my thought in 'shanty' form), this bares all the hallmarks of a Transair/Collins class submarine feel to it!!!

But my oh my, Fort Fumble are really on the ropes with this one. However those of us who know the ins and out of the dysfunctional and inept clusterf#ck aren't surprised in the least. As for the beautifully manscaped Chester, he has 'called for a report'. Of course you have. But good luck reading between the lines and legalese that it will be peppered with. I hope the Senators and public are paying very close attention because this is what happens when consecutive governments over decades willingly and complicity cover up the failings of its bureaucratic agencies.

Well what you say Wingnut? You wanted the top job mate and even said that you would accept full accountability for CAsA while you sat in the chair so the only honourable thing would be for your scalp to be the first to go, yes? Heck, you can't even trot out Aleck's "I don't know, I was in Montreal at the time" pony pooh excuse as Mr Koch's shenanigans have been under investigation since you came back to Fort Fumble.

TICK TOCK as it all ends in tears
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#3

A Grim Faery tale.
 
CASA – “The spokeswoman said CASA needed to have evidence to act on, rather than unsubstantiated claims of actions.”
 
Since when? Don’t know about you, but, it seems to me that CASA is now challenging the Qld police ‘evidence’, in a bid to exonerate themselves by describing the police evidence as ‘unsubstantiated’.  Just a little hypocritical I would say; coming from a crowd who are famous for ‘massaging’ fact and parlaying any and all clerical error into fraud and breaking wind into a ‘public at risk’ scenario – when it suits. This is going to end up farcical – CASA defending the accused in order to prove – beyond reasonable doubt – that as far as CASA was concerned, there is no case that would require CASA investigation. Watch, wait and see as the CASA defence of CASA assists the defence argument – hell they’ll probably pay the accused legal fees. “Unduckingbelievable” not in my jungle it’s not.
 
CASA - “It is important to remember that, like any other regulatory authority, CASA is only able to act on evidence that tends to show there has been a breach of the regulations, not on unsubstantiated claims of such conduct,” she said.
 
Bollocks – complete and utter BOLLOCKS. With two clicks of my mouse I can put on screen a file which is some 48 pages long – close spaced – they are my notes on cases where CASA have done exactly and precisely that. Many of those cases are based on the ‘unsubstantiated’ manipulated into a frame work which ‘supports’ the claims of ‘wrong doing’, individually they are something nothing – but all together; they unsettle the tribunal, coroner or judge. The masters of the rigged game – crying “Foul”. It beggars belief.
 
CASA - “It would be premature for CASA to comment further on this at this time.
 
“You have the right to remain silent”.  The only sounds in Sleepy Hollow will be the clatter of garbage bin lids being locked down tight and the pitter-patter of CASA feet as they change shifts, taking turns to sit on the lids. This accompanied by the whirring of shedders - flat out.
 
CASA - “We will not comment on the criminal allegations against Mr Hoch.”
 
A classic – no one can, that is a known fact; but the unscrupulous CASA will even stoop to using the blindingly obvious to make themselves sound honourable, just and fair. The spin cycle is starting its wind up to full RPM, cobbed throttles and all hands on deck.
 
CASA – “These are matters before the court and any questions should be directed to the prosecutorial authority.”
 
Oh, ain’t we as pure as the driven snow, holier than thou and so ducking humble.  You know, I could, probably, find a modicum of forgiveness in my heart and mind for Hoch - should he be proven guilty – and; mind you we don’t know that he is guilty; and, he is entitled to defend himself against the charges. So that is a waiting game. But there is no such consideration available for the CASA, the Hoch case presents an unique window of opportunity to allow the minister and the RRAT to view exactly how this ‘safety watchdog’ acts; after dark, when even the best of working dogs turn into sheep killers.
 
If Chester had a brain in his head or some decent advice – he would have known that this was coming. The only folk surprised were him and the brainless, uninformed media. The smell has been on the wind for weeks. It is a testament to the complete absence of interest, a dependency on ‘mandarins’ and a complete lack of thinking apparatus that has landed Chester up to his neck in a deep pile of shit. “Prove it” howls the mob. “Well, says I, “who has Chester asked to investigate the event?” 
 
Aye, but: GD, I don’t want Carmody to resign, not now. The slick, glib, slippery bugger is a master of the ‘get out goal free card’ and the ‘off hook’ wriggle move.  No doubt the minister will be ‘delighted’ to continue working on 'CASA' flawless advice.

Toot toot.
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#4

Is it wrong to wish for Flyingfiend to join AuntyPru to provide some robust input?
C'mon Adam, you know you want to Big Grin

Hugs and Kisses
Gobbledock
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#5

By the pricking of my thumbs.

An idle twiddle while we wait,
To set the odds, at hells own gate.

Well, I found the old Snakes and Ladders game, in a trunk in the box room. It looks as you’d expect, dusty, but carrying it’s battle scars proudly, the aged sticky tape on the box corners peeling off; but intact. A simple thing, representing lots of happy hours in the sick bay as a child recovered from whatever, many a laugh on a wet windy cold afternoon. Two dice, a handful of tokens (actually old Monopoly tokens) and the brightly coloured board depicting rickety ladders and evil snakes; roll the dice, move your token, landing on a ladder takes you up; a snake – t’uther way; first home wins it, a harmless, non combative game.

Not so the Sleepy Hollow version.  Those who have seen the movie ‘The Hunger Games’ may have some inkling of how the game is played by the denizens of the wild wood.  Roll the dice land at the bottom of a ladder; should be an ‘up’ move; except that ladder is owned by the token at the top of it and defended by those clinging onto their rungs, also trying to get to the top; so just to keep your rung is a life or death struggle; particularly when the thing at the ladder top has competition from the bottom of the next ladder up. Now mostly, life on rung is a peaceful thing, keep hold, push the fellah above and don’t let the bloke underneath push you off, easiology – until the top rung is challenged; then sacrifices are required. The top of ladder A has two options; drag the bloke on the bottom of the next ladder off and move up one slot; or, sacrifice one of those below. A smart player may achieve both. It matters little that the one at the top of a ladder is defended by those below. No children, the Sleepy Hollow version is a vicious, deadly game and the closer the exit the ladder is, the rougher it gets.

If the ladders on the Sleepy Hollow game were not formidable enough – there are also the Snakes to consider. You can’t really see them and they are not ‘fixed’ on the board. The rules allow a competitor at (or near) the top to keep their rung, but also to slither off and become a snake on another ladder. A successful snake move can assist the ‘doer’ to be dragged up the ladder after the top player moves onto the bottom of the next up ladder.

Yes, it’s a complicated version of a simple game and there are no published rules; one is either born with a bent for it, a natural instinct for 'the game' or not. However, I did think it worthwhile to explain the ‘game’ as played by the creatures of the wild woods; before you lay your hard earned down on a bet for the Mt Isa championship. This will be a bloody, treacherous affair, make no mistake; for the very man at the topmost point of the highest ladder is under attack. Nothing and no one will be spared by his support team to keep him where he is; nothing and I do mean nothing is sacred or safe when the challenge is at the very pinnacle of the board, right next to the exit and the pot of gold awaiting the winner. So think carefully before placing your bet.  The tote is open.

Team 1 - Gippsland Integrated Rural Layabout Set.  Normally I’d offer 5 to 4 odds on this team winning, except the lower ladder support group will probably be the first sacrificed to keep the man on top in position, so there is no surety that an attack will not come from below as the top man is not of their clan. Moreover, the support of the very top team is not as solid as it may first appear, no children, the GIRLS are not quite as good a bet as they seem, after close examination. Even money best odds I can offer – ante post.

Team 2 – Totally Wicked Avaricious Team. Here only short odds are available 2:1 on trending toward 5 to 4.  This is a ladder fully stacked with very experienced players who have won many victories during a blood soaked period at the very top of the second ladder. They play as a team and are masters of the ‘snake’ role; each having agreed to keep the place held by whoever slithers off to do some mischief to another team. This crew will have no hesitation in mounting a two or even three snake attacks on the GIRLS ladder and no compunction or conscience about sacrificing any of the entire team below them to maintain their own ladder just as it is. So, the TWATS must be considered short price favourites.

Team 3 – Is a surprise entry to many, especially to those who cannot see the wood for the trees or smell trouble over their own deodorant.  Police Looking Over Danger is a well organised team with some very savvy players and a couple of advantages the ‘rest’ do not have. Their ladder is not leaning up against the GIRLS wall and they are not dependent on the TWATS good graces to avoid sacrifice. The PLOD  crew have conscientiously done their home work, are match fit and they do have some old scores to settle. Long memories in that camp of smart folk. The popular choice so far and good value (ante post) at 4 to 1 for an each way bet.

There are some other teams on the game board, but I am only posting odds for the top weight entrants. Teams like the Board of lazy lackadaisical overfed content kiddies society (Bollocks) but they won’t be wanting to get their Lilly white hands dirty, so open odds on that; start you off at 20:1.  It will be a scrum ‘below decks’ as the ladder clingers and shufflers duck and weave to avoid becoming snake fodder; I will, as a sweetener, give you 10 to 1 on the Deceptive Ambitious Flawed Townsville (DAFT) team being one of the first taken off the board and out of the game, mauled and bloody.   

Aye well – all the fun of the fair for those as give a fig. The real competition will start when the Stewards weigh in to adjudicate the last rounds.  On the wind is a whisper that some folk on very tall ladders may be disturbed by the ruckus coming the lower parts of Sleepy Hollow and may just stroll down there and tell ‘em to keep the bloody racket down.

Aye; who knows what will happen. But we shall see – that is a safe bet.

"By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks."

Toot toot.
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#6

While we continue to wait... Dodgy

...For the miniscule 4D to crawl out of his worm hole and acknowledge that he has a cluster-duck over at Aviation House... Confused

I almost missed an interim report by the Townsville Bulletin that focusses on the local industry response to the Hoch Air shenanigans:
Quote:Aviation industry shocked by Mount Isa pilots alleged criminal activity
RACHEL RILEY, Townsville Bulletin
January 27, 2017 9:15am

NORTH Queensland aviators do not want a knee-jerk reaction by aviation regulators following a Mount Isa pilot’s arrest on Tuesday.

Hinchinbrook Deputy Mayor Mary Brown, who is also co-owner of North Queensland Aviation Services, said the alleged actions of Josh Hoch did not reflect the industry as a whole.

Chief pilot Joshua Liddle, of Liddles Air Service, said he was shocked by the allegations, but the Civil Aviation Authority was already “heavy-handed” in enforcing regulations.

Hoch, 31, was bailed on Wednesday over charges of tampering with aircraft, but has spent two nights behind bars after failing to pay a $50,000 surety before close of business on Wednesday.

Ms Brown said aviation in the North had a very strong safety record and backed CASA’s decision to await a review of police information before considering taking further action.

“I would appeal to people not to think in general aviation, behaviour in this manner is common,” she said.

“Fundamentally, we are a very safety-conscious community and on the whole, operators out there will also do the right thing.

“Unfortunately this particular case appears to have tarnished that and I would hate to see a knee-jerk reaction from the regulators that has a negative impact on general aviation.”

Mr Liddle said the industry was tightly controlled so he was “bewildered” by the allegations.

“I am extremely surprised,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of contracts with government agencies and bigger businesses and the qualifications and experience we need and the auditing process we have to go through as operators is very stringent.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, in Townsville yesterday for Australia Day commitments, would not be drawn on the aviation controversy or whether CASA should be reviewed.

“They would be Commonwealth matters but I think you would probably need to ask the Police Commissioner,” she said.

Kevin Gill, Queensland Airports Ltd’s chief operating officer for Townsville, Mount Isa and Longreach airports, did not return calls


MTF...P2 Cool
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#7

Mr Liddles twiddle;

Mr Liddle said the industry was tightly controlled so he was “bewildered” by the allegations.

Indeed, good point Mr Liddle. CAsA love to keep a tight reign on things. One can barely break wind without a sociopathic FOI with stale alcoholic breath and small genitalia pouncing on you! So how perplexing it is that a rogue pilot could not only vandalise his competitions aircraft but also kept his AOC (renewed even), kept his type rating, chief pilot approval, pass regulatory audits, pass operational surveillance, you know all that staff that comes with a HIGH LEVEL OF REGULATOR OVERSIGHT! How could Mr Koch apparently get away with such brazen activities for so long, seemingly unnoticed by CAsA? Hell, one could even be tempted into thinking that he has best mates, a cousin, uncle or aunty, lover, former business partner or some sort of very close, supportive fan working for CAsA!

Or are CAsA quite simply that useless, that moronic, that inept, that ducked that they let something like this slip between the cracks??

Dear oh dear Miniscule NFI, Wingnut, Pumpkin Head, Barn'boy, you have a lot of explaining to do. It's time the lot of you became accountable for the parlous condition the public are placed under, yes the fare paying public who should be protected from such industry rogues. Stick that on your travel expense claims and shove it up your ass.

Tick tock
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#8

It is still possible to have faith in some public bodies, the Qld police being one, particularly when dealing with CASA. They have been sorely tested in previous encounters, so who better than a police force with ‘attitude’ and right on their side to deal with organized crime.

I’ll have ten bob @ 4:1 on PLOD thanks “K” – I hope the jockey is Barry (Braces) O’Sullivan. The man knows.
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#9

Short update - reliable source:-

CASA are ‘assisting’ in the prosecution.

The charges are all brought under Qld law.

Rumour update; there is, locally, some serious, reasonable doubt that Hoch is actually guilty as charged.

Aside: P1 I’ll take your ten bob – but later; first I must update the tote, chancy business ante post betting and there are shifts which need careful consideration.

That’s all she wrote.
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#10

Follow up ramblings.

For the sporting folk, who have as yet not made their selection, there are some complexities which merit consideration.  As the Mt Isa snakes and ladders championship is being organized and run solely by the Qld constabulary, some thought must be given to the effect on outcome of CASA assistance.

Without being privy to the ‘charges’, which, it seems (no guarantee) are all related to Qld law, some consideration to the penalties contained within the Aviation Act and Regulations must be given.  Don’t mean to be obtuse, in fact I’m struggling to get my head around the few facts we have; but, it has me intrigued that CASA are purported to be ‘assisting’ the prosecution.  If old mate is charged under section 123 of the Qld law, to wit, ‘piddling on the tarmac’ can the CASA crew then add the charge of creating a safety risk, does this then allow the public health folk to tack on a charge pollution; the airport owners to prosecute for damages, etc. Not a legal eagle, but it seems passing strange that CASA should be ‘involved’ in any way with a Qld state police matter.  What about ‘double jeopardy? Not guilty under QLD 123, then prosecuted, again, under CA Act 456. Can this even happen?

Say there was a drugs bust at the local airport, the ‘law’ descends, detain the pilot, search the aircraft and find what’s called ‘the stash’ (the kids tell me). OK – fair enough, no quarrel with that; the pilot arrested, charged, prosecuted to a verdict; spot on. But what of the CASA end? The aircraft was serviceable, the pilot licenced, rating, paperwork, trim sheet, load statement, maps, charts and every little thing tickety-boo. This should end the CASA involvement, est-ce pas? But say the pilot medical was expired; can CASA then prosecute using evidence obtained from a police operation?

Aye well, I ramble in hope of enlightenment; and, no doubt the legal eagles are rolling about the floor at my naiveté but I’m curious; and, I do have the tote odds to consider. A question which will influence the betting is bothering my wooden head. How far will (can) CASA ‘assistance’ go? There is some serious interest in this element.  

Some believe the ‘interest’ will only as far as to exonerate CASA from any hint of negligence on their part. Others hold the notion that CASA will go in ‘boots and all’ to cover any possibility that they were negligent. Another possibility is that such help as may be given to the police case will be given and CASA will bow out; leaving the prosecution with possible breeches of the Act and regulations to bolster their case, beyond any reasonable doubt.  Bragging rights and ministerial pleasure strongly favoured as a possible factor in the selection.

Enough here – what the Qld police do is none of our concern, ‘tis their case and prosecution. For ‘us’ only the CASA element is of great interest, given their past antics and track record. Anyway; the tote is ‘live’ the odds, as always, are subject to change. I will pass on such information and rumour as we hear it. You picks your fancy and takes your chances.

Toot (fascinated) toot.
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#11

Strange tale is this one.

It is a very strange road we travel here boy; most peculiar.  There is a story floating about that a lot of the work Hoch did was for the ‘police’ – court transfers and the like. Speculation only and just for the conversation, does ‘using’ the services of a ‘suspect’ and paying for those services fall into any sort of ‘entrapment’ game; can’t see it myself, but it may raise a few of the legal eyebrows – if true; just saying. Me? - I would not board the aircraft if there was any suspicion, whatsoever, that the pilot was ‘unstable’ enough to slink out, in the dark of night to ‘fix’ someone’s engine; but then you must ask – what comparable competition was there for the work? Buggered if I know, (or care) but horses for courses and all that.

D’you remember that disgraceful episode – out of Bankstown; the prisoner escorts from JJ making all kinds of wild, unsubstantiated allegations as part of an ‘industrial’ campaign? Maybe you were away – but pilots were being accused of leaving the controls of a Chieftain, wandering down ‘the back’ and helping themselves to a soft drink before returning to duty. Lot’s of other allegations made, which CASA, to their credit, investigated properly and found no case to answer. It all got quite furious in the end. Once, when the then CP happened to pass the waiting room; (coffee, tea, biscuits, air-con and TV provided – gratis) he spotted literally handfuls of biscuits disappearing into the copious pockets of an ‘escort’. The toll on the ‘biscuit budget’ had been questioned by the bean counters – pilots blamed – however; after a short, spiteful altercation, the pockets were emptied and, some two dozen of Arnott’s best materialised. Instant ‘assault’ charge, quickly dismissed by the local Plod. All good – except it seems that Arnott’s product, in individual packages, were ‘legal tender’ in some establishments.

It is a funny old world my son; as I’m sure I’ve told you many times before.  However, much like yourself, I am intrigued by the CASA connection, but more so by the seeming lack of ATSB ‘reports’. OK, one engine failure, out in the bush is not what anyone could construe into a ‘big deal’; but evidence of potentially lethal naughtiness should have produced at least a short report – or even a mention. Way I hear it is that there are several suspected cases of such doings. This makes it an elephant of an entirely different flavour. To quote Oscar Wilde

“To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

Alleged multiple ‘tinkering’s’ and no ATSB investigation; no word to the CASA about such – Oh, it’s hard to know what or who to believe. We shall, as you say, wait and see; just who did what to whom and how much it all cost. The ‘tote’ is uhmm entertaining; I’ll hang on to my drink vouchers for a while longer I think. Shall we confer with the Eagle?

PS. Do not be late – Mum is on a mission; some recipe or other discovered; fingers crossed. Later.
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