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Mick, Mac and Paddy-Whack. – AP forum version.

Most will know the nursery rhyme; many will have laughed at the ‘Frog’ wanting a loan joke; but, in the rhyme every verse carries the line ‘give the dog a bone’. Seems that no matter what tune the old man plays, on whatever is handy – the dog always gets a bone. I noted the parallels between the government response and industry survival pleas and the nonsense rhyme when I heard some kids singing the old tune. Aye, ’tis Whimsy no doubt, but worth a moments thought. Industry dogs barking, minister playing nick-nack and a bone thrown to silence the dogs while the ministerial convoy goes rolling home –

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Couple of old bones tossed out this week of the airspace and regulatory flavour. You can, if you can stomach it, read the latest McDonaught press release on ‘airspace’ – HERE -. Another carefully massaged load of bollocks, industry and the public have been thrown these old bones since about 2007. Back then there was, writ into the Act, a powerful ministerial statement which aligned Australia with both the ICAO and USA system; compliance and no option. That part of the Act lasted until there was a change of minister and that part of the Act was quietly taken out the back and disposed of. Since then, its been one expensive cock-up after another; culminating in the fatally flawed, horrendously expensive, now outdated, vision splendid of ‘One-Sky’. The amount of money wasted on a wet dream would have quite neatly funded some additional controllers and perhaps a couple of control systems for ‘problem’ areas like Ballina. Aye, nick-nack indeed – the bone thrown – ministerial pony-pooh.

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“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” ― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

The next bone flung out of the CASA kitchen door is a rank, reeking thing. Plain English explanation of the ludicrous rules. Weighing in at some 332 pages, presenting someone’s version of ‘the regulations’ and how to ‘comply’. No legal standing whatsoever – none. In the hands of a clever lawyer, in a court of LAW, not justice, the rules as writ are a legal minefield and only CASA know the way through. Mostly, operators and crew can struggle through and believe they are compliant, their manuals are ‘accepted’ by CASA, so all must be well. Not so, I can provide, without looking at my library a dozen instances where the ‘accepted’ part of a manual has been dismissed and action taken against the operator. No matter, the point is a simple one. Until we have rules writ in plain English; see FAA or NZ, then no matter how much ‘opinion’ on how to comply is published, at great expense by the law makers; you are in legal peril. This is also a cynical bone; a load of costly bollocks followed up with a ‘do you like us’ survey. Disgusting – if this is a product of the new ‘feel-good’ softly softly regime; then it is time to follow the leaders and move off shore.

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“And thus I clothe my naked villainy

With odd old ends stol’n out of holy writ;

And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.” ― William Shakespeare, Richard III

The last bone landed with a dull thud and no one went near it. Despite the many howls of protest, some of the fellahin were ‘asked’ by Aunt Pru to carefully study and sit through the last estimates sessions. I’d have gladly swapped, Hansard for me – alas. Only a dozen of us at the table; P7 ordered the Ale as so we began. The short version – after much ‘discussion’ was simple enough to script. Disappointment mixed with dismay and a soupcon of disgust thrown in. Something has changed and not for the better. The one hope industry had for the recovery of aerodromes, a sensible rule set and equity in the management of aviation resided in the efforts the Senators were making. Or, rather they were making, until ‘politics’ and ‘election’ raised it’s hoary, ugly head. We wondered (not for long) if ministerial hypocrisy played a hand.

“And what sort of lives do these people, who pose as being moral, lead themselves? My dear fellow, you forget that we are in the native land of the hypocrite.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Aye well, ’tis a school day for me. On my bench there is a billet of ‘quarter sawn’ Beech; a lovely thing and expensive. My mentor is to teach me the secrets of making a ‘jointer’ plane. The old wooden planes (Pyramids to 1800’s) are truly wonderful things, light, silky smooth and IMO as good, if not better than some of the modern day offerings. A ‘jointer’ is not a thing one uses on a daily basis; but for long runs, like a table top or a  tall cabinet, they finish the truing up beautifully. There is some serious skill required to make one; I hope to learn a little of that skill today. Best crack on, can’t be caught with blunt chisels or a scruffy bench.

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