It is, in most instances, a phrase used in Australia as an ‘answer’ to a question about someone; it goes like this – “has Fred any idea what he’s about? – The laconic answer goes something like – “Fred? Wouldn’t know if he was punched, bored or countersunk.” The discussion usually ends about there; as fresh Ales are ordered.
The summer solstice has passed; (o8:47 on Dec 22) Christmas (Santa et alia) has been and gone; the new year only a few hours short of being consigned to memory and the holiday month is ticking over; one day at a time. Pretty soon, as the days draw in, it will be back to ‘business’ – as usual. I, for one, will be glad to see 2022 fade from memory, I cannot remember, ever, being so glad to see the end of a year. A chance to take at least a short ‘rustication’ period away from the absolute ‘buggers muddle’ created by the Canberra folk dabbling with the aviation world. It is, to quote Papa (P7) – “a bloody shambles”.
“Hain’t we got all the fools in town on our side? And hain’t that a big enough majority in any town?”― Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Relax; not going to ‘bang-on’ about ASA, ATSB or CASA – not yet anyway, but will, with your indulgence, bring to your attention the excellent example of ‘how’ a transport system and a safety agency can, does and will to provide ‘operational’ excellence. I refer to the Australian Maritime Safety Agency (AMSA). They have an internal ‘structure’ which begins at the top and permeates all the way down to the basement. The top floor actually know and understand the way in which their industry operates, its needs, flaws and ‘problem’ areas; they in turn select the next level down from people they believe ‘know’ what they are about; they, in turn employ folks who are ‘industry savvy’ and thus, they create a governing agency which actually has a reasonable grasp on industry needs, governance, common sense and are a practical crew which actually works with, and importantly, understands ‘the way things really are’.
“All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher.” ― Titus Lucretius Carus, On the Nature of Things: de Rerum Natura
True to my word; I will not ‘bang on’ but there are a couple (or three) items which, IMO, need to be the focus of this next twelve month, for we cannot, nor must not, continue as we are in the aviation world. Under the control of the minister La King (a.k.a Reeking or Wrecking) we have three agencies which feed off the aviation industry (or the little that is left of it). Keep it short– I promise.
Air Services Australia – run by the Electric Blue Halfwit and his dodgy accountant mate are supposed to provide for the safety of the public, while being part of Air Traffic movement. Desperate to reduce the incredible debt incurred during the ‘One Sky’ fiasco, they have stripped down a once world class service to the regular public and private charter operations industry to a point where there are simply not enough ATCO bums at the consuls and heavy aircraft are not fully guaranteed separation, from take off to touch down, from ‘all’ possible collision risks. Not if, but when, a hull and passengers are lost, perhaps the minister could spare a few moments to consider sorting this abomination out; it is, after all part of her job description, pays the wages and despite the fine print, the media can and will lay the carcass at her door.
“Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty?”― Patrick Henry
Of ATSB – one can only despair; it is the only practical solution remaining. From ‘gold standard’ to the current pathetic charade in three short tenures of ‘Chief Commissioner’. The latest no where near a ‘qualified’ investigator, except for perhaps of the fluff in his belly button, continues his campaign for the ‘bucket call’ championship. Engraved on the houseboat bucket are the names and dates of every “fetch the bucket” event and the perpetrator of the call. Dolan – the inutile was not a very high scorer, being both useless and pathetic to boot. Then we had the world infamous “Hooded Canary’, a butt of international jokes at first, then condemnation; but, he did leave a legacy for the next cab off the rank – his wardrobe, his love of ‘selfies’ and his dire need to be ‘seen’ by the media. A concubine to the MoU and an expert exponent of the ‘top cover’ game – a disappointment to all, especially the MH370 debacle, cast and crew. Nevertheless; our wee bearded popinjay is streeting him in the ‘Figjam’ (Duck I’m Good Just Ask Me) stakes, for arriving ‘on scene’ and changing into ‘Macho’ outfits and grabbing the media platform. Did he go the the NT crash? No. Did he go to Gympie ? No; did he hot foot it to a crash close to home, with convenient media coverage, do his ‘Clint Eastwood’ gunfighter eyes and dress up to suit the part – damn right he did. I agree with the junior Kangaroo he ‘persuaded’ (with cameras handy) to leave lake Burley Griffin – which, once ‘rescued’ returned to the pond with a hearty ‘Duck off Mate – I’m cooling me marbles’. Point of order M’lud – to enter a ‘crash site’ area there are several, very important, “safety” measures which MUST be in place – airborne blood pathogens etc and a raft of preventative stuff against which the ‘tin kickers’ must be protected (mandatory). Hood actually vomited in Melbourne, in the crashed aircraft FCOL. – Popinjay (the Macho) went how close to the crash site in a rather mad dash (from the dry cleaners ?) to get in front of the cameras? Veritas lost? – Perhaps the minister could spare a few moments to consider sorting this abomination out; it is, after all part of her job description, pays the wages and despite the fine print, the media can and will lay the carcass at her door.
“Oh thank you, thank you sir, but I’m too humble to be called a friend, Mr. Micawber. I’m grateful to Mr. Copperfield for his kindness. Now if you’ll excuse me…” Roland Young: Uriah Heep
CASA, dear gods minister; CASA! The entire aviation world despairs of this two bob amateur lash up. In truth, they indeed know not if they are punched, bored or countersunk. AMSA is ruled by folk who know, with some certainty that they know the ways of the ships, men and those who work in the great waters. Pip Spence could NOT, find a cat, in a cat house with a bloody candle, wind assisted. The current CASA management and board is a very, very expensive complete waste of time, money and effort; and, it is selling snake oil at inflated prices, to the industry and the rest of the aviation world. A complete and utter shambles which is destroying a once vital, vibrant industry. CASA is a failed experiment, an embarrassment to this nation’s industry; and, it costs a bomb to maintain the farce, it just has to stop. Hire a DAS who at very least knows which end of an engine the smoke comes out of. Credibility lost? Perhaps the minister could spare a few moments to consider sorting this abomination out; it is, after all part of her job description, pays the wages and despite the fine print, the media can and will lay the carcass at her door.
“One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the “impossible,” come true.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up
Aye well; how much longer this government can keep denying all clearly visible, completely apparent facts is in the lap of the gods. Much like Russian roulette; eventually someone has to blink. I recommend the ‘blinking’ be be done before the fourth ‘click’ – for then it becomes a simple matter of basic mathematics…..
No matter; and, of much greater importance is the ‘apprentice’s challenge’. The ‘rules’ (for want of better’) are simple. There, in the ‘skip’ are many 4 x 2 off-cuts and a couple of busted up pallets. Three apprentices – pick your timber first, study the layout design and make it – without a ‘square’, rule or more than four hand tools: no nails, screws or dowels; begin after the fourth beer. It is not that easy; this is a design with a door frame made from mitred tenons; fitted with a mirror (or panel); hinged, all cabinet corners dovetailed, three per corner minimum; and, at least two shelves fitted, plus a door knob. All to be done by hand, by eye alone. To take a 4×2 out of a dumpster, cut and plane it to an even size, four square and flat is no easy task. To get at least a dozen ‘dovetail’ joints made and fitted by hand alone (no guide), is ‘hard’ – then to make four mitred tenons for the ‘door’ – by eye is bloody hard. We sat about, watching the work and having the odd ‘cooling libation’ until the bell rang for time. Best on the day – our young lady apprentice; not too shabby an effort at all. Why, well, I’d said it to all, many times – but she had ‘listened’. It took much longer for her to select, cut and ‘true’ up her wood, that time and care made making a ‘square’ piece to make the joints took her a long way forward when it all mattered – with the end product. Oh, we burned every last one of them – but it was great fun BBQ (and a late finish) : the donkey is still not really speaking to me (but he is old).. Away dogs! – away; the new year awaits us. (Gods willing, weather permitting)….