As time goes by: AP Forum version.
No longer do I rely on the soulless digital cock on the computer face to let me know that life ticks by; one tock at a time. No longer is the only noise intrusion into the solitude of the stable an occasional horse fart or dog scratching; no Sir. My wonderful clock measures the hours of life with it’s irresistible , reassuring, almost subliminal, whispered noises. I’ve come to rely on and measure time by those sounds. I catch myself looking up just before the quarter hour is (gently) announced – it confirms my own appreciation of time passing, with unerring precision and accuracy. Which brings me to the point of my ramble.
Time – and timing. Industry has gone into a tail spin. There may be some rough, rotten times for many ahead: we shall see. I for one do not believe the doom and gloom forecasts. Life at the moment is like being on hold. We’ve all been there; the gross cost of ‘waiting’ – on hold – if it were ever calculated in man hours/ dollars would shock the nation.
“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
But, I wonder, is now not a good time for the industry to take the Bull by the horns. Get behind Angel Flight, support AOPA; or get busy with a submission to McDonald. With time to spare I have been reading through our research data. I’ve time travelled back almost 40 years, every decade presents the same breadcrumb trail, the same jig-saw picture and; most alarmingly the same (give or take the odd flight of rhetoric) pallid, useless results. The only real thing that’s changed is the ‘power base’ and the budgets. We have an aviation authority which can write law, without the benefit of parliamentary scrutiny, debate or a god damn question being asked. Strict liability for all – how’s that happen? Angel Flight the quintessential case. I’m sure many will get the message without any need for expansion. So!
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
We have time to think it all through – great. But, we also have three, very small windows to climb into. There is also the distinct possibility that a vital, national industry may collapse if the changes are not rung – and soon. What is the fool rambling on about? Good question. I shall construe:-
“You may delay, but time will not.” ― Benjamin Franklin
Item 1. There is a new breeze blowing through the DoIT. Sane, rational and cognisant of the tangled web our old mate Murky spun. Logical, long awaited changes to the ‘Act’ have been bandied about – change is mooted, get behind it. That change was first mentioned in 1999. Nothing concrete you understand: not yet – but IMO someone has put a fox in the CASA chook shed. We shall see; but if common sense is to prevail – the time to draft those submissions is now. The ‘Act’ is unconstitutional, the ‘Act’ really only pins CASA to one ‘responsibility’ but grants autonomous power, without responsibility for much, much more. Time to put a stopper in that Genie’s bottle.
“The future is uncertain but the end is always near.” ― jim morrison
Item 2. The lucrative contact of St. Commode, patron saint of aviation safety will not be renewed. That, whether he like it or not. His track record is appalling; things done to ensure safety or improved conditions for industry; or anything worthwhile at all make for a very, very short list. A good riddance I’d say.
“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” ― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
Item 3. Like it or not – at the end of the shift the incumbent minister is responsible for the aviation industry. No matter how much he may wriggle and dance – . Blaming advice and relying on CASA to keep his arse out of the flames is not a defence. Ignorance never was. Ignorance may be forgiven provided restitution is made. How? Bleats our little lost sheep. The answer is so ducking easy and obvious, it seems too good to be true, to an uneducated halfwit. We shall explain, in aviation terms:-
There is a problem. First, correctly identify ‘the problem’. Second do what is necessary to remedy that clearly identified problem. Ministerial problems are small; appoint a head of CASA who knows what to do – a real director. Would the minister fly in an aircraft crewed by folks without qualification or experience? No. then why get inboard. Then, there is the board to consider – why not appoint ‘qualified’ folk with experience to that board? There is, believe it or not, some real talent and ‘can-do’, clear sighted folk out there who could make a real difference. Off the top of my head David Forsyth, Ken Cannane, Doc Gates, just for example, from the great wealth of experienced folk who could turn it all around in a political heartbeat. The likes of Alec, Crawford and their catamites are simply not required. Look at it this way. I know sweet sod all about brain surgery – I don’t. BUT, if I were to be responsible for the health and well being of those who needed the surgery – would I hire the local Plumber and his mate to see the job done right? Or, perhaps, no matter the cost or embarrassment would I hire the best in the business to make sure sanity prevailed. No brainer really – is it.
Difficult week this one. No BRB – no IOS and no darts. Woe is me. TOM dropped in – we had a round (or two) of darts and did the keg justice. He had the honour of winding up my clock and setting it to task. Most pleasant interlude, a glass of fine Ale, a cigar; he set the pendulum to work and we spent a quiet five minutes listening and watching as the quarter hour slowly approached. “Ah the Bells” we said – simultaneously. “Cheers, to job well done” he said. “Not even for a King’s ransom will I ever do it again” was my response. The ‘youngest’ tool I used on that job was a 1910 Stanley #4½ smoother, the oldest an 1830 rebate plane; every saw needed a sharpening. Oh, and yes, the dogs have moved camp to be closer. Smart animals – of a much underrated intelligence.