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[Image: SBG-19120.jpg]References: RAAus v ATSB: Occurrence reporting disconnections? & &

As the man with a wooden leg said; – AP Forum version.

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“In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.” ― Oscar Wilde

In Oz Flying – Hitch – writes a paragraph referring to ‘Stall’ and a knock on effect – a ‘wing drop’ and the discussion CASA has put out to those interested. There are bound to be at least a hundred variations on the theme and four times that many ‘opinions’ on the matter. I even have one of my own – FWIW. The ‘safest’ aviation training system is arguably the USA, widely adopted as ‘the standard’. It is not a bad system and has produced many generations of competent pilots. Their approach to ‘stall’ etc. seems rational, reasonable and practical. I struggle to come to terms with a notion of a UPRT – more meaningless twaddle and yet another acronym to add the horrendous page count; not my idea of solving a basic problem. And anyway:-

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“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong”. ― Voltaire, The Age of Louis XIV

But what then is the fuss all about? To certify a USA aircraft, in the ‘utility’ class (FAR 23) the ‘stall’ and recovery envelope is tested to ensure that even a ham handed student, stalling the aircraft can recover it. It is neither a difficult nor dangerous routine part of basic flight training. ALL instructor pilots in the USA (last I checked) were certified for ‘stall/spin’ recovery – which made control of things out of shape’ even more reliable i.e. a ‘safe training environment’. Ordinarily – I’d hardly mention a breeze in a tea cup like this one except for RA Oz and SOAR being much in focus at the moment.

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That story is not a teacup storm; it is a deeply seated, carefully concealed time bomb which needs to be dealt with now – now. The ‘system’ reported accident and incident ratio alone raises many questions of the ministerial pimping, CASA sanctioned, much ‘exempted’, self managed system which is now training future generations of pilots – or was. Quite apart from the standard and quality of training observed through ‘accident and incident’ statistics; there are some serious questions being raised relating to the suitability for training of the aircraft provided. Enter the spinning dragons (Aye, they’re all at it).

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One of the scariest spin dragons lives in the RA Oz Operations Manual.

“Persons undertaking flying training and other types of flying in recreational aeroplanes are advised that there are risks involved. These risks cannot be specifically quantified however; recreational aeroplanes used for pilot training are constructed, operated and maintained under exemptions from the regulations.

These exemptions are from the regulations that apply to General Aviation aeroplanes. Whilst similar rule sets apply to our organisation and replace those that we are exempt from, it must be accepted that the overall safety of recreational flying is generally below the well-known commercial air transport standards in Australia.”

4. Flight training described in this manual and its supplements must be completed with particular regard to stalls and stalls with wing drops, along with regard for the limited flight envelope of many RAAus aeroplanes. Specifically, the smaller differences between stall speed and the climb, cruise and gliding speeds for some aeroplanes and the relatively low inertia of recreational aeroplanes.

Very coy ain’t it. But, this not the place for a lesson in basic aerodynamics; but, if you’re not familiar, find a qualified reference source or a friendly instructor and have ‘em explain why ‘certified aircraft’ mostly have a fairly good ‘buffer’ – a margin of speed – over the speed at which the aircraft will cease to fly and that which allows a slow landing speed. Not rocket science. 

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What may not be fully understood is that ‘close’ or as RA Oz quaintly put it ‘smaller’ differences between the critical speeds provide a challenge to even experienced pilots – in short what the blurb avoids saying is that some of the aircraft used for basic training are ‘unforgiving’. The last aircraft I’d want any child of mine flying would one which will not allow, tolerate or forgive an airspeed fumble; particularly at low altitude, slow (landing) ‘dirty’ (flap and wheels) in a very busy, multi runway, training environment, with radio control and other distractions such as traffic, the sun, wind and turbulence. Trainee pilots need every ounce of ‘forgiveness’ an aircraft has. Anything less leads to a high incident and accident count; of which there is a disproportionate amount; the ‘stats’ are there on the RA Oz web site – check it out.

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“What really matters is what you do with what you have.” ― H.G. Wells

I’ll leave it there – been a fair bit said already this last week; minister led astray again; CASA mired in a self made legal mud hole; exemptions out the jet pipe; the astounding difference in ‘treatment’ both Angel Flight and Buckley have received for little explainable reason; ATSB cherry-picking which accidents they will investigate. Lots of young hopeful wanab’s in queer street with debt. Oh, it’s a big deal alright – will it become legend or simply dribble through the bipartinsane cracks under our ‘concerned’ politicians plush fundamentals? The tote is open for those brave enough to have a flutter. No matter; the grown ups have taken an interest, a serious one. No doubt their deliberations (once the shouting stops) will be provided to the RRAT committee – for consideration in due course. I can’t wait to see the draft.

I know I’ve banged this drum all week – but it is a serious matter in more ways than one and it demands a wide view from base regulation through to probity and integrity of the system – across the entire spectrum. Half a billion spent; thirty years to get almost finished regulations and yet here we have an operation running on ‘exemptions’ which has been left wide open to marketing manipulation. By both ‘regulator’ and the RA Oz administration and management. Someone has to pull their socks up; any guesses – the Tote is still open.

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Well; I do believe there is one, solitary Ale left in the stable fridge; dogs are spark out – been chasing raindrops all day; rolling in puddles and not happy to see the bucket and hose pipe waiting at the door after their frolic. Clean, brushed, fed and watered –good now they are asleep. Ayup, definitely time to rescue that lonesome, cold survivor.