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There are two ends of a plank! – AP Forum version

Apprentices learn this harsh fact of life at an early age. So intent on steering a long board around a job site, keeping the front end out of bother, t’uther end is forgotten about. I’ve even seen one bloke who, when his name was called, would turn round to see who called – shouldn’t laugh – but you do. It is all too easy to forget that the ‘back end is travelling in an opposite direction. A life lesson, perhaps worth remembering as it metaphorically applies to a lot of situations.

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“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.” ― John F. Kennedy

Gold star and a Tim Tam for Paul Tyrrell – CEO of the Australian Helicopter Industry Association, a man who can manage both ends of the plank. The short, but very much to the point submission made to the 20/20 hindsight RRAT inquiry sums up the industry situation very clearly :-

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“Whenever we give up, leave behind, and forget too much, there is always the danger that the things we have neglected will return with added force.” ― Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Excellent, professional summary – but what of the Amateur RA Oz plank? They seem to have forgotten the ‘back end; so intent on taking the front end to where they imagine it should be, the back end is creating some serious concerns and has the potential to damage the hard won safety record of the light end on the the GA market. Read the recently issued statement .

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“Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

While the AHIA are pleading a case for the regulatory boot to be eased, RA-Oz appear to be without too much in the way of let or hindrance to do pretty much as they please. Almost a law unto themselves. The notion of ‘self administration is neither new, nor novel. The Gliding Federation have been managing it very well for decades; but the Gliders have not grown like Topsy into large, commercial operations – such as SOAR. With ministerial promotion, these outfits seem to be able to get away with stuff which got Angel Flight pilloried. When you examine the Buckley saga carefully, you see the danger. A properly constructed – by the ‘book’ compliant with CASA regulation flying school runs into all manner of obstacles – yet SOAR and Mildura and Tamworth sail happily through, with glossy photo ops for the minister. Aye well, so much for the front end of the RA Oz plank – let’s have a quick squint at the back end.

Heck Field near Jacobs Well. Home of the salubrious Gold Coast Sports Flying Club. Recently a Pipistrel (Virus) took off from there, crashed and burned, killing one, seriously injuring another. After the accident, it follows that there should be an investigation, a fatal must involve the ATSB. We are informed that ‘Consultants’ will be assisting the police. Here the picture becomes cloudy. N.B. From here on we are not dealing with solid research – and only have half the picture; but what we have been able to gather is, IMO, enough to warrant at least some cursory ‘official’ investigation. So, hearsay from now.

It appears that the RA Oz ‘investigators’ are experienced folk, Chief Flying Instructors and the like (tick). These folk are given a proper training course by the people ATSB use and at the end of it are rubber stamped by ATSB (tick). So far so good. Enter the dragons. Money for investigation and ‘support’ from ATSB. Now I could be wrong here, but it seems that once the RA Oz investigator is turned loose, there is a limited budget and; should the conclusions reached be subsequently destroyed in Coroners court, the RA Oz bloke is not only strictly ‘on his Pat Malone’ and liable, but ATSB will wash their hands of it. There’s more following on this when we get our facts straight; but for now at least, there are some big questions standing without answers. MTF.

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There has been a fatal – it was another LSA involved. There has been a fire – it was another LSA. An engine failure is suspected – it is a Rotax model which has featured in many incidents. RA Oz deem that the results of ‘their’ investigation should be passed on to only their members. Is this good enough for a first world aviation community? 

I note poor old, hard working Hitch has been under the heavy legal guns this week. Not a pleasant experience. I can’t imagine what poked the sleeping bear hard enough to anger it – perhaps ministerial sensitivity played a hand; or, maybe, a natural bad temper just lashed out at a defenceless intrusion. Not to worry Hitch – at least the heavies didn’t beard you in a coffee shop and run you out of Dodge. 

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Aye well – it’s all interesting stuff, a by-blow of idle (well washed) hands and minds. Mine for not too much longer. I have been threatening to make a new draw for the workbench for a long time now. The plank is strapped to the roof rack – I shall be most careful – of both ends – when I carry it into the workshop – lest I forget – the back end. 


P2 –  Big Grin

Ref: –  Wink