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Ref: & Dots-n-dashes to the re-writing of the Airport Act and regs? & ATSB go mute on Essendon crash prelim report &…0#pid12550 & Sandy on War & Peace & BJ issues new SoE for CASA

Chalk, Cheese and Jeez Louise!

There are three primary topics which are of great concern the aviation industry; to wit, airports, medical certification and regulation. These may be broken down into smaller, more definitive categories. But, in essence, of themselves, should the underpinning tenets of the broad major topics be correctly addressed, then many of the minor ‘grumbles’ would fade away.   

Being but four months short of a decade ago Sen. Fawcett asked some questions which, to this day have not been satisfactorily answered. Since then, our library count of Senate Estimates questions related to airports and their use has increased; as has the count of ‘non’ answers and obfuscated promises. Meanwhile, the rape of Commonwealth land assigned for aviation purposes has continued, unabated. The evidence clearly visible in the form of large buildings erected in close proximity for non aviation purposes. The thing that really shames the political and administrative enclave is a simple, oft touted statement – “Safety is our prime concern”. What a cynical, hypocritical load of bollocks that is. The DFO disaster at Essendon, the potential for a repeat, the lack of wind-shear and vortex analysis, the infringement of ICAO runway boundaries, the complete disregard of the UK and California code for buildings close to operational areas and the lack of safety zones make a mockery of any ‘Safety’ hyperbole. P2’s most excellent summary – HERE – may serve as a reminder. The dead and the potential of a repeat of the Essendon DFO disaster should provide those who say that ‘Safety’ is their prime concern with a moments reflection of their duplicity. Particularly the ATSB (shame on you).

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“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones.” ― Niccolò Machiavelli

Of chalk, cheese and the differences therein. We managed to clean up most of the dialogue from the last CASA session from Estimates; I have waItem next – Medical matters. As it happened, a good few of the BRB were together one evening (darts) when AOPA were scheduled to have a chat with the new PMO of CASA, Dr. Kate Manderson. The match and the banter continued much as usual, but it was remarkable the way this all slowed down to a full stop as the interview progressed. About half way through most were stood or sat, not only listening but paying attention. Despite Morgan having more ‘talk’ time than the good Doc, what was said, if it comes to pass, was refreshing. Early in the piece, there was a significant  opening offered which (IMO) should have been examined – that of ‘complexity’ involved in the issue of certification. The door opened a crack; a chance to examine why so many medical cases present in the AAT; where expert practitioner advice is contrary to the Avmed ruling. That aside, the consensus was that perhaps, just maybe, the new PMO will be able to reform the existing system and bring it into step with the new century. Expect the worst, hope for the best; and, well said Dr. Manderson. (a.k.a. Doc K) “May the road reach up to meet you”.tched the ‘silent’ and audible version several times and only one mystery remains. Why, in the name of sanity did Spence take the job on, Aye, ’tis a puzzle. When one compares the Doc. K session to the last CASA episode the mystery deepens. The good Doc, bright, open, honest, confident, articulate and as little ‘spin’ as possible. To be blunt, Spence had little of those qualities on display; flustered puts it mildly. Hardly the performance one could expect, particularly at the level of salary and authority provided with the title. Those among us with kinder hearts believe that Spence was bushwhacked; it is possible. Others opine that a ‘true’ DAS could have called for a ‘break’ (even on the excuse of audio problems) taken the front line outside, had words and returned with a smaller entourage, at least one scalp and a less comfortable front row. It must be crystal clear by now, to all and sundry, that CASA is in desperate need of leadership and serious reform. A simple question or two to those who have resigned will paint a picture even the most timid Minister cannot – in good conscience – continue to ignore. The ministerial Statement of Expectations (SoE) is imminent. Joyce is no man’s fool. We shall, no doubt, see the writing on the wall, and soon.

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“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.” — Omar Khayyam

That’s about it; bloody rain found it’s way into a tool stand, I now have four nicely rusted bench planes to clean up and cure. Best crack on and watch for break in the weather and perhaps a patch of sunshine to walk with.