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“Of a stubbornly persistent illusion”.

‘Borrowed’ from Einstein, cribbed from his quote :-

“The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” (A. Einstein).

Einstein was speaking about things which are far, far removed from the daily grind of dealing with and living within a land in which bureaucracy rules supreme. But, the notion stands a reality test, in terms of ‘life’ as we must live it, within a ‘stubbornly persistent illusion’. He also said :-

“Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

Which brings us out of the philosophical, right bang smack into the reality we live with. The illusions created to justify the huge amounts spent convincing the public that any rule set; or agency can guarantee their safety, well being and their future. They cannot; ’tis an illusion. The latest serious event on the aviation horizon in recent times (in terms of lives lost) is the appalling mid air collision of two helicopters in Qld. The illusion of safety created by operator, pilot and public blind belief that if the ‘illusion’ was believed, then the event simply could not have happened: yet it did. Manuals, rules, approved procedures, approved training, and all the other clap trap which failed; dismally, to prevent the event is stood up as ‘safety gospel’.

“In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”― Galileo Galilei

About now, you could be forgiven for wondering what the fool is banging on about. Yet it is a simple enough matter – it begs answer to but one simple question. ‘Who is best placed to understand the risks involved’?

Start with a basic – your medical. OK, you have an acknowledged, diagnosed medical ‘condition’. Perhaps a serious one; so the GP sends you off to a top dog ‘specialist’ in the field, you then present this qualified, hands on ‘opinion’ to CASA and they, in their wisdom, knock back your medical; or impose some form a restriction. Now you and the specialist have a fight on your hands. Why? To what end; don’t make sense and yet the only two avenues for appeal are the ‘Tribunal’ or, a court of law. I ask you. What could possibly induce a highly qualified, competent specialist in a field of medicine to risk income and career in support of a few dollars for writing a false opinion as to why you should hold a medical certificate? Don’t make commercial, reputation as in preservation of; or, even common sense to entertain such a notion. Yet AVMED can simply over rule that expert opinion; without a counter argument, explanation of, or even solid medical grounds at the same level of competence as the ‘professional expert’ in the field, with hand on the corpus. Rubbish, costly, bombastic, arse covering, self aggrandising rubbish. Twaddle and flawed logic..Why?

“I’ll not listen to reason… reason always means what someone else has got to say.” ― Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford

Perhaps the next level removed from ‘expertise’ is that of ‘operational approval’. Much time, money and effort is invested in obtaining an ‘operators certificate’. In this case, the ‘expert’ in the field and the one with most at risk is ‘the operator’. The individual or ‘company’ is in business for what purpose? The end game is, of course, to see a profit at the end of the year. Every red cent and risk of ‘commercial and criminal liability’ is taken by the operator: all of it. Should the operation eventually be proven, in law, in a court, to be ‘illegal’ and or dangerous, then that would be the end game. However; for an exorbitant fee and subjected to ‘appraisal’ by and the ‘approval’ of a ‘team’ and its leader; an outfit like Buckley’s can be trashed and a ‘thing’ like Soar gets a simpering idiot of a minister taking ‘photo ops’ and tacitly promoting its virtues. WTD  Rubbish, costly, bombastic, self aggrandising rubbish.

“Thus, you see, he arrived at the same end, via supposed duty, that he was previously pledged to via interest. I fancy a good number of us, when any line of action will promote our own interest, can make ourselves believe that reasons exist which compel us to it as a duty.” ― Elizabeth Gaskell, My Lady Ludlow and Other Stories

I wont go on; this translates across all the (I use the term loosely) ‘safety’ agencies aviation is forced to deal with; ASA, (don’t get me started): ATSB (don’t get me started) and the shining beacon of ICAO compliance, CASA (don’t get me started).

CASA is, in essence and by (the way) parliamentary Act in place to ‘administer’ and ensure compliance, through that ‘administration’ with not only ICAO but ‘best practice’ and the gold standard regulation of aviation – as scripted by ‘the experts’. Yet every year we see the determination to ‘rule’ not follow; becoming more expensive; more counter productive and further away from ‘gold standard’ through deliberate acts of risible ‘nonsense’. Which the public and industry pay for. FCOL. We fund the very outfits which prevent and preclude this industry progressing and competing in world markets. Why?. Good enough? Not by a bloody long shot it ain’t.  

“Everything is going to be fine in the end.

If it’s not fine it’s not the end.”– Oscar Wilde.

There are many examples which put these and other matters beyond reasonable doubt. But then, you watch Estimates run by the Senate committees – well, you would if you wanted your next day spent in deep depression. Talk about amateur hour – what a bloody shambles the last Sterle managed episode was. Who briefs these people? We pay lots for the wasted hours: hour after endless, pointless hour of getting nowhere? But, at least we know who pays for the pantomime……

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”― Mark Twain

But enough; it wearies me to think about it all. Small sparks of hope emerge though; seems AOPA (Aus) is finally ‘on track’ Master McKenzie getting used to being ‘on-screen’ finding his feet and beginning to put a cohesive effort into making ‘points’ which are hard to ignore or wave away as ‘irrelevant’. The prosecution of FOI and examining the resultant ‘in-put’ and ‘take out’ to those products is of great value; dare I say to both sides. Should CASA listen? Of course they should. Should the industry listen? Of course they should. Most importantly, should the Mandarins be listening? I say the Mandarins need to get a grip on these quasi independent of governance agencies – this is the biggest rort and embarrassment to those who faithfully serve this nation, in service to the public and government that has ever been let out of the stable, before the gate was closed. The time for ‘senior’ management to step up is now; they know its right, so why not? NZ did it; PNG did it; the USA lead the world closely followed by the UK – so; what is the hold up? When will Australia catch up and run alongside the world’s leading aviation nations? We simply cannot keep on the road we travel. We ain’t a world leader in any of this, not by any measure; indeed, we are at present travelling, at a rate of knots, on the road to becoming a pariah state; becoming so far removed from the world best that recovery will be difficult, expensive and embarrassing. But it must be done – and soon please.

“The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.” ― Plato, The Republic

CASA, in particular, simply cannot lead the world; (no credibility) but, they will not follow the gold standards developed. This despite the international and industry protests, multiple submission to three decades of inquiry, political rhetoric and proven facts. The ultimate insult being the infliction of DAS Spence on this industry as ‘leader’. This industry has made many mistakes; the premium one being the unchallenged acceptance of DAS (any DAS) being the doyen of regulatory sanity and ICAO compliance. Unqualified, incompetent, and so completely disconnected from the reality of international progress as to make Angels weep. Surely the true blue Mandarins can see where this is all heading and the international embarrassment it is creating. Perhaps some of the senior ‘big-hitters’ could step in and save the tatters of our once proud aviation industry from becoming no more that the butt of the international jokes.

“One of the penalties of refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” ― Plato

Aye. Quite the ramble. But, we are in a mess. Don’t know or completely understand how a once fine reputation for aviation excellence became sullied. But, it is, but don’t believe me; ask the USA team ‘on-the-ground’ in WA. They won’t tell you why they felt a ‘need’ to be here – but the writing is definitely ‘on the wall’. Think Essendon…

No matter; now for the important stuff. I own what is known as a ‘Stanley’ #8 (jointer) bench plane, It is a massive thing. Amongst other jobs, I’m making a bed frame for a mate. Nice long boards to be sized and settled – first we must make ‘square’ and even – reach for the #8. First board; four passes to get a ‘flat side’ no problem; then, a blur of fur lands between the front handle (tote) and the ‘toe’ of the plane. The thing that really amazed me was how did that cat know exactly when to step off, wait until I’d cleared the shavings and throat before hopping back on, this for some 24 odd metres of lumber? ‘Tis a mystery. When I’d done, I set the boards on the bench, after I’d ‘laid out’ the joints for tomorrow; then her majesty moved in – there to sleep and ‘not happy’ when I moved ’em. The dogs, they just stare in wonder, I nod towards the stable door and off we go; wondering all the while about what it is – with cats. But, what really intrigues me is, despite the big dog’s acceptance of a juvenile cat rearranging his preferred sleeping position; that under the donkey’s head is the bed of choice’. I should add here, that the donkey is not an animal you can upset with impunity – far from it….