Ref: https://www.casa.gov.au/search-centre/an…rt-2020-21 7 & https://reporting.airservicesaustralia.c…2020-2021/ & https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/inv…-2022-001/ & https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/news-items…-airspace/
Somewhere North of 19,000. – AP forum version.
Lets call it 20,000 for a nice round number; that approximates the number of dollars our Electric Blue halfwit pockets, shamelessly, – every Friday pay day, for his Canberra version of the working week, without adding in the KPI bonus etc, etc…For this princely stipend it would be fair and reasonable to expect that an aviation desert like Australia would have a seamless, brilliant service to the aircraft it is supposed to serve. Australia has a very small fleet; reasonable weather most of the time, little in the way of ‘difficult’ terrain and not what anyone could call a ‘lot’ of aerodromes. Then, should you ask anyone who has flown in America, Europe or even Africa to define operating in Australian airspace, the answers may vary a little, but essentially heads are shaken and mumbled answers like ‘pathetic’ are offered.
“The robb’d that smiles, steals something from the thief; He robs himself that spends a bootless grief.” ― William Shakespeare, Othello
When Air Services Australia (ASA) are dragged in front of a Senate Estimates Committee to answer some awkward questions; like mid-air collisions, or near misses, or delays, or lack of service – who do you think turn up to answer those questions? One could be forgiven for expecting a bright team of airspace specialists to explain the ‘problems’ – alas. We get Halfwit and his tame bean-counter, yes, boys and girls – correct, its all about the money and parsimonious protection of KPI bonus. Well, that’s the kindest explanation – but; carefully shaded backstage lurks the One Sky debacle. Touted to be ‘the’ answer to a pagans prayer – which put a fairly big dent in the ‘budget’ then was quietly put to death, never to be heard of again. The flip side is we still have an insignificant port like Ballina, surrounded by a few ‘satellite’ ports with light traffic and the possibility of another mid-air event a very real possibility to consider against the lightning fast response from ASA. (Yes Joyce, I’m joking – although not remotely funny).
“In the end it will be necessary, if he wants to maintain a name for liberality, to burden the people extraordinarily, to be rigorous with taxes, and to do all those things that can be done to get money. This will begin to make him hated by his subjects, and little esteemed by anyone as he becomes poor; so having offended the many and rewarded the few with this liberality of his, he feels every least hardship and runs into risk at every slight danger. When he recognizes this, and wants to draw back from it, he immediately incurs the infamy of meanness.” ― Niccolo Machiavelli
Oh, there are solutions, models available world wide; ground infrastructure, control zones, fire engines and crew to man them; of course they all cost ‘money’. The nation forks out a great deal of money in the name of ‘air safety’ – first class money for a third world system; our Atco’s are first class doing a great job despite the limitations enforced and deserve much better. Lots of stuff to make you cranky right there. But those are not the items which create the anger and frustration. There are two items of note which highlight the gaping holes in our slice of that famous cheese. To wit, the Mangalore mid-air collision and the Ballina debacle.
One a mid air collision claiming four lives; the other at risk of a repeat event; both define the abject failure of three, very expensive ‘safety’ authorities to perform primary design function. Preventing a repeat. There is much in the way of elegant arse covering and ‘tut-tutting’ but little of substance to take away from the ‘official’ analysis; or action to back up the rhetoric. Take a careful read through both the ASA and ATSB reports on Mangalore; neither one of them gets even close to a satisfactory response and cure for prevention, both technically flawed master works in obfuscation and bare faced collusion between two safety agencies.
For example; both continue to define one aircraft as a ‘King Air’, despite the great difference between a B200 and a ‘Travel Air, in speed and rate of descent. The reports avoid ‘real life’ analysis of what was occurring in both cockpits; pilots flying under simulated IMC conditions, command lines blurred between instructor and PF; one busy the other watching and teaching – there is a ‘gap’ there – who was handling the radio traffic and separation; why did the instructing PIC not call ‘taking over’? Why was the time between notification and resolution of conflict so short; why didn’t ATC warn of a potential close encounter etc. I could go on; (and on). But, the thing that really vexes me is the ATSB report (for wont of better description) our wee bearded Popinjay has almost declared that it was all the fault of the aircrew because they did not have TCAS (or similar); which they should have – according to him; indeed, ’tis strongly recommended. The load of bollocks provided almost manages to excuse the dreadful state Australian airspace (that not Class A) has descended into due to parsimony and lack of caring typifies the stellar mutual arse covering, while loading as much blame and expense onto the industries plate. It is a bloody disgrace; the whole thing – soup to nuts; at a cost of North of $20, 000 per week – each – just to the leaders of the outfits which white -washed Essendon, Mangalore, Ballina, Albury and other incidents; as far back as Lockhart does the daisy chain reach. But don’t believe me; check out the latest ‘drone’ event; out of all control and flown into a window of a near by hotel – read the Popinjay’s take on that repeat event; note the masterful avoidance of action being taken to prevent another out of control ‘drone strike’ in a built up urban area; – “amazing”.
Aye, we can all bang on about the sorry state of our expensive ‘safety net’ till the cows roll up for afternoon tea; but until government steps in, gets a grip and makes the needed changes to ‘attitude’ – banging the same, tired old drum will not signify; not until we have a major event, on the scale of Mt Erebus will that drum be heard. How many more lives will it cost before we say “: We told it to Orville, we told it to Wilbur and we have told you the same thing; time and again”.
But enough, there’s a man’s work to be done this day; my labours will not provide a tenth of $20,000 this week – but it will be honest money, worked hard for and to the satisfaction of those who will pay me. I wonder if our Halfwit or Popinjay can lay claim to the same.