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Ref: & Budget Estimates in pictures & Link: Hansard

One ring to bind them all. – AP forum version

Abstruse?  Perhaps..But for the fellahin attending the last BRB indaba there is a notion being kicked about which, although theoretical and reliant on some gossamer thin threads, is garnering some serious support. Lots of ‘dots and dashes’ many whispers and a large helping of careful observation/ research / conversation have gone into formulating ‘the notion’ but it has withstood the pub test. There are four cornerstones which appear to be fairly solid.

The first began with a question, the answer to which has only recently emerged from shadow. “Why would anyone pick Spence as the DAS?” It is a reasonable question from a technical/operational standpoint. But, from an ‘administrative’ angle, if there was an appetite for real reform of the system, then Spence is the right man. Why? Well, here a leap of faith is required; but, if the ‘establishment’ and the DPM have decided that significant change must happen, then one of the ‘establishment’ must hold the top job. Why? – Well, to weed out the problems within an outfit – like CASA – the thing needed is someone who can and will follow the spirit and intent of say a raft of Senate inquiry recommendations to the letter. Mission impossible without heavy duty backing; DPM approval and clear written directive.

Enter the tool kit: the McDonald 20/20 inquiry in the tool box. This inquiry was as firmly established on the well trodden path to doom, plodding along behind others of the same kind, to nowhere. Then B. Joyce Esq stepped up to bat, and things began to change. The Ministerial directive a.k.a. the SoE was drafted and delivered. In the hands of previous DAS, this missive was routinely filed and ignored. Spence however was delivered a weapon number one. As a DAS who will act as requested and required by the Minister; ‘enforcement’ of that SoE requires ‘change’ within the organisation. One document which provides for the use of one sentence “like it it or lump it”- one choice, no options.. Corners 1 and 2.

A short glance backward provides additional support to speculation; the McDolittle inquiry was almost moribund; some even suggest that the present 150 page report was almost prepared – then Joyce steps up to bat – and the 20/20 inquiry is suddenly attracting new submissions. There is some very un parliamentary haste (Sterle miffed) and the report is dropped with a thud on the DAS desk. Weapon two delivered; the same codicil attached in the sub text (like it or leave) this is going to happen. This in the hands of a DAS who will implement, not obfuscate the printed words of that report has the floor. Suddenly, its Piss or get off the pot time in Sleepy Hollow. Corners 3 and 4.

Aye, its whimsical enough; but add the rejection of aerodrome ‘master plans’ and the sensitivity of ‘big’ investors to political edicts, the speed with which capital funding can be withdrawn; and you have to at least consider that major changes could, possibly, be in the wind. That’s that, for what its worth; time will tell the tale and I can settle the bets. Is there real hope; or, is it just the wishful thinking of a dying industry? Handing over…..

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“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

I keep wanting to open up a discussion on the mid air collision at Mangalore; now that the ATSB have finally released their report. But, it must keep for while, until the brethren have had time to (calmly and quietly) study and consider the findings. The report itself has created some heat; the trivial words of the Pick me Popinjay adding fuel to the flames. This totally preventable tragedy exposes so may of the naked flaws within the entire system of ‘safety management’ that it should, stand alone, generate a serious inquiry at the highest levels. So many things ‘wrong’ demand close scrutiny of the entire safety network, soup to nuts, flight training included. Enough said for now; but much more to follow is a racing certainty.

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“Must I at length the Sword of Justice draw?

Oh curst Effects of necessary Law!

How ill my Fear they by my Mercy scan,

Beware the Fury of a Patient Man.” ― John Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel

This bloody awful weather has had one slim silver lining; stuck indoors I’ve had time to sort out my rusted bench planes. The circa 1910 Stanley 4½ copped the worst of it; two days in ‘the bath’ (salt and vinegar) and a solid eight hours of cleaning up brought it back to almost brand new; inspired, I even invested in some paint. Not a task of choice but the results were heart warming. The best bit was a billet of oak in the vise; and, after a small adjustment, the first shaving was exactly what it should have been; faultless performance of design function, 112 years after it was made. Brilliant. (Below not mine – but same – same).

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