“Would you care to order Sir?” – AP forum version.
“Oh; yes please, we should like two servings of the ‘Cluster Duck special with KPI source’.”
Within the Australian ATSB there is a not too well kept secret, the one which features a departmentally induced by-blow; result of an unholy communion between the ATSB tea lady and Uriah Heepsa;to wit – one off snotty nosed urchin, brought up in the executive pencil sharpening cupboard, Spotty – to give it a name. Of course, as these matters go, as in the way of the Mick Toller/ Cathay/ PM&C and DoIT case; much was quickly and quietly, swept under the great Canberra carpet. Amen. End of – However for legal whatever’s, now we are obliged to descend into the realms of whimsy and fiction. (or near enough)
You see children, in fiction, it would be quite possible to construct a tale of mystery and imagination related to one of the many great frauds perpetrated on to the general public. Those who pay, (and pay) the fantastic salaries to clerical ‘administrators – just to be reassured (convinced), that no matter what, they are ‘safe’ when they fly between home and holiday. Believing in the CASA generated ‘all seeing wisdom’ myth and certainty in the ATSB ability to solve the great ‘why’ people died. All the while believing the machinery is making certain sure that an accident was a never to be repeated, one off aberration. Not for a moment believing that it is a KPI driven fraud with more interest in Mum’s dressing up box than investigating fatal accidents.
“I let him run on, this paper-maché Mephistopheles, and it seemed to me that if I tried I could poke my forefinger through him, and would find nothing inside but a little loose dirt, maybe.” ― Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
Such is the great Bollocks and self perpetuating scam. Scam? Oh yes indeed, and what a parsimonious, self serving and self delusional nasty little scam it is. Nothing – absolutely nothing CASA or ATSB have done over the last decade has prevented sudden ‘Death’ in an aircraft. Industry has; even if for no other reason than insurance premiums. Industry competence and focus on ‘not’ having a costly accident keeps them safe – nothing to do with the inflated egos, salaries and the budget KPI targets of ‘the administrator’. Look into the very front left seat of the aircraft you fly in tonight – for there is your ‘safety’. It is not in some Canberra bubble wet dream of ongoing, ever increasing excess funding, used to create then recreate (ad infinitum) the ridiculous laws to which we are all bound.
The tragic events on the Hawksbury river, IMO, perfectly quantify and underpin the dangerous state of affairs which actually does exist, not only in ‘fact’ but in ‘quantifiable reality’ See ATSB ‘stats’ and reports for proof. So, there must begin this week’s faerie tale:-
“Spotty John’ (SJ) as he is affectionately known around the ATSB can do joined up writing on the computer. Matters of little significance (light aircraft deaths etc.)
are handed off to him; and, he is quite capable of generating an ‘interim’ report to keep ATSB ‘legal’. You do see, it is a simple enough thing – aircraft crashed – lots dead – stick to the known facts and we are covered. Diligently SJ drafts the known facts – crash – no survivors – end of – all a mystery to be solved another day, facts neatly obfuscated to support SJ’s ‘assumptions’. Then he knocks out the press release, and places the file at the bottom the three year pile, thus ensuring continuation of employment. A side benefit to this is that there is a good percentage chance that by the time a ‘final’ report is presented many will have lost interest.
Dear Spotty John; the tea lady’s lament, makes some assumptions i.e. “a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof”. Well children, there are three ‘wrongs’ in SJ’s report. For a Choc Frog, your starter for 10 – ‘when was the 27 minute ‘taxi’ acknowledged and examined as part of probable cause? For a second Choc Frog (and it is a tough one) exactly when; at double the cost, were the alleged ‘CO’ elevated levels ‘discovered’, by whom, when, and; – for a bonus (packet of ‘Twisties)’ – at what level was the induction of CO clinically pegged at? Read SJ’s report – the disinterested ATSB has not only dropped ball –missed the alleged cause, but saved money by ‘assuming’ that their experts did a full tox report. Aye KPI points all around, except for those poor souls – drowned, dead in an event that never should have happened on the Hawksbury river that day. Belated discovery of CO – bollocks – it should have been among the very first item ruled in – or out a long way before the ‘final’ report. Dishonest, disgraceful and a money saving solution; CO the cause – late but adequate for purpose – if you can believe it that is……
“…Mr Hood noted that at the time of releasing an interim report into the accident in December 2018, investigators were considering the possibility of pilot incapacitation due to the series of unexpected, and up to that point, unexplained events during the flight.
“The ATSB was of the understanding that testing for carbon monoxide exposure on the aircraft’s occupants was conducted as part of initial toxicology examinations. However, in late 2019, the ATSB’s aviation medical specialist recommended that this be confirmed, Mr Hood noted.
“The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.”― George Orwell, Politics and the English Language
With this last ditch effort at self justification ATSB has finally reached the giddy end of credibility, industry faith and patience. No one really believes their reports any longer. The Hawksbury River event is the kiss of doom of the KPI focused ATSB. The painted fool, him in the pantaloons, is paid well above his weighed worth, is alleged to run the ATSB pantomime and the actors who cannot simply provide a ‘cash and no bullshit’ report to save their misbegotten lives need a wake up call. The Hawksbury accident report really and truly does demand the resignation of Hood. Even the fellah who gave Hood a start at CASA now laments, daily, his folly. ATSB, through the absolute bollocks of not only the Hawksbury event, but several other equally serious events need to get back to Taws. If the Hawksbury event ‘Cluster Duck Up’ don’t shake you, then consider the pure, unadulterated bull-shit provided on the Angel Flight case. Ridiculous, factually, operationally and legally fatuous. Yet they faced down a Senate Inquiry hearing, are still on inflated salary and defying not only the ICAO but logic. A comfortable, well fed pampered lap-dog, kept safe by the MoU.
Aviation professionals, the world over condemn almost every puerile report. Many envy the money and latitude ATSB has been gifted, to provide a basis for CASA to flex it’s muscles while often denying true cause and reason. But then, don’t believe me – see the Essendon farrago; or, the Ross Air debacle; or, Pel Air; or, Lockhart River;or, any of the current ‘trending’ fatal accident scenario. Apart from Hoody in his latest clown suit, looking ‘all concerned’ what other ‘safety’ related output has come recently from ATSB that saved one life?. The short answer is ‘non’. Then check their budget; then check the KPI. Read it and weep. The government and the tax paying public are not only being ripped off, fed horse-pooh but are paying for it.
“You’ve always lived a life of pretence, not a real life– a simulated existence, not a genuine existence. Everything about you, everything you are, has always been pretence, never genuine, never real.” ― Thomas Bernhard, Woodcutters
You do see children; a save on the cost of autopsy and ‘blood test’s’ and with a halfwit – like SJ to knock out a pre-lim report, (to set the tone), takes all focus away from ‘investigation’. It exonerates CASA (airworthiness) and tucks it all away, neat and tidy for the Insurance companies underwriting those dead. Money aside, the Hawksbury event is, demonstrably, an ATSB piss take of the first water. Hood must resign; the Senate MUST become the only body to which accident reporting and funding requests is made to. Without fear, favour or monetary considerations. What Australia has, at this moment is an incompetent running a money making, ministerial arse covering smoke and mirrors PR machine. It is not anywhere, remotely, near the independent, no hold barred ‘accident’ investigator it purports to be. Full stop; end-of….
Read the ducking reports – then tell me all is well. BOLLOCKS it is.
Truly, I really wanted to get into the great work being done by Sen. McDonald. In the last session there were some crystal clear insights and some carefully constructed bullshit. We can always pick that up next week, for it is of great value. But disgust and anger with the ATSB report and the depths to which that once fine body has descended to must take precedence. Well done Senator McDonald; but, can you beat thirty plus years of ‘official’ denial that Australian aviation is a basket case? Just saying, considering history and all.
Aye well; the dogs hate the ‘soggy weather’ only inclined to venture out when needs must. Personally, the rain is as welcome as the break from ‘take us out – now – now’ is. So, it’s a pretty much as on a need only basis tonight. My old Moggie has done well under P7’s care (he should have stuck to Vet) and due home soon. I have decided that the only way to make ‘good’ joints is with ‘blood and sweat’. Sweat, in the current weather is unavoidable; the Cherry has exacted a blood sacrifice (mea culpa). No matter, the joints are rock solid, sealed in blood, sweat and cusses. Almost, but not quite yet a ‘master piece’ for the Guild. We shall see. I’m yawning, ’tis late and despite the drizzle I need to walk and smoke – “Gerrup” you lazy hounds, leave your dreams of rabbits by the fireside. No takers?– Very well: best I wend my way down that well trodden path. But wait; there’s movement yet. Faithful means – no matter what.