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First this week’s #SBG: Tempus fugit & Iras succendere.

Or, in the vernacular the clock is ticking and aviation industry is highly pissed off. ‘Aviation’ stand alone may not be a big number in terms of votes, however what happens to it affects almost everyone in the country; from remote community food and mail delivery when the roads are impassable; to the first class end of the Qantas overseas services. In short, living in a state of political denial that the underpinning system is broken, and is as dangerous to the political party which continues to ignore expert opinion, industry advice and clear warnings as it is to the travelling public paying for it all. The notion of ‘Three Pillars’ supporting an edifice, a religion, governance, financial enterprise or even the environment was borrowed and transmogrified as required from the Sikh. The wisdom, value and benefit of the notion honestly applied is clearly apparent to the modern world. But, I digress…

Let men be wise by instinct if they can, but when this fails be wise by good advice.

The aviation industry is ‘supported’ by three pillars – Air Services (ASA); Transport Safety (ATSB) and Administration (CASA). These expensive, tax payer funded outfits are in place – in theory at least– to keep the travelling public ‘safe’. In theory it is indeed a great notion, three strong pillars supporting matters aeronautical – from soup to nuts. Of course it is the greatest load of old BOLLOCKS ever sold by the Snake oil pedlars in the market place. Happily foisted (by government) on the ignorant masses; those who hop onto an aircraft in the blind belief that all is well and they as safe there as in their own favourite rocking chair; fully protected by the government, tax dollars and the ‘system’. BOLLOCKS……!

“If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.

In primus, most folk (including the politicians) believe ‘the rules’ governing flight will keep ’em safe – and, in principal, that would be correct assumption. Not true though; not in the real world outside of the Canberra bubble. It costs a serious amount of money to operate an aircraft from say Sydney to Melbourne – a serious, probably shocking amount to those not familiar with the cost involved in what is a routine, 10 flights a day service for an airline. That ‘cost’ is met (mostly) through ticket sales. From that ‘pot’ the cost of ‘compliance’ with a rule set must come out. As it stands, the cost of generating the ever changing, complex, convoluted almost indecipherable rule set and operator compliance with that law, far exceeds the cost of operating an air service – much more. The rest of the grown up aviation nations recognised the punitive effects of this; and, have trimmed, rationalised and modified their rule set to reduce the cost of ‘compliance’ and lift pointless restrictions, exemptions and legal liability onus. But not in Australia; no Sir. Every year, the make work of generating, amending, exempting, modifying and re drafting regulations accounts for a stunning amount of ‘public’, industry and corporate dollars – while achieving little in the way of improved safety outcomes. Check the statistics – despite the regulatory spaghetti, the fatal accident rate – across has board has??? – What. No Choc frogs for the right answer to a no Brain-er…To earn a profit, as we all know to make the game worth the candle; incoming must exceed outgoing. The needles expense generated to meet compliance must be drawn from; or, somehow ‘made’ from somewhere. Anyone care to estimate the ‘compliance’ bill Qantas must meet due to CASA and its damn fool regulations? The only ‘safety’ Qantas is trying to counter is that of criminal liability; the only interest CASA have in safety is that of ‘safe’ easy conviction of anyone who, in their opinion, has bruised the black letter of law – as they see it and wrote it: under the regulations. There is no defence. Wonder where the ‘safety dollars’ are spent? Don’t bother…

“When the government makes loans or subsidies to business, what it does is to tax successful private business in order to support unsuccessful private business.

But wait; there’s more. Let us take a close look at another ‘holy grail’ the public happily believe to be a rock solid, safety net. To wit, the Air Traffic Control System – or what remains of it anyway. Short ramble follows. A while back now we has a thing called a Flight Service Unit (FSU). We also had a thing called ‘full reporting’; in short, everyone knew who was where, what time they would arrive at ‘X” within a two minute time frame – excellent, safe, cost effective, user friendly and always there. Now we rely on minimum staff covering a sector; and technology dependent. Navigation and instrument approach totally dependent on a GPS system which may, when and as pleases, be shut down by the ‘owners’ (or someone else with rocket capability). Under FSU a ‘mid-air’ was unlikely despite the greater traffic numbers then than we see today – outside Controlled Airspace. All the common sense systems vanished in anticipation of, to be provided at great public expense, a space age system known as ‘One Sky’  – from a foreign provider, and technology ‘owner’. All the cost cutting spin off ‘envisioned’ were rapidly deployed in anticipation – Alas. No such system ever turned up. Since then it has been a KPI defence battle, led from the top in an attempt to ‘even out’ the great fiscal loss. Then Covid arrived and the opportunity to further ‘save’ was taken advantage of. Perhaps it is time for a minister to ask the simple question – WTD are ASA playing at. So much wrong now that {IMO} the risk of a serious ATC structure (or lack thereof) failure based episode, of rules, public pandering and controller liability and decision restriction is not off the cards. Until the ATCO’s can actually ‘control’ and manage traffic, rather than enforcing the limitations imposed (by law) on them; then additional track miles and denial of aircraft ‘operational needs’ will, at very least just keep adding costs to the already exorbitant bills – not to mention the fuel and maintenance bills to the aircraft operator.

“Some score of members of the High Court of Chancery bar ought to be – as here they are — mistily engaged in one of the ten thousand stages of an endless cause, tripping one another up on slippery precedents, groping knee-deep in technicalities, running their goat-hair and horse-hair warded heads against walls of words, and making a pretence of equity with serious faces ….”

Which just leaves us with the poor bugger who has to investigate the event aftermath; the humble ‘Accident investigator’. The poor sod who is obliged to wade into a mess; like the Essendon DFO and try to determine the what, why and how of the carnage. These men and women deserve our very highest praise; but, does their employer, the ATSB?  Short answer – NO. Long answer No Bloody Way. The time, the money and the eventually published flatulence from the top end of the ATSB beggars belief. But don’t believe me – just ask anyone in the NTSB or other national agency; they will confirm the loss of respect began when Dolan a.k.a. “Beaker’ ran the joint into the murk. He was followed by Hood a.k.a. The Canary who simply made it a farce; he then followed by the current incumbent (who’s name escapes me) between them have turned a once highly respected and regarded agency into the pitiful state we find it in today.

“Woe betide the leaders now perched on their dizzy pinnacles of triumph if they cast away at the conference table what the soldiers had won on a hundred blood soaked battlefields.”

But, IMO the really tragic element is the government. The minister and all those preceding her for three decades now; have all known; and known full bloody well that the ‘system’ across the aviation governance mandate, in blatant defiance of the Act has descended into an untenable mess. A mare’s nest which must be sorted out if this nation is to avoid international denigration and ridicule. There’s clear evidence that many ministers have requested – for ‘press purposes’ a one page summary of a serious, two hundred plus page report defining what and where the problems reside. Nowhere near good enough and one day – gods forbid it; the answers to all these questions will be demanded by the public. Aye – Hope may well spring eternal – luck will, as proven may times, eventually run out. We all hope the mess will begin to diminish when the USA legal eagles get to speak on the appalling event at Essendon; soon minister. You can run, but you cannot hide forever behind the unreliable ‘agencies’: those which can and will sell your soul to the devil before they lift a buttock to fart in your defence. Think on; but think quickly, the bunny in the spotlight is, ultimately, the minister. – The industry may not ‘rock you’ – but the agencies will; on that, if nothing else, you may rely.

That’s it – 160 linear metres of stunning Philippine Mahogany await my urgent attention – ’tis to be a staircase – tomorrow. Tonight is a night for swimming in the sun heated waters after the fierce heat of the day. Check list – Cat (not happy in the travel box), dogs panting and waiting patiently; picnic basket (tick), Ale on Ice (tick); waning crescent moon; tide at ebb – that’s definitely it – the world can stew in its own juices – we are all off to the beach. 


Next from the ‘Search 4 IP’ thread: Dots-n-dashes to: “How many minutes to bingo fuel??” 

And from the AOPA Oz thread: AOPA AUSTRALIA LIVE – 21ST MARCH 2023

Then from the ‘For want of a nail..’ thread: TICK TOCK goes the Transdev/TfNSW/OTSI/AMSA doomsday clock?? & FWIW – My two Bob…

And from the ‘Proof of ATSB delays’: Proof of ATSB delays and ICAO Annex 13 non-compliance?? 

1. AO-2020-043 (Short)
2. AO-2020-059 (Defined)
3. AO-2020-060 (Short)
4. AO-2021-004 (Short)
5. AO-2021-022 (Short)
6. AO-2021-017 (Short with preliminary report issued – WTF??)
7. AO-2021-035 (Short)
8. AO-2020-059 (Note: This is a ‘Defined’ investigation and did have an update 2 months after the accident but none since)
9. AO-2020-060 (Short)
10. AO-2021-004 (Short)
11. AO-2021-018 (Systemic)
12. AO-2021-022 (Short)
13. AO-2021-032 (Short with a preliminary report attached and a safety advisory notice issued)
14. AO-2021-035 (Short)
15. AO-2021-044 (Short)
16. AO-2021-043 (Short)
17. AO-2021-048 (Systemic)
18. AO-2021-047 (Defined)
19. AO-2022-007 (Defined)
20. AO-2022-010 (Defined)
21. AO-2022-012 (Defined)
22. AO-2022-019 (Defined that bizarrely did issue an interim report 7 months after the incident)
23. AO-2022-025 (Short)
24. AO-2022-030 (Short)
25. AO-2022-031 (Short)
26. AO-2022-033 (Short)
27. AO-2022-032 (Short with a preliminary issued)
28. AO-2022-035 (Short)
29. AO-2022-036 (Short)
30. AO-2022-038 (Short)
31. AO-2022-039 (Short)
32. AO-2022-040 (Short)
33. AO-2022-042 (Short)
34. AO-2022-046 (Short)
35. AO-2022-049 (Short)
36. AO-2022-050 (Short)
37. AO-2022-053 (Short)
38. AO-2022-054 (Short)
39. AO-2022-052 (Occurrence Investigation)
40. AO-2022-055 (Short)
41. AO-2022-056 (Short)
42. AO-2022-058 (Short)
43. AO-2022-060 (Short)
44. AO-2022-061 (Short)
45. AO-2022-063 (Short)
46. AO-2022-062 (Short)
47. AO-2022-059 (Short)
48. AO-2022-064 (Short)
49. AO-2022-065 (Short)
50. AO-2022-066 (Occurrence Investigation)
51. AO-2022-067 (Defined)
52. AO-2022-068 (Occurrence Investigation)
53. AO-2023-002 (Short – Past 30 day limit for preliminary report)
54. AO-2023-004 (Short – Past 30 day limit for preliminary report)
55. AO-2023-005 (Short – Past 30 day limit for preliminary report)
56. AO-2023-007 (Occurrence Investigation – Past 30 day limit for preliminary report)
57. AO-2023-008 (Systemic – Past 30 day limit for preliminary report)
58. AO-2023-009 (Short – Past 30 day limit for preliminary report)

Finally from the ‘Closing the safety loop’ thread: Senator Fawcett on closed safety loops and slices of Swiss Cheese? 

MTF…P2 🙄