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1st this week’s #SBG: 

Of Multiple system failures.

An airman’s nightmare. There you sit, fat, dumb and happy (as the bards say). That expression relates to a routine’ operation – Fat – for fuel; Dumb – ignorant of Murphy’s  mystical machinations; and happy because ‘all is well’. Another day at the ‘office’. Then ‘something’ decides ‘now’ would be a good time to quit: no problem, fish out the checklist, sort it out, enter the log and on you go; then Gremlin two pops up, closely followed by Genie three. Suddenly, it is time to pay attention, the entire dynamic has changed. This is where and how the airman earns his money, often a whole years worth in a few short moments; and, probably happy to refund all of that for the pleasure of not being there. Point is, when systems or control ‘problems’ arise they need to be sorted, jig time, before one thing leads to another little ‘problem’ which, in conjunction, robs you of options; this to ‘protect’ the whole.

“Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends.

Life on the flight deck is simple and pretty much straight forward – ‘Command’ implies authority to take whatever action is needed to avoid unpleasantness. There is no ‘committee’ in the front office to persuade, no minions running about underfoot, no agenda other than getting home, preferably in one piece. But, what of a big, expensive agency such as ATSB, or ASA or CASA when there are clearly visible examples of serious system failure; what then? Unlike the cockpit situation there is no need for immediate rectification or clear decision making; quite the reverse. There is huge scope for delay, passing the buck (and the book) around; lots of wriggle room and enough ‘get out of jail’ cards to meet the demand. Which is all well and good when everyone concerned is ‘fat, dumb and happy’ and even if the other boot is about to land with a thud, well there’s always ‘stress leave’ to fall back on.

“However paradoxical it may seem, myth hides nothing: its function is to distort, not to make disappear.”

One does not need to search very far to see the failure of some fairly serious systems. But one must search very, very hard and diligently to find any form of true, meaningful ‘corrective’ actions occurring. All the bells, whistles and flashing lights are operational, functioning and demanding prompt attention – alas. You know the rest, taken individually each item of concern, standing alone demands immediate corrective action; collectively if allowed to run on, (and on) the entire system must collapse unless someone steps up to the plate and makes the hard decisions. 

“Now at this last we must take a hard road, a road unforeseen. There lies our hope, if hope it be. To walk into peril – to Mordor. We must send the Ring to the Fire.”

Who would that be? You could be forgiven thinking that the minister would be the ultimate decision maker, it would take some pretty good argument to convince anyone that the executive power actually resides within that office. Is that ‘minister’ fully aware of and briefed on some of the outstanding (the big ones) systematic failures happening right now, on her watch?  What say you children; shall we give a hint or two?

“Our revels now are ended. These our actors,

As I foretold you, were all spirits, and

Are melted into air, into thin air;”

Even the ‘man in the street’ would agree that a fully functioning air traffic control system is an essential element in the safety net. The appalling state that the ASA ‘service’ has descended into has increased the ‘risk’ factor to the point where some carriers, rightly IMO, decline to provide service to some ports. Think about it – that’s revenue for the airline gone; passenger satisfaction gone; why? Because the airline cannot be assured of separation from all other traffic, that’s why.

Tossbag – “This mess is 100% caused by wonder boy in Can’tberra. This mess also highlights the complete ineptitude of the politicians responsible, they are being lied to and are too stupid to bring in the expertise to sift through the lies.” (Choc Frog). 

The average John or Gladys in the Pub may watch the sensationalised reports on fatal air events for a minute or so, tut tutting between adverts but after that, with few exceptions; its gone and forgotten before morning tea. Not so the industry; not so the Coroners; not so the legal fraternity; not so the Insurance giants; not so the aircraft manufacturer and not so those charged with investigating and reporting on these events. When one compares the gold standard NTSB or the AAIB method and professionalism to the half baked, obfuscation and platitudes provided by the ATSB in recent times, particularly in relation to MH370, a reasonable person would wonder why we bother to keep it. ‘Beaker’ was simply inept, yet the service could have recovered from that interlude. But Hood (the Hi-viz singing Canary) put the service into a nose dive from which moral (e) and integrity never really recovered and the stench still clings to the rotting carcass of what was a first world service to aviation.

“Here is a man whose life and actions the world has already condemned – yet whose enormous fortune has already brought him acquittal!”

When one ‘system’ in an aircraft fails, there are in almost every instance, alternative methods available. Duplication or ‘work around’ – select undercarriage down – nothing doing; so use the alternate – easy, even if a little more time consuming. But when a combination of failures arise from faulty design, poor maintenance or bad practice then it becomes a very different, dangerous animal. This is where our national ‘flagship’ of all matters related to aeronautical safety is parked at present. So many system breaking down and poorly qualified operators in command. Across the whole spectrum of alleged ‘administration’ to aviation, in every corner lurks cock-up, partnered by cover up, more law and the get out of jail cards. The incompetence and obfuscation is mind boggling; particularly for those who are obliged to work within the system provided. Operations, Engineering, training all out of step with not only the world’s best; but now somewhat behind those who have striven to meet the ‘gold standard’. Aye, its complicated; however, for a perfect example of a classic ‘Bugger’s muddle’ take a stroll down the annals of aviation medicine and pilot medical certification – it is a wondrous tale. If anyone wrote a book on it all, it would probably have to be classed as a fictitious flight of fancy – but it ain’t. Not by a long march it ain’t. Take time out and read through just one of the many incredible (but true) tales on P_Prune start – HERE -. For example:- Read C. McKenzie Esq,,

Clare Prop – “420 may not be medical, but I would call it clinical.

It is sent after the student has already been diagnosed by a medical professional and ticked the “yes” box, but IMO it is still beyond what we are qualified to do, which is to train, assess and examine students with reference to the Part 61 Manual of Standards, nothing else.” (Choc frog)..

“There are eight million stories in the naked city; this has been one of them”:

Yes, a long ramble; but, if you had an aircraft with this number of system failures – you’d put it down and get it sorted out. A political will must be found; practical experienced people need to be found to make the ‘will’ reality. Honest folk with only the well being of the industry at heart must be found. For the biggest failure within the system is human; it resides there; firmly affixed to those who ineptly run and mismanage these failed, complex systems, with the full weight of strict liability and criminal charges supporting. Wrong? – Oh you can bet on that….

“It is a well-known fact that very often, putting the period of boyhood out of the argument, the older we grow the more cynical and hardened we become; indeed, many of us are only saved by timely death from moral petrification, if not from moral corruption.”

At least January has one good feature; I have had time to clean the workshop up and do some repairs and needed maintenance; spotless and tidy with a full year to get through before needing to repeat the process. Best crack on – BBQ this afternoon and DT at full throttle to get ‘things’ done. Compliance an absolute as I’m still in the cart (big dog too) over the thieved sausage rolls; but, they were worth it; absolutely and there’s more on the way for today’s how-de-doo. So, best foot forward and dogs in the workshop (for a while at least)….


Next from ‘Accidents OS’: NTSB release FR into LA Augusta chopper prang

Next from the AMROBA thread: KC to members: “Where are they?”

And (finally) Hitch is back… 🙄 : The Last Minute Hitch: 3 February 2023

Then from the BITN thread: Harfwit’s Deputy Dog blames ATCOs for staff shortages?? 

And from ‘search 4 IP’: Of Cats and Canaries.

Plus: Of Cats and Canaries: Part II

Finally from the ‘want of a nail’ thread: AMSA the good, the bad and the ugly?? 

MTF…P2 😛