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First this week’s #SBG: Of Phelan, games and candles.

A prelude with MTF.  Paul (Fearless) Phelan RIP – journalist, sage, friend, mentor, occasional drinking and sparring partner, itinerant BRB adviser and many other things. Paul and I often had searching discussions on topics which, while not dealing directly with the major ‘event’ often speculated on the intentions, influence, motivations and subsequent narratives presented by those involved in the various ‘inquiry’ mounted by a Senate committee; the Pel Air episode, one among the many, for example. Phelan’s articles in Pro Aviation – HERE – and – HERE – are worth a second read, for they highlight the stellar performance, logic, understanding and ‘justice’ brought by Senator Fawcett – aided and abetted by Heffernan and Xenophon to that milestone ‘inquiry’. 

“Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.”

And they did just that – the Senators really tried, brought down a raft of ‘recommendations’ which should have altered the course of aviation oversight and risk responsibility. – Alas, despite their good, honest work, despite the recommendations, advice and warnings from some serious outside agencies; the only changes made were to ensure that the official escape routes and bomb shelters were reinforced. The results of that ‘clam shell’ response clearly visible today; across the spectrum. Air TrafficICAO compliance, operational rulesaccident reports, all gone to Hell in a handcart and no one, particularly the political parties seems to even realise the complete shambles and international embarrassment of it all; or even care if they did.

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

For my sins, I brought up the good Senator Fawcett (in passing) at the BRB last evening; it was not only the first subject discussed – it was the only one; (apart from the cussing of the the three stooges). Discussion always led back to the same point – Why has Fawcett stepped back from matters which are so very obviously close to his heart; and, a battle he could win – with a push, some help and a bit of luck?

“In Hell there is no other punishment than to begin over and over again the tasks left unfinished in your life time.” 

One of the fellahin swears it is because he does not want to ‘be known’ as the aviation Senator; another swears it is because of the shocking treatment was given to Skidmore; another reckons it was because of an almost uncontrollable urge to ‘deck’ Comedy; there were a few more suggestions, like a lack of support from the party or being warned off by the heavies – but enough – you get the gist. Perhaps the game was not worth the candle – But Why?

“We spent a few hours struggling to come up with better explanations, but each suggestion was shot down almost as soon as it was made. The suggestions became wilder, eventually to the point of silliness.”

The upshot was a general agreement; dependent strangely enough on Jim Betts being kosher and up to task. If (big one) Fawcett was willing, then perhaps some common sense and honesty could be restored to the services that government is obliged to provide (and do have a responsibility for) to the aviation industry. IMO Fawcett is no mans fool; he ain’t the type to walk away from something he knows to be wrong and I’d have difficulty believing him to have lost interest in matters aeronautical. Perhaps it would be political suicide; but if so, that then casts his fellow Senators in the same mould as the present day slap-happy, cover your arse, don’t give a monkey’s fart crew running the joint. But then, he don’t seem the type to turn up at a gunfight waving his  Mum’s old kitchen knife.

“Men at some time are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

However; perhaps we should consider, politely and calmly asking the good Senator to cast his eye over the unholy mess our ATC, ATSB, BoM and CASA have descended into. Then, have a word (or two) with ‘Jim’. This all probably don’t signify enough to bother most politicians: ignorance being bliss; but it should bother Fawcett and his government. Labour planted the seed for this giant, ever growing bean stalk; the ogre is in residence and demanding more while giving less. Free kick right there methinks…..

Aye, whatever, que sera: I don’t know who designed the staircase I built this week – but it was seriously nice, the timber spot on and in the light as it changes throughout the day is truly lovely. Rarely do I carve my initials out of sight and the date on a build; but this one, when it comes out in another hundred years or more may cause an apprentice to wonder which fool used such ancient techniques making it so hard to pull apart. Dogs still smell of Mahogany; and it is time to take a stroll through the orchard gate, where the cat patiently waits for me to stop banging away at this poor keyboard. “Away then” –


Next from ‘For want of a nail’..: AMSA acknowledge Clontarf catastrophic engine failure?? So where the hell is OTSI?? 

And from BITN: TICK TOCK..goes the Harfwit OnePie doomsday clock??

Next from ‘Search 4 IP’: Further proof the ATSB is totally dysfunctional??

Then from this week’s LMH: The Last Minute Hitch: 31 March 2023 

Plus via the AMROBA thread: AMROBA latest newsletter: Volume-20-Issue-3-March-2023

Finally from the Accidents Forum: FSD review Yeti Air Crash preliminary report  

And: ATSB release Wedderburn Glasair fatal accident prelim report: AO-2022-068

MTF…P2 🙄