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The mirror crack’d from side to side; – AuntyPru Forum version.

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Finally, the silence breaks and the phony war is over. The Oh so polite, delicate, diplomatic wrangling has come to it’s inevitable, sterile end and it is time to test the mettle of our Senators and the latest minister for ‘transport’. That man ‘Iggins has blown the clarion call; now is the time for all good men etc.

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Your breath first kindled the dead coal of wars
And brought in matter that should feed this fire;
And now ’tis far too huge to be blown out
With that same weak wind which enkindled it.

The Falcon Air story is a classic, a cautionary tale, featuring the very worst denizens of Sleepy Hollow and the ‘Babes in the Woods’. Aunt Pru has taken a keen interest in the story since day one and tracked the ‘Babes’ team on their troubled journey through the swamps and the traps set by the dark forces. It has been quite a journey to reach the final chapters, but like all good tales it must, soon or late, reach a conclusion.. Ean Higgins has published a very good lead in, an appetizer as a prelude to what may yet become a milestone along the road to Reform. But, you will either have to read the book or, wait for the movie to reach – ‘the end’. We are however allowed to provide some ‘hints’ and speculate on the ending.

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“Not the pain of this but its unfairness was what dazed Peter. It made him quite helpless. He could only stare, horrified.”  ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

The first serious clue may be found – HERE – in the chronology of the Pel Air fiasco. You may note several items of interest, pertinent to Falcon. The most obvious being the indecently short time Pel-Air was non operational; over a Christmas/New Year period, despite having a fairly hefty stack of ‘Non compliance’ notes to jump over. Some of those NCN or RCA (whatever) were of a serious operational nature and yet with a twirl of the magic golden pen, Chambers signed them off.

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Nothing to see, move along sang the CASA benevolent society choir. Bollocks. The Senate inquiry – (their ‘opinion’) missed many of the sign posts to the very soft ride Pel-Air were gifted, which is not really surprising – considering the focus of that inquiry was deflected by the heaping of blame onto the pilot. The operational approvals, oversight and auditing of Pel-Air, before and subsequent to ‘the ditching’ does not withstand independent scrutiny.

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Some would say – ‘Furry Muff’ Pel-Air and CASA got away with it; others may say common sense and cooperation worked well and it was acceptable to allow Pel-Air back to operational status. Which is fine – provided that largesse was extended to other operators. Any reasonable comparison between the Pel-Air, Airtex and Falcon case studies clearly and unequivocally defines the willingness and ability to ‘translate’ the rules to mean whatever CASA want them to as and when pleases. The extremes of law, the black letter application or; the blind eye, all supported options. The final hint is related to the personnel involved; in the ‘funny coincidence box’ we find the same motely crew involved in all three cases. Remarkable. Aye well, Marc De Stoop has a fight on his hands now, starting on the back foot. It is time this industry stopped pretending and spoke up; CASA may well be able to stop small, mildly critical voices on social media – but they cannot prevent a national outcry. Up to you of course, but then; I’d rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.

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We should spare a thought for Barnaby – there are many aviation chickens coming home to roost; will the eggs they lay become ammunition for an army of hacked of industry participants? AMROBA, for one is mounting a campaign to deliver the message. The ‘airports’ fiasco and the increasing delays and cost to the public is, as yet, but a distant rumble. But, if something is not done, and soon, I reckon the mess will land on BJ’s door step.

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“The whole thing is quite hopeless, so it’s no good worrying about tomorrow. It probably won’t come.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Airports takes us to accident investigation and the abysmal performance of the ATSB to deliver, on time, the Gubbins. Even then the value of those reports to industry is scarce worth the wait – or the expense. As ‘the minister’ BJ has to, eventually, begin to wonder WTD is going on and why a Hi Viz– Courage strap wearing air traffic controller is running our once prestigious accident investigator; – we are.

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Although, current thinking takes us directly back to Pel-Air, ICAO and FAA audit and the missing 89 million dollar fix industry paid for and is still being milked.

Ayup; it’s no wonder Barnaby has gone to ground. Even the most mundane subjects like providing affordable, reliable air services to rural Australia is proving to be another bureaucratic bun fight. “Give him a chance” howls the mob. OK, we will start the clock the moment he mentions the word ‘Aviation’, but then the gloves are off. Too many useless, incompetent, gutless, manicured, perfumed, man scaped bottoms have polished the ministerial throne. Reform or resignation – two options and little in the way of choice.

A large, hairy paw has just landed on my knee, the amber eyes fixed directly on mine, the message is simple and succinct. “Let’s go”. I shall, if I can find my boots, comply with the polite, eloquently phrased request.