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The Sunday Brunch Gazette.
The Bankstown Chronicles : Chapter 14.

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NB. notes only: - The never ending saga of Dominic James.

“Why never ending?” howls the mob - “the ‘new’ Pel-Air report is due shortly, then we shall have all the answers”.

“No” say’s I. “No you bloody well won’t; the ‘report’ is compromised to the shithouse and back, rendered nugatory by stupidity, arrogance, deceit, bastardy, ignorance (and probably malice, just as an aforethought) -”. “Explain” they howl in unison. So, with your indulgence and just a little waffle, by way of explanatory notes, I shall attempt, to the best of my poor abilities, to do just that. ‘Tis a simple enough example I use in explanation. I refer you, in primus, to parts 26 and 27 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act (TSI). It is a clear enough document, little there in the way of ‘wriggle room’ – for the average punter. Take a short stroll through the legislation; then, consider this line, the opening remarks of an internal CASA email.  

Correspondent: 1) We need to be careful with what is discussed with Domenic as the draft final report into the Westwind accident is protected under 532 of the TSA.

Well, it ain’t protected under ’32 (try 26/ 27) and, the respondent is clearly ‘out of the loop’. The respondent, by the way, just happens to be the manager of the Sydney Basin Chapter of the Sleepy Hollow glee club. No matter -  Perhaps, just perhaps, under the guidance of an ex CASA ‘luminary’ a ‘draft copy’ of the Pel-Air report (VII) could have found it’s way into the CASA CEO hands. You could even, at stretch,  imagine a non combatant ‘manager’ of the branch concerned being offered a peep of the ‘final’ draft.  But when an office wallah, deeply involved, party to and willing accomplice in the Chambers/ McCormack ‘embuggerance job’ on James; starts dishing out advice, to the boss, relating directly to the report – WTD?– Well it’s time to call a halt – ain’t it minister. The mud gets much deeper from here; and, your ex advisor, returned to the bosom of Sleepy Hollow ain’t going to be doing you any favours now, is he…..Ah, the tales of Cheezel Hollow; maybe I’ll tell ‘em all, one day: Barmy will love ‘em.

To business. Standing alone, the sentence above, more than perhaps any other single statement made by CASA clearly defines the need to defend the indefensible, to wit: the CASA and ATSB predetermined collusion to continue with the risible notion that James and only James was solely, completely and utterly to blame for the incident. ATSB, under Hood, have taken yet another incredible risk. Now we must ask why?. Suspicion falls directly on Hood – by his not signing pertinent, relevant documents, the load is then thrown onto CASA ‘legal’ – but only when the wheel comes off. But how, I ask, is ‘legal’ expected to know what’s going on, when no one tells ‘em. Anastasi ain’t psychic. He is however as honest as he is forced to be. Detailed, independent analysis of the procedures used to hammer James would show several things; deliberate manipulation of system and policy for a start; all information, by the by, is supplied courtesy of the ignored, by-passed ‘legal’ department and system.  

The sentence above, addressed to a higher paygrade officer raises three questions:- (i) Why is someone so low on the food chain, not a DIP and bound by the TSIA privy to the draft report? (ii) Why is there a need to be ‘careful’?; (iii) Why is the manager receiving the advice on a ‘confidential’ matter, from a clerk, ‘instead’ of offering it?

I say (IMO). The time and date line is suggestive. The incorrect reference to the Transport Safety Investigation Act (TSA) part 5.32 could be construed as being deliberately misleading, which leans, naturally, toward suspicion that there is a second, more sinister agenda being ‘managed’. The officer writing was deeply (top lip damp) involved with the Airtex, Skymaster and the Pel-Air events. Detailed analysis of these events reveals (in technicolor) many serious questions which remain, to date, unanswered. We believe that honest answers to these questions would reveal ‘flaws’ in the actions and methodology of the CASA Sydney Basin office while under the control of Manager Chambers.

Now then, A. Anastasi Esq. when confronted by a clear breech has only one option – spill the paper work. When matters are dealt with ‘properly’ the legal department can cover the bases, the arses and the planned stitch up. But with no options; or, evidence of prior knowledge, what is a lawyer to do? I might add here, that there is a growing respect for AA within the network for providing ‘helpful’ advice, information and (occasionally, when warranted) assistance to those seeking information.  (Aside) - It seems, demonstrably so, that where and when he can, or is obliged to, the man is unstinting, straightforward and; remarkably, pleasant to deal with. But, I digress.

Lets take a ‘wee keek’ at the second and third sentence in this priceless missive:-

Correspondent: 2) For Domenic to be asking 'how his judgement in flight from on November 18, 2009 is still under question' shows he still doesn't understand the gravity of the situation and his part in it.

This sentence serves to illustrate the CASA determination to deny any evidence that many ‘proficiency’ and ‘judgement’ checks have been satisfactorily passed during the interim period. The statement indicates, clearly, that only by satisfying the subjective ‘judgement’ of the Sydney Office can ‘evidence’ of competency be demonstrated, provided James can pass an artificially generated, non-standard ‘check-ride’, with a CASA ‘selected’ examiner. This is not the first time that this imaginative, McCormack aberration, Chambers executed twisted bastardy has been allowed credence. It is ‘beat-able’, but, it takes balls, guile and a knowledge of ‘system’; James was bereft of this knowledge.

Correspondent: 3) The draft final report makes it clearer that Domenic lacked good decision making skills at that time and since then CASA has been given no evidence that that has changed.

Two of the associates have, at the request of various DIP, read and digested the ‘second’ report. Both have recused themselves from being involved in any and all BRB, IOS or PAIN discussions; I have however had the pleasure of ‘editing’ their notes and formatting considered opinion, based on the evidence provided – within the report – for future use. There will, make no mistake, be much more to follow on this matter. But I may say, without fear, that the highly subjective, opinionated, cleverly, expertly subtly biased; and, very open to legal challenge statement above will, in due course prove to be significant – if unfortunate, (to quote Chambers). The words petard and hoisted come to mind, but; alas, I am constrained, within a gentleman’s agreement, as matter of trust to say nothing until the Senate RRAT committee has been granted the same opportunity as the correspondent. Then; well, the game is afoot.

Correspondent: 4) I do not want to keep Domenic from returning to a command role but believe the only way we could be satisfied is to continue with the assessment as planned in the F20 simulator.

When you consider, with eyes wide open, that it was the ‘Bankstown’ manager and his team only which drove the condemnation of James, in a desperate attempt to keep Pel-Air operational; the sentence above could, IMO, quite reasonably, be construed as gross hypocrisy, flavoured with bastardy, dusted with embuggerance. The one and only obstacle to James returning to normal duties is the writer of this letter. If there are to be questions raised on ‘judgement’ then we must question the motive for the unrelenting demands for a ‘chop’ ride. In short; a check ride which cannot be passed. James has met, through demonstrated competency the CASA artificially generated, highly subjective ‘requirements’. For the uninitiated, there is not a pilot in the world, not a single solitary one who can get through a ‘flight check’ with a ‘ground’ element without making at least one mistake – although subjective and arguable – that one mistake children, is more than enough, in the Chambers/ Bankstown lexicon, to bring down the boom. Ask Ms. Whatshername – mistress of darkness, she know ‘how-to’. James would be a purblind fool to even contemplate attempting to pass a check ride, with CASA, without an independent, qualified expert observing. But CAR 249 prohibits such things. Even if it did not CASA would not allow a video or even notes of a CASA supervised ‘check-ride’ to hell and beyond.

I say this – in my considered opinion, based on the facts as presented; there is no option for the Senate committee other than to call for a full, legally actionable inquiry into the actions of the Sydney Basin branch of CASA during the Airtex, Pel-Air and Skymaster investigations, audit and results, then compare the differences. Furthermore; I defy the government to openly, honestly and with clarity to examine the edicts and dictates of John McCormack; CEO CASA during this period, as executed by Rodger Chambers, performed, with some relish, by the Sleepy Hollow crew. Standing ovation, thanks of Parliament, joy to the minister?   Highly unlikely methinks. Aye well……  

But I do wonder, how the real life actions of those who are entrusted with the safety of aviation in Australia would stack up, when treated in the same manner, under the same rules of ‘strict liability’ and ‘criminal code’ as the industry they purport to ‘regulate’ is subject to.

In short – it’s a crock. A gross, overt, definable, visible, prosecutable manipulation of policy, procedure and law which achieves no specific aim, fails to further air safety and miserably, possibly even illegally, allows a thing like Sleepy Hollow to flourish, prosper, grow fat, completely bamboozle ministers of the crown – on pony-pooh, rhetoric, the mystique of air safety, to blatantly cost this country a small fortune; and, get away with it; year after tedious year, without a shot being fired. Remarkable? Damn straight it is.

But enough – this case is seen as a watershed for our Senators and their brilliant committee. If they fail to pick up sticks and put an end to this blasphemy, this abhorrence, once and for all; then the sign above my gateway to Hell is proven accurate– once again. “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

Here endeth the BKC chapter 14 (notes only - ). No graffiti please P2; not in the mood. I am in deadly earnest this time; this pony-pooh just has to, must be stopped. There are three similar cases – each much worse than the James imbroglio – all of which must be either dealt with properly or; made public. CEO Carmody may hide his head (and shame) in the sand all he likes. Fair warning minister. I will dump the entire Bankstown Chronicles on Wikileaks – I am, now, officially pissed off. Endit…..


P2 - Relevant references Wink : 1)

A Galah event….

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Cue Gabby – in three, two, one – you’re live.

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“Welcome, welcome, one and all to the hallowed turf of the Parliament playing field. Today’s event is a classic, the Senate Snooze Club (SSC) v the Sleepy Hollow Gambles (SHG).  It has been a close run thing at the bookies, the odds slightly favouring the highly manoeuvrable SHG forward pack, famed for their ability to switch attack into defence and deceive the referee. They have on occasion been penalised for ‘dodgy’ running, shepherding and doing unspeakable things during the ruck and maul. Their opposition however has a formidable forward pack, slow, but with momentum gained a worthy opponent; their back row has some very fast, clever players, who, with an adequate supply of ball, can be lethal. All to play for today – the ‘Drone Cup’ is up for grabs, provided they can catch it – post match. It will be flying over the game today, taking those famous aerial shots and generally being a bloody nuisance to one and all, however, it does belong to a ‘member’ and privilege does have its rightful place.”

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“It seems the SSC have won the toss and will be first out of the changing rooms, dancing and shuffling along to their theme tune - It’s the biggest Aspidistra in the world. Rumour has it that at the SSC hooker – Galloping Gallacher - picked the tune as ‘It’s the biggest faery story in the world’ was locked down to the Thales group advertising campaign. AAAnnnnnddd here they come! at a very sedate, calm, deliberate pace, no rush, no dash, just the steady tread of their boots as they plod out to centre field.  The opposition prance and dance out behind in their hi-viz, electric blue, spandex kit, looking ‘match fit’ and full of something – perhaps not running – but they do smell queer.”

The Sleepy Hollow Haka...

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“Tension builds, the ref blows time on; and, they’re off. The SSC seem to having their share of ball as the opening moves are played and: Oh! Hold it - OMG the SHG prop forward ‘ Wingnut’ has knocked the ball on– it will be a scrum. Props Glenn Stern and Barry O’Braces pick up Galloping Gallacher and get the pack settled for the ‘engage’ – all good - ball delivered and the SSC with a mighty shove claw the ball back for the 5/8 – it’s away to the backs – heading for the winger, no wait, the full back -Xenophon - intercepts a wayward pass and breaks clear. He beats one, two of the SHG backs as the forwards fall back in defence  - but Oh no! he has run into his own prop forward O’Braces, fallen over and spilled the ball forward. He managed to gain 40 yards of valuable territory for his team but can they take advantage of it, that is the big question now. Well folks, that passage of play brings us up to the half time whistle. Time to hear from our sponsors.”


Many would say Xenophon buggered it up on Friday – but they would be incorrect. The matter is now public, on Hansard and that cannot be changed. Another important matter, which cannot be changed is that Carmody has stated publicly, on the record that he is waiting for the Pel-Air report etc. P2 has (once again) done a whizz-bang job, starting on the basic research and will, as time ticks by, unfold the whole sorry story. I warn you, it may appear dry as sticks to some.


Just think about that comment for a second..

Now although the intent by the DAS is to indicate that he will (unlike Malcolm Campbell) be not making any references or revealing any part of the DRAFT report (as per the conditions of section 26 of the TSI Act); he does appear to be indicating that he will be referencing the ATSB Final Report to inform his decision making process on DJ's request for the conditions on his ATPL be dropped...

Does this indicate that the DAS is contemplating breaching the spirit and intent of section 12AA of the TSI Act?

But the research does show some deeply hidden, dark areas associated with the treatment James is still receiving, as part of the distraction play, to take the focus off the CASA part in the Pel-Air matter. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the ATSB ‘second’ version report is slanted toward citing James as the sole perpetrator of the Norfolk ditching incident.  Whether this is true or not is nugatory, in fact, James and his part is insignificant, immaterial and a distraction.

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But to put an end to the Carmody/ James argument consider this. At the time James accepted the conditions imposed (on legal advice – not mine) he had little option and it was the only way forward. Since then he has passed, at no less an August institution than Flight Safety a type rating, instrument rating and Command proficiency check. He is now asking, quite reasonably and politely for CASA to accept those qualifications as the evidence they demand of ‘competency’. They flatly refuse. Now they want a ‘CASA’ expert to oversight the same check.

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 This is a pure case of embuggerance and a double insult to Flight Safety. The notion that only a CASA nominated inspector may judge the James performance is risible; furthermore if FS say ‘Pass’ and the FOI says ‘Fail’ what then? If and it is a big IF the proposed CASA FOI was a ever a professional pilot with real experience, ever operated as Captain, multi crew, international operations or even as a charter pilot in ‘class’ turbine then maybe he could argue against the FS ‘Pass’. Problem is, the proposed man is not any of these things; is he CEO Carmody.

[Image: Untitled_Clipping_102917_110505_AM.jpg]Nope. James is simply the distraction, shifting focus away from the real story. Carmody dare not, indeed cannot undo the arbitrary restrictions placed on James; nor can he shred the evidence trail of some very shaky paper work doings to support the unseemly restoration to service of Pel-Air. Pel-Air remains untouched and unadmonished under the high speed, slippery edicts and decisions made by Chambers, supported by McCormack, approved by Hood, executed by Campbell, Worthington and others. The paper trail and supporting research all point to a major question? What the hell was CASA playing at? One could also ask why? Or; conversely one could speculate why a Virgin and Qantas crew got away with a slightly more dangerous, similar incident at Mildura, Scot free? The really bold questioner may even ask why is Hood running the ATSB? Well Nick Xenophon took the run, made the yards and got a small part of this ‘on the record’. Thanks Nick – brave run, done strong, we will miss you and wish you well.

The almost stunned looks on faces of both committee and the CASA front rows when Nick stepped up was priceless. For me, the absolute pinnacle of delight was the Aleck catchall bollocks – (paraphrased) “it matters not that the document was unsigned; the intent was there”. Try telling that to the tax man – “my intent to pay is clear – here is the cheque; it is unsigned, but that’s OK – ain’t it?”  Oh, I’d love to get so lucky that the tax man believed it; I surely would. If you could stomach it (or even with our bucket handy), select, at random, any half dozen ‘estimates’ rambles from Aleck and listen to ‘em. Spin, back-flips, contradictions by the wagon load; I can find six where he has completely contradicted his own waffle without even rolling my sleeves up and looking hard. Yet there he sits, whispering the sweet words they love to hear, into the CEO ear.

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‘Drones’ took the lions share of time available, particularly the case of the one nation fellah who operated his drone over the parliamentary football paddock. Of itself, it was an interesting passage of play; but, if you watch the video you will see several interesting by plays from the CASA front row. You will also see Aleck cornered, cleverly mired in his own pony-pooh. The Senate front row have his measure now and have weighed the double speak much relied on; even in a simple matter like a drone offence. No matter, the committee now have the ‘investigation’ file in the hands of a real investigator. This could turn out to be fun, as the ring of power is destroyed.

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There is one passage which screams for attention, the part where Carmody declares that they have ‘beefed up’ the drone rules. He makes no mention of how CASA will enforce or even apprehend, let alone prosecute offenders. This is not the star turn though – CASA have approved drone operations within the visual circling area of aerodromes. At 5.5 kms and 400 feet, drones may operate within an airspace where, under instrument flight rules, aircraft conducting one of the most difficult manoeuvres will be operating, in poor visibility during bad weather. Ducking brilliant, top marks CASA. Who the hell dreams up this crap and who approves it?

But what of the ASA session? There is only one part worth watching – at the very end, Gallacher spells out the Senate position on ‘One sky pie’ the for Halfwit – ‘it’s the biggest fairy story ever told’. Or as Grand Mamma would say:-

I will leave watching the Hansard up to you. Bit pushed for time this week – significant Estimates happening on Friday messes up my Sunday and it takes time to digest the video. P2 has captured much of the Hansard video and over the next few day we will extricate some of the highlights. But well played the Senate front row.

Now I’m off to the stable workshop, check list – dogs, coffee, video player – checked. Now I can watch and listen all day while I do something useful; there’s a saw to be doctored, three planes in need of sharpening and a dozen chisels needing a tune up. If it would rain, my day would be complete.

Toot – toot.

P2 - On that note - just for a laugh, courtesy of "V" [Image: biggrin.gif]

Sublime or Ridicules? Your call.

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“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

You may be swept off to a serious BRB indaba; no Ale, no darts, just a large bare table in a quiet room. Shuffle in, say G’day, find a seat, settle your notes and sit quietly until the stragglers arrive. It is show and tell day. Only one subject – the ditching of a Pel-Air patient transfer Westwind off Norfolk Island. All attending may, rightfully be considered ‘expert’; there ain’t many, I count 10 heads, including my own, five teams of two, each with an element of the incident to analyse. After this little sit down, the notes and opinions will be handed to me and the draft response from the crew will be put together; agreed, edited and sent off to the Senate RRAT committee. We were at it all morning; knitting the disparate threads – its not until you see the whole that the final picture emerges. Suddenly, a part which has been puzzling a team makes sense when melded with the results from another team. Time ticks by and, at last, the truly ugly picture emerges. Of course I can’t spill the beans; not here, not yet. Patience children, the opposition is still batting; our turn will come soon enough. You may however, just for practice, care to study some of the material and draw your own conclusions. No matter which element of the incident you care to focus on, there is (IMO) only one conclusion which can be sensibly drawn – WTD were the agencies playing at? To answer that we must why; what possible motivation could be assigned. Aye, it’s a puzzle right enough..

There are some serious questions hovering around the legitimacy of the ‘enforcement actions’ taken against James. Chambers was, as usual, in a hurry and sketched his way around the ‘facts’ in his trademark Caviler manner. The truth is often a victim of the now infamous ‘facts and circumstances’ missives Chambers has issued in the past. Whether this was at the direction of another or; a function of his own venal, twisted personality is not for us to decide. However, for weal or woe, Hood was drawn into the business.

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“He who sees a need and waits to be asked for help is as unkind as if he had refused it.” - Dante Alighieri

Hood was ‘the decision maker’. Hood signed off on Wodgers demands. Willing accomplice or unwitting dupe? The odds favour a moderated verdict; initially willing accomplice, going along to get along, then; once the penny dropped, the best back peddling exhibition ever seen. That’s the rub – right there. By the time Hood realised that there were serious flaws, it was too late, he was deeply implicated in the embuggerance. The part which staggers the BRB is his silence. Hood knew what was going on and chose to keep stum and why not; that silence probably landed him the ATSB job. The BRB believe the Hood epiphany began when the transcript from Nadi turned up – after the draft report was done. Which is amazing, when you think about it. What sort of an investigation does not collect and consider all the available weather data – all of it – the lot. What sort of an investigation neatly side steps the fact that the 0803 was never transmitted to the flight crew. What sort of a decision maker knows this and fails to put the brakes on the Chambers wagon?

“Some want, to be exempt. They do not want to excel, they do not want to exert. They want to be considered excellent, for desiring to be held exempt, from all accountability.” - Justin K McFarlane Beau

CASA must, by a simple process of elimination, known, full well that the 0803 report was vital. If James had received it – they had him stone cold; gross negligence – and we would have cheered that decision. To continue on regardless of the 0803 was indeed, reckless. But James never, ever got the message. That, standing alone exonerates James completely. From that one omission every possible hole in the cheese lined up. CASA cannot possibly deny knowledge of this fact; and, by extension, neither can Hood. There are so many holes and patches on the legal and procedural case that it cannot hold water.

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"..You misunderstand, sir; I cannot pardon these when twelve are already hanged for the same crime. It is not just.”

Then there is the vexed  ‘fuel’ question – much was made of this; but in the final analysis – James was ‘legal’ all the way – and ran out of luck a long while before he ran out of fuel.  The BRB team completely agree with the Davies submission to the Senate inquiry. Within a few pounds and within the ‘thickness of a pencil line’ every BRB member found much the same data as Davies and drew the same conclusions. Even down to the difference between a forecast below ‘Alternate’ and above ‘Landing’ minima.

It all comes down to the critical 0803 from Nadi. There are some questions which demand answers related to the 0803; like, when was it drafted, when was it transmitted and when did Nadi receive it. Without ‘fact’ one may speculate, the operator in Nadi busy with HF – the fax turning up – ignored, then forgotten, by this time the aircraft is too far away. Maybe even almost up to the Auckland boundary. The time line of ‘hand off’ confirms this – there may have even been a change of operator at Nadi during the period in question. Whichever way you come at it; this is the critical point. Did Hood know, did the ‘investigators’ know; did the ATSB wizards work it out? From the e-mail chain it seems that the IIC nutted it out – but Dolan consigned him to the pencil sharpening cupboard. One of the CASA wizards saw the problem, tried to get a message out; but, ended up storming off in high dudgeon.

But the madness persists. The faery story likely to be perpetuated now by the second ATSB report. There are too many holes in the emperors new clothes to acknowledge even a stitch out of place. The ‘second’ report can be nothing else other than a feeble attempt to lay the blame on James and exonerate the ‘official’ line. No matter, I need a new telephone book to keep the office door open; a nice new shiny one from the ATSB will do, very nicely indeed.

“What of the new CEO?” asks Aunt Pru. “Well you may ask” says I, " we have ‘just culture’ instructions being peddled out the front door, while he nips around the back to kick the living bejassus out of James.” Not only will he wait for the final report (12AA) but he is contemplating allowing Worthington to go to the USA at tax payer expense to ‘judge’ the James performance against the Flight Safety ruling. It’s a ducking insult, duplicitous and completely unnecessary. Worthington is not a professional pilot's boot-strap, never was, never will be. But he does need to be questioned about some of his actions, not only in this matter, but in others. The BRB and Aunt Pru will be happy to provide those questions. A dream come true, Cambers, Campbell, Hood and Worthington in the dock – ah, what bliss. You could throw in a couple of others for comedy relief. Me? I’d have the whole bunch tarred, feathered and paraded through the streets – alas….

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"False face must hide what the false heart doth know." - William Shakespeare  (Macbeth).

Aye, if only we had a minister of Senator calibre; can you imagine if Sterle or O’Sullivan got hold of this; gods help ATSB and CASA if Fawcett took a hand. I would buy a ringside seat to watch that match – no matter the cost.  

CHAIR: Of course. I've got to tell you, if your investigator didn't ask it, you want to get him or her down into the car park and get them out of your business as quickly as you can. That would have to be the most fundamental question.

From about 04:00 here:-

P7 - Didn't James do an interview like that? - No recording made etc...

Pel-Air have taken up much of the weeks spare time (and some not so spare) but it has been worthwhile. A quick straw pole was taken, to see how many believed that the true, unvarnished facts and circumstances appended to the ditching event would ever see the light of day. Not many is the answer, not many at all; there was one bloke thought it may happen; but we know he talks to the faery folk who live in his garden.

Enough – the invisible Manning’s missive will be delivered shortly; then we shall see just what degree of honesty and integrity he has breathed into the second report. The ‘book’ is closed by the way – too many of the IOS have been sniffing about to make it a fair bet. Keep your money folks; aliens arriving for Sunday afternoon tea has a better chance of a return.

That’s it – no more excuses; the minister for Domestic Tyranny has a list of stuff that demands my attention – now: now. But if I’m quick, the back door is open and the dogs patiently wait.  Segue to : “K” picking up spare boots and tiptoeing toward the back door to the stable – it squeaks a bit; but we know that, carefully (SSSSHHH dogs) our villain slips into the orchard, out of sight.

Toot toot.

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P7 - Good job on graffiti P2 (choc frog); but where did get the last picture? Seems the MDT has trapped the escapee.

P2 new CCTV camera hidden on the bow of the houseboat, by order of the MDT - Blush   
A Tragic Situation Blossoming.

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ATSB chief commissioner Greg Hood, right, and Transport Minister Darren Chester.

‘Promoted to a level of incompetence’; a phrased coined by L.J. Peter. “It states that the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate's performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and "managers rise to the level of their incompetence".

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The Australian ATSB has been for a number of years, probably since the Lockhart River tragedy, struggling to maintain its status , independence and credibility.

“While there are things about which one does not boast, there are others for which to be pitied would be all too humiliating.” ― Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera.

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200501977 contains a modest two hundred and forty six pages which can be skimmed through in about thirty minutes, the readers eyes glazing over somewhere during that period.  This is a reader mistake. To properly read the report the reader must firstly understand the nature of a long running battle between two powerful entities for power, money, influence and kudos. The history of these rival groups is coloured, metaphorically speaking, in blood.

In today's world, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is in the political ascendancy, attracts the media attention, enjoys well filled coffers and basks in the security of public confidence.

The ATSB is chronically under funded, attracts very little media attention and the general public have only a vague notion that it exists. And so, the ATSB must be careful to protect it's rice bowl, not rock too many boats and mind it's manners.

How then can the ATSB weave the unpleasant truths about an aviation disaster into the fabric of the public lives, when their very existence is a daily struggle. Their answer is in subtle, cleverly camouflaged writing which, correctly interpreted, inevitably leads the informed reader to the correct answer.

When Dolan took charge of the agency the ‘struggle’ ceased and ATSB became a catspaw for the McConvict administration of CASA. This clearly reflected during the Senate inquiry into the Pel-Air ditching off Norfolk Island. Many would have liked to see the Senate censure both ATSB and CASA for their manipulation of the event – alas. When Dolan departed the fix – there was some hope that ATSB may grow a set and start helping industry to define the causal chains and systematic failures associated with serious accidents. Hi Viz Hood at his highest level of incompetence now, has failed, utterly, to lift the ATSB out of the pit into which it had fallen. We were all quite used to late, obfuscated, useless, fluffy reports and were left to draw our own conclusion, particularly where CASA stupidity had played a hand – at the grass roots level. Now we are being spoon fed some load of old bollocks about how the ATSB is going to make things better – by doing less and not bothering to examine all the aspects and elements which led to the accident. ATSB have been totally emasculated. It is time to stop pretending we have anything remotely resembling an independent, robust  ‘accident investigator’. In fact, for the amount of use ATSB and Hood are to aviation safety, we may as well just quietly cut it’s throat, bury the carcass and save the money. The minister and Hood are becoming an international embarrassment; and rightly so. Disgraceful.

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“Once when I had remarked on the affection quite often found between cat and dog, my friend replied, "Yes. But I bet no dog would ever confess it to the other dogs.” - CS Lewis, The Four Loves.

Actually, while we have the knife out (so to speak) – we could turn our attention to the ailing CASA operations. The public face of this crippled, discredited, expensive, disruptive, partly crazed, manic, paranoid, delusional, two faced, duplicitous outfit, is represented by a man who will,  quite happily, stand up and say “Just culture” and then merrily join in the persecution of a pilot, supporting those who engineered one of this nations most disgraceful aviation story’s.

Read from here - The 0739 key to the PelAir wx imbroglio - off the Embuggerance thread; & Sandy on Carmody HR - “Good morning Dominic”,

This is a man who will not even acknowledge the dreadful acts perpetrated by CASA during the McConvict/Chambers era; let alone take the simple positive steps toward remedying the situation. Carmody, Chester and Hood; three of the four biblical horsemen of the apocalypse.  The BoM leading the race to be number four...

Aviation is seeing an increasing number of tragic events and some bloody close calls – there is a long list; not addressed by ATSB. The systematic failures directly related to CASA’s bungling management of matters aeronautical is a national disgrace. We must all hope and make votive offerings to a pagan god of choice that when the ‘Pel-Air’ report is released that a serious, Senate led, judicially backed inquiry is opened. We must either address the matter, fully, frankly and openly; or, resile from our position as a ‘world class’ aviation nation.  Because we ain’t one; NO minister, we ain’t: not any longer. Should you be interested in why this so, take a long hard look at those whispering sweet nothings in your ear, soothing words of comfort along with a load of bollocks. Mark my words – the next fatal accident will be sheeted home to a complete lack of ministerial action to remedy the malady.

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“How many times had those awful words - "I know what I'm doing" - been uttered throughout history as prelude to disaster?”.― Christopher Buckley, Supreme Courtship

That’s it: time is going to beat me today. Take a browse through some of the excellent work P2 dredged up this week – most of it beggars the imagination, defeats logic and indicates exactly where and how the ‘safety agencies’ with ministerial backing are making Australian aviation a dangerous, international laughing stock.

Now then, socks, boots, bag – door; exeunt - in a screaming hurry.

Toot toot.
One if by land, two if by sea , three if by pigeon.

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"Paul Revere's Ride" is a poem by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that commemorates the actions of American patriot Paul Revere on April 18, 1775, although with significant inaccuracies.Wikipedia

Or; perhaps the ATSB, like the ministry of magic, have taken to using owls as a delivery system. Whatever they’re using ain’t working. Delay in delivery is a big no-no for any media outlet and the CASA media arm is failing to deliver not only the package, but the content ain’t as advertised. There is a serious call for the ATSB to be disbanded because of this failing alone, without even going near the appalling attitudes on display.

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One does not need a degree of any sort to see the stark, worrying changes to the ATSB over the past years. P2 has, in an excellent post, sketched them for you. We used to get sound, solid, sensible, practical advice from ATSB; alas, no longer. We get weasel words and legal speak; quibbling about a black letter meaning of a thing, rather than the spirit and intent. Denigrating honest attempts to have a report done properly, demeaning the efforts of those involved and generally, wiping their snotty noses with any opinion, other than the CASA one, in their own words, seems to be the new low tide mark, even for the ministerial glove puppets of the ATSB. The ‘new’ report into the Pel-Air ditching will clearly define this decline in probity and value.

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William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, Act II, sc.5 -

"..Though it be honest, it is never good
To bring bad news. Give to a gracious message
An host of tongues, but let ill tidings tell
Themselves when they be felt..."

So, to whom do we look for probity and surety that all is well within Australian commercial aviation? Certainly not CASA; a quick ten minute wander through the Hansard recordings will confirm the theory that CASA is a raving, out of control, incontinent megalomaniac, in need of help. The pungent whiff of corruption pervades the corridors and taints the Kool-aid. If it were ‘normal’ baksheesh I could live with that – it is an accepted method of doing business; most certainly corruption but at least the rules are clear. CASA is corrupt in twisted, sinister ways, from the grass roots through to the top office, non of it beneficial. At grass roots you have a muppet like Worthington, daring to dictate to senior check pilots and Flight Safety trainers ‘how’ operations should be conducted and checked. The man is not only an inexperienced chump, a fumble fingered amateur pilot, but dishonest with it.

A long track record which would not withstand serious scrutiny and yet the CASA boss supports the risible notion that his man is capable of making a fair, honest impartial assessment of both check captain and candidate. I, for one of many, would not allow the clown to get within a bulls roar of an aircraft in my command. There, in a nutshell lays the problem; Carmody to Worthington; top to bottom, twisted, deceitful and wrong.

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“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

It is time to put an end to this expensive farce. It is time to enforce, vigorously, the recommendations of both the Senate committee and the Rev. Forsyth. ATSB and CASA are charged, by government, to meet the requirements of the Acts which govern them. Both agencies are failing not only to meet the spirit and intent of those Acts, but have perverted the meaning of those Acts to suit.

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“It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.” ― Noël Coward, Blithe Spirit

Then, I look at Chester and despair. If it were not for the excellent Senators I’d hang the boots up, retire to being an amiable old buffer who talked to dogs and horses, pottered about the wood shed and threw rocks at drones. Someone, somewhere has to get the agencies back on track, under control and functioning correctly; then; I look at Chester…………

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“Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

That’s enough; the endless wait for the rejigged ‘new’ report is almost over; then we can mount a case for real reform of the ATSB and CASA. If the ‘new’ Norfolk report don’t trigger an uproar then nothing will.

Got lucky this week; stumbled over some stunning ‘red’ Brush Box off cuts; enough to attempt the ‘dressing table’ stool designed by a special young lady who recently completed HSC exams. The joinery is complex, the design demanding – happily I have enough timber to make a mess of some; the ‘prototype’ made from scraps of construction grade Pine is certainly headed to the winter fuel bin – but that was to get a feel for the job. Best crack on, there are rumblings from the kitchen, something about gutters and the cleaning thereof.  Second coffee (check), dogs (check) back door clear (check). Tranquillity - here I come..

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Toot toot

P2 edit - "...or four if by drone.." - Big Grin

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