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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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Ah; Whimsy…An odd or fanciful notion.

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From AP PelAir MKII thread post: Media coverage Part II. 

To become a master, a journeyman has to submit a master piece of work to a guild for evaluation. Only after evaluation can a journeyman be admitted to the guild as a master. Sometimes, a journeyman is required to accomplish a three-year working trip, which may be called the journeyman years.

There I was; when whimsy struck – I mentioned, last week, that I was obliged to put together a ‘complex’ piece of joinery, with expensive material. Well I managed; ‘twas “no easy read” as they say in the music game – but manage I did. Not perfect you’ll understand, but, if one listened to the Ooh’s and Ah’s of the recipients; an ego could be built on such. It set me to wondering – at best it was (against the old guild standards) a competent, journeyman’s piece. Sure the crowd loved it – but, I wonder what some ‘master craftsman’ would have made of it? So there I was. Imagining what the ‘master’s’ of their craft would have made of my piece. Every dodgy ‘two thou’ error (a hairs breadth), every bit of sawdust added to ‘fill’ that gap while the glue would accept it; every pubic hair out of square; Hells bells, if I could see ‘em; older wiser more accurate eyed could spot ‘em; why? Well that’s easy to answer – they’ve done it themselves and have not only made the same errors, but attempted the corrections. Journeyman workmanship – top quality – but as a ‘masterpiece’ well; it needs a little more work. Which of course led me to the ‘Manning’ attempt to shovel the whole Pel-Air mess under the carpet. Good quality journeyman stuff – but…..Etc.

I had, (for my sins) completely forgotten the company (due whimsy) I was keeping and why we were all sitting down with pints of ale in ‘comfy’, quiet surrounds. P7’s bark roused me from my reverie. “Well son; what would you do if James were ‘your pilot’? - I know this ‘bark’. Time to speak up.

I look about the table (as I scramble for focus) at the grey heads and grizzled faces attending. No light weight crew this one; no Siree. I can count at least 140, 000 collective hours of flying experience and at least 150 years collective experience as chief pilots, heads of check and training, writers of SOP and Operations manuals; etc. etc. This is a heavy duty crew, each with a copy of the invisible Manning’s’ report.  A poor ‘journeyman’s piece’. The crowd loved it – but the guild ‘masters’ who will allow a journeyman to become a master are not impressed. Aye; Manning’s work is on display. The useless minister may like it, the press will toy with it for a day – but: at the end of the shift; what Manning has produced is not a ‘masterpiece’ – not as the experts judge it. Too much putty, pubic hair and paint to fool the experts.

Six stony, aged, weathered faces look at me with ‘that’ look they reserve for idiots who float off into reverie. “No pixies ‘K’ - not tonight” say’s TOM. So I must collect my thoughts – as a master of one craft – and speak plainly; as if to equals. If I am to be counted among the ‘master craftsmen’ of my trade that is.

So; there I sat. “Well” says I – quiet like “no pilot of mine would have been out there without the tools to do the job in the first place”. “What, in the seven hells was an uneducated, un trained child doing buggering about, at night, trying to land on Norfolk’ (of all islands) in the middle of the bloody night, when he was half asleep, unassisted by the nominated ‘pilot in command’ who seems to have snoozed (without headset) (as was her habit) for a great part of the flight?” “It was supposed to ‘her leg’ after all, acting in command, more to follow on that line of reasoning”. “In short, this event gentlemen, reminds me so much of ‘Lockhart River’ that it almost beggars belief. A fully CASA approved operation, sanctioned by fools and approved charlatans who believe that ‘they’, as the law, have the experience and knowledge to judge an operation as ‘sound’. So completely out of touch with the realities of operating on the ‘raggedy’ edge of reality that they were quiet happy to say ‘Go boys’. How many audits did the half baked Pel-Air system survive?

James, as a product of that system should never had command of the flight. End of.

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From the indubitable LB, a gem, in a nutshell.

A trap was set for the PIC by the system in which he was variously allowed, encouraged and forced to operate. The ‘tripwire’ on the fateful flight was the incomplete and erroneous weather information about YSNF that misled the PIC.

The PIC’s primary sin was that he did not have ESP.

Half the ‘battle’ of long haul is knowing the ‘legal’ and operational constraints on the operation and on the pilot in command. Long haul is, however a misnomer. A one hour ‘expected’ flight with one hour and ten minutes in the tanks is a ‘log haul’. Sydney to Dallas is what; 16 hours. Piece of cake with 20 hours in the tanks; but problematic when the total fuel on board is seventeen hours and you must land with thirty minutes in board. It becomes a question of training, education and experience. Non of which our erstwhile ‘captain’ had or was given. This event needs to be stripped right back to the bare bones. Manning’s journeyman piece takes 500 odd pages to tell us pretty much what was already known; what it fails to encompass is the operational anomalies, the normalised deviances all enshrined within the company system, approved and tolerated by CASA ‘experts’.

The controversy around the classification and standards applicable to this kind of operation are merely a manifestation of the broader classification of operation dog’s breakfast that will never be cleaned up by CASA.

For example; Manning has not raised an eyebrow when we hear that there was no pre departure discussion related to the proposed flight, in terms of weather, residual fuel on board, fuel uplift or options available. The FO sat back and read a magazine while the PIC loaded the fuel uplift; no ETP; no PNR’s; no cross check of the flight or ‘fuel plan’. WTD. There are several other serious elements such as fatigue, lack of operation control etc. which we will examine as time goes by. Not today; I will, in a short while, drag out a favourite ‘old drum’ and start beating it. James is a distraction – nothing more or nothing less.

The Manning epistle is of little value as a ‘loop closer’; it simply deals with ‘the flight’ and manages, quite neatly, to step around the real issues; such as the relaying of weather information. This is artfully done; just enough mention of a massive flaw, to diminish it; but just enough to say “we covered it”. One could present a sound argument that CASA has been criminally negligent in the matter; one could argue equally strongly that ATSB have been remiss and derelict in their duty. You could, over a beer or two even get away with a cover up argument. Why? Well any sensible comparison between the treatment of Airtex and of Pel-Air will highlight exactly and incontrovertibly what was (and probably still is) wrong not only with ‘the Bankstown’ chapter of Sleepy Hollow; but the whole rotten system.

There remain 26 recommendations from the Senate and a further 30 something recommendations from the ASRR outstanding which are being stared down, contemptuously dismissed as ‘opinion’. Meanwhile the minister is pissing about with the ASAP, further delaying the changes demanded by industry. Nowhere near good enough, is it.

However, to answer the question posed. Any system which fails to address the basic, must have, essential tools for ‘long haul’, international (fuel related) requirements and provides an FO who not only failed, due lack of interest, to take part in discussing the residual fuel on board (FOB) or the uplift for the sector to be operated as PIC, but seems to have eliminated herself, (preferring to read a magazine) from any pre departure discussion needs to be examined. The operating system was badly flawed; from the operations manual (CASA accepted) to the Check and Training system (CASA approved) to the ‘fuel planning’ (CASA accepted) to the Multi crew procedures (CASA accepted). In short, the operation was a long standing buggers muddle which had never been corrected – not by the company or the CASA. This is a fundamental part of the result – a ditching – at night, in open water.

The thing ‘we’ would all like to know is why (how) Pel-Air got such a soft ride in the aftermath; why the Senate committee was ‘misdirected’ and why the spotlight should fall on the flight crew who were as much a victim of the ‘system’ as the passengers. James is no longer the centre piece, he is a bit player in a farce of epic proportions.

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Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing. ― William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

Aye well; I’ll forgo the pleasure of using the new report to keep the office door open – it’s not worth the ream of paper or the ink to print it.

There are some wise, experienced, knowledgeable heads looking with a jaundiced eye at the Pel-Air debacle. I’d bet my boots on a big push to get the wrappings off this entire package, strip it back to bare bones and sheet the blame home where it belongs. Problem is finding a ‘platform’ and a crowd of people who’s recommendations will not be treated as ‘an opinion’; to be summarily dismissed – again.

More to follow? Absolutely. P2 has started the ball rolling - Guidelines not rules- If the minister won’t do it, seems Aunt Pru must. Gods alone know what has been spent so far on this pantomime; but I get a horrible feeling, looking at those seated about me, that the whole story is about to be rewritten as a factual discussion, rather than a confection wrapped in a thin tissue, artfully decorated to disguise the disgusting, mouldy filling.

“When the hurlyburly 's done, when the battle 's lost and won”

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Macbeth Act 1, Scene 1: In this opening scene, the three witches, or Weird Sisters (possibly Shakespeare’s version of the Fates?) convene and decide when to approach Macbeth and Banquo with their prophecy. 

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“Compromise cannot be allowed in cases where the exact truth is ascertainable.” - Arthur Lynch.

Read properly, the point of the quote, to the government minister for transport could not be made any clearer. Even our Hi Viz Canary and the ‘three monkeys’ knock off CEO of CASA can relate to the crystal clear message. A fair and equitable solution to any major cultural divide is essential. Same as my Grandmamma said of any healthy ‘relationship’ – “I don’t mind putting the toilet seat down, if he don’t mind lifting it up”. Common sense. Fair, reasonable: and, most importantly, completely sane.

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A Tragic Situation Blossoming. – Aunty Pru Forum version

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So, the puzzle; how do we breathe common sense, decency and honesty into ATSB and CASA doings? Must we dredge up the history? Draw the parallels and drive home the simple, clear message that the time for reaching common ground has past – lost in the mists of time – descended into shadow; lost forever in myth and legend. I believe it is; the situation has polarised; mediation is beyond reach and it is time both ATSB and CASA took a long, hard, honest look at what they have become. The ‘bully’ who insists that the toilet seat must always remain in the upright position – unless he leaves it down – a’ purpose. To do this we must first look to the past.

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“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one--the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,...Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

The Lockhart River CFIT event was a fatal accident. One of the younger members of the PAIN network asked me WTD it had to do with the Pel-Air affair. I got us both a beer and sat down with him; “well” say’s I – “how much do you know about Lockhart; or, Seaview?” “Not much” say’s he, “Metro, CFIT, fatalities and a couple of ‘Senate inquiries’; that’s about it”. Not too much point in continuing that discussion, waste of wind and time. “Check your email tomorrow, I’ll send you some data”. End of. Two days later – the phone rings – “Duck me” say’s the youngster. “Exactly” say’s I. You will excuse (I hope) the long winded preamble, but if we are to truly determine exactly how nothing has changed since Lockhart, properly and clinically examine the Pel-Air ‘incident’ and the rape of Airtex (amongst others) we must begin with history.  With your indulgence, a short ramble.

Back in the day, when PAIN first became a living creature, ‘we’ met Shane Urquhart, father of a daughter killed in the Lockhart accident. It was decided that whatever the outcome, for Shane, we would take a long, hard, holistic, unbiased look at the accident. What we discovered, from a purely operational analysis was almost unbelievable. So we checked, and checked again. Then, drafted a report, mostly for Shane and let the matter rest there; for there was little else which, realistically, could to be done. Endit…

Then, the Pel-Air event popped up. We watched, waited; and of course, speculated. Apart from providing some ‘interesting’ discussion at the BRB indaba’s, there was little for PAIN to analyse or even comment on; until the Senate crew brought it on. Ever hear 1000 voices shout BOLLOCKS at the same time; I did. So the digging party was assembled and dig they did. Deep, hard and long they dug; the elusive nuggets drawing them deeper into the squalid swamps of Sleepy Hollow.

I do hope that the above will suffice as an introduction to the next passage of play. A rough (as in unrefined) E&OE report was prepared for Shane Urquhart on the Lockhart event. It is (warts and all) available from the AP library. I intend to quote some passages from that ‘report’ – as part of the Pel-Air puzzle. The parallels are astonishing. All that is asked of the reader is to consider those parallels in the context of the Pel-Air event.

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PDF Link -

I will finish with those quotes from that rough ‘report’; but I would ask that you consider the following. Pick the international ‘heavy’ carrier you prefer; then consider ’how’ their Captains achieve that rank. I can, if you permit it, save you some brain work. It is simplicity itself – they train ‘em. Train ‘em hard, long and often: then they send ‘em off with ‘experienced’ Captains, first as ‘second officers, then as First officers who eventually progress to Captain. The great big skies and far off destination gambit is not an environment for aeronautical children, not when fuel, weather and ‘the law’ and company SOP and the bogey man haunt the night skies and Murphey is everyman’s co-pilot. Airlines, like Qantas, take extraordinary pains, learnt from hard won experience to make absolutely certain that a brand new Captain, taking out his first long haul flight has had the benefit of watching, then helping experienced airmen doing the job; properly: in all manner of conditions, circumstances and, occasionally, danger. Danger not only in an operational sense, but in the ‘legal’ sense. Flying a modern aircraft these days is much more fraught with legal peril than it is of some of the more ‘life threatening’ dangers of the past.

Quote:The aircrew involved in both the Lockhart and Pel-Air accidents were, theoretically, to be afforded the protection and support of an over sighted, sound company operational, administrative and maintenance infrastructure.

There is ample evidence that this was not the case.

The aircrew involved in the accident were, theoretically, to be afforded the protection of a fully functioning Training and Checking System to prevent potentially dangerous, unsafe practices and procedures becoming the accepted 'norm'.

There is ample evidence that this was not the case.

The aircrew involved in the accident were, theoretically, to be afforded the protection of a Safety Management reporting system through which anomalies, potential and real hazards to operational safety could be brought to the attention of and addressed by management.

There is ample evidence that this was not the case.

The aircrew involved in the accident were, theoretically, to be afforded the protection of a routes and ports SOP which, through developed experience would provide clearly defined limitations for instrument approach, aircraft speed profile management and highlighted potential areas of high CFIT risk management.

There is ample evidence that this was not the case.

The aircrew involved in the accident were, theoretically, to be afforded the protection of properly constructed Company Operations Manual (COM) which, as a last resort would supply the information required to enable an aircrew to safely and legally conduct any proposed operation.

There is ample evidence that this was not the case.

Extract: from a 'standard' Company Operations Manual.

1) The company directors are aware of, and have considered pertinent regulatory material and acknowledge, that as a Company officers, there is a duty to exercise care and diligence under the Civil Aviation Act 1988 (the Act) [CAA 28 BE], with regard to the activities conducted under the Air Operator Certification.

2) The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as "the operator" is to ensure that the company obligations in relation to flying operations are met, conducted in compliance with the regulations and in the manner prescribed within the Company Operations Manual (COM).

I ask you consider the James case in these terms. A veritable ‘babe-in-the woods’. Absolutely NFI of what could go wrong, no experience, no training, no mentoring, no back up. You could be forgiven believing that the CASA would see the gaping holes in both system and safety net. They failed in the Pel-Air case as badly as they did at Lockhart River. There was suspicion of a second agenda in the Lockhart affair; there is deep suspicion of a second agenda in the Pel-Air debacle; but it goes deeper than that. When you begin to compare Pel-Air to Airtex; or even Barrier Aviation, the whiff of honesty putrefying in the dark corners and the stench of long dead integrity becomes (IMO) too much to countenance.  The minister knows this, the PMC and the DoIT know it, the Senate committee know it. At the end of the long weary shift, there is only one question which demands an answer – why do they tolerate it? Most folk clean up a mess dumped on their doorstep.

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Shall I tell you what the real evil is? To cringe to the things that are called evils, to surrender to them our freedom, in defiance of which we ought to face any suffering. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Not too many laughs this Sunday – sorry about that; but Aunt Pru is vexed, and wants this out there, in public and dealt with. The tooter the sweeter. But now, the day is my own – the Gazette out early; domestic tyranny has abated; repairs all done, the dogs are bathed and, with any luck at all, a load of very old Cedar (Australian) and Sandalwood will arrive after second coffee; one soft and obliging, ‘tuther a beast; can I meld them into something of use and purpose? We shall see..

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The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail — its roof may shake — the wind may blow through it — the storm may enter — the rain may enter — but the King of England cannot enter — all his force dares not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement! (Pitt).

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Quantity v Quality. - via AP FORUM        

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“It is quality rather than quantity that matters.” - Seneca.

A quick dip in the chequered history of Australian aviation safety management shows a steady but significant decline in ‘the quality’ – for wont of a better descriptor. You can define it yourself through the everyday things we use; even in this ‘throw away’ world we live in. There is still a demand, although diminishing for ‘quality’ products and the old maxim “can’t afford cheap stuff” remains valid. As always caveat emptor is the golden rule; you can still pay a premium price for alleged ‘quality’ and end up with dross. This is, IMO where the Australian travelling public have fetched up; we pay, unstintingly, incredible sums to ensure ‘safety’. Even every ticket sold contributes to the carrier air safety systems – from apprentice engineers to pilots; from audit to system improvements. It costs money, real money, to do this. The airlines return this investment to the passenger by way of ‘good standards’ and safe travel. They may not always deliver – but in the vast majority of cases they do. The beauty part of this is that the passenger has the choice of carrier and some say in the ‘quality’ of product.

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“The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”

So much for the commercial side of flight; what about the really expensive side? The side over which no one has any real control i.e. the ‘government agencies. The cost of maintaining ATSB and CASA is astronomical; yet we must have the agencies. For the class of money we spend it seems fair and reasonable that the service provided should be first class. Alas. Thirty years and an estimated cost somewhere North of $300, 000, 000. 000 has been invested into what is one of the worst set of ‘safety rules’ ever produced. We had a much better safety record back when the Air Navigation Regulations were a slim volume of practical application and the Air Navigation Orders sat on the book shelf about the same thickness as the telephone book. Since then nothing has improved, the regulation becoming more complex and difficult to comply with, which is bad enough. Now we see the distinct pattern emerging which is becoming unhealthy. CASA seem to believe they are a legal firm - or, the ‘police’ and ATSB seem to believe they are nothing more than a press agency for both airlines and CASA. These are not things from my imagination, the story of Dom James, John Quadrio and several others bear stark witness to the appalling state to which the Australian aviation regulatory and safety agencies have descended. The cost of achieving SDA in terms of ‘quality’ assurance is disgraceful.

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“The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.”  - Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2.

It is small wonder that the aviation world is looking more and more to the Senate and the Senators to lend a hand and get a rope on the lunatics. The ATSB were emasculated during the Lockhart River affair and CASA dodged a large calibre bullet; many years later we have the Pel-Air and Norfolk Island farrago. The total cost of this debacle is staggering, the quality of the result disgraceful; but by far the worst is total zero improvement in system or safety lesson of value; to anyone. When the dust has settled a long, hard look, in terms of value for investment will be taken of this almost unbelievable saga. Perhaps by then there will be a minister who actually gives a damn and finally matters aeronautical will take a turn for the better. Do not hold your breathe…….

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Waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industry and frugality, nothing will do, and with them everythingBenjamin Franklin

Nevertheless; Sen Rex Patrick in his maiden speech to the Senate seems to have joined the ‘good guys’ and will assist in the quest for accountability, honesty, quality and integrity from our agencies. The sooner this happens, the better off we will all be.  Do not hold your breathe…….

It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and the voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. Unless Congress have and use every means of acquainting itself with the acts and the disposition of the administrative agents of the government, the country must be helpless to learn how it is being served …

Easily said; difficult to do. A small sample, representing just some of the monsters the Senate has to grapple with may be quickly seen:-

P2- in #32 -  takes a little of the muck off the top of the deep, murky, expensive, pointless Pel-Air scandal.

Hitch in Australian flying sums up another debacle which has some ‘interesting’ conflicts, operational and ‘safety’ wise. A perfect, simple example of why reform is needed.  

The Independent Australian asks some pertinent questions. Doc Sanders article smacks of truth and reality.

Two governments, three ministers, two new directors of CASA and a new CC at ATSB have failed to produce one single solitary piece of ‘reform’ which is worth anymore than yesterdays newspaper or likely to improve the quality of service to the travelling public. The scary thing is the meek acceptance of this as the ‘norm’. That ain’t right – not by a long shot it ain’t and anyone who believes hiding under their rice bowl will provide protection is barking.

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Enough: I’ve important matters to deal with. I own a rather lovely bench plane, which was made in 1898. It is delight to use, or rather it was until it was dropped onto a stone floor and the back handle got broken, beyond repair. It will take the best part of today, probably some blood, the occasional tear and lots of sweat to remake one from scratch, finding the right wood is a challenge, but I believe there is a lump of suitable material lurking in the ‘bin’ I use for off-cuts of ‘special’ timber. I shall tip it all out and see what I have. Right; best crack on.

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Turns off the computer (without a second glance), whistles up dogs – exeunt.


P2 - Charlie Brown's final word on Quality v Quantity   Rolleyes

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The trick that wins the rubber.

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Occasionally, one meets people with ‘real’ money, clever folk who know how to make a goose  jump through hoops and land safely without a ruffled feather to deliver a golden egg. Those with connections, influence and know how. They do exist, some even have a passing interest in aviation. “Well my boy” say’s one such worthy, “how fares the aviation racket”?”  “Aw” says I “I’ve just enjoyed one the best meals I’ve ever eaten and it has been an exceptionally pleasant evening; let’s just sit quietly, have another Brandy and let sleeping dogs lay – at least for tonight”. The only sounds which disturbed the ensuing silence was the rustle of bow ties being undone and the rasp of matches being struck to light the forbidden cigars – peace reigned. Then, through the smoke; “tell me again - why I shouldn’t invest in aviation”? Aunt Pru arrived about this time with impeccable timing, bearing a box of cigars and a decanter; “thought you boys may be out here for a while” a swoosh of silk, a whiff of perfume and she’d gone. How could I refuse – “there is no nutshell” say’s I; “but, I’ll tell you the latest stupidity story; it is not mine to tell – too much at stake – however, the time will come when this chapter of the aviation story may be read out loud, in its turn”. I told the tale – well the last part of it at least as the evening breeze carried the words away. I ended the soliloquy with “but this senseless, expensive, non productive rule of embuggerance, as and when pleases, has to stop; it must, before anyone sane would invest a large sum for small return”.

It was a short way of illustrating where ‘aviation safety’ in Australia is parked. There are so many ‘agenda’s’ being worked; not all of ‘em ‘above board’ that it is hard to know where it all begins, where it is going and how it is to end. I ended the potted story with:-

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"Ah, Miss, hope is an excellent thing for such as has the spirits to bear it!" said Mrs Wickam, shaking her head. "My own spirits is not equal to it, but I don't owe it any grudge. I envy’s them that is so blest!" - Charles Dickens Quotes

Hoping to wriggle off the hook, alas. My glass was refilled, the cigars nudged closer and an eyebrow was raised – more…I tried again for a shortened discussion.

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“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.”Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli.

Y’ just know; for a fact, that old Niccolò had, whatever game was afoot – by the nuts and knew just how hard to squeeze to ensure that hearts and minds followed; and, IMO, that’s the trick which takes the rubber.  

This current system cannot possibly continue; the cost of it all alone is staggering. The return on investment is enough to promote mass suicide of speculators and more than enough to drive even the most interested investor as far away from the industry as quickly as possible. No faith in the government agency which has, effectively a life or death hold the proposed investment spells only one possible result – no funds; ergo, no business opportunity. I can, without too much effort, find a half dozen companies which, for want of a little financial shove, could have blossomed into a sound investment. But the uncertainty of being able to operate, proven by history, discovered under due diligence, drives away a potential investor faster than a cockroach in a beer glass.

There exists a great conflict within the aviation industry, one founded not only on fear; but on the uncertainty of governmental ‘support’ that an investment will be defended. What is the fool raving about, you ask. Well I shall try, in my clumsy manner, to explain.

Agenda – (Wiki) –“It usually includes one or more specific items of business to be acted upon. It may, but is not required to, include specific times for one or more activities.”.

Conflict – (Wiki)- “a serious disagreement or argument, typically a protracted one.

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(Wiki) - “A conflict of interest (COI) is a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple interests, financial or otherwise, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation or decision-making of that individual or organization.

Or: as we say in the trenches – WTD? There are solutions, there are ways to work around – always; when serious folk sit down to discuss matters of great importance – even the most inutile politician knows this – as fact – even our very own – Daren 6D (AGAD).

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Handling Conflicting Agendas
December 22, 2016 by Colin Gautrey

When you are clear about what you want to achieve, it is often frustrating to find that others do not share your enthusiasm. A great deal of time and effort is expended building the case, considering the risks and planning the execution. Everything seems to make sense and you are keen to get going – you want to implement swiftly. Then the problems start.

Manage Turf Issues, Hidden Agendas and Conflict.

Collaboration is hard work. If you could get the results you want without having to work with so many other organizations and people, you would have already done so. When you decide to collaborate, you decide to settle differences among the organizations in your community – whether you meant to or not.

Karen has helped hundreds of organizations and people get past the turf issues and other conflicts that plague partners  If you’re stuck, or your efforts to move forward haven’t paid off, this is the time to ask for help. Remember, if it was an easy problem to solve you or one of your colleagues would already have found the solution.

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“But injustice breeds injustice; the fighting with shadows and being defeated by them necessitates the setting up of substances to combat.” - Charles Dickens Bleak House

Oh, I forget the faery tale – another prince charming and yet another sleeping beauty were involved. It runs in my mind that a midnight swim was involved, or it could have been a glass slipper - no matter: for the more classically inclined the tale of Romeo and Juliette smacks of symmetry. Conflicted interests, separate agenda’s, divergent interests, power, pride, arrogance and investments to protect all play a part. You could always, academically, extend this to ‘total corrupting power’.

W. Shakespeare Esq, penned R&J circa 1594. The undelaying subtext is a matter not only of pride, but of power; control, especially of ‘facts and circumstance’. No one, is going to relinquish one solitary inch of ground to a pair of love struck teenagers; certainly not the Don’s who head up the warring camps. So it comes down to logistics; (forget the lovers). Men, money and ‘top cover’. Look back at prohibition; did it prevent booze from flowing or did it simply criminalise drinking? The villains did exactly as pleased them, the influence, men and money power did very well for them. Again, I digress, the industry is playing in a rigged game, against a stacked deck, run by the villains. That is bad enough, standing alone, but when you get a subterranean tunnel running under the earthworks – well; what’s to be done?

You see, I believe that the CASA top end has much to hide – which leaves the middle layer of cannon fodder, acting under instruction needing to cover their tracks; and they will. But what of the foot soldiers; the disposable assets? Their only hope is that the next layer up will protect them; or they have enough information to protect themselves. Possibly even enough to ensure promotion. All this depends on what manner of pressure the next tier up is feeling. But with enough pressure – sooner or later, someone will ‘’Peach’ – they always do..

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What has always brought playtime to a halt is ‘the canary’, the squealer, the rat, the dobber; the one who will realise that salvation, through protection by the authorities will almost guarantee life goes on. Many take the fall, do their time and are reunited, but never 100% trusted – ever again – by either side. You must choose your squealer carefully. Easy enough to spot. You want a collector of information, a system player, willing accomplice to dastardly deeds etc. but, one who will, when faced with a real case against fold like a wet paper bag in a rain shower. Structural integrity of a rice pudding, sweaty top lip etc.

So, what has all this to do with investment in ‘matters aeronautical’? Everything, is the answer, as every law enforcement officer worth the title knows. Proving it – well; well we can leave that to the legal eagles, can’t we?

Proving that lies were told to support a fallacy is always a problem; ain’t it. Dragging in crown ministers to admit their part is problematic. So why would you not just invest in a gin mill with dancing girls and a cat house upstairs; instead of a wannabe aviation enterprise – governed and controlled by ‘the mob’? At least a cat house has some integrity, at least you know, up front, what you’re buying into (rates and rules); and, it’s a bloody sight straighter and more respectable than a line of CASA ‘experts’.

That’s it; twiddle ended – just don’t post on the UP and all will be well; CASA say so.

Right then, boots; dogs; Purdy; cartridges, and the gods help those clay pigeons.

Toot - toot.

P2 comment - Finally a word from our a well manicured, fearless miniscule overseeing aviation, see here (- 01:25):  

For more see: Miniscule 6D AGAD Chester bellys up at West Sale

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