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The Sunday Brunch Gazette.
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Times up for Pel_air MkII via Google images

What will a Quarter buy you?

Not too much these days – unless it’s a quarter million. Carefully spent, in the right place, it can buy you a lot of ‘assistance’ with your small problems. Not in Australia of course – No Sir; not a chance. The best you could hope for here that ‘mate-ship’ or old favours are repaid in kind; or, perhaps an old marker is paid in full. A blatant Baksheesh attempt will land you in hot water. This all makes it difficult to investigate a ‘passing strange’ series of events, then to make it even harder, there is the entrenched culture of ‘say-nothing’. For to speak up places you at the mercy of those about whom you speak, while others shun you.

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IF you wake at midnight, and hear a horse's feet,
Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street,
Them that ask no questions isn't told a lie.
Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by. - Rudyard Kipling

So for the investigator or even the curious, non partisan person with an itch to scratch, getting to the roots of as puzzle is a long, weary road. P2, myself and others became fascinated by the arrival of nine documents to the Pel-Air inquiry. Nine files in a virtual avalanche of ‘paper’ provided, by the truck load to the investigating Senate Committee. When you begin to try and unravel a puzzle, there are shed loads of ‘paper’ to wade through and it gets ‘messy’; almost impossible for a casual reader to follow. However, if you persist, go back to the beginning – several times – re-hash it all; then spend hours shouting at each other to reach a consensus, you can (eventually) emerge at the end of the journey with a fairly clear picture of events. ‘We’ started to get a handle on certain things about – HERE – when P2 touched on Safety Management Systems (SMS) which included Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS). We became particularly interested in the FRMS element and the ‘cloud’ surrounding some assessments offered. One thing the majority of the network agreed on – that the Pel-Air crew were in no condition to fly the return sectors.  

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“It is the knowledge of the unendingness and of the repetitious uselessness, the do it up so it can be done again, that makes Fatigue fatigue.” -  James JonesFrom Here to Eternity

The next milestone on the journey –HERE – but before you venture into that maze – take the time to consider – THIS – before hand; it will save some head scratching when you arrive – HERE -.

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"Toughen up princesses"

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“The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.” ― Susan B. Anthony

Nearly done – in P2’s Part IV there are more breadcrumbs to be followed – but if you run out of patience or time – skip to the bottom and consider the implications from the following paragraph and the listed documents:-

P2 - “To set the scene for answering my (above) QON, here are some document links for the NINE ( 9 - anonymously provided) Senate AAI inquiry documents, which were 'received' by the RRAT committee Secretariat on the 10 October 2012 i.e. 12 days before the first public hearing”.

I could, I expect, sit here and spoon feed you the information, just like ATSB and CASA do for whoever is in the ministerial seat, once it has been tested for poisons and carefully seasoned by ‘the department’ to make it palatable. Nick Xenophon and his small crew aren’t lazy, nor are they gullible; they triggered events through the Pilot training inquiry - which, IMO, had a great impact on the Pel-Air inquiry, right from the beginning. Those  which have continued on and on, right up to the carefully deceptive ‘New’ report on the radical causes of the Pel-Air ditching. Pivotal items which are mentioned – in passing; just enough to say ‘we covered that’ but not enough depth to raise any eyebrows being the stand out parts of the whole confection.

The casual reader will have abandoned the breadcrumb trail ages back, eyes glazed and early Massive Interest Failure (MIF) onset leading to other more easily understood topics; which is fine by me. However; there will be some readers who really need to buckle down and do their homework – if for no other reason but self protection. For the FRMS is the very thin end of a very hefty wedge, which will be driven in hard, by the biggest hammer we can find.

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“Sometimes what you think is an end is only a beginning. And that wouldn't do at all.”Agatha Christie, Death Comes as the End

Dick Smith and the media have picked up sticks for the beleaguered Falcon Air; “an act of sheer bastardry” they have labelled it; and, rightly so. But they have only, quite politely scratched the surface of ‘acts of sheer bastardry’, particularly in relation to the CASA office involved. It is not the only ‘office’ with a chequered history, indeed, many tales are whispered in bars and discussed on flight decks – some of the tales are the stuff of legend and used to frighten newcomers, control those affected and retain the myth that CASA can and will crucify those who dare to step out of line. Of course it depends on who you are – CASA leave the ‘big boys’ strictly alone, whilst they cosset their mates. But to balance that largesse they lay in wait to pounce on whoever they choose using extreme interpretations of ‘black letter’ law, with the full knowledge that few can take ‘em on and win a game of chance, against a stacked deck.

[Image: dick-e1515283968119.jpg]Life-saving heart transplant prevented due to ‘air safety technicality’ - Alan Jones 2GB

I know, I keep banging on about reforming, not restructuring the Regulator. But until this happens and the lessons driven home, firmly, then nothing, absolutely nothing will save the industry. The problems are internal and attributable to the ‘individuals’ who protect and foster the culture of selective bastardy used to support the unsupportable. Has Barnaby got the balls to sort it out, once and for all? He is a ‘leader’ of this nation; in times of real trouble, the country looks to it’s governments leaders for solutions. Well, IMO, we are teetering on the brink of the abyss with the cavalry tied up by red tape. Barnaby has the option and the call – Hero or just another useless hack, poncing about in a ministerial suit, being led about by the foreskin until it is all too little, too late.

Arggh enough. Anyway, it is Sunday – day of rest they say. Unless you happen to be one of the ‘essential services’ on duty. While the majority are setting up to enjoy the days events, there are police, ambulance and fire services on deck, ready to go and face the horror of tragedy. They did very well for us on the Hawkesbury River last week, while the rest enjoyed NYE there were divers in the river, alone, faced with the task of recovering the bodies of those killed in the crash.  The 'services' have had a busy year with aviation related fatal accidents. A simple Well done and Thank you seems to be a pitiful reward for their brave, dedicated, selfless efforts. But it is heartfelt and most sincere.

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Now: Workshop therapy required, keeping up with the research is work enough, but to try and beat it into some easily digested nutshell is exhausting. Perhaps a second coffee, a cigar purloined from a dinner party (smoke it later excuse) to keep me company while I walk the dogs will knit the ravell'd sleeve of care; it usually does. Then; I can finish the Oak tool-box which will take me to afternoon tea in the garden. Sounds like a plan to me.

Toot – toot…

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Runway excursion - Boeing Co 747-438, VH-OJH, Bangkok Airport, Thailand, 23 September 1999

A candle, against darkness?

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What a monstrous, dangerous, nebulous beast Fatigue is. No matter what approach you take ;or, how good the ‘research’ is, the individual human element cannot be totally eliminated. You can see the problem – an outfit like Qantas with hundreds of pilots and schedules to keep must address many problems, in several important legal and operational areas, before even scratching the surface of union and individual preferences. One size don’t fit all and what makes one man weary to the point of being ineffective, may be a stroll in the park to the next. Even the ‘experts’ disagree on some of the major premises and base building blocks. Yet the problem exists and it is very real. A 17 hour long haul is a very different animal to the short haul, high frequency inter-city services, which is different again to the 24 standby roster for ‘charter’ operators; and different again for folk like the RFDS who man a station 24/7 when a shout may come at any tick of the clock. Since 2003 the ‘fatigue’ debate has been raging, that’s 15 years by my reckoning. CASA have buggered about the edges but achieved very little except CAO 48.1 which is a complex hodgepodge of compromise and ignorance. FRMS has been a ‘on again - off again’ soubriquet, often abused, incorrectly used, misunderstood system. Perhaps it is time there was a serious indaba called, no one gets out of the room until a proper regulatory policy, free of business and union influence was developed; one for each ‘branch’ of industry. Spend some of their ill gotten gains on expert opinion (we do have some) and come up with a plan which may be modified to suit operations – but within qualified maximum and minimum limits for the different operations. Such a policy would never please all – but at least it would provide a sensible place to begin addressing a burgeoning problem, which cannot be ignored for too much longer, not by men of good conscience, with the safety of the travelling public at heart.  

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“My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure”.Abraham Lincoln

Foreign pilots – when Australian pilots are unemployed – WTD. This has to be one of the greatest faery stories ever told; Australia is not and I do repeat not short of ‘pilots’. We may well be short of the cardboard cut out model HR require; or, of the ‘right’ type to suit a CASA bound C&T system; or even the right type with a reputation tarnished by gossip. I could, without any trouble whatsoever put together a dozen crews, give ‘em a type rating and have ‘em running like a Swiss watch within a month – and that’s just from the pub. There are dozens who have left industry unable to get jobs and gain ‘experience’; there must be over a hundred sitting around in the bush, flying ‘charter’ and living on a minimum wage. One chap I know well is a very good operator, plenty of the ‘right’ stuff but has little in the way of the surface skills HR seem to require; rock solid but can he get a start? Can he hell. Anyway – it’s BOLLOCKS; we ain’t short of pilots we are short of independent operators who can see beyond the next audit and the CASA frowns and the HR bullshit. End of, before I get cranky.  

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“The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see”Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Well, much of the week has been taken up researching and analysing the Pel-Air debacle. The backyard is a mess and P2 keeps pulling the old bones out of the garbage can for one last chew.

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There is a daunting pile of these, now we must get out the super glue and stick it all back together and see what manner of beasty we have unearthed. Like palaeontologists do; clean up the parts, assemble them, start at one end and finish at ‘tuther. From the long buried skeleton, muscle and sinew may be added, the outer skin stretched over the whole and the beast will emerge to frighten the children. It has been quite a dig, the ground unyielding and reluctant to part with it’s secrets. Even so, we are nearly done – although I must admit, I’m at a loss to know what to do with it. DT will not allow it in the house and the workshop just ain’t big enough. No matter, finish first then think on what to do with it all.

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“I have a different idea of elegance. I don't dress like a fop, it's true, but my moral grooming is impeccable. I never appear in public with a soiled conscience, a tarnished honour, threadbare scruples, or an insult that I haven't washed away. I'm always immaculately clean, adorned with independence and frankness. I may not cut a stylish figure, but I hold my soul erect. I wear my deeds as ribbons, my wit is sharper than the finest moustache, and when I walk among men I make truths ring like spurs.” Edmond RostandCyrano de Bergerac

But not today; the dogs have departed the fix – I made the mistake of putting the dog shampoo out on the workshop bench earlier; Ayup, bath day. I shall finish my second coffee, find my boots and toddle off to see if I can find them. Bath day is quite often missed as they always find a quiet, shady spot to lay low in and I am often tempted to linger with them until it is too late to ‘do the deed’ – all I really need is a good excuse for non performance. Hmmm, let me count the ways.

Toot toot.

P2 - For a laugh...

While we continue to examine the many passing strange dichotomies that the PelAir MKII investigation and chronology seem to endlessly throw up (see both the search 4 IP & WTFInc's layman summary on dots & dashes); I thought the SBG might be the perfect place to focus on another alarming issue, that of HVH's growing 'conflict of interest' list... Confused

Reference search 4 IP post: Hoody's (growing) COI list taints ATCB search for IP

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AAI & the implications of bureaucratic O&O - Part II

..So did Hoody declare himself possibly conflicted with this investigation as well?? And remembering that he was also involved with the Mildura Fog duckup investigation - so where does it stop??[/color]...

First it is interesting to note the following answer to a NX QON asked at the 18 March 2011 Senate Pilot training inquiry public hearing:


1. QUESTION: Conflict of Interest Policy

Senator XENOPHON—Is there a requirement within CASA—or, indeed, the ATSB, Mr
Dolan—that if an employee of CASA or the ATSB is going to go somewhere else for
employment to advise CASA that they are going to an airline, for instance, from the date that they know that they have got that job?

ANSWER – ATSB Conflict of Interest Policy:

The ATSB has in place policies and procedures to manage real and perceived conflicts of
interest. The policies and procedures are consistent with the Public Service Act 1999.
Subsection 13(7) of the Public Service Act requires that an Australian Public Service
employee must disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with APS employment.

The ATSB Quality System Manuals provide the practical requirements for complying
with this requirement of the Public Service Act. The Investigation Guidelines Manual

As the transport investigation agency, the ATSB and its staff must be independent of
the transport industry and be seen to be so.

At no time should staff members involved in an investigation, as a team member or
involved in the review process, be seen as being too close to any participant, company
or organisation, including other government agencies.

At the same time, however, the bureau must establish and maintain good relationships
with the organisations and individuals in the wider industry.

Where there is the potential for a real or apparent conflict of interest, or relevant
background of a potentially controversial type – for example, prior employment with
the body being investigated – the investigator must immediately inform the relevant
Manager. The Manager is to inform the appropriate General Manager of the conflict.

If operational requirements of the ATSB require an investigator, who may be
perceived to have a conflict of interest, to investigate the occurrence, a written
declaration by the investigator must be placed on the investigation record together
with the Chief Commissioner’s agreement to continue with the investigator being
involved in the investigation.

Further, the Manual advises:

At the time of an investigator’s six monthly performance exchanges, any potential
conflict must be declared to the relevant Manager. For example, ownership of shares
or a directorship in a company, organisation or body that may be investigated should [i][b]be declared. Managers should advise the ATSB Executive of any such conflicts.[/b][/i]

Outside of the six monthly performance exchanges, investigators are still required to
declare conflicts to their Manager wherever it may arise.

During a very high profile investigation, consideration will be given to placing a
statement on the ATSB website concerning any relevant background of investigators
involved that could be misperceived as a potential conflict.

This action is to ensure transparency so that the independence of the investigation is [i][b]not brought into question by a subsequent inquiry.  [/b][/i]

Extract from the Pel-Air: A coverup: a litany of lies? - Version III chronology:

Quote:18 November 2009: Ditching 3 NM south-west of Norfolk Island Aerodrome.

18 November 2009: ATSB notified of accident and ATSB subsequently notify CASA. The
ATSB decide to carry out an investigation and CASA decide to run a parallel
investigation, initiated 19 November.

19 November 2009: Pel-Air voluntarily suspend Westwind operation.

20 November 2009: Quote from page 97 of PelAir MKII Final report - "The ATSB asked CAAF for ATS records for the flight and the weather information that was provided to the flight crew of VH-NGA. CAAF forwarded the request to the ATS provider and then obtained the records in December 2009 to pass on to the ATSB. This included copies of the 0630 METAR, 0800 SPECI and 0830 SPECI."

23 November 2009: Richard White MALIU correspondence to ATSB Director Aviation Safety Investigations, Ian Sangston notifying CASA will be conducting a regulatory investigation into the actions of the flightcrew. Note that there is no reference to 'parallel investigations' under either the 2004 or 2010 MOU (ref link - #122 &  #28).

23 November 2009: Richard White receives from Airservices Australia  the complete list of Norfolk Island Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAFs) applicable to the occurrence flight timeframe. This included the Nadi non-relayed 0803 AMD TAF, which appears to be underlined (ref link - #122 & #85 )

25 November 2009: Greg Hood file note email (cc'd Jonathon Aleck, Terry Farquharson, John McCormick.). File note No.4 reference to flight recorder recovery would appear to show, at that point in time, that recovery was inevitable (ref link - #125 )

26 November 2009: CASA initiate a ‘Special Audit’ conducted between the 26/11/2009-
15/12/2009 at the Pel-Air Bases in Sydney, Adelaide and Nowra.

30 November 2009: Richard White email to John Barr (cc Roger Chambers) confirming Airservices passed on weather & received flight plan details from PIC Dominic James by phone in Apia. (ref link - #122 )  

7 December 2009: Audit team meet with Pel-Air management to discuss a number of
deficiencies within the Westwind Operation. This was backed up by correspondence from
CASA on 9/12/2009.

7 December 2009: FAA/ICAO brief on 'next steps' after poor results/findings in the ICAO USOAP 2008 & FAA Nov 30- Dec 4 2009 Australian audits. (ref links - #53 & WikiLeaks cable PDF:

8 December 2009: E-mail from ATSB to CASA raising the possibility of contributing to a
joint fund sharing arrangement to recover the black box and CASA advised they didn’t
have the necessary funds.

11 December: Advice from the UK Civil Aviation Authority to CASA providing an assessment of the fatigue scores for the accidental flight (ref link - #122 & PDF 881KB 

16 December 2009: CASA accept the Pel-Air ‘Management Action Plan’ which consisted
of three phases.

16 December 2009: Dominic James was 'informally' interviewed by CASA  legal and investigative officers. (ref link - #112 )

18 December 2009: Pel-Air successfully completed Phase 1 items and were able to
recommence domestic operations.

21 December 2009: CASA Special Audit of Pel-Air Fatigue Risk Management System ( ref links - #217 & PDF 5428KB )

23-24 December 2009: CASA overseeing FOI of Pel-Air Eric Demarco issues 14 RCA and
a number of AO. The RCAs needed to be acquitted by 28/01/2010.

24th December 2009: Dominic James notice of suspension of CPL, ATPL, CIR pursuant
to CAR 265(1)(a). Also given notice to undertake examinations under CAR 5.38.

24 December 2009: Pel-Air successfully completed Phase 2 items and were able to
recommence international operations.

As per the terms of...

...Subsection 13(7) of the Public Service Act requires that an Australian Public Service employee must disclose, and take reasonable steps to avoid, any conflict of interest (real or apparent) in connection with APS employment...

...At no time should staff members involved in an investigation, as a team member or involved in the review process, be seen as being too close to any participant, company or organisation, including other government agencies...

I would argue that due to HVH's significant involvement in the above diabolical segment of the PelAir cover-up that the Chief Commissioner should be precluded from involvement in any active ATSB aviation accident investigation... Dodgy

The main reason being that while HVH was the CASA Executive Officer ultimately overseeing the enforcement actions against both PelAir and Dominic James I also have, on good authority, information that HVH was also the designated co-ordinator/liaison officer dealing with the FAA audit team and therefore the consequential cover-up of the actual FAA findings that could have led to the possible Cat II IASA rating.

This also means that by association that HVH is also implicated in obfuscating the possible proactive actions/risk mitigation on closing the fatigue safety loop for the better part of nine years... Confused 

MTF...P2 Cool   
During a very high profile investigation, consideration will be given to placing a statement on the ATSB website concerning any relevant background of investigators involved that could be misperceived as a potential conflict.

Hood ain’t an 'investigator' - he just runs the joint; ergo not conflicted’. Bollocks.

He was and remains up to his neck in Pel-Air and yet he runs the very body which is ‘re-visiting’ the original shambles – Oh, please. Hood is probably as guilty as Chambers, Campbell and Worthington of meeting the wishes of the then DAS. At very least they were all ‘willing accomplices’ – and still earning a good living as a protected species.

Well; their conscience is a matter between them and whatever pagan god they prefer; but as a matter of law – there are questions, serious questions, which need to be answered.

The problem; as I see it, is no one is asking the right questions.

Ayup – two more here please; it is going to be a long night – BRB estimates preparation always is…..

HVH - "..The other point I might add is the ATSB is very much the canary in the mine—and let me tell you, we will sing.."

Speak softly; yonder, as I think, he walks.

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The Comedy of Errors - Wikipedia

“I wonder; was he promised Halfwit’s job?” Not a question directed at me – more like thoughts being spoken aloud. It’s early in the evening, P7 is staying overnight (there’s to be a BBQ). We have retired to the sanctity of the workshop, P7 has his favourite armchair, I’m at the workbench, gently dismantling a very, very old grandfather clock case which is in need of some TLC and repairs, so I hardly heard the words as they floated off into the sunset. I waited; sure enough – “it’s a bloody disgrace.” This little storm has been brewing for a while now, the BRB keeping pace with the P2 research have drawn some pretty damning conclusions, which is bad enough, but to watch as the press aid and abet confounding the travelling public is grating on a lot of nerves. Most of the media (with notable exceptions)  ain’t doing it knowingly or even willingly, they are as easily led as the public and almost duty bound to publish whatever rubbish is spouted by the safety agencies and their acolytes. Silence reigns for a while. “It’s a hard game to stop” says I. “Even so” says TOM – “we have to try". I can see my Sunday plans disappearing like the millions wasted on producing nothing of practical or intrinsic value in the way ‘reform’ and safety report.

‘The great game’ is essentially a confidence trick, played by the top ranks of ATSB, ASA and CASA. One has to admit, it is played very well; slick, smooth, practised and it has stood the test of time, a proven winner. Well, it is, they have never lost a hand yet. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” It goes something like this. Chester 6D provides the quintessential case study and a superlative example of ‘the game’ at it’s best. The raw material was readily obtained:-

Alas, these days government ministers are little more than expensive parrots, endlessly squawking the day's party-political talking points without understanding them, in the hope they'll flap their way up the greasy political ladder to ring their little bells on the top perch”.

There are big, serious, ugly problems within the Australian aviation world which should be dealt with. The problems have been around for better than 30 years, the government solution is to simply throw more money at them and hope the ‘experts’ can keep the lid on those problems, long enough to get the government, the incumbent minister in particular, off the hook.

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P7 - Nah! – wrong way round P2. The minister is always the first protected; otherwise – what use are ATSB and CASA – if not to protect the shiftless, lazy, only interested in retaining power government. Many governments have had an opportunity to resolve the three decade long problem of ATSB, CASA and the “safety” argument. All failed; beaten by a bunch of ‘expert’ opinion which they have never gainsaid or even bothered to question. Why would they ?– they’re safe behind the Iron Ring. That class of top cover costs a fortune and the tax payer meets the bill – all in the name of “safety” of course.

You can actually sit back and watch the current game developing, advert free. The opening gambit is readily seen in the media – see: there’s Hood, doing a Geoffrey Thomas (he of Sunrise fame). This is not a top quality act, but ‘twill suffice. Firstly, we must examine the ‘props’ used, the title for a start will impress – ‘top dog in the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and a natural performer. Always seen looking ‘windswept’ and interesting, dressed in his canary yellow vest, wearing his ‘courage’ wrist band. The ‘shrinks’ would have a field day with that little lot, no matter. The long suffering public will not know the lack of qualification, or the association with some of the most disgusting ‘Acts of bastardy’ which hover about the ‘windswept’ visage. They will have no concept of conflicted interest or even ‘departmental’  manipulations. No; they just see the ‘fluff’ and hear the soothing words, reassured; they happily hop on the cheapest flight and toddle off to booze in Bali. For the incumbent minister, this is solid gold. With the ‘public’ alarum assuaged, confidence is restored, the whole thing calms down and the party continues. The trough dwellers return to Sleepy Hollow, safe in the knowledge that their expert advice has worked it’s magic and the never ending flow of money will keep the reform game going for another decade. Public lulled into the usual somnambulic state, the minister all relaxed, basking in public confidence and; blow me down - everything is rosy again.

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“Practise your confidence tricks on the street and you risk getting shot by trigger-happy security guards; do it in the office and you get put on the board.” ― James Scudamore, Heliopolis

The best and probably the only way to beat the game is through deep research and ‘dot joining’. Of course that means reading and head scratching; not for the feint hearted, the shiftless or the lazy. If the cap fits – wear it.

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"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”― Martin Luther King Jr.

The question begging is which path will Barnaby take? Well children, for those brave enough to take a flutter, the tote board is open for business  and once the BRB have firmed up the field – Aunt Pru shall have it.

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P7 - (not so sotto) “I said I wonder; was he promised Halfwit’s job?” “Probably” says I “but remember why Canaries were taken into a coal mines, not gold mines.

Napoleon Bonaparte in Paris 

Lost – perhaps in translation.

This, from Wiki rang a bell. As the ‘third’ is one of my all time favourites, I followed up. Oh, the parallels – “I was the first to tell him the news that Buonaparte had declared himself Emperor, whereupon he broke into a rage and exclaimed, "So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of Man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!" Beethoven went to the table, seized the top of the title-page, tore it in half and threw it on the floor. The page had to be recopied, and it was only now that the symphony received the title Sinfonia eroica.

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“To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.” ― Ludwig van Beethoven

The end of January approaches, Amen. Often called ‘the month of the dead’ in the land of the long weekend, for nothing of any value has occurred since the last week of December; the weather is hot, steamy and generally horrible, which is fine - if you don’t have to work or try to get ‘stuff’ done. The end of January also heralds the approach of Estimates, in February, which means a new supply of midnight oil for the houseboat. For ‘us’ January is the month of research, February is the month of consolidation and condensation. There are, literally, hundreds of pages of data in raggedy piles, covered in scrawl, post-it notes (coffee, pizza and beer aside), miles of e-mail responses; heaps of opinion and analysis to sort; a shed load of ‘legal’ to decipher; and, no less than three decades of ‘submissions’ to various aviation related inquiry to consider. Yes, it is a lot (a significant plenty) - but there it sits. Why you may reasonably ask.

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Beware the man in the red tie   [Image: confused.gif]

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Beware the man with the big ears [Image: biggrin.gif]

Rather than ramble on, for the serious student I shall provide just one, solitary link. Fair warning, there are some 37 pages to digest – however; the first dozen or so may be skipped past as they are the written Questions on Notice (QoN) and are repeated as part of the intriguing answers. The questions, standing alone, are incisive; IMO the answers are incredibly revealing.

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At the end of an hour, spent with the demi god Beethoven’s #3 playing in the background, you will probably only have one question to ask – WTD has changed? The answer is short and non too sweet – Sod all is what. Carmody may be a slightly more polished McCormick, the intent better covered, smooth as silk. The only difference is he manages to tell the Senators, the Rev Forsyth and Dick Smith (bless) to bugger off; but, Oh so politely.

Anyway – P2 is coming to the end of his stint digging in the garden and hauling old bones into the kitchen; we still need some answers from ICAO and a FOI response from the FAA; but that aside, we should be able to distil the contents of the cauldron in to a short, succinct briefing – although who the hell we’ll send it to has me beaten. No matter, the wise owls will have a plan – and mine is not to reason why eh? Thirsty, dusty, dirty work though, this diggin’. Aye well.

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Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.― William Shakespeare, Macbeth

I am impressed with the patience and forbearance of the ATR manufacturer; and, Virgin do seem to be wrecking a lot of their product. The ATSB up to their collective necks in smoothing it all over, CASA in denial of any and all interference in the way turbo prop aircraft should be operated.

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Tail bending tales at VA - [Image: biggrin.gif]

But what a lovely job for an aging airman – training the very young to operate such a terrific, tough aircraft; even as a line captain – the rewards of seeing a young pup grow into a ‘proper’ pilot would be a fitting end. Bit like the ‘Eroica’ from about 42minutes into the recording – (which is where I am now) – I shall pause, close my eyes and just listen, until the end. What an exit line; what a mind – Wow, you can almost imagine the ‘brass’ getting the string section ‘airborne’ and flying them about the room: now I do, decidedly digress. Mea culpa.

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We’ve not much to offer in the way of light entertainment this Sunday – unless you find the HVH PR gambits, through the auspices of Thomas as amusing as we all do. The crew had a field day last BRB, some of the ‘take offs’ were hilarious; one chap who may not be named – wearing a lampshade -  had the crowd rolling about the floor. You can fool the politician all the time, that’s a fact, you can bamboozle the press most of the time, that’s a given. Busy folk trying to get on in the world may or may not; as pleases ‘em take note for about two minutes – but after that – it’s only the ‘industry’ which pays close attention. Very close attention indeed. In hindsight – I should have recorded the ‘Windswept’ BRB session – Monty Python eat your heart out – Hood would not ever dare show his face, silly little courage wrist strap or his ‘Hi-Viz’ vest in a public place again. I wonder?  Does he know, exactly, what his industry peers think of him? The real experts, those with a life invested in air accident investigation.

A fool, a fool, I met a fool i' th' forest,
A motley fool. A miserable world!
As I do live by food, I met a fool,
Who laid him down and basked him in the sun
And railed on Lady Fortune in good terms,
In good set terms, and yet a motley fool.
“Good morrow, fool,” quoth I. “No, sir,” quoth he,
“Call me not ‘fool’ till heaven hath sent me fortune.” - Shakespeare 'As you like it'.

Even so; there are some good catches this week – AMROBA and the inestimable Ken Cannane for one. Even the good Rev Forsyth speaks out; and, Dick Smith (bless) borrows the good Rev’s drum for the encore.

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“Australia has quite a lot of unique regulations, unnecessarily so,” Mr Forsyth

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Mr Smith characterised Mr Carmody’s letter as “to say, in effect, get lost”.

Can so many small threads all form an inescapable net around the ‘beast’ from the Sleepy Hollow swamp? We must hope so children; indeed, we must hope very hard and help when and wherever we can.

Enough! – I have two tea chests full of off cuts saved from ‘exotic’, old, valuable timber used in other jobs. The ancient Grandfather clock needs some repair of rare timber parts – if I can find some small pieces – I will have to match grain and colour very carefully otherwise it will look as though as I have just glued a patch in and made it fit. That may well be acceptable, in some circles; but not in mine – I must own and abide with my own errors. Joinery is usually done in 3/4 time - perhaps some Burl Ives - Aye; peace reigns.

“Away, to me dogs" -

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but be swift; for we have a mans work to do this day – Hallelujah.

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The mirror crack'd from side to side;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Never laugh at live dragons.” ― J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit

A lack of foreknowledge is a very dangerous thing –well, it is. Think about it; it is probably one of the most dangerous things in the world. If you are standing on a railway track and don’t know there’s a train ‘a coming …---…?

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“Wisdom consists of knowing how to distinguish the nature of trouble, and in choosing the lesser evil.”

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

Machiavelli understood, very well indeed, the nature and disposition a ‘Prince’ must have; no matter how contrary to the Prince’s very own nature that may be. You see children, there is a great deal of difference between that which Machiavelli ‘knew’ must be done and what our CEO of CASA is prepared to do. Oh! our CEO knows well enough what must be done. But lacks not only the balls, but both the ‘external and internal’ political support to do  that  ‘which is necessary’. There are those within CASA who know, categorically, what must be done and to whom it should be done – alas. Moving folks around to ‘neutral’ positions and ‘side-lining’ the odd ‘squealer’ ain’t truly a ‘fix’. Yet without a ‘fix’ CASA is doomed, for lack of fortitude, to continue down the same sewer pipe, with the same rubbish clinging on, until the very industry in this once proud country becomes as foetid, dysfunctional and dishonest as CASA currently is. Rumour has it that Carmody was sent in to discreetly, smoothly and, preferably, maintain some sort of credibility while quietly sorting the sheep from the goats–alas.

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Or: -

But then, Carmody is no ‘Prince’, just another smooth bureaucrat making it look good for yet another do nothing minister. Fire them Shane – you know you want to; you know where the skeletons are buried and you have some serious top cover. For pities sake – will you not just do it and tough it out? No, thought not. Well then, don’t say you were not ‘forewarned’ – you were.  

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“The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present."Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince

Now, I ain’t one for throwing pennies into fountains and wells, making a wish and hoping that wish comes true; but I have a secret one. I wish, for just one day, a short 24 hours, our ATCO’s could run air traffic the way they know it should be done. They are very good you know, seriously, they are. I would like to have 0.01% of the money they could save given free reign to run the system for that day. Worth the odd penny in a fountain I’d reckon. Their association, CA is a very savvy, efficient outfit and yet the media this week make mention that they have been ‘given a cold shoulder’ regarding input into the Defence orientated “One Big Pie” scam. The incredible amounts of money the ‘top end’ of Defence get through is seriously crazy; and yet, no one ever challenges them. IMO ‘Defence’ has a lot of questions to answer. Questions related to ‘civilian budgets’ purchasing their mates One Sky system, to the exclusion of all others and to the benefit of a very small, privileged, inside group. All was well until a Halfwit was overdosed on self esteem, delusion and faux expectations. The One Sky – pie in the Sky and those feeding on it will disappear when the lights get turned on. Provided the associated minister grows a set and turns the bloody things on. The bus is late: but no matter– it will turn up and old Bill Heffernan will be laughing his socks off.

“The point is not that I don't recognise bad people when I see them — I grant you I may quite well be taken in by them — the point is that I know a good person when I see one.”
― Enid Blyton, The Rubadub Mystery

Two of the most arcane, dark arts known to aviation are air space design and aircraft performance. Both subjects are devilish tricky and we who rely on the expert's arts to prevent banging into buildings, mountains and radio masts must have absolute, total faith in the official data provided. Most pilots can struggle through an aircraft performance graph and work out how to avoid hitting things; what they cannot do is measure the dimensions of the runway and the all important safety boundaries between the centre line of the runway and stuff built alongside it – like the terminal building. For this information aircrew rely on published data, provided by ‘the authority’. You only need to examine the flight path of the King air which ploughed into a DFO at Essendon (a year ago?) to realize just how quickly an aircraft, travelling at take-off speed covers the ground and just how essential the along side safety zones are. CASA keep diverting attention to the runway end zones which are a different animal to the ‘along side’ (runway width) zones. I refer you, once again to the excellent data provided by Mr. Peabody – HERE.

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MOS Part 139 Version 1.14 (January 2017)

Ref: Airports thread post: #323 &/or    #

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

P2 has, finally, (we believe) managed to unravel a serious puzzle. It should be noted he did this with some of the first class assistance we have come to expect from the unsung ‘Secretariat’ for the Senate estimates. We are not allowed to send ‘em Choc Frogs etc. but if we could; be assured, we would. Anyway, Bravo, thanks and Cheers. Within the P2 post, there is an extract from Hansard, from Glen Sterle.  

Senator STERLE: As we have heard, there were three different stories from the pilot as to how much rest he got. With the greatest respect, I think it deflects from the work of the committee, because if you have one man saying three different things—and no one knows about fatigue management more than me, because I do not do it too well. Coming from my ex-industry, that is all I was doing for four years—arguing the toss about fitness for duty.

There is a Hansard video of this section, can P2 oblige during his graffiti session?

P2 edit: From about 03:30 above

I often wonder if the good Senator realizes just how closely related the two industries are; particularly regarding fatigue, ‘schedule’ and maximum legal load? It is no wonder at all that the Senator is confused – given the unbelievable, tangled mess our good intentions regarding fatigue and safety management systems have descended into. At the moment everybody is angry and confused. When you add the mindless fools at CASA who ‘track’ flights, using ‘flight aware’ and parlay their assumptions into real penalties, with serious consequences, you have to ask just which lunatic is running the asylum. Fatigue is a very individual, personal thing. Operators will use ‘the maximum’ legally acceptable duty time as routine. Unions will want more dollars for the minimum; none of this has to do with a ‘tailor made’, agreed fatigue protocol for each individual operation. SMS and FRMS lip service and window dressing almost cost Australia it’s first class ICAO rating. Experts were called in; volumes were written; a solution was offered. What happened – SFA is what; unless you call sweeping aside top class ‘advice’ from experts SFA. No wonder Glenn Sterle is confused – he joins a long line of fellow confusees.

“Is it a very wicked place?" I asked, more for the sake of saying something than for information.  [Cont/..

I probably should say a few words about the latest ATSB report, indeed, I am expected to. So; here they are. Any professional aviator who is prepared to swallow the latest offering of unmitigated bollocks – HERE – should hang up the helmet, scarf and goggles and get a job with the post office. There, that’s a few words; – ain’t it?

/.."You may get cheated, robbed, and murdered in London. But there are plenty of people anywhere, who'll do that for you."

"If there is bad blood between you and them," said I, to soften it off a little.

"O! I don't know about bad blood," returned Mr. Wemmick; "there's not much bad blood about. They'll do it, if there's anything to be got by it.”

"That makes it worse."

"You think so?" returned Mr. Wemmick. "Much about the same, I should say.” - Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.

Well, parliament is back in operation, estimates due soon and the aviation world stumbles along pretty much as it was, with little in the way of real, dynamic change on the horizon; unless you count the impending CASR part 135 as something to look forward to. It will come as no great surprise when that legislation is greeted with dismay and outrage. Even less surprising will be the meek acceptance of the rule set by the few remaining operators forced to work within ‘new’ safety vision. They may bark a little bit, but they won’t bite; they simply dare not, for fear of loosing their investment, not to mention their super funds fighting a vainglorious action in court.

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“There is much pain that is quite noiseless; and vibrations that make human agonies are often a mere whisper in the roar of hurrying existence. There are glances of hatred that stab and raise no cry of murder; robberies that leave man or woman forever beggared of peace and joy, yet kept secret by the sufferer—committed to no sound except that of low moans in the night, seen in no writing except that made on the face by the slow months of suppressed anguish and early morning tears. Many an inherited sorrow that has marred a life has been breathed into no human ear.” ― George Eliot, Felix Holt: The Radical

Long ramble today, but there is much to consider. Each of the subjects mentioned could easily be developed into a 10 page briefing for the minister. What’s that you say? All been done before, nothing changed, well then; best we pack up, mind our own business and toddle off back stage, out of the way. (Exit - scruffy rabble).

How could you say No to the dog who sits patiently at the stable door with your boots between it’s paws – not too subtle I’ll own, but very effective. “Right, go and find your mate and lets go”. Exeunt stable door; rubs dog ears, retrieves slightly slobbery boots, fades from view down the orchard pathway – whistling.


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Happier times - 30 minutes later "K" sent me this pic [Image: biggrin.gif]
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Of Webs; woven, tangled and broken.

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“Oh, what a tangled web we weave...when first we practice to deceive." - Walter Scott, Marmion.

It is not very often that I get moved to saying thank goodness for the heavy weight bureaucrats, but the performance of our senior government ministers and parliamentarians over the past week in the political world makes you glad there are some cool, sensible heads keeping the wheels turning. I have no idea the cost involved ‘running’ the parliament for a week; I have even less idea of what major decisions, those which affect the lives of the people have  been delayed, again, while the hair pulling and bitch slapping games are played out. No wonder there is opposition to a federal ICAC – Barnaby leading the charge

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#Beetrooter - Twitter

“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” ― Mark Twain

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Joyce said an anti-political corruption watchdog was unnecessary in Australia, and he didn’t want to get to the point “where people are scared for the government to govern”.

“I don’t think there is a real sense in Australia of a concern with the political system,” he said on Sunday.

“We don’t lack any capacity in our federal system to pursue issues that are a concern within the political frame. We’ve got a Senate in federal politics which all the time calls inquiries, it can basically subpoena people, it has the capacity if there is a query to follow that through.

“I just don’t want to get to the position where people are scared for the government to govern and all that happens is departments govern, because any time you make a decision that’s different to your department you have the potential to end up in front of Icac, that would not be governing.”

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Yes; well. While we are ‘on politics’ as part of the ongoing ‘digging’ into the Pel-Air fiasco; P2 dug up a carefully concealed bone, which, when examined, provided some ‘interesting’ data, which explained much.

P2 – “However it wasn't till I stumbled across the former Minister for Non-aviation Albo's explanatory speech, for the introduction of the amendment, that the penny dropped that this was nothing more than Albo creating further 'degrees of separation' between himself, the government and anything remotely resembling responsibility and oversight of aviation safety - read it and weep...”

P7 –Abrogation of ministerial responsibility and a perfect system for both ATSB and CASA to be responsible to no man. The CASA board may be seen as being completely inutile, ATSB answer to no man. Both may, with legally approved, ministerial sanction tell the world and it’s wife to go and ‘boil their bottoms’. And they do, repeatedly and often. O'Sullivan's next for the pot, if he don't get a shift on and catch up.”

P7 – “When you add the ‘Act’ to the untrammelled power bestowed on the incumbent ‘Boss’ of either department there is a clear picture of total separation from question, inquiry, responsibility and governmental control. A free hand with a lovely big circuit breaker between them, the DoIT, the minister, the Senate or even the gods themselves.

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“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

There are now three (3) additional, separate ATSB investigations, within active investigations. You have to wonder what the devil Hood is playing at; since when and with what expertise can the ATSB tackle the big end of developers, retailers and the DoIT? Many believe Hood is merely kicking up a dust cloud to distract from his part in the last FAA audit and the Pel-Air ditching debacle to divert questions about how, in the seven hells, he got the top job at ATSB. There are other valid theories; some not quite as savoury, but we’ll keep those for another day.

Which brings us neatly to ‘Estimates’, which ain’t really ‘politics’ but important to the aviation world. There are some interesting rumours in the wind, much theory and some disappointment must be expected. I have this week had the opportunity to catch up with not only P7 but the other two attending a ‘briefing’ for the Estimates committee to get the finer details and the nuances etc. from that session. P7 was supposed to be there to ‘hold the jackets’, perhaps weigh in to the ‘technical’ areas and, most importantly, to observe (he is good at it). Now then, I can’t reproduce our conversation from about the third beer, what I can do is leave it up to the reader to work that out from the following:-

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Sen Rex Patrick is star quality, an intelligent, articulate gentleman who has diligently done his homework and completely ‘get’s it’.

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Sen David Fawcett – brilliant; with a crystal clear view of the ‘problems’ aviation faces and, more importantly, how to fix those problems.

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Sen Glen Sterle – See’s the big picture, knows the problems and just wants to get on with it, get it all sorted out so he can move on to other matters which demand his attention.

Three star quality players in the front row; waiting for the delayed kick off whistle, they must wait for the ‘drones’; then they must wait for the regional airlines, then wait for whatever else is hanging in limbo while the referee makes sure all the boot laces are regulation length, tied in just right manner and the studs are exactly the right make, style and size. The main hold up is that the referee is used to overseeing the parliamentary ladies badminton matches, not a full blooded version of ‘the game they play in heaven’. It would help greatly if he actually understood the game- alas.

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“The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

There is a call for certain CASA officers to be present at the next ‘Estimates’. Seems the Falcon Air horror story may get an airing. N.B. I did say ‘may’. Much depends on the referee; but it would be great if it happened. Not that much will change afterwards – but these sort of events do amuse the crowd. So, “throw him to the floor.”

The dogs and I met the sunrise this morning – that wonderful hour where night and day merge and the world shakes itself awake. The stone floor of the stable is cool and the dogs are sprawled over as I sit, with an illicit smoke and decadent second coffee, waiting for P7 to turn up with a couple of tools (and expertise) we need to complete a repair. Peace, for the moment rules supreme.

Toot toot.

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