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Glen Buckley, AFTA and MFT suffers at the hands of #casa. Another #casa casualty

Glen Buckley and APTA [Melbourne Flight Training – MFT]:

Who was MFT/ AFTA?

pprune posts during 2019 [Produced in full]   Direct link from pprune


APTA/ MFT had a #casa AOC for training, for over 15 years. With the CASR changes and introduction of the Parts, “upgraded” the AOC to comply.

#casa agrees to the proposal and assists in this process.

At some time, #casa decide to rescind the AOC approval, giving the organisation no space to move and refuse to negotiate or retain the original approval.

APTA/MFT name the group (5 individuals) responsible for removing the approval to operate, including Graeme Crawford, sometime Acting #casa CEO.

The organisation – APTA-MFT is finished by July 2019 and #casa again move into the economic control of aviation, to the point where CEO Carmody says “…no further correspondence will be entered into…” and writes a letter to that effect.


A quick recap for those that are having trouble following the background is:

CASA introduced a regulatory change called Part 61/141/142.

It was finally introduced over 10 years behind schedule.

CASA set a date for all schools to “Transition” to the new regulatory environment of September 1st 2017.

Of Australia’s 350 schools, only 5% had achieved Part 142 status by the deadline. Importantly, APTA was among the 5%.

CASA delayed the date 12 months.

That delay cost me many hundreds of thousands of dollars.


23rd August 2019 – Carmody letter to Buckley

 


To #casaBoard, Minister, CEO, ICC

For clarity I intend to lodge formal complaints about a Senior Executive (done) and an FOI, a Regional Manager [Mr David Jones as a Level 2 audit], and a Team Leader.

I believe I can clearly demonstrate that 5 personnel within the Aviation Group of CASA headed up by Mr Graeme Crawford, have made decisions that demonstrate unconscionable conduct i.e. reasonable people making decisions primarily on aviation safety could not reasonably arrive at the same decisions as these individuals.

This conduct has substantially impacted on me and my business.

By June 2019, I made allegations against 5 people that were in CASA. I believe one has left. Therefore, the allegations are now about 4 CASA employees. One has come back to industry I believe.

The Problem:

The undeniable fact is that I spent many years working closely with CASA in the design of APTA. My business is Melbourne Flight Training, and that is where I have previously derived my income.

APTA was designed to facilitate continuing operations of my own business, and others in the new more cumbersome environment that we operate in. I sat down with CASA as we attended to more than 600 CASA requirements.

In fact, APTA was one of the 5% of Organisations that met the initial deadline of September 1st 2017, and we were significantly impacted by the CASA delay.

Irrespective, APTA continued on.

APTA was CASA approved and had been operating for 15 years, and almost two years as a fully transitioned Part 142 Organisation.

APTA was fully approved, and then in October 2018, I received a notice that CASA intended to bring a cessation to all operations, and that’s where the story begins. There was no prior indication at all.  [see below]

That opened up a pandoras box of problems.

I must emphasise that there are no allegations of any safety concerns, in fact CASA have agreed that APTA increases safety, so one would wonder my Mr Graeme Crawford in his role would work so diligently to bring APTA down.

The Issues for AFTA/MFT:

CASA provided a surety of operations for only 7 days into the future.

From the period 30th October until 25th January 2019, the business operated literally on a minute by minute approval.

On 25th January 2019 casa notified that my business could continue operating for three months until 25th April 2019.

On 12th February 2019 you advised me that my business could continue operating until 13th May 2019.

On 3rd May 2019 you advised that my business could continue operating until 1st July 2019.

Consider the commercial impact on any business, when you take such action.

APTAs “product” was in fact surety of operations into the future, in the more expensive to operate regulatory environment



All over for Glen Buckley, due to economic interference by #casa:

MFT Update [31st July 2019]

Good afternoon all,

I have a lot of people after me for a lot of information, and will try and dump it all down here in the one spot. I anticipate being back here frequently over coming days.

It is heartbreaking to advise that MFT is no more. Whilst the business does operate, I have lost my premises.

The facts are:

MFT was clearly in arrears on the land lease, and had been for some time.
The Airport personnel I deal with have been exceptional i.e. Mark, Paul, John and Diem, and I mean exceptional.
Under Marc’s stewardship, many months ago, Marc constructed a plan that I thought I could achieve, but alas I could not.
Fully in accordance with a lease that I have signed and understood, the owners of Moorabbin Airport, are exercising their right and their obligations to take control of the building.

Of course it is heartbreaking, but the responsibility is mine. This has had an enormous effect on the staff and students, and for that I apologise.

All students and staff are “APTA”, so their training can continue uninterrupted, or at least with minimal interruption. Operations have moved immediately to the Vortex building which is an APTA member. All staff will continue to get paid, and all staff will continue to deliver the same training from another building in the same aircraft. It is effectively only a building change.

My hope is that the new owners of the MFT building will lease the premises back to MFT. That is a project for the future when I am well underway cleaning up the fallout from this fiasco.

As most readers will be aware, CASA took action against APTA from October 2018. CASA actions placed a number of restrictions on my ability to trade. i.e. I could not market, advertise, take on customers, add capabilities, or renew existing capabilities. From the onset it was identified to CASA on numerous occasions in writing, that their actions would cost me at least $10,000 per week, as it has. In October 2018, I anticipated this matter would continue on for 6 weeks at most, with a total cost of $60,000. Unfortunately it has now dragged on unnecessarily for approximately 40 weeks.

If I had known it would drag on for this long, I may have taken a different course of action. In my worst nightmare I could not have imagined 40 weeks with no end in sight. Nevertheless, I was compelled to continue as I had a large number of operators depending on me for their own continuity. As time has dragged on and the financial impact worsened I called on MFT and my parents to support continuing operations.

It got to the stage where I could ask my family for no more, and the burden fell on MFT alone to sustain APTA operations. Quite simply the numbers didn’t stack up, and there was no resolution in sight. I was not going to be able to meet staff salaries, and APTA was sold for the value of the debt only.

I must use this opportunity to thank the team at MFT for their unwavering professionalism. To Sreya Brown, Will Long, Tim Verhoef, Tarik Hartley, Shingote Shubham, Rory O’ Heir, Pete Schultz, Cameron Meyer, Coby Ramos, Jake Lummis, Jo Ikin, Lawrie Byrnes, Pete Bishop, and James Skinner. They have worked under extremely challenging conditions over the last 6 months in particular. They have demonstrated uncompromising standards of safety and compliance.

The organisation has been under enormous duress, with all of the associated challenges and they have conducted themselves admirably.

They are all names worth noting because they are a truly exceptional team, and will be an enormous attribute to the new owners of APTA. I am confident the new owners have a vision, and will execute a vision, that will bring stability and opportunities for all.

Please feel free to fire away with any questions, cheers. Glen.


Reading:

  1.  PM Morrison and how the Public Service should work;
  2. RRAT Committee – Senate;
  3. APTA Agreement Version 14.0
  4. Initial response from #casa
  5. Form 1-004 TRAINING BASE INDUCTION CHECKLIST (15-SEP-18)
  6. Mr Carmody letter
  7. Documents released to Glen Buckley – sent 18-Jun-19 by FOI
  8. DPM response 17th July 2019
  9. Letter from #casa to Buckley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


THE BACKGROUND


Letter to Minister McCormack 16th June 2019:

To the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Mr Mc Cormack.

I write to you in your role as the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, as the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Development, and as the person responsible for aviation safety in Australia.

My name is Glen Buckley, the CEO of the Australian Pilot Training Alliance (APTA). I am writing to you on important matters of aviation safety, allegations of misuse of public funds within the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and allegations of unconscionable conduct displayed by at least 5 individuals within CASA. The conduct of those individuals compromises aviation safety, compromises regulatory compliance, and compromises people’s livelihoods. I have been involved in the flight training sector for 25 years, the last 15 years as the owner of a flight training organisation. CASA records will clearly support my contention that my operations have been well intentioned, safe, and compliant. I consider myself a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in my field, and I am qualified to make the statements that I make.

I stand fully behind everything I say. My assertions can be supported by well documented evidence. I understand that I am fully accountable for the statements that I make, they are being made in the interests of aviation safety, they must be responded to.

Although I am initiating this correspondence as an individual business owner, and drawing only on my own personal experience, I am confident my experiences will be shared by the entire General Aviation (GA) sector of the Industry. For those not familiar with the term “GA”, it includes almost all flying in Australia that is not airline flying, and GA flying is predominantly conducted in propeller driven aircraft. i.e. carrying freight and passengers in smaller aircraft, flying training, community flights, agricultural work, private flying etc. It also includes all the maintenance organisations, spare parts, refuellers and admin personnel that work in that industry sector supporting those safe operations.

My allegations are substantive and not limited to the following.

Breaches of obligations under the PGPA Act to use public resources responsibly

The aviation industry has a legislative program introduced by CASA referred to as Part 61/141/142. It was introduced a decade behind schedule, and is universally acknowledged as an absolute and complete failure. That component alone is estimated to have cost every Australian family $100. It is only one component of a much larger and mismanaged regulatory reform program that has cost both the taxpayer and industry an unacceptable amount, and this matter continues to escalate at an alarming rate. This issue must be addressed.

It can be demonstrated that CASA consistently choose the more costly option, when a more effective solution is available. In my own organisation, CASA have made decisions that have cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars, and taxpayers substantially more, when a simple well-intentioned conversation would have achieved the same outcome. I have many well documented examples. My experiences are not unique.

CASAs failure to achieve “clear and concise aviation safety standards”. This failure impacts on safety.

Critical to my assertions is an understanding that the Civil Aviation Act states the very first function of CASA as: “developing and promulgating appropriate, clear and concise aviation safety standards”.

There is no doubt that CASA have totally and completely failed against this core function, and industry will unilaterally support that statement. I strongly encourage the Government to do a random sample of 50 rural based, and 50 city-based GA businesses. You will find that in excess of 90% of respondents will support my contention that CASA have failed. If 90% of road users felt the road rules were so disjointed that they couldn’t understand them, we would have a major safety issue on our roads.

In the interests of aviation safety, and jobs, CASA must deliver rules and regulations that are clear and concise. For a clear demonstration of this significant issue. Ask someone from CASA to verbally answer this question, what activities can be delivered as an independent instructor? Then ask them to demonstrate how they arrived at that answer as they step you through the associated legislation. It is so complicated that it is truly akin to fraud. It’s simply not fair to deliver rules to a sector if the intended recipients cannot understand the rules because they are not clear and concise. It is actually incumbent on CASA to deliver clear and concise aviation safety standards. That failure directly impacts on safety.

Personnel within CASA displaying” unconscionable conduct”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website states criteria to determine unconscionable conduct. Those criteria include;

  • The relative bargaining strength of the Parties.
  • Whether any conditions were imposed on the weaker Party that were not reasonably necessary to protect the legitimate interests of the stronger Party
  • Whether the weaker party could understand the documentation being used.
  • The use of undue influence, pressure or unfair tactics by the stronger party.
  • The requirements of applicable industry codes. (i.e. CASAs Regulatory Philosophy, requirements of the Civil Aviation Act, the Ministers Statement of Expectations, requirements of Administrative Law, CASAs Enforcement Manual and section 2 of the Australian Public Service Commission website.
  • The willingness of the stronger party to negotiate
  • The extent to which Parties acted in good faith.

From my own personal experience, I believe I can clearly demonstrate that 5 personnel within the Aviation Group of CASA headed up by Mr Graeme Crawford, have made decisions that demonstrate unconscionable conduct i.e. reasonable people making decisions primarily on aviation safety could not reasonably arrive at the same decisions as these individuals. This conduct has substantially impacted on me and my business. Previous approaches to your office have not been responded to, so I am simultaneously releasing this correspondence to other persons, including but not limited to, the Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, the Honourable Catherine King MP. As this is a matter of aviation safety, and includes allegations of misconduct within CASA, I would call on bipartisan political support to work towards a solution that improves aviation safety across the GA industry, improves regulatory compliance, supports business, and encourages jobs in rural areas.

I am also advising that I make myself fully available to any media form, that is prepared to pursue this matter. It is a matter of aviation safety, and breaches of the PGPA Act, and inappropriate conduct in a Government Department, all of which impact on every Australian. My only request is that CASA be given the full right of reply to any allegations I make in the media.

These matters are significant. I have made repeated attempts to meet with the Board of CASA over the last 6 months, and all requests have been completely ignored. I have sent correspondence to your office on two occasions, and that correspondence has also been ignored. I feel I have no other option available to me, other than going public.

The purpose of this letter is to ensure I am given an opportunity to meet with yourself, or a nominee from your Department. I would like to attend that meeting and provide documentary support of all my claims. I respectfully request that the Honourable Catherine King, or her nominee be given the opportunity to attend that meeting. I would also call on two industry body representatives to attend in an observer role only. They would not have input into the meeting. My sincere hope is that you will attend to this matter as it deserves. At this stage I am requesting the opportunity to be heard. Failing that opportunity being provided to me, I will be forced to escalate the matter in the interests of aviation safety within the General Aviation sector.

Respectfully


Follow up to Deputy Prime Minister 21st June 2019

Dear Minister Mc Cormack, or the recipient.

I wrote to the Minister at the start of the week on matters I considered of significance, with regard to aviation safety in Australia. I have not received an acknowledgement, or a response. Can you please confirm that this is the correct email for such matters. Alternatively, if the correct protocols are to formally lodge such matters through the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ASTB) please advise. The issues are significant and effect aviation safety, so at least an acknowledgement that this is the correct email address to reach Minister Mc Cormack would be appreciated.
Respectfully

Glen Buckley


Letter sent to Mr Carmody 21/06/2019

Dear Mr Shane Carmody,

There are no regulatory breaches. There are no safety concerns expressed by CASA.

CASAs actions have placed significant restrictions on my ability to trade and that has been repeatedly identified to CASA, as has the associated commercial impact. Craig Martin will be the Subject Matter Expert (SME) within CASA.

Within a week, CASA will make yet another decision to allow continuing operations through another temporary approval, or in fact, close the operation down. I don’t need to outline the enormous organisational instability that brings to the staff, and my ability to retain them, to customers, students, members and suppliers. These “temporary approvals” have now continued for 8 months and understandably bought the business to its knees. The staff and I are exhausted and drained, so is the business.

My Key Personnel must now make decisions about their own employment options, and that impacts on continuing operations amongst the group, with the associated consequences on businesses, staff, and suppliers.

To bring this absurd matter to a close it simply needs one decent human being, acting in a well-intentioned manner, to make a good decision. It is that simple.

It needs one person to give me 3 hours of their time to tell my side of the story.

It then needs that same person to spend a further 3 hours revising the Regulatory Philosophy, the functions of CASA, the enforcement manual, the Public Service Commission website, the definition of unconscionable conduct, the PGPA Act, the Ministers Statement of Expectations on CASA, and a familiarity with Administrative Law.

It needs that same well-intentioned person, to then seriously contemplate what it means to operate under the Australian Coat of Arms that will be proudly displayed throughout every CASA office. Reflect on the substance of it, the history behind it, the standards, ethics, governance and integrity that is conveyed by having the privilege to operate under it.

Then simply arrive at a decision.

As you are aware my preference is to resolve these matters through well intentioned face to face discussion. That is the most effective way to resolve any dispute. However, I have had the opportunity to receive some industry funded and substantive legal guidance on my matter. This meeting was initiated by someone in Industry, and I did not pay for the consultation. This firm does not provide litigation funding, and that necessitates me seeking support from wider industry, should I elect to continue.

At this stage there is no obligation on my behalf to proceed.

If I do: The first stage is a relatively straightforward process costing approximately $50,000. This would provide a robust and detailed overview of the validity of the claim, for both Industry and CASA to consider and would provide full transparency to both parties. On production of the report perhaps I could have the opportunity to meet with CASA again. The case would be based around CASAs failure to deliver clear and concise aviation safety standards, and the effects of that failure on safety and industry, as evidenced by my experience, and no doubt many others. I am fully satisfied that in fact, CASA have failed to achieve “clear and concise aviation safety standards”. That is the root cause of every one of my current issues, and in fact the wider industry’s.

I am fully satisfied that 5 personnel within CASA have acted inappropriately, and in my opinion unlawfully, although I respect that that needs to be determined. My hope is that you could respond indicating if there is a potential change of stance within CASA and a willingness to genuinely resolve the matter via a well-intentioned decision maker that you nominate.

Respectfully,


Letter to Mr Carmody 2/7/19

Dear Mr Carmody,

Prior to proceeding with the contents of this letter, it is important that I clarify some important matters.

The business has been operating for 15 years delivering well intentioned, safe and highly compliant flight training. CASA records will support that contention.

Flying schools conducting a practice referred to as ‘sharing an Air Operators Certificate” is a practice that has been going on for many decades within the flight training industry. The practice has been conducted with the full knowledge, consent, and support of CASA. This cannot be refuted.

There were deficiencies in those arrangements, as often the organisations operated independently and in their own interests.

APTA was the first time in Australia that the deficiencies in the existing practice were addressed. This cannot be refuted, as CASA personnel worked side by side with APTA personnel in designing the purpose built system that we now have. We attended to over 600 CASA requirements, and in fact we were one of the few schools that met the CASA stipulated deadline of September 1 2017. APTA was approved by CASA in April 2017 and has been operating in that format for more than two years. In November 2017, 6 months after we Transitioned, CASA conducted a level one audit (the highest available), and no concerns were raised.

At no stage during the process did CASA ever require contracts of us, or in fact any other flying training organisation in Australia. The requirements regarding contracts, is a requirement specifically being placed on APTA. Other operators continue to be exempted from this requirement. I assert that in the last 25 years of the practice of schools sharing AOCs, CASA does not hold any contracts on any other operators. They have chosen not to refute my allegation, because the fact is the CASA requirement is unique to APTA. It is unfair and unjust that you elect to single my Organisation out, and apply conditions to me that you choose not to apply to other operators.

Importantly, the use of a contract was an APTA initiative, and at no stage had CASA ever required a contract The contracts were drawn up by lawyers, and have been reviewed on at least 5 occasions since that time by lawyers. APTA and APTA members are satisfied with the contracts that we use. It is only CASA that is not satisfied. It is incumbent on CASA to tell me what you want in the contracts.

In October 2018, without any prior warning at all, CASA did a complete reversal of policy and initiated the action that has been continuing for more than 8 months now. The impact of that action on the business, my family, my members and staff has been traumatic. It is a clear breach of many aspects of your own regulatory philosophy.

Initially CASA action was not based on contracts, but the action was taken on the basis of

Aviation Ruling and
Temporary locations procedure.

After approximately two months, CASA admitted that the Aviation Ruling was the incorrect basis to be taking the action and “took the Aviation Ruling off the table”.

CASA also realised that the Temporary locations procedure was in fact their own procedure that they had suggested, helped us design, approved, and in fact they approved bases under the system. It is ludicrous that you now penalise me and my organisation for the very procedure that CASA in fact suggested.

After the CASA confusion was sorted out, they moved to the Latrobe Valley audit results. CASA has ignored 10 requests from me to finalise the allegations made, and they have tried to avoid addressing my concerns. The audit results and the associated process could not be justified, with new allegations arriving many months after you conducted an audit.

With the aviation ruling off the table, the temp locations embarrassingly identified as CASAs own procedure, and an inability to back up the allegations of regulatory breaches, CASA moved to the topic of contracts.

CASA initially accused us of not having contracts in place. CASA had forgotten they had been provided with contracts on multiple occasions. The topic them changed yet again but this time to a requirement to see signed copies of the contracts which we had, and they were provided to CASA.

As nothing appeared to be “sticking” he topic then moved yet again, but now back to the content of the contracts. CASA then provided guidance material on the first occasion that I fully adopted and submitted to CASA. For reasons that I cannot understand, they then rejected the contracts with their own material included.

CASA provided a second lot of guidance material, which I fully adopted. CASA then accepted the second version of the contracts. CASA advised “I have reviewed the draft contract provided this date. I can confirm the content is acceptable to CASA. My appreciation to you and your staff for provision of same”, but hours later reversed their position and withdrew the approved contracts. It appeared that nothing could satisfy CASA and I have no doubt that there was a “hidden agenda” and that was driven by Mr Crawford.

After approximately 6 months, and a high level of confusion within CASA, they were forced into outsourcing the contract requirement to an outside lawyer. That begs the question. Why would CASA initiate the action back in October 2018? In order to know that something is wrong, you do need to know what is right. CASA obviously didn’t!!! It took over 6 months before CASA had the third lot of guidance material.

Eventually a third set of guidance was supplied. CASA advised that it was guidance only and I should use my own terminology, rather than take theirs verbatim. I reviewed that against our contracts and exposition and am satisfied that our current contracts and exposition meet all requirements from their “guidance” material. I have asked CASA to identify any deficiencies and I will attend to them if they provide that information. There is no resistance from me, but I do require clear and concise guidance.

Unfortunately another point of confusion exists, as CASA have provided information on our Part 141 operations only, and have not provided any guidance on the Part 142 component, which is the majority of what we do, so until they clarify that, I am unable to move forward. I have made two requests, but they have not been answered.

CASA have also stipulated that all personnel must be APTA “employees”. The existing definitions of employees support the APTA model, so I have asked CASA to provide a definition of an employee that meets their requirements for this situation, which I am waiting on.

The third lot of guidance material suggests that we need to be assessed on the following. I point out that these are the exact items I attended to with CASA years earlier.

Suitability of the organisation.
Chain of Command in the organisation.
The number, qualifications, and competency of personnel.
Sufficiency of the facilities.
Suitability of the procedures and practices.
Suitability of Key Personnel.
Full operational control.
Compliance with procedures.
Capability to comply with legislation.
Compliance with directions.
Understanding of commitments
Access to reference library
Standardisation and proficiency checks
Ability to remove unsuitable personnel
Notification of change of Key Personnel.
Maintain a register of instructors.
Notification of
Provide a copy to all parties of the Operations manual
Supervision to ensure compliance with the manual.
Audits.
Compliance with audit findings.
Access to records.
Log of all simulator training.
List of simulators
Information pertinent to aircraft
Log of medicals of all personnel
Ability of APTA to cancel or suspend the agreement.

As all members will be aware we do have all of these systems in place because we actually did exactly this more than two years ago, working with CASA personnel and that is what lead to our approval in April 2017. These were the exact items that I worked on with CASA over a two year period as we designed APTA, and they are the procedures we have been following for over two years.

It is obvious that the CASA personnel that I deal with really have no idea about APTA. I have asked CASA to describe to me their understanding of APTA, but they steadfastly refuse to do so. APTA is not confused. The members are not confused, and the personnel are not confused. It is in fact only CASA that is confused. It is CASA that is breaching its obligations placed on it by the Regulatory Philosophy. It is CASA that chose to initiate a complete reversal of policy with no warning, and it is CASA that has bought substantial damage to the business, the members, the staff and to me personally. There are no safety concerns, there are no regulatory breaches, and you cannot direct me to any legislative breaches. I am dealing with the “opinions” of CASA personnel who have displayed unconscionable conduct.

The current situation is that CASA will soon decide on continuing operations. I have engaged substantive legal advice, and a failure by CASA to act appropriately, will be met with a class action, and this will be immediately initiated if required. I will be calling on the wider industry and professional organisations to join me in that class action, as my concerns are shared by the wider GA community.

The failure of CASA to achieve clear and concise aviation safety standards, the failure of CASA to comply with its own regulatory philosophy, the malpractice of certain CASA individuals, and a flagrant disregard for the PGPA Act, the total disregard for the Ministers Statement of Expectation, and a complete failure to act in a well-intentioned manner, and a preference to act in a bullying and intimidating manner are in fact the causes of the problems.

Quite simply, the confusion exists within CASA. APTA was designed to increase safety, increase regulatory compliance, protect our respective business, and to create jobs. The concept is fully approved by CASA and the complete reversal of policy is not acceptable.

CASA has placed a number of restrictions on my ability to trade that have had enormous consequences, and I emphasise that there are no allegations of safety concerns or regulatory breaches. This entire issue and all of the associated damage to so many businesses and people is truly disgusting and could have been avoided had …………………………………… acted in a well intentioned manner, and adhered to the obligations placed on them, in their roles.

Glen Buckley

Will Nutall, Craig Martin, Brad Lacy, David Jones

Letter to CASA Board made on ~ 16th July 2019

I have made at least 6 requests to meet with the CASA Board since my dramas started unfolding over 9 months. Those requests were all ignored except for when Mr Crawford the Manager of the Aviation Group wrote to me explaining he would not permit it. Not having a lot of respect of the mans ethics I persevered and was successful. I met with Mr Tony Mathews at Melbourne Airport. I requested a response by 2nd August ( two weeks after our meeting). Typically, nothing came. For reference I have posted a copy of the letter that summarises the meeting. Due to length, I have had to post it over two consecutive posts. Cheers. Glen.

Dear Mr Anthony Mathews

Thank you for providing the opportunity to meet with you, in your role as the Chair of the CASA Board, and for facilitating the attendance of the Regional Manager, Mr Jason McHeyzer, in his role as the Regional Manager for the Southern Region, at Melbourne Airport from approximately 4PM to 6PM on Friday 19/07/19.

I attended with my father Derek Buckley, in his role, purely as my father, someone who has supported me throughout this experience, and is after all. My father.

As you are aware, I have made numerous requests over the last 8 months to meet with the Board of CASA. Those repeated requests were not responded to, or acknowledged, and this is a contributing factor to the delays in our meeting. I note that you are relatively new in the role, irrespective the delays in facilitating the meeting have had a significant impact, and due to the passage of time, unavoidably, the nature of the meeting has changed.I asked you if you had the opportunity to view the final report from the Industry Complaints Commissioner, and you responded that you had viewed that, approximately one month prior to our meeting, which was approximately one month prior to its release to me. My opinion of the ICC report is that it has been carefully written and it avoids most of the complaints. I will attend to that in separate correspondence.

During the meeting,I had the opportunity to very clearly identify to you that CASA has not at any time made any allegations of anything related to safety. In fact, CASA actions can be demonstrated to have negatively impacted on safety. I also had the opportunity to clearly identify to you that CASA has not at any time made any allegations of any regulatory breach.Very early in the meeting I asked if you aware of the commercial impact of the actions that CASA had taken, and I appreciate that in your role, you could not be expected to have a detailed knowledge of my issue.

I then asked the Regional Manager, Mr Mc Heyzer if he could perhaps outline the impact. As he has had been closely involved in this process since it began, he was better able to encapsulate the situation, as would be my expectation.

To recap,

CASA;· Placed a limited date of approval on my business that has been as short as, a minute by minute approval, but no longer than three months. That action alone would have an enormous and destabilising effect on any organisation, and the staff and suppliers associated with that organisation. That action has continued for a staggering 9 months and is still not resolved.·

CASA actions prevented me from marketing my product·

CASA actions prevented me from taking on customers.·

CASA actions prevented me from adding courses and capabilities that I am fully entitled to.·

CASA actions prevented me from renewing capabilities as they came up for renewal.

When CASA initiated that action in October 2018, I clearly identified to CASA that the impact on my business would be significant, and conservatively it would cause my business to lose $10,000 per week. This matter has now dragged on for over 9 months, and lead to a situation where the business was no longer able to sustain itself. In fact, no business in Australia could sustain those restrictions to its trade

.I outlined to you that the APTA model required 10 members contributing $80,000 each, as the cost of operating APTA was $800,000 per annum. By preventing me signing up new members, you will appreciate my problem. I outlined that APTA was purpose built over many years, and is a significant investment.

With CASA actions placing such insecurity on the business, it had no value and was sold for a price of 5% its actual value.

The business was sold under duress for no other reason than to protect the members and staff who depend on it for their livelihood.

Quite truthfully, I explained how I could no longer sustain the business and pay the staff salaries. If APTA were to discontinue operations at any time on CASA actions, it would directly impact on other operators depending on our continuing approval. I was carrying a significant burden as you will appreciate.

The associated impact on my own business, Melbourne Flight Training has been catastrophic, as it has been supporting the ongoing costs of running APTA. Its own certainty, now hangs in the balance.My own flying school, Melbourne Flight Training is currently in a state of financial duress that is quite likely to be irreparable. The Company has incurred unacceptable debt levels as it has attempted to ensure continuity of operations for APTA and the members that have depended on it.

I identified two other business that have ceased operations as result of the CASA decisions made in relation to APTA. By restricting my revenue streams for 9 months, I could not be expected to survive. No business in any industry, could sustain that.

Personally, the process since CASA implemented Part 61/141 and 142, has also been catastrophic. I clearly identified that in fact I couldn’t even muster up the money for the car park fees if the meeting extended for one more than one hour. That is the truth. I have been left destitute and that includes the loss of my family home. That is the fact. There are no hidden accounts or trust funds. I have exhausted every fund I have available to me to defend the APTA model.

I resolutely stand by the fact that it

Was well intentioned.
mproved safety.
Improved regulatory compliance.
Created jobs.
Protected regional aviation and most particularly regional aero clubs.
Protected the fast dwindling Australian Owned sector of the industry.

Importantly, it was a multi million dollar investment. It was designed with CASA. It was approved by CASA. It was audited by CASA. The fact is that Mr Crawford and four other CASA personnel operating under his direct operational control, and I include;· Mr Jones.· Mr Martin, · Mr Nuttall, and · Mr Lacy initiated a process in October 2018. That process was a complete reversal of previous CASA policy. It came instantly, and with absolutely no warning.

The entire process could have been avoided had CASA decided to inform me or meet with me. The associated impact on my business and the gross waste of taxpayer funds achieving that objective, has been truly disgraceful and unacceptable. My experiences may be shared by others in Industry, and if so, it requires a Royal Commission, it really does.

Those actions and decisions·

  1. Were in clear breach of almost every element of CASAs own Regulatory Philosophy.·
  2. In breach of the PGPA Act which requires these personnel to use public funds and resources responsibly.·
  3. Breach the requirements of Administrative Law, Procedural Fairness, and Natural Justice.·
  4. Were quite simply. Not well intentioned, and certainly not based on safety considerations.·
  5. Bullying and Intimidating in their nature.·
  6. Cannot be supported by any clear or concise legislation, and that is a requirement placed on CASA.

I offered up to 20 examples of the negligent conduct of those personnel, and their associated decisions.The examples I used were;

Example One
The inappropriateness of the use of the Aviation Ruling as the basis of the initial action in October 2018. As; · On its release in 2006, CASA advised flying schools that it did not apply to them, it was intended for charter operators, and CASA has in fact facilitated “shared AOCs” in flying schools since my initial involvement in the industry in the early 1980s.· It applies to “commercial purposes”. CASA removed flying training from “commercial purposes” in September 2014. How can it apply. Flying Training is not a “Commercial purpose.”· It has no Head of Power.· It refers to Key Personnel i.e. Chief Pilot that do not exist in flying training.· CASA themselves acknowledged it was the incorrect document after 2 months.· It is 13 years old, and written for an entirely different regulatory environment.

Example Two

CASA also initiated the action in October 2018 based on our Temporary locations’ procedure. Embarrassingly it was only later realised by CASA that it was in fact their own procedure, and that they had recommended it to us, approved it for our use, approved bases under that exact procedure, audited it, and even recommended it to flying schools. How can this happen? I simply cannot understand it, I really cant!

Example Three

The “contract issue”CASA never required contracts of us. I had a contract with my members. I had provided copies of the contract to CASA on multiple occasions. CASA seemed disinterested. October 2018 was a complete change of policy application and CASA insisted on provision of contracts within 7 days. CASA was embarrassed when I demonstrated that contracts had previously been provided, including a copy to Mr Graeme Crawford more than 12 months prior. In fact, had CASA realised they already held the contract, they may not have made the decision to take action on a perceived “lack of contracts”.CASA provided guidance material on the contracts which I fully adopted. CASA rejected that. CASA provided a second lot of guidance material. Again, I fully adopted the guidance material. CASA provided written notification the new version was acceptable, and I could proceed. Hours later, CASA reversed that decision and advised it was no longer acceptable. After many months. CASA engaged legal advice external to CASA and came back with a third set of guidance material. CASA advised that I should not use it “word for word”. So, I didn’t. I am satisfied that my contracts and associated Exposition are industry leading and meet all CASA requirements. I have not heard the outcome.I pointed out to you, that this requirement being placed on APTA is unique to APTA, and CASA is not applying it to other operators. I cannot understand how this issue can still be continuing on after 9 months.

Example Four

The impact of the CASA delay. I pointed out that the new CASA regulations i.e. Part 61/141 and 142 were implemented over a decade behind schedule, and they were underpinned by a grossly negligent Regulation Impact Statement (RIS). I advised I would provide a copy of that document and it is attached. I draw your attention to the effect on Businesses, identified on page 15 of the RIS. I discussed how CASA placed a Transition Date of September 1st of 2018 for all of Australia’s 350 flying training organisations. After that date, if they had not completed the re-approval process under the new rules, they would not be permitted to continue operating. My Company made an enormous investment in time and money over a two-year period to achieve the deadline referred to as the Transition Date i.e. September 1st, 2017.As the date approached it appeared to me that CASA was not ready for the Transition date. CASA assure me they were. I “flicked the switch” and Transitioned. That process resulted in a very substantial increase in operating costs.Weeks later, as only a staggeringly low 5% of Industry had achieved Part 142 status, CASA was forced into reversing its decision, and postponed the Transition date by 12 months. CASA forced me to operate under the new regulatory structure while other operators remained in the far more cost effective “Civil Aviation Regulation 5” (CAR 5) for a further 12 months. That delay alone, cost me many hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Example Five

I talked to you about the commercially unviable turnaround times of CASA processing tasks, which are essential to running the business. I used the example of the addition of one of our “Temporary locations”. It was quoted by CASA as a five-hour task and took 10 months to complete. In fact, those timelines are indicative of my businesses experience. i.e. CASA process tasks at the rate of 30 minutes per month i.e. a 2-hour task will take 4 hours, a 5 hour task will take 10 months. In fact, this was the subject of a formal complaint to the Industry Complaints Commissioner, but was not attended to in his final report, only just released 7 months later.My point being, that these unacceptable timelines impact significantly on Industry and particularly so when industry is paying commercial rates for CASA services. The effects have been substantial on my business, and the members.

Example Six

The blatant and total disregard for CASAs own Regulatory Philosophy in its dealings with me since the change to CMT 3 headed up by …………… which coincided with the commencement of the action initiated by CASA without any prior indication in October 2018.

Example Seven

I clearly outlined my frustration that as a Part 141 and 142 Organisation I have authorisation to conduct a number of courses including low level, Multi Crew courses, Type ratings etc. CASA applied an “Administrative Freeze” on those tasks, and that had a significant implication on one of my members, leading to the closure of his business. CASA should have substantial grounds for refusing to process those tasks, as they were within my Authorisation and not related to any other issue, including bases.

Due to time constraints I did not get to touch on the other feedback that I can offer, including; the root cause of this entire issue being CASAs failure to achieve clear and concise aviation safety standards as is required of it in the Civil Aviation Act, technical incompetence on behalf of some personnel i.e. the Regional Manager stating “Im new to the role, and not all over it. I will need to organise a meeting with my staff, yet his signature sits on the initial correspondence that he sent a day earlier. Why sign it, if you’re not “all over it”!

I did briefly touch on CASA consistently ignoring my requests for assistance in resolving CASA allegations of regulatory breaches, and how well over 30 emails have been completely ignored, clear breaches of CASAs Enforcement Manual, breaches etc.

We closed the meeting with me asking that I be provided with a final CASA position on this matter by 5PM on Friday August 2nd. I appreciate you currently have obligations that require you to be outside of Australia, and I respect that. I did reply to you that it only needed one well intentioned person, to make well considered and well-intentioned decision. That person did not have to be you, but I needed to know by August 2nd.

The impact of CASAs actions has been significant, they really have. That impact has extended to me, my wife, and my children, it will impact on their education, I have lost my home, other businesses have closed as a result of this, safety has been compromised, staff will lose employment, and the APTA model has been completely decimated by CASA.

Businesses will be affected, and the entire process was so completely and totally unnecessary. It really could have been entirely avoided had CASA acted in a well-intentioned manner, in the interests of safety, and in accordance with the regulatory philosophy.

Those personnel I have named decided that APTA would not be permitted to operate, and they worked diligently to achiever that outcome.As a pilot with 25 years training experience, I cannot see how a less than ideal relationship between industry and CASA can possibly optimise safety outcomes. A relationship of confidence and trust is essential to achieve those optimal safety outcomes. In my opinion and drawing on my experience dealing with those five named individuals I sincerely believe they have demonstrated unconscionable conduct in their respective roles within CASA, and that is my only experience with those people. I can make no comment outside of my own perceived experience. Their actions and decisions have compromised safety. I can demonstrate that and am prepared to.

You are a Pilot, as I am. Our job is about nothing else than “good and sound decision making”. I call on CASA to deal with me in a fair and reasonable manner promptly. I do not want to involve lawyers. Two Parties acting in a well-intentioned and respectful manner and dealing only in the complete truth, can resolve anything. That has been my experience over the last 54 years, and I am hoping that common sense can prevail in this situation. By meeting with you, I have truly exhausted EVERY option for an internal resolution with CASA, and I will need to seek legal support and guidance if we cannot resolve this matter. I am mentally, emotionally, and financially drained and exhausted after this 9 month and more, I am only wanting to get some closure on this unnecessarily traumatic period.

I really am at the cusp. Please! Irrespective of the outcome, I sincerely thank you for your time. I felt you genuinely did provide “a good ear”, and I respect that.

Yours respectfully

Glen Buckley


#casa Board 9th August 2019 letter to Glen Buckley 090819



ICC report – August 2019 ICC Preliminary Review outcome 120419


CASA slam another door – The ICC process and reply by Glen Buckley

Dear Mr Hanton,

Please allow me to comment on my view of the ICC process, now that I am in receipt of the final report.

After waiting 8 months to receive the report, I am truly concerned at the avoidance of the key issues, and the apparent lack of intent to provide an honest, open and transparent assessment. Can I specially identify some critical shortcomings.

In matter A, I made allegations of shortcomings regarding the processes associated with the Latrobe Valley audit/visit by CASA. This had been identified as a Level Two audit by the Regional Manger in my presence, and in the presence of CASA’s Head of Regulatory Services.

CASA was later to reverse their stance and state it was not an audit.

At the exit interview at Latrobe Valley on the day, only a minor anomaly was identified.

CASA advised a written report would follow, as is the procedure. That report never arrived.

At a later CASA meeting, the audit was raised, and this time the topics had changed entirely in nature.

It was identified that the audit results had not been provided to me, although they had been provided to CASA legal, and CASA confirmed that fact.

CASA then denied an audit was done which surprised me. CASA then claimed there were no audit results.

I then tried to get them under Freedom of information, and there was simply page after page after page of completely redacted material, so you will appreciate my confusion. CASA prepared audit results months later that were not dated and differed completely from what we had previously been advised. Completely new allegations of regulatory breaches that I steadfastly refute arose. Over a 6-month period I have 30 emails that were not answered as I tried to attend to the fabricated breaches. Quite simply, CASA could not respond because they could not substantiate them.

I asked you to investigate why audit results would be sent to CASA legal before I am afforded the right to reply. You did not respond.

I asked you specifically to identify if breaches of Administrative law had occurred, and you chose to ignore this request.

I asked you to specifically investigate how an onsite audit debrief could differ from the Head Office debrief which differed entirely from the undated audit results written months later. You completely ignored this.

In Matter B, you specifically undertook to address” whether CASAs requirements of APTA were more onerous than those imposed on (XXXXXXXXXXX)”. You have chosen to completely avoid this most critical complaint about the different manner with which CASA engages different operators in your final report, despite undertaking to do so. This is fundamental to my complaint and by avoiding it you have denied me fairness. A determination here was one of my critical complaints.

You will recall that it was CASAs inappropriate use of the Aviation Ruling that has lead to this process that has resulted in business closures, loss of jobs, and associated damage. It was the wrong document to be using. In Matter F, you specifically undertook to make a determination on “the Aviation Rulings applicability”. Instead, because CASA chose to take it off the table, after two months, you have cleverly avoided the issue.

How can CASA use the wrong document, cause enormous damage, and then decide to “take it off the table”. That is in fact the very thing the ICC should be investigating, rather than be complicit in avoiding addressing the complaint. A thorough determination of this complaint was fundamental to an open and transparent investigation on your behalf.

In matter Q, I made complaints against item 9 of CASAs regulatory philosophy. https://www.casa.gov.au/about-us/who…ory-philosophy It cannot be denied that this entire situation could have been avoided had Mr Brad Lacy my first contact person within CASA decided to raise any concerns he had. Instead he initiated a course of action that bought significant damage. At the start of the process in October 2018, I made CASA very aware of the consequences of their actions, and tragically it has unfolded as I suggested. Closed businesses and lost jobs. CASA placed a number of restrictions on my ability to trade that ultimately lead to its failure. My expectation is that you would have comprehensively addressed CASAs stated criteria in Item 9 against my businesses experience, as I requested and you undertook.

In matter L, you undertook to address whether CMT 3 had acted in accordance with CASA regulatory philosophy although you chose to avoid this in your final report.

In Matter T, I specially mentioned that CASA processing times averaged 30 minutes per month. i.e. if APTA paid for a CASA task taking 5 hours, that would take 10 months to process. I alleged that my processing times were well outside industry norms. You undertook to address this, and in fact you chose to avoid addressing it.

Matter A1 and B1 were complaints about CASA continually refusing to respond to requests for assistance. CASA clearly made allegations of regulatory breaches of which I am required to resolve. I made over 30 requests to help me resolve those. That alone is outrageous, and you undertook to address this matter, which you did not.

My overall opinion of my ICC experience It can never have the credibility it deserves as long as the ICC is on the payroll of CASA. It is natural, that on receipt of such a substandard report, I would feel that I may not have been afforded fairness.

The Department is critically under resourced. It was clearly identified that the CASA action was costing my business $10,000 per week. Eight months is an unacceptably long-time frame for any business to wait.

Mr Crawford in his role as the head of the Aviation Group appeared to have more detailed knowledge of the process, and I will attend to that in separate correspondence.

Industry make claims that the ICC process is used as a CASA process to delay access to the Ombudsman, and sadly that is my feeling.
Having met you, I had a high expectation, to say that I am extremely disappointed in the depth and integrity of the work would be a significant understatement. Not only for my own interest, but for the benefit of those that follow me later, I am compelled to accelerate my complaint.

Respectfully, Glen Buckley


1 comment to Glen Buckley, AFTA and MFT suffers at the hands of #casa. Another #casa casualty

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