An aviation researcher, writer, aviation participant, pilot & agricultural researcher. Author of over 35 scientific publications world wide.


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Minister McCormack has some serious work to undertake

Minister McCormack has some serious work to undertake.

Here are the resolutions arising from the #aviation meeting in Wagga over the past two days [see below].

There has been some well thought out ideas here, which can be boiled down into:

  • Review of the Civil Aviation Act, to include as a minimum, a repeal of §9A (1) [changed to support aviation/ risk management?];
  • Inclusion of government’s Red Tape Policy to be permanently inserted in Section 98;
  • Established programme to identify, prioritise and implement a programme of these changes with defined time-frames and covering CASA, ASA and Aerodrome Operators;

Further, I believe that the Minister must introduce the US-FAR’s as a matter of urgency to ensure compliance of Australia with the rest of the world’s aviation bodies.

Also, it is important to develop and nurture aviation throughout Australia and a way to make this happen is t have a seperate Aviation Minister, rather than an omnibus Minister for Infrastructure.

This will simplify the current situation and prevent #casa from operating a “…let’s stop them…” process.

The bifurcation must cease



The General Aviation Summit has agreed to pass two resolutions which (1) sets out the principal findings of the summit with regard to the regulation of general aviation in Australia and (2) commits the industry to providing appropriate information and to make recommendations for action on reform as follows.

The General Aviation Summit concluded:

1.1 General Aviation wants to maintain or improve Australia’s aviation safety outcomes;

1.2 the General Aviation sector is of vital importance to Australia especially regional and rural Australia not only in economic terms but in social and community service provision terms;

1.3 the General Aviation sector, including the commercial elements of the sector, is overburdened with the complexity and cost flowing from the current Civil Aviation Act, Regulations and other aviation legislation;

1.4 the current regulatory regime is based on a prescriptive approach to rules and compliance. World best practice is based on Outcome Based regulation which Australia should implement immediately in accordance with DAS Directive 01/2015 and the Minister’s CASA Statement of Expectations;

1.5 the cost and complexity burdens placed on the General Aviation sector are exacerbated by the actions of Air-services and airport operators, both privatised and local government owned, by further cost impositions, operational restrictions and inappropriate infrastructure development;

1.6 the Australian economy has the opportunity to benefit from pilot and engineering training, aircraft and component maintenance and construction services flowing from the world-wide expansion of air travel and aviation activity – especially in Asia. To achieve this, we must be able to respond effectively and be liberated from over regulation; and

1.7 the attitude must be to adopt best regulatory practices in parallel with embracing safety and economic benefits of new technologies in Australian aircraft and operations. This will allow Australia to achieve its potential as an aviation leader, aviation service provider and exporter.

In looking to the future, the Summit further resolved to:

2.1 provide a statement of value of the General Aviation sector in Australia;

2.2 provide a statement of opportunity for the General Aviation sector in Australia;

2.3 recommend the Civil Aviation Act and other Acts associated with aviation including aviation infrastructure, be reviewed and amended to ensure implementation of Outcome Based regulation during the first term of the next government;

2.4 in the meantime, to recommend a small number of amendments to the Civil Aviation Act to immediately refocus to a less prescriptive and holistic approach to regulation for bi-partisan passage through the parliament before the next election;


Whereas the current regulatory stance adopted by CASA is out of step with contemporary regulatory practice, as adopted by The International Civil Aviation Organization through the promulgation of Annex 19, Safety Management Systems, and is contributing to the rapid decline of Australia’s general aviation industry,


Whereas the World is facing a growing shortage of skilled aviation personnel and Australia has the opportunity to contribute to the training of these personnel in a way that can improve safety, the Aviation Summit finds that elements of the current Civil Aviation Act are not fit for purpose.

Specifically, §9A, Performance of Functions, imposes upon CASA a limitation that impedes the development of performance-based regulation and the safety benefits that would otherwise be achieved. §9A (1) requires that, in exercising its powers and performing its functions, CASA must regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration and there is an urgent need to address this anomaly.

2.4.1. The Aviation Summit supports a review of the Civil Aviation Act, to include as a minimum, a repeal of §9A (1) and a replacement with the following language:
9A Performance of functions

(1) In exercising its powers and performing its functions, CASA must seek to achieve the highest level of safety in air navigation as well as:

(a) maintaining an efficient and sustainable Australian aviation industry, including a viable general aviation and training sector;

(b) the need for more people to benefit from civil aviation.

2.4.2. The Summit delegates support the need to amend, as soon as possible, the Object of the Civil Aviation Act and other aviation related Acts, without reducing the primacy of safety, to include an amended Object to support a sustainable and viable aviation industry;

The main objective of the Act is to establish a regulatory framework for maintaining, enhancing and promoting the safety of civil aviation with particular emphasis on preventing aviation accidents and incidents;

In addition to this, the objects must include:

i. a strong, efficient and sustainable aviation industry;
ii. enabling more people to benefit from aviation; and
iii. emphasis on substantially reducing the administrative and financial burden of regulatory compliance.

(Note: the final wording will be decided between both the Minister and Shadow Minister)

2.4.3. The summit delegates also support the inclusion of government’s Red Tape Policy to be permanently inserted in Section 98.

2.5 recommend establishment of an Office of Aviation Industry in the Department of Infrastructure and Transport to engage and assist industry to further foster and develop aviation both domestically and internationally; and

2.6 recommend that there are a number of advances in aviation safety and amenity that can be made within the current regulations and responsibilities.

The summit seeks to have an established programme to identify, prioritise and implement a programme of these changes with defined time-frames and covering CASA, ASA and Aerodrome Operators (see ANNEX 1)

Wagga meeting today

I have been listening since 10am this morning to the experienced aviators in Wagga today.

Hopefully this will not be the result from the meeting!!.

I am the eternal optimist!

The programme is extensive displaying the depth of experience.

The drive by the AOPA Board to this end, started by the Dick Smith Oration is to be commended. Opened by new AOPA chair, Aminta Hennessy who set a challenge to Michael McCormack to make Australian aviation great once again.

And as the chair of IAOPA [Mr Craig Spence, Secretary General of iAOPA] said, aviation is an essential part of infrastructure the world over and must be nurtured and developed without over zealous regulator interference.

Recordings from Wagga

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

News Reports:

Prime News

WIN News


1. The Mayor, City of Wagga Wagga, Councillor Greg Conkey OAM
2. Deputy Prime Minister, The Hon Michael McCormack MP
3. The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Shadow Minister
4. Member for Mount Isa, The Hon Robert Katter MP
5. Senator for Western Australia, Senator Slade Brockman
6. Senator for Queensland, Senator Fraser Anning
7. Senator South Australia, Senator Rex Patrick, Represented by Jonathan Sharman
8. Senator South Australia, David Fawcett, Represented by Mr Micah Wright-Taylor
9. Senate RRAT Committee Secretary, Dr Jane Thomson
10. Department of Infrastructure, Mr Jim Wolfe
11. Department of Infrastructure, Ms Melissa Cashman
12. Aviation Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Stephen Campbell
13. Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Group Manager, Mr Rob Walker
14. Airservices Australia, Mr Stephen Angus
15. Australian Transport Safety Bureau, TBA
16. iAOPA Secretary General, Mr Craig Spence
17. University of New South Wales, Prof Ian Hampson
18. Falcon Air Safety Officer, Mr Ken Lewis


1. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Australia (AOPA Australia)
2. Aircraft Electronics Association – South Pacific Region (AEA)
3. Aircraft Maintenance Repair Overhaul Business Association (AMROBA)
4. Airtourer Association (AA)
5. Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia (AAAA)
6. Australian Aircraft Manufacturers Association (AAMA)
7. Australian Beechcraft Society (ABA)
8. Australian Business Aviation Association (ABAA)
9. Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association (ALAEA)
10. Australian Mooney Pilots Association (AMPA)
11. Australian Parachute Federation (APF)
12. Australian Piper Society Inc (APS)
13. Cessna 182 Association of Australia (C182AA)
14. Cessna 200 Association of Australia (C200AA)
15. Cirrus Owner Pilots Association of Australia (COPA)
16. Colour Vision Deficient Pilots Association (CVDPA)
17. Experimental Light Aircraft Association of Australia (ELAAA)
18. Gliding Federation of Australia (GFA)
19. Hang Gliding Federation of Australia (HGFA)
20. International Comanche Society – Australia (ICSA)
21. Lancair Owner Builder Organisation (LOBO)
22. Recreational Aviation Australia Limited (RAAUS)
23. Regional Airports User Action Group (RAUAG)
24. Sport Aircraft Association of Australia (SAAA)
25. Seaplane Pilots Association of Australia (SPAA)
26. Australian Aero Clubs Alliance (AACA)
27. Your Central Coast Airport Association (YCCA)
29. Rotorcraft Asia Pacific– Observer Only**
30. Angel Flight Australia (AFA) – Observer Only**
31. Royal Federation of Aero Clubs (RFAC) – Observer Only**
32. Australian Women Pilots Association (AWPA) – Observer Only**
33. Australian Warbirds Association Limited (AWAL) – Observer Only**
34. Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) – Observer Only*
35. GARMIN Australia – Observer Only**
36. Hawker Pacific – Observer Only**
37. Thomas Global Systems – Observer Only**

#casa ICC – Industry Complaints Commissioner

The #casa ICC [Industry Complaints Commissioner] is, from the #casa web site:

CASA industry complaints commissioner

The office of the industry complaints commissioner (ICC) reports directly to the CASA Board.

It does not sit within CASA’s organisational structure to ensure independence and impartiality.

The ICC provides members of the industry, the wider aviation community and the public with an easy, accessible and effective way to make a complaint about:

  • the decisions, administrative actions or services provided by CASA staff, delegates or authorised persons to determine if they are wrong, unjust, unlawful, discriminatory or unfair; and
  • the behaviour of CASA staff.

Governance Arangements

Looking at process from this weeks Senate Estimates [May-2018] gives an idea as to the interference made by CEO Carmody in influencing the process of independence and impartiality.

At Senate Estimates, Carmody, in answer to Senator Patrick said:

I believe that pressure from the CEO of #casa, on the ICC is improper.

Ethics and Conduct Committee

The internal process of the Ethics and Conduct Committee was disbanded during 2017. This removes a layer for the complaint process.

It should be remembered that a Code of Conduct violation and a Criminal Offence by a #casa staff member are two different issues.

The #casa annual report says: Some minor changes to the governance arrangements were approved by the Board in April 2017.

A criminal offence is a criminal offence.

Criminal offence

An action which is punishable under the law [Collins Dictionary]

The WIKI definition is as follows:

In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority.[1] The term “crime” does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,[2] though statutory definitions have been provided for certain purposes.[3] The most popular view is that crime is a category created by law; in other words, something is a crime if declared as such by the relevant and applicable law.[2] One proposed definition is that a crime or offence (or criminal offence) is an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society or the state (“a public wrong“).

Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law.[1][4]


Overly prescriptive methodology by #casa confirmed

Senate Estimates May 2018#casa answers Senator Patrick Questions

The overly prescriptive methodology by #casa has been confirmed in the answer to a complaint by #casa Industry Complaints Officer, Jonathon Hanton.

This prescriptive approach fails to meet industry needs [Complaint by Steve Purvinas, Secretary Australian Licenced Aircraft Engineers Association]

This is the ultimate paragraph from the ICC letter, which is produced below.

The important feature here, in reading the ICC letter written to Steve Purvinas, regarding a tyre showing steel protruding from the tyre and whether or not the tyre should have been replaced prior to it’s reported flight: is the overly prescriptive instructions and micromanagement of the industry,

Question should be:

What was the risk entailed in the next flight??

rather than:

Was safety impinged??

Alan Jones and Dick Smith on Flying Training

Alan Jones talks to Dick Smith about flying training today [30th May 2018]

Dick Smith Oration

LNP policy support for immediate changes to Civil Aviation Act and review and change the regulations.

In July 2015, Dick Smith made earlier comments on the #casa malaise

How do I see this in 2018??

We now have a system where there is micro-management, poor relationships with participants and a lot of difference from 1969. Just look at the Dick Smith data.

Is it better?

The PelAir ditching tells us of a similar story.

Lucky individuals, saved by a vigilant group of locals prepared to put to sea in a lifeboat in 3-metre seas.

A recalcitrant regulator – #casa.



ABC interview with AOPA’s Benjamin Morgan

ABC interview with AOPA’s Benjamin Morgan

This is the Anne Delaney ABC interview this morning [2nd May 2018]



Civil Aviation Act – Act now

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Australia


AOPA Australia President, Marc De Stoop, and Executive Director, Benjamin Morgan, and AMROBA Executive Director, Ken Cannane, today met with Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack to discuss our support for changes to the Civil Aviation Act and the need for immediate general aviation reforms.

The Minister recognised our industry’s need for change and acknowledged the efforts of AOPA Australia member, Dick Smith, in building broader awareness on the issue.

With respect to the proposed changes, the Minister has called for general aviation consensus, to assist the government in this process.

The AOPA Australia through our Australian General Aviation Alliance will now hold a General Aviation Summit in Wagga Wagga on the 4th to 6th June 2018, inviting representatives from all general aviation associations to participate.

The purpose of the Summit will be to develop a consensus proposal for the government on the issue of change to the Civil Aviation Act.

The Summit will be chaired by Mr Geoff Breust, former Managing Director of Regional Express.

The Minister has invited our associations back to Canberra for a follow-up meeting and we are looking forward to working with the Government to achieve this important reform for all of general aviation.

AOPA Australia – Executive Director
Email: ben.morgan@aopa.com.au
Mobile: 0415 577 724

Dick Smith Oration

On the 26th April 2018, Dick Smith spoke in Wagga NSW about the challenges facing #aviation.

In the talk, which is below for an almost 20-minute listen, calls for substantial changes to the Civil Aviation Act [CAAct], which will immediately benefit the direction of #aviation and #saveGA.

Further Dick calls for the introduction of the US-FAR’s which could be undertaken quickly and change #aviation into a dynamic powerhouse, given the benefits of Australia’s good weather in the Flying School space.

There is already policy support from the Queensland LNP and it’s stated policy from July 2017.


Dick Smith’s 6-point plan:

Image may contain: text























The Act:

This is the proposal Dick refers to in the Oration:











Dick Smith’s Oration in Wagga

CAsA’s definitive effect on aviation compared to a continuing rise of the regulator’s costs to Government:



Prior to John Anderson changes

Anderson “fingered” by Dick Smith as real cause of aviation industry woes.

Dick Smith visits Wagga, calling out Deputy PM Michael McCormack on government’s aviation policy

CALLED OUT: Dick Smith held an open forum in Wagga on Thursday morning to ramp up pressure on the Turnbull government to reform the aviation industry. Picture: Les Smith

CALLED OUT: Dick Smith held an open forum in Wagga on Thursday morning to ramp up pressure on the Turnbull government to reform the aviation industry. Picture: Les Smith

Iconic Australian businessman and aviation advocate Dick Smith visited Wagga on Thursday morning to call for an extensive overhaul to the country’s aviation industry.

Mr Smith called out the government for introducing regulation after regulation in the name of safety without considering the costs piling up on flight training schools.

“We’re here today because successive National Party ministers who have been responsible for transport and aviation have allowed the destruction of the general aviation industry in this country,” Mr Smith said.

“Every couple of months, more rules come out that add to costs and, if CASA has its way, it will send that (Wagga) Rex flight school into bankruptcy.”

Mr Smith said he was deeply concerned about the future of Australia’s aviation industry in light of the rising pressure on flight training schools.

“So we’re now in a position where Qantas and Virgin are demanding 457 visas to get pilots from overseas – that is outrageous – we’re now in a position where it’s only going to be the children of the very wealthy who are going to be able to learn to fly,” he said.


Mr Smith also called out new Minister for Infrastructure and Transport and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack for failing to honour a bipartisan agreement to review aviation legislation.

“I’m calling on the new minister to go ahead with the Barnaby Joyce-Anthony Albanese agreement to change the act so it allows costs to be looked at – it’s just common sense,” he said.

“They were about to do it, it was bipartisan, then Barnaby Joyce resigned, and now you have a new minister who doesn’t support it.”

Mr McCormack, however, said he was not willing to rush change at the cost of safety.

“I’ve had a number of discussions with Dick Smith, and I appreciate that the industry wants to see changes made as soon as possible, but what I won’t do for anyone is rush policy change, especially when there might be safety implications,” Mr McCormack said.

“It’s all well and good to bind me to the Barnaby Joyce agreement, but the fact is Barnaby is not transport minister anymore and, while I appreciate that he had discussions with Anthony Albanese, I was not in on those discussions.”

#aviation is important, but so is transport safety

Some, almost 50 years ago, there was a collision of the First class rail service – The Southern Aurora and a north bound freight train just south of Violet Town in Victoria.

We know that in the current climate, #aviation is important, but so is transport safety.

On 7th February 221969 at about 0708, the Southern Aurora, traveling south, with a deceased train driver, hit a north bound freight train. The accident killed 9 passengers and crew, just 900 metres south of the Violet Town station on the relatively new standard gauge track.

The Violet Town residents – Firies, Ambo’s, Red Cross, Bush Nursing Hospital, Police, Station staff, passers-by , local Doctor’s and numerous others just went to the scene and helped rescue people, remove bodies, put out the fire and generally work to help all involved.

I know, because I was there.

I had not been to the scene until early February 2017, some 48-years later, when asked by an ABC stringer to describe what confronted me that day, almost 48-years earlier.

A scene where here were stainless steel carriages stacked over 11 metres in the  air. Carriages which were still linked by the carriage links and the wheels shorn off in a huge stack just at the intersection of the standard gauge rail line and the Dookie Road crossing.

We worked through the morning to free injured people [over 110] and remove the bodies of the sadly deceased people.

Lots of stories, but I have never spoken about it, just finishing the job, going home and getting on with life.

The only thing I have spoken about is the 6 1/2 year old girl who tumbled the 11-metres through a window and onto the train engine through a circular window onto the actual engine. We didn’t find her for almost 6-hours.

I am looking forward to meeting this young lady shortly.

2019, 7th February will be the 50th anniversary of this accident, with a memorial weekend in the planning.

The planning team hope to see as many people involved, family members, participants and supporters of what was an important event in Australia.

An event of national significance and one that deserves a lasting memorial.

Plans are afoot to meet this aim.


The ABC on the Back Roads programme ran some footage of the event:


How do I see this in 2018??

We now have a system where there is micro-management, poor relationships with participants and a lot of difference from 1969.

Is it better?

The PelAir ditching tells us of a similar story.

Lucky individuals, saved by a vigilant group of locals prepared to put to sea in a lifeboat in 3-metre seas.

A recalcitrant regulator – #casa.

The Border Mail

Violet Town has big plans for 50th anniversary of Southern Aurora crash with goods train

Grisly scene: Two of the Southern Aurora carriages that jerked into the air when the inter-capital train collided with a freight locomotive at Violet Town.

Grisly scene: Two of the Southern Aurora carriages that jerked into the air when the inter-capital train collided with a freight locomotive at Violet Town.

AS a teenage boy, 49 years ago, Bruce Cumming’s preparations for school were punctuated by a loud noise.

That bang, 12 kilometres away from his family’s farm, was to put his town on front pages of newspapers across Australia.

“There was a ribbon of smoke going up in the air,” Mr Cumming recalled.

Townsfolk descended on the scene, with the community hall turned into a makeshift hospital with 30 to 40 injured lying on stretchers.

The Southern Aurora’s driver John Bowden, of Wodonga, had died from heart failure before the crash, resulting in his train failing to stop at a loop to allow the wagons to pass.

Front page news: Bruce Cumming with his copy of The Age the day after the Southern Aurora train disaster at Violet Town on February 7, 1969. Picture: MARK JESSER

Front page news: Bruce Cumming with his copy of The Age the day after the Southern Aurora train disaster at Violet Town on February 7, 1969. Picture: MARK JESSER

Another eight people died, including Wodonga’s Lawrence Rosevear, the driver of the goods train, as the locomotives collided at the McDiarmids Road crossing, 900 metres south of the Violet Town station.

As a student at the time, Mr Cumming was fascinated and he has kept newspapers from the day after the crash on February 7, 1969.

But the self-described amateur historian does not believe enough has been done to commemorate the crash and the deeds of rescuers and helpers.

“We did think when the 30th and the 40th anniversaries came about we should do something, but it’s really taken until now for the community to say we really need to do something,” Mr Cumming said.

“There were quite a few people that were heroic on the day and we want to do something while they’re still around.”

Mr Cumming said visitors to Violet Town regularly inquired about the tragedy, but the sole memorial was a plaque on a rock at the crash scene.

“No disrespect, but the only name mentioned on the plaque is a public transport official, there is no names of the people that were killed or the people from the area that received awards for helping,” he said.

To remedy that, there are plans for signage to be erected at the site detailing what occurred and naming the dead and the helpers.

Lone memorial: This plaque on a rock at the site of the crash is the only formal recognition at Violet Town for the collision between trains in 1969.

Lone memorial: This plaque on a rock at the site of the crash is the only formal recognition at Violet Town for the collision between trains in 1969.

A path linking the train station and crash site would also be constructed as well as a memorial garden featuring a sculpture likely to depict helping hands .

Mr Cumming expects the tributes to be in place for the 50th anniversary commemoration next year.

A weekend of events are planned for the occasion with hopes the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove will attend after an invitation to Queen Elizabeth was turned down.

The homage, Mr Cumming said, would reflect how the town rallied when “a disaster appeared on the doorstep”.

Senate Additional Estimates – 27th February 2018 #casa fail to meet time limit

The start of 2018, with the Senate Additional Estimates due on the 27th February 2018 is upon us.

#casa is not off to a flying start, with outstanding answers due from the last Senate estimates, some 3-months ago.

Is this another “finger-up” exercise??

Where is the #casa Board on this, as it appears to be an organisation out of control and as you read through the Questions on Notice [QON] by the Senator’s, the lack of leadership by Carmody is obvious.

And his right hand man, the Discrepant Doctor Aleck is in best “dodging the question” mode. By the way, Aleck became Head of #casa legal again during the deck chair shuffle in 2017.

Perhaps a new year will shuffle in “The Rise of The Drones”, which can be brought down by well prepared Senator’s.

Questions on notice from 23rd October 2017 RRAT Senate Estimates

A good example of how Carmody deals with people who he answers to – the Senator’s

Imagine how he would handle those who are liable for #casa actions.

Question on notice no. 112  Portfolio question number: 461

2017-18 Supplementary budget estimates

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

Senator Janet Rice: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 23 October 2017—

What is the status of the flight crew fatigue rules, under CAO 48.1, currently?

  1. Have the anticipated changes been delayed? If so, for how long, and why?
  2. When is it anticipated that these fatigue rules will be in place?

Question on notice no. 113  Portfolio question number: 436

2017-18 Supplementary budget estimates

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

Senator Glenn Sterle: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 27 October 2017

ACTING CHAIR: You are inconsistent you being CASA. Let’s talk about the fellow who flew the drone down to Bunnings to pick up the sausage. What fine did he get?

Mr Carmody: I don’t know. One of my colleagues would know.

Senator GALLACHER: $3,000, wasn’t it?

ACTING CHAIR: Let’s get it out. I’d ask it to be on the record so every Australian can hear it: as long as you are a pilot and it’s the firsttime, you’re going to get away with it. Ready kids? All the kids are going to get the drones for this Christmas. There are rules that say you can’t do this, but it depends on who you are. There seems to be one rule for one and rules for others. I’m waiting for whoever you can bring up, Mr Carmody, because I really want to know why a pilot can fly a drone over Parliament House and then just get a tap on the toenail. But let’s hear what happened to the gentleman who flew his drone down to Bunnings to pick up a sausage.

Mr Carmody: I haven’t got the details. I’m waiting for one of my colleagues, who I hope will have the details of the offence. We’ll have to dig it up…

Mr Carmody: Dr Aleck will have some details about penalties.

Dr Aleck: I regret to say that I don’t have these identified by the Bunnings event.

Senator STERLE: Do you want me to google it?

Dr Aleck: I recall I will confirm this that that matter did invite an infringement notice.

Senator GALLACHER: $3,000 is what was reported.

Dr Aleck: Whatever the penalty was, if that was the case.

Senator GALLACHER: He put it on Facebook that his drone went down, picked up a sausage, came back. You looked at that and fined him $3,000. Dr Aleck: I believe that was the case, and I’m not doubting it. I’ll confirm it.

Question on notice no. 114

Portfolio question number: 437

2017-18 Supplementary budget estimates

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

Senator Barry O’Sullivan: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 27 October 2017—

CHAIR: I hope you don’t mind me interjecting. I wasn’t even going to buy into this I was half asleep here when this started. Do you mind if I return to a line of questioning of Dr Aleck? So far you’ve indicated that you identified one person and you reflected on the inability to identify others because you weren’t aware of their identity. So the one person you spoke to was a member of parliament.

Let me ask you, Dr Aleck:  surely, question 101 from your investigator would be to the member of parliament, ‘Who else was here?’ and I assume the member of parliament ought to be able to tell you, with about 80 or 90 per cent accuracy, how many people were here and who they were. My question is very specific: did your investigator ask the individual, the member of parliament who you’re about to identify, who else was present and how
many there were?

Dr Aleck: If our investigator had the opportunity to speak with them

CHAIR: If you don’t know the answer, Dr Aleck, say, ‘I do not know the answer.’

Dr Aleck: I do not know the answer, but I can assure you that the question

CHAIR: No, there’s no need for you to editorialise. I ask you to take on notice, with your investigator, whether they asked the member of parliament about who was there and how many there were. But you’re about to identify the member of parliament who was interviewed.

Dr Aleck: The member of parliament whose office was contacted was Michelle Landry and, as I explained, our efforts to interview Ms Landry were unsuccessful at this point.

CHAIR: So we’re dealing in months here. How many efforts have been made to engage with Ms Landry over the months?

Dr Aleck: I’ll take that on notice, but Ms Landry was identified only relatively recently. We had misidentified her as somebody else in the frame and that was corrected.

Question on notice no. 115  Portfolio question number: 438

2017-18 Supplementary budget estimates

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

Senator Glenn Sterle: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 27 October 2017

Senator STERLE: I’ll make a statement here, rather than a question. You ping any other Australian for breaking these rules, and you don’t think we’re going to come back here and say, ‘Here we go again’? You cannot be serious. You are the enforcers.
You are the ones who lay down the rules. You are so blinded because politicians or political employees can get away with murder around your rules defend that.

Mr Carmody: I’m happy to provide on notice lists of where we’ve provided counselling letters for similar offences. I didn’t realise that, from what Senator Gallacher said, you were after a higher standard. I thought you were after the same standard. We’re very happy to provide on notice where we’ve issued counselling letters as well, if that would help.

Senator STERLE: Have you had to counsel any pilots for breaking your rules for usage of drones?

Mr Carmody: I’d have to take it on notice. We’ve counselled a number of people. As I said, it depends on the circumstance. We’ve fined a number of people, and it depends on the circumstance.

Question on notice no. 116  Portfolio question number: 439

2017-18 Supplementary budget estimates

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

Senator Barry O’Sullivan: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 27 October 2017—

CHAIR: I’m not done. If you’d like some names, Dr Aleck: the Deputy Prime Minister, Senator Canavan, Mr Perrett, Mr McCormack and Mr Buchholz were there, and I’ll have some more for you in the fullness of time. My question to you is did your investigators even interview the operator of the drone?

Dr Aleck: Yes.

CHAIR: Did they ask him who else was present or what numbers were present?

Dr Aleck: I’ll take that question on notice. I assume they conducted a normal investigation, which would have involved questions of that.

Question on notice no. 117 Portfolio question number: 440

2017-18 Supplementary budget estimates

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

Senator Barry O’Sullivan: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 27 October 2017—

CHAIR: You’re telling me someone started an investigation and interviewed an individual, at least with a view to a prosecution, and didn’t record it to the standard that would be required to underpin that prosecution? Are there no notes, no contemporaneous record of the conversation, no recording taped, no video or otherwise? Is that what you’re telling us? Dr Aleck: I will only say that the maximum consequence of such an event was an infringement notice. I’m not aware of matters of that kind.

CHAIR: That is not the burden of my question. Are you telling this committee that your investigator, confronted with a witness or a potential offender, who you say wasn’t totally cooperative, did not record in any shape or form the interview that took place?

Dr Aleck: I said I don’t believe so, but I’ll confirm that.

Question on notice no. 119 Portfolio question number: 442

2017-18 Supplementary budget estimates

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

Senator Nick Xenophon: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 27 October

Senator XENOPHON: It is a sensitive issue. The standard form recommendation, as I understand it, is a document relating to adding references to a flight crew licence condition. Is that right?

Mr Carmody: In reality it’s a recommendation that might have many functions. It’s a way of combining information to a decision-maker like me, a recommendation for us to take a particular course of action. So it might not be
licensing; it could be anything.

Senator XENOPHON: Sure, but the normal course is that for the document to be a valid document, it ought to be a signed document is that right?

Mr Carmody: Yes, that would be reasonable.

Senator XENOPHON: That’s in terms of the appropriateness. My understanding is that a recommendation was made, but it was not signed off. In other words, are you satisfied, and you may want to take this on notice, that the standard form recommendation that I have referred you to is appropriately executed so as to be a valid document?

Mr Carmody: I’d have to take it on notice. I haven’t got the document. I don’t know the date of the document.

Senator XENOPHON: I’m happy for you to take that on notice, but I’ve got concerns as to the validity of the document in relation to that. This document relates to Mr James having to take a proficiency check prior to being able to act as a pilot in command of a multicrew aircraft. I’ve provided you with a copy of that. It’s a form signed by Mr Roger Chambers, but my understanding is that it is not properly endorsed. Are you able to confirm that, or do you need to take that on notice?

Mr Carmody: I’ll take that on notice.

Question on notice no. 120 Portfolio question number: 443

2017-18 Supplementary budget estimates

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

Senator Nick Xenophon: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 27 October 2017—

Senator XENOPHON: So there’s a question there: is the standard form recommendation incomplete? I asked you to take that on notice. If it is in some way incomplete or deficient, that may have some bearing on the decision-making process of CASA. It’s a technical question, but could you take that on notice?

Mr Carmody: I’ll take it on notice, but if it’s a current standard form recommendation, then, as I said before, that’s why I’d like to review it. The standard form recommendation that I assume underpins the original decision probably has not changed. Anyway, I’ll take it on notice and have a look at it.

Question on notice no. 121  Portfolio question number: 444

2017-18 Supplementary budget estimates

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

Senator Nick Xenophon: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 27 October 2017—

Senator XENOPHON: I’ll put this in general terms. There’s an issue of process that I’m concerned about. The names of the individuals aren’t so key to this. Who was authorised to see the draft report, as to the processes involved for that? Can you take that on notice?

Mr Carmody: Certainly.

Senator XENOPHON: Were there any individuals who weren’t authorised to see the report who did see the report?

Mr Carmody: I’ll take both of those on notice. The draft report is provided to us to provide comment on, and you would expect my inspectorate those who are involved in the matter to be reviewing that report and providing comment

Question on notice no. 122  Portfolio question number: 445

2017-18 Supplementary budget estimates

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

Senator Nick Xenophon: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 27 October 2017—

Senator XENOPHON: Does that relate to documents such as standard form recommendations or not?

Dr Aleck: I think under the FOI legislation there are some limitations about what goes on there. But anything that we’re required to post publicly will be on there.

Senator XENOPHON: So there’s no question that these documents that weren’t posted publicly should have been posted publicly?

Can you take that into account?

Dr Aleck: If they were within the category of documents that ought to have been identified then I…

Senator XENOPHON: If you could take that on notice.

Dr Aleck: I will, yes.

Question on notice no. 123  Portfolio question number: 446

2017-18 Supplementary budget estimates

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

Senator Nick Xenophon: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 27 October 2017—

Senator XENOPHON: It’s good to clarify that. I’m almost finished. The Senate inquiry some time ago found that there were a number of points of fault in the Pel-Air incident. It’s clear there are a number of impositions on Mr James. Can CASA advise what other officials or what other entities by title, not name have had a remedial action placed on them in terms of whether there were multiple points of fault leading to this incident?

Mr Carmody: Sorry, Senator, can I just clarify that. Are you talking specifically about the Pel-Air incident?

Senator XENOPHON: Yes, I am.

Mr Carmody: And whether we have placed restrictions on anyone else? Senator

XENOPHON: Yes. Mr Carmody: I can take it on notice, but I understand the only restriction that was placed would be a restriction placed on the pilot in command, at this stage. I don’t believe any other restrictions have been placed on the first officer, but I can check.

Senator XENOPHON: And not on management issues with Pel-Air and their systems? Mr Carmody: I don’t know whether that leads to any restrictions, but I’ll take that on notice. Senator XENOPHON: And, on notice, there are issues of air traffic control and weather forecasting, so, if not restrictions, were there recommendations made in relation to improvements of that?

Mr Carmody: Certainly I’m aware that a number of changes or improvements were made post that accident, but I can provide those responses on notice. I think they’ve been provided before, but I’m quite happy to provide them.

Senator XENOPHON: Okay. On notice, after the release of the report, can you advise the committee of every person who was identified as contributing to the accident directly or indirectly and any action that CASA has taken in respect of those persons. That is something that can be done after the ATSB report.

Mr Carmody: We will have to wait for the ATSB report, but ertainly.

Question on notice no. 124  Portfolio question number: 447

2017-18 Supplementary budget estimates

Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, Infrastructure and Regional Development Portfolio

Senator Glenn Sterle: asked the Civil Aviation Safety Authority on 27 October 2017

Senator STERLE: Mr Carmody, I know you are just going to have a read of that, but I want to be very, very precise here. Dr Aleck, I’m going to ask you, in terms of your investigation and interviewing of Mr Ashby, did your investigators ask Mr Ashby if he sought approval to fly the drone over Parliament House from any government agency, department or bodysecurity agency?

Dr Aleck: I will take your question on notice as to whether he was asked if he had asked permission, but what we do have in the material in fact that’s before me now is that we inquired of the AFP and of the organiser of the event, and no permission was sought of those

Senator STERLE: I will come back a couple of steps. Can you tell this committee: did your investigators ask Mr Ashby or did Mr Ashby offer advice or answer your investigators’ questions that he sought approval from the AFP to fly the drone?

Dr Aleck: That information I haven’t looked all through this yet, but I can’t answer that question at the moment. I’m not aware of that, but I haven’t looked thoroughly at the materials.

Senator STERLE: How long would it take you to get that information?

Dr Aleck: Whether our investigator asked Mr Ashby that question?

Senator STERLE: Whether Mr Ashby offered an answer to your investigators that he sought approval to fly the drone over
Parliament House on that day from the AFP?

Dr Aleck: It shouldn’t take long.

Senator STERLE: Thank you. I’ll wait for that answer.

Problems in #aviation in regional and Rural Queensland

The article in the Mt Isa paper demonstrates only part of the problem facing #aviation in Australia. A lot of these problems have been foisted on us by an unworkable aviation rule set, price gouging by Councils [and airport “owners”], air services charges, ASIC issues,  security, #casa impossible and micro management rules.

The Mayor gets some of this complex situation, but, respectfully, needs to look deeper at the malaise that pervades the aviation industry as a whole.

Now we have various Council’s trying to overcharge GA [General Aviation] aircraft for usage and parking.A good example is the recent case where Wagga Council backed out of charging for overnight stays and excessive cost imposed on GA aircraft and owner’s in the past 2 weeks.

AOPA Australia is dealing with some of the matters:

Airservices Australia

Another major problem.

Further, the effect of the bad regulatory set that the regulator has “developed”, is having serious impacts on rural and regional areas throughout Australia, but particularly in Queensland, NT and Western Australia on the following areas: 

  1. Maintenance; 
  2. Pilot training; 
  3. Pilot availability; 
  4. Ownership; 
  5. Engineer training 
  6. Aviation medicals 
  7. Compatibility with overseas regulations and certification 
  8. Other matters 

Parts 61, 141, 91, 125, 135, 66, 146 CASR 2016, 210 CAAct s9A, 28BD all demonstrate the problems of CASA, who attempt to micro manage an industry out of existence. 

There is some good news amongst this, the LNP in Queensland are moving towards appropriate changes to the Aviation Act, to reflect risk management, rather than the un-measurable “safety” as reflected in s9A and deal with the underlying issues of broadly “corruption” using the route of a judicial inquiry.

Judicial inquiry policy for QLD LNP of #casa

The North West Star

High priced airfares affecting Mount Isa’s economy

INFLATED PRICES: Mount Isa City Council is demanding a better deal from airlines and Government to help stimulate the region’s economy. Photo: Supplied

INFLATED PRICES: Mount Isa City Council is demanding a better deal from airlines and Government to help stimulate the region’s economy. Photo: Supplied

Mount Isa City Council is demanding a better deal from airlines and governments to help stimulate the region’s economy and make air travel more affordable for local families.

Mayor Joyce McCulloch said high priced air travel was holding back efforts to attract new jobs and investment to Mount Isa and isolating those who chose to live and work in the city.

Council said it had prepared a detailed submission to the Senate inquiry investigating the operation, regulation and funding of air services to rural, regional and remote communities.

The submission follows a Mount Isa City Council motion at the Australian Local Government Association annual conference in Canberra in June 2017 calling for the federal government “to ensure the cost of airfares and transport in remote and rural areas provides economic and affordable access to all residents.”

Cr McCulloch said the excessive cost of air travel for Mount Isa residents and visitors was unjust and out of step with government objectives to develop northern Australia and grow regional economies.

“How can the Australian Government talk up the development of northern Australia when airfares out of Mount Isa are three times the cost of flights from metropolitan centres?” she said.

“It’s cheaper to fly internationally than it is from Mount Isa to Brisbane.”

Cr McCulloch said Qantas and other airlines profited from people’s stress and grief in emergencies, charging huge sums for people who booked late while the planes themselves were not optimal.

“Qantas aircraft used on the Mount Isa routes are often ageing and unreliable, and onboard food and entertainment can be rare luxuries,” she said.

The council’s recommendations are grouped around five themes: airfare parity, price monitoring, cost reductions, competition enhancements and subsidies.

They called on “governments and industry” to:

  • Act to ensure airfares in regional; and remote Queensland are comparable in price to air services between the major metropolitan centres in Australia and along coastal Queensland
  • Remove excise taxed on aviation fuel used by regional and remote airlines and exempting regional airlines from paying  Airservices Australia charges
  • Direct the ACCC to monitor prices at Australia’s regional airports and to approve the prices at the major airports for regional air services
  • Allow overseas airlines to operate in regional Australia
  • Establish an ongoing, formalised program of cooperation between Government and regional airlines to identify further opportunities to reduce airline operating costs.

Cr McCulloch said they also called on the Queensland government to expand its financial support for aviation in regional parts of the state.

“The Queensland government’s per capita expenditure on public transport in regional and remote Queensland should at least match their per capita expenditure in south-east Queensland,” she said.

“This is about a fair go for regional Queensland, plain and simple, and we welcome this opportunity to make our voices heard.”

Another #casa fail – FOI’s [freedom of information] requests not met by #casa

The following are a series of FOI requests made to #casa recently. The basis of the #casa response is refusal for a FOI. This is traced to the #casa legal branch and either Adam Anastasi or Jonathon Aleck involved.

The FOI disclosure log has been interfered with to the point where FOI’s, legitimately made and met [either in part or in full] are not displayed.









A recent request elicited almost 70MB of data from #casa. This was a request for this information that had been previously on the #casa dFOI disclosure log but had been removed. The Right-to-Know web site was accessed to gain this information.

The following had been obtained by a RTK member – and said to be all the publicly released FOI’s:









Well short of the FOI’s applied for by the public. I am aware of another 20 FOI applications on RTK not on the #casa disclosure log.

The log shows:

The following was on the #casa site:

The CASA log today [15th January 2018]:


9 September 2016 Risk assessments for the changes to CASR Part 101 to determine any possible risk or hazard it would present to current aviation activities and the general public.
4 August 2015 Documents containing data relating to the 46 reported engine failures in 2014 involving Jabiru powered aircraft.
10 March 2015 Copies of the CASR Part 145 AMC/GM initial issue and various revisions.
30 June 2014 Documents relating to Brisbane West Wellcamp Aerodrome. s.47F, s.47E(d) and s.47
20 June 2014 Dr Navathe’s Report following his attendance at the AMA Meeting in San Diego in May 2014.

Last modified: 15 January 2018

Well short of the FOI’s applied for by the public. I am aware of another 20 FOI applications on RTK not on the #casa disclosure log.

Some recent activity seeking FOI’s:

Josh Hoch/ Hoch Air Pty Ltd Air Operators Certificate and Aircraft ownership

xxxxx  made this Freedom of Information request to Civil Aviation Safety Authority

The request was partially successful.

 From: xxxxx


Dear Civil Aviation Safety Authority,

The following documents are being sought for the purposes of the Freedom of information Act.

All documents including but not limited to:
 Correspondence;
 File Notes;
 Meeting Notes;
 Internal Memo’s;
 Diary/ calendar entries;
 Telephone records;
 All data electronically collected, being by mobile phone, Dictaphone, tape recorder or mp3/4 recorder or other means
 E-mails;
 All database entries including entries into Sky Sentinel, TRIM and AIRS;
 Images;
 Individual FOI [Flight Operation Inspector], AWI comments and resulting documentation;
 All supervisory staff records relating to the matter;
 If referred to the CASA Board, all related Board minutes, discussions and recommendations made to advise CASA as to direction for the Board in relation to this

In relation to:

Josh Hoch and/or Hoch Air Pty Ltd and application(s) for an Air Operators Certificate between January 2013 and December 2017 and aircraft owned/ operated by either or both the entities.

Yours faithfully,

Link to this

From: Gobbitt, David
Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Good morning xxxxx,

I refer to your request for access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

We received your request on 1 January 2018 and the 30 day statutory period for processing your request commenced from the day after that date. You should therefore expect a decision from us by 1 February 2018.

The period of 30 days may be extended if we need to consult third parties or for other reasons. We will advise you if this happens.

You will be notified of any charges in relation to your request as soon as possible, before we process any requested documents or impose a final charge.

When we have made a decision about your FOI request, we will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.

We will contact you using the email address you provided. Please advise if you would prefer us to use an alternative means of contact.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

David Gobbitt
Freedom of Information Officer
Legal and Regulatory Affairs Division
Advisory and Drafting Branch
Civil Aviation Safety Authority

p: 02 6217 1281
GPO Box 2005 CANBERRA ACT 2606
show quoted sections

Link to this

 From: Gobbitt, David

Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Attachment Letter to xxxxxx Hoch Air sent 9 Jan 18.pdf
101K Download View as HTML

Good afternoon xxxxx,

Please see attached practical refusal letter regarding your request.

Grateful if you are able to consider revising the scope of your request, and happy to discuss further in relation to this.

David Gobbitt
Freedom of Information Officer
Legal and Regulatory Affairs Division
Advisory and Drafting Branch
Civil Aviation Safety Authority

p: 02 6217 1281
GPO Box 2005 CANBERRA ACT 2606
show quoted sections

Link to this

xxxxxx left an annotation ()

Have contacted FOI officer and requested dates relating to the AOC application and issuance.

Link to this

 From: Gobbitt, David

Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Attachment Letter to xxxxx Hoch Air 12 Jan 18.pdf
228K Download View as HTML

Good afternoon xxxxx,

Please see attached decision letter and document released regarding your request.

As discussed, you are also seeking access to information regarding the following dates:

– the date Hoch Air Pty Ltd applied for an initial AOC; and
– the date the AOC was issued to Hoch Air Pty Ltd by CASA.

As such, I do not recognise this part of your request as a request under the Freedom of Information Act as you are seeking information rather than documents.

However, in order to assist you further, I advise that Hoch Air Pty Ltd initially applied for an AOC on 25 August 2015, and the AOC was granted by CASA on 12 January 2016.

Thanks again.

David Gobbitt
Freedom of Information Officer
Legal and Regulatory Affairs Division
Advisory and Drafting Branch
Civil Aviation Safety Authority

p: 02 6217 1281
GPO Box 2005 CANBERRA ACT 2606
show quoted sections


Are the #asrr recommendations really up to speed??

The general view by the #aviation industry is that the general process of “reform” is not leading to better regulations, but to ones out of step with the rest of the world and people are walking away from the industry.

The number of pilots reflects this situation.

And we must not forget the Colmar Brunton survey, which shows an #aviation industry in free fall. I am not hearing anything that repudiates this situation. When a #casa CEO threatens individuals, as is reported on 9th February 2017, for being at the #casa head office in Woden, seeking a meeting with the Chair of the #casa Board, Jeff Boyd.

Things have not demonstrably changed, despite what is reported by Gibson of a remark by David Forsyth [see below].


CASA completes addressing aviation safety regulation review recommendations

Date of Publication:
Friday 1st December

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has now considered and addressed all of the recommendations made to it in the Aviation Safety Regulation Review of 2014.

CASA’s CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody, said the majority of the recommendations in the Review related to CASA’s performance and function and were endorsed by the Federal Government.  There were also a number of recommendations that called for CASA input or expertise managed by other agencies.

“CASA has either completed actions flowing from the Government’s response to the recommendations, incorporated solutions into ongoing activities or announced plans to take action on recommendations,” Mr Carmody said.

“There are two recommendations where actions will be taken in 2018 – a review of the penalties in the aviation safety regulations and the completion of the remaining parts of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.

“I have made it clear CASA will be striving to finalise the last 10 parts of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations by the end of 2018.

“My intention is that these parts will be made or be ready to be made, with implementation to take place over an appropriate and staged timeframe.

“Most of the Aviation Safety Regulation Review recommendations are now ongoing as they are embedded into CASA’s new policies, processes and procedures. Many of these will take time to bed down but we are making significant headway.

“The review was a very important and valuable benchmarking exercise that has focussed CASA on making worthwhile improvements that are now paying dividends to the aviation community,” Mr Carmody said.

“I am committed to ensuring the intent of recommendations is honoured and the benefits of the actions continue to be delivered to the aviation community—one example of a major change was the recently announced reforms to the aviation medical system.”

“I have been working closely with the chair of the Review, Mr David Forsyth AM, to achieve this and our collaboration has been very beneficial.”

Mr Forsyth said the progress made by CASA in the last 12 months has been pleasing.

“While a number of issues are still in work, there is clear progress on necessary improvements and re-establishing a trust based relationship with industry,” Mr Forsyth said.

Media contact:
Peter Gibson
0419 296 446

Ref: MR10217

Unemployed workers from Darren Chester’s office

These guy’s are rumoured to come from Townsville!!


Ray and Al, two Government maintenance guys, were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking up.

A woman walked by and asked what they were doing.

“We’re supposed to find the height of the flagpole”, said Al, “But we don’t have a ladder.”

The woman said, “Hand me that wrench out of your toolbox.”

She loosened a few bolts, then laid the pole down.

She then took a tape measure from their toolbox, took a measurement and announced, “Eighteen feet, six inches” and walked away.

Ray shook his head and laughed. “Well, ain’t that just like a ‘Miss-know-it-all’ woman?” he said. “We need the height and she gives us the length!”

Ray and Al are still working for the Government.,

with thanks to Tanberg

Fairfax cartoonist dies – Tandberg’s last battle was with cancer

A great cartoonist has left this mortal coil. Like Bill Leak, Tandberg had a great take on life.

#casa fails to document AOC [Air Operator’s Certificates] available publicly

From www.righttoknow.org.au web site, the following reply was made.

It seems that there is no means supplied by #casa to track AOC changes or the information behind the AOC database.

This letter is from the #casa previous head of legal, Adam Anastasi.

Interesting to note that this person is now Manager Advisory and drafting Branch.

The request was:

Please supply all documents leading to the removal of AOC [Air Operator Certificate] details from the AOC database, leaving only the raw approval and to whom (sic) the AOC was issued.

In the past, AOC details included the aircraft types, training approvals etc. under the AOC

The following documents are being sought for the purposes of the Freedom of information Act.

All documents including but not limited to:
 Correspondence;
 File Notes;
 Meeting Notes;
 Internal Memo’s;
 Diary/ calendar entries;
 Telephone records;
 All data electronically collected, being by mobile phone, Dictaphone, tape recorder or mp3/4 recorder or other means
 E-mails;
 All database entries including entries into Sky Sentinel, TRIM and AIRS;
 Images;
 Individual FOI [Flight Operation Inspector], AWI comments and resulting documentation;
 All supervisory staff records relating to the matter;
 If referred to the CASA Board, all related Board minutes, discussions and recommendations made to advise CASA as to direction for the Board in relation to this request.

Yours faithfully,



Falcon Air runs into inconsistent #casa regulatory rulings

The current bastardry of #casa continues.

This time other peoples survival have been compromised. The loss of human transplant materials from New Zealand could well affect a number of recipient lives who, although through a sad passing of another human life is a tragedy, the family unselfish donation to others is lost.

The comments below show the depth of an uncaring regulator and it’s rotten rules.

Ean Higgins, well done again with the spotlight on CASA, the out of control regulator. The former Department of Civil Aviation after a couple of name changes was morphed into an entirely new creature, the independent Commonwealth Corporate body 30 yrs ago. This is a hopelessly failed model of governance, example when created it was tasked to rewrite the rules. This has become the greatest make work program in the history of the Commonwealth, 30 yrs, millions of dollars and still not finished. The latest tranche of rules where FalconAir were tripped on are so dense, complicated and running to thousands of pages, that the few left in General Aviation should be regarded as heroes. The rules are simply unworkable. CASA has become a fee gouging salary factory with no political control or accountability. The CEO, fatuously termed the ‘Director of Air Safety’ gets around $600,000 pa (considerably more than the Minister who should be in charge) and the Board of CASA is so quiet if it never met no one would notice. I trust that no lay person reading these comments will be taken in by the CASA apologists, there is a battle Royale being fought out. The GA industry has been losing badly with the loss of thousands of jobs all these years. Virtually the only hope is through this sort of publicity. Alex in the Rises

Transplant air service grounded

Marc De Stoop, head of FalconAir. Picture: James Croucher
Marc De Stoop, head of FalconAir. Picture: James Croucher

A Sydney patient missed out on a heart transplant last month because the aviation watchdog decided to ground all seven pilots of an air ambulance company over what senior industry figures call a minor technicality involving one of them.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority refused to grant a short-term exemption for two days to charter flight company ­FalconAir, which would have meant it could have had one crew ready to fly ­urgent medical missions, including the later transplant flight.

Former CASA chairman and businessman Dick Smith described the regulator’s action as “absolute sheer bastardry” and a reflection of how bureaucracy and inflexibility were strangling general aviation.

But CASA said it had not been made aware of the problem of the heart transplant flight. “If we had been approached at the time, we would have done everything we could to facilitate that flight,” spokesman Peter Gibson said.

On December 8, CASA grounded not only FalconAir’s check pilot because an audit revealed he flew a competency flight on the wrong type of aircraft, but also the other six FalconAir pilots he had tested — because those checks were consequently deemed to be invalid.

An air ambulance flight broker contacted FalconAir on December 16 asking if the company could fly a St Vincent’s Hospital transplant team to Auckland on an urgent mission to take out the heart from a donor and bring it back to Sydney to transplant into the recipient ­patient. As a result of the groundings, FalconAir had to say no.

The broker, Nathan Gottle from NJP Aviation Services, wrote to FalconAir a few days later about the tragic outcome. “NJP was not successful in arranging a suitable aircraft for this mission from any operator on the east coast of Australia,” Mr Gottle said in the email. “After a period of approx. 3 hrs of attempting to source a suitable aircraft/crew, it was determined by the transplant team that the mission could no longer go ahead, as we would not be able to get the medical team to Auckland in time.”

A spokeswoman for St Vincent’s said the patient was “still on the waiting list” for a transplant.

A beating heart is retrieved from a recently deceased person in Adelaide

FalconAir chief executive Marc De Stoop, who is also the president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, accepted that “CASA staff doing the audit on FalconAir were just doing their job”. But he said the complex rules, legal constraints and red tape they operated under meant the opportunity for sensible and collaborative solutions, which would have been possible under US air regulations, were unavailable here.

“I have pilots sitting on the ground,” Mr De Stoop said, adding that only three out of the seven had since been granted an exemption.

While Mr Gibson would not provide an absolute guarantee that CASA would have lifted the ban on FalconAir pilots, he said it had the power to grant “mercy flight” exemptions. Mr De Stoop, however, said he had repeatedly told CASA from the day his pilots were grounded that he and Careflight needed one crew to fly “life-saving operations”, but the regulator had not granted an exemption. Since the “non-compliant” tests, his two check pilots had passed simulator proficiency checks in the US.

FalconAir operates two Dassault Falcon F-20 twin-engine jets out of Sydney, and one Falcon F-50 three-engined jet out of Brisbane. It offers corporate jet charters but specialises in aeromedical services including patient and organ transfers and medical evacuations.

Mr De Stoop said his check pilot made an error in good faith in interpreting the rules under which some checks but not others could be done in different types of aircraft.

Mr De Stoop pointed to a CASA “double standard”. The check pilot had been allowed to conduct a flight review of one pilot, with CASA witnesses on board, the day after he was grounded, but the authority “refused to grant him our request for a very limited exemption — two flights — to allow him to check two other of our pilots”.

Comments to article:

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Avatar for Rob Rob
53 people listening

Newest | Oldest | Top Comments
Avatar for Alexander
4 hours ago

Ean Higgins, well done again with the spotlight on CASA, the out of control regulator. The former Department of Civil Aviation after a couple of name changes was morphed into an entirely new creature, the independent Commonwealth Corporate body 30 yrs ago. This is a hopelessly failed model of governance, example when created it was tasked to rewrite the rules. This has become the greatest make work program in the history of the Commonwealth, 30 yrs, millions of dollars and still not finished. The latest tranche of rules where FalconAir were tripped on are so dense, complicated and running to thousands of pages, that the few left in General Aviation should be regarded as heroes. The rules are simply unworkable. CASA has become a fee gouging salary factory with no political control or accountability. The CEO, fatuously termed the ‘Director of Air Safety’ gets around $600,000 pa (considerably more than the Minister who should be in charge) and the Board of CASA is so quiet if it never met no one would notice. I trust that no lay person reading these comments will be taken in by the CASA apologists, there is a battle Royale being fought out. The GA industry has been losing badly with the loss of thousands of jobs all these years. Virtually the only hope is through this sort of publicity. Alex in the Rises
Avatar for Mick
20 hours ago

Dick Smith had previously been complaining that the ATSB should have grounded Essendon King Air crash pilot, Max Quartermain, because of his role in a prior incident near Mount Hotham. Now he’s complaining when CASA actually do ground pilots who’s qualifications are in question. Seems like there’s no pleasing Dick.
Avatar for Rob
18 hours ago

@Mick That is not the issue here. #casa caused this issue because part 61 is so badly written and implemented.
Avatar for Mick
15 hours ago

@Rob Nonsense! FalconAir caused the issue by failing to properly certify their aircrew. FalconAir then compounded the matter first by failing to notify the aeromedical charter broker NJP Aviation Services that they had been grounded and then second by failing to make an application for a mercy flight exemption when they were approached about the Auckland flight.

A complete lack of proper governance and process on FalconAir’s behalf doesn’t make it a priority for CASA. And to top it all off, FalconAir’s Chief Executive Marc is also the President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association! You’ve got to hope he does a better job running AOPA than he does running his own business.
1John PLikeReply
Avatar for Rob
41 minutes ago

@Mick @Rob In reading the article again, it is obvious that there is an information flow between the organisation and casa, with questions to clarify answers to #casa.

In my experience, casa are slow to answer [up to 2 years] for simple answers or just do not reply at all. In cases such as this, there are often conflicting advice given by casa to requests or casa change the “interpretations” of regs with an “…I believe…” answer.

In the Senate review brought on by Senators Fawcett and Xenophon, the Senators sought answers from #casa, who gave question to five FOI’s [Flight Operations Inspectors] Two gave one answer and three another.

This indicates the extreme difficulty for pilots, operators, engineers to both understand the regulations [which are not clear, micromanaged, dogmatic or just plain obscure]

If the #casa FOI’s cannot get it correct for a single question, how can individuals get a clear response when less clear questions might be asked.

Not a good look for #aviation.
Avatar for Rosemary
23 hours ago

I have been banging on about CASA and its ineptitude for weeks here. Mark de Stoop and the folks at AOPA are banging there heads against a hanger door. CASA is like the Hydra – cut off one head and two grew in its place – there is a bureaucracy within a bureaucracy here
Avatar for Michael
23 hours ago

It is not only incompetent politicians making a mess of Australian, it is the legions of public servants chock a block full of virtue signalling, political correctness, a total lack of commonsense and no real life work experience. No matter which political party is in power, policies that many Australian are opposed to are never changed because the public servants call the shots.. Think ridiculous levels of immigration, the untouchable ABC, the aboriginal industry, the multicultural industry, the pandering to minorities, energy policies, exploration for natural resources, the list is endless. Was there any common sense used by CASA in this latest incident, apparently not, pig headed enforcement of inflexible regulations is all they understand.
Avatar for George
23 hours ago

@Michael Our politicians would do well to listen to the people and not the sea of ineptitude in the public service. There would be positive results and progress and a zillioneth if the cost!
Avatar for Joe
14 hours ago

@Michael real shame for the person needing the heart . I spoke the minister in charge will donate his
Avatar for John
1 day ago

If something goes wrong you would all blame CASA. If they apply the regulations they are fools and if they don’t then they are also in the wrong!
Avatar for Alexander
4 hours ago

@John. With respect John this would be true if the rules were rational, stable and workable like our road rules. If you have a couple of spare months I suggest you read the latest (ever changing) rules and you will appreciate the difficulty of trying to run a business in General Aviation. Facts are it has been made extremely difficult, but that degree of difficulty you won’t fully understand unless you take another month off and bone up on the previous rules where no doubt FalconAir was complying. CASA justifies its gross incompetence by hiding behind its safety mantra all the while creating more rules and more permissions which in turn generate more fees. CASA is a monopoly corporation not part of the Public Service. Alex in the Rises
Avatar for lachlan
1 day ago

Typical. I was part of GA for 30 years and things don’t seemed to have changed much. It’s serious when a bloke like Dick Smith didn’t get far. This story is shameful , a disgrace, but nothing much will change.

Despite the best efforts of CASA to kill it , I’m surprised to hear GA is still alive.
Avatar for Pantera
1 day ago

“FalconAir chief executive Marc De Stoop, who is also the president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association…”

No offense to Mr De Stoop, but shouldn’t the head of what could be a really effective advocacy organisation, (an organisation which if properly run COULD speak out against the regulators python grip on GA), NOT be someone who naught have something to lose by speaking out?

The head of organizations such as the AOPA should be someone who is immune to political bastardry, not running a business that could be crippled by it.
Avatar for Brian
1 day ago

CASA is a public service entity. Enough said.
Avatar for John
1 day ago

This is our can do nation, where red tape rules all facets of our lives!
Avatar for Bill
1 day ago

One of the reasons why CASA is so regulation bound has been the large number of ex RAAF pilots employed over the years. These “pilots” would have less total flying hours in their Service life than most commercial pilots would have in just one year!
Avatar for lachlan
23 hours ago

Spot on Bill !
2AlexanderJohn PLikeReply
Avatar for Alan
1 day ago

Here we go again dragging Dick Smith the panacea to all things aviation into another dispute over a ruling, it’s over twenty years since he was chair of the CASA and you people keep calling him out of comment. the mans nothing more than a two legged Dick Smith publicity machine. There are others in the industry capable of sensible comment.
Avatar for Warren
1 day ago

Grounding the pilots is one thing, and CASA needs to address this matter, but were there no other charter companies available, or does Australia have just one company with three aircraft to do this?
Avatar for Roger
1 day ago

The real job of CASA is, in conjunction with the operators, to manage aviation risk effectively which does not just relate to safety but to successful aviation. Safety does not exist in isolation. The issue is safe, successful aviation as an important part of our societal infrastructure.

CASA has numerous tools at its disposal to adjust risk – the most severe amongst them, is to ground an aircraft, pilot or operator. But it also has many other tools including discussing concerns with operators and resolving them in a less draconian way.

All decisions should be based on the actual level of risk, not the imagined level of risk and all actions by the regulator to modify risk should be based on competent assessment of risk and on the technique chosen being the most efficient and least disruptive available.

In this case, it would seem that CASA has (and not for the first time) acted incompetently and as a consequence, there has been no improvement to safety, a deceased donor’s wish to donate his/her heart to save someone else has been frustrated and some poor sod has missed the opportunity for life saving surgery. CASA should hang its head in shame and someone’s head should roll.
Avatar for Peter
1 day ago

Wouldn’t surprise if the CASA bureaucrats regulating pilots and setting standards were not able to fly themselves.
Avatar for lachlan
1 day ago

Whose in CASA who aren’t pilots is one thing but the real issue will be amongst those who can, CASA is choka block full of “ wanna bee’s “ and even worse “ coulda been’s “.
Avatar for keith
1 day ago

Set up a thorough inquiry with Dick Smith at the helm,something must be done as soon as.
Avatar for Allan
1 day ago

@keith you must be joking! Either that or you have a short memory…. remember the Airspace 2000 debacle?…..
Avatar for Betty
1 day ago

@keith Dick Smith for PM.
Avatar for Michael
1 day ago

Sack CASA and throw their ridiculous rule books in the bin! Let’s adopt the American rule books, pay a few Australians to administer the rules and save ourselves a lot of heartbreak and tax payers money!
Avatar for Mark
1 day ago

@Michael you know as odd as it would be to ditch your own laws and use those of another country, just maybe we should do that. More and more these days CASA is just a poor and distorted echo looking to the FAA for guidance. Over recent years they realised they did not have the resources to adequately certify equipment so they brought in the home country rule “if the part or aircraft has an FAA TSO, then it is approved here”. ( dont nit pick me if i have stated that imprecisely but its the flavour of it) and pretty much every other thing they do is just look at what others do (principally the FAA) and copy it. A whole bureaucracy dedicated to cut and paste. But the telling difference, unlike the charter of the FAA, there is no obligation on CASA to promote and foster general aviation) Hell, we need to look for savings in government expenditure, why not put a proposal to US to ask how much cost to put additional FAA management, officers etc in Australia and just manage our airspace like they do their own. It would be hard to imagine the outcome could be worse and a real potential it would be better?
Avatar for Pantera
1 day ago

American (or even the Kiwis!); Simpler rules with far greater safety outcomes, and a Flourishing GA sector!
Avatar for Gareth
23 hours ago

@Mark @Michael funny, I thought the ‘cut and paste’ was from the EASA ruleset, not the FAA. If you are going to insult an organisation at least do it accurately. And there is plenty of evidence of a degree of dysfunction in the FAA due to the very thing you are espousing, namely having a joint mission to ensure safety and promote the aviation industry.
Avatar for gbe
1 day ago

Unfortunately we see again the effect of political inadequacy, where bureaucratic pedanticism is allowed to flourish uncontrolled.

Looks like another of Malcolm’s team missing in action.
Avatar for Carole
1 day ago

Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the blind obedience of fools. (Solon, the Lawmaker of Athens, d. 559BCE)

In the world of bureaucracy the more it changes the more it stays the same!

Carole’s Husband
Avatar for lachlan
1 day ago

More law , less justice. Cicero 65 BC.
Avatar for Botswana O’Hooligan
Botswana O’Hooligan
1 day ago

The man who is the root cause of the bureaucracy we have in CASA is none other than Mr. Dick Smith. Having said that, were Mr. Smith not the root cause the government would have found another suitable idiot, make no mistake about that.
Avatar for Peter
1 day ago

Bureaucracy gone mad. I once spoke to a helicopter pilot in Tasmania. He had spotted a very small fire but by the time Hobart bureaucrats authorised a team to go to the site, it was a conflagration. His comment? “I wonder if it would have taken so long if it was the ranger’s house on fire..?”
Avatar for Brian
1 day ago

Over the years, I have watched as this and another Aviation authority have seemed hell bent on driving general aviation in Australia to the wall. We need safety, but the sheer bloody mindedness of CASA over imposing petty rules at the expense of experience and common sense has long been apparent. The holy grail of absolute safety has been allowed to take over the day to day running of general aviation with impossible burdens and costs imposed which have not affected the already high standards. Dick Smith should be listened to and the Minister responsible should move quickly to an inquiry which could examine the red tape and recommend discarding the rubbish contained in the regulations.
Avatar for Kim
1 day ago

CASA has pulled more & more power into itself to justify its existence & provide it with plenty to do. It needs a thorough review and downsizing to get it back to being a public service and not a public supervisor. The other area that infuriated me is the delay these regulators like CASA take to investigate & report back on air accidents. Some of them take years for no logical reason. They need to have a boot up the tail to do their work quickly & efficiently.
Avatar for Bill
1 day ago

@Kim The quickest way to introduce positive change is to remove the top layer of bureaucracy!
Avatar for Vern
1 day ago

Bureaucracy, not common sense is running the country.
Avatar for Ashley
1 day ago

Like everything else in Australia – over-regulated and antiquated bureaucracy stifles not only innovation, but just getting things done. This is why the smart money is moving offshore.
Avatar for PR
1 day ago

Has the patient died? Will CASA be held responsible?

Sack CASA.
Avatar for Steve
1 day ago

Make no mistake, CASA is mostly responsible for the demise of aviation in Australia.

CASA public servants are out of control. No accountability and no scrutiny by either side of politics for decades.

No other country has an aviation regulator as incompetent or dysfunctional as CASA.
Avatar for Arthur
1 day ago

If the article is correct, someone is lying. The broker’s statement seems to contradict CASA’s statement. An Administrative Inquiry should be conducted from within the responsible Ministry, with the findings made public and officials held personally accountable for any poor decision making. This would supply evidence should the transplant non-recipient choose to seek compensation (from any individual as well as an organisation) – as it stands, that individual has only hearsay to support a claim. I don’t believe that a Freedom of Information query would reveal where the failure lies, and a failure it surely is. Senior Management exists over peons to consider the bigger picture. Ambulances are required to follow the road rules until there is an emergency. It seems CASA doesn’t understand that the same should apply to Air Ambulances.
Avatar for Kim
1 day ago

@Arthur couldn’t agree more. This is a medical disaster and CASA management must be held to account. The shiny bums will be reading these comments & the butt-covering will have already started. I hope as they read & see the community anger they start to fret. Here’s a message to them: Guys don’t be afraid. Be very afraid!
Avatar for Peter
1 day ago

@Arthur The result of your proposed internal inquiry could be written right now. No what is needed is an external inquiry preferable by an overseas authority. Therein lies the problem, to appoint anyone to conduct an inquiry/audit it has to be appointed by the government and governments never ever start any inquiry without first knowing the outcome.

So you see the people at CASA know they are a protected species because they know how the system works. Therein lies the problem.

Having worked in the industry I know this is not a new problem, CASA has replicated this type of behaviour for at least 3 decades. I’ve met Dick Smith a few times and he had a crack at getting CASA going the right way but eventually got beaten by the system. It appears common sense, which Dick has plenty of, is not to be found in CASA.
Avatar for Lo
23 hours ago

@Arthur There was no emergency or, if there was , what was it?. A lot of people wait on transplants but someone, the right someone has to die first and everything else has to go smoothly. Auckland does make it a bit difficult. And is it the only company that flies planes to Auckland?
Avatar for Phil
1 day ago

CASA like the rest of the APS is there to cover its own butt and create jobs , plain and simple.

QANTAS And Virgin call the shots so the General Aviation sector is now so over burdened with regulation and complexity that it’s is dying .

Not fuel prices or lack of business,no the regulator is literally choking General Aviation to death.

Only a complete reset of CASA back to the dual role of promoting aviation as well as regulating it (ie a CAA) will fix this.
Avatar for David
1 day ago

@Phil Spot on! But don’t forget Dick Smith introduced the fee for service, industry pays. But most of the money goes to support the airline operators network. The third level of avaition has slowly died due to over-regulation & public service mentality – no pragmatic solutions! The post-war DCA was modified to promote aviation in regional Australia, including pilot training, but the “modern CASA” does the reverse & drowns regional aviation in PS costs. This latest CASA stuff-up is but one on many similar that have sent good aviation companies broke.
Avatar for Jeremiah
1 day ago

@David @Phil It was Dick Smith who promoted “affordable Safety”. He has been a private operator who didn’t want to pay for anything in the industry if it affected him.

Not a lot of time for Dick Smith.
Avatar for Oscar
1 day ago

CASA – staffed by public servants who love running meetings with no outcomes, with bosses that make decisions with no accountability. We need a Frank Lowy to fix this rotten organisation just like how he fixed Soccer Australia when it was infested with ethnic dysfunctionality.
Avatar for Peter
1 day ago

I am not an expert but from reports over the last few years, it seems as if the time has come for a review of the aviation industry and its associated bodies. It seems as if their has been a bit of empire building going on.
Avatar for William
1 day ago

I support Dick Smith’s assertion that this regulator has gone too far. CASA saying that they weren’t approached regarding the heart transplant flight is a lie. The patient should sue them for millions.

Safe Skies are Empty Skies – Can Barnaby Joyce fix this?

The #casa mantra “Safe Sky’s far All” is now “Safe Skies are Empty Skies”

Question is:  Can Barnaby Joyce fix this?

This morning in The Australian, Dick Smith and a slew of journalists have this matter firmly in it’s sight. The articles, as these are of such importance they are produced in full below.

Anthony Albanese weighs in as well offering advise. He was also, like Chester, a do nothing Minister of Aviation.

The matter is much larger and eventually goes to the heart of the matter, being the allowed purchase of facilities in Australia by foreign powers. The Port of Darwin, 20% of Port of Melbourne, Merridin airport, Flight schools, Dirranbandi Cotton, North West Tasmania farms, West Australian cattle properties, Milk producers. And that’s not all by the Chinese.

Then there’s other nations such as Quatar, with 16,500 hectares of prime land near Cowra.


Effect of #casa regulations

Loss of Airports

Warnings and data from 2015

Summary from 2015 of regulatory workings

Albanese reply to House in 2014

Albanese 2013 non reply on #PelAir

3AW Interview:

Click PLAY below to hear the full details

Sandy’s reply:

In the podcast with Neil Hansford on 3AW he claims that no blame is attributable to the government for the shortage of pilots.
I couldn’t believe my ears.
Nor should anyone else because its as plain as the nose on your face that extreme over regulation and associated fee gouging has killed off most of the flying training in Australia.
What’s not been realised is that in the ongoing process of transition to the new and even more unworkable rules and pointless permissions with huge fees attached more flying schools will cease operations.
Neil Hansford blames the banks for not funding his 600 student flying school.
If I was a banker I wouldn’t lend anyone a cent for any General Aviation business until there’s root and branch reform of the aviation regulations by way of legislative changes to the Civil Aviation Act requiring CASA to devolve responsibility to the industry and take account of industry health.

As one who was in General Aviation business as an aircraft owner and instructor pilot with a number of CASA approvals during Dick Smith’s tenure I can assure you that during that time some sense and ease of doing business appeared. After his resignation GA regulations got worse and worse and here we are today. Obviously Dick Smith has his ‘cut down the tall poppy’ detractors but if he’d been allowed to set the scene for aviation we would definitely have no pilot shortage today.

On the broad front of safety, how ridiculous, how can you have safety in an industry that is stressed by ever changing and unworkable rules of strict liability criminal sanction. Unless your motto is Safe Skies Are Empty Skies, which is precisely where GA is headed today.

Basic safety has deteriorated because experienced personnel have been regulated and fee gouged out of the industry. In addition the ‘Government’ at behest of CASA created the low weight category, 600 kg max weight to induce thousands of pesky private pilots away from regular certified aircraft. Hats off to those who build and fly these tiny aircraft, but you can’t get fully capable airframes with about 270 kg to play with after you take engine, fuel, equipment and two crew out of this 600kg. Because of the engineering limitations none of these aircraft are allowed to fly in the higher and safer Instrument Flight Rules category. Alex in the Rises  

Anger amid pilot crisis as visa rules relaxed for foreigners

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. Picture: AAP
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. Picture: AAP

Peter Dutton will allow foreign ­pilots into Australia on two-year work visas in an effort to fix a worsening national shortage that is already grounding planes and forcing flight cancellations.

But amid a global scramble to secure pilots, a slump in training and increasing foreign ownership of Australian training schools, Qantas pilots questioned the quality of those likely to be ­recruited to keep ­regional air routes ­operating.

“The United States and China are paying huge money and that doesn’t leave much for the sort of wages they are paying in regional Australia,” said Murray Butt, president of the Australian and International Pilots Association, which represents more than 2000 Qantas pilots.

“We need to look at the Chinese airlines buying up flight schools in Australia. That might fix their problem but it doesn’t fix ours.”

The peak body for regional airlines yesterday said it had successfully lobbied the Home Affairs Minister to allow foreign pilots to be hired for up to two years, in light of the shortage of sufficiently skilled local pilots.

Mike Higgins, chief executive of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, said the government had advised that the decision would be confirmed in a revised skilled occupation list — replacing the former 457 visa regime — to be released next month.

He also revealed the association was talking to Mr Dutton about extending the visa period to four years, given doubts whether experienced foreign pilots would relocate for just two years.

However, Qantas pilots called for a government white paper to ­address declining output from — and rising foreign ownership of — Australian flying schools.

“Bringing in foreign pilots is definitely a very short-term fix and, given the market, I’m not sure of the quality of the pilots they are going to get,” Mr Butt said. “I do foresee big problems going forward. The government is taking a very short-term view on this.”

Veteran aviator and former air safety chief Dick Smith said the use of foreign pilots was an indictment of 15 years or more of misplaced government policy, which had threatened the ­viability of flight training.

“The fact that there is a need to bring in foreign pilots is outrageous — we are a developed Western country with a very high level of education and we should be supplying pilots not just for Australia but for the world,” Mr Smith said. “We have the safest airline in the world — Qantas — because it’s used highly trained, Australian pilots … Now what we’re doing is an experiment: bringing people in from overseas.”

The shortage follows poaching of major airline pilots by overseas airlines, and increasing foreign ownership of pilot training schools, including by Chinese companies to train Chinese pilots.

Impacts are already being felt, with pilot shortages a factor in a ­recent rash of cancellations on Qantas regional services, while multiple sources told The Australian Qantas subsidiaries already had foreign pilots flying Dash-8 aircraft on some regional services.

Mr Smith joined regional airlines and Qantas pilots in calling for a rethink of government regulation of flight training, to remove unaffordable and overly bureaucratic regulation linked to school closures and buyouts by foreign companies.

Mr Smith said flight training was down 35 per cent in Australia, while recent federal government figures confirm a 40 per cent decline in the number of general-aviation flying hours in the five years to 2015.

Mr Higgins insisted the recruitment of foreign pilots was essential: “In the middle of last year the government included ­pilots and avionics engineers on their banned 457 visa list, so we advocated with Peter Dutton and we’ve finally got halfway back to where we need to go.

“We’ve had success in getting the Department of Immigration to review that list, which will be published next month. It means we can get visa pilots across (from overseas) for a two-year period, but we really need to get them for a four-year period.”

Mr Higgins insisted regional airlines would pay foreign pilots the same wages and conditions as Australian pilots and that the move was the only short-term ­solution to the shortage.

A spokesman for Mr Dutton confirmed “airline pilot” had been added to an Occupations List for Temporary Work Visas, for sponsored jobs in regional Australia, following the crackdown on the 457 visa system.

He would not comment on what status pilots would have in a revised list to be released next month, saying this was determined by the department.

However, he said the new system was aimed at addressing skills needs while putting local workers first.

“Amendments to the occupations list are based on skills needs of the Australian economy, in line with the Turnbull government’s policy that Australian workers should have priority,” he said.

Sources said currently up to eight Dash-8 aircraft operated by Qantas or its subsidiaries were grounded due to pilot shortages, as well as several 737s. Another said up to 15 per cent of Jetstar’s planned flights had been scrapped due to pilot shortage.

Qantas, which owns Jetstar, said it was unable to respond ­directly to these examples yesterday, but played down the issue, while other sources suggested pilot shortage was only one factor behind such groundings.

Qantas conceded pilot shortages had been a factor in recent flight cancellations in regional areas, with flow-on schedule changes in major capitals to address the problem.

“We had a spike in flight ­cancellations in some regional markets during October and ­November … due to a mix of ­engineering and pilot issues,” spokesman Andrew McGinnes said. “To stabilise things, we made some tweaks to a few parts of the network that saw us operate fewer flights but with larger aircraft so there was a minimal impact on actual capacity.

“We’re in the middle of training up about 600 of our pilots and that reduces the number we have in reserve, to bring in if someone calls in sick.”

Mr Higgins, whose association represents 34 regional airlines as well as flight training firms, said regional airlines were hardest hit, frequently losing pilots to Qantas and Virgin, who in turn were seeking to replace pilots poached by overseas carriers.

 Empty-skies-are-safe-skies policy is killing aviation

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I don’t think you should ever regard aviation safety as what is affordable.

— Federal transport minister John Anderson, October 5, 2000

I welcome the appointment of Barnaby Joyce as Australia’s new Transport Minister. He certainly has a challenge in front of him when it comes to Australia’s general aviation industry, which is in a state of near collapse after years of failed government policy.

It will take someone as senior as the Deputy Prime Minister to sort out this mess. As The Australian has reported, general aviation — so vital in a big country like ours — is in serious trouble. Crippled by skyrocketing regulatory costs and pointless red tape, businesses are closing and much of the flying training industry is being sold off to Chinese buyers at bargain rates. A federal government report last week showed the drastic decline brought on by the excessive costs: general aviation flying hours, which include the vital flying training industry, have declined by 40 per cent in just five years.

But none of this is new. I have been warning for years that introducing regulations that ignore cost have been crippling the industry. It was 17 years ago that I ­became involved in a very public disagreement with Joyce’s predecessor, John Anderson, who introduced the ­policies that have resulted in today’s mess.

At the time I was chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and I warned Anderson that the substantial additional costs that had been placed on the industry by the sell-off of the airports and the “user pays” air traffic ­control system would have to be balanced by a reduction in other costs.

Driven by bureaucrats with little understanding of business, he pursued a policy of regulations ­regardless of cost, with the inevitable result that ridiculous levels of regulation have made it im­possible to maintain a viable industry. It seems that for the bureaucrats, the safest skies are empty skies, similar to the Yes Minister episode about the hospital with no patients.

Anderson refused to meet me to discuss the issue, releasing a public statement that showed how little he understood. “I don’t think that you should ever regard aviation safety as what is affordable,” he claimed. “Safety is something which has the highest priority — it is not a question of cost.”

In effect he was saying that with air safety there was no cost that was too high to pay, ignoring the fact this would make the cost of air tickets unaffordable to anyone other than the ultra-wealthy.

Anderson’s public statement was quickly embraced by the ­bureaucrats within CASA and the denial that cost should be considered became an almost cult-like ­belief that still exists in that organisation to this day.

Aviation is like anything else in life. The amount of money that you can spend on safety is always limited by what the marketplace can afford. If regulations are written that increase the cost of flying too much, people can’t afford to fly and businesses go broke.

The inevitable result of this stubborn insistence that there are no limits to the costs that could be imposed on the aviation industry is a situation where operators simply can’t afford to meet the red tape and expenses.

It has done nothing to improve safety and will very likely lead to a situation where most pilots in Australia will come from Asia. The losers are many of Joyce’s constituents in rural and regional Australia who rely greatly on general aviation as a vital link in Australia’s transport systems.

It means we will lose hundreds of millions of dollars in export earnings from flight training and other operations that are no longer Australian-owned

Before Anderson became minister, the CASA service charter ­directed that Australia should ­follow “proven safe procedures and standards from leading aviation countries which best allocate finite safety resources, to protect fare-paying passengers and ­encourage high participation levels in aviation”.

But this directive was removed from the charter in the Anderson years. I fought these changes while chairman of CASA but failed to overcome an entrenched public service and a transport minister in denial. I resigned rather than be held responsible for the slow death of an industry that I have been a part of for more than 40 years.

I hope now that under a new minister we can get back to a sensible policy that balances costs and regulation in a rational way.

Joyce will need to move quickly to reverse the disastrous “ignore cost” policies of the past. I will give him every support and I do hope he listens to the industry before it is too late.

Dick Smith is the former chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

 Need to cut red tape, costs to restore pilot training
  • The Australian
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In September, The Australian’s Higher Education section published two stories on the mess in Australia’s aviation training sector. John Ross reported that the problems had sparked safety concerns and warnings that Australia would squander the opportunity to take advantage of business opportunities from Southeast Asia. Only now is the gravity of the debacle becoming clear, with the Turnbull government set to allow foreign pilots into Australia on temporary work visas. The decision by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton is sensible, with pilot shortages responsible for the cancellation of planned regional flights and the grounding of aircraft. The visas are a short-term fix, however.

New Transport Minister Barnaby Joyce, together with the industry and training sector, must reform flight training to ensure Australia can again provide sufficient pilots for the nation’s needs and capitalise on opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. There would be no shortage of applicants. Many young people recognise that flying is an exciting, interesting career with opportunities for travel and promotion, including aspiring to fly the world’s most sophisticated passenger aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Like businessman Dick Smith, a former chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, many Australians will be angered by the fact the Merredin aerodrome, 260km east of Perth, is effectively under the control of a Chinese government enterprise, the state-owned China Southern Airlines. Under a secret deal in 1993, the company paid the princely sum of $1 to the West Australian government to lease the airport for 100 years as a base to train thousands of Chinese pilots.

The training school, which has suspended operations after CASA raised safety concerns, is one of several Chinese-owned aviation colleges in Australia. China will need an extra 110,000 pilots by 2035 but it relies on other countries for training because of its heavy smog, military-controlled airspace and a lack of English-speaking instructors. Writing in The Australian today, Mr Smith blames failed government policy dating back decades for the mess. He says skyrocketing regulatory costs and pointless red tape are forcing flying trainers to sell out at bargain rates to the Chinese. As a result, general aviation flying hours, including training, have fallen by 40 per cent in five years.

One of Australia’s most experienced flight trainers, Glen Buckley, head of Melbourne Flight Training, says he has just spent $700,000 to comply with new CASA regulations and that the impost almost broke him. Mr Buckley has received repeated offers from Chinese companies to buy part of his business, as have flight trainers at Bankstown, west of Sydney. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association chief executive Ben Morgan, who believes more than half of flight training in Australia is carried out by foreign companies, wants CASA to allow independent instructors, similar to those who train most US pilots, to play a greater role. In the national interest, Mr Joyce must work with the industry to find solutions.

Australia to give visas to foreign pilots to fix growing shortage

9RAW: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull abolishes 457 visas for foreign workers
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The move has been questioned by Qantas pilots who have raised doubt over the quality of pilots likely to be recruited in regional areas.

“The United States and China are paying huge money and that doesn’t leave much for the sort of wages they are paying in regional Australia,” Murray Butt, president of the Australian and International Pilots Association, which represents more than 2000 Qantas pilots, told News Corp.

However, the peak body for regional airlines has claimed the move by the Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was made after their own lobbying efforts.

Mike Higgins, CEO of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, told News Corp the government had advised that the decision would be confirmed in a revised skilled occupation list — replacing the former 457 visa regime — to be released next month.

He also said the association is talking with the Minister about extending the visa period to four years.

Qantas pilots are wanting a government white paper to address declining output of Australian flying skills, describing the move to bring in foreign pilots as a “very short-term fix”.

The lack of pilots is a result of poaching of major airline pilots by overseas airlines and increasing foreign ownership of pilot training skills.

The problem is already being felt with Qantas forced to cancel a number of its regional services.

© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2017

 The Mercury – Hobart – National Breaking News

Foreign pilots to plug Australian shortage

Foreign pilots will be allowed into Australia on working visas to help address a shortage that threatens to continue grounding planes and cancelling flights.

The move by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, which follows lobbying by the peak body for regional airlines, would allow the pilots access to working visas by revising the government’s skilled occupation list, The Australian reported on Thursday.

Mr Dutton is reportedly in discussions with the Regional Aviation Association of Australia about extending the period to four years.

Opposition transport spokesman Anthony Albanese said the skills shortages were an “indictment of the failure” of the current government’s handling of Australia’s aviation industry.

“The current government has dropped the ball,” Mr Albanese told reporters in Sydney.

“Australia should not only be able to produce enough skilled pilots to service our domestic industry, we should also have the capacity to train pilots for all around the world as an export industry to benefit our national economy.”

Mr Albanese also raised concern over potential foreign ownership of Australian airports and ports following reporters half of a regional West Australian airport is now Chinese owned.

“I think there should be very close scrutiny of facilities, be they ports or airports, to ensure that there is majority Australian ownership and therefore majority Australian control of these facilities,” Mr Albanese said.

“I think there is a national interest test when it comes to ports or airports.”

Federal Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells acknowledged the pilot shortage but said the previous Labor government also had to take some blame for the longstanding problem.

“Clearly there have been shortages, there have been issues that have been accumulating in recent years,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells told Sky News.

Originally published as Foreign pilots to plug Australian shortage

Anthony Albanese says getting foreign pilots to fill a shortage reflects a "failure" of government.

 Anthony Albanese says getting foreign pilots to fill a shortage reflects a “failure” of government.

Foreign pilots to fill national Aussie shortage

Justin and Kate

Foreign pilots could soon be allowed into Australia on a two year working visa, in a bid to tackle a national shortage.

As reported in The Australian, Peter Dutton has approved a change to allow foreign pilots to come to Australia on two-year work visas, in an effort to curb a worsening shortage of local pilots.

Chair of Strategic Aviation Solutions, Neil Hansford told Justin and Kate many Australian pilots are pursuing careers overseas.

“We’re an exporter of our own labour, we provide a hell of a lot of the pilots to airlines like Emirates, Etihad, Cathay,” he said.

“There’s just no appetite in a country perfect for pilot training, to fund a training facility.

“Major Chinese airlines have two schools in Western Australia, effectively two schools in Victoria, so that leaves the only independent school doing commercial training is the Australian Wings Academy at Coolangatta.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full details

#casa imposed regulations stifle #aviation in Australia

#casa imposed regulations stifle #aviation in Australia is true, from meetings I have had over a period of time with training organisations.

There is serious condemnation of parts 141 and 142, which follows from the debacle of part 61.

Problems raised include:

  • Slowness to process applications;
  • Excessive costs;
  • Intractable staff in the regulator;
  • Intelligible “rules”;
  • No improved safety outcomes by the changes;
  • Unnecessary and increased costs to students;
  • Loss of interest;
  • Loss of providers.

#casa says:

A CASA spokesman said the regulations were introduced in September 2014 and the agency had consulted widely. “The transition for a flying school to Parts 141 and 142 has been made much easier and cost-efficient,” he said.

CASA had also removed impediments to flying training organisations that wished to set up in remote areas, he said. Some flying schools had transitioned to Part 141 recently and CASA was receiving “very positive” feedback.

This demonstrates the “head in the sand” attitude of the regulator. The removal of impediments was just allowing the industry to “go back” to where it was before the changes. As for “very positive” feedback”, there is no evidence of this situation.

The Australian on December 22nd 2017, outlines in a number of case studies the difficulties #casa have riven the #aviation with the changes.


 New CASA regulations blow training costs sky-high

Glen Buckley of Melbourne Flight Training school says he paid $700,000 to comply with new CASA regulations. Picture: Aaron Francis
Glen Buckley of Melbourne Flight Training school says he paid $700,000 to comply with new CASA regulations. Picture: Aaron Francis

One of Australia’s most experienced flight trainers, Glen Buckley, says he has just spent a “staggering” $700,000 to comply with new regulations imposed on the industry by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

And it almost broke him.

“The cost (of complying) was much, much higher than I’d expected,” he said. “I would have ­exited the industry if I had known it was going to be that much.”

The Weekend Australian has spoken to many smaller industry players who are highly critical of the new regulations and the hugely increased cost of compliance, but few are prepared to criticise CASA for fear of being targeted.

Mr Buckley, the chief executive of Melbourne Flight Training, one of the larger firms, said he had spent $700,000 moving to CASA’s new scheme that governs training.

His salary bill has risen from $1 million a year to $1.3m because of the requirement for more staff and the increased regulatory burden.

He was concerned the extra ­expenditure was not the most cost-effective way to increase­ ­safety.

Under the new system, all of Australia’s 350 flight training organisations had to decide by September 1 whether they wished to operate under a lower classification, known as Part 141, or a higher classification, Part 142.

A Part 142 school will be able to train pilots for a shorter syllabus of 150 hours of training, compared with 200 hours under Part 141.

Mr Buckley said he had had no option but to become a Part 142 school so he could continue to offer the 150-hour course. “The 150-hour course makes up 90 per cent of my revenue, and no business could afford to lose 90 per cent of its revenue and expect to survive,” he said.

Although Mr Buckley complied, fewer than 10 per cent of training businesses had moved to the new system, forcing CASA to delay the deadline for a year.

Mr Buckley predicted many businesses, especially smaller ones, would be forced to close in coming months because of the cost of compliance.

“Schools delivering the 150-hour syllabus will lose that approval in September next year and customers will gravitate to the larger 142 schools to access the 150-hour course, which is about $15,000 cheaper than the 200-hour course,” he said.

“This will impact many schools, especially those in rural areas that can’t afford the transition to a Part 142 organisation.”

A CASA spokesman said the regulations were introduced in September 2014 and the agency had consulted widely. “The transition for a flying school to Parts 141 and 142 has been made much easier and cost-efficient,” he said.

CASA had also removed impediments to flying training organisations that wished to set up in remote areas, he said. Some flying schools had transitioned to Part 141 recently and CASA was receiving “very positive” feedback.

China swoops on flight schools to solve pilot shortage

Aminta Hennessy of Clamback & Hennessy at Bankstown. Picture: John Feder
Aminta Hennessy of Clamback & Hennessy at Bankstown. Picture: John Feder

Chinese companies are swooping on Australian flight training schools increasingly stricken by skyrocketing costs and crippling red tape, amid predictions that the nation will be forced to import scores of commercial pilots from Asia and Africa in coming years.

The Weekend Australian has spoken to several of the country’s 350 aviation training businesses that say they are unprofitable and are considering selling to the ­Chinese. Scores of local firms have folded in recent years and several of the larger schools are now foreign-owned.

China will need an estimated 110,000 new pilots by 2035 but is relying on other countries for most of its training because of its heavy smog, military-controlled airspace and lack of qualified teachers who speak English.

A federal government report this week confirmed the local industry’s drastic decline, showing the number of general aviation flying hours in Australia fell by 40 per cent — from 500,000 hours a year to 300,000 hours a year — between 2010 and 2015.

The increasing foreign ownership in the flight training industry — particularly the concentration of Chinese acquisitions — is raising concern among senior security experts.

Peter Jennings, the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the “aggregation effect’’ could be of the same concern in flight training as it had been to Scott Morrison in other sectors.

“It may be acceptable to own one or two flight training schools,’’ Mr Jennings said, but if the ­Chinese acquired flight training schools to the point where there was a dependence on it, “the aggregation ­effect of that could be negative from a government perspective’’. Flying training is seen as vital to allow Australia to keep up with the increasing demand for pilots, with predictions of a major shortage in coming years.


The landmark study by the ­Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics also raised industry fears about the cost of pilot and maintenance training, soaring airport charges and recent regulatory changes that were “not supported by adequate justification”.

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association chief executive Ben Morgan said he believed more than 50 per cent of all flight training in Australia was now being carried out by foreign companies, and most of them were Chinese.

He said it was “realistic” to predict the industry could be entirely foreign-owned in the next 10 years. “The Chinese are cleaning up,” he said. “Australia is selling out its flight training industry to foreign interests.”

Chinese airlines have been investing heavily in Australian flight training in recent years. In 2015, a China Eastern Airlines subsidiary bought a 50 per cent stake in CAE’s Melbourne training school. Its rival, China Southern Airlines, owns 50 per cent of a West Australian academy.

One of the biggest regional schools, Australian International Aviation College in Port Macquarie, is now owned by Hainan Airlines after the local operator ran into financial trouble in 2014.

The Chinese sale was facilitated by the federal government’s Austrade agency. The business is now planning an $18 million training facility at Kempsey airport to train Chinese students.

Dick Smith, a former chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, blamed the destruction of the industry on the former Howard government’s directive to CASA to ignore costs in relation to air safety, which he said had led to the adoption of the world’s most expensive regulations.

“Australian companies are going broke because of paperwork and red tape,” he said. “Now we have a shortage of ­pilots. Does it matter that in five years … we will have pilots from developing countries — from India, Indonesia and China — flying our airlines?”

Mr Smith said he was also concerned that Australian flight training companies were unable to get approval from China to train ­Chinese students, in the same way Chinese-run schools do in ­Australia.

Mr Morgan, of AOPA, welcomed the appointment this week of Barnaby Joyce as Transport Minister and called on him to urgently address how the local flight training industry could deliver crews for Australian airlines rather than relying on Asian and African pilots.

He said CASA should allow independent flight instructors to be used by smaller businesses, noting that 70 per cent of training in the US was conducted by independent instructors.

“If you are not an organisation with a bucket of cash, there’s no way you can get involved in flight training,” he said.

“We used to be a leader in flight training but we have created an expensive and cumbersome system.”

A CASA spokesman said the concept of independent flight instructors was raised during consultations but was not widely supported at the time.

“If the aviation community believes the concept of independent instructors needs to be looked at again, CASA is willing to listen to constructive suggestions,” he said.

Industry veteran John Douglas, the former head of the Royal Aero Club of WA, said conditions were the worst he had seen in 50 years.

He said the number of training hours a year at the club had fallen from 36,000 hours a year to 16,000 over the past two decades.

Mr Douglas slammed new CASA requirements for schools to spend money to gain new certification for training. “The cost of compliance is killing the industry,” he said.

Bill Whitworth, the owner of Whitworth Aviation at Bankstown Airport, recently agreed to sell his troubled business to a Chinese company. “They want to get a foothold here at Bankstown Airport,” he said. “They want to bring students down and train them, starting with 30 students.”

Mr Whitworth, who has been teaching flying since 1965, said his decision to sell was driven by soaring costs and changes to the system of government loans for students.

Another long-term operator at Bankstown, Aminta Hennessy, said businesses were also being hurt by rising airport fees and charges.

She said she had been recently approached by foreign companies to sell.

The chief executive of Melbourne Flight Training, Glen Buckley, said he had received five offers from Chinese companies to buy up to 20 per cent of his business, but he had so far resisted the temptation to sell.

Additional reporting: Sid Maher


Last hurrah for Darren Chester

In what is the last hurrah for Darren Chester, there were a series of announcements as listed below.

1. Changes to #casa Board with a new member Jane McAloon and Anita Taylor reappointed.

2. Security in airports;

3. MH370 report release

There are around 40 odd press releases/ month and in 4-months only three on aviation. 3 of 160 releases. Tells you something of the importance and relevance of #aviation to Chester.

AND How does Darren Chester see it. Interview with Sky News.


Here it is a “real plane crash”

 Key Appointments to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Media Release


18 December 2017

  • Ms Jane McAloon appointed as new member to the Board of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority
  • Ms Anita Taylor re-appointed to the Board
  • Appointments maintain safety and aviation industry experience on the CASA Board, whilst enhancing governance expertise

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester today announced appointments to provide support and stability to the operations of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

Mr Chester said the appointment of Ms Jane McAloon as a Board member will bring a wealth of relevant Board and governance experience to the role, including working in regulated industries in the public and private sector in transport and infrastructure.

Ms Anita Taylor’s re-appointment will retain general aviation industry and financial management experience on the Board including in her capacity as Chair of the Board Audit Committee.

“These appointments will support critical reforms underway at CASA, and completion of the remaining parts of CASA’s regulatory reform program,” Mr Chester said.

“A further Board member with aviation experience is also expected to be announced early in 2018.

“I would like to thank Mr Ian Smith AM and Mr Murray Warfield for their valuable contribution to the CASA Board over the past three years.

“I look forward to the Board continuing to set the strategic direction of CASA, while also working with the diverse aviation sector to maintain Australia’s strong safety record,” Mr Chester said.

More information about the Civil Aviation Safety Authority is available at www.casa.gov.au.

New measures further strengthen airport security

Media Release


22 October 2017

  •  Security at Australia’s major airports will be further strengthened.
  • Changes will make airside areas more secure by introducing security screening for airport workers, tighter access controls and additional security awareness training.

Australia’s world-leading aviation security system will be further strengthened with new regulations to mitigate the insider threat and keep Australians safe.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the amendments to the Aviation Transport Security Regulations 2005 will tighten security at Australia’s major airports.

“Airport workers, together with their vehicles and belongings, will be randomly selected for explosive trace detection testing and other screening when entering or working in secure airside areas at major airports,” Mr Chester said.

“Other measures being introduced include stronger access controls and additional security awareness training for aviation workers.

“These measures strengthen existing controls to ensure airport workers are authorised, properly identified and appropriately trained before entering secure airside areas. They may also be subject to security screening in the course of their duties.

“The measures will be progressively implemented and will provide flexibility for airports to ensure they continue to function efficiently and effectively.

“The Australian Government continues to counter security threats and is committed to providing the Australian public with safe and secure air travel,” Mr Chester said.

MH370 final reports released

Media Release


03 October 2017

  • Two reports relating to the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 released
  • Reports are a strong reflection of the efforts by many to find the aircraft

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester today welcomed the release of two final reports related to the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s final report on the Australian-led search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and the CSIRO’s final MH370 research report reflect the extraordinary work that was undertaken, both in identifying the search area and in conducting the search.

Mr Chester said the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s report represents the detailed analysis of the search areas by Australian experts and experts from around the globe.

“The CSIRO report is a detailed analysis of the initial surface search for aircraft debris in key areas in March and April of 2014,” Mr Chester said.

“These reports are the culmination of more than three years of study and it speaks to the very best of what our global community will do when faced with a challenge that touches us all.

“Our thoughts continue to be with the families of those on board the missing aircraft,” Mr Chester said.

The reports are available online:

General Aviation report by Infrastructure Department

This was released on 19th December 2017. A quick read shows an industry in serious trouble.

From #pprune:

22nd Dec 2017, 16:40   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 6,577

To understand the scale of the problem of GA -and why its stuffed, consider Australia’s GDP – an overall indicator of economic activity. in 2004 Australian GDP was approximately 613 US Billion. In 2016 is was 1.2 US trillion – approximately double.

I chose those dates because that’s what BITRE used for some of its comparisons.

By my simplistic, perhaps puerile, measure we could say that if the GA sector had doubled in size during the period 2004 – 2016, we could say that the sector is as healthy (or sick) as the rest of Australia’s economy.

BITRES analysis shows ^NO^ all change has occurred. Therefore one has to conclude that something has changed, and not for the better.

Ah Ha! You say. But most of that is inflation.

So lets look at GDP at constant prices…. 2004 – 300 A$ Billion. 2016 -420 A$ billion.

That’s 40% growth.

Do we see a GA sector 40% larger? 40% more jobs, pilots aircraft and businesses??????? Nope, not even close. Therefore something has changed for the worse.

What has changed for the worse? The weather? The technology?

The answer is that the cause is man made and the evidence (Forsyth review) points to poor regulation causing a general lack of trust of the regulator.

That translates in the capital asset pricing model to a higher risk premium on aviation investments compared to say, property, etc. so aviation investment suffers compared to investment in the rest of the economy.

The Department web site has not given the report for individual download yet, but can be viewed here.

 Aviation’s slow regional burn

A landmark study has confirmed the decline in the general aviation sector that plays a crucial role in serving regional communities.

A day after a cabinet reshuffle that sees Barnaby Joyce take on aviation, a long-awaited Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics report has found the sector has been decreasing since 2010.

But while private flying and flight training have faced “significant” decreases, this has been partly offset by growth in other areas including aerial mustering and search and rescue activity.

The report was announced last year by former Transport Minister Darren Chester.

It came after warnings that the sector had been hit by red tape and skyrocketing costs.

Businessman and aviation veteran Dick Smith has previously warned that the sector faces “destruction”.

Internationally, general aviation — which serves roles ranging from enabling regional families to fly to town to get their groceries rather than doing huge drives to flying training, firefighting, mustering, private flying and aerial surveying — has been in decline or static in nations including the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand.

“Like many other industry sectors, the demand for and supply of the services offered by GA has changed over the past few decades and will continue to do so with developments in aviation technology and the way in which our economy operates,” the report said.

It finds that “while overall GA activity is declining, it is not accurate to say that all sectors of GA are declining”.

“What is apparent is that for some aviators, operating a GA business is a way of funding their passion. Some aviators continue to operate the same way they have for decades, in aircraft that are decades old, and at airports with few GA operators remaining.”

Among the “challenges” confronting the sector are the cost of pilot and maintenance training, airport leases and charges and regulatory changes including multiple reviews of aviation safety rules by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

As well, the fleet is ageing, with the most popular group of small single engine aeroplanes used by the sector at an average age of 36.4 years.

“While they are very robust aircraft, many are beginning to develop age-related faults such as corrosion and metal fatigue, which are very expensive to repair,” the report says.

“Most still require leaded fuel (aviation gasoline or avgas), which is becoming increasingly harder to source and more expensive, with production likely to cease over the next decade.”

According to the report, people from the GA sector “ have clearly expressed concerns that aviation safety regulatory changes are having an unnecessary adverse impact on the GA sector”. Among these concerns were that a “one size fits all” approach meant changes were introduced for all aircraft that were not appropriate for the smaller planes used in general aviation.

The report finds that while the fees charged by CASA “were relatively small, the true cost was higher as additional wages and administration costs are required to achieve regulatory compliance in areas such as flight crew licencing, flying training and maintenance”.

According to the report, “key opportunities” include for CASA to review the hourly rates it charges, fleet renewal, measures to boost the training and retention of pilots and maintenance staff, and for CASA to look at harmonisation of rules.

Aviation Minister Darren Chester fails to inform public of accident

Aviation Minister Darren Chester fails to inform public of accident, that occurred on 10th November 2017, of a “wheels-up” landing at West Sale. Local information has the aircraft being rapidly removed from sight into a local hanger at Sale.

Finally, some 34 days later, the matter is made public by The Australian.  not the Minister.

The Prime report on the matter.

Remember the Minister Chester has an advisor who stood for the ACT Parliament and is ex-RAAF with a partner who works for #casa. The previous Chester advisor, who came fro the Department office under Mike MrDak now advises the CEO of #casa [The regulator]

Surely will put serious pressure on Darren Chester.

‘Wheels-up’ landing puts air safety minister’s flight in peril

Transport Minister Darren Chester.
Transport Minister Darren Chester.
The type of Cessna 337 light plane involved in the incident.
The type of Cessna 337 light plane involved in the incident.

The cabinet minister responsible for air safety was involved in a “wheels-up” landing after the pilot became distracted by a mobile phone and failed to lower the landing gear, in what the regulator dubbed a “serious incident”.

Transport Minister Darren Chester was travelling in the back seat of the light plane on a Nov­ember 10 flight from Essendon to West Sale in regional Victoria. He realised the pilot had not lowered the wheels only when he heard the belly of the Cessna 337 scraping along the runway.

The incident was reported immediately to transport safety regulators, who were faced with the unusual decision of considering whether to mount an investigation into an incident involving their own minister.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau categorised the mishap as a “serious incident” and concluded that an accident had nearly occurred, although it decided not to pursue the issue, while a separate report was also filed with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.


“During approach, the crew did not extend the landing gear resulting in a wheels-up landing. The aircraft sustained minor damage,” the ATSB report found.

The Australian understands the light plane skidded for up to 250m and its rear propeller made very light contact with the ground. Mr Chester said the incident lasted for only a matter of seconds.

“It was surprisingly smooth and the only time I became aware that something had gone wrong was when I heard the noise of the fuse­lage making contact with the runway,” he told The Australian.

The plane belongs to and was piloted by Mark Noble, the director of Bairnsdale Air Charter, which has been operating in the Gippsland region since 1966.

The Australian has confirmed the company was not the operator for the November 10 flight involving Mr Chester.

Mr Noble is well known to Mr Chester, who yesterday confirmed he had flown with him on hundreds of occasions, saying the pilot had accumulated about 9000 hours in the air.

“I regard him as a highly capable and professional pilot and I look forward to flying with him again. He indicated he made a mistake and fortunately neither of us was injured,” Mr Chester said.

The Australian has confirmed that Mr Noble became distracted when his mobile phone rang upon descent to the West Sale Aerodrome and filed a report with the ATSB and CASA indi­cating this.

It is understood that Mr Noble did not answer the phone calls, but became distracted by how loud the ringtone on the phone was.

“The pilot indicated he has appropriate protocols in place not to take phone calls during landing but he failed to switch off his phone — it’s just a simple case of human error,” Mr Chester said.

“He had the right policies in place, but the phone wasn’t turned off.”

He played down the incident, saying it was an “amazingly calm” and “uneventful” landing.

Mr Noble said he had reviewed his protocols to ensure a similar incident did not recur: “Basically, the phone is disconnected from the top of descent. And then they are rechecked at 1000 feet where, as before, they were disconnected at 1000 feet.”

He said he was distracted by the ringtone’s volume. “It was turned up full,” he said. “It automatically connects to the audio system if the bluetooth is turned on. It just about blew my eardrums out and I went to turn it off … It was very distracting.”

The plane was jacked up and its wheels lowered so it could be moved off the runway.


Minister Chester, no more

A quick look at the history of this Minister, who is in charge of aviation within his portfolio shows a Minister who last October [2016] admitted he did not understand aviation to ABC’s Fran Kelly. 

A Minister who excludes, with able assistance from his CEO of the regulator [#casa], key aviation industry participants from the aviation dialogue and failed to rein in a burgeoning expenditure by #casa.

A Minister who fails to answer questions.

A minister who fails to answer FOI requests for #PelAir.

A Minister who failed for 34 days to own up to an accident involving a charter operator in West Sale who the Minister regularly uses.

And the nastiness that has been overseen by this Minister must stop.

A Minister with a glass chin. 


Gippsland Times

Chester dumped from cabinet

Object Name: darren dumped Rating: Category: Copyright: Byline: Credit: Alex Ford Headline: Gippsland MHR, and former Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester.

Object Name: darren dumped Rating: Category: Copyright: Byline: Credit: Alex Ford Headline: Gippsland MHR, and former Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today announced a reshuffle of the federal ministry, with Mr Chester losing his role as the Infrastructure and Transport Minister.

The infrastructure and transport portfolio will be taken over by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

According to The Age, the decision to dump Mr Chester and junior minister Keith Pitt were a surprise to some in the Nationals party room, and interpreted by several MPs as political payback by the Deputy Prime Minister. Both men backed in Senator Bridget McKenzie in the recent contest for Nationals deputy leader, rather than Mr Joyce’s pick of Senator Matt Canavan.

Senator McKenzie’s win in the ballot for the deputy leadership moved her into the cabinet.

“It has been an enormous honour and a privilege to serve in Cabinet in the best portfolio possible, infrastructure and transport. Over the past two years, I’ve been part of policy and project decisions which will change lives and save lives across our nation,” Mr Chester said.

“I’m proud of the work my team and I have done on behalf of the government and I’m sorry we won’t get to finish some of the jobs we’ve started.

“Naturally, I’m disappointed by the leader of the Nationals’ decision to exclude me from his cabinet team. Politics can be a tough business for all involved.

But life goes on and I will continue to support the Turnbull government. We need to work together as a strong and united team and I will continue to demonstrate the loyalty and professionalism that is required for us to deliver the government that Australians deserve.”

Now a backbencher, Mr Chester said he was looking forward to continuing to serve the people of Gippsland with “passion, enthusiasm and determination for many years to come”.

More details in Friday’s Gippsland Times.

 Darren Chester dumped in cabinet reshuffle

  • Australian Associated Press
  • Save

Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester has been dumped in a wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle by Malcolm Turnbull, making way for little-known Queensland backbenchers.

The prime minister on Tuesday confirmed Attorney-General George Brandis is standing down and will head to London to take over as UK High Commissioner.

West Australian Christian Porter will take his place as attorney-general, with Michaelia Cash promoted to become the new Minister for Jobs and Innovation.

First-term Queensland Nationals MP David Littleproud has been parachuted straight into cabinet to oversee the agriculture portfolio.

His colleague John McVeigh – a former Newman state government minister – joins him to look after regional development and local government.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce takes Mr Chester’s portfolio of infrastructure and transport, with his new deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie assuming responsibility for sport, rural health and regional communications.

Mr Chester said politics could be a tough business and described the experience of being dumped as “character building”.

Mr Joyce had offered him an assistant ministry but he turned it down.

“Naturally, I’m disappointed by the leader of the Nationals’ decision to exclude me from his cabinet team,” Mr Chester said.

“But life goes on and I will continue to support the Turnbull government.”

The prime minister thanked Mr Chester and said cabinet would continue to call on his wisdom.

“It’s a ministry that showcases the depth of the Liberal and National team, with well-earned promotions for talented individuals, and a number of young and upcoming MPs bringing new skills and energy to the frontbench,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Sydney.

He later said the composition of the ministry had to take into account “matters of geography” and Mr Joyce had insisted Mr Chester, a Victorian, make way for more Queenslanders given a large proportion of the Nationals party room comes from the sunshine state.

Mr Turnbull also praised the distinguished service of Senator Brandis, who he will recommend to replace Alexander Downer in London.

“I hope … that George’s public service to our nation is not over.”

Senator Brandis said he was honoured and delighted to follow in Mr Downer’s footsteps, wishing his “superbly well-equipped” successors all the best in their new roles.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten criticised the promotion of Senator Cash given recent controversy surrounding her office’s involvement in AFP raids on unions, and he accused Mr Turnbull of “anti-Tasmanian bias” after the island state was left off the cabinet map.

Mr Shorten argued the Liberal and National parties had a “women’s problem” after overall female representation in cabinet did not grow in the reshuffle.

“They really now need to start speaking up for half the population and giving half the population proper representation in the parliamentary party,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann will become Leader of the Senate and also take over responsibility as Special Minister of State.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham receives a small promotion to add Manager of Government Business in the Senate to his role.

A new home affairs portfolio will be overseen in the new year by Peter Dutton and he will be assisted by a new Minister for Citizenship, Alan Tudge, and Angus Taylor as Law Enforcement Minister.

Previous justice minister Michael Keenan swaps that hat for human services, with Dan Tehan taking over from Mr Porter in social services.

Michael McCormack takes on veterans affairs.

Arthur Sinodinos won’t be returning to the cabinet table, with his cancer treatment taking longer than anticipated.

Cobden Airport doomed if planners have their way

The Cobden Airport doomed if planners have their way, according to local airport users. Despite major upgrades which allow for night landings, better parking and facilities, the Council have not registered the airport.

This is essential infrastructure and must be protected by regulation. Further, wind turbines can have serious deleterious effects on aviation.

Similar issues arose at Crookwell Airport, just north of Goulburn NSW and there has been much debate on the in other places on effects of wind turbines on aviation. 

The Senate had a wind turbine inquiry some time ago, which makes interesting reading.

The latest is a discovery by the local council that there was data left off the WindFarm applicants map “…. planning consultant that has cost us more money and he has found eight houses that range from 1.5 to three kilometres missing off the Naroghid wind farm map……..”. This is a typical ploy of these applications and was present at Crookwell as well.

Here is a shot of the crowd protesting and demonstrating the importance of the Cobden facility.

Minister Barnaby Joyce, here is your first task as Minister.

Stop the turbines and allow an airport a safe future.


Cobden Airport under a Cloud, an open letter. 28th Nov. ‘17

Cobden Airport is threatened by 12 enormous wind turbines planned at nearest distance from Airport 1.4 nautical miles and spread to the north west, against a preferred absolute minimum of 3 nautical miles. Seventy metre blades would reach up around 800 feet into the circuit area. A normal circuit height is 1000 feet, a bad weather circuit may be conducted at 500 feet. Cobden has one north south (night lit) sealed runway. If built in the planned position this wind farm will destroy Cobden Airport. Cobden Airport is community owned and has had much voluntary work and substantial taxpayer funds expended in it’s development. Privately funded hangars and Aero Club rooms, the latter used as a terminal building, are part and parcel of the infrastructure.

In addition to the obvious obstruction problem and loss of night flying availability, downwind turbulence and wind shear would be dangerous when, as commonly, the wind direction is northerly.

Our Airport puts Cobden and the surrounding district ‘on the map.’ Air ambulance and firefighting are two important uses that will undoubtably finish. Charter flights, training flights and tourist flights will cease, no one would plan ahead to use this airport if the towers are in place. Owned by Council, it would have to consider the liability issues and insurance. If the Corangamite Council, as owner, can cause the Airport to be registered, as was the long term plan, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority may provide some protection. Otherwise the go ahead will be a political decision therefore only community opinion might sway the decision in the Airport and community’s favour.

Sandy Reith , member Cobden Aero Club, Commercial Pilot, retired flight instructor with 10,000 hours experience. Stonyford, 0428 ******

Fight for Cobden airport’s future hits close to home for Corangamite Shire mayor Jo Beard

Taking a stand: Jan O'Connell, Eunie Dawe, Paul Moloney, Warren Ponting, Helen Watts and Stan Williams on the runway at Cobden airport. Picture: Morgan Hancock

Taking a stand: Jan O’Connell, Eunie Dawe, Paul Moloney, Warren Ponting, Helen Watts and Stan Williams on the runway at Cobden airport. Picture: Morgan Hancock

Corangamite Shire mayor Jo Beard’s reasons for opposing a 12-turbine wind farm that threatens the future of Cobden’s airfield are personal.

The airport has always been part of the Cobden local’s backyard, but its role as a vital community asset was brought home when her husband, Daniel, was involved in a serious car crash.

“It will be 20 years next year that… my husband was involved in a fatality car accident where two people were killed. He was probably one of the worst of the survivors and he was airlifted out of the Cobden airstrip,” she said.

“By the time he got to Melbourne they had to revive him. If he did not have that air ambulance taking him out of Cobden down to Melbourne… he wouldn’t be around.”

She said the strip remained an important landing site for the fixed-wing air ambulance, as well as the helicopter.

Cr Beard also pointed to the council-owned strip’s role in supporting aerial fire-fighting, agricultural spraying and tourism.

 Cr Beard told this week’s Corangamite Shire council meeting that she would be standing up with her community and “fighting really hard to make sure that airstrip is still there”.

Plans for the Naroghid wind farm, located directly north of the Cobden airport, are being considered by the state Planning Minister. Corangamite councillors voted to lodge a submission objecting to the project.

Allinta Energy is behind the project, which would build 12 turbines measuring 180 metres high. The closest turbines would be about 2.5 kilometres from the runway, limiting the ability to take off and land and risking the strip’s future registration as a code one airfield.

Cr Lesley Brown said giving the Planning Minister control of wind farm approvals meant there was often little consideration of local people.

“I find it difficult to understand that the state government is the only authority to decide where these wind farms are located,” she said.

Corangamite Shire mayor Jo Beard. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Corangamite Shire mayor Jo Beard. Picture: Rob Gunstone

 Cr Helen Durant said the airport provided an important service to the community, businesses and emergency services.

“I hope that common sense will prevail because if it doesn’t and the future of the airstrip is threatened than nothing will stand in the way of inappropriate sited wind towers in the future,” she said.

Cr Neil Trotter said the Planning Minister should “use his power to veto this forthwith”.

 Cobden Aero Club member Duncan Morris thanked the council for supporting the strip in its submission.

The airstrip hosted a community day last weekend, with hundreds of people and about 40 planes flying in to show support. Mr Morris said a petition had received about 400 signatures within a couple of days.

“The wind farm commissioner came to our airport and had a look first-hand at what we saw as the troubles. He may not have the final decision, but I’d rather being going into this with his support rather than without it,” he said. “I suspect we’ll get his support.”

Mr Morris said the aero club and hangar owners group were also making a joint submission on the wind farm, which is being drafted up Sydney-based aviation lawyers.

Cobrico dairy farmer Angela Molloy told Tuesday night’s council meeting that the wind farm could impact her family’s right to farm.

“We have three turbines adjacent to our residence, with the first turbine 1.07 kilometres from our house,” she said.

Mrs Molloy said the farm’s fertiliser spreading was contracted to an aerial spraying company operating from the airport, which would not continue if the wind farm went ahead.

“The loss of this spreading pertains to a loss of $70,000 a year. Nothing a dairy farmer can withstand,” she said.

Mrs Molloy also raised concerns over shadow flicker, aviation lighting that could impact on sleep, and planning discrepancies found in the map of the Naroghid wind farm.

“When I first did a drive-by with another lady we found 40 houses missing off this map. This map has been in circulation since 2006 and we want to know why it hasn’t been picked up. It is disgusting. Where or how has any of this got through without someone checking it?” Mrs Molloy said.

“We now have a planning consultant that has cost us more money and he has found eight houses that range from 1.5 to three kilometres missing off the Naroghid wind farm map.”

Mrs Molloy said they had also received no communication from the wind farm company.

“Because we are objecting we’ve never heard from them,” she said.


Planned Naroghid wind farm puts Cobden airport in nosedive

Plans for the Naroghid wind farm, located directly north of the Cobden airport, are being considered by the state Planning Minister.

The project has been on the drawing board for more than a decade and was taken over by Alinta Energy earlier this year. The energy giant plans to build 12 turbines measuring 180 metres and costing up to $100 million.

Cobden Aero Club member Duncan Morris said if the development went ahead in its current form, it could ultimately lead to the strip’s closure.

He said turbines would be located from 1.4 nautical miles, or about 2.5 kilometres, from the runway.

“If I took off in my aircraft to the north, I would hit that tower about three-quarters of the way up it 40 seconds after take-off, that’s how close it is,” he said.

Mr Morris said aircraft could me maneuvered around the turbines, but “maneuvering so close to the ground is dangerous”.

The Cobden airport is the only one of its kind in Corangamite Shire and Mr Morris said it covered a wide area between Warrnambool, Geelong and Ballarat. It services the region’s tourism and agriculture industries and is used by the air ambulance, in particular its fixed-wing aircraft for medical transfers and emergencies, as well as recreational flying.

The community has a long-term vision for the airport, including a new terminal and command centre. A funding application for $400,000 has been lodged with the state government and about $40,000 already raised by the community for the development.

Mr Morris said other significant improvements had been made to the site over time.

A generic image of a wind farm.

A generic image of a wind farm.

“Given that the state government contributed significantly to upgrade the strip and seal it, it seems ridiculous that the next state government would support something that will effectively destroy it,” he said.

Mr Morris said when the wind farm was previously on the table, airport users had suggested a one kilometre corridor either side of the runway to solve the issue.

“In 2005 they had four turbines in that corridor and wouldn’t even discuss the idea,” he said. “In the revised plan there’s at least six in that corridor, there’s a whole cluster of them.”

A number of airport user groups are planning to make submissions on the plan.

Four years ago, the state’s planning tribunal refused to extend a permit for the wind farm after noting a two-kilometre setback rule in place at the time, which allowed residents within that zone to veto wind farms.

By 2015, however, the state government amended that rule, restricting the veto zone to one kilometre. The closest non-stakeholder home to the Naroghid turbines is now 1006 metres, according to the Alinta proposal.

Submissions to the plan close on December 22.

Cobden airport is an integral asset to the shire

PLANS: Corangamite councillor Neil Trotter and Cobden airport reporting officer Warren Ponting say the airstrip is a huge asset. Picture: Rob Gunstone

PLANS: Corangamite councillor Neil Trotter and Cobden airport reporting officer Warren Ponting say the airstrip is a huge asset. Picture: Rob Gunstone

The Cobden Airport committee say a terminal is needed to meet the demands of a growing community asset which services Corangamite and some neighboring shires.

The committee has worked with Corangamite Shire who have made a submission to Regional Development Victoria for $300,000 of funding.

The committee, through community fundraising, would raise an additional $100,000 needed to see the project achieved.

Airport reporting officer and committee member Warren Ponting said so far the committee had already raised $40,000 towards the development.

Mr Ponting said the project would bring major commercial and economical benefits to Cobden and the shire.

“We’re the closest airport to the Twelve Apostles,” he said.

He said the terminal could also be used as a command for emergency services.

Mr Ponting said the airport was used weekly by the air ambulance.

“It’s secure and private for the air ambulance to land,” he said.

Mr Ponting said the terminal would include toilets, a small information desk and aero club rooms with a kitchen and dining area.

He said the planned building could also accommodate a pilot and command centre during an emergency.

“It would certainly open up a lot of opportunities,” he said.

Mr Ponting said community involvement and council support would ensure the project was completed.

“Five years ago we didn’t have a sealed strip,” he said. “We’ve got fully sealed and wider runway.

“We’ve got pilot activated lighting so pilots can radio ahead and get lights turned on.”

Corangamite councillor Neil Trotter said the airport was an important asset for the shire.

“Strategically it’s important for the shire,” he said.

“It’s an asset which services the whole shire.”

Remembrance Day 11th November 2017

William Fraser McKerrow, my great uncle, my Grandmother’s brother joined the AIF in Learmonth just outside Ballarat as a 25 year old share farmer on the 7th July 1915.

He joined only 2 ½ – months after the Gallipoli invasion [AWM]. He had nearly seven years in the local light horse squadron as a sergeant based in Ballarat, joining as an eighteen year old.

Just the person to join the Australian Light Horse.

By 2nd January 1916, William was taken on strength as a Lance Corporal, probably due to his previous experience in civilian life. By 2nd March 1917, William was assigned to the 4th Light Horse in Egypt. He then undertook training, with his active duties starting in June 1917.

Like a lot of the Australian soldiers, despite his admission papers showing he was a fit and healthy 5FT 11 ½ tall male, he succumbed to throat infections and malaria during July and August 1917, spending many days in hospital and recovery.

Other records show 35 days in hospital between 28/1/1918 and 4/3/1918

There are number of further hospital visits in early 1918 with the last for malaria just two weeks before William’s death

On 4th May 1917 William McKerrow was Killed-in-Action leaving a grieving father John McKerrow [who sought information about his death ats late as July 1930, receiving the memorial scroll and British war medal]: a sister, Penelope McKerrow [my Grandmother, who witnessed his Will leaving his worldy possessions to his mother].

The official record says “20/5/1918 – Graves Reg Not Buried E.S Salt”

The closeness of the family is shown by Lieutenant Norman McNicol MC, his brother in law, taking possession of his service star for 1914-18 and memorial plaque – 350088 in December 1922.

My brother in a conversation with Penelope McNicol’s daughter Mary, there is family knowledge of three Light Horsemen riding together and William is in the centre, being shot from a distance.

In AWM [Australian War Memorial] records, it shows:

In July 1918, William’s effects were sent home via Darwin, being received in December 1918.

He was one of 143 in A Squadron of some 495 men with the 4th Light Horse Regiment. There were 32 Drivers from transport and mixed numbers (17 men) in the Brigade HQ who charged. Some scouts were known to be in the charge but whether the batman and others did is unknown.

The last action by William McKerrow was at Es Salt in Palestine.

Es Salt, a village in Palestine 23 km west of Amman, was the scene of heavy fighting between 30 April and 3 May 1918. The fighting occurred as part of the second “raid” mounted east of the Jordan River by General Sir Edmund Allenby’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force.

The actual raiding troops – the Australian Mounted, ANZAC Mounted, and British 60th Infantry Divisions, and the Imperial Camel Corps Brigade – were commanded by Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauvel and their aim was to secure a launching point for operations against the key railway junction at Deraa.

The operation progressed well initially with Es Salt being seized by the evening of 30 April. Increasingly determined Turkish resistance, including counter-attacks that threatened the flanks and rear of the advanced elements of the raiding force, eventually forced a withdrawal back to the Jordan on 3 May 1918.

The raid failed in its objectives but did serve a purpose in that it encouraged Turkish commanders to believe Allenby’s next major effort would be launched across the Jordan, when in fact it would be launched along the coastal plain.


William McKerrow was one of 143 in A Squadron of some 495 men with the 4th Light Horse Regiment. There were 32 Drivers from transport and mixed numbers (17 men) in the Brigade HQ who charged. Some scouts were known to be in the charge but whether the batman and others did is unknown.

In the words of Robyn Van-Dyk in 2007:

The battle of Beersheba took place on 31 October 1917 as part of the wider British offensive collectively known as the third Battle of Gaza. The final phase of this all day battle was the famous mounted charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade.

Commencing at dusk, members of the brigade stormed through the Turkish defences and seized the strategic town of Beersheba. The capture of Beersheba enabled British Empire forces to break the Ottoman line near Gaza on 7 November and advance into Palestine.

At 3:30 pm there was only a few hours of daylight remaining and orders were issued for the final phase of the struggle, the occupation of Beersheba.

Lieutenant General Sir Harry Chauvel decided to put General Grant’s 4th Light Horse Brigade straight at the remaining trenches, from the south-east. Chauvel knew that he must take the town before dark in order to secure the wells for Allenby’s large force. Private Keddie recorded: “We began to talk among ourselves saying Beersheba will be taken and us not doing anything when about 5 o’clock our major came and said that Beersheba had not been captured but we were going in”.

The notes from the diary of James Harold Gleeson, Number 140:

He did spend some time with the 1st Light Horse Regiment [LHR] and was shot in the leg at Gallipoli in Aug 1915 and repatriated to Malta. He joined/rejoined?? the 12th LHR in March 1916 and served with the 12th until discharged in 1919.

The entry for 31 Oct 1917 reads:

“Bombardment of Beersheba commenced about sunrise.
4th troop sent to escort ammunition.
21st Division opened up the attack about 9am with Australian Division in support and held on all day till 4pm.
4th Brigade went up at the trot to the front line.
4th Brigade charged at the gallop and went straight through and took possession of Beersheba.
750 prisoners taken.
Ten field guns.
About dark Taube dropped few bombs amongst the eschelon causing 30 casulaties in 1st Brigade and 50 horses.
A Squadron of 12th Regiment suffered pretty heavily.
Found good water supply in town and horse fodder.Also number of horses and mules.
Turks fired the mosque and ammunition stores.”

Wiliam Mckerrow’s record is quite lengthy as he survived the Bersheeba Charge.

Bob the Builder has rights smashed in Cairns

Like the drone wars Bob the Builder is facing a fight similar to that by other #aviation users, when airport lease holders exert untold power on leaders. Goulburn, Moorabin, Mildura; Gympie spring to mind.


This article is from the Saturday, 4 Nov 2017 issue of Cairns Post Digital Print Edition.

Bob’s ready to move but he’s in a dogfight

Hangar war pits veteran pilot against Cairns Airport over ownership

A PILOT has doggedly embarked on a mission to remove a Cairns aircraft hangar and rebuild it at Mareeba.

Bob Simpson claims the Aeroglen hangar, for which he paid $60,000 in 2010, is his property to relocate.

But the structure is now in the possession of Cairns Airport after a lease between the airport and Cairns Airport Hangars ended this week.

Records show Mr Simpson had subleased the land from Cairns Airport Hangars since 2010, but he said the hangar belonged to him.

“The lease I signed was for the ground only … but they want to claim the hangar,” said the builder by trade.

“It’s as plain as the nose on your face that it belongs to me.”

He claimed Cairns Airport Hangars had wrongfully handed possession of the hangar back to the airport.

Taking matters into his own hands, Mr Simpson started tearing down the structure piece by piece.

But Cairns Airport then dismissed him from the premises last Monday and banned him from returning to the hangar until after 4pm on November 1. Mr Simpson vowed to keep fighting for the hangar.

“I’m going to start pulling it down again and see what happens ,” he said.

“I’ve got a couple of planes that need a house.

“And I own that hangar.”

The pilot of more than 40 years said rising rents had “squeezed” him out of the airport’s general aviation space.

Cairns Airport’s retail, transport and property chief commercial officer Tracey Groves said Mr Simpson’s demolition work was unauthorised .

“Our lease with Cairns Airport Hangars – with whom Mr Simpson had a sublease – ended at midnight October 31 and the ownership of the hangar complex has now reverted to us,” she said.

“As the safety and security of the complex is now our responsibility , we have commenced building safety inspections as per our standard procedures.

“Authorisation must be obtained from Cairns Airport before any construction or demolition work is carried out at the airport.”

The Cairns Post could not make contact with Cairns Airport Hangars.

Copyright ©2017 Cairns Post




Proposed Civil Aviation Regulation Act

Is the following a sign of things to come? (Unknown source)


Proposed Civil Aviation Regulation Act

Rule 1000(a). No pilot or pilots, or persons, or persons acting on the direction or suggestion or supervision of the pilot or pilots may try, or make attempt to try, to comprehend or understand any or all, in whole or in part, of the herein mentioned Civil Aviation Regulations, except as authorised by the Director or an agent appointed by the Director.

Rule 1000(b). If the pilot or group of associated pilots become aware of, or realises, or detects, or discovers, or finds that he, or she, or they, are, or have been, beginning to understand the Civil Aviation Regulations, they must immediately within three (3) days notify in writing the Director.

Rule 1000(c). Upon receipt of the abovementioned notice of impending comprehension, the Director will immediately re-write the Civil Aviation Regulations in such a manner as to eliminate any further comprehension hazards.

Rule 1000(d). The Director may, at his or her option, require the offending pilot, or pilots, to attend remedial instruction in the Civil Aviation Regulations until such time that the pilot, or pilots, are too confused to be capable of understanding anything.


Ian Britza enters fray for by-election in New England

Ian Britza enters fray for by-election in New England against Barnaby Joyce.

Who is Ian Britza??

Ian spent time growing up in Western Australian and the African country of Malawi and moved to New South Wales at the age of 15 where he lived for 25 years.

Ian was until recently member for Morley in the Western Australian Parliament which he held for 8 years after winning the seat off Labor, he was acting speaker of the house for 6 years and he also served as a member of the Community Development & Justice Committee for four years and Deputy Chair for a further 2 years.


The most important part of this puzzle is the prime policy that Ian Britza takes with him and that is aviation. This will be front and centre in the by-election against Barnaby Joyce.

A time for #aviation.

New England candidate announces an investigation into CASA needed.

Australian Country Party candidate for New England Ian Britza, has today announced a policy statement calling for a full review into the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.Mr Britza said ‘Its just not on that so much red tape can be put in front of our aviation clubs and businesses. This could have a long term affect on general aviation in this Country, something needs to be done.”

Details of the statement are:

The Aviation industry is in serious decline because of unnecessary regulation. Australia is witnessing pilots and businesses exiting the industry in increasing numbers.

Because of this decline there will be serious consequences including employment and infrastructure losses, reducing aviation services in Australia. Allowing the decline to continue could see the end of aviation in Australia.

The Australian Country Party advocates for a full investigation and review of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) that would look at over-regulation, allegations of collusion and process stalling and management of the authority which is responsible for major failings in it’s policies and regulation of the aviation industry. Unnecessary policy and regulation are now crippling flying clubs and small businesses, evidenced with aircraft registrations down 53% and general aviation pilots down 34% in the last 10 years.

Flying clubs provide a starting point for people learning to fly and often the first step towards commercial flying, but over-regulation is forcing these clubs and airfields out of business where only multi-national companies would be able to sustain the increasing regulation requirements. This could eventually force all pilot training offshore.

Over regulation includes the following areas just to name a few:

1.Aviation Medical requirements

2. Air Operator Certificate regulation and compliance

3.Flight school regulation and compliance

4. Aircraft maintenance regulation and compliance

Adopting the United States or New Zealand approach is a step in the right direction.

For more information contact:Darren Cooper – Secretary
secretary@countryparty.org.au – 0498 781 243

Ian Britza – newengland@countryparty.org.au – 0405 111 228

Registered Political Party – Authorised by D Cooper, Secretary, Gillies St Maryborough, Victoria 3465

Lord Howe Island accident

The recent Lord Howe Island accident was reported today in The Australian.

There are now three accidents/ incident’s that can be partially attributed to poor passing on of weather to pilots and aircraft in transit and variably poor Air Traffic control and likely interference by #casa.

  1. Pelair – November 2009;
  2. Mildura – July 2013;
  3. Parallells between PeAir and the #mildura two 737’s with alternate problems and a fog  and now:
  4. Lord Howe Island [see below]

Improper actions by #casa affect individuals

That Karen Casey has waited for so long is a disgrace – 7 years and 7 months.

That the insurance company tried to stop payments and

Limit a payout to the Chicago convention is a disgrace.

That #casa hid a crucial report from #atsb – the Roger Chambers report

That #atsb failed to properly investigate the ditching – Damning Senate inquiry


Are there similar events?

Of course there is more.

Is there any progress in getting improvement in the aviation sphere?

The Queensland Liberal National Party passed a resolution in July’s Annual Conference for a Judicial Inquiry into #casa, but no progress has occurred.

An intervention by the aviation safety regulator restricting a veteran harbour master from providing crucial weather information to incoming flights at Lord Howe Island has been linked to a serious ­accident.

Clive Wilson has intricate knowledge of the treacherous weather patterns and cross winds on the remote island and for decades radioed this knowledge to incoming flights. His volunteer work was encouraged by airlines, the RAAF and air ambulance ­services.

But three years ago the Civil Aviation Safety Authority told Mr Wilson, who had been manning the radio since 1956, it would not renew his licence to provide detailed weather observations to pilots unless he spent $20,000 on a meteorological training course.

On Friday morning last week a 13-seater twin-turboprop King Air 200 carrying five people was seriously damaged when it ploughed into the tarmac, ­destroying a propeller and damaging a wing, in an accident so ­serious experts said the plane would most likely have to be ­returned to the mainland by ship to be repaired.

The previous evening, in similar weather, a medical evacuation flight radioed Mr Wilson for ­advice and was told it was too dangerous to land.

It circled for more than an hour before returning to the mainland.

Unlike air force and medevac pilots, many flight operators — including Port Macquarie-based Eastern Air Services, which had been flying the King Air commercially into Lord Howe since ­December — no longer radio Mr Wilson for advice on conditions on the ground.

Mr Wilson said this was in part because many pilots were no longer aware he provided the service — his name and contact ­details were removed from the ­region’s pilot guide at the insistence of the Lord Howe Island airport administration amid the spat with CASA.

“That morning (of the accident) the wind was gusting up to 50 knots and my respectful advice would have been abandon what you are doing and go home,” Mr Wilson told The Weekend Australian yesterday.

“My normal conversation in those circumstances would have been ‘the conditions are difficult and unpredictable and there is a high-level of risk in attempting to approach Lord Howe under these conditions’.”

Former Qantas pilot Bill Hamilton said the action by CASA was a “textbook case of mindless bureaucracy trumping common sense” and it was “putting lives at risk”.

“Almost all of the rest of the world would see Clive’s efforts as essential but we’re a country where compliance with ratbag regulations take precedence over commonsense,” Mr Hamilton said.

An Australian Transport ­Safety Bureau spokesman confirmed a King Air 200 turboprop aircraft had lost control and had been involved in an accident on Lord Howe Island at 7.20am on October 27.

“During final approach, the aircraft encountered a strong downdraft, resulting in a hard landing with substantial damage to the right wing and propeller,” the spokesman said.

“The ATSB reviewed the incident and is not investigating.”

There were five people on board, none of whom was injured.

A CASA spokesman said the regulator would not investigate as it usually only reviewed accidents that were more serious — where injuries or deaths had occurred as a result of systemic mechanical or other problems.

Eastern Air Services did not return calls yesterday.

On its website the company was advertising seven-day holiday packages from Port Macquarie to Lord Howe Island — aboard the King Air 200 — ­between October and December from $1199 twin-share.

#casa annual report 2017

The #casa annual report 2017 released in late October 2017 is interesting from the start and the letter by Jeff Boyd to the Minister.

It was dated the 12/9/2017 with a copy to Mike MrDak.

Problem is MrDak left Department on the 7th September 2017, some five (5) days earlier.

Trim Ref: EF09/23970
12 September 2017

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
Parliament House

Dear Minister

On behalf of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), I present to you the Annual Report for the reporting year 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017. The report has been prepared in accordance with the Civil Aviation Act 1988; the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act); the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014; and other relevant legislation.
The report is made in accordance with a resolution of the Board of CASA, which is responsible under section 46 of the PGPA Act for presenting an annual report to you, for presentation to the Parliament, on CASA’s activities during the period.

Yours sincerely
Jeff Boyd
CASA Board
cc Mr Mike Mrdak, Secretary, Department of Infrastructure a

cc Mr Mike Mrdak, Secretary, Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Well done Jeff, you can’t even get your paperwork correct. just another “…finger-up…” at the #aviation industry that Boyd and the Board purport to represent!

If this were a pilot or engineer [which jeff Boyd actually is], the statutory fine would be $10,500 due to a 50 penalty point (from 1/7/2017) [….previously, $9000] infringement of 61.345 3(a):

61.345 Personal logbooks—pilots

(1) A person who holds a pilot licence, or a certificate of validation of an overseas flight crew licence that is equivalent to a pilot licence, commits an offence if the person does not keep a personal logbook in accordance with this regulation.

Penalty: 50 penalty units.

(3) The person must, as soon as practicable after completing each flight, record the following information in the person’s logbook for the flight:
(a) the date the flight began;
(b) the type of aircraft;
(c) whether it was a single-engine or multi-engine aircraft;
(d) the aircraft’s nationality and registration marks;

The Colmar Brunton report again has been, like 2016, ignored by #casa.

A completely independent report such as the #colmarbrunton report is the only way to assess the #aviation industry and the taking of a straw poll shows neglible improvement at the “…coal face…”.

From the #casa annual report, #casa is allowed to “…self report….”

In accordance with the Regulator Performance Framework, CASA prepared a self-assessment report on its performance for 2015–16 in
December 2016. The report was provided to the panel for review before it was submitted to the Minister. Although CASA’s self-assessment
report used a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics, the panel felt that CASA placed a disproportionate emphasis on the successful completion of initiatives as outlined in its corporate plan.

As part of its self-assessment appraisal of performance for 2016–17, CASA will take into account the panel’s feedback and review the
weighting attributed to metrics. The panel will provide feedback in relation to the six mandatory KPIs of the Regulator Performance Framework later in 2017.

CASA will provide its 2016–17 self-assessment report to the Minister separately from this annual report.

The following list the #casa “Key objectives and challenges”:

Key achievements:

  1. The implementation of a new version of CASA’s medical records system resulted in a significant service delivery improvement and a
    considerable reduction in data entry effort by medical examiners.
  2. Workshops on Implementing CASA’s Regulatory Philosophy were conducted in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
  3. A high-level strategic approach to the integration of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) into Australian airspace was approvedfor implementation by the CASA Board.
  4. CASA and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) successfully negotiated arrangements for CASA to obtain IATA Operational Safety Audit reports on foreign air carriers operating into Australia, augmenting existing audit and surveillance mechanisms.
  5. Australia and the United States completed an amendment and addendum to the treaty-level Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) in March 2017. The amendment and addendum provide significant financial benefits to the design and manufacturing sectors of the Australian aviation industry.
  6. A Working Arrangement between CASA and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) was signed in January 2017, formalising CASA’s participation in the Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft ramp inspection data-sharing program

The challenge of maintaining and enhancing a fair, effective and efficient aviation safety regulatory system revolves around the understanding and balancing of many competing interests, methods and philosophies.

CASA has embraced these challenges by:

  1. collaborating with interested parties in a meaningful way, particularly through the new stakeholder engagement framework reviewing service systems throughout the organisation to enhance their responsiveness to client needs
  2. progressing the embodiment of our Regulatory Philosophy in the culture of the organisation.

If this is the best #casa can do following the #colmarbrunton drubbing [Remember, nothing said in the 2016 annual report] #aviation is in deep problems.

#casa expectations by Minister Chester demonstrates his lack of #aviation knowledge

A finger up to the #aviation industry and definitely:  More to follow