Cairns pilot Richard Rudd has embarked on an odyssey to take grievances with CASA all the way to Canberra, by road.
Rudd and Albury pilot Rob Cumming will arrive in Canberra this weekend after having driven from Cairns displaying a billboard outlining CASA sins and collecting horror stories from pilots as they go.
Rudd was on the wrong end of CASA action in 2007 when the regulator accused him of performing illegal maintenance on the tail of his Wilga aircraft. Even though Rudd pointed out the aircraft had no current maintenance release, and that what CASA claimed he did was a physical impossibility, he was issued with a fine and demerit points.
But anyone who believes Rudd's trek is about justice for himself sells the man well short. According to him, the journey to the capital is about justice for the many pilots in Australia who have been subjected to CASA's punitive policies.
"[I have] been 'pineappled' twice by CASA ... by bad law and bad CASA employees, and knowing that many others thave been seriously hurt/crucified/lost businesses and incomes because of CASA malfeasance, misfeasance, non-feasance, perjury and whatever," Rudd told Australian Flying.
"We are on a mission to publicise the facts and try and get something done about it. We have appointments with the Australian Federal Police [AFP], pollies and the good pro-aviation senators to give them material we, and others have collected.
"The billboard truck is creating a lot of interest along the way. We are also calling in to airfields to talk with folk and hear more horror stories and about CASA-induced problems."
Rudd's billboard says what general aviation gets from CASA is:
- Excessive regulation
- Outrageous fees
- Corruption (four mentions)
- "Lost" paperwork
- Gross time delays affecting normal business
- Lack of governance
- Lack of leadership
- A "joke" code of conduct
- False testimony
- Legal trickery
- Gross wastage of public money
- Overseas junkets
- Rubbish regulation
- Derogatory and defamatory statements
- Lies and bullshit
Rudd expects to be able to meet with pro-aviation senators such as Sussan Ley, Bill Heffernan, David Fawcett and Nick Xenophon on Monday before observing the senate estimates session in Canberra on Monday evening.
He also hopes to collect from CASA the "clear evidence" that the regulator says it has that Rudd did perform illegal maintenance.