I have this impression in my mind of sleeves being rolled up all around the AOPA hangar at Bankstown. They've added some heavy-hitters to the board that have the potential to add some serious power and credibility to their advocacy efforts. Perhaps the artillery among the new crop is former CASA Deputy Director of Aviation Safety Mike Smith (not the same bloke who flew a SeaRey around the world). Mike is perhaps one of the most credentialed and respected figures in aviation, and was recently very disappointed not to be given a crack at the DAS job in the wake of Mark Skidmore departing. Although he lives in the USA, standby for him to make a big impact on AOPA's influence and ability in Canberra. And if you look at all the new board members, you'll see plenty of skill and street cred amongst tthem; skill and street cred that is coupled with a passion for aviation and a determination to stand up no only for themselves, but for the entire aviation community. There's a lot of work to be done, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better team to do it.
And speaking of the DAS position, we're still in the dark about who will take over as new CASA boss. However, I am told reliably that the decision is made and the press release just about drafted. We'd know already had it not been for the tragic Renmark crash that claimed three fellow aviators, a senior CASA person amongst them. Right now the shock waves from the crash are still reverberating through Aviation House, and we won't be told who the new DAS is until things settle down a bit. I believe we should know by this time next week.
Great news for GippsAero and Australia! Both CASA and the FAA have issued type certificates for the Airvan 10. This is a 10-seat single-engine turbo-prop (SETP) designed to slot in between the large piston singles and the current crop of utility SETPs. Not only is it cheaper to buy and operate, but also the gap in skills needed to fly the Airvan 8 and C206, and the Airvan 10, is not as great as it would be if you were stepping up to a Caravan. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and persistent dreaming on behalf of the entire GippsAero team, and it's a credit to the skills and ingenuity of Australia's aviation workforce. I flew this aeroplane several weeks ago, and I can tell you it is a remarkable machine that is the ideal utility for just about every operation you can think of. Much more about that is in the July-August print issue of Australian Flying.
The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society has done it again. When other museums are scrambling for cash and volunteers just to stay open, HARS seems to be going from strength to greater strength. It was not that long ago that they scored Qantas' first Boeing 747-400 for a static exhibit, and now actor John Travolta has donated to them his B707. With the number of multi engine aircraft they have airworthy, the maintenance and fuel bills must be greater than a politician's perks, yet they have established themselves as perhaps the pre-eminent active museum in Australia ... and right on Sydney's doorstep. Of course a lot of their success can be attributed to the squadron of ex-QF people working there, but that's not to discount the passion and commitment shown by the entire committee of management and workforce. It's all great for aviation in Australia.
May your gauges always be in the green,