– Steve Hitchen
I have to confess to being one of those annoying people that doesn't believe in karma or "signs" that the universe is trying to tell me something, until I get one that is so strong it can't be ignored. Then I'm not only on the bandwagon, I'm driving it! In the past week we have seen the Bristell crash at Clyde North, the tragic beach landing in Portugal and the video of the C150 attempt to land on a highway. Each of these incidents turned out badly, and there are still people in hospital. None of us are currently in a position to say with any integrity what happened, but in time we will find out. However, it did have me scrambling for my logbook to find out when I last did a practice forced landing. It was during my AFR in June last year, and unless my memory is playing tricks (again!) I turned an easy exercise into a flying disaster. Prior to that, I hadn't done PFLs since my Jabiru training in 2013. That's nowhere near often enough to stay competent. So, next week I've booked a plane and instructor to do an hour of PFLs. I mean, you can't ignore the signs, can you?
Airventure Australia has received a boost from its sponsorship deal with OzRunways; a significant sum I am told that has probably made the event a possibility. And with that commercial arrangement has come exclusivity, which means we won't be seeing the AvPlan stand at the event this year. That's a shame because AvPlan has been a big supporter of the Narromine weekend since its inception. However, this is what happens when things get professional, and it seems to me that's what the organising consortium (RAAus, SAAA, APF) is trying to do with Narromine. Neither the consortium nor OzRunways can be blamed for striking a deal so beneficial to both of them. But what will this do to the relationship between OzRunways and AvPlan, which has been historically amicable? I suspect the two are about to get competitive at a level we've not yet seen.
The new Aviation Security Identification Card (ASIC) rules are now in force. We could argue until we all fall down about whether or not the new measures are necessary, but it's pretty clear they will have a huge impact on private pilots around the country. The new regs state that we can't have our documents verified by the usual JP/police/solicitor/pharmacist anymore, but only by someone who is a trained agent of the Issuing Body. Furthermore, we can't mail the documents, but have to present them in person. The government continues to call these new rule "improvements", but the general aviation community seems to prefer the term "impediments". With so few ASIC Issuing Bodies in Australia (and one less now RAAus has thrown in the towel), it is becoming increasingly hard to get an ASIC because of where these companies are. And even if they do set up an agency in your area, you will be paying more for your ASIC because the agents are unlikely to do it free.
Our sister publication, Flightpath, has its latest issue on the shelves and in the letterboxes now! If warbirds and antique aeroplanes are your thing, you'd do well to get hold of a copy soonest you can!
May your gauges always be in the green,