• Australian Flying editor Steve Hitchen. (Kevin Hanrahan)
    Australian Flying editor Steve Hitchen. (Kevin Hanrahan)

– Steve Hitchen

The Commonwealth Ombudsman has stated that, legally, there is no existing legislation to stop a flying school from franchising out its AOC. Amazingly, CASA has come out in agreement with that finding. I say "amazingly" because it was CASA's position that franchising was not legal that started the whole APTA fiasco in the first place. Yes, CASA reversed that position some time ago, but then committed the sin of not rectifying the damage done by their original ruling. The regulator has in the past demonstrated a modus operandi of defending to the death an entrenched position that has been proven wrong and the way they have dealt with Glen Buckley can be held up as perhaps the primary exemplar of this. Although it is true that CASA has other issues the way Buckley ran APTA, without the ruling that APTA was illegal none of the actions the regulator has taken can be justified. Without the central premise, the enforcement was overkill. Buckley has proven that he's not about to conveniently fade into anonimity and permit CASA to roll on with impunity, so there's a lot to play out in the saga, including defamation proceedings.

Australia is a volunteer nation; we step up with time, money and perspiration when needed. It could be a charity fundraiser, a bushfire rebuild program or even fighting a war. Volunteers hold a special place in Australian society and we respect what they do, knowing that governments would have to cover the shortfall should volunteers walk. Angel Flight pilots are exactly the same, except the amount of personal money they put into the charity is out of proportion to the time they spend working on it. It costs a lot of money to be an Angel Flight pilot, but I've never heard one word of complaint from them. Given how much they already give, it must rankle deep within them that CASA has effectively called them unsafe and is demanding they divulge information about their flights. Some pilots have acquiesed, others have drawn a line. Angel Flight is referring the matter to the Federal Court because it believes CASA has over-stepped its powers in demanding the information. What CASA has done is take for granted the good will of the volunteers, which is something these stalwarts certainly don't deserve.

The last air show domino fell today with Wings over Illawarra canceled. Although probably inevitable given the resurgence in the pandemic, it is no less heart-breaking for Kerry and Mark Bright. Every year they put everything they've got into organising the show and this year they rolled the dice in an attempt to get the show up once again. It seems like WOI has been plagued with metronomic regularity: fire, floods, wind, pestilence; all have dogged their best efforts. But of course these two have been driven back to their feet by optimism and are already planning for next year. Soldier on, Bright people, general aviation is better off for the like of you.

If you want to talk about this or any other aviation topic with the creative talent behind Australian Flying, we're giving you the chance to interact directly with them in our first Meet the Writers webinar on 16 September. Run through the Facebook page, you'll be able to discuss aviation matters whether they be current affairs, the culture of flying, aeroplanes or the content and make up of Australian Flying itself. We're there from 7.00 pm on the night and will be very pleased to meet our readership and hear what they have to say. And Garmin Australia has come to the party, providing three Garmin Integrated Flight Deck (GIFD) simulators for us to give away on the night. How do you win? Getting involved on the night is a very good start!

And speaking of opportunities, if you've been really tardy with a Fathers' Day gift for this Sunday, you've still got time to take out an Australian Flying subscription, made a lot easier and cheaper with our Dad's Day special. At no less a discount than 40% off the normal price, its a no-brainer gift for the father who has flying in his blood.

May your gauges always be in the green,


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