– Steve Hitchen
Tackling some issues makes me feel like I am stilt-walking through a paddock of spinning propellers: one wrong step and you're cut to pieces. Facebook banning media streams is one of those issues. The Australian Flying FB page is currently in the hangar for maintenance, which you all know means we have no idea when it might be back. That doesn't answer the question of right verses wrong, of social media verses curated media, and who should pay for what. Both sides are armed wth compelling arguments, which often results in a stalemate. However, the legislation looks like it will go through, which puts the future of curated news on Facebook in serious doubt. It's frustrating for all of us. All I can guarantee the general aviation community is that Australian Flying will continue to provide the best news feed we can for as long as we can; curated media that you can rely on. It may not be on Facebook, but it is still on our website and will continue to be delivered into the inboxes of our newsletter subscribers.
Airservices consultation on the Class E proposal is closed, but by no means over. According to the organisation, they received around 1000 submissions, which they are now wading through and will give us all an update next week. Their website shows a summary of the main issues the submissions have raised, and most of them concur with what the GA community has been saying since the proposal was released. At least we know they have listened, but as yet we don't know if that listening is the type defined by the strict sense of the word or the type defined by the marketing department. It's an easy prediction to say that the proposal will have garnered a lot of opposition; I have yet to find a reason for the GA community to support it. But putting the proposal aside, the industry is perhaps more angry over consultation path Airservices mapped out. The proposal stands to have an impact beyond what Airservices first thought, but the three-week consultation period was insufficient for the GA industry to rat-out all the side-effects. And again, the lack of a safety case left everyone bewildered as to why the changes were being asked for; the briefing material lacked anything that wouldn't yield easily to even the smallest amount of scrutiny. The GA community is worried that all of this indicates that Airservices is hell-bent on a path they haven't thought through.
Glen Buckley is absolutely right about at least one thing: his accusations of misfeasance need to be dealt with by an independent investigation. They are very serious and need to be treated as such, not fobbed off with the flip of a disinterested hand or scoffed at as being ridiculous. CASA has a severe image problem at the moment that is characterised by a siege mentality and rapidly eroding trust, so any attempt to dodge this issue without subjecting themselves to scrutiny exacerbates, not alleviates, that problem. It may be that the CASA managers have no case to answer, but that needs to be determined by proper process and not just a declaration. The entire GA community will use this case as a benchmark by which they will judge CASA in the future, so now is the time to get it absolutely right.
With Facebook having done a runner on curated media, last Wednesday night's Instructor Rating seminar had a very short life on the platform. Consequently we've uploaded it to You Tube ready for you to catch up on what went down. All-in-all it was an enlightening evening sprinkled liberally with wisdom, laughter and far too much modesty. Our panel provided some very good advice on what it means to be a flying instructor from the basic to the philosophical. A great night that is well worth looking back on if you haven't already done it. Thanks to Linda, Amy, Alex, Shelley and Marlon for creating such a special resource for the GA community.
May your gauges always be in the green,