One day the dust will settle on the Pel-Air Norfolk Island ditching fiasco, but it seems it will be a while yet. This week a coalition of aviation professionals called the Professional Aviators Investigative Network (PAIN) questioned the impartiality of the ATSB in conducting their own review. They are also worried that the review limits iself to the original investigation report and doesn't include the relationship between CASA and the ATSB that has been in question almost since the day the report was issued. PAIN's contention has some merit here. Exactly what went on in Canberra over the Pel-Air report needs to be aired or it threatens to become a Fisher King wound in the side of the aviation community. Until the wound heals, the issue will continue to dominate general aviation in Australia.

Good to see new CASA Director Mark Skidmore opening up with a statement of principles delivered to CASA staff. Skidmore's stand is getting quite a bit of comment from the aviation community, particularly in reference to the first principle: safety. It's easy to see why this is No.1, but reinforcing it has put shivers through the industry because in the past professional bureaucrats at Aviation House have used the primacy of "safety" to shove through all sorts of rubbish regulation (why can't we have RNAVs at private airports?). If this goes on, you can draw a line through Skidmore's last four principles because they won't ever see the light of day. We all would feel better if the first principle was reasonable safety.

It was inevitable that eventually CASA would mandate the replacement of stainless steel control cables. Since 2011 it has been recommended only. Despite industry feedback asking for inspection only, the ATSB report into failures sealed the deal on a 15-year lifetime.

One month to go to Avalon! The flying displays have been boosted with a contingent of Kiwi WWI replicas coming across the ditch. It has been a few years since we had so many Sopwiths, Fokkers and Bristols in Australia going back to the 2003 show and the centenary of aviation. A group of Australian planes from TAVAS in Caboolture is also on the program, meaning the program of types used in the First World War will be fairly comprehensive. Can't wait!

May your gauges always be in the green,



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