PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Glen Buckley and Australian small business -V- CASA
Old 12th Jun 2021, 11:17
  #1651 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: melbourne
Age: 56
Posts: 686
Allegations sent to Ombudsman 12/06/21


  • Appendix A- Emails referred to in the timeline below and attached to this post.
  • Appendix B- The “concept,” detailing APTA and sent to CASA 23rd June 2016. This is perhaps the single most important document in this correspondence as it clearly refutes CASAs claim that they were not aware of APTA in April 2017. This has been posted on PPRuNe on posts 1646,1647, and 1648
  • Appendix C- Part of the manual suite (Exposition) that was prepared. It is a large document but outlines all policies and procedures of how APTA will manage its operation in a safe and compliant manner. I have not attached this to this PPRuNe post.
  • Appendix D- Technical Assessor worksheet, where CASA ticked off, once they were fully satisfied with our procedures. This was obtained from CASA under FOI and is the Worksheet CASA used for APTAs revalidation.

12th June 2021

To the Commonwealth Ombudsman,

Please note that I have included the Deputy Prime Ministers Office, and other recipients in this correspondence. My hope being that Mr McCormack, in his role as the Minister responsible for CASA will intervene and bring this matter to a resolution. It is important that his Office is fully informed of this matter.

I have also included Senators on the current Senate RRAT inquiry, as I have previously raised an allegation of misfeasance in public office against Mr Aleck in Parliament, on 20/11/20, and feel compelled to include them.

My understanding is that Mr Jonathan Alecks’ department within CASA, has led the Ombudsman’s Office to be of the view that: “CASA was not aware what APTA was doing at the time of its revalidation in April of 2017 as a Part 141/142 Organisation and only became aware later.”

Apparently, according to CASA I then operated APTA for a further 18 months after that revalidation, and CASA added additional bases, until CASA suddenly realised anddetermined that I was operating unlawfully and placed restrictions on my business in October 2018, leading to its demise, 8 months later in June of 2019.

CASA imposed those restrictions even though they raised absolutely no concerns at all of any nature, prior to initiating the restrictions. It seems unjustly harsh, particularly considering there are no safety concerns and no regulatory breaches, simply a change of opinion of a CASA Employee.

To the point of this correspondence.

I intend to provide evidence that CASA has mislead the Ombudsman’s Office if CASA continue to claim that they were “not aware of what APTA was doing as of April 2017”, when they revalidated APTA as a Part 141/142 Organisation

Please consider the following timeline as evidence to support my assertion that CASA is misleading your Office in its investigation, and that in fact CASA was fully awre, and I had followed all protocols to ensure they were awre

In reviewing this timeline consider that CASA notified me in October 2018 that I was now operating unlawfully. CASA revalidated the model 18 months prior in April 2017. CASA claim at the time of revalidation in April 2017, they were not aware of APTAs model. I absolutely refute that statement. Note the correspondence that commenced well before our revalidation in April 2017.
  • Email 20th June 2016 to CASA addressing the concept of an alliance of flight training organisations. Approximately 10 months before revalidation and two and a two and half years before CASA reversed the approval. Note that this stage we were already providing AOC coverage for MFT and TVSA.
  • Email 21st June 2016 to CASA advising my timeline for expanding operations and specifically visiting flying schools. In that correspondence I actually request that someone from CASA meet with me and potentially interested Members. The purpose of requesting this meeting is to ensure I have CASAs support.
  • Email 23rd June 2016 to CASA. I attached and submitted a detailed proposal of the APTA concept to CASA by way of an attachment to this email. This is a significant email. It provides written notification to CASA of the concept of APTA. It contains details about the proposal and how it will be operated. I have attached this extensive correspondence as Appendix B. This is a must-read document, because it clearly refutes CASAs claim that they were not aware of what APTA was doing and intended to do in the future. Recall that it was not until 2 ½ years later that CASA supposedly finally became aware of APTA and reversed the approval.
  • Email 13th July 2016, I contact CASA to advise that I have got significant interest in the APTA concept, and intend to add a further base. This is still over 2 years before CASA allegedly become aware of APTA.
  • Email 1st August 2016 Advising CASA that I am officially changing the name of the business from MFT to APTA to more accurately reflect what APTA is actually about i.e., a “collaborative approach’ between the schools that will be APTA Members.
  • Email August 1st, 2016, from CASA advising that they will meet with me 4 days later at Moorabbin Airport to discuss the details about the APTA proposal which they did.
  • Meeting August 4th, 2016, at the Melbourne Flight Training base with CASA personnel. This was the meeting referred to 4 days previously. Protracted discussions were held around the concept. CASA personnel were highly supportive of the concept and particularly about the improved quality outcomes that would result. CASA also used the phrase “this is not an unseen approach; Airlines and the military use it. We understand the concept and are familiar with it”.
  • January 18th, 2017, which is 4 months before CASA issue our revalidation, I meet with the Executive Manager of the Aviation Group, Mr Graeme Crawford in Canberra. It was obvious at that meeting that he was aware of the concept at this stage. We discussed it, and the emails confirm that.
  • August 2016 to April 2017. After receiving such support from CASA, APTA continues working on its Exposition (manuals and procedures). This is an enormous task, and we had been working on it for many years prior. Every procedure is designed around the multi base format that we were already doing. Based on the support I have received from CASA; we commence a very intense period of developing manuals and procedures in conjunction with CASA personnel
CASA would have the Ombudsman believe that APTA underwent the following processes, already operating in the multi base format, and overhauling all the processes, and no one at all within CASA became aware. Its just not feasible that this could possibly be the truth.

APTA was required to draw on many thousands of pages of CASA rules and regulations to write up our manuals and procedures. For this we drew, in part on the following legislation which clearly outlines what needed to be contained within our Exposition for the CASA revalidation.

CIVIL AVIATION SAFETY REGULATIONS 1998 - REG 142.340 Part 142 operators--content of exposition (austlii.edu.au)

We then referred to the CASA Part 142 “sample exposition” and our existing operations manuals (Exposition) The following link is the CASA provided sample exposition. CASR Part 142 sample exposition v3.1 | Civil Aviation Safety Authority (casa.gov.au)

We then continued working with renewed diligence (we had started this project part time two years earlier) to write up all the policies and procedures. Importantly, there were ten CASA personnel involved in this project as we worked side by side with those CASA personnel to design the Exposition around the concept presented to CASA in writing on 23/06/16 and in our meeting with CASA on 04/08/16. This was an enormous project, requiring many hundreds of hours allocated to it by both APTA and CASA personnel. It also required significant investment.

This resulted in a suite of manuals that are referred to as the Exposition. In Appendix C, I have attached only a small portion of the completed product. These are our main suite of manuals. I would strongly encourage you to view these, as they will provide an indication as to the size of the project, and the quality of the end result. It is these documents that guide every aspect of APTA. Refer Appendix C

CASA personnel then used the Technical Assessor Handbook which provides extensive guidance to CASA personnel on how to assess our procedures. Again, I encourage the Ombudsman’s office to review that document. It provides comprehensive guidance on how thorough CASAs procedure is.The link to that document can be found here. . CASR Part 142 technical assessor handbook | Civil Aviation Safety Authority (casa.gov.au)

After reviewing and assessing all of these procedures, the CASA personnel then indicate that they are satisfied with all our policies and procedures and tick them off against the CASA Assessor Worksheet, which I obtained under Freedom of Information and is attached as Appendix D.

The assessing CASA personnel then submit our policies and procedures contained within our Exposition (part of which is contained in Appendix C) with the completed Technical Assessor Worksheet in Appendix D to higher levels within CASA for a Peer Review. Most likely this would occur in CASAs office of Legal International and Regulatory Affairs for authorisation of approval.

We were one of the first flying schools in Australia to be ready for the new legislation, and it is likely that CASA was having a thorough review of one of the first new 141/142 Approvals to be issued in Australia. If CASA is to be believed, still no-one within CASA has become aware that APTA is providing a multi base, multi entity approach, despite the fact that we had been doing it years prior.

On completion of that process, CASA will issue the Part 141 and 142 Approval.

Just prior to the CASA revalidation being issued, the APTA Key Personnel are interviewed and assessed by CASA. These are the legislated accountable positions within the Organization. The title we used for the Key Personnel was Group CEO, Group Head of Operations, and Group Safety Manager. These personnel are interviewed and assessed by CASA against the Exposition. A significant part of each of these interviews was the CASA personnel covering the topics of procedures, operational control etc in a multi base/multi entity format as we had been doing for many years. The interview was based around the APTA multi entity approach that we utilised.

But, according to CASA they were still unaware of the multi base/multi entity format.

Somehow according to CASA, throughout the process that precedes this date CASA still was not aware of what APTA was doing. It’s an absurd assertion, clearly false and most likely intended to manipulate CASAs preferred outcome in the Ombudsmans investigation.
  • Email 26th April 2017, APTA revalidation as a Part 141/142 has been issued by CASA. Emails arranging for the CASA Regional Manager to come to the APTA Head Office to present our Approvals as a revalidated Part 141/142 Organisation approximately 4 months before the deadline of September 1st, 2017. Still, according to CASA, if they are to be believed, CASA is not aware of what APTA is doing, despite the presentation being in our brand-new Head Office for APTA.
At that Presentation there was significant discussion with the attending CASA personnel, and me and my management team. The recollection of attending APTA management and my own recollection is that the attending CASA personnel spent a significant amount of time with the entire APTA management team. Extensive discussions were based around our existing bases, MFT at Moorabbin and TVSA at Bacchus Marsh. There was no doubt that the contents of that discussion were entirely based around the business model and plans moving forward. A high level of encouragement was offered by CASA. Therefore, at the time of CASA awarding our revalidation as a Part 141/142 in April 2017, there was no doubt that CASA was fully aware, as at the time of approval we already had two bases, and CASA had just worked with us to write our entire Exposition based around this. For CASA to assert that they were not fully aware of APTA is blatantly untruthful, especially considering the content of “the concept” sent through almost one year earlier on 23rd June 2016 and attached as Appendix B.

CASA claim that they only became aware of what APTA was doing, at some after now.

CASA took no action and raised no concerns at all until October 2018,which is 18 months later, so my assumption is that they supposedly claim they became aware some time just prior to issuing the notification in October 2018,otherwise I presume they would have acted earlier.
  • Email 7th October 2017, being one year prior to Casa’s reversal of APTA in which I refer to my meeting in Canberra with Mr Graeme Crawford, CASA second most senior person, on 18th January 2017 which is four months before CASA revalidated APTA in April 2017. CASA was clearly aware of the concept, and at the highest levels, although they would have the Ombudsman’s Office believe otherwise.
  • Email 26th April 2017 from me to CASA acknowledging that the Part 141/142 Approval is about to be issued. CASA claims that on this day, CASA was not awre of what APTA was doing. I strongly refute that, and particularly so because of the detailed correspondence I provided to CASA on 23rd June 2016, and the many hundreds of interactions with CASA on the matter and most significantly in the 6 months leading up to our re-approval of APTA in April 2017.
  • Email 26th April 2017, the CASA Executive Manager of the Aviation Group, Mr Graeme Crawford congratulating me and my APTA team. CASA would now claim that at this stage he remains unaware of APTAs model.
  • June 2017, CASA delay the introduction of the legislation by 12 months to September 2018 instead of September 2017, due to most flying schools not having been able to complete the required transition to the new regulations. This delay was to cost APTA approximately $700,000.
  • October 2018 CASA reverses APTAs approval with no prior warning.
  • Meeting 20th December 2018 in CASA Melbourne Office between me and my father and Mr Peter White, CASA Executive Manager of Regulatory Services and Surveillance. At this meeting Mr White advises two critical pieces of information. Mr White assured me that CASA were fully awre of APTA and would not claim that they did not know about APTA, he then went on advise that irrespective of that APTA would not be permitted to continue operating. The assurance was not met, as CASA now claim that they were not aware. The Ombudsman’s Office could verify this with Mr White.

If at this stage there still remains any doubt in the mind of the Ombudsman’s Office, I can provide you with contact details of four CASA personnel who will confirm to your Office that CASA was fully aware of APTA at the time of revalidation as a Part 141/142 Organisation in April 2017, and in the period prior.

I encourage you to contact these personnel, as that will potentially bring this matter to more prompt and fair resolution. Whilst their preference would be to maintain confidentiality, all will be prepared to publicly put their name to those statements if that is what is required. They will only be telling the truth, and In my opinion, no investigation could be completed without availing yourself of that opportunity.

It will clearly identify that the multi base concept was CASA accepted and sanctioned industry practice, but more importantly, that CASA was fully aware of what APTA had been doing for many years and intended to continue doing and expanding on in the future. They will each confirm that CASA was fully aware throughout the design process and at the time of approval. One CASA employee retains “extraneous” note taking which he will provide in support of the truth on this matter.

Please advise if you would like me to provide contact details of those employees, as they can be provided immediately that you request them. Some of these personnel have now left the organisation and would appreciate the opportunity to bring light on this matter, and on others matters that would be pertinent to your investigation and the claim that “CASA was not aware” of what APTA was doing.

Also please consider APTA had been providing a multi base operation prior to the revalidation of the business model as a Part 141/142 in April 2017, as was common industry practice in the flight training sector throughout my last 25 years in the industry. That is why CASAs approach towards me and my business is so totally inexplicable.

Importantly, the practice of more than one entity operating under a single Authorisation Holders Air Operator Certificate (AOC) was very much accepted industry practice but much more than that it was fully sanctioned and accepted by CASA. It had been for many years. If CASA continues to assert any argument to the contrary, I must be provided the opportunity to provide irrefutable evidence that CASAs assertion is very far removed from the truth. On this matter, I could provide you a signed statement with several long-term industry participants simply signing that this statement is the truth. Please advise me if that would be of any assistance to your office in its investigation.

The purpose of this correspondence was to provide evidence in support of my stated position that CASA was very involved in the design of APTA and had full knowledge of it at the time of the revalidation as a Part 141/142 Organisation in April of 2017.

Thankyou for considering this additional information, and I hope that you will deem it appropriate to speak to the personnel that I have suggested. Please contact me, for prompt provision of their details.

Respectfully, Glen Buckley, a person significantly impacted by this matter.

glenb is offline