View Full Version : Dick Has Finally Got His Way, But At What Price?

28th Dec 2003, 07:13

Why am I so interested in aviation reform? (11/9/00)

My business successes with Dick Smith Electronics and Australian Geographic have come from travelling the world and copying the best – coupled with a few original ideas. With aviation, I have been fortunate to fly in every continent on earth and I have also been fortunate to have the time and the money to visit the aviation regulators and to ask, ask, ask.

Most aviation systems around the world have differences, even though there is the bonding of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation). The reason I am so interested in aviation reform in Australia is that I can see that by taking the best from each of these countries – something which no-one has ever done – and incorporating these best ideas in one country, that it can get a great competitive advantage and aviation can absolutely boom.

Airspace is an example. Each country has evolved to a system which best suits it, taking into account the local political and industrial pressures. However, by looking at each country’s system, taking the best ideas and putting them into one ICAO-compliant system that has the best advantages of each, will give a country a great competitive advantage.

It’s the same with regulations. For example, many countries have overly restrictive requirements for rescue and fire fighting at airports. The UK requires rescue and firefighting at all airports where flight training is taking place. It became obvious to me when travelling the world that this was a complete overkill and a gross misallocation of resources. Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada have proved, over many hundreds of total years of flying training, that such a requirement is unnecessary. It means that if a country can provide flight training for the world, but without the cost of rescue and fire fighting, that this country ends up with a competitive advantage and in an open marketplace, it will become the market leader.

I’ve done extremely well in Australia out of my two businesses by asking advice constantly and copying the best. I would get immense satisfaction if I could use this expertise for aviation. The problem is that it is a lot more difficult. I find that we are constantly surrounded with people who have trained in a particular system and simply want to stick with it. They are absolutely genuine. Many of them have no interest whatsoever in what any other country does (“it wasn’t built here” syndrome) and some are even quite happy with their present jobs, don’t want to have any changes and see any changes as a threat.

I can assure everyone that I haven’t totally given up. If ever I get the chance I would like to incorporate these best ideas that I have gained with thousands of hours of flying experience right around the world. I believe by taking the best from around the world (Class E airspace is an example) and incorporating it with the best in Australia (our self-separation in terminal areas is a good example), that we can come up with a system that will result in Australia becoming the leading country in the world for both flight training and recreational aviation. The return to Australia can be in the billions of dollars, with thousands of extra jobs created.

If ever I get the chance, I’ll do it – just watch me.

Entry last amended 11/9/00.


I just hope this "affordable safety" does NOT cost innocent lives. :(