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Nick Xenophon - The most important person in the future of Australian Aviation

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Nick Xenophon - The most important person in the future of Australian Aviation

Old 4th Oct 2010, 13:59
  #161 (permalink)  
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However, it is competence (the ability to actually do the job) that is the foundation of the safety and professionalism upon which we will survive and thrive.
Not always so. Please bear with me if the following is perceived as yet another old warrie - but in the early Fifties, RAAF trainee pilots were awarded their pilots brevet (wings) on completion of a 12-15 month course and with 210 hours total. That included an instrument rating called a White Card. Much of the instrument flying training was on limited panel - no artificial horizon or directional gyro. That was because of the limitations of early gyroscopic instruments which would topple beyond 55 degrees angle of bank. Nasty business in IMC or in a spin. The two limitations or restrictions on the White Card instrument rating was that MDA's were increased by 100 feet and I think the take off cloud base minima was 200 ft although I can't be certain of the latter.

The highest grade instrument rating in the RAAF at the time was the Green Card. To qualify for the Green Card the pilot had to have a minimum of 500 hours pilot in command in his log book. It could be all single engine or a combination of SE and ME. The main privilege of the Green Card was the authority it conferred on the holder to take off in zero visibility. This of course could be required in times of war or operational emergency. After all, RAAF pilots are trained for war.

The point here being, that a decision to conduct a blind take off was a highly critical one (for obvious reasons of high risk) and that 500 hours in command had by then given the pilot the exposure or experience needed to evaluate the situation that required a zero forward visibility take off run. Keep in mind, runway lights on the centre-line rarely existed in wartime and in fact the take off could well be from a field in thick fog.

A newly graduated RAAF pilot with his 210 hours and a White Card instrument rating, could usually fly to the standard required for a Green Card instrument rating - including a zero visibility take off run. Today, his civilian equivalent newly type rated CPL 200 hour graduate on a 737, should easily meet the standard of a Command Instrument rating test in a simulator.

But to gain 500 hours of in command time (not ICUS) in the RAAF could take at least two or more years. Fighter pilots on Mustangs picked up maybe 250 hours a year while transport or bomber pilots went through the usual copilot duties for a year or more before upgrading to a Hercules, Dakota or Lincoln command. Then eventually a total of 500 command hours would be attained and the pilot could then be tested for his Green card. It was a coveted award and because of its status was a hard test with no punches pulled especially on limited panel skills. The Green Card was therefore, above all things, a measure of the pilots decision making experience in the air.

It is that vital decision making time which is nowadays often absent from the second in command of an airliner who may have only 250 total flying hours before crewing a jet transport.

I think it would be unwise to dismiss previous good quality command experience as inconsequential - leaving it to "on the day" competence at completing a sequence of flying manoeuvres, as the main requirement to be appointed as second in command of a jet transport.
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Old 4th Oct 2010, 21:25
  #162 (permalink)  
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I agree with many of the facts you state but I'm not sure that they apply to this argument. For example, the proposed 1500 hours experience for airline F/Os is just 1500 hours - not 1500 command time. The US Senate Bill does not specify any command time. There are many types of multi - crew ops that are not Part 121 or Part 135 and lots of single crew ops that may not be exactly relevant. e.g. 1500 hours in Dad's C172.

Just a quick correction. The points you make regarding White / Green card IR holders are correct in essence except that the instrument rating tolerances were broader for a White Card than a Green. I remember, for example that the Green Card speeds had to be +/- 5 kts and altitude +/- 50ft, as opposed to the +/- 10kts and +/- 100ft for a White. So it was about competence (as well as the 500 Hours PIC). You are right that single pilot ops had increased minima - however, co-pilots with a White Card flew to the Captain's minima.

Perhaps a relevant question remains as to why the RAAF moved away from the experience requirements to one which is purely competency based? Also, is there anyone on the forum that can advise the minimum flying experience for co-pilots on Ronny's 737's that fly the Prime Minister and Cabinet around?

Fly safe

Last edited by Propjet88; 4th Oct 2010 at 21:38.
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Old 4th Oct 2010, 21:40
  #163 (permalink)  
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Rational words Propjet', and I agree with you 100%!

I was speculating on the effect on pilot training and recruitment in Australia if we follow the American lead. The points you mention all have merit, but I'm afraid they may be just a little too complex for the average politician and their constituents to grasp.

The 1500 hour/ATPL rule won't cover all the bases (truth be known, nothing ever will) but it is simple! That's why the U.S. Senate have gone down this path, so saying it won't get up because it's based on emotion, well the Americans have dispelled that theory!

The problem with complex issues is that Aussie politicians are renowned for putting them into the "Too Hard Basket". Following the American lead will give them the path of geatest simplicity.

Time will tell.

Last edited by KRUSTY 34; 4th Oct 2010 at 22:48. Reason: Refining the message
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Old 5th Oct 2010, 05:25
  #164 (permalink)  
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We should have more threads like this one.
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Old 5th Oct 2010, 06:10
  #165 (permalink)  
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For a change - I agree with Krusty. Make it simple - to participate in Airline Operations as flight crew, the requirement should be an unrestricted Airline Transport Pilots License, ie 1500 Hours total flying time. Certainly not a be-all and end-all, but a simple rule, that could be legislated relatively easily, and would provide a barrier to the airline executive greed in sourcing inexperienced crew, just because they're cheap.
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Old 6th Oct 2010, 08:33
  #166 (permalink)  
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"academic credit" to reduce the 1500 hours.
Oh goodness please don't tell me someone is going to get on the aviation degree banwagon to replace lessons learned on the job. It doesn't stack up not now nor in one million years time. The two are completely unrelated. One is academia the other is experience.

Put simply, you can do something badly 1500 times. It smacks of the appearance of safety for the amusement of the masses, not unlike other arbitrary policies foisted upon us.
Absolutely knocks the nail on the head. Not only do you need a few thousand hours but you need to have significant experience in the industry out in the on the job learning the ropes and doing your apprentiship.

virture of determination, hard work, persistance bordering on obsession, and sometimes with a not insignificant measure of luck! Believe me I know.
Krusty, these are the types of people I'd like sitting next to me. Unfortunately this will all be gone with Cadetships that put people into the RHS of a jet.

Some of the real issues highted by this tragedy that need to be addressed are associated with fatigue (due in part to pilots commuting and in part to useless, prescriptive, hours based fatigue regs)
Inconvenient truths indeed. I bet my bottom dollar that for all the analysis this expensive fatigue issue will be overlooked. I suspect wages and conditions may also be over looked as well.

The big problem is that we have people at the very top of our industry like Allan Joyce and Bruce Buchanan that see everything only in short term dollar quantities. Band aid solutions and bush fire tactics every where you go. Much better off running a Mac Donalds. We need serious people running airlines not people who's long term plan is to plan for the short term.

The thread is getting interesting.
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Old 6th Oct 2010, 09:55
  #167 (permalink)  
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Australia is rapidly becoming one of the richer countries on the planet.
Here's a novel idea, legislate an award that will attract the best candidates to Australian airlines. Experience requirements will never be a problem again.
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Old 6th Oct 2010, 15:52
  #168 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 1999
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Angel Submissions to the Senate inquiry

For Huge and others,

I don't know why you didn't get an acknowledgement from Nick, because in my experience he tries extremely hard in the personal sense. It may be that he didn't get it, or that his tiny staff (Independent, remember!) may be overloaded with the other million issues he is involved with, or it may be that the expectation is that submissions will go to the Inquiry secretariat since Nick is no longer the contact point.

Here is the letter:


6 October 2010

Mr 4Dogs

Via email:

Dear 4Dogs

Inquiry into pilot training and airline safety

I am writing to advise you that on 30 September 2010, the Senate referred the following matter to the Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee for inquiry and report by 17 November 2010.

(a) pilot experience requirements and the consequence of any reduction in flight hour requirements on safety;
(b) the United States of America's Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010, which requires a minimum of 1500 flight hours before a pilot is able to operate on regular public transport services and whether a similar mandatory requirement should be applied in Australia;
(c) current industry practices to recruit pilots, including pay-for-training schemes and the impact such schemes may have on safety;
(d) retention of experienced pilots;
(e) type rating and recurrent training for pilots;
(f) the capacity of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to appropriately oversee and update safety regulations given the ongoing and rapid development of new technologies and skills shortages in the aviation sector;
(g) the need to provide legislative immunity to pilots and other flight crew who report on safety matters and whether the United States and European approaches would be appropriate in the Australian aviation environment;
(h) reporting of incidents to aviation authorities by pilots, crew and operators and the handling of those reports by the authorities, including the following incidents:
(i) the Jetstar incident at Melbourne airport on 21 June 2007, and
(ii) the Tiger Airways incident, en route from Mackay to Melbourne, on 18 May 2009;
(i) how reporting processes can be strengthened to improve safety and related training, including consideration of the Transport Safety Investigation Amendment (Incident Reports) Bill 2010; and
(j) any other related matters.

The closing date for submissions to the inquiry is 28 October 2010.

The committee invites you or your organisation to make a submission addressing all or some of the issues identified in the bill.

The committee encourages the lodgement of submissions in electronic form. Submissions can be lodged via the Senate online submission system at https://senate.aph.gov.au/submissions, by email to '[email protected]' or by post to:

Committee Secretary
Senate Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Please note that submissions become committee documents and are only made public after a formal decision by the committee. Persons making submissions must not release them without the committee's prior approval. Submissions are covered by parliamentary privilege but the unauthorised release of them is not.

Please ensure that any submissions or attachments you wish to remain confidential are clearly marked as such. A covering letter, clearly outlining the specific reasons for requesting confidentiality, should also be attached to the submission. Please contact the Secretariat if you require further advice on any issues with regard to confidentiality.

In the event that the committee determines to hold public hearings for the inquiry, the committee's website will be updated to provide advice on dates and locations.

For further information about the inquiry see Parliament of Australia: Senate: Committees: Rural Affairs and Transport Committee: Pilot training and airline safety or phone 02 6277 3511.

Yours sincerely,

Jeanette Radcliffe
Committee Secretary

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Old 6th Oct 2010, 21:12
  #169 (permalink)  
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Tradespeople and teachers keep getting more and more.

Why tradies are raking in $210,000 a year | News.com.au

..and why Airline Pilots make less and less every year.
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Old 6th Oct 2010, 22:48
  #170 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2010
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really? Nick Xenophon's correspondence officer wrote a very informative email to me.

Anyway you seem to have covered it with your info.. you can find more about it here:

[FONT='Arial','sans-serif']http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/rat_ctte/pilots_2010/index.htm [/FONT]

[FONT='Arial','sans-serif']we need to get better laws for air saftey![/FONT]
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Old 7th Oct 2010, 05:37
  #171 (permalink)  
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Thanks very much for the info, 4 Dogs
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Old 8th Oct 2010, 01:51
  #172 (permalink)  
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House Rule (HR) 5900.

As the Senate Inquiry refers to the US Congress Bill HR5900, I though that some may may be interested in the full provisions of that bill and its requirements of the FAA - not just the "1500 Hrs" bit. Read in context, the bill goes to twenty odd pages and in some areas really tries to get to the heart of issues. The devil is in the detail of the full bill but this overview is "borrowed" this from a posting by AirRabbit on another forum.

"...This particular “Act,” ...was appended to a document that was voted on and signed into law by the US President that officially extended the funding and expenditure authority of the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which was originally created to improve airports and airline safety, “and for other purposes.” In short, since the funding and expenditure authority was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, the attached Act is now also a law in the US. It is divided into 2 “Titles.” Title 1 is “Airport and Airway Extension,” and Title 2 is “Airline Safety and Pilot Training Improvement.”

Here is the content list for Title 2: (The discussion regarding the number of hours and what will satisfy those number of hours is clearly described in paragraph “(d),” below.)
Sec. 201. Definitions.
Sec. 202. Secretary of Transportation responses to safety recommendations.
Sec. 203. FAA pilot records database.
Sec. 204. FAA Task Force on Air Carrier Safety and Pilot Training.
Sec. 205. Aviation safety inspectors and operational research analysts.
Sec. 206. Flight crewmember mentoring, professional development, and leadership.
Sec. 207. Flight crewmember pairing and crew resource management techniques.
Sec. 208. Implementation of NTSB flight crewmember training recommendations.
Sec. 209. FAA rulemaking on training programs.
Sec. 210. Disclosure of air carriers operating flights for tickets sold for air transportation.
Sec. 211. Safety inspections of regional air carriers.
Sec. 212. Pilot fatigue.
Sec. 213. Voluntary safety programs.
Sec. 214. ASAP and FOQA implementation plan.
Sec. 215. Safety management systems.
Sec. 216. Flight crewmember screening and qualifications.
Sec. 217. Airline transport pilot certification.

And here is the language of Section 217: (The discussion regarding the number of hours and what will satisfy those number of hours is clearly described in paragraph “(d),” below.)

(a) Rulemaking Proceeding- The Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall conduct a rulemaking proceeding to amend part 61 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, to modify requirements for the issuance of an airline transport pilot certificate.

(b) Minimum Requirements- To be qualified to receive an airline transport pilot certificate pursuant to subsection (a), an individual shall--
(1) have sufficient flight hours, as determined by the Administrator, to enable a pilot to function effectively in an air carrier operational environment; and
(2) have received flight training, academic training, or operational experience that will prepare a pilot, at a minimum, to--
(A) function effectively in a multipilot environment;
(B) function effectively in adverse weather conditions, including icing conditions;
(C) function effectively during high altitude operations;
(D) adhere to the highest professional standards; and
(E) function effectively in an air carrier operational environment.

(c) Flight Hours-
(1) NUMBERS OF FLIGHT HOURS- The total flight hours required by the Administrator under subsection (b)(1) shall be at least 1,500 flight hours.
(2) FLIGHT HOURS IN DIFFICULT OPERATIONAL CONDITIONS- The total flight hours required by the Administrator under subsection (b)(1) shall include sufficient flight hours, as determined by the Administrator, in difficult operational conditions that may be encountered by an air carrier to enable a pilot to operate safely in such conditions.

(d) Credit Toward Flight Hours- The Administrator may allow specific academic training courses, beyond those required under subsection (b)(2), to be credited toward the total flight hours required under subsection (c). The Administrator may allow such credit based on a determination by the Administrator that allowing a pilot to take specific academic training courses will enhance safety more than requiring the pilot to fully comply with the flight hours requirement.

(e) Recommendations of Expert Panel- In conducting the rulemaking proceeding under this section, the Administrator shall review and consider the assessment and recommendations of the expert panel to review part 121 and part 135 training hours established by section 209(b) of this Act.

(f) Deadline- Not later than 36 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall issue a final rule under subsection (a)..."

If anyone is really interested, the entire bil is available at:

Read The Bill: H.R. 5900 - GovTrack.us
Fly Safe

Last edited by Propjet88; 8th Oct 2010 at 07:14.
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Old 8th Oct 2010, 04:49
  #173 (permalink)  
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The devil is in the detail. In other words it is up to the discretion of the administrator.

(d) Credit Toward Flight Hours- The Administrator may allow specific academic training courses, beyond those required under subsection (b)(2), to be credited toward the total flight hours required under subsection (c). The Administrator may allow such credit based on a determination by the Administrator that allowing a pilot to take specific academic training courses will enhance safety more than requiring the pilot to fully comply with the flight hours requirement.
The fact is that all the cadet courses available in Australia only meet the standard of “b2”. To be granted the credits one “may” be entitled to in para “d”, from what I have been able to find out, one would have to do a degree that is directly related to aviation safety. Even with the maximum credits the hours required will still be from my understanding, in the order of 800-1000 hours.

When reading any legislation, one must understand the intent of that legislation. In the case of the US Congress Bill (HR)5900, its intent was to enhance aviation safety by stopping airlines placing non ATPL holders, i.e. inexperienced pilots, in the right hand seats of airliners and at the same time improve training standards of pilots. To think pilot recruitment in the US will be what it was like prior to the passing of (HR)5900 would be a huge mistake, evidenced by the amount of lobbing by US airlines to stop this bill passing Congress.
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Old 8th Oct 2010, 07:13
  #174 (permalink)  
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404 Titan

We agree that the devil is indeed in the detail and you are correct that it is up to the FAA Administrator (at least as much as he is "politically" allowed)! What was his last job by the way?

Just amplifying the comments you made, there has been no discussion yet as to what these "credits" may or may not amount to in terms of hours, but - oh dear - an expert committee will be informed to advise the administrator.

Extract below. Apologies to those fellow PPruners who don't like long extracts being posted.

(b) Expert Panel To Review Part 121 and Part 135 Training Hours-
(1) ESTABLISHMENT- Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall convene a multidisciplinary expert panel comprised of, at a minimum, air carrier representatives, training facility representatives, instructional design experts, aircraft manufacturers, safety organization representatives, and labor union representatives.
(2) ASSESSMENT AND RECOMMENDATIONS- The panel shall assess and make recommendations concerning--
(A) the best methods and optimal time needed for flight crewmembers of part 121 air carriers and flight crewmembers of part 135 air carriers to master aircraft systems, maneuvers, procedures, takeoffs and landings, and crew coordination;
(B) initial and recurrent testing requirements for pilots, including the rigor and consistency of testing programs such as check rides;
(C) the optimal length of time between training events for such flight crewmembers, including recurrent training events;
(D) the best methods reliably to evaluate mastery by such flight crewmembers of aircraft systems, maneuvers, procedures, takeoffs and landings, and crew coordination;
(E) classroom instruction requirements governing curriculum content and hours of instruction;
(F) the best methods to allow specific academic training courses to be credited toward the total flight hours required to receive an airline transport pilot certificate; and
(G) crew leadership training.
(3) BEST PRACTICES- In making recommendations under subsection (b)(2), the panel shall consider, if appropriate, best practices in the aviation industry with respect to training protocols, methods, and procedures.
(4) REPORT- Not later than one year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives, the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate, and the National Transportation Safety Board a report based on the findings of the panel.

Fly Safe
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Old 8th Oct 2010, 08:59
  #175 (permalink)  
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Can someone explain why only the Jetstar and Tiger incidents are listed in the terms of reference?
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Old 8th Oct 2010, 23:55
  #176 (permalink)  
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Two thoughts.

It is my understanding that there is no pilot shortage in the US with the reverse being true. Could it be that when there is an oversupply of trained people wanting to work then different political decisions are likely to be made compared with a situation when there is close to full employment or a gross undersupply? Good news for some, I noticed this week that one US airline recalled 800 pilots back from furlough due to improving passenger demand.

The second point is that unlike Australia, the majority of airline pilots in the US have tertiary aviation degrees. Someone told me that US airlines only recruit tertiary qualified pilots these days. Can someone confirm this is the case? Should we collectively be supporting better educated and qualified pilots in cockpit in the future?

So, being in different situations should we follow the US lead entirely or just cherry pick the bits we find appealing? Being a proud Australian I hate when we selectively follow the US lead without understanding how it will effect our own circumstances.

But then again ....Frankly, I don't give a damn!
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Old 9th Oct 2010, 00:24
  #177 (permalink)  
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The fact that you've responded with reasoned thought suggests you do, in fact, give quite a bit of a damn...

I hope the parliamentary committee that rules on this issue will take a lot of viewpoints into consideration and come up with the best 'fit' for us here in Australia. The Yanks have some great ideas, and IMHO their NTSB is a model our ATSB should strive towards, but as has been suggested, there are some significant differences in the aviation cultures between the two countries.

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Old 12th Oct 2010, 15:17
  #178 (permalink)  
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Cool Don't Sell the ATSB short


We agree on many things, but....

The ATSB is still, in many ways, the model investigator and is world leading in its approach to accident and incident investigation. The NTSB is still into pilot error and single accident causes, IMHO the typical US historical dark ages. May I recommend the following as a great read for the intellectually curious:

Analysis, Causality and Proof in Safety Investigations

Stay Alive
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Old 12th Oct 2010, 23:38
  #179 (permalink)  

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Thanks for the link 4dogs.
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Old 13th Oct 2010, 00:37
  #180 (permalink)  
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Thanks 4Dogs, I shall go have a read when I get a chance...

I have no real quarrel with the ATSB in their investigative and research abilities.

Perhaps my real frustration with them (and my dealings with them when they were BASI) is that they have no teeth.

I wish they were more than a paper tiger and had the power to require change of the regulator and the industry when so required by safety imperatives.

Maybe I should put something along those lines in my submission to the Senate Inquiry.

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