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Glen Buckley and Australian small business -V- CASA

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Glen Buckley and Australian small business -V- CASA

Old 28th May 2019, 22:08
  #41 (permalink)  
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Location: melbourne
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Im alive

Good Morning folks, I have had a quick run through the "death notices" this morning, and can confirm that I am alive and kicking, but I do very much appreciate the concern. I was in a very dark place in the run up to Christmas, but am now invigorated, and fully intend to pursue this through to a determination. Sandy, your words are so accurate, and so insightful, that I drew a lot of strength from them.

I will begin to document this matter, but by way of a brief introduction. The undeniable fact is that I spent many years working closely with CASA in the design of APTA. My business is Melbourne Flight Training, and that is where I have previously derived my income. APTA was designed to facilitate continuing operations of my own business, and others in the new more cumbersome environment that we operate in. I sat down with CASA as we attended to more than 600 CASA requirements. In fact APTA was one of the 5% of Organisations that met the initial deadline of September 1st 2017, and we were significantly impacted by the CASA delay. Irrespective, we continued on. We were CASA approved and had been operating for 15 years, and almost two years as a fully transitioned Part 142 Organisation. I was fully approved, and then in October 2018, I received a notice that CASA intended to bring a cessation to all operations, and that's where the story begins. There was no prior indication at all. That opened up a pandoras box of problems. Soon I will start outlining some of these on here.

I must emphasise that there are no allegations of any safety concerns, in fact CASA have agreed that APTA increases safety, so one would wonder my Mr Graeme Crawford in his role would work so diligently to bring APTA down. This individual may be a ripper bloke outside of the work environment, and probably gets himself involved in the local community, and contributes widely. I can only talk of my own personal experience with him, but in my opinion his manner is bullying and intimidating in nature and only degrades safety outcomes.

Whilst, it is only my perspective, and he is entitled to Procedural Fairness, I have launched a substantive complaint against him I feel that he has compromised safety, acted in breach of his obligations under the PGPA Act, and breached CASAs own Regulatory philosophy.

I have no doubt that at some stage this morning, I will receive a letter from CASA threatening action against me, but frankly, its time for me to protect APTAs reputation, and the many professionals that have workred in so diligently and in such a well intentioned manner. Let me return shortly with only one example of my CASA experience. Everything is fact, and I will provide evidence. As it is related to aviation safety, it is in the public interest.
Once again folk, thankyou for the support.

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Old 28th May 2019, 23:54
  #42 (permalink)  
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Can you explain, in as few words as possible, what happened? Glad to know you’re OK.
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Old 29th May 2019, 02:30
  #43 (permalink)  
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Initial Response - Shane Carmody

'Dear Mr Buckley,

Thank you for your letter of 28 May 2019.

In the first instance it is important that I publicly confirm for you (and for those addressees you have chosen to include) that:

There is no administrative action currently pending against APTA, and

That no adverse decisions have been taken by CASA in relation to APTA's authorisations to conduct flight training.

I will review the various matters you have raised and will respond in due course.



Shane Carmody
CEO and Director of Aviation Safety
Civil Aviation Safety Authority'
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Old 29th May 2019, 03:51
  #44 (permalink)  
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Initial Notication to APTA from CASA

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Old 29th May 2019, 04:23
  #45 (permalink)  
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CASA initial action

Dear CASA,

Please find above, the initial correspondence that you sent to me. At 9AM on the morning of 23 rd October 2018, I had no inkling at all that I was to receive that notification. CASA had not previously raised any concerns at all with me, in fact they had been extremely encouraging and supporting of the concept. My reasonable expectation is that the CASA Subject Matter Expert (SME) from my Certificate Management Team, would have raised any concerns with me prior to initiating such a substantive process. As you can see from the correspondence, there are no allegations of safety concerns raised, but rather an accusation related to the Aviation Ruling and our Temporary locations procedure, which I will attend to later.

This document, was effectively a "request for documents" and no determination had been made, and I was not given the opportunity to respond or defend myself.

CASA provided a surety of operations for only 7 days into the future, as you can see from the document. From the period 30th October until 25th January 2019, my business operated literally on a minute by minute approval, On 25th January 2019 you notified me that my business could continue operating for three months until 25th April 2019. On 12th February 2019 you advised me that my business could continue operating until 13th May 2019. On 3rd May 2019 you advised that my business could continue operating until 1st July 2019.

Consider the commercial impact on any business, when you take such action. APTAs "product" was in fact surety of operations into the future, in the more expensive to operate regulatory environment.

Imagine if CASA walked into QANTAS, made allegations, did not give QANTAS the right to respond. Placed a temporary date on their business, prevented them taking on any new customers, and prohibited them from marketing their ability. Quite simply, no business in Australia can have action taken against them by a Government Department of such a nature and be expected to "weather the storm". As Mr Carmody stated he does not believe any administrative action has been taken. This has been CASAs stance, and it is this stance that has prevented me going to the AAT to appeal CASAs decision. Therefore Mr Carmody, if what you say is correct, then it only reaffirms my position that CASA have denied me procedural fairness.

This is in my opinion a variation to my AOC. If as CASA claim, it is not, then I would ask them to provide an example of a variation to an AOC.

How can CASA take such substantive action against a business on a simple "request for documents and not based on safety concerns.

Consider the impact of your action on my business, and the people who depend on me for their livelihood;

No one will approach APTA to join as a Member, because APTA has only a limited period of operation.
I cannot attract new staff to the Organisation, because I don't know if we will be approved.
APTA has been prevented from marketing or adding on any new customers.
Every one of my exceptional staff and the member entities now have only that assured employment.
I cannot enter into contracts of supply due the potential limited date of operations.
The business previously valued at a fair amount has now become worthless.

I have no issue with any CASA action provided the approach complies with CASAs own regulatory philosophy, it is well intentioned, and the decision is made in the interest of aviation safety In this case I am firmly of the opinion that it is not. By CASA choosing to adopt this stance they have in my opinion breached their obligations under Administrative Law, Procedural Fairness, and the concept of natural justice.

With reference to CASAs Regulatory Philosophy. You may recall that this was borne from a the ASSR Review (Forsythe Review). It was a direct result of the manner in which CASA had been engaging with Industry.

I attach the link below, and would particularly like to address the manner CASA engaged me against

Item 1
Item 2
Item 3
Item 5
Item 6
Item 7
Item 8
Item 9
Item 10

Item https://www.casa.gov.au/about-us/sta...ory-philosophy

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Old 29th May 2019, 07:23
  #46 (permalink)  
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The Temporay base location

Following on from my previous thread, and the document I have posted above, you will see how CASA initially pursued a path of using the "Aviation Ruling" and our "Temporary base procedure".

As that line of attack failed, they moved to "audit results from Latrobe Valley" that were proven to be in error. The argument them moved to content of the contracts, then moved to a requirement for signed contracts, and that has now moved on to the content of the contract again, which I am still awaiting CASA direction on.

For this post let me deal with the Temporary locations. The background to this is that for as long as I recall Flying Schools have been able to use a "temporary locations" procedure. I had been in the industry for 25 years.

For those of you in the flight training sector, you will appreciate that this was a standard operating procedure for most flying schools. This facilitated flying schools running operations from a different location than their main base, for short term use. All operations were fully embedded into the Company Exposition (previously referred to as Operations Manual). Some examples would be:
  • A school usually operates from a busy airport but has a group of foreign pilots coming for training. Those students are not native English speakers. That Temporary location could be at a less congested base, in order to optimize learning outcomes.
  • A Temporary location could be activated as an additional base during periods when the main base is affected by poor weather i.e. Winter.
  • Bushfires or other emergency may require a secondary base to be established.
  • A Temporary location could be established ton access maintenance facilities, and ensure continuity of training etc. etc.

During the APTA design stage I worked with a CASA team referred to as CMT 2. These personnel were well intentioned, and had a good grasp of APTA and CASA material. The conversation at the time went very similar to;

APTA "Once we put in an application for a new base to join us, how long do you anticipate it would take CASA to process the application so that we can activate the base"

CASA "Approximately 6 to 8 weeks, but in the interim you could activate them through a " Temporary locations procedure, while CASA makes their assessment. That will facilitate continuing operations. Besides many of these schools are existing flying schools wanting to operate under APTA, so if they already meet the standard, there is no reason they would not continue to meet the standard, and ideally improve in the future"

APTA; "Can we do that, would you be satisfied with that?

CASA: of course, you already have that procedure in your manuals. The Temporary Locations Procedue!

Note: Our original APTA plan was to have the new member base inactive until fully approved by CASA. In many cases this would have involved fully operating flying schools shutting down for a protracted period, while CASA assessed the application. This option that CASA alerted us to was the ideal solution. It also potentially improved safety as it gave CASA the opportunity to base their ongoing approval on inspecting a fully operational APTA base. My expectation was that this CASA inspection would occur shortly after commencing operations. In fact it took many months for CASA to get around to the inspections and approvals. My expectation was that process would take approximately 6 to 8 weeks. The third base to be approved by CASA actually took CASA almost 12 months to assess and approve. It was fortunate that i had opted for the advice that CASA gave me, in adopting the Temporary Locations procedure, or that business would have been lying idle for 12 months.

So in the design stage we adopted the recommended CASA procedure initially which is extracted from CASAs own guidance material and please make note of that fact, as it will become more pertinent later in this post. We placed that into our manuals and adopted that procedure. Under CASAs very own procedure, that we adopted in our manuals they approved bases under that procedure, so I reasonably felt that CASAs own procedure was acceptable. In November 2017, we underwent a Level 1 CASA audit, being the highest level audit, and that audit included the bases and no concerns were raised at all by CASA at that time.

CASA will later go on to claim to the Commonwealth Ombudsman Office that they only became aware of APTAs structure in October 2018, shortly before they acted to shut down the entire operation. This is simply a ludicrous assertion that CASA has put forward to the Ombudsman Office. Quite seriously, CASA worked with me to improve the procedure to their full satisfaction, and then they assess that procedure in early 2017. CASA then send that procedure for a Peer Review within CASA. CASA then approve the procedure in April 2017. CASA fully approve bases under it and liaise with those respective business owners and aero clubs as part of that process of approval. CASA recommend the system to aero clubs as they will testify. CASA come back in November 2017 for a Level One Audit with several CASA personnel over a one week period. This includes onsite visits to the bases that CASA have approved. At each of the sites that CASA visit, as part of this audit the same CASA approved Key Personnel i.e. CEO, HOO and Safety Manager turn up at each base. If the CASA Executive Manager is to be believed, CASA is still unaware of APTAs structure and wont be for almost another year. Thats despite meeting CASA personnel at the bases, CASA attending our Head Office and CASA attending our Group Safety and manangement meetings, and CASA coming and delivering group training to our members, and CASA attending our Group training

Then as you are aware and without any prior concern expressed, CASA hit me with that notification suggesting I was in breach by using that procedure, which lead to a meeting in the CASA Office. This issue is fundamental to this entire matter. CASA had advised me to adopt the Temporary Location Procedue. It was not my concept, and i had not considered it. I thought it was a great idea in that it was safe and practicalThis time under a different CMT as CASA had initiated a change of CMT oversighting APTA.

The new Regional Manager made a statement, that he had legal advice that the Temporary locations procedure was not intended for flying schools. That surprised me. We then advised that is the guidance we had received from CASA CMT 2. The FOI demanded "Did you get that in writing'. At this stage it became apparent that the CASA personnel I was dealing with were not familiar with their own guidance material.

I have made multiple requests to CASA over the last 7 months to explain what is the breach, that attracts the restricted date of operations.

How can I possibly have a breach, if CASA offered the procedure, CASA approved it, then approved bases under the procedure, and then audited us on it, and then does not explain the issue to me. I cannot fix something up unless I know what is wrong. The procedure has been around for years

This entire matter appears to me to be somewhat confusing. A couple of interesting side issues. Our first base under the procedure was quoted as a 5 hour task, which we paid CASA the fee for, and in fact it took them almost a year to process. Thankyou CMT for suggesting a well intentioned, compliant, tested procedure, so that particular base didn't have to wait 10 months to be activated.

I have cut and pasted the CASA suggested procedure below, and attached our procedure as it is somewhat larger than, and perhaps more robust than CASAs suggestion.

"Where flying training activities are required to be conducted at an alternate location from the company's main training base, the following matters must be considered:
1. Exposition change management procedures
2. Instructor familiarity with the
a) aerodrome;
b) local operating procedures; and
c) risks associated with operating at that aerodrome.
3. Aerodrome suitability for the task, including:
a) other users of the aerodrome
b) physical dimensions and characteristics, in respect to the types of aircraft proposed to be operated
c) preference for the use of registered or certified aerodromes;
and) if an ALA is to be used, the advice in paragraphs 4B6.7 and 4B6.8 must be considered, in addition to the other considerations listed in this section.
4. The availability of suitable facilities and services such as:
a) flight planning, briefing and crew rest and refreshment areas
b) fuel
c) aircraft parking areas
d) aircraft maintenance services.
e) NOTAM and weather services
f) communication ability with operational headquarters and other relevant agencies such as:- Fire services- Ambulance- Police- Aerodrome owner- Airservices Australia. "

I am confident that the Temporary Locations procedure in the attachment is equal to the best practice in the industry, and anyone considering this matter i.e. The Ombudsmas Office could access the procedure via CASA of any flying school in Australia in order to make a comparative analysis.

But then again, CASA has never put forward any supporting safety case, or indeed any regulation that has been breached. In fact CASA have never had any evidence or attempted to put forward any evidence. to even suggest that they actually had anything to raise any concerns. Embarrassingly for CASA, the truth is that we had industry leading levels of operational control, and they stubbornly refuse to push on and not admit error or embrace opportunity for improvements. As pilots, and those involved in the aviation industry we all know how dangerous those characteristics can be

Last edited by glenb; 29th Sep 2021 at 06:59. Reason: Updating
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Old 29th May 2019, 08:37
  #47 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Sandy Reith View Post
Only political moves can change the behaviour of CASA.
I well remember Brian Reddish coming to me, about thirty years ago, looking for support because, at the end game, they crushed his Hervey Bay fixed and rotary wing flying schools and charter ops by sitting on his applications for new CFI and or CP appointments. Then he couldn’t operate, ran out of money and just folded. By not formerly cancelling or suspending his operating permissions he had no direct means to counter their unjustified actions against him.
And, as I remember all too well, trying to help Brian. The CASA complaints were completely without merit- and subsequently disproved, but by then, an honourable man and his family, as well as his business, had been destroyed.
Where have we heard this story before --- time and again!!
Tootle pip!!
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Old 29th May 2019, 11:25
  #48 (permalink)  
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The CASA philosophy

Reading from the CASA website about it’s philosophy we find the following, quote:-
  • clear and concise, using plain language and concepts wherever possible
One could be forgiven for thinking that this says it all. The Act says “clear and concise.” It does not have a free get out of jail card such as “wherever possible.”

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Old 29th May 2019, 12:00
  #49 (permalink)  
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Clear and concise

Interesting point Sandy, the obligation to provide "clear and concise aviation safety standards' is actually an obligation that CASA are required to achieve, and in fact I provide the extract from the Civil Aviation Act below.

The failure to achieve that, impacts significantly across industry, and in fact I suggest every business owner in the GA sector has been impacted by this failure. In fact that leads beautifully into my next post, which further and highlights the failure. Now that failure alone wouldn't be as significant, if it was accompanied by a collaborative approach from CASA towards industry. Its not an environment to act in a bullying or intimidating nature. In fact everything in this story comes back to those failures. The failure to achieve clear and concise aviation safety standards and the failure to act in a well intentioned manner.

9 CASA’s functions (1) CASA has the function of conducting the safety regulation of the following, in accordance with this Act and the regulations:
(a) civil air operations in Australian territory;

(b) the operation of Australian aircraft outside Australian territory;

(ba) ANZA activities in New Zealand authorised by Australian AOCs with ANZA privileges;

by means that include the following: (c) developing and promulgating appropriate, clear and concise aviation safety standards;
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Old 29th May 2019, 13:17
  #50 (permalink)  
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What a very sad indictment on the industry.....appreciate you putting your neck on the line Glen B,,,,you've been cornered and have had the [email protected] to come out fighting...I only wish you the very best!

(This sort of BS only happens in Countries we ordinarily laugh about....not so hilarious when it happens in our own backyard)
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Old 29th May 2019, 13:24
  #51 (permalink)  
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Attention to details, believed copy of CASA requirements example #4

Having left out so many
obvious necessities for off base training CASA should go back and rethink the disasters that will undoubtedly occur through lack of proper detail. Some comments and suggestions in brackets.

4. The availability of suitable facilities and services such as:
a) flight planning, briefing and crew rest and refreshment.
(There’s a great idea, “suitable facilities”)
b) fuel (aircraft, for the use of)

c) aircraft parking areas
(brilliant CASA, no dummy instructor would have thunk that one, room to park your plane!)
d) aircraft maintenance services.
(there’s an idea! maintain your aircraft! On cross countries take a LAME with a full set of tools and maintenance manuals)
e) NOTAM and weather services
(pay for a Met man to service the weather onsite at all times if flying is to be considered.)

But they left the best for last -
f) communication ability with operational headquarters and other relevant agencies such as:- Fire services- Ambulance- Police- Aerodrome owner- Airservices Australia.
And, in an uncharacteristic display of modesty did not put CASA at the top of list of important agencies. Also left out the Mental Disability Authority.
(In the absence of a handy Morse code telegraph station, advise all personnel about a magic communication device known as a telephone, purchase same and instruct in the use of same. If your instructors don’t catch on after a couple of hours then advise them to look for other work, example, try Aviation House)

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Old 29th May 2019, 14:07
  #52 (permalink)  
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I’m sure Glen’s 97% and virtually the whole of the GA industry would agree

Originally Posted by Fliegenmong View Post
What a very sad indictment on the industry.....appreciate you putting your neck on the line Glen B,,,,you've been cornered and have had the [email protected] to come out fighting...I only wish you the very best!

(This sort of BS only happens in Countries we ordinarily laugh about....not so hilarious when it happens in our own backyard)
Fliegenmong, how true, I’ve read several comments from USA aviation blogs about Australian aviation that would make you cringe.
The level of CASA interference in the business of GA is restriction of trade and restriction of the right to work which is against Australia’s pledge to the United Nations Charter of Human Rights.
In the USA any qualified instructor can teach anywhere without an Air Operators Certificate and around 70% of pilots are trained by these independent instructors.
What’s wrong with that? Nothing, it means that hundreds of country towns could get back their flying schools. Thousands of jobs would be created in maintenance and other downstream occupations.
CASA has been toying with allowing the independent instructor for at least thirty years to my certain knowledge. Couldn’t do it and lose control and a myriad of excessive fees for unnecessary permissions. They’ve pushed the rules into the criminal code and proof strict liability, wholly unnecessary and thoroughly counterproductive to safety (hide all mistakes and admit nothing, do not pass on valuable safety lessons).
Hats off to Glen for standing up for his rights, to fly or create business is not a Crown authorised privilege, it is our right, and its right to expect fair treatment. Mention of ‘privileges’ in legislation should be done away with, its a pathetic leftover from the days when monarchs had all the rights and only dished out ‘privileges’ to the compliant, fawning and favoured ‘subjects.’

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Old 29th May 2019, 22:32
  #53 (permalink)  
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"(In the absence of a handy Morse code telegraph station, advise all personnel about a magic communication device known as a telephone, purchase same and instruct in the use of same. If your instructors don’t catch on after a couple of hours then advise them to look for other work, example, try Aviation House)"

Of course Sandy if "telephone" was mentioned it would require a new section in the "exposition" (Luv that word, what was wrong with Shelfware) along with an approved syllabus of training, 400 page operating manual, a new addition to the MOS, possibly a new examination on telecommunications and a new section on the licence which would have to signed off every year by an ATO after a rigorous oral examination. Fifty penalty points sounds about right for flying while not being current in telecommunication. Also the AIP would need amending to add approved phrases that must be used when telecommunicating.

"Mention of ‘privileges’ in legislation should be done away with, its a pathetic leftover from the days when monarchs had all the rights and only dished out ‘privileges’ to the compliant, fawning and favoured ‘subjects.’"

Now there's an idea. Maybe Glen should apply for a Royal Appointment. "Provider of flying training services to her majesty the Queen", got a nice ring to it, might put Glen in the frame for a knighthood which I reckon he deserves. Sorry to be flippant Glen but when you consider the tragedy unfolding with your situation and how absolutely powerless you must feel, what's left but to make fun of them. Your absolutely right about that Scottish Git, a real piece of work he's virtually in charge anyway, rumour has it that other bloke only turns up to work a couple of times a week. Have you seen what we pay these numpies?

Perhaps the Scottish Git's response to you came from the realisation that your innovative business model could actually succeed, innovation in the lexicon of CAsA's modus operandi is a dirty word.

Last edited by thorn bird; 29th May 2019 at 23:33.
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Old 30th May 2019, 01:11
  #54 (permalink)  
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Thorn bird, what a masterful post #35. I must repeat some of your quotes.

"As long as there is no major RPT accident in Australia, nothing will change."
"A whisper in the ministers ear "The blood will be on your hands" is enough to negate any will for change, no matter how corrupt CASA becomes."
"The RPT industry doesn't give a damn, they pretty much self regulate anyway. Do you imagine the bean counters in Airlines care if they have to put a few more dollars on the price of a ticket to cover red tape, they operate domestically in a vacuum from competition, they can charge what they like."
"Poor old GA is just not big enough for anyone to care until its gone."
A masterpiece!
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Old 30th May 2019, 05:44
  #55 (permalink)  
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Aviation Ruling

So anyway, after CASA initiated the initial action on the Temporary locations procedure, and embarrassingly realised it was actually their own procedure that they had, suggested, provided, approved, and audited, the topic moved to the "Aviation Ruling". Once again its the same double edged sword,. The failure of CASA to achieve clear and concise aviation safety standards and the stubborn refusal to act with good intent towards industry.

Now it must have been bring your kid to work day at CASA, because to use that particular document was quite ludicrous. After 9 weeks of robust discussion with CASA, CASA conceded that the Aviation Ruling was not relevant in this case and took it “off the table”. The Aviation Ruling was not the appropriate document to be using to take such substantive action. I recall the introduction of the Aviation Ruling and the circumstances around its introduction. It was a consequence of Charter Operators having their operations shut down by CASA, and they would “pop” up the next day under a different Operators approval. There was a specific occurrence at Essendon Airport that prompted its release. From initial receipt I made it clear that it was not the appropriate document to be using, as it;
  1. Does not have a “head of power”.
  2. Was written in 2006 for an entirely different regulatory environment.·
  3. Was written for the Charter Industry, or what is referred to as Civil Aviation Regulation 206 (CAR206) operation for commercial purposes. CASA themselves determined that flying training was not a CAR 206 operation in September of 2014 and removed it.
  4. The terminology refers to personnel positions that are in CAR 206 operations, and do not exist in flying training organisations.
  5. On its release the flying schools were advised that in fact it did not apply to them, and that is the recollection of peers in the industry.
I lodged correspondence to that effect, and if you are wanting more detail please refer to the attachment.

So after 9 weeks with the Temporary locations identified as CASAs own procedure, and the Aviation Ruling off the table, one would reasonably expect that the temporary date of approval on my business would be lifted and we would be back to Business as Usual. Ahhh, its not to be. The changing goal posts begin, the problem quickly snowballs as CASA now move to the topic of contracts. As the Business Owner it was becoming increasingly apparent their is not a lot of "good intention being displayed"

I remind you that this entire fiasco could have been avoided, had my Flight Operations Inspector (FOI, the subject matter expert from my CMT) come and verbally raised his/her concerns with me. Quite simply, a well intentioned 2 hour discussion would have been a better starting point for the process, although CASA chose the most intrusive action available to it, and that is despite their obligations under their own Regulatory Philosophy and most particularly their own regulatory philosophy point 9, and I remind CASA that there have been no safety concerns raised. https://www.casa.gov.au/about-us/sta...ory-philosophy

Aviation Ruling https://www.casa.gov.au/rules-and-regulations/standard-page/aviation-rulings
Attached Files
File Type: pdf
Initial response.pdf (122.3 KB, 39 views)

Last edited by glenb; 30th May 2019 at 06:49.
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Old 30th May 2019, 07:20
  #56 (permalink)  
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Change of CMT

Whilst I don't want to interrupt the flow of my argument, it may be worth adding an interesting note at this stage.

For many years I had been working with the CASA team referred to as CMT 2. On 10th May 2018 I was advised that I had a change of CMT to another team. I was concerned on receipt of this information as there was a person on the team, that I felt may act against APTA, and perhaps more personally towards me. This individual had a "reputation" within industry, as not the "ideal" person to be working with

The next day 11/05/18 I sent an email to my Regional Manager requesting a one on one meeting, and I followed up with another email on 16/05/18 requesting a one on one meeting to raise my concerns, and importantly the request was for a one on one meeting, but importantly NOT off the record.

Therefore CASA records should clearly show that concerns were raised by me about this individual and going forward, in an endeavour to maintain some anonymity, I will refer to him as FOI, Mr Smithers going forward

Anyway, I registered my concerns, and I was assured that Mr Smithers would work professionally with APTA.

Interestingly enough, I will assert that Mr Smithers was instrumental in initiating the action against APTA. So one would really have to wonder why my FOI would work so diligently behind APTAs back and try to bring it undone. If these people approached their job with the tenacity that they chased me, CASA might actually get something done!!!!

Irrespective of that Mr Smithers approach was not in accordance with CASAs own regulatory philosophy.

Most safety orientated organisations by now would be looking inwards and trying to review the way they had handled the whole matter, but not CASA. Impossible to admit we erred like an aviation safety professional would, lets try and smoke it all up.

Meanwhile while CASA works away trying to bring APTA undone, I am unable to sign up new customers. Its important to appreciate that APTA was built and running but required 10 customers to join. In fact just today I have had a potential new member establish contact to find about APTA. As soon as I tell them that APTA has only about another month to run, and I am awaiting another CASA extension, I suggest that there interest will wane very quickly, and that highlights my problem. I have to repeatedly turn away customers until my business is given surety of operations. Its been running safely and compliantly for nearly 15 years, why do CASA choose to act this way, its so totally unnecessary.

So Mr Smithers, I intend to hold you fully to account for your performance, and the starting point for that in fairness, is your position description. As in my own organisation, I cannot hold anyone to account for something that is not written in a job description. For clarity I intend to lodge formal complaints about a Senior Executive (done) and an FOI, a Regional Manager, and a Team Leader. Obviously they are only allegations and outside of the workplace they may well head down to Mr Crawford's soccer game and all flip sausages together. Very admirable and indicates you are a decent person outside of the workplace. I can only draw on my own experience, and that experience has been substandard.

So anyway I approach CASA for the respective job descriptions which aren't available anywhere on the website Now if a apply for a job, I can get the job description. But if I want to lodge a complaint it had to go in to CASA and then I had to request it under Freedom Of Information, and now I am waiting up to 30 days for CASA to decide whether they will give it to me. Can a CASA job really be that "top secret"

If someone lodged a complaint about one of my staff, the starting point would be the job description.

Now if the job description reads "go out into industry, wreak havoc and destruction, and don't support industry, I will withdraw my complaint, because you have done your job with a zest that I would love to have in my own workplace.

Now if the job description has words like, respect, foster, build, engage, increase safety etc, then I will most definitely be lodging a complaint.

Last edited by glenb; 30th May 2019 at 09:13. Reason: A wise man gave me some advice
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Old 30th May 2019, 09:21
  #57 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,944
Originally Posted by Sandy Reith View Post
Reading from the CASA website about it’s philosophy we find the following, quote:-
  • clear and concise, using plain language and concepts wherever possible
One could be forgiven for thinking that this says it all. The Act says “clear and concise.” It does not have a free get out of jail card such as “wherever possible.”
A very recently retired very senior "public servant", whom both you and I know, once said to me, and he was not joking: "When all else fails, read your Act" ---- at the time he was head of hist particular department/authority/bureau.
CASA punctiliously follow their Act and Regulation, and all other relevant legislation, codes, guidelines etc. just when it suits them, and not at any other time.
In Canberra, they are not alone.
Tootle pip!!
PS: Given that the Government did not change, there are some quite embarrassed CASA persons right now, some of whom will have to revise some of their "planned" actions against certain operators. A fly on the wall tells me some shredders were running hot, maybe even a bit of overtime on 19/05.
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Old 30th May 2019, 09:43
  #58 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: melbourne
Age: 56
Posts: 738
Ahhh, so now its about contracts

So, we initially had the Temporary Locations procedure as an issue, and the Aviation Ruling. Unfortunately for CASA, they didn’t stick, so the new topic for the last 6 months has been contracts. This is a complicated one, and I will endeavour to keep it as straight forward as possible.

You will recall that CASA specifically identified to industry in 2006 when the Aviation Ruling was released that it did not apply to flying schools. Evidence of that fact is that CASA for my last 25 years in the industry has accepted two or more schools sharing the one AOC. Latrobe Valley Aero Club operated under the approval of a respected regional Victorian operator right up until the night they joined APTA, and in fact I had TVSA at Bacchus Marsh under our AOC for a period of time, as they were unable to secure the required Key Personnel. I am also aware of QLD operators doing the same thing, and it was accepted by CASA. In our case CASA had been advised and was fully aware.

At the time I had the good fortune to operate under CMT 2 who would always endeavour to find safe and compliant solutions to support industry. To sum it up, I guess you could say they were well intentioned and professional. So, we have ascertained that the practice was accepted by CASA.

"Dear Mr CASA. I don’t believe you have ever required or hold on file at any time in CASAs history, a requirement for the parties involved to have a contract between those Parties. The requirement for a contract was a new requirement, and a requirement placed on APTA specifically. If I am incorrect in those assertions, please feel free to advise me of so.

I am taking a bit of poetic licence with the exact terminology, but the exchange went something like this.

CASA You don’t have contracts

APTA We were never required to have contracts, you had never mentioned them previously, and other operators don’t have them, but due to our foresight we actually do have contracts, cant you recall that we have provided them to you on numerous occasions.

CASA No you haven’t.

APTA Please allow me to show you the evidence by way of the emails.

It was somewhat to see them all nicely printed off in front of the large team of personnel at the next meeting, I can assure you

Anyway, so now CASA have worked out that they actually did hold the contracts, and in fact had they realised that, they may not have tried using the Aviation Ruling. In fact, all though the Aviation Ruling doesn’t apply to Flying Schools. I did draw on it during the design of APTA and the contracts. But unfortunately, CASA steadfastly refuse to admit they erred, and continue to press on. I have attached the contracts that we use as an attachment. Now I know contracts can be boring things, but I would encourage you to open the attachment and have a look at the contract. It has two parts. The legal stuff followed by section 2 which I refer to as the “spirit of APTA”. That is actually the fundamental part of what we were trying to achieve. As you scroll through the “Spirit” part, look how we hoped to engage with CASA. Thanks so much CASA for really stepping up to the plate and supporting industry.

So basically CASA say that they aren’t happy with the content of the contract that we have, and they cant actually identify what is wrong, and they advise me that its not their job to do it, so I go away and have a crack but its impossible. Where do I start, if I don’t know what is wrong? I explained to CASA that it was incumbent on them to give me guidance. It actually gets a bit amusing shortly, so please bear with me.

So anyway, CASA give me some suggested text, which I embed “word for word” as they suggested and submit that. Not accepted by them. WTF!!

CASA then give me some more suggested text for another crack at it. Once again I embed it word for word. I just want my operational restriction lifted, so will do whatever they want, and I am happy to comply. I submit their own suggested text word for word and submit it. CASA write to me and tell me we are finalised and all good to go. Hours later they write back to me and retract the contract that they said was OK.

To top it all off, I get an email from Mr Graeme Crawford stating the following “The quality of the input Glen provided at that point, reflected the absence of such adsvice, and a clear understanding of some of the issues CASA has identified as critical.


Concerningly that suggested to me that Mr Crawford had little idea of what was really going on. Anyway, here we are more than 7 months later, CASA still didn’t know what they wanted, so they outsourced it to an external legal service.

Ahhhh, I remember how I used to scold my kids. “You cant say something is wrong, if you don’t know what right is”. So CASA, if you don’t like the content of the contract, its incumbent upon you to tell me what you want. It would really help, if you could lift the temporary date on my business while you try and work it out.

For perfect clarity, and as I have told CASA repeatedly. I Glen Buckley as the Authorisation Holder, understand that I have total responsibility for all operations under my approval across all bases while delivering under the APTA approval. That does not mean there will never be an accident or an incident. It means that I must be able to robustly defend my position in court, and if found wanting, I am liable. I will put whatever you want in the contracts. I have attached a copy of the template contract that we use for APTA, and encourage readers to look at point 35 onwards.

And yet again, its CASAs failure to achieve clear and concise aviation safety standards as is required of them as one of their functions. Combine this with a lack of good intention, and it aint ever gonna work.

I think my next post will be about the audits, and that is where it gets really interesting. I think your gonna love the next one.
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Old 30th May 2019, 09:56
  #59 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: melbourne
Age: 56
Posts: 738
Lets try and get him on audit, nothing else sticks

I believe that it became increasingly obvious to CASA that their arguments around the temporary locations and aviation ruling were not valid, and in fact quite embarrassing.

CASA had now realised that in fact the Aviation Ruling did not apply, and in fact the procedure we used for Temporary locations were in fact, their own procedure. Further to that, we had actually substantially documented and submitted procedures to CASA that far exceeded their requirements of us. The direction then moved off in a different direction, and the previous concerns were “parked” by CASA.

20/11/18 - The line of attack moved to a new topic. Now it was the audit results from the Latrobe Valley audit. This was identified by the Regional Manager Mr David Jones as a Level 2 audit. Let me provide a further chronological timeline, lets start at the beginning.

03/09/18 - CASA conduct the level 2 audit at LTV. CASA conducted an Exit Meeting as they are required to in their own procedures. The verbal Exit Meeting should be followed up by a matching written report, and we were advised of such. There were no safety or regulatory concerns expressed. We acted immediately on the minor points raised and awaited the written report from CASA as promised. Those related to contextualising our exams for Latrobe Valley

05/09/18 - CASA conducted the level 2 audit at BLT. CASA conducted an Exit Meeting as they are required to in their own procedures. The verbal Exit Meeting is supposed to be followed up by a matching written report, and we were advised of such. There were no safety or regulatory concerns expressed. We acted immediately on the minor points raised and awaited the written report from CASA as promised.

23/10/18 - In fact the next written notification we received from CASA was notification from CASA of intention to bring a cessation to APTA operations

18/11/18 Meeting at CASA Regional Office highlighted that CASA had not provided written audit report as advised, and importantly required. They failed to meet their obligations under Administrative Law. CASA made commitment to provide those audit results. At that meeting the Regional Manager confirmed that it was in fact a level 2 audit was conducted. The Regional Manager at that meeting, expressed the CASA concern that there were incorrect and outdated Latrobe Valley forms everywhere. Interestingly that was a new topic not raise at the verbal debrief on site at LTV on the day, and that complaint did not resurface in the subsequently produced audit results. It made me feel that he was somewhat clutching at straws, so to speak.

20/11/18 - In the contents of an email, Mr David Jones stated that “the assessment of the Latrobe Valley Aero Club was used as the basis of seeking CASA legal advice…” I question how the audit results can be used by CASA to shut down my operation without me having had the “right of reply”.

24/11/18 - CASA provided the audit results. These results differed entirely from the verbal debrief and contained several new and substantive allegations that had not been raised before. These included breaches of - CASR 141.310, CASR 142.390, and CASR 117. I had not previously been made aware of these and am strongly of the opinion that this was a breach of administrative law/natural justice/procedural fairness. How could these audit results be used as the basis of legal action if I had not had the opportunity to respond. How could completely new allegations occur? I strongly refute those allegations and have made repeated requests to get the supporting evidence.

CASA have consistently and repeatedly ignored all requests for the specifics of the breech. I am strongly of the opinion that they cannot be substantiated, and therefore no matter how many requests I make, they will never be able to address the outstanding allegations.

Also, I point out that I requested the audit results be provided in the standard format that CASA provides to other Operators, as it had been identified as a level 2 audit. In CASAs own procedures they nominate identified issues as either a Safety Alert, Safety Finding, or Safety Observation. On hindsight I appreciate that would not be practical, as I don’t believe any concerns raised by CASA have anything to do with safety, therefore CASA is unable to produce their audit in the standard format.

Now CASA alleged breaches of CASR 141.310 (1),(5) and (6) and CASR 142.390 (1),(5), and (6):http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_reg/casr1998333/s141.310.html
http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_reg/casr1998333/s142.390.html CASA also alleged a breach of CASR 117. That is also a ludicrous statement and frequent requests to have clarification of this have been totally ignored.

Regarding this allegation CASA referred to the Latrobe valley Website. I am unable to identify the breech when I go to the website. I have asked CASA to identify the “offending page”. This simple 30 second task has not been attended to by CASA despite repeated requests over many months. It is impossible for me to reply to the audit and finalise the matter if CASA steadfastly refuse to provide the supporting evidence, and help me resolve their perceived issues.

28/11/18 The Regional Manager now raises completely new allegations and substantial allegations that differ to the original allegations made on site at Ballarat and Latrobe , which differed to the allegations made at our meeting, which differed to the allegations made in writing. The new allegations were about flight and duty times, and in an email he stated;“These anomalies should be known by Ermin (as the APTA HOO) as there were problems identified with the FSM system and Flight and Duty (F&D) management, in particular associated to the F&D exceedances”.

On receipt of that email I immediately knew that it was a false statement and that it should be known to be untruthful at the time of writing. Despite numerous requests to have those allegations substantiated with any evidence, none will be forthcoming as it was a blatant untruth. My concerns being that once again it appeared the Regional Manager was trying to “paint a picture.” He also cast aspersions on my HOO by stating “should be known by Ermin”. CASA had not sent any audit results, so how could he possibly know!

The deficiency was on CASAs behalf, not ours!

05/12/18 I wrote to Regional Manager David Jones requesting substantiation of false allegations

05/12/18 Out of frustration at my inability to get the original audit results provided to me by CASA I made a request under FOI to try and obtain my audit results. CASA determined that I was not entitled to those and I was provided with a completely redacted statement that was of no value to me at all. I subsequently appealed that decision and that appeal was also rejected. Still to date, I have not been able to get access to the audit results and their associated notes from the day of the audit. I have only had access to notes written up after it was identified that notes had not been provided, and these contain completely new allegations of regulatory breaches. I have made at least 5 requests on these to resolve them and CASA have steadfastly refused to respond to my requests for assistance.

So CASA when you try and tell me that you are supporting APTA, please excuse me if I seem somewhat bemused by that assertion.

Quite seriously, an impossible situation to be in, and I have made two further requests over the last week, and like all the other requests, completely ignored. Where to next, thers so much good stuff, but alas I need to head home to the family. Will give me a bit of time to work out which topic next.

Last edited by glenb; 30th May 2019 at 10:11.
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Old 30th May 2019, 12:01
  #60 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Victoria Australia
Age: 80
Posts: 153
Torture by bureaucracy

As many of us have been saying for many years, CASA is a dysfunctional organisation. It is riven with hubris and operates in a manner that would be intolerable in any other area of civil society. People outside our small aviation community cannot conceive how bad is the system that’s been allowed to grow in spite of the numerous examples of exceptionally bad behaviour.
Glen’s example flies in the face of Mr. Carmody’s latest missive where he pats himself on the back for getting regulations promulgated, easily the worst and most unworkable rules of any developed GA country, isn’t that terrific. Meanwhile his minions are running amuck, and the destruction of Australian General Aviation continues.
Glen is making his courageous pushback public, countless others have gone quietly in the face of bullying, monstrous fees for unnecessary permissions, mountains of counterproductive paperwork and impossible demands. Demands of the sort so clearly demonstrated by the nightmare visited upon Glen. This is the embedded modus operandi of a regulator that has been out of control for a very long time. It is a disgrace to the Public Service and to all the Ministers who have one after another abrogated their duties to the nation.
LeadSlead has it right, they will comply with the Act only when it suits, unfortunately that’s not very often.
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