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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 20th May 2021, 22:50
  #1641 (permalink)  
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To a higher court?

Glen - fire up the go fund me. You need legal representation, yes the personal approach works but it will only go so far.

Set the bar high, 500k. You have gained much more interest since the last go fund me. 500k maybe dreaming however have a crack. I know you have already spoken to the legal eagles, however go harder.
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Old 20th May 2021, 23:01
  #1642 (permalink)  
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A quick message before i head into the Office

Originally Posted by Global Aviator
To a higher court?

Glen - fire up the go fund me. You need legal representation, yes the personal approach works but it will only go so far.

Set the bar high, 500k. You have gained much more interest since the last go fund me. 500k maybe dreaming however have a crack. I know you have already spoken to the legal eagles, however go harder.
Global Aviator, I love your enthusiasm, you get me very motivated. I'm sitting on the side of the road about to head into work. There are two aspects I guess. The legal argument. Commenced. Protracted, Expensive, subject to perversion by some CASA personnel with little ethics or integrity, facilitated by an impotent Board. Stressful etc

Or ethics, and integrity might prevail. The Honorable Mr. Michael McCormack might tap Mr. Anthony Mathews on the shoulder and say. I think we erred here Mr. Mathews. Ensure this is fixed fairly. Fixed fairly means, all impacted parties fairly recompensed, and an investigation conducted into the conduct of Crawford, Aleck, and Martin. I will keep pushing for the latter.

Final pieces being put to a substantive post this weekend incorporating some "new information" that i will be submitting to the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Deputy PM.

Thanks again all. Appreciated, Cheers. Glen

and because it impacts on aviation safety and is in the public interest, on here of course

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Old 26th May 2021, 06:17
  #1643 (permalink)  
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Hope you and family are doing well Glen, many of us are still with you.

Cheers Bendy.
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Old 26th May 2021, 11:00
  #1644 (permalink)  
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Glen you need a "plan B" for yourself and family. I'm worried for you.
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Old 11th Jun 2021, 20:55
  #1645 (permalink)  
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CASA deliberately misleading the Commonwealth Ombudsman's Office

I am currently very limited in what i can post. I woke up early this morning and was working through my correspondence.

I will write to the Ombudsman today challenging some information that the CASA Legal Department headed up by Mr Jonathan Aleck has provided to the Ombudsman. In my opinion that CASA Department has been responsible for providing significantly misleading information to the Commonwealth Ombudsman, presumably for the purposes of engineering CASAs preferred outcome.

CASA claims that they were not aware that APTA provided multi base coverage for different entities at the time they revalidated APTA as a Part 141 and 142 Organization in April of 2017.

Unfortunately, for Mr. Aleck, i have the email that i sent to CASA on 23rd June 2016, almost one year before CASA revalidated APTA. That email contained an overview of the concept and how i intended to present it to industry.

So for Mr Alecks department to claim that they were not aware is quite simply not the truth. I will write extensively on this matter later today, an overwhelming and interesting body of evidence is developing.

Below is part of the email sent to CASA on 23rd June 2016. Really Mr Aleck, are you still going to claim that CASA didnt know. I will also be drawing this information to the attention of the Deputy Prime Minister.

In the following posts, is the information i provided to CASA, two and a half years before they became aware of APTA and reversed its approval. Trust me folks, its very challenging trying to hold the Executive Management of CASA to account, when they are prepared to blatantly lie.

I claim that CASA is deliberately misleading the Ombudsman Office

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Old 11th Jun 2021, 20:59
  #1646 (permalink)  
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Part 1 of 3 of correspondence-refer previous post


I’ve owned a Flying School for 10 years now, and worked way too hard, for way too long. The Business is becoming increasingly complex to run. There are an increasing amount of what I call “tripping hazards”. I am concerned about the future of Australian Owned Businesses in the Flight Training Sector. My Business IS my Superannuation, I’m concerned somewhat for my family’s future.

I consistently strive for perfection in my Business but increasingly I feel like I cannot keep up anymore. I am exhausted by the bureaucracy associated with simply “proving” that I am already doing the right thing. I get frustrated by the Fee Help System. I need to get focussed on my Business now, but I keep getting pulled away.

Despite all this, I love what I do, and I want to do it well. In fact, I want to make my Business the best business it can afford to be. Increasingly I have been considering how I can continue to operate my Business and operate it successfully. How can I increase its potential in a time of “doom and gloom” for our Sector? I’ve come up with this proposal. I want to get 10 likeminded Schools. Schools that genuinely want to survive in the new environment and “step up to the plate”. A range of predominantly regional schools and some capital city Schools. Australian Owned Businesses that really have the intent to deliver on the Regulators requirements and maintain a robust Business. Owners that really do appreciate robust procedures designed to be Simple, Accountable and Effective can be both safer and more compliant. If they meet these criteria, they can potentially be more cost effective to deliver.

It is a challenge, we need to pool our resources, genuinely work collaboratively and assemble the very best Group Head of Operation, Group HAAMC, Group Safety Manager, and Group Compliance and QA Manager. The background work is well underway, we can do this.

My proposal is to join this concept exactly as I propose you do, assuming it potentially suits your Business. My intention isn’t to generate debate on why we are in this situation. This is the much “bigger picture”, this is the future of Australian owned sector of the flight training industry.


A Group of Schools combining their Resources to share a team” of Industry leading professionals providing high levels of Safety and Regulatory Compliance. A Group Head of Operations, a Group HAAMC, a Group Safety Manager, and a Group Compliance QA Manager. Full accountability for safe and compliant operations rests entirely with me as the CEO of the organisation. I need you to be sharing the vision. By working collaboratively, we will be able to resource a pool of talent that we could not achieve individually. A team of Schools with good intent, working collaboratively together, while communicating effectively with CASA and sharing their financial and Business resources to gain access to a greater pool of talent to lead the Group. I wish to reiterate that the key to this concepts success is the Quality of those Industry Leading Personnel at the top, and the intent of all of us operating below. We recognise we need exceptional Leadership. We will be financially capable to secure it.

Each Business Operates under my AOC with the AOC Holder providing those Industry Leading Key Stakeholder positions. Each Organisations own key positions are no longer required as they move centrally and rove between the Member Organisations. The existing Chief Flying Instructor effectively becomes the Senior Base Pilot. From my own experience as a Chief Flying Instructor, I was increasingly being pulled away from ensuring quality outcomes as i attended to burdensome paperwork.

Oversight will be facilitated by a program called “Flight School Manager “which we would share. Like many Australian Schools I am now using this program. It has been designed to be easily expanded amongst our Schools. It contains all Rosters, Scheduling, Training Notes, Briefings, Maintenance tracking, theory delivery, Safety Management, Bookings, Flight and Duties etc. in a one stop shop. It can also deliver all briefings and Theory Courses. Obviously participants and their Personnel will be fully trained. This is how we can provide the required levels of oversight. In fact CASA could Audit our entire Organisation, live from their own as we will provide full access to them. It provides the member organisations with unmatched levels of oversight and information sharing.

Importantly, your Business remains your own Business in its entirety, including branding and all financial aspects. We will develop standardisation among the Members, with clear lines of Reporting and accountability. You keep paying your utilities and your day to day running costs. AIPT takes on all responsibility for safety and compliance.

In my own Organisation I operate with 4 new overriding, largely generic but fully compliant manuals. All Schools would adopt those compliant manuals. Lying under these 4 manuals are the Base Procedures Manuals. These are the manuals where you outline your specific requirements and Procedures at your Own Base, just as I have done for mine. This is where you retain, your Businesses unique procedures. I am currently using this System providing oversight of another large Flight Training Organisation that had difficulty securing Key Personnel. It is working now, and can be expanded. In fact it can be expanded easily via the application of the Base Procedures Manual. With appropriately qualified Personnel in your Organisation you will have the ability to offer an unparalleled range of Courses.


The vast majority of Australian Owned Flight Training Operators would have very well-founded concerns about continued Operations in three years’ time. It would be reasonable to expect that there is a preference by Authorities that there are less Flight Training Operators in Australia, as that makes the Regulators task easier. We need to protect against that.

A Challenge immediately ahead is the Transition to a 141 or a 142 Organisation. A bigger challenge will come soon after when we are audited for compliance against these complicated criteria. The Transition is not the “big issue”. The challenge actually comes after the Transition in ensuring you have the resources to maintain Compliance. This approach will allow us to attend to this challenge co-operatively.

The cost of rewriting compliant manuals alone was more than $100,000 for my Organisation and took far too much of my attention for far too long. This was extremely challenging from a resource perspective in my own Organisation. This approach will substantially free up both financial and time resources to allow you to focus on running your Business.

Last edited by glenb; 11th Jun 2021 at 21:23.
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Old 11th Jun 2021, 21:06
  #1647 (permalink)  
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2 of 3 - Refer post 1645


The cornerstone of this concept is the protection of the Australian Owned Sector of the Flight Training Industry. It is open to current Industry participants and is not intended to “ease” new entrants into the market. Therefore, it is eligible to existing Businesses only. Those Businesses must be able the demonstrate Intent to work towards the highest standards of Safety and Compliance.

There will be two different rates. A commercial rate to businesses such as my own, but a subsidised rate for aero clubs in regional areas.


The Business remains its own “Business Entity” with regards to Ownership and all financial aspects. There is no change. We are only pooling our financial resources to engage Industry Leading Personnel to lead us and reduce the burden on us. Your Business continues to be branded as your own name. The Group name will be Australian Integrated Pilot Training. My own Business would become AIPT-Melbourne Flight Training.

All organisations including my own will pay 3 monthly in advance. You can withdraw at any time with three months’ notice,

You would be able to liaise with CASA to potentially continue your own AOC in the background for “peace of mind” should you elect to withdraw at some future date.

Our Businesses each remain 100% our Own Businesses.

The Profit and Loss of my AIPT will be open to all members within the group. There will be extremely high levels of transparency. The intention of this proposal is literally to support each other’s continued existence.

Fees increases will be capped at the highest of 5% per annum or CPI, whichever is higher, for a period of 5 years. My expectation is that the rates would actually decrease significantly once membership numbers reached required levels.

Any increases after that time require approval from at least 75% of Group members.

We will work collaboratively to design procedures to ensure all Parties meet regularly.

We will have a facility for input from the Membership base to ensure they are actively involved in Group Management.

All members irrespective of size have equal voting rights in situations where required.

CASA required Roles are now filled by Industry Leading Professionals and the Business Owner can get on with the function of running a Business.

It may be that some Business Owners who act in a CFI/HOO position may be able to Retire but still allow their Business to keep running as the CFI/HOO position does not necessarily need to be held by them.

The Accountable positions now fall outside of your Business, however there will be Contractual Obligations and a high level of support and oversight provided to the Group.

Continued Membership will be assured provided you act with intent to work towards the highest standards of Safety, Ethics, and Business Standards. We will work together to design mutually agreeable criteria.


Decrease in Operating Costs- A proposed schedule of costs is attached. A Flight School Flying 4000 hours per annum would contribute $90,000 per annum. Considering that this is probably less than the Salary of your HOO alone, there can be no doubt that this is a cost effective option. It includes all manuals and procedures, Industry Leading Stakeholders and support. The responsibility for Key Stakeholder position such as HOO/HAAMC/Safety Manager will be managed centrally. Most Businesses will benefit with a reduction in Salaries of somewhere between $100,000 to $200,000 per annum. The cost savings will be Significant. Our Businesses will become more robust

Decreased workload to a more manageable size– In my own Flying School, I am trying to balance the Roles of HOO/HAAMC/ and Business Owner. Having less workload on myself will give me the opportunity to focus more of my resources on to maintaining my “Business”, which is of critical importance to me, and more so than ever in the current environment.

Increased Buying Power- A co-ordinated group of Flying Schools dealing as One, will have access to better costings on Fuel prices, Office Supplies, Telecommunications, Accountancy, Bookkeeping, Legal advice, Utilities etc. on a National scale, and on a more local geographic area, smaller operators may be able to pool maintenance facilities and offer support to each other in other ways.

Increased flexibility with deployment of Resources. Ability to temporarily transfer highly standardised staff between facilities to meet fluctuations in demand, or loss of Personnel due career progression. No long term commitment required regarding Salary costs. Sharing of highly standardised, fully inducted Instructors at relatively short notice when required. The opportunity to mentor and train junior Staff will be exceptional.

Increased Business Opportunities will become available as the Group will have access to Overseas Student Training approvals by way of CRICOS, as well as FEE HELP for Domestic Applicants. The Group can share marketing on International Opportunities. Together we could market appealing Flight Training in different Geographic areas. An RPL in one location, an IFR in another. Consider the capability of up to 20 Schools delivering highly standardised training between varying Geographic Locations across Australia. The Australian Owned Sector would now be able to seriously compete with our Internationally Owned Flight Training Organisations

Maintain your Business “Feel” Your Business will continue presenting the same way to your customers and will maintain its own feel. This is not your Business being taken over. This is your Business working collaboratively with like-minded Businesses to gain access to greater resources. Your Business remains entirely your own Business and does not require a name change. Your Business remains its own standalone Business.

Retaining Key Personnel is always of concern to Business Owners. In fact increasingly it is difficult to attract and retain Key Personnel and I only anticipate this becoming more challenging in the future. This approach will provide extremely high levels of Key Personnel redundancy. Many Businesses including my own, are heavily reliant on my own health. We gain access to Quality Personnel that an Organisation acting alone could not fund. The Key roles will have CASA approved Deputies. Further redundancy is provided by the experience of the Senior Base Pilots (predominantly ex-CFIs)

The Group sharing of Safety related information and resources has significant Safety Benefits to your Business. Traditionally Safety related information has moved vertically, but now we will have the Opportunity to share Safety information laterally between organisations.

Audits will be centrally managed. Many of the traditional “headaches” to the Business Owner can be moved off site, with the “on site” time requiring less of CASAs and the Businesses resources. The time allocated to face to face contact with the Regulator can be used more effectively.

A United Voice when dealing with CASA will make engagement more effective and potentially have more capability to engage. The Group will have the Business Owners forming a Committee. The Committee liaises with the CASA approved Key Personnel and the Power Team communicates to the Personnel via the respective Senior Base Pilot.

Change Management is a major challenge for Industry at present. We can address that more effectively in a collaborative manner.

Compliant manuals to the new regulations will be provided. These will facilitate your Transition to a Part 142 Organisation. The Cost of doing this alone will potentially save organisations significant financial resources. The cost of writing our new Part 61/141/142 manuals for my own Business has exceeded $100,000. These costs are only part of the costs associated with the Transition.

New Courses can be added. We have an extensive range of Approved Courses, and have the ability to add on more. You will gain access to a full range of Courses that you may not have been able to offer previously. With Support and appropriately qualified personnel you will have the opportunity to pursue new revenue streams.

Access to resources, not so easily available to individual Organisations, such as Legal Advice. Accounting Advice, Technology upgrades


Increased Safety Outcomes- The points below will provide a strong case for Improved Safety Outcomes,

Industry Leading Professionals, quite possible ex-CASA, Experts, heading up senior positions. This Power Team will be capable of engaging CASA in the highest Professional manner. They will be well networked and will have an appreciation of the Regulators expectations. They will be highly experienced and experts in their field. The calibre of these Personnel could not be attracted by an Organisation acting alone.

More efficient and effective engagement-The ability for CASA to deal primarily with one AOC Holder, rather than a wide ranging group of Individual Stakeholders can only improve Communication. Putting the “blame” argument completely to one side, for the sake of the “concept”. CASA is now in an impossible situation. A finite resource can only continue to be effective for a limited time. CASA needs results as much as Industry does. More streamlined communication is in everyone’s interest.

Increased sharing of Safety Information. This concept will provide unparalleled levels of lateral sharing of Safety Information. These levels of sharing are exceptional and can only be achieved by the Industry working collaboratively. AIPT will commit to providing the most well funded safety department of any flying school in Australia.

Improved Utilisation of Limited CASA resources-CASA is understandably resource stretched maintaining oversight of 250 different schools whilst meeting its other Industry obligations. If CASA Personnel could deal with one effective team of Key personnelinstead of 10, 20, or 30 different Schools there will be significant Productivity gains.

Increased Financial stability to AOC holders can only improve Safety Outcomes.

Experienced Staff to easily redeploy between Bases to address Experience and Oversight deficiencies. Resources can be shared. An experienced Aerobatics Instructor can be redeployed to upskill another Base etc.

A Positive public relations opportunity exists for CASA to work collaboratively with Industry in an innovative approach to improve Safety and Business Outcomes and arrest the failure of Australian Owned Businesses. An extremely attractive Opportunity for CASA to actually provide some very meaningful support to Industry.

Request formal CASA involvement.The Funding model will allow for the Group to meet 75% of the costs for a CASA Flight Operations Inspector or Similar to do a 12 Month placement with us, to ensure the System works to their Satisfaction. If CASA can work closely with the Members through the CASA approved Key Personnel, we can effectively design procedures that are Simple, Accountable, and Effective to the satisfaction of all Stakeholders.

A rigorous ‘Continuous Improvement Program will be implemented” throughout the Group. We will work collaboratively to high levels of Standardisation and improvement.

Test feedback can be captured across a broader range of candidates and that feedback can be directed back into improving Group Training.

Auditing will become significantly easier. The majority of the Auditing could be completed off site by way of Flight School Manager. It will reduce time spent on location. The time spent on location can now be used for more effective engagement.


We will present you with what we refer to as a “POWER TEAM”. They will consist of an Industry Leading Head of Operations, an Industry Leading HAAMC, an Industry Leading Safety Manager, and an Industry Leading Audit and Quality Control Manager. That Team will have your confidence. If not, you are under no obligation to join.

As a Group we are offering Salary Packages unmatched in the Industry to date. This Package will ensure we can select the Leaders in their Respective Fields. I envisage the HOO being on a package in the range of $180K to $220K, with the other three roles Safety, HAAMC, and QA being in the range of $150K to $180K. On those packages, I am confident we can attract Industry Leaders. We have already shortlisted potential Applicants but will not commit until we can assure ourselves, we have the best Personnel available to achieve our goals.

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Old 11th Jun 2021, 21:10
  #1648 (permalink)  
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Refer post 1645 Part 3 of 3


They will be demonstrated leaders in their Field. They will have a Proven Track Record,

They will be well regarded within our Industry.

They will have the respect of both the Regulator and Industry.

We expect them to be a Professional in all dealings with all stakeholders.

The positions will be rewarding but challenging. The Team will have to be able to communicate effectively to all Stakeholders, being CASA, the Personnel through the Organisational Structure, and the Business Owner.

Applicants would be highly experienced commensurate with the Salaries being offered. They are a unique opportunity for the right Individuals to gain high levels of Job Satisfaction and a new challenge

We expect that they have demonstrated achievement in Project Management.

The ability to develop procedures that are Simple, Accountable, and Effective, while maintaining high levels of Safety and Compliance. At all times being aware that a robust Business is more likely to be a safe Business. Appreciate that a financially viable Industry is a Safer Industry, and be able to demonstrate a commitment to the Australian Owned Sector of the Flight Training Industry. Our procedures cannot have “tripping hazards”

They need to be prepared to travel to ensure they maintain high levels of face to face engagement.

They need to have a Vision and be prepared to design and implement that Vision in conjunction with the Team.

A high level of communication skill.


There should be no increase in costs to the Business. In fact the ability to have Key Personnel centrally located and “shared” will significantly reduce costs.

Rather than 10 separate schools paying $100,000 each per annum for their Head of Operations, ten Schools working seamlessly and colboartively,could attract the “Super HOO” for $25,000 each or a total of $250,000.

Our Buying power will depend on how many participants we can attract, and this will in turn effect the charging.

My objective is to have a cost of $25 per hour for the first 2000 Flight Training Hours p.a.

$20 per hour flown for 2000 to 6000 Flight Training Hours p.a.

$10 per hour in excess of 6000 Flight Training Hours p.a.

Some typical cost scenarios

2000 hour school pays $50,000 per annum

4000 hour school pays $90,000 per annum

6000 hour school pays $130,000 per annum

8000 hour school pays $150,000 per annum.

How will it be funded? There are 250 Flight Training Organisations across Australia. Assuming 10 schools joined the concept and those schools averaged 4000 hours. Ten income streams of $90,000 per annum provides a $900,000 fund to appropriately staff the concept.

Let me use my own Business as an example. Because I intend to join this group, exactly as I am proposing that you do. My own Business will be treated exactly like any other participant Business.

My Business flies approximately 8000 hours per annum. I would contribute $150,000 per annum. In return I get fully compliant manuals, A Head of Operations, a Safety Manager, An auditing and QA Manager, my Transition to a 142 is managed and with that the ability to retain delivery of the 150 hour Integrated CPL, access to Overseas Student Training and potentially Vet Fee Help. I can refocus my own attention to running my Business and freeing up capacity to pursue opportunities. I am convinced that this approach will allow me to focus on Business, be the most cost effective option and may be the only way to maintain my Business into the future.


We will utilise an Australian owned product called Flight School Manager to ensure the very highest levels of operational control can be maintained. The program is an existing program, but we are making a significant investment to upgrade the system to meet the needs of one organisation operating from multiple sites. Traditionally, the practice of multiple operators under the one AOC has been fraught with challenges, and in todays complex environment they don’t adequately meet the requirements.

For the first time ever in an industry first we will provide CASA full access to our entire system. Feedback from industry is a preference not to do so. I feel strongly that we have nothing to hide. We will be operating to the highest standards of safety and compliance. By involving CASA it allows us to highlight deficiencies and address them in a more proactive manner.
  • Group Management
  • Course Progress Reporting
  • Electronic Phone Book
  • Full Booking Outcome Reporting
  • Electronic Student And Instructor Personal Details Files
  • Multiple Airbase Management
  • Electronic Document Library
  • Full Learning Management System
  • Flight Board Display For 42' Monitors
  • MYOB Integration Available
  • Automatic Student Achievement Record Completion
  • Instrument Approach And Night Recency Management
  • Automatic Aircraft Weight And Balance Calculations
  • Full Student, Aircraft And Instructor Reporting
  • On-Line Scheduling
  • Staff And Student Rostering
  • Aircraft Maintenance Management System
  • Predictive Aircraft Maintenance Planning
  • Electronic Student And Instructor Logbooks
  • Detailed Aircraft Maintenance Reporting
  • Detailed Student Progress Reporting
  • Customisable Flight And Duty Time Limits
  • Up to 16 Additional Qualification Fields
  • Automated Student and Instructor Emailing
  • Automated Flight and Duty Time Management
  • Units and Elements Of Competency Manager
  • Charter Quoting
  • Full Australian Airfield Directory
  • Syllabus designer
·FSM provides all the management systems required for Part 141 and 142 compliance and is pre-loaded with all the MOS Units, elements and their associated Performance Criteria making syllabus design, lesson plans and training record development a quick and streamlined process.

Over 48 flying schools Australia wide are now utilising the functions and features of FSM for their flight school management, saving time, money and audit stress

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Old 11th Jun 2021, 21:39
  #1649 (permalink)  
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well, well, well

It seemed such a good concept. CASA knew about it. CASA worked with me to design it, CASA approved it, CASA audited it, CASA approved bases under the system, CASA recommended it.

CASA changed their mind overnight in October 2018. Not on a legal concern, not on a safety concern, quite simply a change of opinion by Mr Alecks Department.

Im not the first person to have their life destroyed by this man, but i will be the last!
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Old 12th Jun 2021, 00:28
  #1650 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by glenb
It seemed such a good concept. CASA knew about it. CASA worked with me to design it, CASA approved it, CASA audited it, CASA approved bases under the system, CASA recommended it.

CASA changed their mind overnight in October 2018. Not on a legal concern, not on a safety concern, quite simply a change of opinion by Mr Alecks Department.

Im not the first person to have their life destroyed by this man, but i will be the last!
Glen, if you manage to slay the beast, a feat not achieved by any before you, we will be celebrating with you like it’s New Years Eve. We’ve had the Champers on ice since 1988. It may even taste rather pleasant!
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Old 12th Jun 2021, 11:17
  #1651 (permalink)  
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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 ˝ 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.

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Old 12th Jun 2021, 13:44
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Glen this seems to me to be the most comprehensive and damning evidence of CASA criminal lies and deception yet.

I hope it makes some progress for you mate.
However, as many people have already mentioned on this thread, I still reckon you NEED a good QC on your side not Dennis Denuto. “The Vibe” won’t be enough to win this one.
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Old 12th Jun 2021, 22:43
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Glen keep at it, you know you have industry wide support.

as many have mentioned your case seems to be very strong.

Is it not time to hand it to the legal experts with a stack of cash and say game on. How do you get that cash? From industry, I reckon a go fund me would surprise you as did the first one.

You also need to allow a media budget and possibly a media liaison / PR rep, to come out of the go fund me of course.

As much as this will be a long drawn out court process it will also be the court of public opinion. Aussies love a battler and do not like government slapping people down (that’s reserved for the tall poppy syndrome of successful people of which you probably would have suffered had CASA not beat them to it).

Just my personal opinion of course!
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Old 21st Jun 2021, 23:02
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The return of Tomato Head

Glen, I am a big believer that with change comes opportunity. Now that Cardboard Cutout McCormack has been rolled from his DPM position and Tomato Head Joyce has regained the coveted throne of DPM, it would appear that you have a new pathway to traverse upon your quest for justice. Hopefully you will get more traction with the odd Nationals leader, farmer and serial shagger.

The question for the Tomato should be now that he has regained his front bench position as leader of the Nationals party and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, will Mr Joyce, as a promoter of Australian values, small business, battlers and fairness, finally take action against CASA for its many decades of mismanagement, one example being the treatment of Mr Buckley? Mr Joyce purports to be a champion (not campion) of the people and has publicly stated that his priority is about the people, not about the position. So what do you say as member for New England Barnaby, are you going to put your money where your mouth is? (well, we know where his mouth has been)

Let’s see if the Tomato actually has a set of kahunas or if he has a set of hairless micro plums.

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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 12:38
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The last duty the ex Deputy PM did late at night before he was ousted (when he undoubtedly had a lot on his mind and no need to assist at all) was to provide a business (with which I’m involved) his near priceless signature to allow it to operate against some fearsome bureaucratic opposition. Apparently the look on the chief protagonists face when presented with the signature was priceless. I was very sorry he was gone. I’m very pleased he has returned. My (admittedly 3rd hand) experience couldn’t have been better - I was stunned he bothered to help, especially over something so small on what must have been a very difficult day for him personally.

Based on my experience, I’d suggest Glen would get a fair hearing.

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Old 24th Jun 2021, 03:29
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Barnaby in the hot seat

Just prior to the last election, a peer from industry facilitated a meeting with Barnaby Joyce in his Canberra Office. I agree with your observations.

I wrote to him after that meeting expressing my thanks. I found him to be straight down the line, frank, doesn't tell people what they necessarily want to hear, and somebody who likes to Get Shi# Done (GSD).

A new Chairperson with an understanding and appreciation of lines of reporting, responsibility, accountability, conduct, procedures and sound decision making.

A CEO/DAS free from the iron ring and able to look at the state of affairs, and objectively so. From feedback so far, a good listener. A CEO who knows that CASAs own research suggests unacceptable levels of staff dissatisfaction with the Executive Management, which is replicated universally by the industry itself. A CEO who has vision and sees an opportunity.

All overseen by a Minister who is keen to transform the image of the Nationals.

If this matter is to avoid going to Court, it will happen over coming weeks one would hope.
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Old 30th Jun 2021, 04:12
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Letter to Ombudsman Part 1 of 5


Appendix A- My response to the initial notification outlining the commercial impacts of the CASA restrictions.

Appendix 2A- CASA worksheet obtained under Freedom of Information.

Appendix C- Email that Mr Martin referred to in meeting from accountancy firm.

Appendix D- My letter to CASA dated April 30th 2019.

Appendix E- Copy of original contract.

Dear Mark of the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Office.

Firstly, may I apologise if I have not proofread this document adequately. I am in the process of moving home and committed to getting this to you by tonight. I have significant time constraints.

I had been a vocal critic of CASAs implementation of the regulatory suite which was delivered a decade behind schedule, and hundreds of millions of dollars over budget. I was approached by the media on these topics, and I made truthful comment.

It is not unlikely that my criticism of some elements of CASA may possibly have caused some employees to act for reasons other than aviation safety or regulatory compliance. It is increasingly likely if allegations have been made against those individuals previously, and that lead to an ABC investigative story, as you are aware.

I walked into my business on October 23rd, 2018, having no inclination that by the end of the day CASA would advise me that my flying school of more than a decade, MFT had suddenly been declared an unauthorised operation, and my business APTA was declared to be operating in breach of the regulations. Absolutely no concerns at all had been raised by CASA prior to receiving that notification. Initially, and for the first two months the CASA position was that my operation of more than 10 years had been declared unlawful. It was ludicrous, but concerning.

You are also aware that several businesses were forced into closure directly because of the restrictions on my businesses ability to trade. Employees lost their jobs, significant investment was lost, suppliers were left unpaid, students training was impacted, many millions of dollars were lost by a number of well-intentioned Operators, and the impact on me on my family has included the loss of my home and my two businesses. After enduring all of that, CASA then wrote to my Employer advising that my continuing employment was “no longer tenable based on comments that I was making publicly”. Those comments were me defending myself against CASAs actions.

I was now completely forced out of the industry I loved, and had spent 25 years working in. I was left unemployed, depressed, and it has left me destitute at 56 years of age. Like many business owners, my business was my security in retirement. It has gone. My wife and I will most likely never be able to recover from this situation. My wife has had a total of four days free of work since that correspondence in October 2018, as she desperately tries to rebuild our life from the start. In all of this, the impact on my family is the most heart-breaking to watch. Soon, I will make my final submission to your Office and that will clearly outline the impact of the actions and decisions made by the three CASA employees that I have named.

I can assure you that I am someone very affected by the decision making of CASA employee, Mr Aleck, working closely with Mr Martin and Mr Crawford

Those consequences are directly as a result of the “opinion” of a CASA employee. They are not supported by a safety case or regulations. In fact, quite the contrary, there is a demonstrable safety case that CASA actions have actually impacted negatively on safety. As stated, it is the application of an individual’s opinion. It may not be well intentioned and led to my allegations of misfeasance in public office that I made on 20/11/20 before the Senate Inquiry.

Allegations of misconduct were previously made against those same three CASA Employees by Mr Bruce Rhoades. A pilot who died of cancer, desperately trying to bring the alleged misconduct of those same individuals under investigation. under investigation, and repair the enormous harm bought to him and his family. This story was aired on the ABCs 7.30 Report. I mention this because many other affected people have contacted me and offered to make a confidential submission to your office raising the same allegations against those same three individuals. It is reasonable to assume that “where there is smoke, there is fire”. These are not vindictive or vexatious allegations. These are facts. The impact is real and can clearly be demonstrated. The named CASA personnel cannot say the same. They are completely unable to present to your office a supporting safety case, a regulatory breach, or in fact demonstrate any sort of a well-intentioned motivation.

These considerations are significant, and most especially because CASA had no supporting safety case, never identified any regulatory breach, never raised any queries as to the quality outcomes of the Organisation. It was literally just that, a change of opinion. The decision maker took no external legal advice, applied his opinion, and made a decision that he was not compelled to make. In making that decision he would have been fully aware of the implications on the business, and throughout the process I wrote to CASA on multiple occasions highlighting the significant commercial impact, which I will address later in this document.

The decision maker within CASA was not compelled to make the decisions that he made, and there was no precedent. They had no supporting regulation, and CASA has never identified their supporting safety case despite multiple requests made by me. If the intent of the application of decision is not made on the basis of a regulatory breach and has no supporting safety case, that application of opinion should be able to be questioned, and most especially so for the individual who has been impacted.

The impact of the “opinion” is totally unacceptable and would have been completely avoided had CASA chosen to “engage” with me rather than adopt an unnecessarily combative stance and place those restrictions on the business. As I have stated previously I only needed CASA to clearly and concisely advise me of the terminology that they wanted in the contracts, and the entire matter could have been resolved at any time within 48 hours. There was no resistance at all from APTA or the entities depending on APTA. Our interest was to have this matter fully resolved to CASAs satisfaction at any time.

Please note, and related to the matters before you now, that I have made allegations of “misfeasance in public office”, against CASA employees, Mr Crawford, Mr Martin, Mr Aleck and Mr Carmody in Parliament before the current Senate Inquiry on 20/11/20 which can be accessed here and located at the “12:40” position on that recording. RRAT Rural & Regional Affairs & Transport - 20/11/2020 08:49:59 - Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)

I have also made a number of written submissions to the office of the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia at the time, Mr Michael McCormack, as the Minister responsible for CASA. None have been responded to by his Office.

I would like to provide some additional important and pertinent information that I believe needs to be considered as part of your investigation, and most particularly regarding your preliminary opinion where you were of the view.

“On examining the correspondence between yourself and CASA subsequent to the notice of October 2018 it appears to me that there was an impasse of sorts, though CASA appears to have made a number of good faith attempts to assist you in resolving the issue. I accept that you would have liked CASA to provide clearer advice about what material to place in contracts between APTA and members of the alliance. However, it seems to me that CASA provided sufficient assistance in the circumstances.”

Regarding your preliminary opinion, that CASA provided sufficient assistance, and that CASA made a number of good faith attempts, I strongly refute that, based on my own personal experience and would like to submit further supporting information for consideration prior to your final determination.

Regarding there being a number of good faith attempts. There was only the one attempt by CASA, rather than a number of good faith attempts. That attempt came almost 6 months after restrictions were placed on the business on April 2nd, 2019, by which time the business was decimated. CASA had contacted all customers and told them that I was acting unlawfully many months earlier. The timeline of 6 months was commercially fatal, due to the unreasonably long delays, and a major contributor to the significant commercial harm done to so many stakeholders.

Regarding the finding that, I “would have liked CASA to provide clearer advice”. It is much more than that. I was completely dependent on CASA to provide that advice. They were asking for something additional to the legislation, which we had fully attended to in our Exposition. Because it was something outside of the legislation, I needed guidance on what CASA wants. I complied with every bit of legislation. The existing legislation is very clear on my accountability, and after 25 years in the industry and almost half of it as the owner of a large flying school, I understood those obligations at an expert level, and the legislative environment I was operating in. There was nothing else that my Exposition could attend to. If CASA wanted to design a new rule, that was fine, and I was willing to comply, but I was not in a position to guess what it was that CASA was after. All requirements are held within the CASA approved and designed Exposition. I have attended to this later in the correspondence, where I deal specifically with the contract versus the Exposition.

Please allow me to go through the following timeline, with particular attention to the communications between CASA and I, in April of 2019. Importantly the reversal of commitment given to me by Mr Aleck and Mr Martin, shortly after that meeting



The Company commenced operations at Moorabbin Airport.

April 2017

The Company completed a two-year process and a very significant investment with CASA, to redesign all systems and procedures to meet the new regulatory requirements of Part 141/142. In April 2017 APTA was one of the first schools in Australia to obtain the new Part 141/142 Approval. At the time of approval, we were operating in a multi base format. This revalidation entailed a complete overhaul of systems and procedures to ensure the multi base format met the new regulatory requirements. Every aspect of every system was designed in conjunction with CASA and contained within our Exposition. CASA assessed, approved, and audited every one of those systems and procedures.

November 2017

Six months after obtaining the new CASA approval, the Company undergoes a routine CASA Level 1 audit. A level 1 audit is the highest level of audit that CASA conduct. The audit is standard procedure after the issue of a Part 141/142 Certificate. The audit was conducted at the Head Office location and also at the bases. No issues of concern were raised at the audit. No concerns at all were raised regarding the structure of the Organisation that CASA had fully revalidated only six months earlier, and as the Company had been doing for many years prior. The contracts that had been in place and provided to CASA were the contracts that we went to audit with. Absolutely no concerns are raised by CASA.

23rd October 2018.With no warning, after more than a decade of safe and compliant operations, CASA provides notification that my business is operating illegally, is “not authorised”, and most likely subject to regulatory action. I am provided with only 7 days surety of operations. CASA places several restrictions on the business’s ability that halt the business taking on any new customers or students from that date.

There was no allegation by CASA that we were doing anything unsafe, and that we were doing anything wrong. Quite simply, CASA changed their mind, or rather, someone within CASA changed his mind.

The next day, I notify in CASA in writing of the impact of the restrictions with this correspondence attached as Appendix A. My initial estimates are that the restrictions will cost me more than $10,000 per week. As the restrictions continued for many months, that figure grew to approximately $20,000 per week.

Only eighteen months earlier the business and its structure were revalidated by CASA. To say I was completely bewildered would be an understatement. There was no basis in safety or regulatory breaches for CASA to have taken this action. It was totally inexplicable then and remains so today. It came with no prior indication. No one from CASA had raised any concerns, not even by way of a face-to-face chat or a telephone call. Absolutely nothing at all. As a family-owned business this was devastating news.

20th December 2018

In the Melbourne CASA Office on 20th December 2018, the CASA Executive Manager of Regulatory Services advised me and my father that “under the current CASA regulations the APTA model would not be accepted by CASA and was operating illegally. It may work some day in the future but not now”.

I was in dismay. I recall that I responded, “that will send me bankrupt”, as it now has.

I was advised by the CASA Executive Manager that CASA would work with me to dismantle APTA but could not propose any practical solutions that would not result in a loss of jobs, decrease safety and lead to the closure of businesses, and loss of significant investment.

Both my father and I spent the train journey home working out how to handle the staff redundancies. Many of my staff had many years of loyal service. I also expected potential legal action from my members, and understandably so. I had led them to believe that APTA was fully approved by CASA, as it was. From their perspective there would understandably be some suspicion that I had mislead them on the legitimacy of APTA if CASA were now shutting me down. There were several businesses now dependent on me for their surety of operations, and also my Suppliers who were supporting me during this “temporary” interruption to business with the business’s revenue restricted. They had already been supporting me for two months since the matter commenced.

Later, CASA became aware they had erred and had no basis for that determination that I was operating illegally, leading to a change of approach, and the topic would now alternate over a range of topics. They fell away as CASA realised none of them could “stick” and focussed on the issue of “contracts” which is one of the considerations before the Ombudsman now.

It is important to realise, that at this stage, CASA has stated that my operation is illegal, the terminology in the initial notification makes that very clear. There are no concerns about safety or quality outcomes of the Organisation. It is a determination that my business is illegal, and all indications are that I will be closed down. The ramifications of this correspondence are clearly laid out in Appendix A.

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Old 30th Jun 2021, 04:14
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Ombudsman 2 of 5

2nd April 2019

It is only now after having restrictions in place for 6 months that CASA makes the first attempt to provide me with guidance. This point is significant. How can I have my business deprived of revenue for 6 months waiting for CASA to determine what will satisfy them, in a completely new requirement that they have placed on my business, and on my business only.

It seems reasonable to me that when CASA placed those trading restrictions on the business six months earlier based on content of the contracts, they should have had a clear indication of what they wanted at that time, and it should not have taken 6 months. This is now two years after the business was revalidated as a Part 141/142 Organisation doing exactly what we were doing for the decade previously. I believe that this point is significant. If CASA wanted to put something into the “contracts”, I was fully supportive of that. CASA met no resistance from me, but it was incumbent on CASA 6 months earlier to have an idea of what they required. In order for CASA to determine that something is wrong, they should have a concept of what “right” looks like.

If CASA provided the required text that would satisfy them, I could have had it embedded, and returned within 48 hours. The restrictions could have been lifted, and I could have returned to Business as Usual. It really was that simple. The matter should have been completely resolved in less than 7 days, as I believed that it would be, and am certain could have been. But it took CASA a staggering 6 months.

I attended to all CASA legislation in my Exposition. If CASA want something in the commercial contracts, that was not already covered by the existing legislation, that is fine, but I cannot possibly speculate what that is. It was incumbent upon CASA to clearly and concisely advise me because they were requiring something outside of the legislation. Despite the fact that CASA were not prepared to be a signatory to the contract.

These restrictions CASA put in place were not proportionate, and most especially because they remained in place for 6 months before CASA was able to identify to me, what they required in the “contracts”. Furthermore, I do not believe the restrictions were lawful, and strayed dramatically from the policies and procedures outlined in CASAs Enforcement manual, Writing Guide, Regulatory Philosophy, Ministers Statement of Expectation, PGPA,

It was unlawful, unfair, and totally unnecessary. A well-intentioned discussion would have had the entire matter promptly resolved in a matter of days. I emphasise that it took CASA 6 months to clearly and concisely advise me what they required. Throughout this entire period, I am unable to take on customers or students as the entire business is operating on an “interim approval” and CASA have placed an administrative freeze on all required regulatory tasks that the business is reliant on.

20th March 2019

I meet with the CASA Executive Manager of Regulatory Services and Surveillance. Mr Aleck at Melbourne airport and have a discussion regarding APTA. Mr Aleck produces a checklist that he expects APTA to attend to. Surprisingly, it is exactly the same checklist that CASA had already ticked off on and can be found as Appendix B. This is the checklist that APTA and CASA used to design the Exposition for APTA over a two-year period. The suite of documents that are the backbone of every aspect of operations. Every single item that Mr Aleck identified at that meeting had been assessed by CASA as satisfactory two years earlier, audited for compliance by CASA, and contained within our Exposition, a part of which has been provided to the Ombudsman Office. It seemed absurd that he was showing me that same checklist. Everything on that list had been assessed, approved, and audited by CASA. There was nothing else that I could write, everything on the list had been attended to. It is important to appreciate that our existing commercial contract directed the signatories to comply with our Exposition (operations manuals). For clarity, we had the Exposition, and we had a commercial contract. The commercial contract made it clear that all operations were in accordance with the Exposition, and everybody had to sign to say that they would comply with the Exposition. That checklist was obtained by me under FOI and is attached as Appendix B.

In writing this paragraph, I have realised that this particular topic needs to be very clearly pointed out.

There is no CASA legislative requirement for a “contract”, but there is for the Exposition. Everyone who operates under my authorisation at all bases signs the Exposition regularly to state that they will comply with the Exposition. Each staff member did that on every day that they operated.

The contract, which is of a commercial nature, and attached as Appendix C is our first version, and directs that all operations will be in accordance with our CASA approved Exposition. I was in an impossible situation, I did not know what CASA wanted, so could not possibly resolve the issue. It was incumbent upon Mr Aleck to clearly and concisely advise me what it was that he wanted, that I had not already attended to.

2nd April 2019

With the trading restrictions in place throughout the last 6 months CASA finally provides guidance on the content that they would like APTA to place in the “contracts”. It seems reasonable to me that when CASA placed those trading restrictions on the business six months earlier based on content of the contracts, they should have had a clear indication of what they wanted at that time, and it should not have taken 6 months. This is now two years after the business was revalidated as a Part 141/142 Organisation doing exactly what we were doing before.

4th April 2019 at 8.30AM

I emailed Mr Peter White, the CASA Executive Manager Regulatory Services and Surveillance at the time, requesting a meeting at 11.30AM that same day from the office of my accountancy firm.

I advised that the meeting would be about the potential cessation of all operations at APTA, Ballarat Aero Club, Latrobe Valley Aero Club, Simjet, Whitestar Aviation, AVIA and Learn to Fly, and MFT. This situation had come around due to cashflow difficulties as a result of the CASA restrictions being in place for 6 months. The affected businesses had been unable to enrol customers for a period of 6 months. As we have seen most recently with COVID restrictions, few businesses simply could survive 6 months deprived of revenue, and in my case with no Government support at all.

My accountant was obligated to intervene, and sought an explanation, before advising me on how to proceed. By this stage my parents had funded $300,000 towards staff salaries so that I could avoid redundancies. The business had been unable to take on new customers for 6 months, many existing customers were departing. Staff and customers had lost confidence in their ongoing job security and training. The reputation of the business and my own personal reputation had been significantly impacted.

It was imperative that the matter of the contracts was resolved at that meeting. The matter was time critical; my funds were completely exhausted; Suppliers were understandably concerned. These were long term suppliers with established and valued relationships with my business. They backed me during the initial restrictions on the businesses cashflow. They like me believed that this matter should have been resolved months ago. None of us could have imagined that it would not have been resolved by now. The business could not proceed if the restrictions remained in place. It was imperative that the “interim operations” and other CASA imposed restrictions be lifted and the business permitted to return to “business as usual’.

I recounted to my accountant, the story to date of the delays in CASA producing what they wanted in the contracts, and other matters including the use of the Aviation Ruling, the advice from Peter White that Mr Aleck had determined that APTA would not be permitted, the many allegations of regulatory baseless breaches that CASA made, but withdrew every single one of them, as they were not valid.

My accountant had grave concerns about the impact of the restrictions on the business over the previous 6 months, and like me, could not see any basis on safety or law for the CASA actions. It was a change of opinion. By now the business is under extreme financial distress. My accountant was extremely concerned that after 6 months waiting for CASA to determine what they want in the contracts; the matter was still not resolved.

4th April 2019 at 11.30AM

The meeting proceeded at 11.30 AM by way of a conference call. In attendance representing CASA was the Executive Manager Aviation Group Mr Graeme Crawford, and the Executive Manager of Regulatory Services and Surveillance, Mr Craig Martin. Also in attendance were two staff from my accountancy firm and two staff from APTA.

My note taking of this event is comprehensive. All four attendees took comprehensive quotes with emphasis on quotes made by the CASA personnel. The matters that would be attended to at that meeting would determine if I was to cease all operations that day or resolve this matter immediately. By now my home had been sold, my parents had spent their life savings and it was increasingly difficult to meet my payroll obligations. My families funds across three generations had simply run out. There were multiple attendees taking notes and recording statements and commitments. Those note can be validated by four statutory declarations of the attendees.

At that meeting, CASA Executives Mr Martin and Mr Crawford individually gave me firm and repeated commitments that if I embedded the CASA suggested text, that was provided to me only two days earlier by CASA into the contracts, then the restrictions on the businesses ability to trade would be lifted. APTA would be promptly approved to continue operations and as CASA termed it, return to “business as usual” as it had been 6 months earlier. This commitment was made by both Mr Martin and Mr Crawford at that meeting. I emphasise that each of them gave me repeated assurances.

Mr Martin and Mr Crawford repeatedly confirmed that if I embed the suggested text into the contracts that all would be resolved. They confirmed that once the amended contract was returned the restrictions would be lifted and confirmed that is the advice, they had received from Mr Peter White. Mr Martin advised me to get the contracts to them as soon as possible. “Once signed and returned to CASA, we would be returning to business as usual”.

Mr Martin urged me to get the contract back as soon as possible, as that was “all we were waiting for”. His tone suggested that they were waiting on me, as they were. Although I had only received the text from CASA two days prior.

I advised Mr Martin and Mr Crawford that the completed contracts would be returned in the next day or two, we had only had the information supplied to us by CASA two days earlier.

Comments similar to these were repeated on multiple occasions by each of those CASA employees throughout the meeting.

My accountant queried Mr Crawford as to why it had taken 6 months for CASA to provide the suggested text and lift the restrictions on the business. Mr Crawford advised my accountant that he didn’t have to explain CASAs position and that he didn’t have to talk to him because he was the accountant. It was obvious at that meeting that Mr Martin and Mr Crawford were unable to justify the unacceptable timelines and were not going to explain the reason that it took CASA 6 months to work out what it was that they wanted.

There was no doubt in my mind or my accountants that at the conclusion of that meeting CASA would lift the restrictions if I returned the contracts with the CASA guidance fully embedded, because those were the repeated assurances given to me at that meeting.

I did ask Mr Martin and Mr Crawford why APTA was required to have a contract when other operators doing the same thing did not have the contractual requirement placed on them. CASA advised that my operation was unlawful without contracts but would not explain why my flying school was being targeted, but others were permitted to do the same thing for at least the last 25 years.

I pointed out that CASA had held contracts for 18 months, before they sent that correspondence in October 2018, and asked why we were still dealing with this years later.

I explained very clearly the commercial impact on me, my family, the suppliers, customers, students, employees etc. Both men were already fully aware of the commercial impact on the business and the impact on my wellbeing. This was however reiterated at the meeting because, it was important to ensure both men were fully aware that this matter needed to be resolved promptly. Several businesses and their employees were depending on this matter being resolved. The business had now been unable to attract new business for 6 months.

My accountant again reiterated the commercial imperative. “We do not have much time”. “We need to get this done or we must wind up the business” “we need to try and make up the substantial lost ground.

Mr Martin said that Mr Whites email of April 2nd answered the accountants question. Mr Martin was answering in the affirmative. And kept referring to that email.

Whenever I tried to get an explanation, I was repeatedly met with “If you want to go back six months, well go back six months”.

Mr Martin assured me that once the contracts were signed. He advised that CASA could not approve new customers until the contracts were resolved. He advised that CASA was not permitting new customers to join because they were waiting to get contracts finalised.

I confirmed that regulatory tasks that had been on hold for 6 months would now proceed These courses were APTA courses, both Mr martin and Mr Crawford both advised that the tasks would proceed once the contract was back. He advised that tasks were put on hold because the A PTA model may not be permitted.

Mr Martin read me document of April 2nd which is attached as Appendix C to reiterate that restrictions would soon be lifted based on Mr Whites advice.

There was a discussion around the CASA requirement for contracts.

Accountant sought clarification of why we had contracts and that they were only to satisfy CASA not Members or APTA.

I reiterated that I was prepared to put anything into the contracts that CASA required. Mr Martin explained that APTA was unlawful without contracts, although it was not a contract for CASA. My accountant pointed out that in fact it was CASA wanting to become involved in the commercial contract between members, CASA was actually interfering in the contract, and particularly so if CASA was not prepared to be a signatory to their required contract.

Mr Martin confirmed that “CASA had perhaps given me incorrect advice, although it was well intentioned”.

My accountant again sought a clear direction and highlighted the financial impact and that he was depending on a resolution.

At this meeting Mr Craig Martin stated that his predecessor, Mr Peter White has seen the positive outcomes of APTA firsthand. This occurred on Saturday January 12th, 2019, when Mr Peter White visited the facilities.

This 6-month delay had come close to destroying the business. It was becoming obvious that I would need to approach my parents for further funding to avoid staff redundancies. I had been unable to take on any new customers for a period of 6 months, and the accountant was advising that I must cease operations, unless this matter could be immediately resolved.

9th April 2019 at 7.33AM

APTA embeds fully all CASA suggestions into the contract as advised 4 days earlier, and six months after trading restrictions are in place. All Members are fully satisfied.

That contract is returned to CASA for review by Mr Peter White the CASA Executive Manager of Regulatory Services and Surveillance at the time, and my primary contact within CASA.

My reasonable expectation at this stage was that the business would soon be able to work towards repairing the enormous damage done. as usual as CASA had already assured me on so many previous occasions during the previous 6 months, and most recently by Mr Martin and Mr Crawford at the Accountants Office days earlier on April 4th.

9th April 2019 at 6.32PM

CASA has now received the finalised contracts from me and my members approximately 12 hours earlier. Peter White the CASA Executive Manager of Regulatory Services and Surveillance at the time, reviews the contracts and sends me an email titled I can confirm the content is acceptable to CASA”. Within the body of the email, it goes on to state.

“Dear Glen, I have reviewed the draft contract provided this date. I can confirm the content is acceptable to CASA. My appreciation to you and your staff for provision of same…….”

On receiving that email, I was overwhelmed. Finally after more than 6 months I thought it was over.. By now the business had been decimated and my parents had put in $300,000 of their own money to ensure I could avoid any staff redundancies over the previous 6 months that the trading restrictions had been in place. Many of my customers and staff had already left because of the previous 6 months uncertainty, and I had been unable to take on new customers or students for 6 months The accountant had very firmly advised me that this matter must be resolved immediately, or he would have to intervene. He would not permit continued operations now costing approximately $20,000 per week.

I have now had a commitment from the following three individuals that if I embed the CASA suggested text that I have waited 6 months for, my businesses MFT and APTA will be able to continue.

1. CASA Executive Manager of the Aviation Group- Mr Graeme Crawford at my accountant’s office less than a week prior.

2. CASA Executive Manager Regulatory Services and Surveillance- Mr Peter White via email

3. CASA Acting Executive Manager Regulatory Services and Surveillance- Mr Craig Martin at my accountant’s office less than a week prior.

There is no doubt in my mind that this matter that has dragged on unnecessarily for 6 months will finally be resolved, and I can return to business as usual and try to repair the substantial damage that has been caused. The cashflow crisis on the business has now been continuing for 6 months, my parents funds are exhausted, as are mine, and the businesses is on the cusp of collapse.

This good news is to be short-lived.

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Old 30th Jun 2021, 04:22
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9th April 2019 at 10.56PM.

Only hours later, after having there is yet another complete reversal and I am back at the start of the process again when CASA write back to me and ask, “can you hold off distributing for a day or two”.

The only two individuals within CASA that have more seniority than Mr White, Mr Martin and Mr Crawford are Mr Shane Carmody, the CEO of CASA and Mr Jonathan Aleck, the CASA Executive Manager of Legal, International and Regulatory Affairs. It is more likely that Mr Aleck was the decision maker of the reversal, as he is the Executive Manager responsible for these matters, although that is only my reasonable assumption, I have no evidence of that.

Something happened on the evening of Tuesday 9th April to lead to a complete reversal from CASA.

12th April 2019, (Friday)

CASA advise that they will contact me verbally over the weekend.

16th April 2019 (Tuesday)

CASA advise that they would like another teleconference.

17th April 2019 (Wednesday)

CASA advise that they have some “disappointing news”. The contracts were now not acceptable, CASA put a proposal to me that they would now pursue a different approach, although a new approval for interim operations would now be issued. It was the “interim approvals” that bought so much instability and uncertainty to the business. The matter was still not resolved, and another interim approval to operate is issued. Any remaining confidence in the APTA model and my flying school, MFT by customers and potential customers is now lost as they have been in “limbo” for 6 months already. Their reasonable expectation, as was mine, was that this matter should have been resolved long ago.

24th April 2019

I write to CASA raising my concerns. Attached as Appendix D

30th April 2019

CASA write to me advising that they have “now received the external legal advice and that it has confirmed, inter alia, that Part 141 certificate holder is not “precluded from entering contractual arrangements with other parties to deliver flight training activities.

Interestingly this legal advice, that CASA received does not mention Part 142 Operations which are contracted checking and training and make up over 90% of APTAs revenue. I believe that CASA received legal advice on part 142 operations but chose to avoid mentioning Part 142 activities because these are clearly permitted and exactly what Part 142 is all about i.e. contracted checking and training. I have asked CASA to bring clarity to Part 142 operations on a number of occasions, but they choose not to answer this question. This new legal advice received 6 months later, differs very much to the assertion by CASA in October 2018 where Mr Alecks position was “The Ruling does not permit an AOC Holder to authorise a third-party body corporate to conduct operations under its AOC. This was Mr Alecks opinion and was later found incorrect by the Ombudsman in Stage One of his investigation, when the Ombudsman found; “As of October 2016, no Australian legislation prohibited “franchising of an AOC”.

This point is significant for the investigation by the Ombudsman office, because the Ombudsman is of the view that CASA took legal advice. I was advised by CASA that in fact at the time of CASA initiating their reversal of approval in October 2018, they had NOT received external legal advice. CASA advised me that they only sought external legal advice much later on, and in fact only received that external legal advice in April, which is 6 months after the restrictions were placed on the business. If that is the case, then the truth is that when CASA initiated their action, I was dealing only with the opinion of Mr Aleck.

In phase two of the Ombudsman investigation (not yet finalised) the Ombudsman was of the view that CASA had received external legal advice. I do not disagree that CASA did perhaps obtain legal advice, but I would question the timelines and what information CASA provided to the legal firm i.e., was it accurate? Based on the fact that the legal advice was only confirmed as received some time just prior to 30th April, (“now received the external legal advice’) leads me to believe that in fact there was no prior external legal advice and confirms my view that I may have been dealing with a CASA employees’ opinion, and not any basis in law or safety. Mr White had also confirmed to me that there had been no prior external legal advice taken by CASA).

The matter should immediately have been resolved at this stage.

Despite this, CASA offer yet another short-term interim approval for APTA to operate, while CASA look at alternative options.

30th April 2019,

I advise CASA of the impact on my business and my health. Refer Appendix D. With the restrictions on the businesses ability to trade remaining in place, and the matter far from resolved, I will be unable to meet the upcoming payroll for my employees, and I have only two options.

Shut the business down or try and sell the business at a nominal value.

If I shut the operation, hundreds of student’s part way through their training would have been impacted, and many staff would have lost their jobs. Similarly, Suppliers would be impacted. Several businesses dependent on APTA had already been forced into closure because of the 6-month delay, and the several remaining businesses would also be forced into closure.

June 6th, 2019

CASA CEO Mr Carmody sends me correspondence “…To be absolutely clear, if CASA does not have the evidence we require i.e. contracts, in hand by 1st July 2019, we will have no choice but to consider what further action we may need to take in relation to the flight training operations in which APTA and its affiliates are engaging.

June 30th, 2019

The decision to sell the business had now been made and the business was sold. The business previously valued at approximately $4,000,000, is sold to an APTA customer (to ensure their own continuity of operations) for 5% of its value at approximately $200,000. Not one cent ever enters my own account, and all payments are made directly to creditors of APTA who have been impacted by the last 6 months of trading restrictions on the business.

The reason for the 5% was the business after 8 months was operating on an interim approval. It had no surety of operations after June 30th as the CASA approval was to expire. The matter was no closer to being resolved. By now, all confidence in both APTA and MFT had been lost, the situation was not recoverable. By the Member purchasing the business at a nominal value, they are able to ensure their own survival.

CASA continues pursuing the closure of APTA and forces all remaining customers to leave APTA. APTA continues operating under different ownership but now as a single school operating alone. I hope that the above timeline you can understand that I may not believe that CASA made a number of good faith attempts, and did not provide me with sufficient guidance.
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The very fact that CASAs attention was only on contracts, and not on the Exposition is inexplicable.

The “Contract” being the commercial agreement between APTA and its Members. CASA would not normally have any involvement in these commercial contracts. CASA never required contracts of any previous operator. It was a new requirement that CASA placed on my business only.

The “Exposition”, on the other hand is the suite of CASA approved manuals for our operation., This particular “contract” is referred to by CASA as the Exposition. To explain the significance of the Exposition, it may be most appropriate if I draw on the legislation and CASAs own information. This information is important. Had CASA had concerns about operational control or any aspect of operations they should have been working with me on the Exposition. Its inexplicable that they had no interest in the “exposition” yet were insistent on becoming involved in the commercial contracts between customers and myself. The existing contract that APTA had adopted for the last two years directed signatories to operate in accordance with the Exposition.

If I believe that CASAs motivation was safety or regulatory compliance, they would have attended to it in the Exposition. CASA placing restrictions on the business based on commercial contracts is inexplicable, has no precedent in the industry, and has no basis in law.

To gain an appreciation of the Exposition, I draw your attention to the following information from CASAs website and the legislation.

“An Exposition is a document, or set of documents, which describe how your organisation will conduct its operations safely. It sets out both for CASA and the personnel involved in your operation how you intend to comply with all applicable legislative requirements and manage the safety of your operation.

The relevant regulations will outline what you must include. It will include information about your organisation, personnel, facilities, policies, systems and procedures for conducting your activities.

A flight training organisation is required to describe procedures by which the operator conducts and manages its training activities, including the supervision of instructors and trainees. Your exposition must accurately reflect how you will conduct your activities. It needs to be written and structured in a logical way. This will ensure the relevant parts can be readily identified and provided to your personnel who are responsible for complying with them.

Example, CASR 142.340 requires a Part 142 flight training organisation to describe procedures by which the operator conducts and manages its training activities, including the supervision of instructors and trainees. Your exposition must accurately reflect how you will conduct your activities. It needs to be structured in a logical way. This will ensure the relevant parts can be readily identified and provided to your personnel who are responsible for complying with them. The procedures in your exposition should also provide enough detail so that your personnel can conduct their activities consistently in line with your intentions. Each procedure should address, where required.

· What must be done?

· Who should do it?

· When it must be done.

· Where it must be done

· How it must be done

· Record Keeping

· How the procedure is monitored and approved

Once the relevant authorisation has been issued by CASA, you are obliged to conduct your activities in accordance with your exposition.

I have extracted that from CASAs own guidance material, and below is the legislative requirements for the Exposition.

Below is an extract from CASR 142.340. This link outlines the regulatory requirements for the contents of the Exposition. It clearly demonstrates that the Expsition is the place to making changes, and not a commercial contract, although I was open to that idea if that was CASAs preference as it was. It was unusual, but I was willing to comply.

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

Considering the significance of the Exposition, that is the location that any changes should have been made if CASA had concerns about operational control or any other matter. Not in the contracts. I was always fully compliant and willing to embed anything into the contracts, but as stated I was wholly dependent on CASA clearly stating what it was they wanted that was in addition to what I already had. What I already had was an Exposition that was CASA approved and attended to every piece of relevant legislation

The purpose of this correspondence is to ensure you are aware of my perspective that CASA did not make a number of good faith attempts, reversed their decision, and did not act in a timely manner. It was those administrative delays that caused so much commercial harm.

Mark, I draw on 25 years experience in the flight training industry, and half of that as the owner of a highly respected flight training school with a demonstrated industry leading record of safety and compliance. The CASA action was the most aggressive action I have seen taken against any organisation ever. In cases where there have been allegations of safety breaches, those organisations have been afforded more procedural fairness. From my own personal experience, and that is shared by my management team, those CASA employees were not acting in a well intentioned manner and were pursuing an agenda. It felt very much as the business owner that this matter was not going to be resolved. I am in the middle of a house move and need to make this submission to you, please excuse me reverting to dot points for the last part of this correspondence. I hope I have conveyed:

The unusual nature of CASA requiring the commercial contract to be the place to outline safety matters, rather than the Exposition.

Appreciate that if CASA had concerns about my business, then it was logical that CASA would pay attention to the Exposition, although CASA never requested changes to the Operations Manuals (Exposition). CASA insisted that changes be to the commercial contracts. This was highly unusual and not accepted industry practice, or previously required by CASA of other flying schools.

To understand the significance of the Exposition to matters that CASA was concerned with i.e. matters of safety and compliance. This was the document that everyone had access to and is used to maintain operational control and ensure safe and compliant operations. As the Authorisation Holder and owner of MFT/APTA I was responsible and accountable for the quality outcomes. This is the suite of documents referred to by all personnel at all bases daily.

To appreciate the relative insignificance of the commercial contract to matters of safety and compliance. By convention commercial contracts are usually signed and filed and accessed by only a select few. They are not regularly updated, widely distributed, and would be a highly ineffective way of managing operational control or safety matters, particularly considering that the Exposition is available, and the expected primary source of such information. This was inexplicably CASAs preferred option. It was unusual but I was always willing to place anything into the contract that CASA required. After all, I was 100% responsible and accountable for all operations. There is no reason that I would be resistant to any CASA requirements that CASA need in order to make that more clear than what already exists in the legislation. On this matter my interests and CASAs were closely aligned. It should have been easy to resolve.

Understand that had CASA not placed restrictions on my businesses and instead resolved this without those restrictions in place. None of this damage would have occurred. None of it. The restrictions were not reasonable.

To understand that CASA never required these contracts of any operator previously.

That CASA placed restrictions on my business ability to trade and that those restrictions continued for 8 months until the business was forced into a cashflow crisis. There was no safety case and no regulatory breach

I would place anything that CASA required in any document, but it was incumbent on CASA to provide the required information. I could not resolve this matter. Everything was already attended to.

Importantly, I had no opposition to CASA becoming involved in commercial contracts, I was at all times willing to comply with absolutely anything that CASA required, despite the highly unusual nature of their involvement. This situation is even more unusual that at no time CASA ever required any structural or organisational changes to the Exposition. The Exposition being the area that CASA would normally involve itself, after all that is where all requirements for safety and compliance are contained. Any commercial arrangements with suppliers etc would normally be held in the contracts, which CASA traditionally has had no interest in.

CASA never required contracts of other operators. This could easily be proven if the Ombudsman’s office simply asked CASA if they held on file any contracts between suppliers and customers in the flight training industry, and more specifically were other flying schools in the same or similar arrangements as APTA/MFT required to have a contract, and if so could they provide a copy to the Ombudsman’s office. The truth is that CASA never required this of the other Operators doing what I was doing. I know. I have asked them.

I believe that the Ombudsman’s Office also needs to understand that the CASA regulations regarding supervising, mentoring, oversighting, quality control, operational control, checking, auditing training records etc were written before mobile telephones and the internet were utilised. They were written decades ago for a completely different environment, and the truth is that the regulations were not “fit for purpose”. The APTA system was industry leading and fully utilise advances in technology to maintain unparalleled levels of oversight and operational control. Any comparative analysis between my operation and another would show the strength of our systems, personnel, and resources. We had the largest flight safety department of any flight school in Australia. CASA interestingly has never made any allegations regarding quality outcomes. The line of argument initially was that I was operating illegally. Once CASA discovered they had erred on this matter, rather than admit error it became a topic of “contracts”

CASA had planned to have finalised this regulatory change program to make them more fit for purpose in 2006. It was finally partially delivered 10 years and many millions of dollars over budget. That existing legislation only became more outdated as a result of those delays, as did the “new”, Part 61/141/142 still awaiting implementation. Technology was moving ahead in leaps and bounds. When the CASA legislation was written, we could only reach each other if we were at home and via the landline if the phone wasn’t engaged. Consider how much better we can communicate now and improve safety outcomes.

I took advantages in technology over the last 25 years and applied them to the revalidation process to ensure those increases in technology were applied to supervising, mentoring, oversighting, quality control, operational control, checking, auditing etc as I developed my Exposition.

The notification of the commercial impact was notified to CASA on multiple occasions. There could be no doubt in the mind of Mr Aleck, Mr Martin, and Mr Crawford of the commercial impact. I have the evidence in writing. That knowledge of the commercial impact would have been amongst their respective considerations when making decisions on how this matter would be managed.

In closing, please understand that I waited a staggering 6 months for CASA to advise what they wanted in the contracts. They provided that guidance on April 2nd, 2019. I returned it April 9th. On that day CASA advised it was acceptable, and later the same day applied a reversal, and the entire matter was no closer to being resolved.

Please understand that this was a matter that could not be resolved by me. I attended to every single requirement of many thousands of pages of documentation contained within CASA regulations.

There were no safety breaches or concerns ever raised by CASA. There were no regulatory breaches. The entire system was designed with CASA. The system was approved by CASA 18 months earlier. There was only one CASA issued authorisation and that was the single authorisation that entities operated under. I had 25 years industry experience and was fully aware of my responsibilities and accountabilities as that Authorisation Holder for the quality outcomes across all bases. Our Exposition was written in that manner, CASAs own legislation is written in that manner.

As the Owner of that flight training organisation and CASA issued authorisation, I was fully awrecof the responsibility and accountability. I drew on 25 years industry experience, half of that as a CASA approved Chief Flying Instructor (CFI), CASA Approved Head of Operations (HOO), CASA Approved CEO, and a Grade One Multi Engine IFR instructor with 25 years experience. I had also owned a flying school for more than a decade and based on CASA feedback, that Organusation had delivered industry leading standards of safety and compliance.

This need not have been such a “confusing” issue for CASA. Many operators had been doing the same thing well before I joined the industry over 25 years ago. CASA have attempted to present this concept as something not seen before. That is not truthful. One only has to ask how Latrobe Valley Aero Club operated up until the day they joined APTA. The provider of the AOC coverage, the day prior wasn’t required to have a contract. I was.

I feel strongly that CASA should have obtained legal advice before commencing their action and placing restrictions on the business.

APTA met every existing piece of CASA legislation and that was embedded into a comprehensive manual suite. I was in an impossible situation. It was CASA that wanted the additional text and to become involved in the contracts. They were seeking something that was in addition to the lefislation. I could not resolve this situation. It was incumbent upon CASA to advise me what they wanted. This is critical to this entire matter. CASA initiated the action in October 2018. At that stage I depended on them to advise me what CASA wanted in the contracts. With trading restrictions on the business in place for a staggering 6 months, the business was doomed.

The truth is that had Mr Aleck/Martin/Crawford chosen to resolve this matter, it could easily have been resolved. That is the plain and simple truth. Furthermore, it could have been resolved promptly i.e., 3 working days.

The matter of contracts did not need to be an issue. Mr Martin, Mr Crawford, and Mr Aleck chose for it to be an issue.

At any stage CASA needed only to tell me clearly and concisely what they wanted in the “contracts”. I choose the words deliberately because that is in fact the very terminology in the Civil Aviation Act as one of the core functions of CASA, refer Appendix A

The truth is that after 25 years of experience in the flight training industry, with almost half of that as the owner of a highly respected flying school, I was acutely and fully aware of my responsibility for the outcomes of all operations delivered under my AOC. My responsibility was 100%. The existing legislation makes that very clear. I had been a CASA approved Chief Flying instructor for over a decade, CASA approved Head of Operations and a CASA approved CEO. It is highly unlikely that I would have passed each of those CASA assessments if I was not fully aware of my obligations.

The contract was a commercial agreement between APTA and its Members. The agreement was in two parts. Part A with the legal component and Part B with the intention of APTA. I provided the contracts to CASA on multiple occasions during the 18 months lead up to CASAs reversal. CASA did not show any interest in the contracts, their interest understandably, was the Exposition. As it should be. I reiterate that CASA have never required contracts of other Opeartors. Any changes to APTA should have been reflected in the Exposition. If CASA want to become involved inn the commercial aspects of the agreement, which are in the contract, the onus is on CASA to advise me of the content that they require. A copy of the contract is attached as Appendix E.

Once again, please accept my apologies for a document that has not been proofread as much as I would have liked. I am limited for time, thank you for your consideration.


Glen Buckley.

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