Monday, January 19, 2009

Disgraceful Reporting

Late last year we had another GA aircraft crash which resulted death.

Now enter Paul Bibby from the Sydney Morning Herald. (See link below) He wrote the most disgracefull piece of rubbish about "US". Australian Recreational Aviators. Please remember this man's name, and watch out for more rubbish coming out of his head, and into the newspaper that employs him.

See below the reply by our CEO, Lee Ungermann.

Mr Paul Bibby,


I do not believe you tried very hard to verify any of the facts presented in your article. This article was a deliberate attempt to link non-related aircraft deaths with our weight increase proposal and yet another example of non-truth made to fit a good story. Had you have bothered to verify the facts you presented in the article then you would have realised that your article was not only wrong in many respects but also extremely damaging to the SMH and the Ages credibility. Had you taken the time to contact the office, myself or our President on numbers readily available on the newsstand or on our website, we would have been more than happy to present facts for you to use in your article.

Recreational Aviation Australia Inc.(RA-Aus) has always tried to build credible relationships with the media, however when first principles of journalism are not adhered to, such as establishing fact, it is difficult for any organisation not to be reactionary.

Here are some facts you may wish to take note of:

1. Recreational Aviation Australia Inc. does not register Glider or Gryo Pilots.

2. The proposed weight increase does not include Gliders or Gyros.

3. Recreational Aviation does not administer Crop Dusters, CASA does.

4. There is not a significant number of Ultralight aircraft represented in the accident statistics.

5. In the past twelve months(2008) only one fatal accident occurred involving an aircraft on our register.

6. 2008 was one of the safest years in the last ten years, despite being the greatest growth area in General Aviation in Australia.

7. Aircraft weighing 600-2250kg are administered by CASA or other self administrating organisations, not Recreational Aviation Australia Inc.

8. The Recreational Aviation Training Syllabus is approved by CASA and is based on the Day VFR Syllabus.

9. A Lake Buccaneer is regulated by CASA and is not the responsibility of RA-Aus.

10. RA-Aus is a member based organisation that receives minimal funding from CASA to administer our aircraft and safety.

a. Our members financially support:

i. Our office structure.

ii. Safety Programs.

iii. Accident Investigation.

iv. Flying School Standards.

v. Our presence at Regulatory Development meetings (CASA)

b. Is a non-profit organisation conducting work on behalf of CASA.

11. Recreational Aviation Maintenance safety outcomes are proportional to General Aviation and no safety case exists that owner maintenance is a significant risk to person or public.

The point is Paul , that RA-Aus is administering the largest growth area of aviation in Australia and is doing it safely in comparison to many other areas of aviation in Australia. Your accident statistics demonstrate that there was an increase in fatalities, so I have no issue with your title or your motivation for the article, but to contact me and falsely claim that the article is about our proposed weight increase is not only deceitful but is a large impact on an area of aviation that is improving its safety record. To report otherwise, without fact, is doing a dies-service to yourself, your readers and also your employers.

The manner in which you sent this email at 8pm the night before(as the article went to print) is also not acceptable and the fact that no contact or indeed a genuine attempt was made with our organisation prior to the articles printing also demonstrates a disregard for the SMH code of ethics. . With this in mind, please respect the disclaimer at the bottom of this email.

Right now, 9,000 readers are unhappy with your portrayal of RA-Aus , the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age. If you are interested in doing what is morally right, I am happy to discuss the facts with you, so that this kind of ambush editorial does not discredit you or your employers in the future.

If the SMH or The Age as your employers are interested in adhering to their code of ethics, I would be pleased to discuss this with them also.


Lee Ungermann

Chief Executive Officer

Recreational Aviation Australia Inc.

0428282870 / 02 62 804700