Qantas Made Me Turn Survivalist

Qantas Made Me Turn Survivalist

by David Archibald, author of Australia’s Defence, Twilight of Abundance, and American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare

19 December 2016


My involvement in the global warming problem started in 2006.  I couldn’t comprehend how Australian politicians could, so casually, want to destroy our economic wellbeing and standard of living. Nevertheless, I thought that our system could be righted by pointing out the reality of the situation.

That naive perception went out the window in June 2011, when Qantas grounded some aircraft in Australian air space because of a small volcano that had erupted in Chile, 20,000 kilometres to our west. Part of the ash plume got into the upper atmosphere and apparently could be seen on satellite imagery over Australia. Generally aircraft are only affected by volcanic ash if they fly through the ash cloud directly above the eruption. The greatest distance recorded for damage to an aircraft from a volcano was in 1991 when a jet over the South China Sea had damage to its engines from the giant Pinatubo eruption 1,000 kilometres away. No reasonable person could expect a small eruption 20,000 km away to hold any danger for Australian aircraft.


Satellite photo of the smoke from the volcano in Chile dispersing when it gets to the Atlantic coast. It’s a long way to Australia.

That did not stop Qantas from going into full hysterical schoolgirl mode and grounding aircraft. Let’s get one thing clear about this. The Qantas grounding had nothing to do with safety, it was driven by sheer stupidity. Stupidity and a lack of understanding of how the natural world works — dilution with distance for example.

Qantas’ reaction indicated that stupid people run most things in Australia now, people who have no knowledge of the world and no interest either. And there is no way to communicate with them to tell them how far they have departed from reality. Of course stupid people won’t remain in charge forever.  At some point they will be swept away by a cathartic event. But that cathartic even will affect all of us, including me.

We supposedly live in a land of plenty, but that is irrelevant if food can’t be shifted to the consumption centres. Not wishing to starve, I bought in one tonne of tinned tuna and beans, in oil because the oil provides extra calories relative to water. Also acquired was a kilo of potassium iodide in case of nuclear fallout. Originally I started getting packets of potassium iodide tablets supplied by Amazon, but then I found the mother lode – Nasco in Wisconsin sells bottles of half a kilo. My one kilo is enough to save 720 people from thyroid cancer in the post-nuclear exchange world. Other stuff acquired included medical supplies and antibiotics.

Adam Smith made the observation that the invisible hand of the market means that supply and demand are matched, seemingly flawlessly and nobody has to do without. That happens normally, but in a war it would take just two Chinese submarines stationed off Australia’s coast to sink every approaching oil tanker and shut the country down. Australia doesn’t have any stock of oil or refined products so we will be out of fuel in two weeks. The whole finely tuned distribution system will grind to a halt and Australians will start starving, and running out of antibiotics, and everything else. Lack of fuel would also mean that our defence forces would be immobilised. They are well aware of that fact, but nobody does anything about it. Did I mention that stupid people run everything now?

If you think that the Qantas grounding of 2011 was a one-off event, that people might be more sensible now, think again. Three years later, the Department of Transport, with wheat farmer Warren Truss as its minister, decided to close Darwin Airport because of a small eruption 1,000 kilometres away in Indonesia. At one stage Minister Truss was talking about closing Brisbane Airport, 4,000 kilometres from the volcano. He would not have thought of this himself — it would have been on the advice of his department. Canberra bureaucrats may not have knowledge of the natural world, but farmers are supposed to be practical people. But even having a farmer as the minister could not save us from the Transport Department’s stupidity. What do the Indonesians, the Filipinos, the Japanese do about their exploding volcanoes? They simply fly around them and no harm is done. They must think we are complete idiots, as we are.

The Qantas grounding of 2011 mimicked one the previous year in Europe. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland erupted and airports as far east as Prague were closed, under a clear blue sky. The closures were unnecessary of course. But the Europeans reacted to that stupidity by instituting a safe limit for ash density to avoid damage to jet engines. Originally set at 2 mg per cubic metre, this was later doubled to 4 mg per cubic metre. No such standards have been set in Australia.  Airports can still be closed at the whim of people who wouldn’t know how to light a fire.

Did I mention that stupid people run everything now? Prepare for the cathartic event that must follow.

This is a documentary masquerading as a Hollywood movie.