"We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity" - Neil Roberts

Until we have legislation adopted into law to ensure fiduciary accountability and transparency in public affairs we will continue to have human rights breached because the existing crown immunity and lack of any independent oversight invites corruption to flourish.

"Question authority, and think for yourself" - Timothy Leary

"We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity" - Neil Roberts

"Information is the currency of democracy" - Thomas Jefferson

‎"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does." - Margaret Mead

"The truth is like a lion, you don't have to defend it. Let it loose, it will defend itself."

"I = m c 2 [squared] where "I" am information" - Timothy Leary

"Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen

"The internet is a TV that watches you"

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Lance Hopping - showing kids how to grow wings for years:

Roimata, pouring from the skies today, for Lance Hopping, who loved the sky, loved flying, loved his family. For his ten passengers, and all their families and friends. This is an utter, utter tragedy for our community, and for all the family and friends of all involved.

Lance always wanted to fly, so he grew wings and did it. He was a well qualified and experienced commercial helicopter and balloon pilot with an good reputation for safety.  

Hoppy also worked as a local truancy 'officer'. He showed all the little local kids that they can do what they love too. Hoppy knew it was important to give kids two things, roots and wings.  If I remember rightly Hoppy was adopted, and he knew what it felt like to feel not quite as good as the rest or as big as the rest or whatever, for one reason or another, and how it was important not to let that 
define who you are or let it hold you back.  He was a very humble man too.  

I note people have been searching this site for information on the Seven Day Club.  They reason they won't find any is because of Hoppy.  He was a good kind man who loved his family very much, and who set a good example to all the people who looked up to him, like the members of the 7 Day Club.  Although he was a quiet and humble man he was someone special in this town, everyone who knew him liked and respected him.  
Here's a link to a facebook page where people can pay their respects to the families of Lance and his passengers.

He's greatly missed by our community, this is a huge loss to Carterton. Thinking of the families, and the people working out in the rain today to find out how this happened.  Thinking of the poor local police and ambulance and fire crews who responded to the sirens and arrived at the scene to discover it was their mate, Hoppy.

The rain has suddenly stopped, and it's so quiet.

Here is a link to an interview with a witness, Bevan Lambess.

Here's a link to a news article about Hoppy, and his passion for flying.

And here's one that attests to his reputation for safety.

Nobody knows how this tragedy happened, but we all mourn the loss of  Hoppy and his passengers, and await the result of the investigation.

Update, 9 January 2012:  Brian Edwards has written an article regarding some of the ongoing appalling media coverage of this tragedy, it's worth reading.  Journalist Simon Bradwell is the subject of a formal complaint to police accusing him of deliberately attempting to deceive the families of the victims.

Update 23 February 2012:  "The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has launched an urgent inquiry following "serious" findings of a report into the Carterton balloon tragedy.
The balloon, which crashed in Carterton on January 7, killing all 11 people on board, might not have been airworthy, investigators have found.
At a press conference this afternoon, Transport Accident Investigation Commission (TAIC) chief commissioner John Marshall, QC, said he was very concerned about what had been discovered.
TAIC today released preliminary findings showing several maintenance requirements were not followed by those operating the balloon, including procedures for inspecting the balloon's burners and fuel system, and a "grab test" to test the strength of the balloon material."  ""The apparent breaches of the manufacturer's procedures and the civil aviation rules are obviously sufficiently serious for us to make a recommendation," Marshall said.
If he was a passenger and knew about the breaches, he would not have been willing to continue the flight.
"If I had known as a person about to get into a balloon that maintenance requirements had not been complied with, obviously, personally, I wouldn't get into that balloon."
Earlier, acting director of Civil Aviation John Lanham said the findings of the report were very serious.
"The CAA last week launched an investigation into the maintenance surrounding this balloon, and the remaining 73 hot-air balloons in New Zealand." 
The painting in the background of the picture accompanying this article is an interesting choice.  Probably the last thing the passengers and pilot saw.
Further update:  A 41 year old Masterton man was stabbed in the chest and upper abdomen on 7th April 2012.  He and his attacker had been at a party at the Seven Day Club, to 'celebrate' what would have been the wedding day of Lance Hopping and his fiancee Nina Kelnyack.  Other members of the Seven Day Club include disgraced ex Mayor Gary McPhee.  The Club has a liquor license, and several local police are known to associate with the gang, and were seen riding through town wearing no helmets on the day of Lance Hopping's funeral.

The tragedy was bad enough, but the lack of respect for the notion of safety shown by the bikers in refusing to wear helmets, and loudly proclaiming it was "out of respect for the dead man" - particularly given the number of accidents involving large motorcycles, and the number of injuries and deaths from those accidents.  This latest stabbing is further insult to a man who tried to rein these idiots in and keep them off the streets.  Shame on them.

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