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CASA clowns knew dark truth about rogue aviator Barry Hempel

LONG before Barry Hempel, a legend of Australia's commercial aviation industry, strapped himself and an unwitting passenger in for a final, fateful aerobatic flight that ended 13 minutes later with their deaths, startling truths about the career pilot's conduct were well known to authorities.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority knew Hempel, 60, to be a serial menace to public safety.

His disciplinary record for flagrant breaches and dishonesty went back decades and became worse as he aged.

He had put passengers and unsuspecting members of the public at risk with cavalier antics that appalled safety investigators - and cemented Hempel's status as a maverick with extraordinary skills but shocking judgment.