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COVID-19 Alleviation exemption guidance for AOC holders, flight training operators, balloons and aerial application - CASA Exemption 57/20
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An amendment was made to the exemption CASA EX57/20 on 23 September 2020.
To help you understand the changes, an unofficial compiled version of the exemption is temporarily available until the compiled version is published on the Federal Register of Legislation.
Please note: You can only use the exemption if you cannot conduct the activity because of the pandemic.
To facilitate continued operation of the aviation industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, CASA has issued exemptions for:
- provisions of Part 61 flight crew licensing
- operations manuals rules of CAR 217
- training and checking provisions of CAR 215
- operator and heads of training obligations in Parts 137, 141 and 142.
The exemption also allows operators to defer training and proficiency checks for:
- proficiency check for emergency procedures
- dangerous goods training
- DAMP training.
The exemption, CASA EX57/20 allows operators to develop alternate training and checking procedures to ensure their operating crew remain competent from 1 July 2020.
CASA has not exempted recent experience requirements, other than those under regulation 61.1055, and therefore flight crew will need to meet recent experience requirements before conducting AOC operations.
Cabin crew and other crew members that fall under the CAR 2 definition of operating crew are covered by this exemption.
Operators and operating crew must complete checks prescribed in the regulations according to the normal validity periods where this remains practicable.
Exemption against the requirements in Part 61 to have a valid proficiency check or flight review, and balloon instructor rating renewal
If an operator or flight crew cannot meet proficiency check, balloon instructor rating renewal or flight review requirements, either through the inability to access a flight simulator or the unavailability of an appropriately qualified flight examiner, check pilot or instructor, then they will be able to access relief from the exemption subject to providing CASA with a safety risk mitigation plan.
Where an operator is normally required to conduct training and checking activities in a simulator and is unable to access a suitable device due to COVID-19 restrictions, CASA will allow recurrent training, a proficiency check or flight review to be conducted in an aircraft provided the operator has experience in such operations. In developing their safety risk mitigation plans, operators will need to consider the risks associated with non-normal manoeuvres and flight operations outside the normal flight envelop. In order to conduct those activities in an aircraft the operator will need qualified examiners, instructors and or check pilots who have experience in such operations.
For operators who cannot safely conduct training, proficiency checks or flight reviews in an aircraft, you must develop a safety risk mitigation plan to ensure the competency of its flight crew by alternative acceptable means.
If an AOC, Part 141 or 142 certificate holder implements a safety risk mitigation plan approved by CASA—for recurrent training, proficiency checks, standardisation checks or flight reviews—the operating crew can continue to operate until the end of 31 March 2021, according to that plan.
Operators need to submit their safety risk mitigation plan as soon as possible if they want relief from the normal requirements for training and checking.
Operator and flight crew are expected to comply with the full requirements for a Part 61 proficiency check/flight review as soon as possible.
Aerial application operators and pilots are exempted from the requirement to complete an operator proficiency check for up to three months without having a valid check. If your check expires in November or December, the exemption allows two months of extra flying and if the check expires in January or February, the exemption allows one month of extra flying.
The exemption applies to the rules for complying with the operations manual as well as keeping it updated according to Part 137 and CAR 215. These operators do not need to have a safety risk mitigation plan to use the exemption. These simplified exemption provisions end on 31 March 2021.
The exemption alleviates the operator and its operating crew from following the policies and procedures in their operations manual for exempted activities until 31 March 2021 subject to a safety risk mitigation plan. approved by CASA.
An approved safety risk mitigation plan is taken to be an interim amendment to and forms part of the operations manual until 31 March 2021.
The exemption is against subregulation 217 (2) of Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CAR), where an operator is unable to comply with the requirement to complete two proficiency checks each calendar year, as well as compliance with the tests and checks that are approved by CASA and described in the operator’s training and checking manual.
It is subject to CASA’s approval of the operator’s safety risk mitigation plan. Operators will not need to amend their training and checking manuals but will need to document the amended tests and checks in their safety risk mitigation plan and ends on 31 March.
The annual emergency procedures proficiency test required by CAO 20.11 paragraph 12.2 will be extended by three months up to 31 March 2021, subject to CASA’s approval of the operator’s safety risk mitigation plan.
The relief provided by this exemption is for recurrent training only and does not extend to the training and testing of new personnel including initial and transition training where crew members have not previously demonstrated practical proficiency.
Alternate methods of testing crew proficiency may be applied where current requirements would unnecessarily expose crew to the risk of contracting COVID-19 e.g. procedures or drills that require the crew member to fit or use emergency equipment that must be placed on or over the head.
The exemption allows operators to defer dangerous goods training requirements up until 31 March subject to CASA’s approval of the operator’s safety risk mitigation plan.
It applies to freight forwarders, screening authorities, ground handling agents, dangerous goods shippers and dangerous goods instructors of group E employees. Regulations 92.095, 92.100, 92.105, 92.115 and 92.120 require dangerous goods training to be conducted every two years. Additionally, the exemption provides relief for instructors of group E dangerous goods training courses from the requirement in regulation 92.140(5) to maintain the currency of their own training (i.e. a group A or B course).
For dangerous goods training organisations, by providing relief to the people requiring training this will also provide relief for an operator or training organisation who have existing approved dangerous goods training programs. This will allow training organisations to rearrange their employee/clientele training schedule or to provide an opportunity for the organisation to apply to CASA for approval to convert an existing face-to-face course into an alternate platform (i.e. online, correspondence, webinar or a combination). This provides flexibility for the industry if approved dangerous goods instructors are unable to deliver, maintain or supervise courses due to illness.
Further information is on the dangerous goods page.
The exemption allows operators to defer DAMP training to 31 March 2021, subject to CASA’s approval of the operator’s safety risk mitigation plan. Regulation 99.080 requires that DAMP training is conducted at least once every 30 months. Under the exemption the 30 month period may be extended by three months to 30 June 2020. We would expect that an operator who has an approved online DAMP training program would not need relief under the exemption.
Operators who intend to conduct international flights under the provisions of the exemption will need to ensure they comply with any requirements of the National Aviation Authorities’ (NAA) through which they will be operating. The ICAO states have met, and as far as practical are developing COVID-19 alleviation plans that are consistent, however, States retain the right to add additional requirements.
Flight crew who require a valid medical certificate for international operations can apply for an extension under regulation 67.210.
For further information: Safety risk mitigation plan