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Maintenance regulation questions and answers
What changes has CASA already made to maintenance regulations?
In June 2011 four new Parts of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations covering the maintenance sector took effect. Parts of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations covering continuing airworthiness requirements (Part 42) and approved maintenance organisations (Part 145) apply only to the regular public transport sector. That is the management of airworthiness by regular public transport operators, as well as the conduct of maintenance by organisations that maintain regular public transport aircraft or supply aeronautical products for these aircraft. The current maintenance regulations covering other sectors of operations - such as charter, aerial work and private operations- were not affected by these changes.
The other changes made in 2011 related to maintenance personnel licensing (Part 66) and maintenance training organisations (Part 147). All licensed aircraft maintenance engineers (LAMEs) had their licence privileges moved across to the new licensing system so they could continue to undertake their work.
Are changes to maintenance regulations covering general aviation being proposed?
Yes, a package of discussion papers has been released setting out a range of options for developing updated maintenance regulations for charter, aerial work and private operations. The package covers maintenance providers, maintenance personnel licensing, continuing airworthiness management, maintenance programs and airworthiness reviews. This is the start of an extensive process of consultation with the aviation community about what the updated maintenance regulations for these sectors should look like. Everyone has been given plenty of time to read the discussion papers and send comment to CASA on the various options. While the discussion papers indicate CASA’s preferred options, nothing is locked in and all comments will be carefully considered before the regulatory development process moves forward. All proposed regulatory changes will then be published in notices of proposed rule making, which will give everyone another opportunity to comment before any new rules are finalised. The discussion papers were published in December 2012, with comment closing on 1 March 2013.
I’ve heard the new maintenance regulations already in place for regular public transport are the ones being proposed for general aviation?
This is not true. The discussion papers put an end to this spurious claim that CASA is intending simply to extend the new maintenance regulations which have already been introduced for regular public transport operations to the charter, aerial work and private sectors. The content of the discussion papers shows this is not the case. Naturally, the overall scope of the options has been shaped to fit with the new regular public transport maintenance rules - to do otherwise would not make sense. But all of the options recognise the need for a proportional approach to the regulation of maintenance in the non regular public transport sectors. One size does not fit all, and the discussion papers reflect that fact. Any new maintenance standards will take account of the type of aircraft operation involved, the flying environment and associated levels of risk.
Are there any benefits from introducing new maintenance regulations?
The options for new maintenance regulations covering charter, aerial work and private operations offer a range of benefits and flexibility for operators, while maintaining and enhancing safety. As with the development of all new regulations the aim is to create modern, logically organised, internationally aligned and technologically relevant rules to help everyone in aviation operate to the optimal safety standards. It is important to understand the current rules are old and in some cases out-dated. Many were first drafted more than thirty years ago and the origins of some go back even further. The current rules do not properly fit with a modern aviation system and latest technologies. In addition, our current rules have not kept pace with international developments in aviation safety. We must learn from international best practice and the sometimes painful lessons experienced by other nations, as well as keeping up to date with International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommended practices.
In general, there will be a range of benefits flowing from the new rules. The Civil Aviation Safety Regulations are logically organised into clear parts, which makes it easier to find the rules that you need to comply with. Under the current system, requirements and standards are spread across the Civil Aviation Regulations, Civil Aviation Orders and a myriad of exemptions. This means the current rule set can be hard to access, to follow and to use. It will also be easier to update and improve the new regulations as advances in aviation operations and technologies continue to develop. CASA’s intention is for the rules to be part of a living set of aviation safety standards that evolve as the aviation industry further matures and grows. Aviation safety is never static - we must be ready to meet the challenges of the future and strive for better outcomes.
As a charter operator must I use a Part 145 maintenance organisation?
Parts 42 and 145 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations do not apply to charter operators on a mandatory basis. They are currently only mandated for aircraft authorised to operate under an air operator’s certificate issued for the purposes of regular public transport. Maintenance organisations approved under regulation 30 of Civil Aviation Regulations may continue to provide maintenance for your charter aircraft until new maintenance regulations for the non-regular public transport sectors are introduced.
Parts 42 and 145 have been made available to CAMO and AMO for use on other than regular public transport aircraft on a voluntary basis. More information: recent maintenance legislation amendments.
I understand that CASA is planning to withdraw Schedule 5?
Schedule 5 remains available under the Civil Aviation Regulations. CASA published a discussion paper - Maintenance Programs for Non-Regular Public Transport Aircraft - seeking public comment in relation to maintenance program requirements for aircraft not engaged in regular public transport operations. The application of Schedule 5 or any similar schedule under new Civil Aviation Safety Regulations will be decided based on the outcome of this discussion paper.
Once the proposed Part 135 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations is made must I have a Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation (CAMO) to manage the airworthiness of aircraft authorised to operate under my air operator’s certificate?
Charter operators will become an air transport operator in the future under the proposed Part 135 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. Part 135 will set in place a common level of safety for operators who are authorised to provide air transport operations. In effect this will be an amalgamation of current charter and regular public transport operations and standards for the carrying of passengers in small aeroplanes. The safety standards will apply irrespective of whether an operation is scheduled or non-scheduled. CASA published a discussion paper - Continuing Airworthiness Management Requirements for Non-Regular Public Transport Aircraft - seeking public comment regarding continuing airworthiness arrangements for aircraft operated under the proposed Part 135. The minimum standard for continuing airworthiness management for these aircraft, including the need for a Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation, will be decided based on the outcome of this discussion paper.
We are a charter operator. Will it be possible to contract a Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation in the future to manage our continuing airworthiness obligation, as we don’t have qualified people to get approval as a Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation?
This is an issue that is canvassed in a discussion paper – Continuing Airworthiness Management Requirements for Non-RPT Aircraft. The minimum standard for continuing airworthiness management for aircraft operated under Part 135, including the need for contracting a Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation, will be decided based on the outcome of this discussion paper.
We are currently not a regular public transport operator. Can we contract a Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation right now to manage the continuing airworthiness of our aircraft?
No, currently the Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation approval is restricted only to operators of aircraft to which Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 42 applies - that is an aircraft authorised for regular public transport operations under paragraph 206 (1) (c) of the Civil Aviation Regulations. A Continuing Airworthiness Management Organisation cannot be responsible for the continuing airworthiness management of another operator’s aircraft at the moment.