DAME newsletter - February 2020

From Simon May, Principal Medical Officer

CASA has recently changed the way we assess applicants for aeromedical certification who have colour vision deficiency. Colour vision deficiency affects about 400 Australian pilots. In line with the regulation, a three-stage testing process has been in place for some time, with a pass at any stage allowing an unrestricted medical to be issued. Even where all three tests are failed, some flexibility may be applied and a medical certificate may be issued subject to conditions.

In New Zealand, a new approach to this type of certification came into effect in May 2019, which includes the provision for an operational colour vision assessment (OCVA). This assessment comprises a ground-based assessment and an in-flight assessment which looks at a pilot’s ability to interpret visual information. Separate assessments are done for day flying and for night flying.

CASA has decided to adopt this approach to colour vision deficiency assessment. In the short term, effectively immediately, we will recognise the New Zealand OCVA as an acceptable third stage test. If an applicant passes both the day and night OCVAs, they will be assessed as meeting the standard and an unrestricted certificate will be issued. Work is already well underway on the development of an Australian operational test for colour vision deficiency by April 2020. Any Australian pilots who wish to use the New Zealand assessment can do so now, although it will require travel to that country. CASA has carefully examined all relevant safety issues and believes this new approach offers a practical alternative assessment for colour vision deficient pilots.

DAME training

In order to better standardise our initial training of medical examiners, DAME applicants who have undertaken a basic two-week course in aviation medicine will now be required to attend a CASA regulatory course prior to designation. The regulatory course will be conducted by CASA and will provide a standard introduction to the roles and responsibilities of a DAME. More information will be available soon.

Commencing a medical examination

Before you start a medical examination, please ask your applicant why they are applying for a medical certificate. For flight crew medical certification, please confirm that the applicant holds (or intends to obtain) a Part 61 flight crew licence document. We have become aware that some pilots are still using an old Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR) 5 licence document, which is no longer permitted. If they hold a CAR 5 licence, please ask them to contact CASA on 131 757 for more information about how to transition their licence. Information is also available on the

Recognition and transfer CAR Part 5 qualifications under CASR Part 61 and CASR Part 202 form 61-9TX (PDF, 215.5 KB)


Revalidating medical certificates

Please remember to revalidate an applicant’s medical certificate at the time of their appointment. This will allow the applicant to continue operating while their application is processed.

If an applicant has a surveillance requirement and there has been no change in their medical condition, a revalidated certificate can be issued.

A medical certificate can only be extended or issued if the DAME is satisfied that this will not adversely affect the safety of air navigation. Medical certificates must not be extended or issued in the following circumstances.

  1. There is a medical condition which may adversely affect the safety of air navigation.
  2. The words 'Do not renew' or 'Renew by CASA only' appear on the existing certificate.
  3. An initial application has been made for a class of certificate.
  4. The applicant's medical certificate is suspended.
  5. Where the timing of the application does not meet the date criteria (examples are listed below).

If you have any concerns about an applicant meeting the medical standard, you must not revalidate the medical certificate and instead refer the matter to CASA for determination. The results of relevant specialist opinions and investigations should be obtained and forwarded to CASA, together with your opinion about the applicant's fitness for certification.

If the applicant's medical certificate has expired, and the assessment is conducted within three calendar months of the expiry date shown on the certificate, you can issue a revalidated medical certificate for up to two calendar months from the date of the assessment.

  • Example: Medical certificate expires 31 December 2019. Person arrives for medical exam 1 March 2020. Certificate can be extended until 1 May 2020.

Update on visual acuity (VA) in Medical Records System (MRS)

There have been issues in MRS when entering values for intermediate VA when an applicant only wears a single distance VA correction, but at the same time corrects intermediate VA.

As there are currently no planned enhancements to MRS, you can select progressive focus, bifocal or trifocal to enable you to enter corrected values for intermediate VA. If you continue to have issues entering in the corrected values, you can add a note in ‘Problem Mapping’ with the examination date.

Comments in Problem Mapping

If you are entering comments in the Problem Mapping section, please ensure you add the date of the entry. It makes the medical assessor’s job much easier when they are able to identify recent or previous issues.

  • Example: 14/02/2020 – BP retest 130/88.

Statistics for January 2020

2,558 medical certificates were issued:

  • DAME issued certificates: 135
  • CASA auto issued certificates: 858
  • CASA assessor issued certificates: 1,488
  • basic class 2 issued certificates: 77.

2,253 applications were received:

  • Class 1: 1,710
  • Class 2: 493
  • Class 3: 50.

Processing times for January

Eighty-five per cent of all applications were completed within 20 business days, with an average processing time of 9.6 days for all classes.

Inbound communication for January

AvMed received 2,458 inbound calls for assistance and 1,881 emails requiring action.

DAME assessors

As of 31 January 2020, there are 216 DAME assessors. This includes previous DAME2 and current DAME assessors. A total of 227 DAMEs have completed the eLearning module.

Twenty-nine per cent of the DAME2 population contributed to the 135 DAME issued certificates for the month of January.

MRS outage – March

Please be aware that CASA will be conducting planned IT system maintenance in March which will impact MRS. The outage will place over a weekend from 7pm on Friday 27 March until 6 pm on Sunday 29 March AEDT.

It is anticipated that MRS will be back online and available for use from 9am Saturday 28 March.

Send us your feedback

If you have any questions or ideas for topics you would like to see covered in future DAME newsletters, please email us at pmo@casa.gov.au or dame.liaison@casa.gov.au.

Online version available at: https://www.casa.gov.au//dame-newsletter-february-2020
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