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Project OS 10/21 - Amendment to CAO 95.23 to include standards for certain helicopter search and rescue operations conducted on behalf of Australia

Topic code: 
Flight Operations
Project status: 
Closed

History

This project is now closed.

2 Feb 2012

Project OS 10/21 - Amendment to CAO 95.23 to include standards for certain helicopter search and rescue operations conducted on behalf of Australia

This project is now closed.

Refer to the project closure Notes for further information.

10 Sep 2010

Project OS 10/21 - Amendment to CAO 95.23 to include standards for certain helicopter search and rescue operations conducted on behalf of Australia

Project approved.

Closure notes

Project closed 2 February 2012.

This project will be re-established in the near future.

Issue

CAO 95.23 is an exemption from subregulations 178(1) and 178(2) of CAR 1988 for the purposes of offshore and coastal surveillance and search and rescue (SAR) operations. The CAO plainly states in its applicability that it applies to offshore and coastal surveillance operations and for search and rescue ooperations on behalf of Australia and defines coastal surveillance and offshore surveillance in its definitions. These definitions refer to littoral search and "identification operations: within 3NM of the coast and over water search and "identification operations" outside this 3NM limit.

During seach operations under CAR 308, the CAO exempts aircraft operated on behalf of Australia in offshore and coastal surevillance and search and rescue operations from compliance with CAR 178(1) and (2).

The CAO then sets out a series of general and specific conditions for descent below lowest safe altitude and for night operations and operations in cloud by day. These conditions however are specific to surveillance operations and not in manuy cases relevant to practical search and in particular "rescue operations" in aircraft with the capability to carry out this task, eg auto-hover equipped helicopters.

It is believed this situation with the CAO has developed over a number of amendments with a focus on aeroplane based surveillance operations which lead to the withdrawal of helicopter specific exemptions used by the former National Safety Council Australia in search and rescue operations. This has set up a situation which has placed a long standing operator and AOC holder of auto-hover equipped helicopter search and rescue operations in a position to be generally outside the intent of the current exemption when carrying out this vital task for the RAAF and on general AusSAR taskings.

Therefore to align the conditions and standard within the CAO to its applicability and allow this vital helicopter SAR capabiltiy to continue for the RAAF and on other SAR flights on behalf of Australia such as AusSAR, a CAO amendment project is recommended.

The risks associated with such an amendment project are considered low as the operator has been conducting this risk for and on behalf of Australia since 1993 and they have robust and well proven risk mitigation procedures in place to manage the safety of their fleet of five auto-hover Sikorsky S76A++ helicopters and the amendment will in essence bring into compliance what is occurring in practice. CASA Operations has been advised of this existing legislative disconnect to allow them to coordinate an interim strategy for this operation until the CAO has been amended.

Project Objective

To provide an amendment to CAO 95.23 that aligns the responsibility of the CAO with the standards and conditions contained therein and which includes reference to the use of Multi-engine IFR auto-hover equipped helicopters in search and rescue operations on behalf of Australia.

Status

This project was approved by Peter Boyd, EM Standards Development & Future Technology on 8 September 2010.

Project management

Project Leader: Matthew Wallace

Project Sponsor:Peter Boyd, EM Standards Development & Future Technology

Standards Development Project Manager: Dale South

Project Priority

High

Project OS 10/21