From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody
I fully appreciate the words ‘regulatory reform’ and ‘regulatory change’ give rise to apprehension – at the least - amongst the aviation community. Modernising and improving the aviation regulations has been a drawn out process that has not always run smoothly. While the journey has been rough in places, 45 parts of the new regulations have in fact been made, with ten to be completed. The task of finishing this work was paused while issues with previous regulatory packages, such as the flight crew licensing suite, were addressed and new processes were put in place to manage regulatory development and transition. I can assure you that CASA has learnt lessons from the past and we are approaching the last stage of regulatory reform with a very different mindset. If the introduction of new regulations is to be successful it must be a more co-operative and streamlined process.
Genuine consultation is a key to successful change and the recently created Aviation Safety Advisory Panel and its supporting technical working groups are central to our new approach to regulatory reform. The Panel is structured to provide expert advice to CASA and, at the same time, ensure key leaders in Australian aviation fully understand the policies and positions CASA is taking on regulatory changes. The technical working groups will be an opportunity for subject matter experts to look closely at specific technical issues and proposals and provide advice to the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel before CASA finalises its position on regulations. Nearly 400 people have expressed an interest in contributing to the working groups and I thank everyone for their offer of assistance. We will be in touch with everyone soon with information on the next steps.
As we move forward with the completion of the new regulations there will be a lot of focus on the flying operations suite of regulations. This suite is made up of Parts 91, 119, 121, 133, 135 and 138 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. Work on finalising these parts has started and I expect to see timely progress. My aim is to complete the development of the flying operations and other parts by the end of 2018, although the implementation and transition will naturally take longer. I do want to bring regulatory reform to an end as soon as possible, but I do not want to overburden the aviation community with the demands of change. As in many aspects of life, success will in part be determined by getting the balance right.
Work to improve engineer licensing regulations
An important step has been taken in making improvements to the regulations covering aircraft engineer licences and ratings. A special technical working group is being set up to find solutions to issues with the regulations and to make recommendations for changes to the regulations and supporting guidance material. The working group will be established by the new Aviation Safety Advisory Panel, which provides CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety high-level advice from the aviation community on safety and regulatory issues. The working group will be made up of people with expertise in the aviation maintenance sector who have expressed an interest in contributing formally to the process of improving the maintenance engineer licensing regulations. This action follows the release of submissions made to the post implementation review of Part 66 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations, which covers maintenance licensing. A total of 70 submissions were made to the review, with three key areas of concern emerging. These are the regulations themselves and the associated manual of standards, issues with licences and aeroskills training. The regulations were described as too complex and supporting material not easily understood, there is a lack of understanding of privileges and limitations and type training is considered too complex and difficult.
Find out more about the review of the engineer licensing regulations and read submissions.
Tick of approval for new sport and recreational regs
New regulations to oversee the self-administration functions of organisations in the sport and recreational sector have received official aviation community support to be made into law. A final meeting of the sport and recreational aviation standards consultative subcommittee reviewed additional changes CASA proposes to make to Part 149 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. This followed public consultation on the draft of the regulations in 2016. The subcommittee formally endorsed the regulation changes, noting a few areas for clarification or future work. CASA will now work towards having the regulations finalised through the rule-making processes and signed by June 2018. The Part 149 regulations bring a new level of recognition and uniformity to the sport and recreational aviation sector by formalising a close and collaborative regulatory relationship between CASA and peak organisations.
Find out more about Part 149.
Just approach to safety enforcement
CASA’s commitment to its regulatory philosophy and a ‘just culture’ approach to safety regulation has been strengthened. A new instruction from the Director of Aviation Safety to CASA staff sets out limitations on the use of information that may show a contravention of the safety rules. The instruction clarifies how information can be used when CASA makes decisions about whether enforcement action may need to be taken. Individuals and organisations found to have violated a provision of the safety rules will be given an opportunity to address and correct safety issues without CASA initiating enforcement action. Enforcement action will only be taken where there is a deliberate, willful or reckless breach of the aviation safety rules, where there is a pattern of repeated misconduct or there is a failure to take appropriate corrective or necessary protective action while identified safety issues are addressed. The new instruction puts into practical effect key elements of CASA's regulatory philosophy. Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody says: "It is vital that CASA does not simply talk about 'just culture' but actively implements those principles into our day-to-day operations and decision making. Our rational approach to 'just culture' means that where honest errors or mistakes are made CASA looks to encourage and support the efforts of individuals and organisations to make necessary improvements, correct identified problems and ensure safety risks are effectively managed in the process. Individuals and organisations with an understanding and commitment to safety need to take responsibility for addressing safety shortcomings and where they demonstrate the ability and willingness to do this CASA need not take action. Of course, if the safety rules are deliberately flouted or action is not taken to address safety issues then CASA must and will take appropriate action.”
Get details of the safety information instruction.
Stronger drone rules
Stronger and clearer safety rules governing the flying of drones have been introduced to better protect people and aircraft from drones. The drone safety rules have been tightened in response to community concerns about the safety of drones and the rapid growth in drone numbers. The new requirements are set out in an interim formal direction that will apply until a full review of the drone regulations is completed. Recreational drones weighing more than 100 grams must now never be flown within three nautical miles of any controlled aerodrome. In addition, recreational drones weighing more than 100 grams must not be flown within three nautical miles of non-controlled aerodromes or helicopter landing sites if it is clear aircraft are operating there. Recreational drones of all weights must not be flown above 400 feet at any location, kept more than 30 metres from people who are not involved in controlling the drone and only one drone can be flown at a time. All drones – recreational and non-recreational – must now be kept away from areas where fire, police or other emergency operations are underway unless there is approval from the person in charge of the emergency operation. Existing rules prohibiting drones flying over and above crowds and groups of people and only allowing flights during the day and within visual line of sight still apply. Drones must never be flown in a way that creates a hazard to people, property or aircraft. CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody, said the new drone rules make the safety requirements clearer for people flying drones and will be easier to enforce. CASA is making it easier to operate drones safely with a new dedicated website setting out the rules and safe flying tips.
Get more on the drone safety rules at CASA’s new drone website.
New graphical weather forecasts
Changes are being made to aviation weather forecast formats. In response to requests from the aviation community the Bureau of Meteorology is changing the format of area forecasts from text based to graphical. The new format is known as a graphical area forecast and it will be introduced on 9 November 2017. The Bureau says the new forecast formats aim to improve safety and ease of flight planning. Graphical area forecasts will incorporate an image outlining the boundaries of different weather areas, will present information in a more accessible format and will rely less on complex location descriptions in long text strings. A pilot can look at the image and quickly see which weather areas are relevant to their flight. Graphical area forecasts will be accompanied by a table which outlines surface visibility and weather, cloud, icing, turbulence and the freezing level. The 28 forecast areas currently used will be amalgamated into ten larger graphical forecast areas, using names based on region instead of the current area numbering format. Graphical area forecasts will be valid for six hours, but two consecutive forecasts will be released at each issue time, providing a forecast for 12 hours.
Find out more about the new graphical area forecasts, including a user guide.
Cable inspection details released
Details of the new inspection regime required for primary flight control cable terminals have been released. The inspection regime replaces an earlier mandatory requirement to replace primary flight control cables after 15 years time in service. The primary flight control cable assemblies covered by the mandatory inspections have terminal fittings manufactured from SAE-AISI 303Se or SAE-AISI 304 stainless steel with 15 years or more time in service. Cable terminal fittings with an unknown time in service must be inspected. An examination must be carried out of the entire exposed surface of each cable terminal fitting using a 10X magnifier or borescope to look for any corrosion, pitting or cracking. Any cable with evidence of pitting, corrosion or cracking on the cable terminal fitting must be replaced. Under an airworthiness directive issued by CASA an initial inspection of affected cables must be carried out before 1 November 2018. Repeat inspections will be required every 12 months. Any cables that have previously been replaced do need not need repetitive inspections until they reach 15 years time in service. CASA took action on this issue following reports of multiple cable terminal failures and developed the inspection regime in the light of feedback from the aviation community.
Read the cable airworthiness directive.
Don’t miss a seminar for pilots
Safety seminars for pilots are being held at sixteen locations in November 2017. Avsafety seminars are at:
- Swan Hill
- Mount Gambier
- Coffs Harbour
- Port Macquarie
- Murray Bridge
The seminars will take pilots through previous accidents and incidents to learn valuable safety lessons. There is a focus on pilot decision making, flying within your limits and hazards on arrival. Case studies of accidents and incidents covering each phase of flight will be set out, with a mix of fixed wing and helicopter events to be examined. CASA's safety advisers ensure the seminars are interactive and open, with pilots encouraged to talk about their own experiences and offer their own lessons.
Book your place at an AvSafety seminar for pilots now.
Engineering seminars on now
Three aviation engineering seminars are being held in November 2017. Seminars will be held at:
The seminars are aimed at people in airworthiness roles such as engineers, the head of aircraft airworthiness and maintenance, continuing airworthiness management, air operators and training organisations. Topics to be covered will include the maintenance responsibilities of the registered operator, registration holder, responsible manager, aircraft owner and licensed aircraft maintenance engineer; defect reporting; tool control; and maintenance licence examples. CASA aims to support the professional development of people in safety critical roles by providing access to the latest best practice, information and resources. Importantly the seminars will also provide the opportunity to ask questions and raise issues with CASA.
Book your place at an engineering seminar.
- Work on the independent review of the new fatigue rules is progressing well, with a report to be handed to CASA early in 2018. The review team is evaluating previous feedback to CASA on the fatigue changes, gathering additional information from representative organisations and examining a range of fatigue issues.
- There are proposals to make changes to the manual of standards for Part 21 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations, which covers certification and airworthiness requirements for aircraft and parts. Relevant Civil Aviation Orders and Australian Technical Standard Orders are proposed to be repealed and if necessary transferred into the Part 21 manual of standards. Comment by 8 November 2017.
- CASA is currently hiring staff. Roles include flying operations, airworthiness and drone inspectors, along with a range of other regulatory positions in our offices around Australia. Applications close soon.
- A review of airspace activity at Caboolture has found the operating environment is safe for current levels and complexity of aircraft activity. Concerns about the 12/30 runway designator should be raised with the Caboolture aerodrome operator.
- Comment now on proposed updates to the rules for aerodrome operations. Proposals are to make Part 139 regulations more flexible and practical.
- On 9 November 2017, changes to standard instrument departures and arrivals - SIDs and STARs – take effect. For pilots conducting a SID or STAR there is new phraseology, changes to charts and speed restrictions. Full details in aeronautical information circular H21/17.
- CASA has responded to feedback from the helicopter sector and made changes to the requirements for helicopter aerial application endorsements. The change reduces the number of hours needed before an endorsement can be sought, subject to other requirements.
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