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The CASA Briefing - February 2020
Date of publication:
27 February 2020
CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody comments:
A solution has been found to a somewhat thorny and long-running issue that is important to a group of pilots. The issue is colour vision deficiency and the way CASA manages safety related assessments as part of the medical certification process. Colour vision deficiency affects about 400 Australian pilots and 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. Where all three tests are failed then a medical certificate can be issued subject to conditions.
Research in recent years has shown relying on diagnostic tests alone may be unnecessarily limiting when considering the impact of colour vision deficiency on aviation safety. Advances in technology, operating techniques and human factors training can now mitigate many of the safety risks of colour vision deficiency. Technology to assist pilots has developed significantly and the impact of colour vision deficiency on aviation safety should take these changes into account. These factors have been recognised overseas, most recently in New Zealand where a new approach to colour vision deficiency came into effect in May 2019, which includes an operational colour vision assessment. This assessment comprises a ground-based assessment and an in-flight assessment which looks at a pilot’s ability to interpret visual information. A separate assessment is done for day flying and for night flying.
We have decided to adopt this approach to colour vision deficiency assessment and in the short term we will recognise the New Zealand operational colour vision assessment as an alternative to Australia’s current third level of testing. Work is already well underway on the development of an Australian operational test for colour vision deficiency by mid-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. We have listened to the views of pilots and made judgements based on research and evidence.
Have a say on lower cost ADS-B
An important step to encourage the wider fitting of automatic dependant surveillance -broadcast – ADS-B – equipment in aircraft has been taken by CASA. Consultation is now open on proposals to change the standards and requirements for ADS-B equipment. The proposals would expand the existing standards to permit the use of lower cost ADS-B equipment. This equipment could be used on a voluntary basis in visual flight rules aircraft to enhance situation awareness and improve flight safety. Currently visual flight rules aircraft can only use instrument flight rules certified ADS-B OUT equipment. However, there is equipment which is technically capable of delivering the same transmissions but is not specifically authorised in accordance with a technical standard order - often referred to as 'non-TSOd’ equipment. The proposed new standards would allow this lower cost equipment to be used in visual flight rules aircraft in non-controlled airspace. Earlier consultation on the issue of lower cost ADS-B received a positive response from the aviation community.
Have your say on lower cost ADS-B by 13 March 2020.
Security card changes
CASA will no longer be involved in the issue of aviation security identification cards, known as ASICs. CASA was one of a number of organisations approved to issue ASICs. Other organisations that issue the security cards include airports, third party providers and air operators. All organisations issuing ASICs do so under legislation set by the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs. CASA had outsourced the processing of ASICs to Aviation ID Australia, which is authorised by Home Affairs to issue the security cards. Pilots who currently have an ASIC issued through CASA have been sent information about the transfer of their records to Aviation ID Australia. Pilots applying for or renewing their ASIC may wish to consider using another of the approved ASIC issuing organisations. CASA will cease being involved in ASICs on 28 February 2020.
Find approved ASIC issuing organisations.
Cessna 210 wing spar inspection directive
Owners and operators of 12 Cessna 210 models must have urgent wing inspections of their aircraft completed. The United States Federal Aviation Authority has issued an airworthiness directive requiring visual and eddy current inspections of the carry-thru wing spar lower cap. Inspections must be carried out within 60 days or 20 hours time in service of 9 March 2020. If wing spars are found to be cracked or damaged, they must be removed from service and repaired or replaced before further flight. The directive, which has been automatically adopted under CASA regulations, will affect 139 Australian aircraft. The Federal Aviation Authority action follows the fatal crash of a Cessna 210 near Mt Isa in May 2019 and 96 reports world-wide to date of wing spar corrosion. A preliminary investigation of the Mt Isa crash found fatigue cracking in the wing spar. The US airworthiness directive says: “The FAA has determined that the large number of corrosion reports and the severity of the corrosion identified on a critical single load path part necessitate issuance of an immediately adopted rule. If the corrosion initiates a fatigue crack or affects the carry-thru spar's ability to support the required structural loads, the airplane may suffer a catastrophic failure.” CASA issued an airworthiness bulletin in July 2019 recommending Cessna 210 wing spar inspections.
Read the Cessna 210 airworthiness directive.
New vertical visibility forecast
The Bureau of Meteorology is providing pilots with additional weather forecast information. New information on vertical visibility will be included in some aviation meteorological products. This will help pilots flying in areas impacted by persistent bushfire smoke. Vertical visibility forecast information will tell pilots how much visibility they have above them and will be used at times when smoke is so thick that clouds cannot be easily seen. When vertical visibility is forecast in lieu of cloud, pilots and operators should treat the vertical visibility height as being equivalent to an overcast layer of cloud. This information should be used when making operational decisions related to planning for an alternate aerodrome and determining whether to depart or continue a flight under the visual flight rules. Information on vertical visibility will be provided in aerodrome forecasts, trend forecasts and critical location forecasts within the graphical area forecasts in lieu of cloud information when smoke is obscuring the sky. Vertical visibility is forecast in the form “VV” followed by the forecast value e.g. a vertical visibility of 1000 feet is communicated as “VV010”.
Find out more about vertical visibility in an aeronautical information circular.
Advisory panel expanded
Two new members have been appointed to CASA’s Aviation Safety Advisory Panel. They are Stuart Aggs, the Chief Operations Officer, Virgin Australia Group, and Mark Thompson, the Technical Training Manager, Aviation Australia. Mr Aggs represents the regular public transport sector and Mr Thompson represents the maintenance and engineering sector. The Aviation Safety Advisory Panel is the primary advisory body through which CASA engages with the aviation community and seeks input on current and future regulations and policies. CASA’s CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody said the membership of the panel has been expanded to widen the available expertise and align it with current areas of focus. “It is important to ensure that the ASAP has a broad sector representation with a variety of experience and expertise from within the industry in order to consider aviation safety related matters and provide me with objective advice.” Mr Carmody said. Since the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel was formed in 2017, it has assisted CASA with developing and reviewing various regulations through its technical working groups.”
Get more information on the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel.
- Comment now on the proposed transitional arrangements for Part 139 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations, which covers aerodromes. These new regulations take effect in August 2020. CASA is working on a smooth transition for aerodrome operators by providing reasonable timelines and avoiding an undue burden on existing aerodrome operators. Comment by 2 March 2020.
- There has been strong support for a proposed new self-study training and examination pathway that would lead to an aircraft engineers licence. The proposed new pathway would be an alternative to the current requirement to undertake licence category training via a Part 147 maintenance training organisation. It would be similar to the CASA basics examinations/schedule of experience scheme that existed under the previous engineer licensing system. Ninety six out of 129 submissions to consultation on the proposal supported the change.
- It’s time for air operators to start planning for transition to the new fatigue rules. Most operators must comply with the new rules from 1 July 2020. New resources are available, including an explanation of the various transition options and key steps involved. CASA is hosting information sessions from 10 - 25 March 2020 to assist operators with transition. Come along to an information session to learn about the fatigue rules, what is needed for transition and the process for minor variations and fatigue risk management systems.
- An exemption has been renewed to enable the holders of a commercial or air transport helicopter pilot licence to apply for a commercial aeroplane pilot licence with 60 hours of pilot-in-command experience instead of 100 hours.
- A supplementary review of Mildura airspace has looked at changes to operations since a new flying training academy commenced operations. The supplementary review has made six recommendations to enhance awareness and improve operations in non-controlled airspace.
- A PDF edition of our popular visual flight rules guide will be available in coming months as a free download from the CASA website. This 465-page version will include some minor amendments. The print edition will still be available.
Pilot seminars on now
More than 95 per cent of pilots who take part in an Avsafety seminar say it makes them a safer pilot or changes their safety behaviour. And ninety-eight per cent of participants say they would recommend a seminar to other pilots. These findings mean attending an AvSafety seminar in 2020 should be high on every pilot's to-do list. The theme of the current round of seminars is 'expect the unexpected'. Topics being covered include pre-flight planning, aeronautical decision making and checklists. Several case studies are examined covering weather, fuel, weight and balance and airspace infringements. The importance of in-flight decision making is also covered, including some of the traps in decision making. Participants discuss a case study involving fuel management from the point of view of in-flight decision making. Checklists are covered, including their history, importance and how to use them.
In March 2020 AvSafety seminars will be held at:
- Broken Hill
- Swan Hill
- Latrobe Valley
Book a place now at an Avsafety pilot seminar.
Two engineering AvSafety seminars are being held in March 2020. They will be at Redcliffe and Rockhampton. The theme of the seminars for engineers is 'the human component'. Three key topics are being covered - engineering errors and the lessons learnt, the human component of engineering and proposed new general aviation maintenance and continued airworthiness regulations. CASA's experts will use a number of case studies to delve into engineering errors, lessons from mistakes and techniques for avoiding pitfalls. The focus will be on exploring the human component of engineering and the cost factors involved in maintenance errors. Importantly there will also be discussion about the proposed Part 43 general aviation maintenance regulations for private, recreational and air work operations. These seminars are a great opportunity to add to professional development, improve safety knowledge and build better teamwork.
Book now for the Redcliffe and Rockhampton engineer seminars.
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