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The CASA Briefing - May 2018
Date of Publication:
25 May 2018
From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody
CASA is continuing to work hard to bring improvements to the aviation community in the way safety regulation is delivered. Key changes have already been made to aviation medicals, with more change - in the form of the basic class two - imminent. A lot of effort is also underway to lift our service delivery, with a focus on providing a better and easier delivery of services online. The first steps in new online service delivery are due to be taken in the middle of this year, starting with a streamlined process to obtain aviation reference numbers. Very importantly, we have committed to providing a user-friendly guidance document for major new regulatory parts, such as the operations rules in Part 91 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. All these initiatives, and more, will lighten the regulatory load on everyone in aviation in Australia.
On top of these reforms we are working on a rationalisation of the way we charge fees for regulatory services. I cannot offer to abolish fees as we are required by government to recover a proportion of the cost of delivering services, but I can promise we will make the fee structure clearer and more predictable. There are currently around 360 different regulatory service fees and we are aiming to reduce this number down to around 100. We are proposing as many fees as possible to be fixed, rather than based on an hourly rate. This means the aviation community will have much more clarity around the charges to be paid to CASA for regulatory services. In line with Australian Government policy, CASA will publicly consult on proposed changes through a cost recovery implementation statement, which is due to be released later this year.
New fuel rules coming soon
New rules covering minimum fuel requirements for all Australian aircraft start on 8 November 2018. The new rules re-introduce a fixed fuel reserve requirement, reduce reserve requirements for day visual flight rules operations in small piston or turboprop aeroplanes, require pilots to conduct in-flight fuel management with regular fuel quantity checks and if required declare ‘mayday fuel’, and introduce ‘additional fuel’ which simplifies the planning requirements for fuel contingencies. The changes more closely align Australian fuel rules with the International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommended practices. Many pilots and operators are already complying with standards in the new rules as they have been in CASA guidelines for some time. The changes remove uncertainty by clarifying what must be done legally. The mayday fuel declaration aims to increase safety. It alerts other airspace users to a potential fuel problem facing an aircraft in their vicinity and ensures priority is given to that aircraft, reducing the chances of an accident. Mayday fuel is not aimed at setting conditions to prosecute pilots or operators and a declaration does not automatically mean that emergency services will be mobilised. The fixed fuel reserve for day visual flight rules operations in small piston or turboprop aeroplanes will be 30 minutes.
Get all the details on the new fuel rules.
Stop bars mean stop
Pilots are being reminded of the importance of never crossing an illuminated aerodrome stop bar. Stop bars are a series of red lights co-located with runway holding point markings on taxiways that show where an aircraft or vehicle is required to stop when it does not have a clearance to proceed onto a runway. Taxiing aircraft must stop and hold at all lighted stop bars. Aircraft may only proceed further when given a clearance by air traffic control and when the stop bar lights have been switched off. If stop bar lights are not switched off after a clearance has been given pilots must seek clarification from air traffic control. Pilots must never allow their aircraft to cross an illuminated stop bar. The reminder about the importance of stop bars follows a number of instances of illuminated stop bars being crossed at Perth Airport. Pilots have been receiving clearance to enter a runway but are not waiting for the stop bar lights to be turned off. Pilots are also not challenging air traffic control when the stop bars remain on. Stop bars are a defence against runway incursions, which are a serious risk to safety.
Find out more about stop bars in an Airservices Australia fact sheet.
Helicopter pilots urged not to push on
Helicopter pilots are being urged to make a precautionary landing if a flight isn’t quite right. A campaign has been launched with the theme: ‘don’t push it, land it’. The campaign is supported by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Australian Helicopter Industry Association. All helicopter pilots - no matter their experience or the type of helicopter they fly - should take an early decision to make a precautionary landing if they experience a situation that just isn’t right. ATSB Chief Commissioner, Greg Hood, said making an early decision to land during the onset of an abnormal situation will reduce the likelihood of an accident from happening. “Pilots should always take advantage of their helicopter’s unique ability to land almost anywhere when things aren’t quite right in flight,” Mr Hood says. “If you’re faced with deteriorating weather or if something just doesn’t feel right, don’t push it, make a precautionary landing. If you do decide to push on, it could be the beginning of an accident sequence.” CASA supports and encourages pilots to make a precautionary landing when it is safe to do so. CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody says: “We have seen a number of fatal accidents where had the pilot decided to land, then the accident may not have occurred. CASA will not take any disciplinary action against a pilot if they need to make a precautionary landing, provided it is performed in good faith, as safely as possible and it did not endanger anyone.” President of the Australian Helicopter Industry Association, Peter Crook, says pressures and fear of scrutiny are often the impetus for pilots to ‘push on’ which can see them fly into an uncomfortable situation. Businessman and helicopter pilot Dick Smith has generously donated $20,000 to the helicopter association to help promote the safety messages of ‘don’t push it, land it’.
Read more about the don’t push it, land it campaign.
Take care with Cessna seats
Operators and maintainers are being reminded of the importance of properly maintaining and checking pilot seats and adjustment mechanisms in single engine Cessna aircraft. Action is needed to make sure seats do not move inadvertently during flight. There have been numerous accidents - several fatal - that have occurred due to inadequate inspection and maintenance practices on seat assemblies fitted to single engine Cessna aircraft. Problems occur due to incorrect placement of seat stops, worn seat adjustment mechanisms, poor seat latch/track engagement and the installation of unapproved parts. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA strongly recommends a number of actions. Maintainers need to be aware of airworthiness directives and special inspection requirements relating to pilot seats. They also need to make sure the correct components and parts are fitted to seats, such as seat stops and cotter pins, and to verify previously installed parts are genuine and correct. It is very important to ensure the primary seat locking mechanism, the secondary seat stop and rear track seat stops are correctly positioned. Pilots and passengers must check seat adjustment, locking and security during pre-flight checks. Care must be taken to ensure flight bags, headset cables, seat covers and other gear does not foul seat actuating or locking mechanisms, which could cause inadvertent seat movement.
Learn more in the Cessna seats airworthiness bulletin.
New wasp warning
A warning has been issued about a risk to aircraft safety from a new type of wasp. The key hole wasp is nesting in the Brisbane airport area and has been found at Emerald aerodrome. There is a concern the species could spread to other airports by aircraft or shared ground support equipment. Key hole wasps make nests based from alluvial sediments such as construction site material rather than soil, with peak nesting occurring during warmer temperatures and higher rainfall. The insects are active by day, although airport lighting can extend their activities. Nests are built cell by cell, usually at the furthest point from an opening greater than 5mm. A wasp nest can completely block aircraft pitot tubes, fuel tank vents and drains. Wasp nests and insect blockages in pitot tubes are not limited to small aircraft. In an updated airworthiness bulletin CASA makes a number of recommendations including the importance of installing pitot/static and vent covers any time an aircraft is parked. Probe covers should be regularly checked for damage. Pilots should be aware that on-ground pre-flight air data module BITE tests and/or computer checks will usually not test pitot probes or static vents for physical blockages. Areas where aircraft are stored or maintained should be regularly checked for wasp nests.
Read the updated wasp airworthiness bulletin.
Funds for better positioning technology
The Federal Government has allocated $160.9 million to deliver a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) to improve the reliability and the accuracy of positioning data from five metres to 10 centimetres across Australia and its maritime zone. In addition, there will be a $64 million investment in the national positioning infrastructure capability, which will complement SBAS to improve GPS to an accuracy as precise as 3cm in areas of Australia with access to mobile coverage. The Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the funding in this year’s federal budget would support aviation. “The increased reliability provided by better GPS will improve safety for aircraft flying into regional and remote aerodromes, such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service fleet,” Mr Canavan said. “It will reduce the impact of weather on flight cancellations and diversions and improve the safety of landings. This is a practical investment to improve the lives of Australians and make businesses more productive. This technology provides instant, reliable and accurate positioning information, anytime and anywhere around Australia.”
Find out more about SBAS.
Drone review calls for registration and training
A mandatory drone registration scheme and online training for recreational drone flyers have been supported by a CASA review of the safety regulation of remotely piloted aircraft. The review indicated CASA should continue to support work by the manufacturers of remotely piloted aircraft to use geo-fencing technology to prevent drones operating in non-permitted areas such as at or near major airports and in certain classes of restricted airspace. The review was conducted at the request of the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Submissions to a 2017 discussion paper on drone regulation informed the review. In supporting mandatory drone registration, the review determined a registration process must be simple and the system easy to use. Data integrity would be paramount – including a requirement for an applicant to confirm their identity by using the Australian Government’s online document verification service. Owners would be required to renew their drone registration every three years. The review supported recreational drone flyers being required to undertake a simple online course on safe drone operations, followed by a quiz that has a minimum pass mark. This would address the issue of an increasing number of drone flyers who are unaware of the relevant drone rules, have a poor understanding of the rules or wrongly interpret the rules. CASA has not yet taken final decisions on possible changes to the drone safety regulations and any proposals will be subject to public consultation.
Read the drone regulatory review.
- Responses to consultation on the recommendations of the independent review of aviation fatigue rules for air operators and pilots have been published. The responses are currently being analysed before CASA finalises a position on the new fatigue rules, which will include an implementation timetable. The aim is to have key changes in place during 2018. Read the responses on CASA’s consultation hub.
- A total of 298 submissions were made in response to consultation on a new proposal that would change the guidance for radio frequency use at uncharted aerodromes. CASA is reviewing the comments and will make a final decision on the multicom issue as soon as possible. Comments can be read now.
- Thirty responses received during consultation on the post implementation review of Part 145 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations have been published. Part 145, which covers requirements for aircraft and aeronautical product maintenance, was first introduced in June 2011. The responses are on CASA’s consultation hub.
- An advisory circular is now available to provide Australian air operators with guidance on performance-based communication and surveillance (PBCS). It explains the basic principles of PBCS and related flight planning and operational issues. It also includes a compliance checklist. An Australian operator is authorised by CASA to operate on PBCS routes in oceanic airspace if they meet the equipment and performance standards and other conditions. PBCS routes may be more favourable in terms of flight efficiency.
- The exemption for dual flight checks before solo flights by student pilots has been extended. The extension continues to allow student pilots to conduct a solo flight if they have successfully completed a dual flight check within 30 days prior to the solo flight, instead of within the 14 days as required by the Part 61 regulations. The exemption also applies to flight instructors when authorising solo flights.
- Advice on spark plug insulator cracking has been updated. Changes have been made to an airworthiness bulletin on spark plugs to more accurately reflect the factors behind cracking. The bulletin looks at detonation, spark plug maintenance and handling, pre-ignition and other causes.
Safety seminars for pilots
The popular lessons for life safety seminars for pilots continue in June 2018. There are seminars being held at:
- Maitland – Yorke Peninsula
- Port Pirie.
The seminars will explore three major themes: flying within your limits, making the right decisions in-flight and hazards on arrival. Case studies of accidents will be used to take pilots through many of the safety-related decisions faced at three crucial phases of flight - before departing, in-flight, and at the crucial arrival and landing phase. 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. In Ballina a special seminar is being held on radio procedures in the area. Jetstar will talk about their local operational procedures.
Book your place at an AvSafety seminar now.
Seminars for engineers
Engineering seminars are being held in June 2018 at Darwin and Archerfield. These seminars will look at a range of topics including airworthiness issues, specialist maintenance certification, regulations and Part 66 licences. They are aimed at engineers, heads of airworthiness and maintenance, other people from airworthiness organisations and training personnel. The seminars are a great professional development opportunity and allow people to talk with CASA maintenance experts and ask questions. The Darwin seminar is on Wednesday 20 June 2018 and Archerfield on Tuesday 26 June 2018.
Find out more and book a place at an engineering seminar.
Flight instructor safety workshops
New workshops are being held to support pilots who hold an instructor rating. The workshops will include lectures, case studies, discussion topics and group exercises. Some of the topics covered will be maintaining good situational awareness in the training environment, anticipating student actions, understanding Part 61 requirements, use of GPS in the instructional environment, on-line resources for instructors and students and maximising the benefit of flight reviews. CASA’s aviation safety advisers will run the free workshops, which will include time to answers questions and listen to feedback. The next flight instructor workshops are being held at Archerfield on Thursday 14 June and Friday 15 June 2018.
Register now for a flight instructor workshop.
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