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The CASA Briefing - May 2020
Date of publication:
27 May 2020
From Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody
It may be early days in the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, but it is certainly clear that we are heading in the right direction. I am well aware that many aviation organisations still have limited operations and pilots, engineers and other aviation professionals may be working curtailed hours or not at all. CASA’s regulatory relief measures are continuing and we are keeping an eye on needs across the aviation community. We will remain flexible in our support for aviation, while ensuring appropriate safety standards are maintained.
As we move into the recovery journey it is important to stop and think carefully about the safety implications of a return to more ‘normal’ aviation operations. Many pilots will not have flown for weeks or even months, engineers may not have turned a spanner for an equally long time and some aviation organisations have been in hibernation. It is human to be a little rusty or to have to make a real effort to turn your mind to a different setting from COVID related thoughts. In reality, this means individuals and organisations should take time to think about the additional risks that may exist as we start to return to ops normal. For organisations it might mean taking a fresh look at the safety management system, while pilots should spend extra time in pre-flight planning and risk identification.
CASA’s aviation safety advisors are always more than happy to help with advice, information and resources for organisations and individuals who want to brush up on relevant safety issues. Please feel free to contact them, as well as making use of the wealth of safety education material CASA has available. We will soon be releasing some post COVID checklists to help with a safe return to flying, so keep an eye on our web site.
You can find out information about CASA’s aviation safety advisors.
Keep up to date with CASA’s COVID-19 aviation support.
Comment now on aerial work standards
There’s still time to comment on proposed standards for aerial work operations. Consultation on the proposed manual of standards for Part 138 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations is open until 3 June 2020. Part 138 takes effect from December 2021 and covers aerial work activities such as mustering, spotting, survey, media and emergency service operations. This involves a range of flying, from the very simplest through to complex activities involving large, multi-crew transport aircraft. The manual of standards will work with the Part 138 regulations, consolidating the requirements that currently exist in Civil Aviation Regulations, Civil Aviation Orders and a multitude of exemptions and other legal instruments. These will all be repealed on the commencement of the regulations and the manual of standards. This consolidation will result in a set of national standards that will have greater transparency and consistency. The aim is to reduce administrative burdens on people and organisations operating in aerial work. Due to the diverse nature of aerial work the consultation has been structured so people only need to comment on the proposed standards that affect them. CASA will be supporting the regulations and standards with guidance material, including plain English guides and sample operations manuals. Anyone who needs more information or who has questions about the proposed manual of standards can contact CASA’s flight standards branch.
Find out more about the proposed Part 138 manual of standards and have your say now.
New advice of spin safety
Valuable new information on avoiding spins and advanced stall recovery training has been released by CASA. A 32-page advisory circular covers stall with a wing drop, phases of a spin, spin avoidance versus recovery, aircraft stall and spin certification requirements and specific guidance for pilots, instructors, examiners and flight training operators. Stall and spin related accidents account for approximately a quarter of all fatal general aviation accidents worldwide, including many during dual flight training. The advisory provides information on flight manual limitations and where to find spin entry and recovery actions published for aircraft certified for intentional spinning. It outlines the risks of advanced stall training when conducted in aircraft that are not certified for intentional spinning. The difference between 'wing drop at the stall' and the 'incipient phase of a spin' is set out, as well as the interpretation of aircraft flight manual manoeuvre limitations with respect to spinning. There are eight key safety messages that all pilots, instructors, operators and flight examiners should be aware of about advanced stalling and spinning exercises. The new advisory circular was finalised after consultation with the aviation community and a number of changes were made to the draft based on feedback.
Updated visual flight rules guide now in PDF
The popular Visual Flight Rules Guide is now available as a PDF download. This means pilots who want to take advantage of the wealth of information contained in the Visual Flight Rules Guide can choose from a number of versions. A free PDF can be downloaded, a print edition can be purchased through CASA’s online store or a website version can be used online. The PDF is accessed through the website version – the link to the PDF is at the bottom of the front page. The guide is specifically designed for visual flight rules pilots and features detailed safety information, diagrams, charts and maps. Topics covered include the safety rules, licensing, pilot responsibilities, radio procedures, pre-flight planning, communications, non-controlled aerodromes, controlled airspace, sport aviation, helicopter operations and emergency procedures. The latest edition of the guide includes amendments to various rules and regulations, as well as incorporating feedback from the aviation community. The PDF version can be used in pilot exams as long as the document is printed off in its entirety.
Go to the Visual Flight Rules Guide.
Order a print edition of the Guide.
Protect your piston engine from low use
With the COVID-19 crisis still having a major impact on aviation it is important to be aware of the safety needs of aircraft that are not flown regularly. A CASA airworthiness bulletin sets out recommended maintenance practices to effectively minimise corrosion in piston engines flown infrequently. Corrosion is influenced by a number of factors such as geographical location, seasons, usage and storage. Piston engines in coastal areas and areas of high relative humidity can be subject to corrosion attack within a few days. Engines in more favourable conditions can remain inactive for several weeks without evidence of damage by corrosion. If it has not been possible lately to fly aircraft regularly it is important to know there are steps that can be taken to avoid engine damage. These include using engine preservation oils and meeting calendar time limits for oil changes. Engine manufacturer instructions to combat and minimise corrosion as a direct result of engine inactivity should be followed. It is advised that engine ground runs are not a substitute for regular flying.
Find out more about protecting aircraft engines.
New Qld runways bring airspace changes
Airspace arrangements in south-east Queensland are changing. The changes are due to new runways at the Brisbane and Sunshine Coast aerodromes. Brisbane has a new 3300 metre runway which will open on 12 July 2020. The Sunshine Coast’s new 2450 metre runway is scheduled to be operational on 14 June 2020. At Brisbane minor airspace changes began on 21 May 2020 in preparation for the opening of the new 01L/19R runway. Once 01L/19R is open the airport will move to parallel runway operations, with three main modes of simultaneous operations. The Sunshine Coast’s existing runway 18/36 will remain active and in use until the new runway 13/31 is open. Aircraft, including medical and emergency, charter flights and general aviation, will continue to use the current flight paths to the existing runway until 13/31 is open.
Find out more about Brisbane’s new runway.
Get details on Sunshine Coast airspace changes.
Making forms easier
CASA is continuing to redesign forms to make them simpler and faster to complete. Where possible forms are being consolidated to reduce the need for applicants to supply information multiple times and allowing the same forms to be used for more than one purpose. The current airworthiness authority forms are being reviewed and the number will be halved, allowing initial applications, applications for variations and renewals to use the same form. A key change has been removing the need for physical signatures on many forms, instead asking the applicant to make an official declaration. This means applicants no longer need to print forms just to sign them and return them to CASA. Downloading forms using Adobe software allows applicants to include a digital signature and reduces the risk of losing any information during the completion process. Physical signatures will continue to be accepted and some forms will still need to be signed due to regulatory requirements.
Helicopter winch cable warning
A warning has been issued about wear and potential failure of helicopter rescue hoist wire rope. A revised airworthiness bulletin highlights the risk of multi-strand wire cables failing due to incorrect operation, inspection, maintenance and cable handling, as well as contamination, weathering and age. The risks were highlighted by a failure of a cable on an AS350 helicopter which had just finished winching personnel and equipment in a national park operation. During subsequent maintenance and under a dummy load the cable failed approximately 8mm from the hook assembly. The cable had completed 617 cycles. The manufacturer recommends cable replacement after 1500 cycles. An Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation has found there was mechanical wear on the inner surfaces of the outer strands of the cable and it failed due to wear and vibration fatigue. The failure was indicative of a hook that had not been correctly ‘homed’ after operations. Homing is a procedure that ensures the hook assembly abuts up against a specified part of a winch or hoist. CASA makes six recommendations to ensure cable safety.
Got to the rescue cable airworthiness bulletin.
- A sample aerodrome manual and guide to align with the new Part 139 aerodrome regulations is now available. The sample manual and guide will assist in revamping aerodrome manuals or creating a new one from scratch. Aerodrome manuals can also be developed using CASA’s free online manual authoring and assessment tool.
- Aerodromes are being given more time to transition to the new Part 139 regulations. Certified aerodromes will now have until 13 May 2021 to submit their updated aerodrome manuals and registered aerodromes will now have until 13 May 2022 to submit their new aerodrome manuals. Find out about the new aerodrome regulations.
- A low-level rating requirements exemption has been continued. The exemption means low-level rating flight reviews are required every 24 months instead of every 12 months and aerial mustering pilots conducting mustering operations need to meet recent experience requirements More information is on the flight crew licensing instruments page on the CASA web site.
- CASA is strongly recommending all aircraft operators and maintainers suspend the use of Kathon biocide for treating micro-biological growth in aviation fuel. This follows an inflight incident on a Boeing 787 after Kathon FP 1.5 biocide had been used to treat suspected micro-biological growth. Engine and aircraft manufacturer advice should be sought on approved alternate biocidal fuel additives. The airworthiness bulletin says more rigorous fuel tank sumping intervals may be needed to remove undissolved water to help reduce micro-biological growths forming inside aircraft fuel tanks.
- The latest round of CASA’s sponsorship program is open for applications until Friday 5 June 2020. The sponsorship program supports safety research and the promotion of aviation safety. It can include financial or in-kind support. Find out more about the sponsorship program.
- Subscribe now to the quarterly print edition of CASA’s Flight Safety Australia magazine. An annual subscription costs $39.92 and is full of valuable safety information and insights. Test your knowledge with quizzes, learn from the mistakes of others in ‘close calls’ and see the latest ‘crash comic’. Grab a back issue now in the online store for $14.95, while stocks last.
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