From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody
CASA has been busy ringing in the changes over the last month in key areas. The most significant initiative has been the release for comment of first part of the so-called ‘six pack’ of interlinked new flight operations regulations. Part 91 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations covers the general operating and flight rules and forms the foundation of all aviation operations. The vast majority of the proposed regulations in Part 91 make no change to current requirements as the rules have simply been moved into one package from the Civil Aviation Regulations, Civil Aviation Orders, supporting instruments and exemptions. We have consolidated more than 100 current documents into just two - the new Part 91 and its manual of standards. A range of improvements have also been made to nine areas in the new rules. These are aimed at making compliance easier, providing greater operational flexibility, reducing red tape and paperwork and improving safety.
I appreciate the Part 91 package is lengthy and by necessity written in legal language. To help everyone understand and follow the requirements of Part 91 I am pleased to announce CASA will produce a one-stop guidance document. This Part 91 guidance document will be a pilot’s guide to all the regulations, including the manual of standards requirements, written in the familiar style of the current and popular visual flight rules guide. The guidance document will be made available later this year to give everyone a chance to be familiar with it prior to Part 91 being implemented. I intend the guidance document to be the central reference document used by pilots for the operational rules, as well as a handy guide for CASA examinations. I am keen to provide pilots this practical and user friendly document so that there is less need to reference the actual regulations. This will assist everyone to have a better understanding of the rules and will therefore improve compliance. Naturally, we will continue to look for opportunities to make the regulations and the manual of standards simpler before the rules are finalised.
Please take the opportunity to have your say on Part 91 by going to CASA’s easy-to-use consultation hub. The consultation hub allows you to focus on one or more of the nine areas within Part 91 that introduce changes to requirements or to make general comments about the changes. This means there is no need to read through the whole of Part 91 to have your say on specific issues relevant to your operations. Part 91 consultation is open now.
Two important reforms of the aviation medical system are now in place and work continues to bring in the new basic class two medical by the middle of 2018. The latest medical changes mean designated aviation medical examiners (DAMEs) can issue class 2 medicals on the spot without reference to CASA, unless the DAME elects to refer the application to CASA. Information and training materials have been sent to DAMEs to equip them to take advantage of the new arrangements. These changes, which will come into effect on 4 April 2018, will mean quicker and easier medicals for hundreds of people each month.
We have also released for comment the review of new fatigue rules. This independent review has supported the need for modernised fatigue requirements and made a range of recommendations for improving the rules. Final decisions on the makeup of the new rules will be made after comments on the review have been carefully considered.
Fatigue review recommendations
The independent review of the new fatigue rules found there was a “significant risk exposure that needs to be properly managed”. The review made 24 recommendations aimed at improving the new fatigue rules, the implementation of changes and guidance and information about the rules. Recommendations include more closely aligning flight and duty period limits with international averages, creating two tiers of fatigue risk management system requirements, providing additional flexibility for operators using the prescriptive limits and removing or revising the requirements for aerial application operations. The review recommends a freeze of the transition dates for the implementation of the new fatigue rules and the adoption of a staggered approach to implementation and transition.
The chairman of CASA's Board, Jeff Boyd, has welcomed the fatigue review report. Mr Boyd said: “The review team has confirmed the need to change from the old Civil Aviation Order 48 fatigue rules and standard industry exemptions and CASA’s Board supports this view. The report provides a method to find an appropriate balance between fatigue risk and operational impact and the board is seeking input from industry on potential implementation issues prior to finalising changes to the rules.” CASA is seeking feedback on priorities for actions resulting from the review as well as implementation issues. Feedback should be lodged before 17 April 2018, using CASA’s consultation hub.
Read the fatigue review and have your say now.
Check for seat belt defects
Cabin crew have been reminded of the importance of checking seat belts and crew harnesses for defects. Checking seatbelts and harnesses should not be limited to a maintenance cycle. In a new cabin safety bulletin CASA recommends seat belts be checked on an ongoing basis by the operating crew. Any problems should then be captured in the air operator's defect reporting system. For example, some operators have a cabin condition log where the cabin crew of an aircraft will record deficiencies and this information is then transferred into the aircraft maintenance log. Crew should be reporting any fraying, holes, twisting, or adjustment problems that stop seat belts being used normally. CASA has become aware of seat belt defects on operating aircraft through surveillance activities and reports from the travelling public. The cabin safety bulletin features pictures taken by CASA inspectors of damage to a passenger seatbelt and a crew harness. Neither of the faults had been reported.
R22 fuel tank warning – retrofit now
A strong recommendation has been issued to owners and operators of Robinson R22 helicopters to take action as soon as possible to replace aluminium fuel tanks. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA says retrofitting R22 aircraft with bladder fuel tanks decreases the likelihood of a post-crash fire. The Robinson Helicopter Company has published a revised service bulletin about fuel tank modifications. This revised service bulletin gives a compliance time as soon as practical, but no later than next 2200-hour overhaul, 12 year inspection, or 15 January 2020. The modification needs to be made at whichever milestone occurs first. The service bulletin also provides information on a discount kit and a rebate available for each field installation. CASA’s airworthiness bulletin includes a timely reminder to operators and maintainers of aircraft of the responsibility to follow their approved system of maintenance or the manufacturer’s maintenance program. In this case it means ensuring compliance to all Robinson Helicopter Company service bulletins. There have been multiple crashes of Robinson R22 helicopters with post-impact fires in Australia. One crash involved a survivable training flight where the occupants were able to leave the helicopter before the ruptured fuel tanks ignited.
Read the R22 fuel tank airworthiness bulletin.
Helicopter corrosion warning
A recent helicopter defect report has triggered a warning about the risks of corrosion in salty environments. Corrosion was found on Sikorsky S92 flap stop bracket pins. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA says operators of offshore helicopters need to have in place a rigorous corrosion control program. Before an aircraft is used in offshore operations it should be inspected to establish a base-line of corrosion damage. All major corrosion damage should be reported directly back to the original equipment manufacturer to provide input into the worldwide aging fleet data and to allow corrosion programs to be updated. CASA says aircraft operators should consider mapping individual aircraft corrosion to allow ongoing analysis, as well as collecting corrosion data across all models of aircraft to identify known corrosion spots and to assist future maintenance planning. Internal inspections and corrosion preventive compound application plans can be developed based on mission requirements, operating environments and experience.
Drone penalties issued
The importance of understanding and always following the drone safety regulations has been highlighted by the latest regulatory infringement notices issued by CASA. Both commercial and recreational drone flyers have been issued penalties for breaching the remotely piloted aircraft safety regulations. A person who conducted commercial drone operations - aerial photography – in the Brisbane central business district was issued with fines for a commercial operation without the required approval ($900) and flying over a populous area ($900). Another commercial drone operator in regional Australia was issued with two fines for demonstration flights at an agriculture show – one for operations over a populous area ($1050) and the other for flying within 30 metres of people not associated with the operation ($210). A commercial drone operator in a major regional centre undertaking aerial photography was issued with two fines relating to commercial operations without a required approval ($1050) and flying over a populous area ($1050). A recreational drone flyer at a store opening in Melbourne was fined ($1050) for operating within 30 metres of people not associated with the operation.
Check the drone safety regulations.
- Comment is being called for on a proposal to improve the Part 61 flight instructor rating. The proposed improvements to the requirements would better support flight training operators and trainers to develop and deliver their flight instructor training courses. Changes would also amend the privileges and limitations of certain training endorsements and enhance guidance material. Comment now, with consultation closing on 22 April 2018.
- Recommendations have been made to operators and maintainers of Cessna 441 aircraft about fatigue cracking of main landing gear trunnions. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA strongly recommends ensuring main landing gear trunnions are cleaned and carefully inspected per the applicable supplemental inspection document. If cracks are present affected trunnions should be replaced as a fracture failure during landing may cause significant damage to the aircraft. The recommendations follow several landing gear failures.
- Advice has been released to aircraft maintainers on the use of approved model list – supplemental type certificates. These are an approval method that allows a set of compliance data – such as type design data - to be designated as ‘baseline data’ that can be applicable to various aircraft models. It is intended for installations that are identical or similar that share baseline data between models. The advice covers Federal Aviation Administration field approvals, when additional approved data is required and provides guidance on power and wiring.
- Comment is being sought before 26 April 2018 on a proposed airworthiness directive about wing strut and wing strut fittings on GippsAero GA8 series aeroplanes. The proposed directive would require a general visual inspection of the wing strut and strut fittings for evidence of cracks, corrosion and damage in accordance with the requirements of GippsAero Service Bulletin SB-GA8-2017-174 Issue 1. Affected parts would need to be replaced.
- Airspace restrictions are about to come into effect for the Commonwealth Games being held in Queensland. From 2 – 18 April 2018 all aircraft and airspace users planning to fly within 90 nautical miles of the Gold Coast airport must comply with the regulations and the procedures detailed in an Aeronautical Information Service Supplement and relevant NOTAMs. An aircraft that does not comply with the air defence identification zone requirements may be subject to intercept by military aircraft and the crew subject to criminal prosecution.
- Drones are subject to restrictions during the Commonwealth Games at all venues. These restrictions apply from 25 March to 18 April 2018. No sport or recreational drones will be given permission to operate within any of the areas around Games venues. Commercial drone operations will only be allowed if prior approval has been given and no approvals will be given for areas where there will be low level helicopter operations. There will be an increased police presence at all venues to monitor compliance with the restrictions and penalties can be issued.
Safety seminars for pilots
The popular lessons for life safety seminars for pilots continue in April 2018. There are seminars being held at:
- Airlie Beach
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.
Book your place at an AvSafety seminar now.
Seminar for engineers
An engineering seminar is being held in April at Kununurra. This seminar will look at a range of topics including airworthiness issues, specialist maintenance certification, regulations and Part 66 licenses. It is aimed at engineers, heads of airworthiness and maintenance, other people from airworthiness organisations and training personnel. The seminar is a great professional development opportunity and allows people to talk with CASA maintenance experts and ask questions.
Find out more and book a place at an engineering seminar.
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