From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore
Unmanned aircraft are a hot topic of conversation in aviation circles around the world. Remotely piloted aircraft systems are here now and we all know technology is developing at a rapid rate, which means the future of this sector of aviation is both exciting and challenging. It is estimated that by 2020 the unmanned sector will have grown by between 200 and 500 per cent. Right now in Australia we have more than 450 organisations with unmanned operator’s certificates and this will rise to more than 600 in the second half of 2016. It is clear unmanned aircraft technology and capability is changing fast and aviation safety regulators are going to have to develop new safety standards and regulations to keep up. In a recent speech I made to the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems I said the challenge will be to balance the requirement for safe operations without inhibiting the growth and potential of the unmanned sector. This indeed will be a huge challenge.
Key issues for the future will include the use of unmanned aircraft in aerial work tasks, complete integration into airspace, the carriage of cargo and eventually carrying people. In addressing these issues we will need to fully understand the risks and how the safety regulations should address these risks. Remotely piloted aircraft that are very small, for example less than 2kg, may not require any approval as they pose a low risk and low potential for harm. Large remotely piloted aircraft will attract more stringent controls and will face greater scrutiny. For example, the Scan Eagle weighs about 20kg and is capable of flying to New Zealand. Therefore, in the interest of safety, it is prudent that the operator will be licensed, have a full risk assessment, and the operation will be treated like a conventionally-piloted aircraft. As the unmanned sector develops we will be required to add to or amend the regulations progressively to reflect operational changes. Our goal will be to find practical and safe ways to advance the operations of remotely piloted aircraft systems.
Read my speech on unmanned aircraft and the future.
Comment now on small aircraft maintenance licensing
It’s time to comment on proposed amendments to the manual of standards for Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 66. Part 66 sets out the rules for maintenance personnel licensing. The amendments cover the proposed small aircraft maintenance licensing structure, which will take effect from 4 July 2016. Small aircraft includes aeroplanes with a maximum take-off weight of not more than 5700kg, aeroplanes with a maximum take-off weight of more than 5700kg that CASA designates as a small aircraft, single engine helicopters or a helicopter that has more than one engine that CASA designates as a small aircraft. CASA has worked closely with the aviation community to develop the small aircraft licence structure which allows earlier certification of minor maintenance tasks, provides a modular build up to suit individual requirements and is aligned with the competencies of the Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Mechatronics) training package. The draft manual of standards provides details of the proposed small aircraft maintenance licensing structure, which uses new ratings known as group ratings. It also outlines the scope of maintenance, modules and the level of knowledge required for each group rating, as well as the units of competency required to gain each group rating. Following extensive consultation, some maintenance sectors have indicated a preference for an alternative approach to group ratings—for example to split out the airframe and engine privileges into two separate basic group ratings. CASA is particularly looking for comments on this alternative approach to the structure of the basic maintenance privileges for the B1 licence.
Comment on the proposed small aircraft licensing structure by 8 April 2016.
Online medicals are here
Pilots and air traffic controllers can now apply for their medical certificates online through CASA’s new medical records system - MRS. Well before the renewal of a medical certificate is due pilots and air traffic controllers will receive a reminder email. This email will ask them to login on to the medical records system to start their application for a medical certificate. First time users will need to answer questions about their medical history so this information can be retained in the system and be accessed by their designated aviation medical examiner. Pilots and air traffic controllers will also use the online medical records system to pay the processing fee, find designated aviation medical examiners and track the progress of their application. The new system was introduced to streamline the aviation medical process and was designed taking into account feedback from people in the aviation community and medical professionals. People are no longer required to fill in forms by hand, scan documents or mail documents. For the new system to work efficiently CASA needs pilots and air traffic controllers to ensure CASA has up to date contact details, including email, address and mobile phone number.
Find out more about the new medical records system.
Real life saving lessons for sport pilots
There is a great new resource for sport aviation pilots to learn practical lessons from close calls that could have been a disaster. CASA has produced a 48 page booklet with 17 close calls submitted by the sports aviation community. The close calls have been grouped according to human factors themes: decision making, distraction and situational awareness. Situations covered include white-out, rotor management, last light, checklists, pre-flight distractions and mid-air collision. These real-life stories were submitted by pilots of ultralights, hang gliders, gliders, gyroplanes and paragliders. With between 70 and 80 per cent of aviation accidents resulting from some type of human error the lessons are vital for all sport pilots, who make up almost half the aviation community in Australia. In 2015 there were 26 individual sports aviation accidents, resulting in 28 fatalities. The close call stories remind sport pilots that with thorough pre-flight planning they can minimise the risk of accidents and incidents. Sports aviation organisations will be distributing the booklet to their members.
The sports aviation close calls booklet can also be ordered through the CASA online store.
Careful checks needed after aircraft hail damage
New guidance is available on the correct processes to follow after an aircraft is damaged by hail. CASA has developed the guidance material following recent summer storms where a number of light aircraft suffered hail damage. An inspection and assessment of hail damage is required prior to the next flight to ensure it is within the manufacturer’s damage limits and specifications. Any hail damage needs to be assessed in accordance with approved data by a suitably qualified person authorised under sub part 21.M of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations, which covers modification and repair design approvals. Important issues to consider are the effect on aerodynamics - particularly flow separation, overall handling and also asymmetric stall – and the effect on structure. A hail dent reduces the stiffness in the local area and can in some cases impact the sub-structure. As a general rule, any damage that affects the substructure is no longer considered negligible. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA recommends having a sub part 21.M approved person inspect the aircraft to assess the damage, paying particular attention to primary and secondary structures and the depth and quantity of damage. Less serious damage may be left temporarily. A damage ‘map’ of the aircraft or photos should be recorded before an assessment begins.
Get the full details in the hail damage airworthiness bulletin.
Safety management system regional workshops
Special workshops on safety management systems for small, non-complex aviation organisations are being held at ten locations across regional Australia. The series of workshops begins in Coffs Harbour on 11 April 2016, and includes three other locations in NSW, two in Queensland, two in Western Australia and one each in the Northern Territory and Tasmania. The last workshop will be held in Kununurra on 10 June 2016. CASA ran the same one-day safety management system workshops in capital cities in 2015, with positive feedback from participants. They provide a chance for small aviation organisations to learn about developing and implementing a safety management system, as well as to ask questions and provide feedback. The workshops cost $50 per person to contribute to costs. Each participant will be given a copy of the latest edition of the safety management system resource kit, which is essential for anyone setting up a new system or updating an existing system. The resource kit is written in plain language and has templates and guides for implementing safety management systems.
Book your place in a regional safety management workshop.
Find out about the safety management system resource kit.
Action to address mustering training bottleneck
Action has been taken to reduce a bottleneck in helicopter mustering training. CASA has approved the first industry person under Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations to carry out flight tests and instructor rating proficiency checks for helicopter mustering low level instructors. The person given the approval operates a helicopter flying school in North Queensland. They received extensive briefings from a CASA Flight Training Examiner and successfully completed the flight test that followed. Providing industry approvals for mustering instruction flight tests and rating proficiency checks was identified as a priority by the Part 61 Solutions Taskforce. This Taskforce was set up late in 2015 to address outstanding issues with Part 61 and works closely with an industry advisory panel. Initially examinations and proficiency checks were to be almost exclusively conducted by CASA qualified personnel. Giving an approval to people from industry will help build capability in the aerial mustering sector. The Part 61 Solutions Taskforce arranged for CASA’s Flying Standards Branch to train and assess the approval holder, who received the instrument of approval on 26 February 2016.
Find out more about the improvements being made to the licensing suite of regulations.
Guidance material for flying training organisations
A range of guidance material has been released designed to make it easier for flying training organisations to transition to new rules by 31 August 2018. The materials are primarily targeted at operators who conduct non-complex flying training activities under Part 141 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. However they are also suitable for adaptation and expansion by other Part 141 operators. The guidance includes a Part 141 Sample Operations Manual and guide, CASA’s Part 141 technical assessor’s handbook and worksheet, a range of sample flying training syllabuses and an information sheet explaining the transition process. Also available are CASA’s management instructions to staff, which outline how inspectors should approach Part 141 assessments. All inspectors conducting Part 141 assessments have received specific training in the assessment of manuals derived from the Sample Operations Manual. The production of the guidance material is an initiative of CASA’s Part 61 Solutions Taskforce which was formed in November 2016 to resolve issues associated with the implementation of the suite of new flight crew licensing regulations.
New standards proposed for warbirds
Owners and operators of warbirds and ex-military historic aircraft will benefit from proposed new standards for limited category aircraft. CASA is moving to create a manual of standards for Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 132, which covers limited category operations. The move is in line with recommendation 30 of the Aviation Safety Regulation Review which is for CASA to use a three tier regulatory structure – the Civil Aviation Act, regulations and standards. This recommendation was supported in principle by the Federal Government. The proposed manual of standards for limited category operations will provide a greater freedom of use for warbirds and historic aircraft, with cost sharing flights and air racing to be authorised. The requirement for limited category aircraft to be operated under the manuals and procedures of an approved self-administering aviation organisation will be strengthened. This means warbirds currently operating on experimental certificates will transition to a limited category certificate. The proposed manual of standards will include a number of provisions that were previously to be in the Part 132 regulations. CASA has already engaged in comprehensive consultation to develop the proposed manual of standards, particularly with the Australian Warbirds Association. Further comment is now being sought from the wider aviation community.
Find out more about the proposed limited category manual of standards and comment by 8 April 2016.
LAMEs complete industry delegate training
One hundred and twenty licenced aircraft maintenance engineers from both the aviation industry and CASA have successfully completed training on minimum equipment lists, systems of maintenance and certificates of airworthiness. The training took place between August 2015 and February 2016. It is required training for licensed aircraft maintenance engineers who wish to become CASA delegates. People who apply for an instrument of delegation must complete a CASA course on the requested approval power with 12 months of making the application. The CASA staff who perform this work are also required to complete the same training. Industry delegates make airworthiness regulatory decisions about 5000 times a year on average, so they are essential to smooth running of the aviation safety regulatory system. Training CASA staff and potential industry delegates together ensures there is greater consistency in airworthiness decision making. The joint training also builds strong working relationships between CASA and the aviation community – a benefit that was recognised in feedback from course participants. One participant described the training as ‘invaluable’, while others said they wanted more training, more often.
Time to register for design and manufacturing seminar
CASA’s annual design and manufacturing seminar is being held in May 2016 in Brisbane. The popular and productive two-day event is hosted by CASA’s airworthiness and engineering standards branch, with expert guest speakers from the aviation industry. This year’s seminar will cover topics including the implementation of Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Subpart 21.J and updates on Subpart 21.M, with the focus on what is coming over the next six to twelve months in the areas of design and manufacturing. These regulations cover approvals for design organisations and modification and repair design approvals. A number of presentations on certification, design and manufacturing projects will be delivered over the two days. If there are particular topics that you would like to see discussed at the seminar please send an email request to CASA as soon as possible. Anyone who would like to make a presentation at the design and manufacturing seminar is asked to submit an abstract of their proposed topic by 10 April 2016. The seminar is being held on Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 May 2016 at the Mercure Hotel in Brisbane.
Register for the design and manufacturing seminar, request topics or propose a presentation by email to: email@example.com
Please register before 30 April 2016.
Lessons for life for pilots
CASA will be holding safety seminars for pilots at fifteen locations around the nation during April 2016. Lessons for life seminars are scheduled to be held at Derby, Broome, William Creek, Griffith, Lethbridge Airpark, Wagga, Kyneton, Merimbula, Latrobe Valley, Geraldton, Innisfail, Moruya, Echuca, Sale and Jandakot. Each seminar will focus on key safety issues that continue to feature in accidents such as flight in low visibility, unplanned or unapproved low flying, pilot incapacitation and weather. Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation reports nominate these issues as top safety concerns. There will be a discussion about at least one case study from accident reports. Other issues may be discussed such as regulatory changes, pilot responsibilities in relation to maintenance releases and correct procedures to follow at non-controlled aerodromes. The seminars also provide an important opportunity for pilots to give feedback and suggestions to CASA.
Find an AvSafety seminar near you.
We want your comments and ideas on safety regulation, CASA's performance or this newsletter. Send us feedback.
Want the very latest in news and information from CASA? Then follow CASA on Twitter: @CASABriefing
Read Flight Safety Australia for credible, informative and comprehensive aviation safety news. Read the bi-monthly interactive magazine on your tablet – simply download the magazine app from the App Store or from Google Play. For daily aviation safety news updates, go to the Flight Safety Australia news site: www.flightsafetyaustralia.com
If you believe aviation safety is at risk, call the CASA safety. Ring 1800 074 737.
If your aircraft has a serious or major defect make sure you report it to CASA. Forms and information are on the CASA web site.
Find out how CASA's safety advisors provide safety education, training and advice to the aviation industry.
Do you need to renew your Aviation Security Identification Card?
Looking to contact CASA's Industry Complaints Commissioner? Find out how here.
If you have a question or request about licensing or aircraft registration remember you can email the CASA Licensing and Registration Centre:
Do you know the easiest way to find the CASA office closest to you? Simply go to our national map and click on your region. Use this link.
There's a special number for contacting CASA's Office of Airspace Regulation outside of normal business hours. For urgent airspace requests call: 02 6217 1177.
CASA has a wide range of challenging and interesting jobs. Find out about the latest employment opportunities at CASA.
CASA online self-service is available for a range of applications. Go to CASA Self-Service.
There's a special page on CASA's web site to help international operators flying in Australia. Find out everything about international operations.
Need to keep up-to-date with what's happening with the regulation of flying schools? Then keep an eye on CASA's web site flying training pages.
Interested in sport aviation? Want to find out how sport aviation is regulated. CASA's web site is a good source of more information. Find out more on the sport aviation pages.