Safety topic: Ramp checks

Picture this scenario: you're on the tarmac and you notice someone approaching across runway. You also notice they are carrying something. As they get closer you see it's a clip board and a pen.

Believe it or not, he wants to let you get on with your flight just as much as you do. Why not get acquainted with what's going to keep him smiling today.

Inspectors and ramp checks

The success of your ramp check is not going to rely on luck or the mood of the inspector.

You can always prepare by reading up on procedures and processes. There are no secrets to catch you out.

If a CASA inspector selects you for a ramp check, they will ask for your CASA pilot licensing documents. This includes:

  • Flight crew licence (FCL). You must carry your current licence and photographic ID. Paper or an electronic copy of licence is acceptable
  • Aviation medical certificate. This must be current, and you must be compliant with any restrictions or endorsements. For example, the wearing of corrective lenses. Paper or an electronic copy of medical certificate is acceptable.

The inspector will then check your preparation for your flight. This includes:

  • Have you maintained a navigation/fuel log?
  • Have you made a careful study of forecast weather and applicable NOTAMs?
  • Are you compliant with CASA flight time limitations (as applicable)?
  • Are you carrying the appropriate current charts and documents? Are they easily accessible by the crew?
  • Are you using an EFB for your charts and documents? There are considerations for commercial versus private operations.
  • Have you complied with the aircraft weight and balance requirements?
  • Have you submitted a flight plan (if required by AIP)?
  • Are you compliant with the requirements to wear a life jacket for flights over water in single engine aircraft?
Ramp check inspection

The inspector will then check your aircraft including the flight manual and maintenance release.

An airworthiness inspector accompanying the FOI may also perform a general inspection of the aircraft to ensure there are no obvious defects.

If you're doing things by the book, a ramp check should not prove to be any concern.

But we're all human and you can sometimes overlook things.

If it has been a while since you've had anything to do with CASA, ask yourself:

  • Have I become complacent?
  • Am I flying and planning to fly by the rules?

Even asking yourself if you've renewed the registration of your personal locator beacon is important.

It doesn't matter whether you're off for an hour of circuits, a month-long air safari, or just nipping across to the next property. You need to be complying with CASA's requirements.

The rules are there for a reason: your safety. Just because it hasn't happened to you yet, doesn't mean you're not going to get ramp checked.

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