Fatigue rules for operators and pilots
The current reform of the fatigue rules will ensure a single, safe and effective fatigue risk management regime is in place for Australian operators. At present, the following fatigue risk management rules for operators and pilots are currently in force.
The old rules - CAO Part 48
Flight time limitations for operators were detailed in CAO Part 48. A number of operators are operating subject to an exemption or instrument of direction in relation to the old rules.
The original new rules - CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013
In April 2013 CASA introduced new rules for the management of pilot fatigue set out in CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013. The rules are based on modern science, the latest research, and are made to suit modern flying conditions.
The new rules apply automatically for new operators. Existing operators (pre-April 2013 air operator certificate holders and Part 141 operators) can continue operating to the old rules until 1 May 2018. Operators also have the option to transition to the new rules before the transition deadline.
CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 adopts a tiered approach to managing fatigue, ranging from prescriptive requirements reflected by the basic limits in Appendix 1, to a mix or prescription and risk management (Appendices 2-6) to a fully developed fatigue risk management system (FRMS) which offers operators the most flexibility.
The original new rules contain seven appendices. Each appendix contains regulations for a particular type of operation as shown in the following diagram.
The amended new rules - CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 as amended by the July 2016 improvements
In July 2016 CASA introduced further improvements to the original new rules including new appendices to cover ballooning, medical transport and emergency services, and daylight only aerial work operations including helicopter mustering. The following diagram shows the appendices available to operators under the amended new rules.
All operators must comply with the amended new rules by the 1 May 2018 transition deadline.
In preparation to operate under CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013, operators must submit their draft operations manual changes or an application for a fatigue risk management system to CASA by 31 October 2017.
Operators may choose to transition early to take advantage of these improvements and simply need to notify CASA.
What are the differences between the original new rules and the amended new rules?
View the guidance document to see how the original new rules have been amended by the 2016 improvements.
Most operators currently implementing the original new rules will need to make minimal changes to comply the amended new rules by the 1 May 2018 transition deadline.
Key differences between the original regulation and the latest version (as amended by the 2016 improvements) are:
- new appendices available for ballooning, medical transport and emergency services, and daylight only aerial work operations (including helicopter mustering)
- allowing all operations (not just public transport services) to be conducted under appendices 2, 3 and 4 - for example, flight training operations to be conducted under Appendix 4
- changes to Appendix 1 to enable operators to access a larger part of the day to conduct any operation (from the beginning of morning civil twilight to 1am the next day) and a more flexible weekly off-duty requirement
- recognition of prior fatigue training undertaken, allowing ‘portability’ of an flight crew member’s fatigue training to a new operator
- aerial work operators under Appendix 5 can extend a flight duty period by up to 2 hours (previously 4 hours).
Helicopter mustering operators
Operators conducting helicopter mustering have the option to comply with CASA 37/16 Direction - flight time limitations for helicopter mustering operations until 1 May 2018. However, like all other operators, helicopter mustering operators must submit draft operations manual changes to CASA detailing how fatigue risk will be managed by 31 October 2017 and must comply with CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 (as amended by the 2016 improvements) by 1 May 2018.
Aerial application operations in aeroplanes
Operators conducting aerial application operations in aeroplanes may comply with CASR Subpart 137.Q and are exempt from complying with CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 under Exemption - Civil Aviation Order 48.1 Instrument 2013 - aerial application operations (in aeroplanes) . The exemption is effective until 31 May 2019 to enable time for a new appendix within CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 to be developed to suit the unique requirements of aerial application operations in aeroplanes.