Ageing aircraft issues in the spotlight
Work is underway to answer an important question about aviation safety: does Australia have an ageing aircraft problem? CASA has set up a special project not only to answer the question, but also to examine a wide range of ageing aircraft issues. The current average age of single and multi-engine fixed wing aircraft is 30 years, and 97 per cent of multi-engine piston aircraft are older than the typical 20 year design life. There is also an increasing use of older jet aircraft in regional areas. The ageing aircraft project will look at the safety, reliability, maintainability, economy and liability of ageing aircraft, to analyse and identify the point at which an increase in the age of an aircraft results in unacceptable consequences.
CASA will gather information, consulting extensively with industry—representative bodies, industry specialists and maintenance and engineering organisations—and will collect data on structural fatigue, corrosion, wiring systems, power plants, mechanical systems and maintenance programs. From the project will come the development of an ageing aircraft policy, identification of critical ageing aircraft issues, minimisation of the effects of ageing aircraft on the travelling public and the development of proactive regulations and advisory material.
CASA has set up the project in response to the Australian Government’s National Aviation Policy White Paper.