Annual Report 2006-07: Corporate performance
- Responses to parliamentary oversight
- Responses to accident and incident investigations and safety recommendations
CASA appeared before the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee in November 2006, February 2007 and May 2007. A total of 77 questions were directed to CASA by the committee.
CASA also responded to 189 written parliamentary questions during the reporting period.
CASA received 108 separate communications from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), either seeking CASA’s comments on draft or interim incident and accident reports, or providing copies of final reports. The major item was the ATSB report into an accident at Lockhart River in 2005. CASA now places its responses to ATSB recommendations on its website.
Safe skies, safe landing:
The field safety adviser role
Low on fuel, descending through cloud and trying to fight the autopilot: it could be any flier’s nightmare. In this true story the pilot lived to tell the tale, and attributes his survival to CASA safety training.
CASA field safety adviser Tim Penney recently had a call from the pilot concerned, ‘a private pilot with a few hundred hours who is as keen as mustard’.
‘He arrived [at his destination] at 8,500 feet with cloud extending from about 2,000 to 6,500 feet,’ says Tim. ‘With not a lot of fuel remaining and limited options to divert, he prepared to descend through the cloud until he got visual.
‘However, he remembered that in our “Weather to fly” evening safety seminars, the point was made that, if penetration into cloud is inevitable, make every use of what you have available in the aircraft—in this instance, the autopilot.
‘He conducted his descent with the autopilot keeping the wings level, yet he found himself with an attack of the “leans” and was actually trying to fight the autopilot at one stage.
‘He then remembered what he was told about spatial disorientation in the same seminar presentation, realised what was happening and let the autopilot do its work. He popped out at about 2,000 feet or thereabouts and landed safely at the destination.’
Tim says that although the pilot made a number of planning mistakes and errors of judgment which led him into this predicament—and that he should have at least pressed the button and asked for assistance—‘He said quite categorically that attendance at the evening safety seminar did in fact save his life.
‘He said he would not have recognised any of the spatial disorientation aspects, and would in no way have ever thought to use the autopilot to assist, if he had not attended the seminar,’ said Tim.
Tim and his fellow advisers have been on the road for much of the time since their appointment in September 2006. They are expected to spend their days out of the office, working hand-in-hand with industry, helping to achieve the highest levels of safety by dealing with risks identified through analysis and research.
Field safety adviser coordinator Ian Ogilvie says the advisers will spend the majority of their time out in the field providing advice, talking to operators, distributing safety material and listening to the views of people in the industry.
‘They will also be CASA’s eyes and ears in the field. However, they are not compliance people or inspectors,’ says Ian.
‘The advisers will play a key role in facilitating communication and consultation between industry and CASA, and will provide timely advice, education and training.’