Annual Report 2006-07: Service delivery
- Industry instruments of appointment—improvements to procedures
- Changes to CASR Part 39 – Airworthiness directives
- Surveillance of smaller regional operators
- Night vision goggles project
- Red Bull Air Race
- Warbird self-administration
- Rapid process improvement initiative
During the year CASA initiated numerous measures to improve service delivery.
We have increased the number of permission types to be processed centrally by the CASA Service Centre and through the CASA workflow management system. Manufacturing and certification permissions, in particular, are now received by the centre and allocated as necessary to CASA field staff.
We have revised regulatory service application forms (to improve guidance information and consistency and to reduce the requirement for CASA follow-up after receiving applications). The revised forms emphasise the need for applicants to be well prepared for assessment to enable smoother and faster processing.
We have introduced a national approach to tracking general aviation regulatory services. Major applications for complex regulatory services, such as air operator’s certificates and certificates of approval, have been managed on a national database. During 2006–07, the General Aviation Operations Group implemented a job management system to achieve a consistent approach to the delivery of other regulatory services at a regional level.
Development of the self-service portal through the CASA website has commenced. This will be a leap forward for applicants in their dealings with CASA. This initiative will allow applications, estimates, payments and the issue of approvals to be processed through the CASA website. The service will interact with CASA databases for seamless management and processing of industry applications.
CASA introduced performance measures and targets or service delivery standards for the majority of regulatory services in July 2006 and has been refining these over the course of the year. All operational groups in CASA are required to report monthly to the Deputy CEO on their service delivery performance, and to analyse and deal with any adverse trends or problems. CASA publishes this performance data on its website. Overview performance graphical information
for an indicative sample of regulatory services across the operational groups is at
figures 14, 15 and 16.
A new system of standard estimates aids regional offices in the preparation of cost estimates for regulatory services. This has reduced processing time and the frequency of technical staff intervention.
During 2006–07 CASA updated its reporting systems, including its workflow management systems such as service difficulty reporting software, to improve the organisation’s functionality and reporting capability, with a view to providing a better service to stakeholders.
New CASA self-service portal:
Improving efficiency, helping cut costs
Secure, immediate and accessible: these are the bywords of CASA’s new Internet self-service portal, which will begin rolling out towards the end of 2007. People who do business with CASA—be they individuals, organisations or delegates—will have almost instant access to their licence, certificate, registration or subscription details online, and will be able to update or change them easily and confidentially.
Further capabilities and functions will become available during 2008, including the ability to fill out and submit forms online, to make payments and to view the progress of various requests for regulatory services.
In the first release, registration holders will be able to update engine and propeller details. In the later releases, for example, approved testing officers will be able to electronically submit endorsements, entitlements, test results and licence applications using the ‘delegate’s portal’.
The last phase of the rollout will allow simplified completion of forms, plus electronic lodgment and payment of regulatory service requests.
Currently the CASA Licensing and Registration Centre handles more than 100,000 individual transactions per year involving a wide spectrum of the aviation industry. The new self-service portal will allow clients to lodge applications with CASA in a secure environment from anywhere in the world, and will cut service delivery times.
The self-service portal will usher in an era of improved efficiency, and will also reduce operating costs.
A major focus during the year was streamlining the procedures followed by the ‘authorised persons’ who approve the design of modifications and repairs to aircraft, and standardising the instruments of appointment to achieve consistency across the industry. Two seminars were held as part of the consultation process and to exchange information. These seminars were attended by nearly 200 industry representatives. Feedback indicates they were successful and well received by industry. Revised audit procedures have been introduced that represent a change of focus. At 30 June 2007 nearly a dozen organisations were using the improved procedures. More seminars are planned as well as further distribution of advisory materials.
Changes are being made to CASR Part 39 – Airworthiness directives, to allow automatic acceptance of foreign airworthiness directives. This will streamline the promulgation of safety-of-flight critical airworthiness information, allowing the industry to comply more easily with airworthiness directives issued by foreign authorities. CASA is compiling a summary of responses and developing a draft notice of proposed rule making. The coming year will see a review of all Australian unique airworthiness directives.
Surveillance of the small regional operator sector during the year included audit processing based on coverage and risk factors. In addition, a special audit programme was undertaken identifying operations that exhibited higher risk indicators. The programme contributed to better safety outcomes with a marked improvement in implementation of efficient safety management systems and internal risk analysis.
During the next financial year, oversight of low-capacity regular public transport operators will move from General Aviation Operations Group to Aviation Transport Operations Group.
The transition of operators will be staged, commencing initially with the transfer of low-capacity, multi-pilot operations. This work is part of the key strategic restructuring initiative to bring the oversight of all passenger carrying operations under ATOG.
CASA has developed significant capability and methodology in systems safety and risk identification. The transition of these operators to ATOG will allow much closer scrutiny and therefore improved safety and regulatory oversight of these passenger-carrying operations.
CASA is developing standards for the use of night vision goggles (NVG) in civilian helicopter operations, and has commenced a 12-month trial of the goggles using the proposed standards. For safety reasons, the trial will be limited to approved operators in certain specialised operations (night emergency services, search and rescue, law enforcement, marine pilot transfer, aerial fire fighting support, and NVG training). The trial results will be used by CASA to test and refine NVG standards for incorporation in proposed new CASRs.
In November 2006, Perth hosted the final leg of the Red Bull Air Race series, with 350,000 people watching the event from the banks of the Swan River, together with a worldwide television audience of about six million people.
CASA played a key role in the Red Bull Air Race, one of the biggest and most successful aviation events to be held in Australia.
CASA’s Perth office had the daunting task of carrying out the safety assessments for the race and providing the necessary approvals.
Looking after safety:
Air race over Perth
- One of the biggest aviation events to be held in Australia—the final leg of the Red Bull Air Race—was an outstanding success over the Swan River in Perth in November 2006.
- With Edge 540 and Extra 300 aircraft flying at ultra-low level between inflatable fabric pylons placed 10 to 14 metres apart on the surface of the river, 350,000 spectators on the river banks and a worldwide television audience, the event provided plenty of safety challenges.
- John Dolby, flying operations team leader in Perth, said: ‘The venue—in front of the CBD—provided the best setting in terms of access and presentation but provided CASA with some major technical challenges to ensure the event met Australian standards for air displays.
- ‘While the major event was the Red Bull Air Race, the program also included a large supporting air display involving helicopters, B767s, F/A-18s, warbirds and solo aerobatic displays. This in itself was a major undertaking.’
- The emergency response plan for the event ran to over 600 pages. ‘The location is usually restricted for aviation activities,’ said John, ‘but in this case the aircraft are highly manoeuvrable. CASA needed to carefully assess the situation to ensure all safety precautions were taken.’ Western region manager Terry Farquharson liaised with state government, tourism, and aviation stakeholders throughout the process.
- The race was won by Hungarian pilot Peter Besenyei. Perth has won a bid to host the race for the next three years.
In early 2007 the Australian Warbirds Association was given approval by CASA to administer aircraft operating with a limited category certificate of airworthiness. The limited category covers historic, ex-military and replica aircraft, many of which are commonly known as ‘warbirds’. During 2006–07, the association demonstrated its capability to become the self-administration body for these operations. Owners and operators of limited category aircraft are strongly encouraged to register with the association.
The association acknowledged the ‘very positive approach, help and assistance provided by CASA’ in gaining approval for self-administration. ‘Community administration of limited category aircraft by the Australian Warbirds Association Limited will further improve on our longstanding record of high safety standards in the restoration, operations and maintenance of rare, valuable and often unique aircraft’, the association stated.
CASA commissioned numerous surveys during the year. The results are used to inform decisions about the information materials and programmes CASA provides for stakeholders. The methodology was essentially the same across the surveys, and included a telephone survey, with both broad and in-depth questions, web surveys and face-to-face discussions.
‘Briefing in a box’
CASA engaged the market research firm New Focus to conduct interviews of instructors to review the effectiveness of CASA’s ‘Briefing in a box’ materials. The final report and recommendations were presented on 5 September 2006. A summary of the findings follows.
- One hundred of the 214 flying schools that were contacted responded.
- There was a good level of awareness of the briefings, in particular those for night visual flight rules and operations in and around controlled airspace.
- The percentage of flying schools using the material varied depending on the subject, but ranged from 51 per cent to 78 per cent (minimum 51 schools presenting courses) with a total of 1,592 briefings given by the schools.
- Eighty-five per cent of the respondents found the material very useful and saw it as more than just a ‘freebie’.
- Seventy-five per cent of the respondents named CASA as the provider of choice for aviation safety information, and gave CASA an excellent rating.
Survey of pilot safety workshops
Participants at crash scene investigation pilot safety workshops indicated:
- the workshops were helpful to very helpful (98 per cent of respondents)
- the presentations were good to excellent (98 per cent)
- arrangements were good to excellent (100 per cent)
- they would attend another CASA workshop (100 per cent).
Survey of Flight Safety Australia
New Focus presented its final report on 15 June 2007. Performance was benchmarked against international experience and both internal and external views of the magazine were considered. The survey showed that respect for the magazine is very high, with an 81 per cent overall excellent rating. It indicated that the magazine is effective at:
- refreshing personal aviation safety knowledge (88 per cent)
- building on previous safety knowledge (87 per cent).
The magazine is widely and regularly read, particularly by private pilots and those involved in the aviation community for more than 40 years. Feedback included the following:
- The ‘What went wrong’ feature and accident analysis information is highly valued.
- The quiz section is perceived as an effective learning tool, particularly by private and professional pilots.
- Articles have an appropriate level of detail.
- Diagrams are easy to understand.
- The magazine has an easy-to-read and -follow layout.
- It is visually appealing.
- The magazine rates highly for credible, accurate and useful information and educational content.
Survey of attitudes of key audiences towards safety
The market research firm Market Solutions was engaged to investigate industry attitudes to safety, priority issues and appropriate messages and communication tools likely to positively influence safety behaviour. The final report was due in July 2007.
Survey of safety products
New Focus was engaged to survey users of CASA’s safety products. It presented its final report on 15 June 2007. The results of this survey were also very encouraging:
- CASA is either very effective or effective overall in raising awareness of safety issues through its educational products (58 per cent).
- Information in the material has a positive impact on respondents’ safety behaviour and attitudes to safety (69 per cent).
- GNSS material and the products relating to operating in and around controlled airspace are highly valued.
- Multi-media presentations are preferred, with Flight Safety Australia a close second.
- CASA production quality is well respected. Respondents like:
- the modern and up-to-date feel
- the use of colour diagrams and pictures to break up text
- the logical structure and order of information
- the appropriate level of detail and use of plain English
- the fact that material is well researched, and that information is practical, informative, relevant, up to date and useful
- the fact that the packaging is strong and made to last
- the convenient, compact size
- the use of bold, clear text.
In most cases respondents said the products had more influence on their own behaviour than on improving the perceived behaviour of others.
In July 2006, CASA engaged the Bevington Group to implement a rapid process improvement initiative within the CASA Licensing and Registration Centre. This has involved detailed data collection and analysis and solution identification and development. It has led to the identification of improvements, in particular information technology enhancements. The three key projects that have been identified as delivering the biggest return, both to CASA and its clients are:
- a self-service portal
- capability for automated payments, such as BPay
- an upgrade of the ‘Medical records system online’.