From the Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore
Finishing touches are being made to CASA’s plan for the implementation of the Federal Government’s response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review. This plan sets out in detail how CASA will achieve the Government’s requirements and when actions are scheduled be completed, with some being ongoing. Key elements of the implementation plan will be fully embedded in CASA’s 2015-16 to 2018-19 corporate plan. By doing this CASA’s goals will be clearly and publicly stated and our performance in reaching these goals will be reported to the Government, the aviation community and the general community. In other words, we are being open and honest with everyone in our commitment to deliver on the Government’s response to the review. You may recall the Government announced in December 2014 that it agreed with 32 of the 37 recommendations, with one not supported and a further four subject to further examination. Subsequently the Minister for Infrastructure Warren Truss has released a new statement of expectations to the CASA Board which sets out how the Government requires CASA to operate and perform, including responding to the review. There is more detail about the statement of expectations below. In addition to our current short and medium term planning work has started on a longer term strategic plan, which I have called Flight Plan 2030. This plan will broadly set out our objectives over the next 15 years, as well as a framework for the development of the CASA of the future. My aim is to establish a common understanding with the aviation and wider community about how we will continue to deliver optimal aviation safety outcomes, while responding to a dynamic and growing aviation industry.
A key element of these plans will be the way in which CASA engages with the aviation community. We do understand and value the importance of maintaining a meaningful, co-operative and mutually respectful relationship with the people and organisations that make up the Australian aviation community. CASA recognises positive engagement with the aviation community is necessary to develop and implement the best possible safety standards, deliver effective safety education and get the right operational outcomes. With mutual trust and respect we can forge a closer working relationship with all sectors of aviation. As I have said previously, we are committed to an appropriate safety partnership where we all play our roles in getting the best from the aviation safety system. Part of this is being open to criticism and I can assure everyone that where CASA is deservedly criticised we will listen carefully and respond in the right way. I can give an assurance that the causes of problems will be investigated and actions taken to make sure mistakes are rectified and not repeated. The CASA I lead will listen, respond and deliver, without ever losing sight of the number one goal of safe skies for all.
Mark Skidmore AM
Government sets its expectations for CASA
A new statement of expectations from the Federal Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss to the CASA Board provides a clear framework for the regulator’s performance in key areas. It covers areas such as service, communication, costs, funding ,accountability, professionalism, workforce planning, international safety engagement and relations with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. The statement requires CASA to develop a plan setting out how it will implement the Government’s response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review in “an effective and timely manner”. It also calls for a review of the operations and functions of Office of Airspace Regulation. CASA is to be guided by the safety principles set out in the Government’s response to the review, consider recommendations from the Industry Complaints Commissioner about systemic issues arising from investigations by the Commissioner and communicate regularly with relevant government agencies, industry and key stakeholders. The Minister says in the statement that CASA will continue to focus on aviation safety as the highest priority. In performing its functions CASA will “maintain high standards of professionalism, service, probity, reporting, accountability and transparency”. It will “undertake effective and ongoing engagement with the aviation industry to create an effective collaborative relationship between CASA and the industry based on a foundation of mutual understanding and respect”. CASA is also to “consider the economic and cost impact on individuals, businesses and the community in the development and finalisation of new or amended regulatory changes”.
Remotely piloted aircraft rule changes coming soon
Important changes to the rules covering the commercial operation of small remotely piloted aircraft are being finalised. These changes will remove the requirement for commercial operations of remotely piloted aircraft weighing less than two kilograms to have approvals from CASA as long as the flights are conducted according to standard operating conditions. These conditions will allow flights in non-populous areas more than 30 metres from people, below 400 feet and only during the day time, with the remotely piloted aircraft in line of sight. In a recent speech CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore said changes to the regulations are expected to be made in the second half of 2015. Mr Skidmore said CASA is also considering issuing a manual of standards to support the remotely piloted aircraft regulations. This manual of standards would contain information on licensing, controlled airspace training, records management and operational standards. The advantage of having a manual of standards is that it would allow CASA to respond more quickly to changes in technology and other circumstances.
Mr Skidmore said CASA will begin work on developing a new set of regulations covering all commercial remotely piloted aircraft operations once the soon to be made changes are bedded down. The new regulations will cover issues such as beyond visual line of sight flights, operating in non-segregated airspace and flights with various degrees of autonomy and automation. “We are considering the long term integration of remotely piloted aircraft into aviation operations in all classes of airspace,” Mr Skidmore said. “However, there are significant technological advances, regulatory changes, training and skills, procedures, documentation and education that need to happen before integration into all classes of airspace can take place. Further, there are a significant number of technical issues for which standards have not yet been determined around the world.”
Read the Director’s speech on the safety and regulation of remotely piloted aircraft.
Tell us how to cut regulatory red tape
People across the aviation community are being asked to contribute to efforts to reduce regulatory red tape. CASA is committed to the Federal Government’s deregulation agenda which aims to reduce unnecessary red tape costs on individuals, businesses and community organisations. The agenda applies to any mandatory obligations imposed by legislation, regulations or quasi-regulations. This includes statutory instruments, standards, codes of practice, or any other aspect of regulator behaviour that has a measurable cost burden on business or individuals. Costs imposed by new regulations must be offset, although not necessarily in the same area. It has been a long standing CASA policy to ensure safety regulations are necessary, risk based and cost effective, with no unnecessary cost burdens imposed on the aviation community. The Government’s deregulation agenda puts additional emphasis on CASA’s policy. Everyone in aviation is invited to make constructive suggestions on cutting red tape by sending ideas and comments to a dedicated email address. Suggestions can be made about removing unnecessary regulations, modifying inefficient regulations or simplifying CASA’s processes and procedures.
Send your red tape reduction ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clearer standards for night VFR flights
New standards for the conduct of some night visual flight rules operations will come into effect in 2016. This follows amendments to the Civil Aviation Orders and the development of additional guidance material. CASA reviewed night visual flight rules standards following an Australian Transport Safety Bureau report into a fatal helicopter accident in central Australia. The helicopter flight was conducted in dark night conditions. The changes make clear to visual flight rules pilots the external visual clues needed for safe flight. It is a requirement that helicopters not fitted with an autopilot, stabilisation system or operated by a two pilot crew are operated with sufficient visual reference to the surface. This enables a pilot to maintain the helicopter’s orientation by the use of visual external cues as a result of lights on the ground or celestial illumination. In order to conduct operations safely and legally at night in a rotorcraft, the visual cueing environment must be accounted for in the planning and execution of night visual flight rules rotorcraft operations. While it is not a requirement for aeroplane night visual flight rules operations, CASA strongly recommends that the use of external cues to aid with aircraft orientation is also considered during the planning and execution of night visual flight rules operations.
Find out more about the night visual flight rules changes.
CASA and ATSB agree cooperation is vital
A new framework for co-operation between CASA and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has been put in place. This has been achieved through the formalisation of an updated memorandum of understanding between the two organisations. The revised memorandum of understanding fulfils one of the requirements set out in the Federal Government’s response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review. The purpose of the memorandum of understanding is to enhance aviation safety by facilitating cooperation between CASA and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau while maintaining their independence and capacity to perform their separate but complementary functions. In pursuing this objective, both agencies agree to uphold the values of cooperation, honesty, trust, mutual respect, openness and professionalism. The new agreement covers notifications of accidents and incidents, procedures around access to evidence, exchange of information and initiating safety action. The agreement clarifies CASA’s responsibility to ensure information about accidents or incidents being investigated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau is made available. CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore said it is important for the agencies to share safety information while recognising that there are limits to what the accident investigator can provide to the regulator. “Where those limits exist, the ATSB makes the decision on what information is provided and CASA will only ask the ATSB for certain kinds of information if it is necessary in the demonstrable interests of safety,” Mr Skidmore said. “Of course, if CASA has information it believes relevant to an ATSB investigation, we will let the ATSB know.”
Find out more about the new CASA and Australian Transport Safety Bureau MoU.
Sydney airspace study now open for comment
A detailed study of Sydney basin airspace did not identify any safety concerns for the travelling public using Sydney Kingsford Smith airport. The study, which is open for public comment until 15 May 2015, was conducted by CASA’s Office of Airspace Regulation. It reviewed airspace arrangements within 45 nautical miles of Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, looking ahead to 2018. The study concluded: “Despite the complexity of the airspace and traffic mix and increasing numbers of flights at and around the aerodrome, the Sydney airspace is amongst the safest in the country.” There were no safety concerns with the airspace used by regular public transport aircraft. However, the study did find a range of other issues, most relating to Bankstown aerodrome’s airspace. Most of the issues identified in relation to Bankstown will be looked at by CASA and Airservices Australia through the Bankstown Joint Airspace and Procedures Analysis Team, which was set up in 2014. Issues to be considered include class D airspace architecture, visual approach points and visual flight rules routes. The study also recommended that Commonwealth aviation agencies should set up a working group to investigate future airspace options for Sydney. Other recommendations covered maximising performance based navigation, improving clearances for general aviation aircraft, reviewing guidance material, studying frequency congestion and reducing restricted airspace. CASA consulted widely with airport and airspace users, industry groups and pilot organisations in developing the Sydney airspace study.
Read the Sydney airspace study.
Send comments to: email@example.com.
Updated advice on new fatigue rules
Comprehensive revised guidance material on meeting the new fatigue management requirements has been released. An updated version of the Civil Aviation Advisory Publication on fatigue management for flight crew members contains additional practical guidance on the application of the new requirements. By April 2016 all air operators and flight crew members will work under the provisions of Civil Aviation Order 48.1, which sets the new framework for fatigue management. Under these rules air operators have a choice about which approach they will take to fatigue management – following prescriptive flight and duty time limitations, less restrictive duty time limitations with risk management processes, continuous monitoring and training or using a fatigue risk management system. The advisory is primarily aimed at organisations that use the first two options, although CASA strongly urges that it is also applied to the development of fatigue risk management systems. The obligations of both operators and flight crew members are covered, with new appendices containing specific information on how to interpret the limits and requirements of the new rules. Under a subsection in Civil Aviation Order 48.1 it is a requirement that flight crew licence holders must not operate an aircraft if they have reason to believe they are suffering from or likely to suffer from fatigue which may impair performance and affect safety.
Go to the fatigue management advisory.
Seminars for pilots across the nation
Fourteen safety seminars for pilots are scheduled across five states and the Northern Territory during May 2015. AvSafety seminars are planned for Darwin, Maryborough, Gympie, Rockhampton, Kalgoorlie, Broome, Jandakot, Derby, Geraldton, Kununurra, Latrobe Valley, Bairnsdale, Cessnock and Mudgee. They provide an opportunity for pilots to learn about current issues, raise local and national safety and regulatory issues, ask questions and provide feedback to CASA. A menu of topics has been set for the AvSafety seminars, with the most relevant topics to be covered at each location. There will be a focus on providing information and resources on the new licensing regulations, with pilots encouraged to ask questions and seek guidance on any areas of the new regulations. Other topics that can be covered at the seminars include ageing aircraft management plans, communicating with air traffic control, graphical area forecasts and the terminal area forecast review and safety information from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Airservices Australia.
Find an AvSafety Seminars near you.
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If you believe aviation safety is at risk, call the CASA safety. Ring 1800 074 737.
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Do you know the easiest way to find the CASA office closest to you? Simply go to our national map and click on your region. Use this link.
There's a special number for contacting CASA's Office of Airspace Regulation outside of normal business hours. For urgent airspace requests call: 02 6217 1177.
CASA has a wide range of challenging and interesting jobs. Find out about the latest employment opportunities at CASA.
CASA online self-service is available for a range of applications. Go to CASA Self-Service.
There's a special page on CASA's web site to help international operators flying in Australia. Find out everything about international operations.
Need to keep up-to-date with what's happening with the regulation of flying schools? Then keep an eye on CASA's website flying training pages.
Interested in sport aviation? Want to find out how sport aviation is regulated. CASA's web site is a good source of more information. Find out more on the sport aviation pages.