From acting CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody
The Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, has issued a new Statement of Expectations to the CASA Board. This is an important document that sets out the strategic directions the Government expects CASA to head in between now and mid-2019. It also sets out how CASA is meant to perform its functions. As a notice provided under the Civil Aviation Act, the Minister’s Statement of Expectations guides the CASA Board’s strategic deliberations and decision making. CASA’s next Corporate Plan will reflect the strategic directions in the Statement. The Minister has made it clear that CASA’s regulatory activity should be pragmatic, practical and proportional. Mr Chester has said a pragmatic, practical and proportional approach to regulatory activity is intended to help support aviation growth, particularly in the general aviation sector. It is important to understand the Statement of Expectations builds on the work CASA has been undertaking in recent years to lift our performance in a range of key areas. These include CASA’s approach to safety regulation, the development of new regulations and stakeholder engagement. The Statement of Expectations also reinforces CASA’s commitment to our Regulatory Philosophy. Of course it should not be forgotten that the Statement of Expectations makes it clear CASA will continue to ensure the highest priority is given to aviation safety.
The Minister also recently announced the appointment of Ms Cheryl Cartwright to the CASA Board. I welcome Cheryl’s appointment as she will add more diversity of experience to the Board and lift the gender balance close to 50 per cent, which is great for our organisation. Cheryl has a background in government relations, strategic planning and communications. This appointment is consistent with CASA’s governing legislation, which stresses the importance of an appropriate balance of professional expertise on the Board to complement the aviation experience of current Board members.
Cold and flu drugs could put you at risk
Winter is coming and it’s time for everyone in safety sensitive positions in aviation to think carefully about cold and flu medications. Codeine, which is found in a number of cold and flu treatments, is a drug included in the aviation drug and alcohol testing program. If codeine is detected during testing a person is required to stop work until they are cleared by either a CASA doctor or under the provisions of their company’s Drug and Alcohol Management Plan. Naturally this means disruption to normal work and rosters and for casual workers possibly lost income. To avoid testing positive for codeine people working in aviation sensitive roles, such as pilots, maintainers and cabin and ground crew, should seek advice from their doctor or their company’s drug and alcohol management personnel before taking cold and flu treatments. Over the counter medications can cause side effects which impair the ability to perform to required standards and so put safety at risk. The permitted level of codeine under the drug and alcohol regulations is 25 nanograms per millilitre. In 2015-16 CASA conducted 16,598 random drug and alcohol tests on safety sensitive aviation personnel.
Find out more about drug and alcohol testing.
How to protect low use engines
New advice has been released on how to protect piston aircraft engines that are not flown regularly. These engines are susceptible to damage from corrosion and contamination, which may adversely affect expected service life. In coastal areas and areas of high relative humidity corrosion attack can occur within a few days. Aircraft operators with aircraft that are flown infrequently should follow the instructions of engine manufacturers as well as be aware of a range of key issues. These issues are set out in an airworthiness bulletin which covers the use of preservation oil, establishing an appropriate engine preservation threshold and regime, calendar time oil changes and engine ground running. The need for engine preservation should be evaluated by aircraft operators, taking into account environmental conditions and periods of aircraft inactivity. Changing oil on a calendar time basis for low utilisation engines is an effective means of removing contaminants such as water and the by-products of combustion. Engine ground running is not a substitute for regular flying and will in fact tend to aggravate rather than minimise corrosion. Similarly, the practice of pulling engines through by hand when aircraft are not run or flown for extended periods can also exacerbate problems.
Get all the details on protecting engines.
Cost recovery changes reduce costs
CASA’s cost recovery arrangements are being streamlined and improved. Changes are being made to cost recovery for international and domestic travel, legislative instruments and refunds on fixed fees. The changes will reduce a range of regulatory costs to the aviation community. In line with Australian Government policy CASA is required to recover costs for providing regulatory services. Fees apply to regulatory services such as licences and ratings, examinations, medicals, aircraft registration, certificates, permits, exemptions, approvals and authorities. Fees are charged at hourly rates or as fixed fees starting from $25. The time charged for international travel by CASA to provide regulatory services is being changed to a standard working day rather than an hourly rate. CASA’s satellite offices in Broome, Kununurra, Gove and Horn Island will be treated as fully operating offices for the purposes of cost recovery. This will reduce travel charges for some regulatory services in these areas, benefitting local aviation communities. CASA will also standardise the way in which charges are applied for the drafting and lodging of Federal Registered Legislative Instruments. This will provide greater certainty and consistency and ensure that CASA does not charge more than is required for this work. There will now be partial refunds of fixed fees where a task is not required to be completed and a fee has been paid in advance. Changes to cost recovery will take effect from 1 May 2017.
Find out more about CASA’s cost recovery.
Approved testing officer delegations extended
Existing approved testing officer delegations are being extended for another 12 months - until 30 June 2018. These delegations, which allow approved testing officers to carry out certain flight tests and proficiency checks, were to have expired on 30 June 2017. The extension has been made while the indemnity arrangements that currently cover approved testing officers are comprehensively reviewed. Under changes introduced in the new licensing suite of regulations approved testing officer delegations are being replaced by a flight examiner rating. This change meant current indemnity arrangements, which only cover delegates and authorised persons, ceased once approved testing officers moved across to the flight examiner rating. The 12 month extension of the existing delegations means the indemnity protection offered to all CASA delegates and authorised persons, as set out in Civil Aviation Advisory Publication (CAAP) Admin-1, will apply to people who continue to hold an approved testing officer delegation. Approved testing officers who still have their delegation and have not obtained a flight examiner rating do not need to take any action at this time. A working group comprising CASA, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development and the Department of Finance has been established to examine all aspects of the indemnity scheme and insurance-related considerations. A policy paper on the issues will be produced for comment during 2017. This will look at whether indemnity arrangements should continue and if indemnity does continue the nature and extent of the coverage.
Find out more about the approved testing officer delegations.
New look for aviation medicine online
The web site that provides information about aviation medicine is changing. The current aviation medicine web site is being integrated into the main CASA web site. This will change the design and layout of the aviation medicine web pages, while all essential information and functionality is retained. The change could affect some bookmarks of individual aviation medicine web pages. As part of the move to the CASA web site all aviation medicine online information has been reviewed to make sure it is up-to-date and easy to find. The search functions for Designated Aviation Medical Examiners and Designated Aviation Ophthalmologists will continue to operate in the same way. The changes will not affect the medical records system or the login procedures. CASA has undertaken user testing of the new aviation medicine web pages to make sure they meet the needs of the aviation community. The new web pages are scheduled to go live in May 2017.
Visit the aviation medicine web pages.
Cabin crew ratio clarified
The federal government has supported the continuation of approvals for a ratio of one cabin crew member to every fifty passenger seats on some domestic aircraft. This follows a parliamentary committee inquiry into cabin crew ratios. In a statement the government said there was unequivocal advice from both CASA and Office of Transport Security that having a one to fifty cabin crew ratio in Australia did not reduce the safety or security of domestic aircraft operations. Most major international safety regulatory authorities around the world endorse the one to fifty ratio. CASA issues individual directions to airlines permitting a one to fifty cabin crew ratio if aircraft have been certificated by the state of design for this ratio. Airlines need to have in place an approved robust safety management system and safety risk management plan to have access to the ratio on specified aircraft. The statement by the government said the Office of Transport Security has confirmed that since the use of the one to fifty cabin crew ratio was permitted on some Australian aircraft in 2006, there has not been a diminution of security standards in Australia.
Read the statement on cabin crew ratios.
Ten seminars for pilots coming soon
CASA is holding ten safety seminars for pilots around the nation during April 2017. Lessons for life seminars are scheduled at Inverell, Innisfail, Jandakot, Armidale, Merimbula, Townsville, Jabiru, Esperance, Alice Springs and Ayers Rock. Eight of these seminars will focus on fuel management and handling partial power loss in a single engine aircraft. Two of the seminars – Jandakot and Esperance – will include a refresher on weather forecasts and a summary of accident/incident statistics over recent years. Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation reports nominate fuel management and partial power loss as the cause of a high number of accidents. Lessons will be learnt from past accidents, with everyone asked to consider how the accident could have been avoided. Other issues may be discussed such as electronic flight bags, regulatory changes, correct procedures to follow at non-controlled aerodromes and the requirements for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast. All the seminars provide an important opportunity for pilots to give feedback and suggestions to CASA.
Book your place for an AvSafety Seminar now.
Seminars for engineers
Two engineering safety seminars are being held in May 2017. An engineering seminar will be held at Caloundra on Wednesday 17 May 2017 and at Alice Springs on Tuesday 23 May 2017. These seminars are aimed at people in airworthiness roles such as engineers, the head of aircraft airworthiness and maintenance, continuing airworthiness management, air operators and training organisations. CASA aims to support the professional development of people in these safety critical roles by providing access to the latest best practice, information and resources. Importantly the seminars will also provide the opportunity to ask questions and raise issues with CASA. Topics to be covered will include the maintenance responsibilities of the registered operator, registration holder, responsible manager, aircraft owner and licensed aircraft maintenance engineer; defect reporting; tool control; and the Part 64 review. Part 64 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations covers the requirements needed for an authorisation to operate an aeronautical radio or the authority to taxi an aeroplane.
Book your place at an engineering seminar.
Hobart airspace study
A study of the airspace around Hobart aerodrome has made three recommendations. The study, conducted by CASA’s Office of Airspace Regulation, says the existing airspace classification and architecture should remain unchanged, except for one adjustment to a controlled area step. It is recommended that Airservices Australia continues redesign work for flight routes into and out of Hobart, making improvements to existing terminal instrument flight procedures and introducing standard arrival routes. The report says CASA should monitor aircraft and passenger movements and incidents at Hobart over the next 24 months to determine whether a trend of traffic growth continues. An aeronautical risk review should then be conducted if necessary. There has been a steady growth in traffic movements at Hobart over the last four years. The annual number of airspace related incidents at Hobart has remained low, with seven incidents recorded between December 2009 and June 2016. There were no injuries from any of the incidents. Airspace users reported that on occasions they experienced delays in receiving airways clearances and there were general inefficiencies in the use of airspace. Stakeholder comments highlighted that occasionally the tower frequency experienced congestion and over transmission occurrences.
Go to the full Hobart airspace study report.