From the Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore
As part of our efforts to strengthen the contribution CASA makes to the Australian aviation safety system I have embarked on an internal change program. It is clear to me from both internal and external feedback, as well as my evaluation of the Federal Government’s response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review, that a range of changes are required. Improvements can be made to the way CASA is structured, governance arrangements can be more effective and our systems and processes can be improved. In particular, we must do better at delivering regulatory services to the aviation community. From talking with many people I understand our service delivery can be inconsistent and applications can sometimes get passed unnecessarily between different areas of CASA, slowing down our response times. We need to be able to deliver consistent, effective, efficient and timely regulatory services to the aviation community. To do this I am having our processes reviewed to help me identify how and where the most effective improvements can be made.
While I am committed to a significant change program, the reforms will be undertaken progressively to minimise disruption to CASA’s operations. The plan is to have key changes in place by the middle of 2016, with a number of steps being taken between now and then. This approach allows us to build on the positive things CASA does and to ensure important safety outcomes continue to be delivered. The overarching aim of the change program will be to develop a more constructive engagement between CASA and all sectors of the aviation community. To do this we will soon be setting out CASA’s regulatory philosophy – how we will be a strong, fair and responsive safety regulator that works with the aviation community to achieve optimal safety results. Our approach to being the aviation safety regulator will inform how we conduct our activities, including regulatory development, education, surveillance and enforcement. As I have said previously, CASA must become better at consultation and listening so we can work with the aviation community to build more effective safety partnerships.
Time to review general operating and flight rules
The final draft of the proposed new general operating and flight rules has been released for review. The proposed rules are in Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Part 91, along with a supporting manual of standards. This package of regulatory material forms the foundation for all flight operations and will apply to pilots, aircraft owners and operators, air traffic service providers, aircraft handlers and refuelers, loading personnel and air display organisers. In effect Part 91 is the equivalent to the ‘rules of the road’ in aviation. It includes the regulations covering the responsibilities of the pilot in command, avoiding collisions, cruising levels, minimum heights, flight instruments to be carried in aircraft and emergency equipment. The proposed set of rules aims to make understanding and complying with the requirements easier and clearer. While there has previously been extensive consultation on the general operating and flight rules a significant number of changes have been made to the original proposals. This meant that a further review of the final proposals by the aviation community was appropriate. Areas that have been changed include reporting in-flight emergencies, operating aircraft with defects, fuel requirements, aircraft performance and performance based navigation. Once the new Part 91 is finalised CASA will work with the aviation community to develop an implementation plan and commencement date.
Provide comments on the proposed general operating and flight rules before 6 October 2015.
Help is here for ADS-B equipment fitting problems
Important deadlines for the fitting of new equipment to aircraft for navigation and surveillance will be reached over the next 17 months. By 2 February 2017 all instrument flight rules aircraft must be fitted with automatic dependant surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B) equipment. The current general exemption for aircraft operating at or above flight level 290 will expire on 11 December 2015 and will not be extended. The deadlines and requirements have been clearly set out for a number of years and the majority of aircraft operators have already fitted the required equipment or are finalising fitment. However, there are a small number of aircraft owners and operators who may be having difficulty sourcing the correct and approved equipment for their aircraft. These people can approach CASA to seek an exemption from the deadlines. It is important that any application for an exemption sets out clearly the effort that has been made to obtain the equipment and why it cannot be supplied in time. In addition, applications for exemptions must provide details of how an acceptable level of safety will be provided without the equipment being fitted as required and for how long the non-compliance is likely to last. CASA will carefully assess all applications for exemptions, consulting with Airservices Australia. Exemption applications need to be made in accordance with the provisions of Civil Aviation Safety Regulation 11. An advisory circular provides guidance on the process.
Get all the details on navigation and surveillance requirements.
Go to the exemption advice.
Maintenance personnel exams go online
Changes are being made to the way CASA’s maintenance examinations are being delivered. People can continue to sit the CASA basics exams and use schedules of experience to obtain a small aircraft maintenance licence until June 2019. After that date all training will be delivered by approved maintenance training organisations delivering Mechatronics courses under the Aeroskills Training Package. Until now CASA has directly delivered the paper-based multiple-choice maintenance theory exams at a range of locations at least six times a year. From October 2015 the exams will be delivered by a service provider and will be conducted online. The move to an online system will mean people sitting the exams will get their results as soon as they finish. CASA will still set the exam questions but will not run the exam centres or the electronic delivery system. Exams will still be held at least six times a year at multiple locations, with the next sittings due to be held in late October 2015 and another round in December 2015. Approximately 4,500 maintenance exams were undertaken during 2014.
Keep up to date with maintenance personnel exams.
Feedback leads to changes to new fatigue rules
Extra time is to be provided for the transition to new fatigue management rules, while 25 changes to the new requirements have been proposed. The proposed changes will ease the regulatory burden of the new fatigue rules and potentially reduce costs for air operators and flying training organisations. The additional 12 months for transition and the proposed changes to requirements follow valuable feedback from the aviation community on the impact of the new rules which are in Civil Aviation Order 48.1. Originally the transition to the new fatigue rules was to be completed by 30 April 2016. The transition period will now run until May 2017, with operators needing to tell CASA before 31 October 2016 the date on which they will transition. Operators will also be required by 31 October 2016 to give CASA their proposed operations manual amendments for assessment. This gives more time for the development of operations manual amendments and at least six months for CASA to assess the amendments. CASA has published operations manual supplement templates on the website to assist organisations in the transition process. The package of proposed changes to the fatigue rules adjusts some of the prescriptive flight and duty time limitations, while remaining in line with scientific principles. Changes are based on further consideration of rostering practices so as not to unduly disadvantage operators. The proposed changes will allow many operators to comply with the prescriptive limitations in the new fatigue rules rather than having to develop and seek approval for a fatigue risk management system. Comments on the proposals should be submitted before 2 October 2015.
Get the full details of the proposed fatigue management changes and comment now.
Inspections a must for tube steel aircraft structures
Aircraft owners and operators are being warned to make sure aircraft with a welded tubular steel structure are correctly inspected. The external and internal surfaces of steel tubular structures must be periodically inspected for corrosion and fatigue cracking. Despite the risk of problems arising from corrosion, maintenance programs may not include a requirement for internal inspections or for the removal of fabric covering to allow for checks. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA says defect reports continue to confirm welded steel tubular structures will fatigue and crack in areas of concentrated stress which are typically covered by fabric and not readily accessible for visual inspections. The Piper PA18 is a typical example where tube cracking and separation happens in the fuselage longerons, bracket joints and cross braces. Where corrosion is found it can be treated if light or cut out with new tubes spliced into the structure. In some cases where advanced corrosion has been found the entire tube structure has been replaced. The airworthiness bulletin states that any approved maintenance program for an aircraft with a steel tubular structure that does not include periodic inspections may be considered inadequate.
Get all the details in the tubular steel airworthiness bulletin.
New corporate plan links review and expectations
CASA’s latest corporate plan has been released. The plan incorporates both the Federal Government’s responses to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review and the Statement of Expectations to the CASA Board from Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss. A section of the plan sets out the specific initiatives to be undertaken by CASA to meet the recommendations in the Aviation Safety Regulation Review and the Statement of Expectations. CASA’s Board will provide Minister Truss with detailed quarterly performance reports against the initiatives. The plan links the Review recommendations and Statement of Expectations with the relevant CASA goals and performance indicators. The goals to be met are: the maintenance and enhancement of a fair, effective and efficient aviation safety regulatory system; engagement with the wider aviation community to promote and support a positive safety culture; and continuous improvement of organisational performance. There are ten key performance indicators including CASA not unnecessarily impeding the efficient operation of regulated entities, actions being proportionate to the risks being managed and communication being clear, targeted and effective. CASA’s performance in delivering against these goals and performance indicators will be set out in the annual report.
Read CASA’s latest corporate plan now.
Future forums at key centres
CASA will hold a series of forums at key centres around the nation to discuss the future of aviation safety. The program of future forums follows the success of the first meeting held in Mildura late in July 2015. Thirty five people from three states joined with CASA’s Director Mark Skidmore and a number of CASA senior managers to talk about issues facing the aviation community now and over the next 15 years. Ideas and points of view from the forums will feed into the development of a strategic plan by CASA called Flight Plan 2030. This plan will identify some of the key aviation safety threats and opportunities likely to be faced by various aviation sectors in the near and medium future. Mark Skidmore told the Mildura forum a range of issues need to be considered. “I can think of new technology, changing demographics of people involved in aviation, regional aviation versus city-based operations, ageing aircraft, the growth of remotely piloted aircraft and developing our safety culture just to name a few issues,” he said. “Importantly, we need to think about the future of regional and general aviation, costs and how these sectors will remain viable. CASA doesn’t hold all the knowledge so I need to listen to the aviation community and we need to work together.” Issues raised at the forum included the future of Avgas, the sustainability of general aviation, adapting to new technology, the need for better representation of the flying training sector, alternative means of compliance, costs of regulations and ageing aircraft.
Lessons for life at 12 locations in September
Twelve Aviation Safety – Lessons for Life seminars for pilots are being held in September 2015. Seminars are being held at Warnervale, Naracoorte, Mt Gambier, Port Augusta, Launceston, Port Lincoln, Mackay, Burnie/Wynyard, Orange, Goolwa, Albany and Esperance. The seminars will cover a variety of topics with the main themes being avoiding flight in low visibility and the dangers of unplanned or unapproved low flying. These two issues have been selected as they feature in the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s top safety concerns. Each AvSafety seminar will feature a discussion about at least one case study from ATSB reports about low visibility and low flying. Pilots will be asked to look at why the accidents or incidents occurred and how they could have been avoided. Other issues to be covered in the seminars will be regulatory changes, pilot responsibilities in relation to maintenance releases and the correct procedures to follow at non-controlled aerodromes. Discussion about non-controlled aerodromes will look at radio frequencies, radio use and procedures. As usual each seminar provides a chance for pilots to give feedback and suggestions to CASA.
Find an AvSafety seminar near you.
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If you believe aviation safety is at risk, call the CASA safety. Ring 1800 074 737.
If your aircraft has a serious or major defect make sure you report it to CASA. Forms and information are on the CASA web site.
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If you have a question or request about licensing or aircraft registration remember you can email the CASA Licensing and Registration Centre:
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 web site 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.