From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore
By now I would hope everyone in the Australian aviation community would be aware CASA is working hard to make fundamental, practical and long lasting improvements to the way we operate. There has already been an organisational restructure to better align CASA's activities to the aviation community, a commitment to following a just culture approach to safety regulation, a pledge to effectively listen and consult and the release of a timetable for completing the renewal of the regulations. I am the first to acknowledge that much more still needs to be done and I understand many people would like to see changes made as quickly as possible. I renew my commitment to making real changes to CASA through carefully considered reforms to all aspects of our operations and the way we support the safe operations of the aviation community.
A key to driving effective improvements to CASA is listening to the concerns and issues from all sectors of the aviation community and responding in a timely and meaningful way. I started this process from the first day I took the job of Director of Aviation Safety by making getting out and meeting people and listening to their views a high priority. While I continue to do this, our change program is also being driven by data from a survey conducted by a professional market research organisation on CASA's behalf. This survey focussed on key elements of the relationship between CASA and the aviation community. The first relationship survey found, not surprisingly, fairly low levels of satisfaction with CASA across six key indicators. Out of 10 the highest score was 4.8, for satisfaction with the way CASA conducts audits and surveillance. The lowest score was 3 for satisfaction with the development of new regulations.
To make sure the survey, which addresses one of the recommendations supported by the Government in the Aviation Safety Regulation Review report, is used to drive real change we have developed and begun to implement a survey response action plan. This plan sets out specific actions against each of the six key survey indicators. It includes new and improved training for CASA staff, revising and improving manuals, a focus on relationship building, creating a service culture, improving service delivery, streamlining approval processes, assessing whether new regulations are the best way to address safety issues and testing new regulations before implementation. We will continue to carry out surveys every two years so we can effectively respond to the needs and concerns of the aviation community.
Work on lower cost ADS-B starts
Work has begun to remove regulatory roadblocks to lower cost automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) equipment that could be fitted to aircraft operating under the visual flight rules. CASA has set up a project to review proposed technical standards for lower cost ADS-B equipment and to identify appropriate performance standards for suitable equipment. The lower cost ADS-B systems being proposed for visual flight rules operations may not be suitable for aircraft-to-aircraft air traffic control separation purposes but would offer a range of benefits. These include improved traffic information, flight watch and search and rescue alerting, improved collision avoidance through being visible to air traffic control or aircraft equipped with ADS-B IN and improved access to controlled airspace. The improved access to controlled airspace would be on the basis that it is easier for air traffic control to form a clearance for a visual flight rules aircraft if its exact position can be seen on the surveillance system. An additional benefit would be in-built safety alerts, including short term conflict alerts. CASA's current ADS-B requirements and standards do not recognise or readily accommodate lower cost ADS-B systems or those that do not meet the design authorisation requirements of a technical standard order. Changes to regulations, standards and advisory material would be needed to allow suitable ADS-B equipment to be fitted to visual flight rules aircraft. CASA has no plans to mandate ADS-B for visual flight rules aircraft, with owners and operators to be left with a choice about adopting the technology.
Keep up to date with the ADS-B project.
Fresh commitment to talking and listening
Talking with the aviation community rather than talking to people will be CASA's future way of operating. That's the commitment from CASA's new group manager Stakeholder Engagement, Rob Walker. "When we do lay down the law it will be after a thorough discussion in which all sides have considered the other's point of view," Rob told the recent Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation Safety Summit. Rob said his job was to ensure consultation is effective and communication is targeted so everyone gets the information they need in a timely manner. CASA has arranged the people and organisations it deals with into three groups - general stakeholders, clients and safety partners. General stakeholders are the flying and non-flying public, while clients are those directly affected by CASA's activities. Clients include airlines, air operators, pilots, cabin crew, maintenance organisations, engineers and aircraft owners. Safety partners are organisations CASA works with cooperatively to achieve safety outcomes higher than the baseline required by regulations. CASA will acknowledge and respect the excellence of these organisations and use the latest safety thinking to help them maintain these high standards. "Obviously there's a baseline of respect that applies to all stakeholders," Rob told the summit. "But there's a hierarchy, which determines our relationship with each group. As we climb this pyramid the nature of our relationship with each successive level changes." Rob said CASA is transitioning to become a proactive regulator using data to identify potential risk areas, rather than waiting for accidents to happen, which is 1980s' thinking. "This requires working in partnership with industry and working in partnership with industry requires just culture."
Read Rob Walker's speech in full.
Alert widened on Cessna spar attachment cracks
An alert about premature cracking in Cessna wing front spar lower attachment fittings has been widened. The alert now covers Cessna 310 and 340 series aircraft as well as most 400 series aircraft. It applies to aircraft that have J&R Aerospace wing front spar lower attachment fittings part number JRA-445-1. During an inspection of the wing attachment spar fittings in a 400 series aircraft, a J&R Aerospace carry through spar fitting with 2,831 flight hours' time since new was found to have a 10cm crack extending from the outboard end of the fitting. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA recommends operators of affected Cessna 300 and 400 aircraft incorporating J&R Aerospace fittings carry out inspections for evidence of cracking in the front spar lower attachment fittings, particularly at the outboard end. All cracks should be reported to CASA through the defect reporting system. Further investigation is being done to identify the factors behind the cracking including service history, crack initiation time and crack progression rate.
Read the Cessna wing spar airworthiness bulletin.
New guidance for flying training organisations
Extra guidance material for non-complex flying training organisations has been released. The new guidance material targets flying training organisations who want to operate under Part 142 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. The guidance includes a Part 142 sample exposition and guide, CASA's Part 142 technical assessor's handbook and temporary management instructions. These instructions outline how CASA's assessors should approach Part 142 assessments. The guidance package also includes information sheets to explain integrated training and the transition process to the new rules. The new material is in addition to the Part 142 exposition, which has been available since November 2014 in the Manual Authoring and Assessment Tool. CASA also released support material for organisations that conduct non-complex flying training activities under Part 141 in March 2016. Flying training organisations who want to operate under Part 141 and Part 142 from 1 September 2018 must submit their documentation within a timeframe agreed with their CASA regional office in order to meet the 31 August 2018 transition deadline.
View the Part 142 guidance material.
Simplified advice coming on certification issues
Simplified advice about issues relating to the installation of non-certificated engines and parts to certificated VH- registered aircraft is being developed by CASA. This is in response to feedback which indicates there may be a lack of clarity about certification issues. The subject is already covered in detail in an advisory circular on the identification and management of aeronautical products. However, an abridged version of this information will soon be released in an airworthiness bulletin which will set out the applicable regulations and requirements. The airworthiness bulletin will cover the installation of parts on VH-registered aircraft type certificated aircraft, including the differences between Class I, II and III products from a certification as well as maintenance perspective. The airworthiness bulletin will emphasise that Class I products - which are complete aircraft, aircraft engines or propellers - are type certified products that meet an internationally recognised design standard. These products must conform to approved CASA maintenance and repair regulations and practices in order to remain airworthy. If the maintenance requirements are not met ongoing airworthiness will be affected, with potential safety consequences. The use of non-certificated engines and parts, as well as unapproved procedures, can affect airworthiness.
Go to the aeronautical products advisory circular.
Gladstone airspace gets a second review
Reduced air traffic at Gladstone has triggered a supplementary review of local airspace. In 2014 an airspace review carried out by CASA's Office of Airspace Regulation made five recommendations for improvements to arrangements, including lowering class E airspace and implementing a Certified Air/Ground Radio Service. Since the original study was completed overall air traffic has fallen by nine per cent, with passenger movements dropping 11 per cent. Much of the change in movements relates to the pending completion of nearby resource projects. After carefully considering feedback from local airspace users, the Gladstone aerodrome operator and Airservices Australia the supplementary airspace review has made a number of findings. Lower level class E airspace could provide additional flexibility for air traffic control, reduce pilot workload and aid frequency management. However it would not provide additional services at altitudes where most incidents are being recorded. CASA considers a Certified Air/Ground Radio Service is not required at Gladstone in the current environment. However, should circumstances change CASA will conduct an updated assessment and in the meantime will continue to monitor traffic and incidents.
Read the Gladstone supplementary airspace review.
Safety first for harnesses and straps
Updated advice on the safe use of personnel harnesses and restraint straps in aeroplanes and helicopters is now available. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA makes six recommendations in relation to harnesses and restraint straps. These include ensuring equipment has been manufactured to a CASA approved standard, straps are properly adjusted and hard points in the aircraft used to attach the equipment have been approved for purpose. Personnel harnesses approved for use in aircraft operations should allow the wearer to make adequate adjustments and provide appropriate strength and durability. There must be quick-release fittings to allow fast detachment from the aircraft in the event of a ditching, fire or a forced landing. Any safety harness which uses screw carabiners to attach to the restraint strap would not be an approved harness as this does not allow for quick-release. Personnel harnesses or tethers should be adjusted to a length that will prevent the user being put at risk by falling from the aircraft or gaining excessive momentum within the cabin should the aircraft encounter violent deceleration during a forced landing.
Find out more about harnesses and restraints.
Calling all pilots and engineers
There will be 14 safety seminars for pilots around the nation during September 2016. Lessons for life seminars are scheduled for Cowra, Longreach, Goolwa, Griffith, Lilydale, Port Augusta, Wilpena, Albany, Ballarat, Jindabyne, Essendon, Darwin, Mt Isa and Parafield. These seminars will focus on flight in low visibility, unplanned or unapproved low flying, pilot incapacitation and weather. Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation reports nominate these issues as top safety concerns. There will be a discussion about at least one case study from accident reports. Other issues may be discussed such as regulatory changes, pilot responsibilities in relation to maintenance releases and correct procedures to follow at non-controlled aerodromes. The seminars also provide an important opportunity for pilots to give feedback and suggestions to CASA.
There will be five engineering knowledge development seminars during September 2016. They will be held at Cairns, Townsville, Whitsunday, Albany and Mackay. These seminars will focus on professional development, continuing airworthiness, certification, maintenance licensing and ageing aircraft. They are ideal learning opportunities for everyone involved in aviation maintenance, with lots of opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback to CASA.
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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.
Find out how CASA's safety advisors provide safety education, training and advice to the aviation industry.
Do you need to renew your Aviation Security Identification Card?
Looking to contact CASA's Industry Complaints Commissioner? Find out how here.
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.