Australian Parachute Federation Annual Conference 2010
Director of Aviation Safety John McCormick
Australian Parachute Federation Annual Conference
1 June 2010
I would like to thank Brad Turner, CEO of the Australian Parachute Federation for a chance to speak to the APF 50th anniversary conference.
Recreational parachuting began in Australia in 1958. At that time parachute jumps were limited to those with written permissions from the Director General of Civil Aviation. There are now around 290,000 jumps a year, which only highlights in my eyes the need to ensure safety across the industry.
In 1986 the APF became a self-administering organisation. Today, self- administration means that, while CASA continues to maintain the overarching regulatory framework, it works in close cooperation with recreational aviation organisations, like the APF, to make sure the approved safety-related requirements of those organisations are applied and enforced by the organisations themselves. In that sense, ‘self-administration’ is not ‘self-regulation’.
This approach means that the APF provides CASA with necessary specialised knowledge and insight into the standards and practices of the parachuting industry, while allowing the sector to be administered on a day-to-day basis primarily by people who are the experts in the field.
CASA works in close cooperation with all the recreational aviation organisations and receives regular reports about activities and safety performance, as well as conducting audits on the organisations themselves. As a result, CASA is aware of safety issues across the industry. This builds a safer sport aviation industry for those taking part and the general public alike.
I am happy to say that the APF and CASA have developed an excellent working relationship. The communication channels between the APF and CASA’s Sport Aviation Office allow for open, positive and frank exchanges. The APF has completed a re-write of their operations manual in good time and to a high standard. Following a half day workshops between the APF and CASA’s Sports Aviation Office, I understand CASA approved your Operations Manual without any amendments. This is no small task and one that deserves commendation.
The APF is also well on track to completing all its requirements under its Deed of Agreement with CASA.
The Government – through the Aviation White Paper – has tasked CASA with improving self administration in the sports and recreational sectors, and we are committed to doing our utmost to help achieve that objective.
The Government has reinforced the principle that safety is crucial to the operation of all sectors of the aviation industry and must underpin every aspect of an organisation’s and an individual’s activities. Safety is integral to the foundation of every agency, every business, every flight and every jump.
To help achieve this, we have established a Sports Aviation Office to oversee the sector and introduced the Sport Aviation Safety Network. The Network’s aim is to assist self-administering organisations in implementing risk reduction strategies and to ensure a coordinated approach to the oversight responsibilities of CASA, the industry and the self-administering organisations themselves.
Good governance and an abiding commitment to safety are at the heart of the successful conduct of both CASA’s and the APFs activities, and both are essential to the fulfilment of our organisations’ obligations to our stakeholders and the wider Australian community.
In closing I would like to congratulate the Australian Parachuting Federation on its 50th anniversary and wish you all well for the remainder of the conference.