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CASA Annual Report 2003 04 Part 2: Operational Report

Operational report

Output 3: Aviation safety promotion


  • There is growing awareness, understanding and application of safety management systems but overall industry take-up is still low, in advance of a mandatory requirement.
  • The Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia launched an up-to-date and user-friendly edition of the Agricultural Pilots Manual after a major review sponsored and assisted by CASA.
  • More emphasis on providing information and education to Flight Instructors, Chief Pilots and Chief Engineers.
  • Overall attendance at CASA safety seminars was 5446, down by 14.8 per cent.
  • Development of a comprehensive education package to reduce the incidence of violations of controlled airspace.
  • CASA inspectors delivered specialist presentations as part of the safety seminar program.



An informed and motivated aviation community is achieved.

One of CASA’s statutory functions is to encourage greater acceptance by industry of its obligation to maintain high standards of safety. It sets out to do this by giving industry the knowledge, understanding and capability to undertake aviation activities safely.

CASA has increasingly seen this function as underpinning the whole approach to regulation and it is at the heart of the safety maturity model of regulation that CASA is working towards. In this model, regulatory interventions will be attuned to the priority an organisation gives to safety, and how well it understands and applies practices that are safe and compliant with the legislation.


Budget: $8.533 million

Actual: $7.839 million

Variation: –8.1 per cent


Initiatives, developments and issues in 2003–04

Safety improvement through systems

CASA is trying to achieve lasting improvements in safety outcomes by promoting new safe practices integral to the way industry goes about its business. Safety management systems is one such practice and will be introduced during the Regulatory Reform Program.5

Over the past three years CASA has been raising awareness of safety management systems, educating operators in the way safety management systems work and providing guidance on implementation. CASA’s assessment at the end of 2003–04 is that while there is growing awareness, understanding and application of safety management systems, the overall industry take-up is still low, in advance of a mandatory requirement.

CASA believes the apparent low levels of adoption will improve if misconceptions about what is involved can be overcome. The next phase of the safety management systems promotion program will therefore involve CASA staff working individually with very small operators to integrate safety management systems into their enterprises in simple and straightforward ways. CASA will also be looking to demonstrate how these systems will help operators comply not only with aviation safety legislation but also with occupational health and safety and environmental legislation.


Safer practice

CASA provides awareness and education programs direct to industry participants and helps industry provide training and guidance. During 2003–04 it continued targeting more significant safety risks and opportunities and sought to reach more people by working through industry organisations. This is consistent with CASA’s goal to work with industry and to encourage them to take more responsibility for safety outcomes.

A notable difference in approach this year was involving CASA inspectors in the seminar program. This not only added depth with specialist presentations, but helped build positive and constructive relationships. More emphasis was also given to providing information and education to Flight Instructors, Chief Pilots and Chief Engineers.

Violations of controlled airspace

CASA has made reducing the incidence of violations of controlled airspace a priority area for safety promotion. In 2003–04 it developed a more comprehensive education package, which deals with generic pre-flight planning techniques, supported by location-specific material for Darwin, Cairns, Hobart and aerodromes at which general aviation aerodrome procedures apply (i.e. GAAP aerodromes). The package was reworked to meet Australian National Training Authority standards.

CASA is making the package available to individuals as two CD/DVDs, and as a fully documented instructor package with presenter’s notes and participants’ handouts that will be distributed to all flying schools later in 2004.


Warbirds Safety Seminar

In early June 2004, CASA convened a two-day seminar for owners, pilots and maintainers of ex-military aircraft. The goal was to provide a forum for experienced operators to outline their approach to achieving a safe operation – in the air and on the ground. The opportunity was also taken to provide briefings on new regulatory proposals that would affect both pilot and maintainer licensing.

The growing issue of community engagement through management of noise issues, contribution to local economies and political pressures were also addressed by a range of knowledgeable speakers.

Attendance was over 130 each day. A CD containing most presentations and other useful reference material is available from Australian Warbirds Association Ltd. A DVD of the proceedings will be available from the Association or from CASA (via JS McMillan).

Better flying instruction

A study during the year by CASA, in collaboration with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), found that pilot errors in flight planning, aircraft handling and fuel management contributed to 78 per cent of fatal light aircraft accidents.6 CASA believes that better pilot training can prevent many of these errors.

CASA worked with the flying training industry to develop a proposal for a Flight Instructor Development Program to improve the skills of those training all students, from beginners to experienced pilots refreshing or upgrading their skills. The proposed program will provide a core of enhanced skill instructors who will be asked to return the development investment by taking up a wider education role using CASA and other accredited materials.


Voluntary pilot proficiency programs

Private and personal business flights account for 53 per cent of accidents7 partly because, unlike commercial and air transport pilots, private pilots are not subject to periodic checking and training. This is a statistic CASA hopes to address through a voluntary private pilot proficiency program designed to raise pilot skills and deal with the most significant accident causal factors.

During the year, CASA began working with the Aviation Safety Foundation of Australia and representatives of several aircraft type associations to develop the concept and program content. The Aviation Safety Foundation of Australia will run a prototype program at Albury in the second half of 2004, which CASA will support with production of safety education material.

Seminars in a box

CASA has adapted a United States concept for Australia – seminars in a box. The ‘boxes’ will provide industry instructors with all the materials needed to deliver specific education sessions, together with all the materials that participants could use.

Agricultural aviation

In a joint effort with the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia, CASA sponsored a major review of the Agricultural Pilots Manual. The manual was first published in 1961 and last revised in 1988. Since that time much has changed in aviation generally, particularly in awareness of human factors and occupational safety and health. CASA worked closely with the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia to produce an up-to-date and more useable manual, which was launched at the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia annual conference on the Gold Coast in June 2004.


Implementing regulatory reform

In 2003–04 CASA’s safety promotion staff played an important part in regulatory reform implementation, including of the National Airspace System.

The seminar program was restructured to include presentations and education material on the implementation of regulatory reforms. A ‘Safety Rules’ section was also added to Flight Safety Australia magazine to highlight regulatory changes and transition issues.


Performance measures

Strategy: Promote a safety motivated aviation community:
  • Provide industry with education and guidance on regulatory requirements and safe practice (industry knowledge of rules and safe practice).
  • Provide industry with education and guidance to implement safe practice and achieve high levels of compliance (industry motivated to adopt high standards of safety and compliance).
Measure All current modules and packages to meet Australian National Training Authority Standards documented and delivered.
Result Delayed.
Progress The relevant material deals with violations of controlled airspace and is expected to be available in this form during the first half of 2004–05. The delay resulted from a decision to include significantly more location-specific material, both to address real issues and to make the program more directly relevant to pilots.
Measure Flying Training Organisations briefed and committed to participating in delivery.
Result Delayed.
Progress It was intended that a national training infrastructure be established by June 2004. Briefings have commenced and strong support is evident. Details of the program are to be developed in association with another CASA project to investigate accident causal factors and proposals for an instructor development program. Presentations to the industry on a possible approach were well received. All flying schools will have packages for Violations of Controlled Airspace education distributed to them in late 2004.
Measure General human factors awareness program to be developed.
Result Achieved.
Progress The CASA-sponsored revision of the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia manual included development of a practical guide to human factors for general aviation pilots. This will be separately published and distributed to pilots.
Measure Safety Promotion Program customised to meet needs of industry sectors.
Result Delayed.
Progress It was intended to complete a private pilot component in December 2003. A booklet is being written and should be distributed in late 2004.
Measure Industry adopting and implementing integrated management systems. Percentage of aviation businesses that are early adopters of safety management systems.
Result There is growing awareness, understanding and application of safety management systems, but the overall industry take-up appears to be low in advance of a mandatory requirement.
Progress CASA is continuing to support industry through scheduled seminars and presentation at conferences and in the context of airline sector surveillance audits.