CASR Part 135 - Australian Air Transport Operations - Small Aeroplanes
Part 135 (small aeroplanes), Part 121 (large aeroplanes) and Part 133 (rotorcraft) of CASR all deal with a range of passenger and/or cargo operations. Part 135 will set the minimum acceptable standards applicable to small aeroplanes that are conducting Australian air transport operations.
Who Part 135 affects
- air operators involved in current charter and regular public transport (RPT) operations (passenger and cargo) in aeroplanes.
- personnel, including flight crew members, ground and support personnel involved in the operation of aeroplanes that are currently engaged in passenger-carrying charter or low-capacity regular public transport (LCRPT) aviation operations
- the travelling public.
In 1999, CASA was directed to 'minimise the distinction between charter and RPT operators'. To address this, Part 135 will set in place a common level of safety for operators who are authorised to provide 'air transport operations' - an amalgamation of current charter and RPT operations and standards - in order to carry passengers in small aeroplanes. The safety level applies irrespective of whether an operation is scheduled or non-scheduled, as described by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in Part I of Annex 6 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (the Chicago Convention).
This common level of safety will particularly affect existing charter operators who intend to become a Part 135 operator, in areas such as flight crew training, and proficiency checks and supervision.
Part 135 will consolidate into one Part the regulatory requirements that will apply in addition to, or substitute for, the general operating and flight rules prescribed in Part 91, when using small aeroplanes for air transport operations.
An 'air transport operation' means an operation in an aircraft:
- that is conducted for hire or reward or is otherwise publically available
- that is a passenger transport operation or a cargo transport operation.
- A passenger transport operation is a transport operation in an aircraft involving the carriage of passengers, whether or not cargo is carried on the aircraft. A passenger transport operation does not include, cost sharing operations, aerial work operations or an operation for the carriage of passengers in an aircraft with a certificate of airworthiness other than a standard certificate of airworthiness.
In Part 135, 'small aeroplane' will mean an aeroplane:
- with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) not exceeding 8,618 kg
- fitted with a passenger seat configuration of not more than 9.
The new air transport operations will combine the flexibility of charter operations with the safety benefits of RPT's structured training and checking.
Specific proposals include:
- more comprehensive provisions for fuel to be carried, similar to those proposed for large aeroplanes in Part 121; however, with relief for VFR aeroplanes, which will be similar to the requirements of today.
- adopting the current air charter operations practice of single-engine aircraft operating over water beyond gliding distance (i.e. up to 25 NM from a safe forced landing area). However, in addition to life jackets, the carriage of a life raft will be required in certain circumstances.
- for operations beyond 25 NM from a safe forced landing area when over water, the operator of an Approved Single-Engine Aeroplane (ASEA - formerly ASEPTA) will be required to present to CASA a risk management strategy for consideration and approval in accordance with the standards of Annex 6 to the Chicago Convention
- aerodrome requirements under Part 135 will be similar to the requirements under the current regulation 92 of CAR, where it is the operator's responsibility to be satisfied that the aerodrome is suitable as a place from which to take off and land
- weight and balance regulations, providing options for operators to determine passenger weights under the AMC concept
- for single pilot operations, the autopilot will be required to be serviceable prior to commencement of the flight, unless crewed by a second pilot or the aeroplane can be operated in visual meteorological conditions (VMC) by day
- introduction of take-off alternate within 60 minutes at the aeroplane's asymmetric cruising speed from the departure aerodrome if the weather at the departure aerodrome is below the landing minima (in accordance with Part 1 of Annex 6 to the Chicago Convention).
- introduction of a regulation concerning the commencement and continuation of an instrument approach—often referred to as an 'approach ban'—which will prevent the pilot-in-command from continuing an approach beyond the final approach point if the reported visibility or controlling Runway Visual Range (RVR) is continuously less than the minimum specified for the approach.
- the requirement for all aircraft that operate under instrument flight rules (IFR) when carrying 6 or more passengers to be equipped with a Terrain Awareness Warning System class B (TAWS B)
- obligation for the operator to train their pilots for unique operation and certify them as competent before undertaking unsupervised flights—this will apply to inexperienced pilots as well as those new to an operator (essentially moving away from flight hours as the qualifier and applying a competency based process).
- all flight crew members will be subject to recurrent training and checking requirements, scaled to the nature and complexity of the operation.
- reintroduction of the requirement for first aid kits in Part 135 aircraft, although the kit need not be an approved type.
Part 135 operators will require certification under Part 119, with its requirements for:
- continuing airworthiness under an approved aircraft maintenance program
- operational risk management under a safety management system
- fatigue risk management systems for crew and procedural training and checking of flight crews under the operator's training and checking system (either in-house or provided by an arrangement with a Part 142 certified training and checking provider).
Part 135 history
The Part 135 history includes project and consultation activities conducted in relation to Part 135.