DP 1210OS - AOC requirements for local scenic flights
Local scenic flights that involve the carriage of passengers for commercial purposes are currently regulated as charter operations under the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 and Civil Aviation Orders (CAO) 82.1. The operator certification and operating standards for Charter flights are, in some important respects, lower than those for Regular Public Transport (RPT) flights.
Under the new Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998, the distinction in the regulations between Charter flights and RPT flights will for most purposes disappear. Both types of flights will be regulated as Air Transport Operations, to a common standard appropriate to the size of the aircraft and number of passengers carried. Proposed CASR Part 119 Australian air transport operators - certification and management will prescribe the operator certification (AOC) requirements for air transport operations conducted in rotorcraft and aeroplanes. Proposed Parts 133 and 135 contain the operating standards for rotorcraft and small aeroplanes used in air transport operations, which will be in addition to the general flight and operating standards in proposed CASR Part 91.
The operator certification (AOC) standards proposed in new CASR Part 119 will include a number of administrate requirements and management systems that operators will be required to establish in order to be granted an AOC for air transport operations.
On a risk management basis, it is questionable whether some or all of the requirements proposed for Part 119 are appropriate or necessary for local aircraft operations in small aircraft carrying limited numbers of passengers. Scenic flights generally take off from and land at the same aerodrome, are conducted repetitively over well-known and established routes, and are conducted by day under the VFR. The management systems called up by new CASR Part 119 are arguably less relevant and not as critical for small operators conducting these types of flights, compared to larger operators with more complex operations.
For the purposes of this DP the term "scenic flight" should be taken to mean a flight in an aeroplane or rotorcraft with a standard certificate of airworthiness and that does not involve non-standard flight manoeuvres.
This DP endeavours to gauge public and aviation community support for an alternate operator certification regime for local scenic flight operations.
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