– Safety standards for community service flights conducted on a voluntary basis
In this DP, the term 'community service flight' is used to describe flights that are provided on a voluntary basis for public benefit. The term refers only to non-emergency flights provided as part of an organised voluntary or charitable activity and does not include the 'one-off' type of flight in which a pilot provides a flight to a friend or family member.
The purpose of this DP is to stimulate discussion and invite comment from interested members of the public and the aviation industry about how community service flights should be regulated under new Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR).
Volunteer organisations that bring together aircraft owners and pilots to provide voluntary public benefit flights to persons remote from some services have been operating in Australia since 2003. These organisations provide valuable community services by transporting community members to medical services that might otherwise be geographically out of their reach and, in some cases, transporting people to visit a hospitalised family member.
Community service flights are potentially open to a wide section of the community and are conducted by pilots with varying experience and qualification levels. Similarly, unless controls are put in place, the aircraft involved could potentially vary from an amateur-built experimental aircraft through to a turbine powered corporate aircraft. As community service flights become more widely used, the variable pilot qualifications and aircraft certification and maintenance standards become significant potential risk factors. CASA must consider and regulate appropriately to protect against an unreasonable level of risk in order to maintain an acceptable level of safety for the pilots, their passengers and the public.
This DP explains CASA's considerations for selection of an appropriate standard and describes a number of potential options for future regulatory change. CASA recognises the valuable contribution that industry consultation makes to the regulatory development process. CASA issues this DP as the first stage of consideration. The purpose of a DP is to canvas a range of options that consider whether it is appropriate for an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) to be required for community service flights, or if other mechanisms may be more appropriate for the purpose of accommodating these types of flights while ensuring that acceptable standards of safety are maintained.
18 August 2014
How to respond
Comment period now closed.
Contact: Mick English, Project Leader