Establishing the first National Helicopter Office
CASA established the first National Helicopter Office in August 2009 to create a centralised point of contact for industry and CASA staff for entry control of rotary wing Air Operators Certificate (AOC) applications and night vision goggle (NVG) applications and approvals. The office oversees NVG approvals and provides a standardised assessment of rotary wing AOC and NVG applications.
Australia has around 1,600 registered helicopters, including 1,043 single-engine piston craft, 427 single-engine turbine craft and 151 multi-engine turbine craft, with 30 per cent annual growth. This growth creates a corresponding demand for helicopter service delivery tasks, and on CASA’s education and compliance responsibilities.
The helicopter fleet is growing in complexity. Larger, complex, multi-engine instrument flight rules helicopters are now common additions to the Australian fleet, with growth in such multi-engine helicopters more than three times faster than in the single-engine fleet.
There are 234 helicopter AOCs conducting a mix of charter and/or aerial work. Of those, 157 operators are approved to conduct what are considered to be high-risk aerial work activities.
Four major operators, mainly in offshore operations, are moving approximately 300,000 passengers per year, in helicopters capable of carrying up to 19 passengers.
CASA has eight dedicated helicopter flying operations inspectors strategically located at various regional offices, and is recruiting more staff for Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Bankstown.