From the Director of Aviation Safety
Like all responsible organisations CASA is continually working to lift our performance so we can become the best possible air safety regulator for all Australians. That means making improvements to our systems, processes and very importantly staff training. I am pleased to say our focus in 2014 will firmly be on improving the job we do for everyone in all sectors of Australian aviation, as well as the travelling public. We are striving to be both more efficient and effective in everything we do. I am already proud of CASA's current performance as I do believe we are one of the leading aviation safety regulators in the world, with quality staff, clear procedures and rigorous decimision making processes. However, there is always room for improvement and the Board, myself and the management team are committed to this goal.
New systems have just been introduced which automatically ensure the policies and procedures contained in CASA's Surveillance Manual are followed. Our staff can focus on making the right decisions knowing the correct process will be followed. The majority of surveillance data is now stored in one IT system, allowing CASA to review safety data more quickly and effectively. The ability to more easily review safety data will allow us to identify any areas where the aviation industry may be having difficulty with the regulations and safety requirements. We will be able to see where both aviation organisations and individuals are not always able to achieve the best safety outcomes with the appropriate level of effort from the existing rules and standards. Being able to identify these areas using hard data as well as feedback from the industry means we will be better placed to look for solutions and if required make improvements to the rules and safety standards. Better and more effective rules and standards that achieve the right safety outcomes mean a better aviation system for everyone.
John F McCormick
Online payment for services is here
Making payments for CASA's regulatory services is getting easier. CASA has now started accepting online payments for services, with aircraft registration fees the first that can be paid via CASA's internet site. A link on the home page of CASA's web site - called Make a Payment - goes through to a secure payment system run by Westpac. The bank won an open tender to provide the service. At present there are five aircraft registration related fees that can be paid online - aircraft registration, the appointment/cancellation of a registered operator, transfer of ownership, registration certificate replacement and change of registration mark. Users of the new online payment service are advised to complete the appropriate application form for services before they begin. More than one service can be paid for at a time and when a successful payment has been completed a receipt will automatically be sent to the email address entered on the payment page. The receipt is also available to be printed. Applicants for services must attach a copy of their receipt to their applications before sending them to CASA. Over coming months CASA will start accepting online payments for other services including aviation medicals, flight crew licensing and maintenance personnel licensing. Fees can still be paid using mail, fax or email.
Go to the online payments system.
Comment now on proposed control cable action
Aircraft owners, operators and maintainers are being asked to comment on proposals for mandatory action to mitigate the risks caused by stress corrosion cracking in older aircraft control cable assemblies. CASA has issued a notice of proposed rule making setting out options for an airworthiness directive in relation to control cable terminal fittings manufactured from SAE-AISI 303 Se stainless steel that have been in service for 15 years or more. The proposed airworthiness directive is in response to continuing reports of failures of control cable terminals. In the past six years there have been seven failures reported in Australia and seven in the United States. Aircraft affected include Beechcraft, Piper and Cessna. Current industry practices are not sufficient to reliably detect stress corrosion cracking in stainless steel cable terminals. CASA reviewed a number of non-destructive inspection methods, however each has limitations for control cable terminal inspections. With failures still happening CASA believes a mandatory inspection regime or retirement of cable terminals is necessary. CASA has put forward five proposals for comment, including mandatory inspection of control cable terminals made from SAE-AISI 303 Se that have been in service for 15 years or more. An alternative proposal is to mandate the retirement of these control cable assemblies. It is estimated the proposed airworthiness directive would affect more than 5000 aircraft. A control cable terminal failure in flight can cause loss of aircraft control with potential catastrophic consequences.
Read the control cable notice of proposed rule making and comment before 4 April 2014.
Update advice for pilots on non-controlled aerodromes
Advice for pilots on operations at non-controlled aerodromes has been updated. This follows a review of guidance and educational material to support the new procedures for non-towered aerodromes that were introduced in mid-2010. The review included an analysis of Australian Transport Safety Bureau incident data since the start of the new procedures. Following the analysis eight sections of the Civil Aviation Advisory Publication on operations in the vicinity of non-controlled aerodromes have been updated. These cover circuit heights, arrival and departure procedures, go-arounds, straight-in approaches, joining on base-leg, transitioning and overflying and general guidance on radio broadcasts. The advisory sets out principles for good airmanship when flying at non-controlled aerodromes, as well as allowing flexibility in operations. Following the advice will improve situational awareness and safety for all pilots.
In the section on radio broadcasts pilots are told to take extra care to monitor and broadcast on the correct common traffic advisory frequency as there continue to be reports of pilots claiming to have made the correct broadcasts which have not been heard by other aircraft. There have also been a number of incidents in which pilots at a non-controlled aerodrome have heard and acknowledged other aircraft in the vicinity, but have subsequently lost situational awareness with the other aircraft by inadvertently giving a wrong position or diverging from their declared flight path. By far the most common airprox reports are incidents in which the reporting pilot has not been aware of the presence of another aircraft in the vicinity. Pilots are told to never assume the absence of radio transmissions within the broadcast area of a non-controlled aerodrome equates to an absence of traffic.
Read the revised non-towered aerodrome advisory.
CASA's Director stays until August
CASA's Director of Aviation Safety, John McCormick, will be staying with the organisation until later in 2014. While Mr McCormick did not seek another term as Director he did agree to extend his tenure to provide stability while a replacement is sought and the Aviation Safety Regulation Review is completed. The Chair of the CASA Board, Dr Allan Hawke, said the Board requested Mr McCormick to stay on in the position until 31 August 2014. In a statement Dr Hawke said the leadership of Mr McCormick over the last five years has been the critical factor behind the significant improvements to Australia's aviation safety regulatory regime and CASA's performance. He said the aims Mr McCormick set out when taking up the position of Director have been largely achieved. These include refocussing CASA on the regulation of aviation safety as its core activity, improving CASA's governance by a restructure on functional lines, ensuring staff are properly trained and deployed, addressing emerging issues such as remotely piloted aircraft and ageing aircraft, completion of the major part of the modernisation of aviation safety standards and reform of CASA's surveillance and safety management systems. Dr Hawke said Australia's outstanding international reputation for aviation safety owes much to Mr McCormick's stewardship and the reforms and initiatives undertaken on his watch.
Read the full statement from CASA Chair Dr Hawke.
Calling all design and manufacturing people
Anyone involved in aviation design and manufacturing should get along to a special seminar being run by CASA in May 2014. The seminar will focus on a range of issues important to engineers and other people involved in design and manufacturing. The seminar is being held in Sydney and will cover a number of topics including CASA's individual and organisational airworthiness engineering approvals, the new rules covering approved design organisations, mitcom and conformity verification and approval of medical equipment for air ambulance use. The event is a great chance to learn about what is new in design and manufacturing while catching up with other people in the sector. Past seminars have attracted more than 100 people and provided great opportunities for making business contacts. It is also an opportunity to ask questions of CASA and to provide feedback on regulations and safety oversight. The seminar is being held on the Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 May 2014 at the Novotel Sydney Central in the Sydney CBD. CASA is not charging for the seminar and lunch and refreshments will be provided.
Find out more about the seminar and register to attend now.
Watch out for unapproved fuel system gauges
Aircraft operators and maintenance organisations have been warned to be on the lookout for unapproved modifications to electro-mechanical fuel gauges. The unapproved modifications and the use of unapproved parts could cause problems with in-flight fuel management as well as fuel load errors. CASA has investigated and confirmed seven cases of suspected unapproved modifications or parts relating to electro-mechanical fuel quantity and fuel flow indicators. The investigations were conducted in conjunction with the original equipment manufacturer. In one case a fuel flow indicator had been modified to indicate kilograms per hour instead of pounds per hour. A sticker had been placed over the original dial face and the data plate had been altered. In another case a non-original bushing had replaced the original pointer shaft ball bearing, which could cause loss of fuel indication during flight. Another fuel indicator had a non-original dial installed in the upside down position, with a pointer that failed friction tests and became stuck at the 2000lbs position. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA recommends aircraft operators and maintenance personnel look for any signs of tampering or changes to electro-mechanical fuel systems. Counterfeit labels and dial faces are not easy to detect without experience and skill. Any electro-mechanical fuel system issues should be reported to CASA using the service difficulty reporting system.
Older bladder fuel tank warning
A warning has been issued by CASA about potential risks in aircraft equipped with older flexible 'rubber' bladder fuel tanks. The warning has been sparked by issues in Cessna 180 aircraft manufactured between 1953 and 1955. These aircraft have bladder fuel tanks with a single point over wing fuel vent system. A design problem with these tanks came to light after investigations of forced landings due to unanticipated fuel exhaustion. The fuel loss was caused by fuel siphoning out of the back of the over wing vent tube into the atmosphere when the impact side of the tube became blocked with ice. At the same time the bladder would contract and lift the bottom of the tank upwards, contacting and lifting the fuel float sender. This meant fuel gauges gave false readings, leading to the risk of fuel exhaustion. The US Federal Aviation Administration issued an airworthiness directive mandating a Cessna service kit and a warning placard for affected aircraft, as well as the fitting of a new vent nipple when tanks were removed. In the 1980s, when this action was taken, CASA did not automatically adopt airworthiness directives and due to costs and no icing events in Australia the US directive was not mandated.
There are now 111 Cessna 180 aircraft in Australia with 27 having serial numbers in the range identified in the Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness directive. These aircraft may not have been modified, meaning early rubber bladder tanks and single point vent systems may still be in use. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA says while the likelihood of fuel vents being blocked by ice may be remote it is possible and vents could be blocked in other ways - such as by insect activity while parked. Owners and operators of Cessna 180s are told they should look at their aircraft to determine the type of fuel tank and if required have appropriate modifications carried out. Fuel vents should be covered while parked. This type of single vent fuel system is not limited to Cessna 180 aeroplanes.
Tasmania gets a dangerous goods first
People and companies needing dangerous goods training in Tasmania now have a local solution. CASA has given approval for Tasmanian-based company Dangerous Goods Training Australia to provide face-to-face and on-line training. This is the first Tasmanian company to gain CASA approval for dangerous goods training. Previously people in Tasmania needing aviation related dangerous goods training had to travel interstate or rely on visiting trainers. As well as providing classroom training Dangerous Goods Training Australia uses webinars - web-based seminars - to deliver its courses via the internet, which provides for live and interactive training. Dangerous Goods Training Australia has been approved to deliver dangerous goods training courses for shippers. Under CASA's legislation dangerous goods training is mandatory and is required for shippers and for people involved in handling dangerous goods sent by air.
Find out more about dangerous goods courses
Seminars for pilots in five states next month
Twelve AvSafety seminars for pilots are being held across five states and territories during March 2014. Seminars are being conducted in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. There are three themes for AvSafety seminars this year - an update on regulatory reform, the latest safety trends identified by CASA, Airservices and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and information about new interactive online education programs and resources. Seminars focussing on regulatory reform will provide a high level overview of the new flight crew licensing suite of regulations and coming operational regulations - Parts 91, 119, 121, 131 and 133 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. All seminars will provide a chance for pilots to discuss what the new regulations mean for their flying and to provide comment and feedback. There will also be plenty of opportunities for people to ask questions and raise other issues. Regulatory change, safety trends and online education have been chosen as topics as a result of grass roots feedback received by CASA's aviation safety advisors, as well as an analysis of issues by CASA. All seminars are free but bookings are needed through CASA's web site using AviationWorx.
Find an AvSafety seminar in your area and book now.
Air operators need to respond to survey now
The 2014 Air Operator's Certificate Holders Safety Questionnaire is now underway. For the past six years holders of air operator's certificates have been surveyed to ensure CASA holds accurate and up-to-date operational information on the aviation industry. As in previous years, the 2014 survey requires completion by all operators who hold an air operator's certificate. The questionnaire asks for information about activities conducted, passengers carried, aircraft operated, and staff levels from 1 January to 31 December 2013. The survey should take those who have maintained ongoing data on their activities approximately 30 minutes to complete, although this may vary according to the size of the company and the complexity of the operations conducted. An email and letter has been sent to all air operators with a link to access the questionnaire. Any operators that have not yet received this information are asked to contact CASA using the details below. Operators have until Friday 14 March 2014 to complete the survey.
Any questions or feedback regarding the survey can be directed to Julie Codyre on 131 757 extension 1841 or email: AOCsurvey@casa.gov.au
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Flight Safety Australia now has new web pages: www.casa.gov.au/fsa
If you believe aviation safety is at risk, call the CASA safety hotline. Ring 1800 074 737.
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Do you know the easiest way to find the CASA office closest to you? Simply go to our national map and click on your region. Use this link.
There's a special number for contacting CASA's Office of Airspace Regulation outside of normal business hours. For urgent airspace requests call: 02 6217 1177.
CASA has a wide range of challenging and interesting jobs. Find out about the latest employment opportunities at CASA.
CASA's self service portal is an on-line tool that makes doing business with CASA easier. Find the portal here.
There's a special page on CASA's web site to help international operators flying in Australia. Find out everything about international operations.
Need to keep up-to-date with what's happening with the regulation of flying schools? Then keep an eye on CASA's web site flying training pages.
CASA's ever popular Flight Safety Australia magazine is online. View the current edition and back issues here.
Interested in sport aviation? Want to find out how sport aviation is regulated. CASA's web site is a good source of more information. Find out more on the sport aviation pages.