From the Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore
Most people in aviation have heard of the term ‘just culture’. The concept has been around for some years and is used around the globe in aviation and other sectors involved in hazardous activities. There are many definitions of just culture, however, generally it is used to describe an approach where front line operators and others are not punished for actions, omissions or decisions taken by them that are in line with their experience and training, but where gross negligence, wilful violations or destructive acts are not tolerated. In other words, if you make an honest mistake and report it you should not be punished for what you have done or failed to do. Of course, this doesn’t mean people can or should get away with anything, or that appropriate action taken in the interests of safety may not be necessary. Gross negligence, wilful violations or destructive acts may well be subject to punishment. However, under a just culture approach the focus is on identifying the appropriate corrective actions to address the issues that gave rise to the error or mistake. In many cases the appropriate response can be found in additional or improved education and training. Of course, action may need to be taken to minimise risks while corrective actions are being implemented. The advantage of a just culture approach is that it encourages people to be open and accountable about their mistakes, so there is a better reporting of errors and the ability to learn from them is enhanced. Fear of punishment doesn’t stop people from making mistakes. But mistakes can be avoided by robust safety systems, training and an overarching commitment by everyone to achieving the best possible safety outcomes.
In the coming months, I will be leading CASA in the implementation of a just culture approach to aviation safety regulation in Australia. We will work to develop a regulatory and an operational environment where genuinely honest mistakes are recognised for what they are—opportunities for learning and improvement. CASA’s response will be to understand why the mistakes were made and how the likelihood that the same mistakes will occur in the future can be reduced. Where the people and organisations involved demonstrate a willingness and ability to address errors and omissions in a responsible and constructive way, CASA will not need to take enforcement action. Certainly no punitive action will be necessary. We will encourage the individuals and organisations involved to identify and understand the factors behind mistakes. We will then support them in their efforts to develop and take the most appropriate course of action to prevent a recurrence of a mistake through further training and education, while effectively minimising risks to safety in the meantime.
A just culture approach is already implicit in CASA’s enforcement policy and practice. However, in keeping with the Federal Government’s response to the recommendations of the Aviation Safety Regulation Review, we will be making this commitment clearer and more explicit as part of our overarching approach to regulatory policy and practice. Together we can all work to maintain and improve safety, while fostering trust and promoting accountability.
Don’t miss out – order the new Visual Flight Rules Guide now!
A fully revised edition of the very popular Visual Flight Rules Guide is being released soon. Pre-orders of this hard back guide can be made now through CASA’s online store. There is a limited print run so if you want a copy get in early. The easy-to-use and understand guide is presented in an accessible A5-size ring-bound folder, ideal for use both on the ground and in the air. The visual flight rules guide is divided into five main sections, plus an index. The sections are: general - which includes the rules, licensing, pilot responsibilities and radio procedures; pre-flight planning - covering meteorology, briefing, notification, information services; operations – including communications, non-controlled aerodromes, controlled airspace and sport aviation; helicopter operations and emergency procedures. The Visual Flight Rules Guide costs $34.95.
Order your copy of the new Visual Flight Rules Guide now.
We listened to feedback and acted
CASA will not pursue the option of requiring community service flights to be operated under the authority of a self-administering organisation. This follows an analysis of the responses to a discussion paper issued in 2014 on the most appropriate safety standards for charity flights. In the discussion paper CASA indicated preliminary support for an option requiring community service flights to be conducted within the rules of a CASA approved self-administration organisation. However, responses to the paper opposed this option for a number of reasons including cost and complexity. CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore, said at present the guidelines and practices used by community service flight organisations such as Angel Flight are sufficient. “We have listened to the feedback to CASA’s preferred option and we accept this is not the way to proceed,” Mr Skidmore said. “CASA is not proposing any changes to the existing regulatory requirements for community service flights at this time. That does not mean we have stopped looking at this issue completely as the discussion paper put forward ten options – including doing nothing, passenger briefings and additional pilot training and checking. If CASA does propose to explore any of these options further there will be additional consultation with the aviation community and the public before any changes are implemented.” There were 72 submissions in response to the community service flight discussion paper.
Lighter rules proposed for scenic flights
CASA has listened to the views of the aviation community and is proposing new rules for scenic flights in small aircraft. Under the proposal scenic flight operators would no longer need an air operator’s certificate, instead holding a simpler CASA authorisation. Responses to a discussion paper published on the issue generally supported a reduced level of CASA involvement in the regulation of scenic flights. In a new notice of proposed rule-making CASA supports that position and agrees with the aviation community that scenic flights should be operated under the day visual flight rules only, with a maximum of five passengers. There would also be a 50 nautical mile radius restriction on flights and passengers must return to the departure point on the same day but not necessarily on the same flight. Scenic flight operators would be required to have an operations manual that includes a hazard and risk identification and management plan. All pilots would need a commercial pilot licence or air transport pilot licence to conduct scenic flights and an operator must not have a fleet of more than five aircraft, unless approved by CASA. Training organisations would be allowed to conduct scenic flights if approved by CASA.
Read the scenic flight notice of proposed rule-making and comment before 19 March 2015.
More time for transition to new small aircraft maintenance licence system
The transition period for the switch to a new system of training for people seeking a small aircraft maintenance licence is being extended. Under the proposed new licence system competency based training for small aircraft maintenance licences will only be delivered by CASA-approved maintenance training organisations using a nationally endorsed set of competency standards and qualifications. This will replace the CASA basic maintenance examinations and schedules of experience. It was planned that use of the CASA basic examinations and schedules of experience would end in June 2015. However, CASA has determined more time is needed for transition to the new training system and the exams and schedule of experience will continue to be available as a training pathway to a small aircraft maintenance licence until June 2019. It should be noted that after 26 June 2015 the CASA basic exams and schedule of experience will no longer be able to be used to obtain a standard Part 66 maintenance licence or rating. CASA is preparing transitional legislation to allow continued access to the CASA basic maintenance examinations and schedules of experience as a way to obtain a small aircraft licence.
Find out more in the information sheet.
Comment now on proposed changes to fees
CASA is calling for comments on proposed changes to fees and charges relating to the new flight crew licensing regulations. There are no proposed increases to any existing fees, however there are some new fees. A range of existing fees are also replaced by new fees. The revised cost recovery arrangements are forecast to be revenue neutral as increases in revenue and expenditure from new fee items are expected to be offset by a corresponding reduction in the revenue and expenditure in connection with the existing fees. A full list of the new and changed fees has been published in a Cost Recovery Implementation Statement covering the flight crew licensing suite of regulations – Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Parts 61, 64, 141 and 142. The aviation community is asked to provide comments on the proposed licensing fee changes by 23 April 2015.
See the proposed licensing fee changes and have your say.
Commitment to engagement and communication
CASA is committed to effective and meaningful engagement and communication with the aviation community. That was the pledge made by CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore, at a special workshop in February 2015. Mr Skidmore told the Human Factors and Automated Flight Deck Industry Workshop that CASA would engage with the aviation community at both a strategic and working level. He said CASA also needs to be conscious of the impacts of its actions and open to approaches which achieve safety outcomes without impacting the aviation community. The aviation community and CASA need to start sharing more information and experience, he added. “Aviation is a very safe mode of transport today; however, new technology is creating new challenges for the regulator and the regulated community, and more profoundly for pilots - areas such as pilot competencies, automation and flight path management have a greater need to be closely looked at,” Mr Skidmore said. “Whilst training programs have proved effective over the years, these new challenges need to be met in a pro-active way, rather than just relying on a box ticking proficiency checks style assessment. Learning from the past and incorporating what we have learnt into our safety programs is essential. Developing training programs that consider future events and continually evolve with technology is also equally important. From our recent work, CASA's new operations regulations will provide the framework for building and developing these programs in the form of evidence-based training.”
See us at Avalon 2015
CASA will have a team of experts on its stand at this year’s Avalon Air Show to answer questions, listen to feedback and discuss topical issues. The CASA stand is in hall three at the Avalon Air Show, which runs from 24 February to 1 March 2015. Various subject matter experts will be on the CASA stand each day – covering topics such as regulation reform, safety management systems, human factors and fatigue, pilot licensing rules, propulsion and aviation medicine. CASA’s aviation safety advisers will also be on the stand each day to talk about any safety issues people wish to raise. Safeskies Australia is also presenting a seminar at Avalon on Thursday 26 February 2015. Speakers include Dr Rob Lee talking about risk management and investigation in the context of safety management systems, Squadron Leader Steve Ferguson presenting on the Australian Defence Force Aviation Safety Management System, Cameron Heathwood of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority on the search for Malaysian Airlines flight 370, and Captain Marconi Cabatbat of the US Air Force on Flying the F22.
Get all the details on Avalon 2015.
Book now for design and manufacturing seminar
It’s time for everyone involved in aviation design and manufacturing to book their place at the annual CASA Design and Manufacturing seminar. This year’s event is being held from Thursday 21 to Friday 22 May 2015 in Canberra. It is being hosted by CASA’s Airworthiness and Engineering Standards Branch, with guest speakers from various aviation organisations. The seminar will cover topics such as the implementation of Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Subpart 21.J and updates on Subpart 21.M. There will be a focus on what is coming over the next six to twelve months in design and manufacturing. A number of presentations by people from the aviation industry will be made on certification, design and manufacturing projects. There is still a chance to get topics added to the seminar. This can be done by submitting a request via email by 28 February 2015 to Lisa Lanza at: firstname.lastname@example.org Anyone who would like to present at the Design and Manufacturing Seminar should submit an abstract of their topic to Lisa Lanza.
Registrations for the Design and Manufacturing seminar can be made using CASA’s AviationWorx.
Get more details about the seminar now.
Get your copy of the new safety management system resource kit
A fully revised second edition of the successful safety management system resource kit has been released. The resource kit is now available in hard copy or online. Anyone updating and improving an existing safety management system or developing and implementing a new system will find the kit invaluable. It is practical, written in plain English and takes a jargon busting approach. The kit includes eight booklets covering the basic components of safety management systems with a special focus on small non-complex organisations, useful templates and guides for implementing a safety management system, two video dramas focusing on a fictitious small charter and flying training organisation and video interviews with experts and practitioners. To coincide with the new edition of the safety management system resource kit CASA will be running one-day workshops in most major capital cities during April and May 2015. This will be a fantastic opportunity for people and organisations that need assistance or have any questions about safety management systems. Details of the workshops will be in next month’s edition of the CASA Briefing.
Find out more about the safety management system resource kit and order your hard copy or download now.
Revised performance-based navigation rules
Updated and revised information is now available for aircraft operators on performance-based navigation and the aircraft equipment needed for required navigation performance. A revised Civil Aviation Order incorporates the new navigation specifications RNP 0.3, Advanced RNP, radius to fix legs and fixed radius transition. It also removes the requirement for operators to have a CASA issued authorisation for RNAV 5, RNAV 1 and 2, RNP 1 and 2 and RNP APCH. Operators still need to comply with all the relevant requirements so they must make sure their aircraft is equipped and capable of meeting the functional and performance requirements for each navigation specification they intend to use. Aircraft operators are required to submit an application to CASA if their aircraft does not have an aircraft flight manual statement saying the aircraft meets airworthiness requirements for each navigation specification to be used.
An online presentation by CASA provides a high level overview of the revised Civil Aviation Orders, covering the concept of performance-based navigation and how it interacts with Automatic Dependant Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) requirements. To view the presentation simply log on to CASA’s online learning system, AviationWorx, select find an activity and under featured learning select Communications, Navigation, Surveillance/Air Traffic Management. Since 12 December 2013, all aircraft operating in Australian airspace at or above flight level 290 must have approved, serviceable ADS-B equipment installed. Without approved ADS-B avionics aircraft will not be cleared by air traffic control for flight at or above this level. On 4 February 2016, the Global Navigation Satellite System will become mandatory for all aircraft operating under instrument flight rules, and by 2 February 2017 all aircraft operating under instrument flight rules in Australia must be equipped with approved ADS-B. It is important all aircraft owners and operators allow adequate time for compliant equipment to be fitted.
Latest safety seminars for pilots
Twelve seminars for pilots are being held across three states during March 2015. The Avsafety seminars are being held in Queensland, NSW and Tasmania. They provide an opportunity for pilots to learn about key issues, raise local and national safety and regulatory issues, ask questions and provide feedback to CASA. A menu of seven topics has been set for the AvSafety seminars, with the most relevant topics to be covered at each location. Each seminar will open with an update about the latest news from CASA, including the Director of Aviation Safety’s five principles – safety, communication, cost, complexity and consistency. There will also be a focus on providing information and resources on the new licensing regulations, with pilots encouraged to ask questions and seek guidance on any areas of the new regulations. Other topics that can be covered at the seminars include ageing aircraft management plans, communicating with air traffic control, graphical area forecasts and the terminal area forecast review.
Find an Avsafety seminar near you.
Comment now on proposed warbird rules
The aviation community is being asked to comment on new proposals for the regulation of limited category aircraft. The limited category covers ex-military, replica, historic and some other aircraft. Many of these aircraft are commonly known as ‘warbirds’. Current rules for the limited category need to be moved into the new Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Part 132. In a notice of proposed rule-making CASA says in moving the rules there could be the relaxation of some existing regulatory requirements as well as changes to improve risk management. Relaxation of requirements could include allowing the personal use of limited category aircraft, air racing and glider towing. Changes to improve risk management are being proposed in the light of accidents and subsequent Coronial recommendations. These changes could include only allowing permit index one aircraft to fly over populous areas during take-off and landing, permit index two aircraft only being allowed to fly over a populous area if approved by CASA and formalising current practices in relation to adventure flights.
Read the limited category notice of proposed rule-making and comment by 1 April 2015.
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