From acting Director of Aviation Safety and CEO, Shane Carmody
Drones - properly known as remotely piloted aircraft - are here to stay as an important and growing sector of the aviation community. As in other sectors of aviation it is CASA’s role to develop and manage appropriate safety regulations to protect people, property and other aircraft. It is also CASA’s role to educate drone operators about safety and to provide effective safety support. While Australia has had a set of drone safety regulations for many years, the rapid growth in both recreational and commercial drone use means CASA has to look for new opportunities to deliver education and safety support. I am pleased to say that is exactly what is being done with the development of a new drone app – called ‘can I fly there?’. The app will show drone no-fly zones such as aerodromes, helicopter landing areas and restricted airspace. It will also flag no-drone areas where emergency services such as firefighters are operating. Users of the app can see drone no-fly zones near their current location or enter a location where they want to operate. This initiative will help recreational and very small commercial drone flyers to stay safe in the air. Importantly, if used correctly, it will assist to keep drones away from areas where aircraft are flying at low altitudes and could be at risk of a mid-air collision. We will continue to consult with all sectors of the aviation community to get the right balance between facilitating the growth of the drone industry while maintaining safe skies for all.
On 2 February 2017 history was made with the final fitment mandate for Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B) technology coming into effect for all instrument flight rules aircraft operating in Australia. This truly heralds a new era in air traffic surveillance that keeps Australian aviation at the forefront of safety. Before ADS-B Australia's electronic airspace surveillance coverage was patchy by international standards, with only around 18 per cent of the continent covered by radar. We have been progressively introducing the new technology since 2004 as we had an immediate need for air traffic surveillance that could not be easily achieved with traditional radars. Benefits of ADS-B include reduced separation standards, increased airspace efficiencies, more accurate and timely provision of directed traffic information and quicker and more accurate search and rescue alerting. It also enables us to take the next steps in air traffic management, including increases in pilot-to-pilot situational awareness through ADS-B IN cockpit displays receiving broadcasts from other ADS-B equipped aircraft in the vicinity.
I will be spending time at the Avalon Airshow and look forward to meeting as many people as possible on the CASA stand and at the events I will be attending. If you are at Avalon please take the opportunity to visit the CASA stand and discuss any aviation safety issues with our staff.
Have your say on engineer licensing review
A comprehensive review of issues relating to aircraft maintenance engineer licenses and ratings is underway. The scope of the review includes Part 66 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations, the Part 66 Manual of Standards and associated advisory material. Part 66 covers aircraft maintenance engineer licensing. CASA wants to hear from the aviation community about issues that should be addressed by the review, as well as ideas for possible solutions. One priority is to address issues identified under the proposed new small aircraft maintenance licensing structure. In particular, the aim is to better integrate small aircraft maintenance licences into a progressive licensing system. The introduction of the proposed new small aircraft maintenance licensing structure, which was to have started on 4 July 2016, has been postponed while the review is underway. This follows requests from maintenance training organisations and aviation representative groups. While the review is being conducted people can still gain an aircraft engineer licence for the maintenance of small aircraft using the CASA basics examinations and schedule of experience system.
Comment on the maintenance licensing review by 26 May 2017.
Hunt for new CASA boss is underway
Recruitment has formally begun for CASA’s new Chief Executive Officer and Director of Aviation Safety. The chairman of CASA, Jeff Boyd, announced the Board will be conducting a thorough search to identify the best candidate to lead the organisation. The role is responsible for providing strategic leadership and management to deliver the organisation’s vision of ‘safe skies for all’. Mr Boyd said: “We’re looking for a person who has experience in leading large complex organisations, as well as an understanding of managing a diverse range of stakeholders, government process and regulatory systems. We’re also looking for someone who has a thorough understanding of the aviation or similar industries, or an ability to rapidly obtain this knowledge.” The recruitment follows the resignation of former CEO and Director Mark Skidmore in August 2016 and the appointment of Shane Carmody in an acting capacity from October 2016. Applications for the role will close on Monday 13 March 2017.
Focus on better implementation of new rules
A wide range of recommendations to improve the implementation of new aviation safety regulations have been made by the taskforce set up to solve problems with the licensing regulations. It in its final report the licensing solutions taskforce said many lessons could be learnt from its efforts over nearly a year. The taskforce worked closely with an industry advisory panel to improve the new licensing suite of regulations. This focus on consultation and collaboration between CASA and aviation industry representatives was a major factor in the taskforce’s success. Recommendations for the future of regulatory development and implementation include reviewing CASA’s stakeholder engagement, having a model of collaboration and cross functional cooperation within CASA and with the aviation community, establishing flexible teams to work on preparation activities, consulting with the aviation community to establish a clear delivery framework right from the beginning and developing guidance material and acceptable means of compliance prior to implementation of regulations. In addition all affected CASA staff must be trained on new regulations and an inspector helpline set up prior to the implementation of new regulations. An online forum to facilitate consultation between the aviation community and CASA was also recommended. CASA continues work to finalise further improvements to licensing suite of regulations.
Read the licensing taskforce report.
New drone survey takes-off
A new annual survey of certified remotely piloted aircraft operators is being conducted to capture the rapidly changing nature of this expanding sector of the aviation community. The survey will enable remotely piloted aircraft operators to provide information about their industry, helping CASA make evidence-based decisions in the future. With drone technology rapidly advancing, while becoming cheaper and more accessible, the Australian remotely piloted aircraft sector has undergone unprecedented growth in recent years. There are now more than 900 certified commercial operators around the nation—a sizable increase from the 14 in 2012. CASA is mindful of this fast-paced environment and wants to track and understand what is changing, where it is occurring and how it could affect safety. The 29 survey questions cover the previous calendar year’s operations - including the type and number of remotely piloted aircraft used, the nature of those operations, certification and staffing levels, as well as other safety-related topics. The survey is open to all holders of remotely piloted aircraft operator's certificates.
Take part in remotely piloted aircraft survey before it closes on 28 February 2017.
Thirteen pilot seminars in March 2017
CASA is holding 13 safety seminars for pilots around the nation during March 2017. Lessons for life seminars are scheduled at Sunshine Coast, Albany, Caboolture, Kununurra, Tooradin, Kyneton, Mackay, Adelaide, Airlie Beach, Colac, Cooma, Kalgoorlie and Maitland. These seminars will focus on fuel management and handling partial power loss in a single engine aircraft. Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation reports nominate these issues as the cause of a high number of accidents. Lessons will be learnt from accidents, with everyone asked to consider how the accident could have been avoided. Other issues may be discussed such as electronic flight bags, regulatory changes, correct procedures to follow at non-controlled aerodromes and the requirements for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast. The seminars also provide an important opportunity for pilots to give feedback and suggestions to CASA.
Book your place for an AvSafety Seminar now.
New engineering safety support
A new series of safety seminars for people responsible for aircraft airworthiness and maintenance begins in March 2017. Continuing airworthiness and aircraft engineering is a complex discipline which requires on going education to keep up to date with latest advances and the high level of safety knowledge required in modern aviation. These seminars are aimed at people in airworthiness roles such as engineers, the head of aircraft airworthiness and maintenance, continuing airworthiness management, air operators and training organisations. CASA aims to support the professional development of people in these safety critical roles by providing access to the latest best practice, information and resources. Importantly the seminars will also provide the opportunity to ask questions and raise issues with CASA. Topics covered will include the maintenance responsibilities of the registered operator, registration holder, responsible manager, aircraft owner and licensed aircraft maintenance engineer; defect reporting; tool control; and the Part 64 review. Part 64 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations covers the requirements needed for an authorisation to operate an aeronautical radio or the authority to taxi an aeroplane.
Book now for the Kununurra engineering safety seminar.
More comments needed on the future of medicals
Time is running down on the chance to have a say on the future of pilot medical certification. CASA needs comments from people across the aviation community on a comprehensive medical discussion paper. While some people have already sent submissions, many more are needed. The paper sets out a range of medical certification issues and puts forward a number of options. These options range from continuing existing medical requirements to developing a new medical certificate for the sport and recreational sectors. They also include re-assessing risk tolerances, streamlining certification practices, aligning sport and recreational standards and mitigating the risks of any changes through operational restrictions. The discussion paper looks at a range of other relevant issues such as CASA’s approach to aviation medicine, the approach to medical certification in four other nations, pilot incapacitation in Australia, accidents and risks, psychiatric conditions and the protection of third parties. The discussion paper makes it clear CASA’s operational objective is to strive to let as many people continue to fly as safely as possible. However, CASA is aware there is a perception from some elements of the pilot community that CASA can take an overly rigorous approach in terms of testing and contesting opinions from other doctors.
Comment on the medical discussion paper by 30 March 2017.