From the Director of Aviation Safety
As we move into another busy year I would like to thank people and organisations across the aviation industry and throughout the wider Australian aviation community for the time and effort they put into helping to develop the new safety regulations. Input into the regulatory development processes is made at a number of levels including participation in the Standards Consultative Committee, taking part in working groups developing specific sets of rules and providing feedback on discussion papers, proposed rules and final drafts. I appreciate and value the effort made by everyone who takes part in regulatory development because CASA cannot do this job on its own. We need the expertise and practical knowledge of people working in the aviation industry to test ideas, translate concepts to safety regulations and to ensure the best possible safety outcomes are achieved with the appropriate level of regulation.
I understand the regulatory development process can at times seem cumbersome and drawn out. However, like many things in life, the devil is in the detail, and we must get the rules right. At times this means revisiting sets of rules to make improvements to ensure the right safety outcomes are being achieved with regulations that do not place inappropriate burdens on the aviation industry. It is largely feedback from aviation people and organisations that informs the review and improvement of rules and this was the case with important amendments made in December 2013. A range of improvements have been made to the rules covering pilot licensing and training, the operations of maintenance organisations, aircraft engineer licences and aircraft registration. These changes aim to reduce costs, improve safety and make transition to new rules easier.
The package of changes to the licensing suite of regulations includes a range of improvements. Student pilot licences will no longer exist, meaning less red tape and costs for students and flying schools while maintaining the same level of safety. The requirement for a photographic pilot licence has been dropped in favour of pilots carrying an acceptable identification document. Additional aircraft types have been added to the new aircraft class rating system to simplify requirements and reduce costs. Flight instructor rating proficiency checks have been simplified to permit a single proficiency check for the rating. The number of flight reviews for helicopter pilots operating some single engine helicopters has been reduced. I cannot list all the changes to the licensing regulations here, but a link below will take you to a summary of the changes.
The amendments to the maintenance and aircraft registration regulations are important and took effect from 18 December 2013. These changes allow continuing airworthiness management organisations supporting regular public transport operations to also manage airworthiness for aircraft used in charter, aerial work and private flying. This simplifies regulatory requirements for a range of maintenance organisations. The changes also streamline CASA’s processing of aircraft maintenance engineer licences and associated ratings. In the area of aircraft registration, CASA will now be able to suspend registration rather than being required to cancel when CASA has not been notified of an aircraft change in ownership within the specified timeframe. This has obvious benefits to aircraft owners.
Please find out more about the changes to the licensing, maintenance and aircraft registration regulations by following the links below. These changes flow directly from the feedback CASA has received from aviation people and organisations. By listening and acting CASA has created better regulations that still strive for the best possible safety outcomes while reducing costs and red tape where possible.
Find out more about the licensing suite improvements.
Read about the maintenance and aircraft registration changes.
John F McCormick
Night visual flight rules under review
The regulations relating to night visual flight rules operations are being reviewed. CASA has set up a project to look at the night visual flight rules in both the current set of regulations and future Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. The key issue being examined is the need for a defined external horizon to be visible for aircraft attitude control. The night visual flight rules review follows an Australian Transport Safety Bureau report into operations in dark night conditions. This report found dark night visual meteorological conditions are effectively the same as instrument meteorological conditions. If there are no lights on the ground or any other illumination pilots cannot see the ground and have no external clues for orientation. The Civil Aviation Regulations require a pilot in command flying under visual flight rules to determine visibility. A pilot needs to take into account the meteorological conditions and any other condition that may limit effective vision - including dark night conditions. It is very difficult for a pilot to determine in-flight visibility in dark night conditions where there are no lit objects or other illumination. The project will look at night visual flight rules requirements for both aeroplanes and helicopters. It will also develop amended guidance material emphasising the importance of maintaining a discernible external horizon at night.
Find out more about the night visual flight rules project.
Safety seminars kick off for 2014
People across Australian aviation will be invited to attend more than 80 AvSafety seminars during 2014. There will be three themes for seminars during the 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 air transport associated regulations - parts 91, 119, 121, 131 and 133 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. These seminars will provide an opportunity for shared discussions on the obligations and impacts of the new regulations on operators and individuals. There will be plenty of opportunities for people to ask questions and raise issues relating to regulatory change. 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 from aviation people, as well as analysis by CASA. In February there will be a total of 13 AvSafety seminars held at locations in six states. All seminars are free but bookings are needed through CASA’s web site.
Find an AvSafety seminar in your area and book now.
Performance-based navigation: are you equipped to fly?
The evolution of performance-based navigation in Australia continues with the introduction of new equipment mandates for all instrument flight rules aircraft from 6 February 2014. Since 12 December 2013, all aircraft operating in Australian airspace have needed approved and serviceable automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) equipment installed in order to fly at or above flight level 290. CASA has provided a limited exemption to this requirement for aircraft operating in designated areas of airspace until December 2015.
The next round of equipment mandates come into effect from 6 February 2014, when all instrument flight rules aircraft new to the Australian register must be equipped with ADS-B and TSO C145, C146 or C196 global navigation satellite system (GNSS) equipment. Existing aircraft that are modified on or after this date must also be equipped with compliant GNSS equipment, as well as an ADS-B capable transponder if the aircraft operates in class A, C or E airspace or in class G airspace above 10,000ft. If you are planning to buy an aircraft from the USA and operate it in Australia, you need to ensure the aircraft has the right GNSS equipment and that the ADS-B installed uses Mode S transponder with Extended Squitter (commonly referred to as 1090 MHz Extended Squitter). Aircraft from the USA with ADS-B through the Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) system will not work in Australia and are not compliant with the new rules.
By 4 February 2016, GNSS 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. CASA will be holding more information sessions about performance-based navigation in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Essendon during February and March.
Read more about the implementation of performance-based navigation in Australia, equipment mandates and the limited ADS-B exemption.
Time to apply for a sponsorship for safety
Aviation organisations that promote safety are being invited to apply for sponsorship from CASA. Applications for the current round of sponsorship, which can be financial or in-kind, can be made until 14 February 2014. CASA offers sponsorship for activities such as conferences, workshops, seminars, educational programs and publications that promote Australia’s civil aviation safety capabilities, skills and services. CASA looks to align sponsorship with current safety promotion activities and priorities which include ageing aircraft safety, sports and recreational aviation safety, promoting new safety rules and helicopter operations in remote and regional areas. Applications for sponsorship of activities outside of these priorities will be considered if they have a strong safety focus, address known risk factors and lead to improved aviation safety. CASA is unlikely to sponsor an activity if there is not a strong focus on positively promoting safety in Australia’s aviation community. Organisations wishing to apply for sponsorship need to fill in a form which is available on CASA’s web site. This form asks for a description of the event or activity, the safety messages to be conveyed, the expected number of participants or people impacted, the amount of money or in-kind contribution sought and the reciprocal benefits to CASA.
Find out more and apply for sponsorship now.
Get your guide to ramp checks now
Two new online guides for pilots on ramp checks are now available. The guides are tailored for general aviation pilots and sport pilots. Each guide sets out what will happen during a ramp check, what the CASA inspector is looking for and what happens during the aircraft inspection. Ramp checks are conducted as part of CASA’s general surveillance process.
These checks can be part of planned surveillance of a particular geographical area or aerodrome or they can be done on a one off basis. The purpose of a ramp check is to make sure flying operations are being conducted safely and in accordance with regulations. A typical ramp check involves the inspection of a pilot’s documentation, the preparation for flight and the aircraft. The ramp check guide for general aviation pilots explains the CASA inspector will ask to see a pilot’s flight crew licence, photographic ID and aviation medical certificate. Sports pilots will be asked to show or confirm a pilot certificate and other relevant documentation, including current and valid membership of the relevant recreational aviation organisation. Both general aviation and sports pilots may then be asked about flight planning before the CASA inspector looks at the aircraft. In general aviation this includes the maintenance release, the daily inspection, airworthiness directives, outstanding aircraft unserviceable items, checklists and evidence of pilot and passenger weights.
Download your copy of the ramp check guides now.
Work to develop community service flight safety standards
Appropriate safety standards for community service flights are being developed by CASA. Community service flights are those conducted by volunteer pilots and aircraft owners for charitable and other socially beneficial purposes. CASA has set up a project to develop community service flight standards, regulations and guidance material. A key objective of the project is to balance the need to rationally manage the safety risks of undertaking the flights with the social benefits to the broader community. In announcing the project CASA said: Community service flights are potentially open to a wide section of the community and may be conducted by pilots with varying experience and qualification levels in a variety of different types of aircraft. As this kind of aviation activity becomes more widely used, pilot qualifications and aircraft certification and maintenance standards become significant potential risk indicators, which CASA must consider and regulate appropriately in order to maintain an acceptable level of safety for the pilots, their passengers and the public. Along with any new regulations there will be guidance material to educate the aviation community about their responsibilities in relation to community service flights.
Track the community service flights project.
Learn about flight testing in person or online
Do you need information on flight testing your aircraft or on flight test safety? Then it’s time to make a booking to take part in an important certification flight testing seminar. The seminar is being held in Brisbane on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 February 2014. Anyone involved in the aircraft type certification process will benefit from attending the seminar. This includes pilots, engineers and aviation managers. The seminar is free and places are limited. The certification flight testing seminar will look at the flight requirements associated with the aircraft type certification process. A general review of the certification process is also provided, with a description of flight test techniques and procedures. The safety of certification test flying is emphasised. If you can’t make the seminar in Brisbane, there is a section of CASA’s web site dedicated to flight testing and evaluation. This includes information on the experimental, developmental and certification flight testing of new aircraft types, as well as testing of modifications to older aircraft types and the post-production testing of newly manufactured aircraft. There are flight test guides for simple light aircraft, amateur built aircraft and modified aircraft.
Make a booking now for the certification flight testing seminar.
Go to the flight test and evaluation web pages.
AOC holders survey 2014
The 2014 survey of holders of air operators certificates will commence in February 2014. For the past six years air operators have been surveyed to ensure CASA holds accurate and up-to-date operational information on the aviation industry. The questionnaire will ask for information about operations conducted between 1 January and 31 December 2013 and requires information regarding staff levels, passengers carried and details of aircraft operated by each holder of an air operators certificate. An email and letter will be sent to all air operators with a link to the online survey, including login and password details. Operators will then have 28 days to complete the survey from the start date. If air operators do not receive this information from CASA about the questionnaire by the end of February 2014 they are asked to contact CASA.
Air operators who don’t receive an email or letter or who have questions or feedback should contact Julie Codyre on 131 757 extension 1841 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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.