From the Director of Aviation Safety
The start of the new licensing suite of regulations is now just over a month away. On 1 September 2014 the transition period for Parts 61, 64, 141 and 142 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations begins. Over the four year period from 1 September 2014 all pilots will have their licences converted from the current format under Part 5 of the Civil Aviation Regulations to the new format under Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. Pilots can continue to use their current licence during the transition period until it is converted. The four year transition period has been established to enable CASA to manage the conversion of about 40,000 licences as smoothly as possible. From 1 September 2014 all new pilot licences, ratings and endorsements will be issued under the Part 61 regulations. New requirements for flight reviews and proficiency checks will also take effect.
We are encouraging pilots to apply for a new licence document only when their flight instructor or flight examiner notifies CASA of a flight review, proficiency check or a flight test for a new licence, rating or endorsement. By adopting this approach there will be an orderly flow of licence conversions, rather than a potential log jam if many pilots apply at one time. When a flight review, proficiency check or flight test is conducted pilots will complete a form to transfer their qualifications to Part 61. The flight examiner or instructor will make an entry on the current licence in the first available space and then draw a line directly under it. The examiner or instructor can also sight and certify copies of any original permissions not contained in the current licence that need to be transferred to the new Part 61 licence. This includes permissions contained in the log book or any other instrument that confers privileges under the Civil Aviation Regulations. Both the notification and transfer forms will then be sent to CASA, along with certified copies of any permissions. All the permissions will then be placed in the new Part 61 licence, which will have been updated using the details provided on both forms. The new Part 61 licence will then be printed and posted to the pilot. We are asking pilots to then carefully check all of the permissions listed in the new licence document to ensure none have been missed. If a pilot believes a current permission is missing from their new Part 61 licence, a resolution form will be available on the CASA website from 1 September 2014.
For most pilots the only noticeable change under Part 61 is they will get a new licence document with a slightly different format, although the new licence looks similar to the old and is still on paper. The first pages will still contain the Government crest and a pilot’s personal details. Next will be a list of all licences - for example private pilot licence and commercial pilot licence - and aircraft ratings. Any design features and flight activity endorsements held will then be listed, followed by any operational ratings and their associated endorsements. The biggest change pilots will notice is the addition of tables to the end of their licence because sticky labels will no longer be used in logbooks. Any new ratings and endorsements gained by a pilot will now be written directly onto the Part 61 licence tables by instructors and examiners.
Please find out more about the new licences and other changes in the licensing suite by regularly visiting the CASA website.
John F McCormick
Check safety and security before overseas flights
Australian air operators and pilots are being reminded to check all available and authoritative information about potential safety and security threats to flights before conducting operations in, over or near areas of armed conflict or turmoil. Air operators and pilots should determine if National Aviation Authorities or other government agencies have issued any notices, advisories, bulletins, warnings or other safety information about activities that may pose risks to flights in particular geographic regions or airspace. These should be assessed along with any relevant travel advisories from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is the responsibility of air operators and pilots to consider this kind of information and to make informed decisions about when and whether to operate into or over particular areas where local situations and circumstances may pose unacceptable risks. Operators and pilots are always required to be familiar with and to comply with the applicable aviation laws of other countries in which they conduct operations. Currently CASA reminds Australian air operators and pilots considering operations into or over areas such as Eastern Europe and the Middle East to pay attention to all current safety notices and bulletins, including in particular those issued by the United States Federal Aviation Administration and the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Check US Flight Prohibitions.
Check EASA safety bulletins.
Check the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel advisories before considering travel to any country.
Private and GA operators warned about volcanic ash dangers
Private and general aviation aircraft operators have been warned about the hazards of volcanic ash contamination. In a newly revised airworthiness bulletin CASA says volcanic ash events pose physical hazards to general aviation aircraft and helicopters with both piston and turbine engines. Pilots and general aviation operators should refer to CASA and International Civil Aviation Organization guidance material about flight operations during known or forecast volcanic ash events. Information should be obtained from air traffic and meteorological services, as well as reports from pilots. Aircraft owners and operators should also refer to guidance and recommendations from aircraft manufacturers about operating in or near volcanic ash. The abrasive nature of volcanic ash can be very damaging to aircraft structures, engines and windows. Ash can clog the pitot-static system, penetrate air conditioning and equipment cooling systems and contaminate electrical, avionics and hydraulic systems. Flying through a volcanic ash cloud must be avoided as visibility may be lost, aerofoil and control surfaces severely damaged and engines may shut down rapidly or lose power. Even flights through low volcanic ash contamination where there appears to be no immediate threat to safety can have medium and long term consequences for the airworthiness of aircraft. CASA recommends a safety risk analysis is conducted before any flights in or near volcanic ash.
Find out more about keeping safe during volcanic ash events.
R22 operators urged to fit new fuel tanks
CASA is encouraging operators of R22 helicopters to move as quickly as possible to install modified fuel tanks which reduce the risk of post-accident fires. In a letter to all R22 operators CASA strongly recommends the modified fuel tanks are installed as early as possible, particularly if the aircraft is used in passenger carrying activities. The letter has been triggered by a Robinson service bulletin setting out the requirements for the installation of modified fuel tanks on R22 helicopters. Robinson issued the service bulletin earlier in 2014. It requires R22 helicopters with aluminium fuel tanks to be retrofitted with bladder tanks to improve the fuel system’s resistance to a post-accident fuel leak. This reduces the risk of post-accident fires. Current production and factory overhauled R22s are now fitted with bladder fuel tanks. Robinson says the new fuel tanks should be fitted as soon as practical, but no later than the next 2200 hour overhaul or 12 year inspection. The service bulletin affects R22s with service numbers 0002 through to 4620. The letter from CASA points out the Civil Aviation Regulations require the incorporation of service bulletins from manufacturers into aircraft maintenance programs. Operators are also reminded it is their responsibility to ensure aircraft are safe and airworthy. R22 operators have also been asked to advise CASA of the status of their aircraft in relation to the 2200 hour overhaul period or 12 year calendar inspection.
'Drone' safety rules under review
The safety rules governing the recreational flying of remotely controlled model aircraft are being reviewed. The review is being undertaken in response to the rapid growth in the popularity of so-called ‘drones’ and a corresponding rise in the number of safety incidents. There is concern some people are flying their remotely controlled aircraft irresponsibly and are putting the public and other airspace users at risk. A project has been set up to review the sections of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations relating to the operation of unmanned aircraft for non-commercial purposes. Separate regulations cover the operation of unmanned aircraft for commercial purposes. Australia was one of the first nations to develop safety rules for unmanned aircraft, with the regulations made in 2002. Since then technology has seen sweeping changes in the types of remotely controlled aircraft that are available, including the development of popular battery powered quadcopters. These machines have similar capabilities to the remotely piloted aircraft flown in commercial operations. In announcing the project CASA said: "Growing use of these aircraft has given rise to an increase in reports of incidents involving model aircraft being flown near aeroplanes and helicopters, and around airports. CASA is also concerned about safety aspects of such aircraft being used irresponsibly over (and sometimes in and around) public gatherings, beaches, parks and thoroughfares, potentially endangering third parties on the ground."
Find out more about the 'drone' project.
Piper aircraft fuel valve warning
Owners and operators of Piper aircraft have been warned about a potential loss of fuel control due to malfunctioning fuel selector and shutoff valves. The warning follows an Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation of a fatal Piper Seneca accident. In that investigation, it was found the internal O ring seals within the aircraft’s fuel valve had deteriorated and were allowing fuel to flow to the engines even when the valves were in the off position. This means the pilot could not isolate an engine from the fuel system or make effective use of cross fuel feed during an engine shutdown. Even when the fuel valve was turned off, fuel leaked at a high rate. When the fuel selector valves were disassembled serious deterioration of all the O rings was discovered, with wear, cracks or shrinkage. The manufacturer does not stipulate a hard-time overhaul life for the fuel selector valves and the internal leakage may not be found by following the current manufacturer’s maintenance schedule. CASA recommends the Scott fuel selector and shutoff valve on the Piper Seneca is checked at every 100 hourly for correct operation. The Scott valve may also be installed on the Piper Seminole and Aztec.
Find out more in the fuel valve airworthiness bulletin.
Have your say on navigation authorisation rules
Changes to two Civil Aviation Orders covering performance-based navigation are being proposed. CASA is inviting feedback on proposed changes to Civil Aviation Orders relating to instructions and directions for performance-based navigation and basic operational requirements for aircraft equipment. The changes will affect all instrument flight rules pilots and aircraft operating in Australia. They are intended to further align Australia with the provisions set out in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s performance-based navigation manual. The changes will reduce costs for the aviation industry by removing the need for air operators to gain formal ‘authorisation’ for several navigation classifications. CASA is also withdrawing the advisory circulars that support the performance-based navigation Civil Aviation Orders as they do not to contain all the information needed to successfully complete applications for navigation authorisations. Instead a single new advisory circular will be issued containing updated information and additional material to assist applicants. Comments on the proposed changes should be submitted by 22 August 2014.
Read the performance-based navigation notice of proposed rulemaking and comment.
Get a full overview of performance-based navigation, the existing rules, aircraft equipment mandates and timelines.
Review suggests new radio service for Gladstone
A review of the airspace surrounding Gladstone aerodrome has recommended the establishment of a certified air ground radio service. This third party radio information service would provide traffic and other information to pilots during the arrival and departure of most regular public transport and charter flights. According to the Gladstone airspace review the radio information service would address a number of emerging operational issues at Gladstone. Issues include aircraft not broadcasting on the common traffic advisory frequency, local helicopters arriving from non-routine directions, a crossover of traffic 10-15 nautical miles south of Gladstone, an increase in runway back-tracking and extra traffic likely to be attracted to Gladstone after the installation of an instrument landing system. The introduction of new gas plumes in addition to a current heat plume will also create new danger areas, one of which will be up to 5000 feet above mean sea level. Overall the airspace around Gladstone was found to be a complex operating environment which can increase the workload of pilots. Other recommendations from the review included lowering class E controlled airspace to better protect public transport operations and new operating procedures for helicopters.
Read the Gladstone airspace review.
New technology makes for precise Sydney approaches
Sydney airport now has a new precision approach navigation system to guide aircraft to within one metre of the runway centre line on every approach. The ground based augmentation system – or GBAS - is the first of its type in the southern hemisphere. In launching the new system Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said GBAS is a critical component of Australia’s next generation air traffic management infrastructure. Mr Truss said it offered airlines and airports enhanced efficiency and capacity. “This new system improves the accuracy of aircraft positioning and can reliably guide up to 26 highly precise approach flight paths simultaneously, within a 42 kilometre radius from the airport. GBAS works by transmitting data directly to an aircraft’s flight management system, and will help reduce maintenance costs and provide more efficient calibration than traditional instrument landing systems. The Australian Government will continue to work with the airline industry to encourage fitment of GBAS-capable avionics. By integrating GBAS and other GPS-based operations with air traffic management, Australia is transitioning to a satellite-based, performance-driven air navigation system of the 21st century.”
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