CASA Briefing July 2015
From the Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore
This month - July 2015 - CASA marked its 20th birthday. Whatever your views of CASA it is a notable milestone for a still relatively young organisation and provided a moment to reflect on the journey so far and our future. It is fair to say CASA was born in - and in some ways out of - turbulent times for Australian aviation, with two major accidents in the first half of the 1990s. The second half of the Nineties and the early years of the new century saw continuing controversies and a range of difficult issues arise for the CASA team. As CASA began to mature as an organisation the turbulence began to subside, although the life of an aviation regulator is never a quiet or easy one. I will not pretend CASA is perfect or the best in every aspect of what we do, but we are highly regarded internationally, well respected by most Australians and take pride in striving for the best possible safety outcomes for everyone. We are committed to improving the way we operate and right now plans are being developed for a range of changes over the coming months and years to lift CASA’s performance in key areas. I can also assure everyone that we are strongly committed to delivering on the Government’s response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review and work on these initiatives is continuing.
What we can see looking back over 20 years is that a safety regulator continually strives to get the right balance in its approach to safety. The travelling public and people in the aviation community all expect safety to come first – we must deliver the appropriate safety outcomes for all sectors of aviation. But at the same time CASA must work to keep the regulatory burden as reasonable as possible. We must get the right safety outcomes without unintended consequences, unreasonable requirements or unnecessary costs. Looking back we can see times when the pendulum has swung both ways, possibly too far at times. I see my role as making sure the CASA of today and into the future gets the balance right. An aviation safety regulator cannot take a ‘light’ approach to safety, nor can we overburden the aviation community with regulatory red tape. It is not an easy balance to strike, yet that is our job. A modern regulator should engage, educate and enforce only when necessary, fairly and proportionately. I will work hard to ensure we have a robust and effective safety system that allows risks to be addressed quickly and only interferes with the legitimate day-to-day activities of the aviation community when necessary in the interests of safety.
Mark Skidmore AM
Special forum to tackle future challenges
CASA is holding a special forum in late July 2015 to facilitate discussion within the aviation community about the key safety and operational issues of today and tomorrow. The forum, being held in Mildura, invites people involved in all sectors of aviation to think about the challenges likely to emerge over the next 15 years. If there is a positive response to the Mildura forum CASA will look to hold similar meetings at other locations. CASA’s Director Mark Skidmore is the driving force behind the forum, saying everyone in aviation faces the challenges of change. “Aviation is continually evolving in areas such as advances in technology, new approaches to safety or better ways of doing business”, Mr Skidmore said. “None of us can afford to sit back and accept that the way we do things today will necessarily be the way of the future. That means we do need to look and think ahead about what is likely to change, what change will mean and how change can work for us.”
Mr Skidmore said the best way to harness the opportunities of the future is to collaborate, to pool our thinking and work together for the best outcomes. “I am committed to making sure CASA meets the challenges of the future and we are working on plans for the short, medium and longer terms. But CASA is not the source of all ideas and knowledge in Australian aviation safety, so we need the support and participation of everyone in the Australian aviation community to manage the issues of today and to plan effectively for the future”. Topics for the forum include maintaining the most effective safety culture, the best ways to develop and implement regulations that achieve the right safety outcomes, minimising complexity while working in a legal and regulatory framework, the best ways to support the aviation community to meet safety goals and requirements, improving communication, consultation and co-operation, the safety impact of new technologies, for example low earth orbit transport, the growth in the remotely piloted aircraft sector and managing ageing aircraft. It is important to make a booking to attend the forum as soon as possible.
Find out more and book a place now for the Mildura forum.
Keep your trim systems safe
Fresh advice on the critical importance of trim system maintenance has been released by CASA. The advice covers a range of potential problems including failures of control rod end assemblies, trim tab separation, corrosion of push rods, cracking and stripping of actuators and in-flight actuator disconnection. An airworthiness bulletin says if any unbalanced flight control trim tab develops excessive play or becomes disconnected from its control it may immediately develop severe in-flight vibration or flutter. This can result in the rapid loss of structural integrity of the tab, elevator and associated structure. Destructive flutter can happen over a range of airspeeds. Some aircraft – including many Cessna 206, 207 and 210 – have an elevator trailing edge and trim tab filled with foam to provide rigidity. Over time this foam can disband from the tab trim and trap moisture, causing corrosion and balance problems. During an inspection carried out as part of a Cessna Supplemental Inspection Document on a C441, elevator trim control rods were found to be corroding severely from the inside out. This is not an isolated problem. The airworthiness bulletin makes five recommendations, including amending aircraft maintenance programs that do not include periodic inspections of pitch trim systems.
Read the trim system airworthiness bulletin.
Fresh topics for new series of seminars for pilots
A new series of the popular AvSafety seminars for pilots is underway with important fresh topics added to the program. This series is being called: Aviation Safety – Lessons for Life in 2015. Seminars will cover a variety of topics with the main themes being avoiding flight in low visibility and the dangers of unplanned or unapproved low flying. These two issues have been selected as they feature in the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s top nine safety concerns. In other words pilots are continuing to get into trouble flying in low visibility and at low levels. Each AvSafety seminar will feature a discussion about at least one case study from ATSB reports about low visibility and low flying. Pilots will be asked to look at why the accidents or incidents occurred and how they could have been avoided. Information will also be provided about the regulatory requirements covering both issues. Other issues to be covered in the seminars will be regulatory changes, pilot responsibilities in relation to maintenance releases and the correct procedures to follow at non-controlled aerodromes. Discussion about non-controlled aerodromes will look at radio frequencies, radio use and procedures. As usual each seminar provides a chance for pilots to give feedback and suggestions to CASA. There are 12 AvSafety seminars scheduled for August 2015.
Find an AvSafety seminar near you.
What you need to know about managing defects
Aircraft are very reliable machines. However, defects can happen and when they do it is vital to know how they must be managed. CASA has issued new advice on one way of managing unrepaired defects – permissible unserviceabilities. Approval of a defect as a permissible unserviceability under the regulations is intended to function as an interim measure. The time during which the aircraft is operated with the defect is to allow for rectification or for obtaining approval of another means of dealing with the defect. Permissible unserviceabilities can cover defects such as damage to aircraft structure or parts, damage to propellers or engines, system defects and limits on hard landings or engine over speed. The regulation cannot be used to approve a defect that would lead to a non-compliance with another requirement such as an airworthiness directive or a certification maintenance requirement. The registered operator of an aircraft must apply in writing for a permissible unserviceability from a relevant approved design organisation, an authorised person or CASA. A defect may only be approved as a permissible unserviceability if it is not likely to have an adverse effect on the safety of air navigation and the aircraft with the defect meets its applicable airworthiness standards.
Get all the details on permissible unserviceabilities.
Time to apply for CASA sponsorship
If your organisation is involved in activities that support or promote aviation safety it’s time to consider if you may be eligible for sponsorship from CASA. Currently applications for sponsorship are being accepted until 7 August 2015. There will be a second opportunity to apply in this financial year between 11 January and 12 February 2016. Sponsorship from CASA can include financial or in-kind support for an activity that promotes safety for the benefit of the wider aviation community. Typically CASA will sponsor activities such as conferences, workshops and seminars, safety forums, educational programs or publications. CASA is particularly interested in sponsorship applications that support its safety promotion activities and priorities. Currently these are the safety of ageing aircraft, promoting and implementing new aviation rules, promoting the development and use of safety management systems, promoting the appropriate use of remotely piloted aircraft, targeting helicopter pilots with safety information and promoting awareness of sport aviation safety. Other activities which have a strong safety focus, address known risk factors and lead to improved aviation safety can be considered. CASA does expect reciprocal benefits from sponsorship.
Find out more about CASA’s sponsorship program and lodge an application.
CASA focus on aerial mustering
Aerial mustering has been the focus of a series of special operations by CASA in mid-2015. Teams of CASA inspectors have travelled widely through western and north western Queensland as well as north west NSW. Aerial mustering operators and private pilots were visited to discuss the challenges they face in flying in remote areas, provide advice and educational support, deliver an update on the new licensing regulations and carry out surveillance. In Queensland CASA staff travelled through locations such as Karumba, Normanton, Georgetown, Richmond, Hughenden and Cloncurry and visited many stations between these regional centres. In the north west of NSW the CASA team travelled more than 2500 kilometres over six days travelling through places such as Louth, Bourke, Enngonia, Moree and Boomi. The CASA inspectors said the on-site visits created a positive exchange of information and a professional discussion of issues such as flight and duty times, pilot training and maintenance releases. Inspectors were impressed with the professionalism of the aerial mustering operators and pilots they visited, as well as the condition of aircraft. CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore joined one of the legs of the mustering sweep in Queensland.
Feedback on new licensing regulations welcomed
A total of 112 people have responded to the call from CASA’s Director Mark Skidmore in April 2015 for feedback on the new pilot licensing suite of regulations. The top issues raised in the feedback have been air transport pilot licences, difficulty in understanding the new regulations, flight reviews and proficiency checks and the format of the Part 61 licence. CASA called for feedback on the licensing suite as part of the usual post implementation review process. A range of actions are being taken to fine-tune the new regulations in areas including English language proficiency, flight reviews and proficiency checks, air transport pilot licences, aircraft ratings and instrument ratings. More than 13,000 new Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Part 61 licences have been issued, with the transition period for the change to new licenses running until 2018. Recently CASA finalised the process of transitioning firefighting authorisations into the Part 61 arrangements. Pilots can continue conducting firefighting operations under current exemptions until 31 August 2015. By that date they will need to have moved under Part 61. To complete the transition firefighting pilots will need to fill in a form showing they meet appropriate requirements as well as providing information about training and experience.
Keep up to date with the new licensing regulations.
New look AvMed web pages clearer, simpler
CASA’s aviation medicine web pages have been redesigned and refreshed to make it easier for pilots, air traffic controllers and medical examiners to access the information they need. The design and content revamp is in response to feedback from the aviation community. The web pages pave the way for a new online medical records system, which is scheduled to be launched later this year. Once operational the new medical records system will give pilots and air traffic controllers direct access to their medical certification details online and in real time. CASA’s acting Principal Medical Officer, Dr Michael Drane, said the improved aviation medicine web pages tailor what is sometimes complex information into a form that provides clearer, more practical guidance. “As a result of considerable advances in medicine, we are now seeing pilots continuing to fly with medical conditions that not all that long ago would have seen them unable to hold a medical certificate,” Dr Drane said. “CASA’s aviation medicine branch is proactive in its approach to assessments reflecting these advances. It is important to provide support and advice on the medical certification process that will, where possible, help keep people flying.” The new look aviation medicine home page allows users to clearly identify their needs from the start, with navigation easier and text simplified. Recently produced case studies and fact sheets on common aviation medical conditions are also featured. These provide real life examples of how medical conditions may affect pilots.
Go to the new aviation medicine web pages.
We’re building a better website
The first step in an upgrade of CASA’s web site has been taken. CASA’s web site is now being hosted on the Federal Government content management platform GovCMS. This will improve the performance of the web site, reducing delays that some users have been experiencing. However, users may find some bookmarks will no longer work once the site has moved to the new platform and these will need to be updated. The appearance of some aspects of the web site will also change. The second stage of the web site upgrade is a complete redevelopment to improve design and the organisation of information. Work has begun on the redevelopment, with the project scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2016. CASA is using feedback from the aviation community to guide the web site redevelopment and will test the changes with a range of people from different aviation sectors.
Go to the CASA website.
We want your comments and ideas on safety regulation, CASA's performance or this newsletter. Send us feedback.
Want the very latest in news and information from CASA? Then follow CASA on Twitter: @CASABriefing
Read Flight Safety Australia for credible, informative and comprehensive aviation safety news. Read the bi-monthly interactive magazine on your tablet – simply download the magazine app from the App Store or from Google Play. For daily aviation safety news updates, go to the Flight Safety Australia news site: www.flightsafetyaustralia.com
If you believe aviation safety is at risk, call the CASA safety. Ring 1800 074 737.
If your aircraft has a serious or major defect make sure you report it to CASA. Forms and information are on the CASA web site.
Find out how CASA's safety advisors provide safety education, training and advice to the aviation industry.
Do you need to renew your Aviation Security Identification Card?
Looking to contact CASA's Industry Complaints Commissioner? Find out how here.
If you have a question or request about licensing or aircraft registration remember you can email the CASA Licensing and Registration Centre:
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 online self-service is available for a range of applications. Go to CASA Self-Service.
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.
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.