From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore
The special CASA taskforce I created to find solutions to issues arising from the new flight crew licensing suite of regulations is continuing its work. A range of issues still need to be resolved relating to flight reviews, mustering, the multi-engine helicopter class, flight instructor training endorsements, flight tests, aerial agriculture, azimuth guidance and the air transport pilot licence flight test. Revisions to the manual of standards for Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations are also being finalised. In addition, there will be extra guidance material developed to help everyone understand and comply with the new flight crew licensing regulations. This is important work and I want to make sure the right level of resources within CASA remains committed to these initiatives until they are successfully completed. I am very pleased that feedback from the industry advisory panel has been positive and they have acknowledged the work that has been done to address the issues identified as causing difficulty to the aviation community.
The taskforce was formed in November 2015 to look at issues associated with Parts 61, 64, 141 and 142 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. These Parts form the flight crew licensing regulatory suite. It was directed to ensure that known or likely safety risks continue to be effectively addressed, while unnecessary costs are not imposed on the aviation community and requirements do not unnecessarily hinder aviation participation or the potential for growth. The industry advisory panel - comprising representatives from a range of aviation sectors - was formed to test CASA’s proposed solutions and provide input on proposals. The taskforce was originally established with a nominal completion date of 30 June 2016, subject to the full delivery of solutions to critical issues. A wide range of changes have already been made to flight crew licensing requirements, new guidance material has been produced and a sample operations manual has been issued for flying training organisations operating under Part 141.
Please find out more about the flight crew licensing taskforce.
Maintenance licensing review
A comprehensive review of the regulations covering aircraft maintenance engineer licences and ratings is underway. Part 66 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations contains the rules relating to aircraft engineer licensing. A priority of the review is to address issues identified with previous proposals for a new small aircraft maintenance licensing structure. In particular, the aim is to better integrate small aircraft maintenance licences into a progressive licensing system. The review will also focus on addressing complexity in the current regulations, the knowledge and competency standards specified in the Part 66 manual of standards, the structure of licensing outcomes and training under the Australian Qualifications Framework and the statement of privileges on a licence. Part of the review will be to identify and address any errors, omissions, gaps, unintended consequences or implementation issues associated with the Part 66 regulations. The review is being carried out in collaboration with the aviation industry, with a licensing working group to be formed by CASA. 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 underway people can still gain an aircraft engineer licence for the maintenance of small aircraft using the CASA basics examinations and schedule of experience system.
Find out more about the maintenance licensing review.
New fatigue rules improved
Changes to improve the fatigue management rules have been finalised. This follows feedback to CASA from the aviation community on the implications and effects of the new rules. As a result of the feedback CASA now better understands current aviation industry fatigue risk management practices. This understanding has resulted in the limitations and requirements in the new fatigue management rules contained in Civil Aviation Order 48.1 being reviewed and then revised. New sets of fatigue limitations tailored to specific sectors of the aviation industry have been developed and some provisions that were difficult to interpret or implement have been clarified. Key changes include the introduction of new appendixes for ballooning, medical transport or emergency service operations and daylight aerial work operations such as helicopter mustering. A change has also been made to allow recognition of prior fatigue training and Appendix 1 has been updated to enable operators to access a larger part of the day to conduct any operation. At this stage no further changes to the fatigue rules are planned until a formal post-implementation review is conducted. To transition to the new fatigue rules air operators must submit draft operations manual amendments or a fatigue risk management application to CASA by 31 October 2016. Operators must complete their transition to the new rules by 1 May 2017.
Find out more about the fatigue rule changes.
Relief from Jabiru limits
Operators of aircraft powered by Jabiru engines can now get relief from current operating limitations. A new direction issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority sets out the actions operators need to take to be able to lift the operational limitations on their Jabiru-powered aircraft. The actions include adopting the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, inspecting certain engine components and replacing engine through bolts in accordance with the relevant Jabiru service bulletin. The timing of through bolt replacement depends on whether the aircraft has been used in flying training or similar activities. Precautionary operating limitations on Jabiru-powered aircraft were imposed by CASA in response to a high number of engine failures and power loss events for which a clear cause could not be identified. Operators must continue to observe the limitations if they do not take the actions set out in the CASA direction. CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore, said the risk mitigations in the new direction had been developed in collaboration with Jabiru and with the assistance of Recreational Aviation Australia. “CASA’s engineers have looked very carefully at engine failure data and analyses and worked with Jabiru’s engineering adviser,” Mr Skidmore said. “CASA and Jabiru now have a better understanding of the problems involved and this has led to the development of the new direction. “I am pleased operators of Jabiru-powered aircraft can now resume normal operations once the appropriate maintenance-related actions have been taken.” In the meantime, CASA expects the manufacturer will continue its efforts to identify and address any underlying systemic problems.” The direction took effect on 1 July 2016.
Go to the Jabiru direction.
Vortex generators can cause risks
Potential risks associated with the installation of vortex generators on wings or other aerodynamic surfaces have been highlighted in a new airworthiness bulletin. Aircraft loss of control can result from problems caused by vortex generators or other aerodynamic enhancements. Several airflow enhancing kits in the form of vortex generator arrays are available for installation on the wings and other flying surfaces of light single and twin engine aeroplanes. A vortex generator installation typically offers the advantages of reduced stall speeds, reduced minimum single engine control speed, improved take-off and landing performance and increased maximum take-off weight. However, safety can be at risk from subtle wing surface defects upstream of the vortex generator array, as well as interaction between unapproved configurations or combinations of aerodynamic performance enhancements. This can include boundary layer control devices such as leading edge stall strips. Eight recommendations are made in relation to wing asymmetries or other aerodynamic configuration problems which may only become evident during flight at slow speeds and higher angles of attack. CASA asks that all defects related to vortex generators or aircraft configuration anomalies be reported using the defect reporting system.
Read the vortex generator airworthiness bulletin.
All you need to know about aircraft parts
Detailed guidance material on the correct identification and management of aircraft and aeronautical parts is now available. An advisory circular looks at the issues relating to approved designs, approved and unapproved parts, unserviceable and unsalvageable parts, part records, acceptance procedures and disposal of parts. Aircraft parts are identified by three different product classes, with the documentation required to accompany a part dependent on the class. A diagram sets out the life cycle of both repaired and new aircraft components, from manufacture or repair to service or disposal. Maintainers and operators are advised to have procedures to prevent the procurement of unapproved parts, which should be established prior to purchasing parts and materials for installation in type-certificated products. Clear records or accuracy of electronic data storage is important for showing compliance with airworthiness directives and other mandatory requirements. Salvaged aircraft parts can lack a maintenance history and may not be able to be traced, with many released to service after having been recovered from aircraft involved in accidents or incidents. To maintain aircraft components that are salvaged, approved maintenance organisations should establish clear procedures that detail applicable additional precautionary steps.
Read the parts advisory circular.
Advice on maintaining amateur built aircraft
Advice on the regulations and requirements for the maintenance of amateur built aircraft has been updated. A Civil Aviation Advisory Publication covers maintenance for both amateur built experimental aircraft and amateur built aircraft acceptance. The advisory provides information on scheduled inspections, rectification and modification, maintenance certification and the issue of maintenance releases. It sets out who is permitted to perform maintenance on amateur built aircraft, who may issue a maintenance release, owner-builder maintenance responsibilities, replacement parts and maintenance schedules and records. An amateur builder must fabricate and/or assemble the major portion of their aircraft to qualify for a maintenance authorisation. This is to establish a builder has constructed the aircraft to a sufficient extent that they understand the construction of the aircraft and any special construction processes. They will also have assembled and installed the various aircraft systems to a sufficient extent to have a sound understanding of the systems and to be able to ensure the systems will continue to meet required performance standards. By building more than half of the aircraft they will be expected to have sufficient relevant hand skills to be able to safely maintain the aircraft to at least the same standard to which it was constructed.
Find out more about maintaining amateur built aircraft.
Seminars for pilots and engineers continue
There will be 12 safety seminars for pilots around the nation during August 2016. Lessons for life seminars are scheduled for Rockhampton, Townsville, Katherine, Victoria River Downs, Yarrawonga, Aldinga, Bendigo, Albury, Moorabbin, Orange, Tamworth and Taree. These seminars will focus on key safety issues that continue to feature in accidents such as flight in low visibility, unplanned or unapproved low flying, pilot incapacitation and weather. Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation reports nominate these issues as top safety concerns. There will be a discussion about at least one case study from accident reports. Other issues may be discussed such as regulatory changes, pilot responsibilities in relation to maintenance releases and correct procedures to follow at non-controlled aerodromes. The seminars also provide an important opportunity for pilots to give feedback and suggestions to CASA.
There will be two engineering knowledge development seminars at Darwin Engineering on Thursday 4 August and Essendon - MTCE on Tuesday 30 August. These seminars will focus on professional development, continuing airworthiness, certification, maintenance licencing and ageing aircraft. They are ideal learning opportunities for everyone involved in aviation maintenance, with lots of opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback to CASA.
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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.