From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore
A detailed timetable for the completion of the aviation regulatory reform program has been released. The timetable covers 20 regulatory change projects to be completed over the next three years. These include the general operating rules, air transport operations, aerial work, continuing airworthiness and maintenance for small aircraft, small aircraft maintenance licensing, sport and recreational operations and unmanned aircraft. The timetable also covers new regulations already introduced and still in transition, such as flight crew licensing. This new regulatory reform timetable has been developed after extensive consultation with aviation representative groups and individuals from all sectors of the aviation community. It will be adjusted and updated if circumstances change to ensure no unnecessary burdens are imposed on the aviation community.
We have carefully developed the new timetable to take into account the aviation community’s capacity to implement and adjust to regulatory changes. Our main aim is to avoid placing any unnecessary burdens on aviation organisations or individuals during the process of developing and implementing new and improved regulations. Plenty of time has been allowed for consultation on the development of new regulations so we can listen to feedback and respond to the views of the aviation community. The timetable has realistic transition periods to give everyone adequate time to move across to the new regulations. Importantly, we have taken into account CASA’s ability to provide information, support and guidance on the introduction of new regulations. I can assure everyone CASA has learnt from past mistakes made during the development and introduction of regulatory changes such as the flight crew licensing suite. Consultation processes are being improved, regulations will be tested with the aviation community before introduction and information will be presented clearly and provided consistently. Our new approach to regulatory reform is consistent with the Federal Government’s response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review, which stated time was needed for the aviation community and CASA to adjust to and successfully implement regulatory changes.
Go to the regulatory change timetable.
Cessna 100 series SIDs extension
Cessna 100 series aircraft owners have an extra two years to complete the special structural inspection program developed by Cessna. The extension applies to the Supplemental Inspection Document – or SIDs - requirements for Cessna 100 series aircraft used in private operations. The SIDs inspection program of these aircraft must now be completed by 30 June 2018. The extension is subject to a number of conditions designed to ensure continuing safety of flight and progressive compliance with the SIDs requirements. The extension was provided after consultation with the aviation community, including the chief engineers of a number of maintenance organisations. CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore, said the extension will make it easier for aircraft owners and maintainers to plan and complete the important structural inspections. Mr Skidmore said: “We have listened to feedback from both owners and maintainers about the need for extra time to complete SIDs on Cessna 100 series aircraft in private operations. Both owners and maintainers said the original deadline of 30 June 2016 was causing problems such as a backlog of work and ordering replacement components. The extra two years for SIDs completion will allow Cessna 100 series aircraft owners and maintainers to plan to spread out the work and the costs over a longer period with no unacceptable risks to safety. This initiative by CASA is an example of our commitment to work with the aviation community to get outcomes that balance safety and operational requirements.”
Pictures are available of corrosion and defects already found on Cessna 100 series aircraft.
Look early and closely at control cables
The importance of taking a closer look at aircraft control cables has been highlighted by corrosion found on a rudder cable terminal. The corrosion was present under a rubber tubing sleeve installed by the manufacturer, with eleven instances of control cable terminal corrosion discovered on the one aircraft. These cables had been in service for less than ten years. Corrosion can be found on control cable terminal fittings manufactured from stainless steel SAE-AISI 303Se or SAE-AISI 304. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA says reports of flight control cable terminal fitting separation failures continue to be received in Australia, New Zealand and in the United States. Failure of a flight control cable terminal can result in loss of control of an aircraft. The airworthiness bulletin urges operators and maintainers to consider replacing all flight control cable assemblies with terminal fittings manufactured from stainless steel SAE-AISI 303Se or SAE-AISI 304 before reaching 15 years total time in service. In addition, consideration should be given to inspecting control cable terminals underneath any rubber sleeves or tape for corrosion pitting or rust, irrespective of total time in service. Any control cable and terminal assemblies with signs of corrosion pitting or cracked terminals should be replaced before further flight.
CASA apologises for medical certificate delays
CASA is apologising to pilots and air traffic controllers who may be experiencing delays in obtaining an aviation medical certificate. The majority of aviation medical certificate applications are still being processed within the 28 day service delivery target set by CASA. However, there are a number of applications taking longer. CASA sincerely apologises to pilots who have been waiting longer than normal for their medical to be finalised and thanks everyone for their patience. Anyone who considers they are facing hardship due to a delay in medical processing should contact CASA as soon as possible. CASA is working hard to address the delays as quickly as possible and has allocated more staff to medical certificate processing. Changes are also being made to workflow practices to improve the processing times. CASA prioritises medical certificate applications where the current certificate is due to expire within 14 days. Since the start of the updated online aviation medical system on 21 March 2016 CASA has issued more than 5000 medical certificates to pilots and air traffic controllers. A class 1 medical certificate is currently being processed by CASA within an average of 19.9 days.
Pilots have the option of seeking a revalidation of their current medical certificate from their DAME for up to two months. DAMEs can do this if the pilot appears to meet the required medical standard and provided the medical certificate has not been endorsed 'renew by CASA only'. This arrangement provides an additional 40 working days for assessment and provision of further information when required. Pilots are encouraged to ask their DAME at the time of their examination if they qualify for a revalidation.
Flight review and proficiency check changes from 1 July
Solutions are continuing to be found to issues arising from the implementation of the new flight crew licensing regulations. This is the result of the work of the special CASA Part 61 Taskforce as well as careful consideration of feedback provided by the aviation community. The latest solutions relate to the rules covering aircraft rating flight reviews and instrument proficiency checks, which will take effect from 1 July 2016. The new requirements introduced under Part 61 were consistent with the approach taken by other international aviation authorities. However, CASA has listened to feedback from the aviation community which indicated the new requirements would impose significant costs for some pilots. The latest changes - in the form of exemptions - will reduce and simplify the requirements for pilots to undertake annual and biennial checks, while ensuring safety is maintained. CASA is currently preparing comprehensive information to explain the changes, including guidance for pilots on which aircraft they should undertake their instrument proficiency checks in so they get the most benefit from the exemption. Flight reviews for the low-level, private instrument flight rules and night visual flight rules operational ratings remain unchanged.
Get your email address right for ARNs
People applying to CASA for an Aviation Reference Number – commonly known as an ARN – are being asked to make sure they use their own secure email address in their application. This is important because CASA will use the email address submitted in the application for sending correspondence and personal information, such information on aviation medicals, to individuals. Correspondence from CASA may be lost if the right individual email address is not included in the application. Using a valid individual email address is also essential to protect the privacy of people with an Aviation Reference Number. Using a company or group email address means other people may see future emails from CASA. Student pilots should not use the general email address of their flying school as this is not an individual email address. CASA will only accept Aviation Reference Number applications that include an individual email address. Remember if you already have an Aviation Reference Number and wish to change your email address this can be done at any time by using the CASA Self-Service online tool.
Learn now about wildlife hazards
A collision between an aircraft and wildlife is expensive and can be dangerous. A new CASA video explores the issues relating to bird and animal strikes and explains the work being done to minimise the risks. In Australia bird strikes that result in an aircraft being grounded cost about $45,000 per incident. Brian Greeves of Aviation Solutions says pilots need to learn more about wildlife to avoid the risks and must report all strikes so data can be collected and analysed. Phil Shaw of Avisure says knowledge about the species of birds being struck by aircraft is really important to help manage the problem. He says trends can be established and risks identified for particular species. Pilots also need to understand the behaviour of birds, such as whether they take off into the wind or down wind. If pilots see birds while flying they should use the radio to let other pilots in the area know of the potential risk. The video is part of a Flight Safety Australia feature on wildlife management.
Comment now on frequency change options
CASA is seeking feedback from the aviation community on options to maintain safety at the Dubbo/Narromine and Benalla/Wangaratta aerodromes. While undertaking reviews of new instrument approach procedure designs for Narromine and Wangaratta a number of potential safety risks have been identified. These included aircraft operating in close proximity to each other on different frequencies and aerodromes in close proximity sharing the same common traffic advisory frequencies and runway designators. Pilot situational awareness may be reduced if the current arrangements continue when the new approach procedures are introduced. CASA has suggested a number of options such as combining the respective pairs of aerodromes onto one common traffic advisory frequency and changing runway designators at Narromine. Comment on these options is being sought and until final determinations are made CASA has restricted the publication of the new procedures.
Extra time for approved testing officers
Approved testing officers – flight instructors who hold delegations from CASA to carry out certain flight tests – now have an extra 12 months before they need to move across to new regulatory requirements. On 30 June 2016 approved testing officer delegations were to have expired as a result of changes introduced in the licensing suite of regulations. Under these new regulations former approved testing officers would conduct flight tests under the authority of a flight examiner rating, but no longer as CASA delegates. CASA has listened to feedback from approved testing officers about insurance coverage and related issues and granted an extension of existing delegations until 30 June 2017. This means the indemnity protection offered to all CASA delegates and authorised persons, as set out in Civil Aviation Advisory Publication (CAAP) Admin-1, will continue to apply until that date. Approved testing officers who still have their delegation and have not obtained a flight examiner rating do not need to take any action at this time. Their current arrangements will continue for 12 months. CASA will be proposing a legislative amendment to enable former approved testing officers who have already transitioned to the flight examiner rating to regain their status as approved testing officers until 30 June 2017. This status will include the indemnity protection that delegation provides. Until that change can be made flight examiner rating holders are not covered by the CAAP Admin-1 indemnity.
Unmanned aircraft airworthiness proposals open for comment
A detailed set of proposals for the safety regulation of the airworthiness of unmanned aircraft systems has been released for comment. The proposed approach to unmanned aircraft airworthiness has been designed to be cost effective and risk based. It would allow regulations to be scaled to the size and operational capabilities of unmanned aircraft. This would create an airworthiness system capable of covering unmanned devices from those that can fit in a hand, to large scale fully certified systems. The proposed framework would be outcome based, which means approved equipment or systems could be used or operators could show compliance through innovative and novel designs. In a discussion paper CASA says the proposed approach would be in line with the unmanned aircraft airworthiness frameworks being developed in the United States and Europe. There are three unmanned aircraft system categories proposed for Australia – open, specific and certified. The open category would cover very small and small unmanned aircraft with a low level of operational risk. The certified category would cover high risk operations such as flying a large unmanned aircraft over a populated area. The specific category would include unmanned aircraft in operations that fall between the risk levels posed by the open and certified categories. This approach means the regulatory requirements increase appropriately as the level of risk of the unmanned aircraft and its operations increases.
Comment on the unmanned aircraft airworthiness discussion paper before 10 August 2016.
Get to a safety seminar
There will be four safety seminars for pilots around the nation during July 2016. Lessons for life seminars are scheduled for Lismore, Ballina, Launceston and Burnie. 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.
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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.