From the Director of Aviation Safety
Most people in Australian aviation probably do not have the time or need to think about how our safety performance is viewed by the rest of the world. Internationally Australia and CASA enjoy an exceptional reputation as a leader across many dimensions of aviation safety and safety regulation. Our contributions have long been and continue to be highly regarded by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), as well as by individual nations and regional authorities. We work closely with ICAO on the council in which Australia has continued to maintain its standing as a tier one member for decades. CASA experts are eagerly pursued to participate in ICAO's development of global rules for aviation safety. Our staff currently serve on eleven ICAO panels, as well as ten task forces and study groups. In the Asia-Pacific region CASA provides important aviation safety related assistance to Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and other Pacific island countries. We help to improve the safety of their aviation systems for the benefit of their citizens as well as the many Australians who travel in these areas. Australia has entered into arrangements with a number of countries to ensure mutual recognition of maintenance, design and airworthiness certification processes. The most recent was with Singapore, which like Australia and a number of other Asian nations, has adopted the European Aviation Safety Agency rules as the basis for their regulations.
Australia is leading the world in many facets of aviation regulations and advisory material. For example, feedback on safety communication products has been very positive. Recently the Federal Aviation Administration's chief technical and scientific advisor, Dr Bill Johnson, praised CASA's human factors training package. "I have never seen a more professional and comprehensive package than CASA's Safety Behaviours: Human Factors for Engineers," Mr Johnson said. "It is the new international yardstick (or metric ruler) by which other human factors training programs will be measured." CASA has led the implementation of safety management systems - mandating them for airports and international flights in 2005, certified aerodromes in 2007, and high-capacity and low-capacity regular public transport in 2009. This is something not yet achieved in many other leading aviation countries. The new fatigue management regulations for pilots reflect the latest knowledge on the effects of fatigue. According to the chairperson of the US National Transportation Safety Board, Deborah Hersman, Australian rules are based on scientific research into human performance limitations in ways other leading aviation nations, including their own, would do well to follow.
John F McCormick
Pay for medicals, licences and security cards online
CASA is now accepting online payments for a wider range of services. From March 2014 the online payment system can be used for aviation medicals, flight crew licensing and security cards. CASA began accepting online payments earlier this year, with aircraft registration fees the first to be processed. Fees can be paid using Mastercard or Visa and the online payment system is accessed through a button on the home page of the CASA web site called "Making a Payment". When paying for a medical online pilots and air traffic controllers must retain a copy of the receipt for their records. The online payment receipt should be attached to the medical application for the DAME to send to CASA or a copy of the receipt should be emailed to CASA. Medical payments can still be processed manually by giving the payment form to the DAME or by sending it directly to CASA by fax or email. When submitting the fee manually it can be paid by credit card, cheque or money order. CASA is also now emailing finalised medical certificates to pilots to avoid postal delays. Applications need to include an email address and a consent form has to be signed. New emailed medical certificates take the place of the previously posted certificates and are watermarked to ensure authenticity.
Go to the online payments system.
An easy way to learn more about new licensing regs
Eight new packages of easy-to-follow information on the soon to be implemented licensing rules are now available. The information packages cover student pilot licences, medicals, the recreational pilot licence, an overview of aircraft ratings, class ratings, type ratings, flight reviews and proficiency checks. The new suite of licensing regulations will take effect from 1 September 2014, with a transition period of up to four years. While the new rules will not bring large changes for the majority of pilots there are some aspects that need to be understood by everyone. The information package on medical requirements for pilots sets out the differences between the class one and two medical certificates and the new recreational aviation medical practitioner's certificate. The recreational certificate replaces the current driver licence medical (aviation), with the requirements essentially the same. Information on the new recreational pilot licence explains that it replaces the student licence and the current general flying progress test. A pilot with a recreational licence will be able to fly light, single engine aircraft without supervision. Under the new rules aircraft endorsements will be known as aircraft ratings. There are two kinds of aircraft ratings – class ratings which include different but similar types of aircraft and ratings limited to one aircraft type. Flight reviews for ratings are explained in some detail, with the differences with the current requirements set out. All the licensing information packages are available on the CASA web site and can be easily downloaded or printed.
Go to the licensing suite information packages now.
Time to check shoulder harnesses
A warning has been issued to check shoulder inertia reel safety harnesses for any interference between the webbing and the reel housing exit slot. Where harnesses have been incorrectly installed the webbing can repeatedly rub on the edge of the slot and sharpen the aluminium to a knife edge. Once increased pressure is placed on the harness, such as during an emergency landing, the knife edge of the slot can slice through the webbing and release the shoulder harness. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA says failure of an inertia reel harness can result in the injury or death of aircraft and helicopter occupants in otherwise survivable accidents. The problem with the incorrect installation of harnesses came to light during the investigation of a Sikorsky/Schweitzer 269 helicopter accident when the shoulder harness webbing of both occupants was found neatly sliced off at the webbing exit point of the inertia reel housing. The opening slot in the reel housing had been incorrectly positioned during installation, causing the lower edge of the slot to force the webbing to rub against the metal. This happened each time the harnesses were used, with the problem remaining undetected. While the identified problem applies to a specific type of reel, CASA recommends all shoulder harness inertia reel installations should be checked to detect any interference over the full range of webbing exit angles. Any incorrect installations and any damage to webbing should be reported using the service difficulty reporting system.
Don't turn upside down in flight
All pilots can now learn about the dangers of spatial disorientation from one of Australia's best known and most experienced aviators. Qantas A380 Captain Richard de Crespigny features in a new CASA YouTube video explaining how spatial disorientation occurs, the impact on pilots, consequences during flight and how to avoid becoming spatially disoriented. The video also features Squadron Leader Elicia McGinnis, the RAAF Institute of Aviation Medicine chief instructor. Richard de Crespigny is placed in the Barany chair – a chair which is spun slowly at first, then faster and stopped. It demonstrates the effect of movement on the inner ear and how perceptions from movement should not be trusted. Richard de Crespigny says all the experience and all the hours didn't help one iota when it came to sitting in the Barany chair. "The sensation of rolling and tumbling in that chair was real and there's no experience, nothing you can do, no course you can take to take away that rolling sensation. You just have to understand it exists, live with it and respond to it – which means you follow the instruments." Squadron Leader Elicia McGinnis says there are things pilots can do to avoid spatial disorientation. "Be aware of it and believe it can happen to you no matter how experienced you are - it will happen to everybody. Pre-flight you need to know the conditions you are going to be flying in. If you think there's going to be cloud or you might be flying into dusk or dawn and you're not instrument rated you should not fly. If the weather starts to get bad you should land."
Watch the spatial disorientation video now.
New knowledge seminars for engineers
A new series of safety seminars with a theme of maintaining knowledge is being held for aircraft maintenance personnel. CASA is holding the first of the series at Parafield on Wednesday 9 April 2014. Run by CASA’s aviation safety advisors, the seminars will look at the Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 66 licence, as well as the potential transition of Civil Aviation Regulation 30 maintenance organisations to Part 145 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. Part 145 covers approved maintenance organisations for regular public transport operations. In addition the seminars will discuss Part 64 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations, which covers continuing airworthiness requirements for regular public transport operations, other regulatory reforms and human factors for engineers. There will also be demonstration of CASA educational resources including safety management system kits. Local CASA airworthiness inspectors will attend the seminars to answer questions and debate issues. Seminars are planned to be held at all Class D aerodromes and major airfields during the course of 2014.
Register to attend the seminars for engineers.
Swot up on best see-and-avoid techniques
Practical advice for pilots on best practices when using see-and-avoid principles to prevent mid-air collisions has been updated. The Civil Aviation Advisory Publication sets out the responsibilities for pilots when using see-and-avoid, particularly at non-controlled aerodromes. The advice is valuable for all student, private, recreational, sport and commercial pilots. It says good airmanship dictates that all pilots should be looking out of the aircraft and not be solely reliant on radio broadcasts for traffic separation. Effective lookout is seeing what is ‘out there' and assessing the information before making a decision. Pilot workload mismanagement can lead to excessive ‘head in the cockpit' with less time spent looking outside the aircraft during busy periods. Pilots need to move their heads to see beyond window posts and other obstructions such as passengers and develop an effective scan that provides the best chance of seeing other aircraft. The advisory says the effectiveness of visual scanning for other traffic is eight times greater when the pilot is alerted to the presence of other aircraft by radio contact with other pilots or air traffic control.
Read the see-and-avoid advisory.
Comment now on narrow runway proposals
CASA has proposed a range of changes to the safety standards for operations of aircraft on so-called narrow runways. CASA had adopted a policy requiring aerodrome operators to widen runways to accommodate aeroplanes operating at aerodromes with narrow runways. This was to replace the current system of specific exemptions against the runway width requirements. Following further consideration of aeroplane operational requirements, CASA is proposing to no longer mandate that aerodrome operators must widen runways to allow continued operations or for the introduction of a new larger aircraft type. CASA intends that aerodrome upgrades will be based on a business decision made by the aerodrome operator. Aircraft operators will need to assess aerodrome facilities and any risks associated with operating larger aircraft at an aerodrome with a narrow runway. Aircraft operators would no longer need to apply for exemptions to operate aeroplanes into narrow runways. Aeroplanes would be required to operate in accordance with an approved aeroplane flight manual narrow runway supplement or specified runway width limitation. CASA is calling for comments on the new proposals by 5 May 2014.
Find out more about the narrow runway proposals and have your say.
Aerodrome safety standards being improved
A range of improvements to the safety standards applying to aerodromes are being developed by CASA. These changes will clarify the intent of some of the rules in Part 139 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations, correct mistakes in the manual of standards for Part 139 and reduce the need for exemptions. Once introduced the changes will increase compliance with the aerodrome regulations, with minimal or no cost to the aviation industry. Five areas will be in focus: apron parking clearances, apron lighting levels, approach slope guidance for large aircraft, wind direction indicators and the location of movement areas guidance signs. Proposed changes to apron parking clearances aim to free up space for parking more or larger aircraft without the need for exemptions to be issued. Currently excessive clearances are applied to parking positions for smaller aircraft as the clearance has been based on the outer main gear wheel span rather than the aircraft wingspan. Apron lighting levels will be increased to cater for the larger aircraft that now service regional aerodromes, with the change to be phased in as lights need to be replaced. With larger aircraft operating on to narrow runways, movement and guidance signs are being damaged because they are too close to aircraft engines during take-off and landing. Changes will be made to require signs to be relocated in the appropriate circumstances.
Find out more about the Part 139 manual of standards project.
Keeping kids safe on your flights
Aircraft owners, pilots and passengers now have updated advice on how to safely carry young children in aircraft. A revised advisory publication details the best ways of restraining infants and small children in large and small aircraft. It covers lap-held restraint, car-type infant seats and aviation harnesses. An infant held on the lap of an adult must be restrained, but an adult seat belt must never be fastened around both an adult and an infant because this could cause serious or even fatal injuries in an emergency landing. While a supplemental loop belt can be used in conjunction with an adult seat belt, this will only provide adequate restraint during turbulence or events such as a rejected take off. To give young children the same level as protection as adults it is recommended they are seated in an individual child restraint system in a separate passenger seat. The Civil Aviation Orders permit an infant to be carried in an approved child restraint system fastened to a passenger seat. Once a child reaches four years of age, 18kg or 100cm high an aircraft seat is appropriate. A child restraint system can be one designed specifically for aviation or car capsule or seat that meets appropriate standards. Air operators or passengers can supply the child restraint, with the operator or the pilot in command having the final decision on if the capsule or seat can be carried. Passengers on commercial flights are advised to discuss child restraint when booking tickets.
Find out more about child safety in the Civil Aviation Advisory Publication.
We have safety seminars for pilots
Sixteen AvSafety seminars for pilots are scheduled to be held in five states and the Northern Territory during April 2014. Seminars are being conducted in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania. There are three themes for AvSafety seminars this 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 operational regulations - Parts 91, 119, 121, 131 and 133 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. All seminars will provide a chance for pilots to discuss what the new regulations mean for their flying and to provide comment and feedback. There will also be plenty of opportunities for people to ask questions and raise other issues. All seminars are free but bookings are needed through CASA's web site using AviationWorx.
Find an AvSafety seminar in your area and book now.
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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.
CASA's ever popular Flight Safety Australia magazine is online. View the current edition and back issues here.
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.