From the Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore
I have been looking carefully at issues surrounding the development and implementation of new regulations to make sure CASA is learning lessons from the past. This has been my focus as we progress with the implementation of the new licensing suite of regulations that was introduced in September 2014. I fully accept CASA can make improvements in both the way regulations are developed and implemented. We do start with the intention to make new regulations as clear as possible, using plain language without unnecessary complexities. We most certainly do not set out to write regulatory requirements that are hard to understand. But like many good intentions our goal can get lost during the journey and, for a range of reasons, the result can sometimes be regulations that are more complex than desired. As the aviation regulations form part of Commonwealth legislation the legal framework and style governing all Commonwealth legislation must be applied. In addition, as our regulations often set standards for a wide range of complex aviation operations they may need to be detailed and comprehensive. In short, it is not always easy or even possible to create ‘simple’ regulations. But having said that, it is CASA’s job to strive towards the goal of clarity, coherence and precision using plain and easy to understand language.
In reviewing the development and implementation of the licensing suite I can see a number of improvements we can make in our processes. The first is to do more work up front before the regulations are made. This may involve testing the regulatory proposals in a practical way with the aviation community or running a pilot program to ensure implementation plans are optimal. At all stages we need a better dialogue with the aviation community to allow us to communicate, consult meaningfully and to listen carefully to all constructive feedback. Most importantly, CASA needs to put more effort into educating and training our own people about the new regulations and their implementation so we can give clear and consistent advice to the aviation community.
I recently wrote to all pilots and flying training organisations asking for further feedback on the licensing suite and I am pleased to say the response has been very helpful. At the time of writing more than 60 people and organisations have replied to my letter and I thank everyone for taking the time to respond. A wide range of comments and suggestions have been received, and all of these are being carefully reviewed and assessed. While CASA will not be able to adopt every suggestion, we will act where feedback identifies issues or problems that should be addressed in the interest of getting optimal outcomes from the new regulations. Please keep your comments coming.
You can read my letter in full at update on new flight crew licensing regulations (33.76 KB).
Mark Skidmore AM
Online self-service expands
CASA’s old self-service online portal is on the way out. The old portal is scheduled to close in the middle of 2015. It is being replaced by a new online self-service facility that will provide a range of functions for conducting regulatory service business with CASA. This includes being able to submit forms and view the status of service requests. From late May 2015 the new CASA self-service facility will be expanding to cover some flight crew licensing functions. When launched early in 2015 the new self-service facility was available only for licensed engineers, air traffic controllers and ground handling personnel. The expansion to cover pilots means they can download and submit a selection of flight crew licence forms online. In the future pilots will be able to view their licence details, however this service is not yet available. To use the new online self-service facility people will have to register, with registration on the old self-service portal not transferred to the new facility. When registering people will need to use their aviation reference number. People also need to make sure CASA has their current email address as this is used as part of the self-service activation process.
Go to the new online CASA self-service now.
Be alert and alarmed about wasps
Pilots, aircraft operators and maintainers are being warned to be on the lookout for a risk to aviation safety with a sting in the tail – wasps. There are a number of dangers posed to the safety of flight by mud wasps. Once they infest an aircraft mud dauber wasp nests typically remain undetected in an aircraft structure, flight controls, drains and flight instrument pitot static systems. A nest can completely block pitot tubes, fuel tank vents and drains. A pitot tube can be blocked by wasps in less than two hours, even though it takes several days to weeks for wasps to build a significant nest. Mud dauber wasps will build a nest in any available cavity and nests are typically found in corners and on flat surfaces. A recent service difficulty report stated a number of wasp nests were found inside the wing of a Cessna 182 in the cavity formed between the rear spar and the flap fairing, as well as in the rear fuselage, including one large wasp nest entirely suspended on flight control cables. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA makes three recommendations to deal with the risk of wasp infestation. Consideration should be given to fitting approved fuel vent screens or removable drain/vent covers, engine compartment blanks and installing tight fitting pitot/static vent covers. If an aircraft has been stored in the open air for a long time inspection panels should be removed to look into unsealed wing and fuselage cavities before flight. Wasp nesting sites should be monitored and removed in the general area where aircraft are stored or maintained.
Read the wasp airworthiness bulletin (265.58 KB).
Extra time for move to new small aircraft maintenance licences
CASA is delivering on the promise to allow more time for transition to the new small aircraft maintenance licence system. The CASA basic examinations and schedules of experience will continue to be available as a training pathway to a small aircraft maintenance licence until June 2019. After that date all training will be delivered by approved maintenance training organisations delivering Mechatronics courses under the Aeroskills Training Package. Originally the basic examinations and schedules of experience were to have ceased being a way of obtaining all Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 66 maintenance licences as of 26 June 2015. However, CASA has recognised the maintenance personnel training sector needs more time to move to the new system for training for small aircraft maintenance licences. To provide this additional transition period CASA is making amendments to the Part 66 manual of standards. While there is additional time for transition for small aircraft maintenance licences, the use of the CASA basics and schedule of experience will no longer be available to gain Part 66 licences to be endorsed with an aircraft type rating after 26 June 2015. These licences and ratings can be gained from an approved maintenance training organisation.
Get all the details on transition arrangements for small aircraft maintenance licences.
CASA is flying high on Facebook
Are you a fan of Facebook? Then you need to get on-board the new official CASA Facebook page. With Facebook up and running it means CASA now has four social media platforms – the others being Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. These are all a great way of staying up to date with what is happening at CASA, aviation safety regulation and safety education and training. Twitter provides updates from CASA a number of times a day, with new material posted to the other social media platforms when appropriate. Currently CASA is posting to Facebook about twice a day on topical issues, with a focus on safety promotion. The social media platforms will also be used when there is important news to communicate or major issues arise. Users should choose the social media that suits them and their information needs. Importantly, Facebook and Twitter allow people in the aviation community to send CASA general or specific feedback and to ask questions.
You can find CASA on Facebook now.
Book now for flight testing seminar
Flight testing aircraft and flight test safety will be in the spotlight in July 2015. A certification flight testing seminar is being held in Sydney on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 July 2015. Anyone involved in the aircraft type certification process will benefit from attending the seminar. This includes pilots, engineers and aviation managers. The seminar is free and places are limited, so book now. The certification flight testing seminar will look at the flight requirements associated with the aircraft type certification process. A general review of the certification process is also provided, with a description of flight test techniques and procedures. The safety of certification test flying is emphasised. If you can’t make the seminar in Sydney, there is a section of CASA’s web site dedicated to flight testing and evaluation. This includes information on the experimental, developmental and certification flight testing of new aircraft types, as well as testing of modifications to older aircraft types and the post-production testing of newly manufactured aircraft. There are flight test guides for simple light aircraft, amateur built aircraft and modified aircraft.
Make a booking now for the certification flight testing seminar.
Go to the flight test and evaluation web pages.
New fatigue rules – the countdown continues
There is now less than one year left to transition to the new fatigue rules. On 30 April 2016 all exemptions made under the old fatigue rules will no longer apply. CASA has published a range of new resources to help organisations move across to the new fatigue requirements set out in Civil Aviation Order 48.1. These include fatigue management supplement templates for operations manuals to make transition easier. There are also information sheets, comprehensive questions and answers, detailed guidance material and a fatigue risk management system check list. The new fatigue rules—which are compliant with International Civil Aviation Organization standards—better reflect modern flying conditions, improved scientific understanding of human performance limitations and significant advances in technology. The old rules defined flight and duty-time limitations in a rigid way, not allowing air operators the flexibility to customise limits and requirements to their type of operation. The new rules provide much more flexibility, while incorporating contemporary risk-management processes. They give air operators a choice on how to best manage pilot fatigue according to their needs and the nature of their operations.
Get all the information you need on new fatigue management rules.
Up and coming female pilots honoured
Outstanding achievements by trainee female pilots have again been recognised by CASA. This year’s Sir Donald Anderson awards were presented at the recent Australian Women Pilots’ Association annual conference. The CASA sponsored awards recognise the best academic achievement in professional aviation studies by female trainee pilots based on examination results. First place went to Elyse Ulmer from New South Wales, who passed all exams from her private pilot licence aeroplane to air transport pilot licence in one year, with an average of over 91 per cent. Second place went to Megan Thompson from Western Australia who also passed all her exams in 2014 and scored 100 per cent in two exams. Ella Hodgins from Canberra came in third place with all but one of her exam results at 90 per cent or higher. The award winners received a monetary prize from CASA plus trophies. The awards are named after Sir Donald Anderson who was Director-General of Civil Aviation from 1956 to 1973 and a legendary figure in Australian aviation. The Australian Women Pilots’ Association was founded in September 1950 to support women to achieve their goals in aviation.
Find out more about the Australian Women Pilots’ Association.
Jeff Boyd takes Board chair
Jeff Boyd has been appointed as the new chair of the CASA Board. The appointment has been announced by Federal Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss, who said Mr Boyd will bring proactive leadership to CASA. The Minister said Mr Boyd has been Deputy Chair of the Board since July 2014 and brings to the position a wealth of aviation experience in both management and operational roles. “I look forward to working with Jeff and the new CASA Board as they engage with the Australian aviation industry to implement the Government's response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review report,” Mr Truss said. “Mr Boyd will succeed Dr Allan Hawke AC, who has served on the CASA Board since July 2009. I wish to take this opportunity to publicly thank Dr Hawke for his services as chair of the CASA board during a period that has seen strong growth in the international and domestic aviation sectors.” Mr Truss added the appointment of Jeff Boyd will provide leadership in setting, steering and overseeing the strategic direction of CASA to meet current and emerging challenges in aviation safety. Jeff Boyd holds a commercial pilot licence and is a licensed aircraft maintenance engineer. He established Brindabella Airlines in the 1990s, successfully upgrading it to regular public transport operations. He also ran an aircraft maintenance organisation and flying training school in the ACT. In 2011 Jeff Boyd sold Brindabella Airlines and set up an aircraft spare parts business and a contract maintenance and maintenance project management company.
Get along to a seminar near you
Eleven safety seminars for pilots are scheduled across four states during June 2015. AvSafety seminars are planned for Bathurst, Dubbo, Parkes, Camden, Bankstown, Wollongong, Lilydale, Tyabb, Geelong, Horn Island and Bunbury. They provide an opportunity for pilots to learn about current issues, raise local and national safety and regulatory matters, ask questions and provide feedback to CASA. A menu of topics has been set for the AvSafety seminars, with the most relevant topics to be covered at each location. There will be a focus on providing information and resources on the new licensing regulations, with pilots encouraged to ask questions and seek guidance on any areas of the new regulations. Other topics that can be covered at the seminars include ageing aircraft management plans, communicating with air traffic control, graphical area forecasts and the terminal area forecast review and safety information from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Airservices Australia.
Find an AvSafety Seminars near you.
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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.