From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore
The reinvigoration of CASA’s leadership team has been completed and the final touches are being made to CASA’s new structure. These changes set the platform for developing and implementing a range of reforms to CASA that will fundamentally alter the way the organisation delivers its safety regulation responsibilities. Our new structure has been carefully developed to better align CASA’s activities with our responsibilities to the aviation community. Importantly, it will build stronger and more effective internal relationships, helping to break down any ‘silos’. This is most clear from the creation of the new Aviation Group, headed by Graeme Crawford, who has 37 years of experience working in the aviation industry. The Aviation group has six branches covering all of CASA’s day-to-day aviation activities. This includes airspace and aerodromes, operations, flight standards and airworthiness. Previously these functions sat in separate divisions, with executive managers reporting to me. Now all these aviation related functions report to one group manager who is responsible for ensuring his team are working effectively together to get the right outcomes. The management layer below the group manager will be expected to collaborate and work in a team environment at all times.
The new structure supports my commitment to communication and consultation with the aviation community through the work to be overseen by the Stakeholder Engagement Group, headed by Rob Walker. Rob, who has a strong background in aviation and communication, will bring a new focus to listening to the views of people across the aviation community. He will ensure consultation is effective and communication is targeted so everyone gets the information they need in a timely manner. We have also created a new Sustainability Group, headed by Tracey Frey, who has broad experience in change management and business process improvement. This group encompasses all essential support functions, such as human resources, as well as service delivery. There will be a lot of work done in the service delivery area to improve CASA’s ability to provide better support for the aviation community and to address identified shortcomings. Resources will be reorganised to create a more effective service centre so the delivery of regulatory services meets the reasonable expectations of the aviation community.
There are two other renewed work areas in CASA’s new structure which are central to the organisation’s efficient and effective operations. These are the Legal Affairs, Regulatory Policy and International Strategy Branch and the Finance Branch. The Legal Affairs, Regulatory Policy and International Strategy Branch, headed by Jonathan Aleck, will work to ensure the principles underpinning CASA’s regulatory philosophy are fully integrated into our regulatory policies and practices, as well as providing legal services. It will also reformulate CASA’s approach to international engagement. The Finance Branch, headed by Simon Frawley, is tasked with managing CASA’s commitment to fiscal efficiency and discipline.
Learn about your circuit breakers
Detailed advice on a range of safety issues related to circuit breakers is now available. An airworthiness bulletin issued by CASA makes recommendations for the maintenance, installation and operation of circuit breakers. Faulty circuit breakers are one of the main sources of electrical arcing, with the likelihood of arcing increasing as aircraft age. The most common circuit breakers in aircraft are thermally activated using a bimetal strip. Caution needs to be exercised when re-setting tripped circuit breakers as service difficulty reports show re-setting can lead to smoke, burned wires, electrical odours, arcing, and loss of aircraft systems. This is because the fault that caused the breaker to trip still exists. CASA recommends pilots do not re-set a tripped circuit breaker in-flight unless this is allowed in the approved operating manual or a catastrophic event could occur if it is not re-set. It is strongly recommended that circuit breakers are cycled under no load during an aircraft’s scheduled maintenance to remove any possible internal surface corrosion. If there are no hard replacement times set by the original equipment manufacturer, circuit breakers should be replaced at appropriate intervals. The Federal Aviation Administration recommends replacement every 2000 hours.
How to avoid watery fuel
A comprehensive set of recommendations has been issued on how to avoid aircraft fuel system water contamination. Water in fuel results in loss of engine power, rough running and engine failure. There are a range of fuel/water problems including water entering the fuel tank through a faulty cap, water contaminated fuel being pumped into an aircraft, unintended water retaining ridges in the bottom of fuel tanks and flawed water drain location. Poorly executed post-refuelling and pre-flight water checks also lead to risks. In an updated airworthiness bulletin CASA sets out the issues relating to fuel/water problems in detail, going through each of the causes of contamination. During pre-flight inspections and after every re-fuel cap locks and latches should be checked for correct operation and to make sure the cap is tight and secure when closed/locked. When fuelling from drums check expiry dates and use a filter. When refuelling from jerry cans use an electrically conducting funnel equipped with a serviceable micro filter. Drain samples of fuel from the tanks in accordance with the approved data and be familiar with all drain locations on a specific model of aircraft. There is no single point of drainage that can be used to check for all fuel system contaminants simultaneously, so always take the time to properly check all drain locations.
Reminders for medical certificate applications
Pilots and air traffic controllers are being reminded about the new procedures for paying the medical certificate application fee. CASA cannot process medical certificate applications until the processing fee is paid into the medical records system, MRS. People applying for Class 1 and Class 3 medical certificates must pay the processing fee into the medical records system before they see their Designated Aviation Medical Examiner or DAME. Class 2 applicants don’t have to pay the processing fee until they see their DAME. This is because payment of the fee is not required in some cases – some DAMEs can assess and issue Class 2 medical certificates. If a Class 2 medical certificate application does need to be assessed by CASA, the fee needs to be paid into the medical records system at the end of the examination. Otherwise the DAME will not be able to submit the application to CASA for processing. The medical certificate application fee can no longer be paid using the CASA online payment portal.
All pilots who wear contact lenses or glasses when they fly are being reminded they are required to have a spare pair of glasses with them in the cockpit. They also need to have their spare pair of glasses checked when it’s time to have their medical certificate renewed. So it’s important to remember to take your spare pair of glasses with you when you see your DAME.
New video explains satellite navigation system changes
Pilots needing a quick and easy-to-follow explanation of what is happening in the transition to the global navigation satellite system for instrument flight rules operations can now watch a new video. The video, on CASA’s YouTube channel, has been released to coincide with the decommissioning of 179 navigational aids on 26 May 2016. Almost 50 per cent of the old ground-based navigational aids are being removed from service as part of the switch to the global navigation satellite system. The rest of the navigation aids will be kept to form a backup network that can be used by pilots flying by the instrument flights rules if they cannot get access to the satellite system. The global navigation satellite system is now being used as the primary means of instrument navigation because it is more accurate, has greater integrity, reduces flight times and can be easier to use. Pilots need to be aware there will be amendments to documents, such as the en-route supplement, and charts to reflect the full adoption of the global navigation satellite system. This may mean some pilots will need to alter their flight planning practices. The global navigation satellite system provides an instrument flight rules equipped aircraft with the location of where it is. In the database of the on-board navigation system are virtual waypoints that replace the ground navigation aids. Aircraft fly between the waypoints, freed from having to navigate between fixed points on the ground.
Help for safe visual night flights
There’s an important new resource for everyone involved in night visual flight rules operations and training. A detailed guide to the night visual flights rules requirements has been released, including an explanation of the relevant licensing regulations, aircraft requirements, hazards and risks, flight planning and the conduct of operations. The complexities and risks of night visual flying means pilots must undergo specialist training, which includes obtaining a rating and aircraft endorsement. Accidents at night are two and a half times more likely to be fatal than a day-time accident, with loss of control a factor in a significant number of accidents. CASA strongly recommends night visual flight rules operations only take place in conditions that allow the pilot to discern a natural visual horizon, or where the external environment has sufficient cues for the pilot to continually determine the pitch and roll attitude of the aircraft. When the visual horizon is difficult to see and/or there is a lack of external visual reference, a pilot is much more likely to lose control of the aircraft if flying by visual reference only instead of by cross-reference to instruments. Even if visual reference is available at night, it can often be misleading and can further disorient a pilot attempting to fly visually. Integrating visual and basic instrument flying is essential when flying at night under the visual flight rules.
More guidance on the way for flying training organisations
CASA is currently working to produce a package of guidance material to help flying training organisations that need to transition to the new Part 142 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. Transition to Part 142, which covers structured flying training for multi-crew pilot and air transport pilot licences, is required by August 2018. The new guidance material follows the development of similar support for flying training organisations transitioning to Part 141, which covers training for recreational, private and commercial pilot licences in single pilot aircraft. Under the new regulations flying training organisations who want to be authorised under Part 142 need to develop and maintain a safety management system, a training management system and an exposition, as well as nominate a safety manager. To help operators meet these requirements CASA will be publishing a series of guidance documents and tools, including a sample exposition, technical assessor’s handbook and work and information sheets. The new material is expected to be available in mid-2016.
CASA is in the process of wrapping up the suite of materials available for Part 141 operators, with sample syllabuses for helicopter private and commercial pilot licences published in May 2016. The Part 141 guidance package includes a sample operations manual and guide, technical assessor’s handbook and worksheet, instructions for CASA staff on conducting assessments, sample flying training syllabuses and an information sheet. The package will be complete once a sample syllabus for the aeroplane commercial pilot licence has been finalised.
Top women pilots honoured
Three trainee professional women pilots have been recognised by CASA for their outstanding academic achievements. CASA sponsors the Sir Donald Anderson Trophy as part of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association awards. First place in the awards went to Hayley Umbers from NSW, who topped the class for commercial pilot licence studies with an overall average of 94.57 per cent. This included the perfect result of 100 per cent for navigation, and with no result less than 90 per cent. Second place went to Renee Close also from NSW who passed all seven air transport pilot licence subjects with an overall average of 83.29 per cent. Kate Seymour from Queensland came in third place passing all seven commercial pilot licence subject-parts with an average result of 90.43 per cent. This included a score of 100 per cent in operations, performance and flight planning. All three recipients are students at the University of New South Wales. The award winners also received a monetary prize from CASA. The awards are named after Sir Donald Anderson who was Australia’s Director-General of Civil Aviation from 1956 until 1973.
A lesson can save a pilot’s life
There will be 12 safety seminars for pilots around the nation during June 2016. Lessons for life seminars are scheduled for Dubbo, Parkes, Tamworth, Cessnock, Scone, Narrabri, Gold Coast, Redcliffe, Maitland Yorke Peninsula, Gove, Bunbury and Warracknabeal. 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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CASA has a wide range of challenging and interesting jobs. Find out about the latest employment opportunities at CASA.
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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.
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.