From the acting Director of Aviation Safety Terry Farquharson
The new Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore, will join CASA on 1 December 2014. However, Mark’s first month at CASA will not be as Director. Instead he will use this time as a handover period - receiving briefings, meeting people and holding discussions. This will include meeting people from government, the aviation community and within CASA. The transition will give Mark the smoothest possible start to his term as Director, which will officially begin on 1 January 2015. I am aware that Mark wishes to meet as many people as he can from across the aviation community as soon as possible, however he will not be able to see and hear everyone in his first weeks. A number of meetings and discussions have been planned for December and more will follow in the months ahead. During this time Mark will also be meeting and talking with as many CASA staff as possible, which is a high priority. I know everyone in aviation will welcome Mark to his new role. Mark places high importance on consultation and communication so you can expect to hear from him in one way or another in the not too distant future.
Not surprisingly many pilots are keen to get their new Part 61 licence and CASA has received a lot of applications from those wanting to move across to the new licensing regime. While we welcome the enthusiasm it is creating a bit of a backlog for CASA’s Licensing and Registration Centre. The transition schedule has been set around a number of triggering events. So if you are a pilot and do not need a new licence right now it would be helpful if you waited until one of the triggers for the issue of a new licence is activated. There is more detail below about the Part 61 licence transition arrangements.
No need to rush to get new pilot licence
Pilots are being reminded there is no need to rush to get a new licence. While new licences under Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations are now available, pilots are being asked to wait until they update their qualifications. This is to allow an orderly transition of all licences to the new regulations. Right now CASA is receiving more applications for licences conversions than can be managed immediately. Applications are being prioritised so those pilots who have a need to convert their licence to Part 61 are not disadvantaged. Those applications that are not given priority may face delays. Never-the-less CASA is doing everything possible to keep up with the demand for new licences. Pilots do not need to submit an application for a Part 61 licence until they complete a flight review, gain a rating or endorsement or apply for an additional licence. At that point a flight instructor or flight examiner will enter the details into a licence and send a notification to CASA.
Depending on when a pilot completes an activity that triggers the issue of a new licence it could be up to two years before the transition takes place. However, the old Civil Aviation Regulation Part 5 licence document is still treated as a current licence. When pilots are ready to submit their application for a new Part 61 licence they should ensure they have read and completed any required forms in full. Additionally, they should make sure all supporting documents are provided, such as notifications from your flight instructor or examiner. Completing forms and providing all documents will help reduce unnecessary delays in processing applications.
Find out more about when pilots should get their new licence.
Aerodrome rules review to focus on burdens
A comprehensive review of the set of regulations and standards covering certified and registered aerodromes is to be undertaken by CASA. One key aim of the review will be removing any unnecessary regulatory burdens and costs resulting from the current aerodrome regulations. A project has been established to review Part 139 of the Civil Aviation Regulations and the associated manual of standards. These rules were implemented in 2003, meaning there have since been changes in international practices and standards, developments in the aviation industry and many evolutions in technology. In the statement announcing the review CASA said “the consequence of no action being taken to review the Part 139 framework will result in additional costs to industry, increasing demand on CASA’s finite resources and a potential increase in International Civil Aviation Organization non-compliance and lack of standardisation”. Objectives for the review include a gap analysis of the rules against International Civil Aviation Organization standards, ensuring the rules align with best international practice and working collaboratively with the aviation industry to improve the rules while maintaining safety. The review will also incorporate the design of heliport facilities into Part 139 and ensure there is a clear understanding about aircraft hazards. A notice of proposed rule making will be developed setting out regulatory change options for the aviation industry to consider.
Find out more about the aerodrome regulations review.
Act now if you need services over Christmas-New Year
It’s time to act now if you think you’ll need regulatory services from CASA over the Christmas-New Year holidays. CASA will be closed for regulatory services from midday Wednesday 24 December 2014 until the start of business on Friday 2 January 2015. During this time normal regulatory services such as medicals, licence changes, certificate variations or aircraft registration will not be available. Naturally, CASA will be on hand to help out during emergencies but resources will be limited so please restrict requests to essential matters only. If you know your medical will need to be renewed during the Christmas-New Year period you must act now. Leaving it until mid-December may mean you will not be able to use your licence during the holiday period. Talk to or email the CASA Licensing and Registration Centre as soon as possible if you need their services as a backlog of requests may develop in December. CASA will be available to provide urgent assistance to foreign air operators during the holiday period for operations such as non-scheduled medical flights and short notice airspace requests will also continue to be processed.
Get all the Christmas-New Year information.
New guidelines on what to do after a prop strike
Detailed new advice has been released on how to assess the airworthiness consequences of a propeller strike in a piston engine aircraft. The advice provides a set of guiding principles for determining the actions needed after a propeller strike. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA says after a propeller strike it must be determined if there has been major damage to the engine system or whether major damage is likely to develop. A propeller strike can be a precursor to a catastrophic failure later in an engine’s life as the full extent of any damage may not be immediately apparent. The loads caused by a propeller strike can set up a series of microscopic stress fractures within engine components that will accelerate metal fatigue leading to failure happening without warning. Assessing if an engine system is airworthy and fit for continued service is open to interpretation, with the new advice providing guidelines to establish if major damage exists or is likely to develop. The guidelines cover engine data, propeller data and the impacted object. Good communication and judgement is needed by pilots, licensed aircraft maintenance engineers and maintenance organisations.
Get all the information on assessing propeller strikes.
Have your say on weather services
The aviation community is being asked to take part in a survey about aviation weather services. The Bureau of Meteorology is conducting the survey to find ways of improving the services it provides to aviation. These services include weather observations, forecasts, warnings and advisories. They are provided within the technical and regulatory framework of the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Meteorological Organization. With a review of meteorological services underway it is important for everyone in aviation to have their say about their satisfaction with current services. The survey asks how often services such as terminal aerodrome forecasts and trend type forecasts are used, how services are rated and the ease of accessing services. People doing the survey can also provide any other general comments. It takes less than 15 minutes to complete the survey, which is open until 31 December 2014. The survey is anonymous.
Go to the Bureau of Meteorology survey to have your say on weather services.
New rules for narrow runways
New rules for narrow runway operations came into effect on 13 November 2014. As a result, regular public transport and charter operators will no longer need to apply for exemptions to operate aeroplanes above 5700kg maximum take-off weight on narrow runways. Instead, aeroplanes will need to have been assessed by the manufacturer or by flight testing to determine their capability to operate safely on narrow runways. The runway width must be adequate to safely contain an aeroplane during take-off and landing by flight crews of average skill, using procedures which can be consistently repeated in service. After the completion of a satisfactory assessment the aeroplane is issued with an approved aeroplane flight manual narrow runway supplement, appropriate approved documentation or a specific runway width limitation. Operators will also be required to carry out specific training of flight crew for narrow runway operations. There is a new Civil Aviation Advisory Publication providing guidance on determining minimum runway widths, flight and operations manual requirements, flight crew training and liaising with aerodrome operators. The new narrow runway rules provide an alternative to requiring aerodrome operators to widen runways and have been adopted after extensive consultation.
Get the details on narrow runway operations.
Facts and figures show we’ve been busy
Over 12 months CASA issued or renewed 26,226 medical certificates for people in the aviation community. That impressive figure is one of the many facts and figures contained in CASA’s latest annual report. The report covers 2013-14 and shows at the end of that financial year 36,158 people held a flight crew licence with a current medical. There were 18,114 flight crew examinations sat during the year, with a pass rate of above 70 per cent for all categories of licences. There were 8041 licensed aircraft maintenance engineers, with 4340 exams undertaken during 2013-14. By the end of the year 15,259 aircraft were registered in Australia as well as 361 balloons. Air operator’s certificates were held by 845 organisations, while 654 maintenance organisations held certificates of approval. CASA’s aviation safety advisors conducted 1299 on-site visits with aviation organisations and people, as well as holding 217 AvSafety seminars. Out of a total of 191 certified aerodromes 94 were audited during the year. There were audits at 53 out of 136 registered aerodromes.
Read CASA’s annual report now.
Cairns airspace gets the thumbs up
A review of the airspace around Cairns aerodrome has given the current arrangements the thumbs up. CASA’s Office of Airspace Regulation conducted the review concluding “the current airspace structure works well for the current traffic level and should be retained”. However, the review did find several issues were raised by people using the Cairns airspace. These were the nature of the runway 15 standard instrument departures and the closure of runway 12/30. In response CASA said the development of a required navigation performance departure to the south from runway 15 may provide an increase in safety and additional efficiencies to aircraft operations. CASA has recommended Airservices Australia consider the provision of this departure. In relation to the closure of runway 12/30 the review found the level of runway incursions to runway 15/33 has decreased. Traffic flows are being monitored and rapid exit taxiways may be developed. Cairns aerodrome caters for more than four million domestic and international passengers each year.
Find out more about Aeronautical Study of Cairns.
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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.