From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore
I have set up a special taskforce to address outstanding issues with the new licensing suite of regulations. The 26-person taskforce is working full-time on finding solutions to issues identified with Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Parts 61, 64, 141 and 142. This taskforce is working closely with a new advisory panel made up of people representing a wide range of sectors across the aviation community. Key aviation representative organisations are taking part in the panel including The Australian Aviation Associations Forum, the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, the Australian Helicopter Industry Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Australian Business Aviation Association, the Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia and the Aerial Application Association of Australia. There are also representatives from the regular public transport and mustering sectors, along with key people from flying training schools and the tertiary education sector.
I have made it clear I require the new Taskforce to work intensively to address unintended consequences in the licensing suite. It should be understood CASA has already addressed many concerns that have been identified in the new licensing regulations but I understand more needs to be done. This is a priority and that’s why I need a dedicated team of people within CASA working full-time on the issues. Just as importantly we need advice and guidance from the aviation community to prioritise actions and verify that successful solutions have been found. The taskforce will ensure known or likely safety risks continue to be effectively addressed by the licensing regulations. At the same time it will make sure that unnecessary costs are not imposed by the regulations and they are not an impediment to participation in aviation or potential future growth. There has also been an extension of the transition period for Parts 141 and 142 of the licensing suite. Transition for these Parts – which cover flying training – was scheduled to be completed by 31 August 2017. This has now been extended by 12 months to 31 August 2018. The additional transition period will give CASA more time to arrange a smooth transition by providing additional guidance material and for outstanding issues to be resolved.
Be part of a vital survey on CASA’s performance
Everyone in Australian aviation is being urged to take part in an important new survey to benchmark views about CASA. The online survey will take about 15 minutes to complete and covers CASA’s key performance areas. People will be asked for their views on CASA’s performance in specific areas such as efficiency, responsiveness, accountability and timeliness. Questions cover how easy it is to comply with regulations, the development of new regulations, consistency of decision making and satisfaction with service delivery. Overall, the survey aims to determine the strengths and weaknesses of CASA’s relationship with the aviation community. Results will be used by CASA’s Board and management to improve CASA’s performance, build stronger working connections with the aviation community and lift service delivery. The survey is being conducted online by an independent market research organisation, all responses are held securely and participants can choose to be anonymous. This survey will be run every two years so CASA can measure changes in performance and interaction with the aviation community. The survey meets recommendation eight of the Aviation Safety Regulation Review. In its response to the review the Government agreed “CASA should continue to take steps to understand industry’s priorities, concerns and perceptions better through initiating regular, anonymous stakeholder surveys”.
The survey will be available during the week starting 23 November 2015 and will be open until mid-December 2015. Find the survey here after 23 November 2015.
Online medicals are on the way
The new online aviation medical certificate system is coming in 2016. Lots of work testing and verifying the new system has been done, with the response from pilots and air traffic controllers who have used the system overwhelmingly positive. The new system will allow pilots and air traffic controllers to apply for, manage and track their medicals at the click of a mouse or the tap of a pad. The system is safe and secure and alerts pilots and air traffic controllers when their medical is due. An email will be sent well before the current medical expires and users can then login, apply for their new certificate and pay the fee. They complete the process by booking an appointment with their designated aviation medical examiner, who also has access to the new CASA system. Once the medical checks and any tests are complete the information is sent securely to CASA and if everything meets the required standards a certificate is issued. To ensure the new system works all pilots and air traffic controllers must update their contact information with CASA. This is done using a simple form on the CASA web site that asks for a current email address and mobile phone number to match with other contact details and the aviation reference number.
Go to the contact information update form.
More information on the online medical certificate system.
Warning to act on D-ring seat belts
Aircraft owners and operators with D-ring seat belt attachment fittings are being warned to take action to prevent inadvertent release of the fittings. During accidents in the United States several passenger seat belt hooks released from the seat attachments by unhooking from the D-ring fittings. The seat belts had remained buckled but the seat belt was detached. This happens when an ‘out-of-plane’ load is applied to the hook end of the seat belt by the belt webbing, which depresses the spring keeper. The solution to the problem can be to use split pins with the hooks to prevent the spring keeper opening and the hooks rolling out. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA supports a United States Federal Aviation Administration recommendation that D-ring attachment fittings used with hooks and simple spring loaded keepers be replaced with an improved seat belt attachment as soon as possible. In cases where the aircraft seats have a technical standards order approval the seat manufacturer should be contacted for service information. For aircraft with seats that do not have this approval the aircraft manufacturer should be contacted for information. All cases of inadvertent seat belt release should be reported to CASA through the defect reporting system.
Read the airworthiness bulletin.
CASA’s closed for Christmas, so here’s what to do
CASA will be closed for the Christmas-New Year break from the end of business on Thursday 24 December 2015 until the start of business on Monday 4 January. No regular CASA services will be available during this period. This includes the issue of licences and medical certificates and all other regulatory services. Anyone who will need any CASA services over the Christmas-New Year period must contact CASA now. Leaving requests until mid-December may mean services cannot be delivered in time. All medical certificate applications need to be submitted to the Aviation Medicine branch by 4 December for processing before the holidays. This applies to complete and uncomplicated applications and where additional information is required it may take longer to finalise certificates. CASA staff will be available to help with urgent aviation safety matters during the Christmas-New Year period - but please limit enquiries to matters that need urgent attention. For urgent help over the holidays call: 131 757 and follow the prompts.
Find out more about the Christmas-New Year arrangements.
Getting on top of multi-engine aeroplane risks
Updated advice on the risks of multi-engine aeroplane operations and training has been released. A Civil Aviation Advisory Publication covers a wide range of key issues in detail, ranging from assessing pilot competency to threat and error management. The advisory was developed following a number of multi-engine aeroplane accidents caused by the mismanagement of aircraft systems and loss of control by pilots and flight instructors. There is a warning that pilots who are relatively inexperienced on multi-engine aeroplanes may be unable to competently assess their ability to operate all aircraft systems, perform normal and emergency manoeuvres, calculate aircraft weight and balance and complete all flight planning. The CAAP says pilots normally assume if they complete the required training they are competent, although this may not always be the case. Pilots should ask a range of questions before getting airborne covering issues such as single-engine climb performance, ability to manage an engine failure after take-off, managing fuel pump failures, managing electrical failures and manually lowering the undercarriage. Threat and error management must be integral to every flight as research shows 50 per cent of flight crew errors go undetected.
Read the multi-engine aeroplane advisory now.
Simpler language proficiency requirements
Changes have been made to simplify the new English language requirements for pilots and other people who use aeronautical radios. The changes will speed up the process of getting an English language proficiency assessment and expand the range of people who can deliver language assessments. At present the changes have been made through an exemption to new licensing requirements and in the future will be incorporated into revised regulations. Key changes include CASA being able to approve language assessors, applicants being able to go directly to assessors, being able to apply for a recreational pilot licence and flight test with a current aviation English language proficiency assessment, flying solo with either a current aviation assessment or general English language proficiency assessment and being able to apply for and use an aircraft radio operator certificate by meeting the general language proficiency standard. Pilots with a current licence only need to undertake an aviation English language proficiency assessment if they want to use their Australian licence overseas. However, a current aviation assessment is needed before applying for any flight test for a private, commercial, air transport or multi-crew pilot licence. People needing to find a language assessor should talk to their local flight training school.
Find out more about the English language proficiency changes.
Extra time to comment on aerial work proposals
The time to comment on proposed new regulations covering aerial work operations has been extended. Comments on the notice of proposed rule making for Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 138 can now be lodged until 29 February 2016. The extension is in response to requests from the aviation community for more time to examine and respond to the proposals. Aerial work operations cover a wide range of aviation activities, both fixed wing and rotary. This means it is important for everyone to consider the proposed changes, the impact on safety and day-to-day operations. CASA’s acting executive manager Standards, Roger Weeks, says aerial work activities have unique safety risks. In a letter to aerial work operators he said: “It is, therefore, important that we continue to work together to ensure the regulations address known or likely safety risks in a manner that does not impose unnecessary costs or unnecessarily hinder levels of industry participation”. CASA’s proposed new regulations would reduce the current 41 aerial work classifications to three. They would be external load, dispensing and task-specialist operations. Aerial work operators would no longer need an air operator’s certificate, instead operating under a Part 138 certificate which would allow requirements such as training and checking to be scaled according to the complexity of the operation.
Comment now on the aerial work proposals.
Better CASA web site coming in 2016
Major improvements will be made to CASA’s web site in 2016. Behind the scenes work is already well progressed on the re-development of casa.gov.au, with a new look and feel to the site to be launched as well as improved navigation and information presentation. The views and information needs of a cross section of the aviation community were sought to inform the web site re-development. Users have been doing testing to determine the best ways to organise and present information. In addition to creating a new front page and changing the layout of other pages, there will be a focus on improving the web pages used most often by people and organisations in aviation. Content will be presented more clearly, with more prominent headings and smaller blocks of text. This will improve both usability and readability. The web site will be made suitable for mobile devices and the search engine will be upgraded to a higher performance standard. Once the new look web site is launched progressive improvements will continue to be made to meet the ongoing needs of the aviation community.
Fatigue forum praised for practical answers
More than 80 people from 22 aviation organisations and CASA came together in Melbourne at a special forum in November 2015 to achieve a mutual understanding of fatigue risk management systems. Presenters with experience in the development and operation of specific aspects of a fatigue risk management system provided practical, best-practice advice. There were many opportunities for everyone to ask questions of both the presenters and CASA, triggering useful discussions. Feedback from those who attended was very positive. There was support for the format, the standard of presenters, the quality of information and the opportunities to get practical answers to questions. CASA would like to thank everyone who participated including: Dr David Powell, senior lecturer and specialist in Aviation Medicine with the University of Otago in New Zealand and previously the chief medical officer at Air New Zealand; Mal Christie of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau; Jenny Allcock of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator; Adam Fletcher and Richard Yates of Integrated Safety Support; Ben Cook of Human and Systems Excellence; Greg Fallow of the New Zealand Air Line Pilots Association and Captain James Boland of Express Freighters Australia. There was very strong support for another fatigue risk management forum to be held in 2016.
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If you believe aviation safety is at risk, call the CASA safety. Ring 1800 074 737.
If your aircraft has a serious or major defect make sure you report it to CASA. Forms and information are on the CASA web site.
Find out how CASA's safety advisors provide safety education, training and advice to the aviation industry.
Do you need to renew your Aviation Security Identification Card?
Looking to contact CASA's Industry Complaints Commissioner? Find out how here.
If you have a question or request about licensing or aircraft registration remember you can email the CASA Licensing and Registration Centre:
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.