From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore
The need for CASA to engage more effectively with the aviation community has been one of my top priorities from the day I took over as Director of Aviation Safety. A key part of effective engagement is maintaining a meaningful, collaborative and mutually respectful relationship with everyone who makes up the aviation community. To achieve this CASA must ensure we have open conversations with the people and organisations we regulate, providing the information needed to explain what we are doing and why. As set out in CASA’s new regulatory philosophy there are six important points I expect our staff to address when they engage and communicate with the aviation community. We need to explain what CASA proposes to do, why we propose the action, what we have considered in reaching the position, what alternatives have been considered and why they have been ruled out, what effects will result from the action and what recourse is there for anyone affected by our actions. It is only fair that everyone gets this information in a clear and timely fashion so that there is a mutual understanding of CASA’s position and the opportunity for people and organisations that are affected to put forward comments or alternative proposals.
By sharing this information we are establishing one of the foundations for a safety partnership in which CASA is just one player in the aviation safety system we all belong to. This does not mean CASA is a partner in every aviation activity – we do not run the large and small aviation businesses, fly the aircraft or provide the maintenance services. But we should be and can be a partner in every aviation safety activity to support the aviation community in their efforts to achieve optimal safety outcomes. In working together we can aim to get the right safety outcomes from the regulations and regulatory practices which should assist in contributing to a vibrant and strong aviation sector. This fresh approach is already paying dividends as I see a change in attitude by many CASA staff towards the organisations and people we regulate. I promise to continue to work hard to firmly entrench this approach across CASA through strong and effective leadership, staff education, training and support.
Time to have your say on key issues
CASA wants everyone in Australian aviation to have their say. To make getting your message to CASA simple and easy a new online tool has been launched. By using the ‘have your say’ forums everyone can contribute to building a strong and safe aviation future. Currently there are three forums open – developing Flight Plan 2030, implementing future regulations and delivering safety promotion. Flight Plan 2030 is an opportunity to focus on the safety issues that will face all sectors of Australian aviation over the next 15 years. Having your say on this forum means your views will be listened to as CASA develops the Flight Plan 2030 document, which will focus on future safety challenges and opportunities. By using the implementing future regulations forum your views on the timing of new regulations, ways to implement new rules and how CASA can best support the aviation community during regulatory change will be heard. Your comments will be fed into the development of regulatory implementation plans, as well as communication and information strategies. The safety promotion forum is to encourage discussion about how you prefer to receive safety information so CASA can make sure important messages are getting to everyone in the most effective ways. To participate in any of the forums you need to register. To protect privacy a screen name or alias can be used to remain anonymous. When active each discussion will be moderated using standard policies and guidelines to ensure everyone can have a say and many different ideas and viewpoints can be heard.
Watch to learn about ADS-B
There’s an easy new way to learn all about the basics and benefits of the automatic dependant surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) system. A short online video explains how ADS-B works and why a number of air operators and aircraft owners have chosen to adopt the system early. Airservices Australia produced the video, which features several chief pilots and a Cessna 182 owner talking about their ADS-B experiences. With more than 70 ground stations across the nation ADS-B now covers most of Australia, enhancing safety and efficiency. Andrew Anderson, an IFR pilot and Cessna 182 owner, says there are important benefits for general aviation from ADS-B. He says the burden of communications on a general aviation pilot can be reduced when using ADS-B as position reports to air traffic control are not required. Royal Flying Doctor Service Queensland chief pilot Shane Lawrey says adopting ADS-B for their operations was a “no brainer” after an early trial. Rick Heaton, chief pilot at Alliance Airlines, says coverage in central Australia was a big benefit for his operations and customers appreciate being able to track aircraft. From 2 February 2017 all aircraft operating under instrument flight rules in Australia will be required to be equipped with 1090 MHz Extended Squitter ADS-B.
Online maintenance personnel exams start
Assessment Services Limited will now be delivering online aircraft maintenance personnel examination services for CASA. Maintenance personnel exams will be held at least six times a year at multiple locations around Australia. People can continue to sit the CASA basics exams and use schedules of experience to obtain 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. Until now CASA has directly delivered paper-based multiple-choice maintenance theory exams. By putting the exams on-line delivery and assessment will be improved. Assessment Services Ltd is an Australian company that has provided flight crew exam services to the aviation industry for more than 13 years. The new maintenance personnel exam booking web site will be available from 27 October 2015, with the first exams to be held shortly after this date. Anyone who wishes to register can do so now by contacting Assessment Services Ltd on 02 6262 8820 or email email@example.com
Clearing up PICUS concerns
CASA has received feedback from the aviation community seeking clarification about how the new flight crew licensing regulations affect pilot in command under supervision (PICUS) operations. The concern is about who can be the pilot in command of a PICUS operation under Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 61. Operators who do not have a training and checking organisation under Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR) 217 may conduct PICUS operations. For these operations the pilot in command does not have to be an instructor or examiner. The reference in Part 61 to training and checking responsibilities does not mean there has to be a training and checking organisation in place. All chief pilots have training and checking responsibilities, even if the operator does not have a training and checking organisation under CAR 217. Operators regularly conduct PICUS operations by assigning a suitably qualified and competent pilot in the command seat as the pilot in command and another qualified company pilot in the other control seat, who acts as pilot in command under supervision. Civil Aviation Safety Regulation 61.095 does not preclude this activity. However, a chief pilot must be satisfied the pilot in command is competent operating from the other control seat and the operations manual needs to have adequate procedures in place for the operation to be conducted safely. Consideration has to be given to normal and emergency circumstances.
Comment now on the Office of Airspace Regulation
The aviation community is being asked to contribute to a review of the functions and operations of CASA’s Office of Airspace Regulation. The review is looking at issues such as the airspace legislation, structures and processes in the Office of Airspace Regulation, effectiveness of the Office and stakeholder management. It will also look at the implementation of the Government’s policy objectives in the current and previous Australian Airspace Policy Statements. All feedback and comment on the Office of Airspace Regulation will be welcomed by the review, with details and examples to support comments particularly valuable. CASA has published a list of questions on its web site to help people and organisations focus on specific areas that will assist the review. The review is being undertaken as a result of a requirement in the latest Statement of Expectations issued to CASA by the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. The review team will acknowledge and attribute all submissions however anonymity can be requested. Submissions should be sent to CASA by Friday 20 November 2015 by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Please use the words ‘OAR review’ in the subject line of emails.
New rules for large air transport operations
Proposed updated and improved safety regulations for large passenger and cargo aeroplane operations have been released for comment. Under the proposed new rules there will no longer be different safety standards for charter flights, with a single safety standard for charter and regular public transport. Other key changes include provisions for the use of new technology such as synthetic vision and enhanced vision systems, requirements for underwater locating devices on some flights, requirements for additional medical equipment on aircraft, restrictions on rostering inexperienced flight crew and new training and checking requirements for cabin crew. There has been comprehensive consultation on the proposed rules with airlines, smaller air operators, aviation industry representative groups and pilot and cabin crew unions.
The proposed new rules – to be contained in Part 121 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations – align to the maximum extent possible with International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommended practices. They consolidate all existing regulations for charter and regular public transport operations into one rule set, which is supported by a manual of standards as well as guidance material. Many of the proposed changes will formalise current practices, while others will simplify compliance. Other changes proposed include new terminology and rules for extended diversion time operations, clearer rules for operations on narrow runways, simplified equipment regulations, new datalink recording requirements, options for more flexible pilot training and checking programs, simplified pilot recency requirements, formalising a cabin crew to passenger seat ratio of one to fifty and new recency requirements for cabin crew. The rules will apply to passenger and cargo operations in aeroplanes fitted with more than nine passenger seats or with a maximum take-off weight of more than 8,618 kilograms.
Fatigue risk management forum to answer your questions
A special forum is being held for aviation organisations developing or planning to develop a fatigue risk management system. The aim of the forum is to ensure there is a mutual understanding between CASA and aviation organisations of the requirements and expected outcomes to be achieved prior to being approved for a trial of a fatigue risk management system. Before CASA approves a full fatigue risk management system there is a trial period of between 12 and 24 months to ensure the system is fully functional and able to respond to changes in the organisation and operating environment. With about 20 aviation organisations having expressed an interest in adopting a fatigue risk management system CASA wants to ensure information is shared and questions can be addressed. The forum will offer practical advice and support, with several experts in fatigue to make presentations and take part in discussions. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will also talk about how it approaches fatigue issues during accident investigations. CASA inspectors will take part in the forum to hear first-hand the issues raised by aviation organisations and to ensure there is a consistent approach within CASA to fatigue risk management system assessments and approvals. The forum is being held on Wednesday 11 November 2015 from 09:00 to 16:30 at the Swinburne University AGSE building, room 207.
Book your place now by emailing email@example.com
Talking to CASA in November is easy
There are lots of opportunities to interact with CASA in November 2015. Fifteen AvSafety seminars will be held in five states, three ‘have your say forums’ are being run in two states and two Flight Plan 2030 forums are scheduled. The AvSafety seminars focus on two key safety issues that continue to feature in accidents - flight in low visibility and unplanned or unapproved low flying. There will be a discussion about at least one case study from accident reports featuring low visibility or low flying. Pilots will be asked to look at why the accidents occurred and how they could have been avoided. Other issues to be covered include operating at non-controlled aerodromes, regulatory changes and maintenance releases. AvSafety seminars also offer the chance to provide feedback to CASA and discuss local issues. The ‘have your say’ forums are being held at Perth, Jandakot and Adelaide, with the focus on the implementation of new regulations. They give people in aviation the chance to provide advice to CASA on the timing of new regulations and ways to support the aviation community during implementation. The Flight Plan 2030 forums are being held in Launceston on 10 November and Brisbane on 26 November. These forums gather views on the safety issues, challenges and opportunities facing Australian aviation over the next 15 years. This consultation will result in the formal development of the Flight Plan 2030 document in 2016.
Air traffic drops as mining slows
The slowing of the resource sector has led directly to a decrease in air traffic at Roma in Queensland. A study of the airspace 30 nautical miles around Roma found aircraft movements dropped in the first months of 2015, after strong growth since 2010. There are now a number of cancelled scheduled services each month and charter flights have been cut by resource companies. As air traffic growth has slowed the number of reported incidents has tapered off. There is a narrow mix of air traffic at Roma, with regular public transport, charter and emergency services using similar aircraft types with similar performance levels. General aviation activity in smaller aircraft is limited. Inbound and outbound air routes provide good traffic segregation and there are no issues with the current lower limit of Class E airspace at flight level 180. The study did not find any safety need for lowering Class E in the vicinity of Roma. It recommended aircraft and passenger movements continue to be monitored over the next 12 months to determine if the current slowing trend in aviation activity continues and if this results in a further decrease in incidents.
Drone flyers warned to stay away from bushfires
People who fly unmanned aerial vehicles – commonly known as drones - near bushfires are being warned they could face a fine of $9000. This is because drones can pose a real safety risk to firefighting aircraft and bush firefighters. A Civil Aviation Safety Regulation says unmanned aircraft must not be operated in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person or property. The penalty for a breach of this regulation is 50 Commonwealth penalty units. A Commonwealth penalty unit is $180. Drones flown in bushfires could collide with firefighting aircraft or hit firefighters on the ground. A collision between a drone and a firefighting aeroplane or helicopter could lead to a catastrophic accident. If a drone is seen in the vicinity of a bushfire and is believed to have put aircraft or firefighters at risk CASA can investigate and if a breach of the safety rules is identified an infringement notice can be issued. Flying a drone near a bushfire is also very likely to cause aerial firefighting to be suspended until the drone is located and removed due to the risk of a mid-air collision with an aircraft. This means the bushfire may not be effectively controlled and people on the ground put at extra risk. Everyone who flies a drone should understand the importance of keeping away from bushfires and other emergency situations at all times unless they have the appropriate approvals from CASA and emergency services. Working with the National Aerial Firefighting Centre and state firefighting authorities CASA has launched a social media awareness campaign on Facebook with the tagline: ‘If you fly, they can’t’. Since the launch of the campaign in September the post has reached more than 300,000 people.
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