Part 1 Casa's business
CASA’s business: achieving our vision of safe skies for all
CASA’s mission is ‘to enhance and promote aviation safety through effective safety regulation and by encouraging industry to deliver high standards of safety’. We do this by setting and enforcing rules and standards, working with industry to ensure they understand and adopt these rules and standards, and applying controls to the types of aircraft and personnel permitted to operate in Australian airspace. Our commitment to these functions is critical to meeting our vision of Safe skies for all.
Setting aviation safety standards, or rules, is a key function for CASA. Subject-matter experts from CASA and the aviation industry work in teams to develop new and amended rules and implementation plans.
Input from the aviation community is essential in the development of new regulations. CASA gathers the widest possible range of advice during the development of each new regulation. The industry chaired Standards Consultative Committee and its six subcommittees are an essential part of consultation. They identify industry members for project teams, who assess safety issues and data, consider options and make recommendations for regulatory change.
CASA must, in accordance with Government policy and legislation, conduct consultations on proposals to make new or amended regulations. This may take place initially through the publication of a Discussion Paper (DP). Once the policy and associated advisory material have been developed, an NPRM is issued for public comment.
A Notice of Final Rule Making (NFRM)—incorporating a Summary of Responses (SOR)—is prepared in response to an NPRM. It contains a consolidation of comments received and CASA’s response to these comments. NFRMs and SORs are made available to the general public.
In addition to addressing newly emerging issues and risks that require more immediate regulatory amendments, CASA is undertaking a general regulatory reform program to update, consolidate and reform the aviation safety regulations.
A key role of CASA is the oversight of the aviation industry, through various surveillance techniques such as operational surveillance and spot checks, scheduled audits, special audits and desktop audits. These activities are undertaken at intervals appropriate to the risk profile of the organisation or individual. For example, an organisation with a large, complex charter operation is inspected more often than an aerial work operation with occasional charter. CASA uses many other surveillance mechanisms, such as annual information returns, safety trend indicators and safety reports.
The Civil Aviation Act 1988 places responsibility on CASA to conduct the safety regulation of civil air operations in Australian territory and the operation of Australian aircraft outside Australian territory, by means that include ‘developing effective enforcement strategies to secure compliance with aviation safety standards’ (Civil Aviation Act, s. 9(1)(d)).
To encourage compliance with regulations, CASA conducts information sessions for industry personnel and arranges seminars and roadshows when new regulations are being promulgated. The trend towards the adoption of safety management systems by industry is encouraging, as it sets a framework for consistent compliance with legislation.
Ensuring compliance with the provisions of the Act and Regulations is critical to CASA meeting its commitment to Safe skies for all. CASA’s enforcement function may involve the variation, suspension or cancellation of an authorisation; enforceable voluntary undertakings; infringement notices or referral of the matter to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for criminal action.
CASA continues to engage industry through various stakeholder groups and forums including the Standards Consultative Committee and Aviation Safety Forum; safety education seminars; and safety publications such as Flight Safety Australia.
CASA’s safety promotion role involves shaping attitudes to safety, encouraging safe behaviour and achieving the safest possible outcomes. Safety promotion encourages the adoption of best-practice safety principles, practices and standards. CASA does this by using a range of communication channels to deliver carefully considered safety information, education materials and messages.
CASA goes to great lengths to educate the industry through safety seminars held throughout the country; around 3,000 individuals attended such seminars in 2007–08. It is anticipated that, by December 2008, 80 per cent of manufacturing certificate holders will have attended an educational seminar.
CASA recognises that supply and retention of qualified pilots is a key to safe operations. It will continue to support the development of the flying training industry and has initiated the Flight Testing and Approved Testing Officer Management Program to further enhance the safety of operations.
Over 40 per cent of fatal accidents in general aviation can be attributed to a pilot losing control of the aircraft, according to an analysis carried out in 2004—and this loss of control has been closely linked to deficiencies in basic flying training.
This finding was the catalyst for CASA to develop a new approach to improving aviation safety—by improving flying training and flight testing standards. This initiative came to fruition in January 2008, with the opening of CASA’s new Flight Training and Testing Office.
The office, located at the Sydney regional office in Bankstown, is responsible for implementing CASA’s new Flight Testing and Approved Testing Officer Management Program. Under the program, CASA will conduct flight tests for licences and ratings, centralise oversight of approved testing officers, and introduce a professional development program for approved testing officers.
Eight new positions were created to form the office. Recruitment was completed in mid-June 2008 and training was conducted in the last two weeks of June 2008.
The new flight training examiners are responsible for conducting flight tests for industry members and providing comprehensive surveillance of approved testing officers. They also carry out assessments and mentoring for those applying to become approved testing officers and educate approved testing officers and flight instructors.
The aim of the program is to improve flight testing and training standards and, over time, reducing the accident and incident rate within general aviation.
A key component of ensuring Safe skies for all is requiring safety standards to be met by potential operators and personnel.
CASA applies entry controls in a number of ways, including enforcing standards for:
- design and manufacture of, or repairs to, an aeronautical product (aircraft, engine, propeller)—to ensure it meets all the safety standards
- authorised persons—by ensuring they are competent and skilled to perform airworthiness functions
- flight simulators—by ensuring the simulator meets the performance requirements of the simulated aircraft
- foreign-manufactured aircraft—by ensuring the aircraft meets the airworthiness standards acceptable to CASA
- minimum equipment lists for aircraft—by ensuring that aircraft with unserviceable equipment meet the required minimum safety standards
- aerodromes—an increasing number of larger aircraft at many aerodromes requires those aerodromes to be certified to minimum standards
- Instrument Approach Procedures—by ensuring that designers of such procedures must be verified to be competent.
CASA also grants permission for general aviation operators to enter into commercial activities via the Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) system. AOCs are issued for a specified period of time; to continue operating, an AOC holder must apply for, and be issued with, a new AOC prior to the expiry of the existing AOC.
The CASA Service Centre and regional offices also work together to grant a range of other entry control permissions, such as Certificates of Approval (COA), delegations for maintenance approvals through Instruments of Appointment (IOA), and approvals for approved testing officers, maintenance controllers and chief pilots.