From the acting Director of Aviation Safety Terry Farquarson
I know speculation is rife throughout the aviation industry about who may be chosen as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s next Director of Aviation Safety. While it is certainly not my place to comment on the speculation I can assure everyone the process for selecting a new Director is well and truly underway. What needs to be understood is that there is a rigorous process that must be followed. As you would expect the process involves a search for suitable candidates, short listing, interviews, checking and then a recommendation and approval process. The approval process involves the CASA Board, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss, and beyond. The completion of this process takes time - time that is well spent making sure the best possible person is selected to lead CASA. While this process is being completed I will continue to act as Director of Aviation Safety. I have told CASA that during this period we must, as always, work hard and continue to execute our plans in accordance with our set priorities. No aspect of CASA’s work is being put on the backburner or ignored during this transition time. CASA will continue to play its part in the maintenance and improvement of Australia’s high standard of aviation safety, taking the appropriate steps to identify and manage risks. I do, however, want to make it clear that safety is a shared responsibility and to remind all holders of civil aviation authorisations that they have a responsibility to conduct their aviation activities safely and in accordance with the relevant legislation.
Despite some dire predictions, Monday 1 September 2014 came and went and the aviation world did not come to a halt. That was the day the new suite of pilot licensing regulations took effect and we began the four year transition period for pilot licences and three year transition for flying training organisations. In fact, rather than a welter of problems caused by the new regulations our main challenge has been keeping up with the number of people keen to move their licence over to the new regime as soon as possible. CASA’s licensing team are doing their best to keep up with the influx of applications but I do ask for your forbearance during this initial busy period and remind everyone that it is not essential to have a new Part 61 licence immediately.
As part of our commitment to improve the way we work and support the aviation community CASA has engaged research company Colmar Brunton to conduct an online survey during October 2014 about our safety promotion activities. We want your feedback on how well CASA communicates safety-critical messages so we can develop and deliver information to you in the future in the most effective way. As a subscriber to the CASA Briefing newsletter you will be sent an email in early October inviting you to take part in the survey. I do encourage everyone to take part so we can best understand how to communicate essential safety information to you.
App makes understanding dangerous goods easy
The travelling public now has a new and easy way to find out information about dangerous goods. CASA has launched a dangerous goods app for both Apple and Android devices which sets out what can and cannot be carried on an aircraft, as well as whether goods should be carried on board or checked-in. It also advises if goods need to be packed safely. The app covers a wide range of dangerous goods or potentially dangerous goods, including aerosols, ammunition, batteries, dry ice, hair dye, insect repellent, medical devices, mobility aids, paints, matches and toiletries. The app lists the goods or they can be searched for by name. Information is then provided in both words and in images. It is designed so people travelling can quickly answer the question: “can I pack that?” Travellers are advised making the right decisions about dangerous goods is important due to the unique conditions created by air travel. Items such as pressurised canisters when carried in aircraft experience high pressure differentials of up to 75 kPa, as well as extremes of temperature and at times significant vibration. All these forces can cause items to behave unpredictably. Travellers are told if they are still unsure whether a particular item may pose a safety risk they should always check with their airline or airport staff.
Access the dangerous goods app from the CASA website.
Updated advice on operations manuals
Holders of air operator’s certificates can now access updated advice on the development of operations manuals. Under the regulations air operators must provide an operations manual for the guidance of their staff. The manual contains all the information, procedures and instructions to ensure aircraft can be operated safely in line with the relevant safety requirements. The updated advisory on operations manuals sets out some of the requirements that will be included in the new operational regulations that are currently being finalised by CASA. While air operators do not have to comply with these requirements at this point, including this optional content in their manual will help them get ready for the future regulatory changes. The advisory says an operations manual is the ‘how to do it book’ for staff. It should set out procedures that allow operational staff to comply with safety legislation without having to consult the legislation itself. Manuals can be structured based on an International Civil Aviation Organization approach which has eleven volumes or a recommended approach that consolidates the information into four volumes. The consolidated version has volumes for policy and procedures, aircraft operations, aerodromes and routes and training and checking.
Go to the updated operations manual advisory.
No reports of area frequency congestion
Pilots are being asked to tell CASA about any frequency congestion problems on area frequencies. Concerns have been raised about the possibility of frequency congestion following the reminder to pilots about the correct procedure for making radio broadcasts at aerodromes which are not marked on aeronautical charts. If a broadcast radio call is needed at or near unmarked aerodromes it should be made on the area frequency. This is because transiting pilots who are unaware of the unmarked aerodrome will be using the area frequency and will not hear broadcasts made on the multicom frequency. They will not know to change to the multicom as the uncharted aerodromes, which are usually very small runways on private properties, are not known to them. Local pilots may be comfortable using the multicom but this does not provide alerted see and avoid for non-local traffic. Where an aerodrome not marked on a chart is located ten nautical miles or less from an aerodrome that is marked on a chart, pilots should use the charted aerodrome frequency or the multicom frequency. To date there have been no reports of frequency congestion caused by the use of the area frequency near unmarked aerodromes, however if any problems do exist CASA will work to resolve them on a case by case basis. Using the area frequency at these aerodromes should not result in an increased number or length of radio broadcasts. In fact, pilots should be more cognisant of the need to keep their calls brief and to a minimum. Pilots should contact their local Regional Airspace and Procedures Advisory Committee (RAPAC) to get information about congestion passed to CASA.
The radio procedures are set out in the CAR 166 advisory publication and information booklet.
Find your local RAPAC.
Government to respond to aviation review soon
The Federal Government will respond to the independent review of Australia's aviation safety and regulatory arrangements before the end of 2014. Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss told the 2014 Waypoint conference the Government is now carefully considering all of the 37 recommendations and other matters arising from the review. He said the Government would provide a comprehensive response before the year is out. “Above all, we are committed to ensuring that aviation maintains an appropriate safety regulatory framework that will provide the platform for the industry's future growth,” he said. “The national significance of aviation reinforces the need to maintain Australia's aviation record and reputation for safety. This is absolutely fundamental to the industry's future. That is why, in November last year, as one of the first acts of the new government, I initiated an independent review of Australia's aviation safety and regulatory arrangements. The review examined Australia's regulatory framework to ensure it supports the highest levels of safety without imposing unacceptable burdens on the aviation industry. I want to recognise the constructive attitude that industry took to the review. The report found that Australia has an excellent safety record but identified opportunities for improvement.”
Mr Truss said the Government is committed to reducing the regulatory burden on business through cutting unnecessary red tape and allowing more competition. He said aviation has more regulation per square inch than any other industry. “I would like to get rid of most of it—but I know that would compromise confidence in our safety record. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has also begun reassessing its regulations to reduce red tape while not impacting on safety outcomes and to produce plain English versions of regulations. Airservices Australia is also playing its part in reducing costs to the aviation industry by reducing delays and investing in technology that will improve efficiency and productivity.
Read Mr Truss’s Waypoint speech in full.
No rush to get new pilot licence
Pilots are being reminded they do not need to rush to get a flight crew licence under the new licensing regulations which took effect from 1 September 2014. There is a four year transition period during which all licences will be progressively moved across to the new regulations. Current pilot licences remain valid until a new one is issued. Pilots will receive a new Part 61 licence when they update their qualifications with CASA. For example, when a pilot completes a flight review or gains a rating or endorsement, the flight instructor or flight examiner will enter the details into the licence and send a notification to CASA. This will trigger the issue of a new licence. When pilots do receive their new licence they should check to make sure it incorporates all of the permissions that were included in the old Civil Aviation Regulation Part 5 licence. If there are any discrepancies pilots should notify CASA. Everyone who held a pilot licence prior to 1 September 2014 will have a new Part 61 licence issued at no cost. People who apply for their first licence or who upgrade their licence after 1 September 2014 will need to pay the standard service fee for their licence type. There is a wealth of information on the CASA web site about the new flight crew licensing regulations and questions can be emailed to CASA.
Go to the flight crew licensing resource centre.
US says unleaded aircraft fuel is coming
The United States has taken another step towards the introduction of unleaded fuel for general aviation aircraft. Four unleaded fuels have been selected for testing by the US Federal Aviation Administration. The goal is for government and industry to work together to have a new unleaded fuel available for general aviation by 2018. Shell and Total are providing one fuel each for testing, while Swift Fuels has produced two. The work will determine which fuels are suitable and will have the least impact on existing piston-engine aircraft. Already the Federal Aviation Administration has assessed potential fuels in terms of their impact on the existing fleet, the production and distribution infrastructure, the impact on the environment, toxicology and the cost of aircraft operations. Based on the results of the phase-one laboratory and rig testing it is anticipated two or three fuels will be selected for phase-two engine and aircraft testing. That testing will generate standardized qualification and certification data for the fuels, along with performance data. Approximately 167,000 general aviation aircraft in the United States rely on 100 low-lead aviation fuel for safe operation. The small quantity of lead in the fuel creates the very high octane levels needed for high-performance aircraft. Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority will monitor the work being done in the United States.
Find out more about the unleaded fuel project.
Last chance to comment on community service flights
There is still time to have your say on the future regulation of community service flights. CASA issued a discussion paper on safety standards for community service flights, with the comment period closing on 10 October 2014. Community service flights are non-emergency flights provided by volunteers and charities to transport people from regional areas to major centres, mainly for medical reasons. At present these flights are treated as private operations and there are no specific safety regulations covering the operations. This means they can be undertaken in a wide variety of aircraft types with different maintenance standards by pilots with varying levels of qualifications and experience. The discussion paper seeks the views of the public and the aviation community on how CASA should approach the safety regulation of community service flights. In particular CASA is looking for comment on how to balance the need for appropriate safety standards for flights that carry passengers against the public benefit of the services. The discussion paper recognises if safety compliance costs are high the service flights may no longer be available. Six administrative and four operational options are listed for consideration.
Read the community service flights discussion paper and comment by 10 October 2014.
We’re briefing pilots on new rules
Twelve seminars for pilots are being held across five states during October 2014. The seminars focus on the new suite of licensing regulations that took effect on 1 September 2014. CASA’s aviation safety advisors will provide information on the look and structure of the new Part 61 licence, as well as details on the four year transition arrangements. Pilots will be shown the extensive resources available to help them understand the new flight crew licence. A briefing will also be provided on the progress of the regulatory reform process. This will include the next phase of regulation reform, how to find information, who will be affected and what the changes will mean for pilots. Additionally, there will a presentation on the new interactive education programs and resources available online to help keep pilots safe in the air and on the ground. This includes the revised Visual Flight Rules Guide and the updated and improved On-Track interactive guide to operating in and around controlled airspace. This includes the updated and improved On-Track interactive guide to operating in and around controlled airspace, new videos on CASA’s YouTube channel and the Flight Safety Australia news site.
Find an AvSafety seminar near you.
Need to learn? We have the answer
There is an easy way to brush up your knowledge on a range of topics using the eLearning catalogue on CASA’s web site. Topics covered by the eLearning courses are ageing aircraft, fuel management, the new maintenance regulations, class D airspace procedures, the alcohol and other drugs program and the flight crew examination system. Some topics are accessed using CASA’s safety learning tool AviationWorx while others can be opened directly. The ageing aircraft course is aimed at aircraft owners, explaining how to identify issues surrounding the safe operation and management of ageing aircraft. Aircraft owners affected by the new Cessna structural inspection requirements will find this eLearning course particularly helpful. The fuel management course looks at strategies to help reduce the risk of fuel related accidents and incidents. In the course on the new maintenance regulations there is an introduction to the regulatory suite plus details on Parts 42, 66, 145 and 147 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. The class D course covers airspace entry procedures, operations in class D, separation responsibilities and exit procedures. The alcohol and other drugs training can be used by aviation organisations to train employees and supervisors.
Go to the eLearning catalogue now.
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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.
CASA's ever popular Flight Safety Australia magazine is online. View the current edition and back issues here.
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.