Speech to Aircraft Electronics Association – South Pacific Regional Meeting
Reforming civil aviation regulations - what's in it for you
Adelaide – 14 November 2012
Director was represented by Rick Leeds, acting Executive Manager Standards Division
I’m sure you are aware that Australia is moving from the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CARs) to the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASRs).
Updating the rules is part of the continual improvement of aviation safety. Rules cannot remain static – as safety knowledge and understanding improves, the rules must evolve to reflect better safety practices and to incorporate new technology.
There are going to be new operational regulations, flight crew licensing regulations and airworthiness and maintenance regulations.
CASA seeks to align any new regulations as closely as practicable with International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommended practices, and to harmonise where appropriate with the standards of leading aviation countries, unless differences are justified on safety risk grounds.
Naturally, some aviation people are asking why change the regulations and what are the benefits? The overarching aim is, of course, to create a safer aviation system in Australia.
It is important to understand the current rules are old and in some cases out-dated. Many were first drafted more than thirty years ago and the origins of some go back even further. The current rules do not properly fit with a modern aviation system and latest technologies.
To make them work CASA has been issuing exemptions to allow the aviation industry to meet ongoing operational needs. Right now there are more than 1,700 exemptions on the books, meaning the regulation of aviation activities is not necessarily a level playing field and some of the rules are not fit for purpose. In addition, our current rules have not kept pace with international developments in aviation safety.
For the aviation industry there will be a range of benefits flowing from the new rules. The Civil Aviation Safety Regulations are logically organised into clear parts. This will make it much easier for the industry to find and apply the relevant regulations. For example, under the current system requirements and standards are spread across the Civil Aviation Regulations, Civil Aviation Orders and the myriad of exemptions. This means the current rule set can be hard to access, to follow and to use.
Specific aspects of the regulations are designed to address known and likely safety risks, and aim to further strengthen the current regulatory structure to deliver improved safety outcomes.
Wherever possible regulations are being drafted to specify the safety outcome, unless in the interests of safety, more prescriptive requirements need to be specified.
The new rule set will make it easier to find the standards you must operate to, as well as to stay complaint. It will also be easier to update and improve the new regulations as advances in aviation operations and technologies continue to develop.
Drafting the regulations – it’s a long and strenuous process
A taskforce approach has been adopted to facilitate completion of the regulatory reform program. To expedite the drafting of the regulations a Regulatory Task Force was formed with the Attorney General's Department. This has proved successful.
New regulations are developed through the combined effort of CASA and expert industry working groups with an aim to address known risks.
All the proposed regulations have been subject to extensive consultation with the aviation industry.
Operational regulations (CASR Parts 91, 119, 121, 129, 132, 133 and 135)
Each new rule part covers a particular aviation activity and builds from the foundation parts – Part 91 and Part 119.
The current distinction between Regular Public Transport (RPT) and Charter will be removed with the establishing of the air transport category. Part 121 will deal with large aeroplane operations while Part 135 will set the standards for small aeroplane operation in this category.
The intent is to narrow the gap that currently exists between the current RPT and Charter categories while at the same time recognising many of the RPT provisions may not be directly transferrable to a Part 135 operation.
It is expected the Operational (Air Transport) suite of CASRs (Parts 119, 129,133,135), other than Parts 121 and 131, will also be close to being finalised by the end of the year. Making of these Parts, including Parts 121 and 131, is not expected to be made until mid-2013, with commencement one year later.
Legal drafting and industry/public consultations of the Aerial Work CASR Parts will be on-going through the first half of 2013 followed by three Sport and Recreational Aviation Operations CASR Parts.
Recognising that some of the envisaged changes will be significant, CASA will ensure that the transition period to the new rules gives operators adequate time to allocate resources and make changes to their operations and relevant manuals.
Flight crew licensing and training regulations (CASR Parts 61, 64, 141 and 142)
Consultation drafts of the Operational and Flight Crew Licensing CASR Parts were prepared by the legal drafters and have been consulted internally within CASA, with industry and the public.
Final drafts of Parts 61,142, 141 and 64 have now been received following consultation.
The development of the Manual of Standards for Part 61 Flight Crew Licensing is progressing.
The full Flight Crew Licensing suite is finalised and being prepared for making (expect EXCO December 2012), with commencement one year later (i.e. end 2013). Suitable transition periods will be provided for the conversion of existing flight crew licences and flying training AOCs into the new regulatory framework.
Continuing airworthiness and maintenance regulations (CASR Parts 42, 66, 145 and 147)
The new continuing airworthiness regulations in Parts 42, 66, 145 and 147 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASRs) have been made and Parts 42 and 145 are being progressively implemented from June 2011 to June 2013 for aircraft that are authorised for RPT operations under paragraph 206 (1) (c) of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CARs).
All CAR31 licences have been transitioned to the CASR Part 66 licence arrangements and, under the transitional arrangements, the old and new qualification arrangements are operating in parallel until June 2015.
Standards development and consultation work is now expanding into the second phase of the reform, to establish the continuing airworthiness and maintenance requirement for other sectors of the aviation industry, i.e. aircraft that are not authorised for RPT operations. This includes aircraft currently used for charter, aerial work and private operations.
The future expanded application of CASR Parts 42 and 145 to cover all other classes of aircraft operations, is dependent on the finalisation of the proposed amendments to the CASR operational regulations.
Finalisation of the policies related to expanded application of CASR Parts 42 and 145 are also contingent on a review of the proposed CASA policies in comparison to other major aviation countries such as the United States.
The future expanded application of the continuing airworthiness legislation will be consulted with the industry and the public.
A series of five discussion papers will present options related to the following key elements of the continuing airworthiness suite of regulations as they apply to non-RPT aircraft and maintenance providers, these include:
- Maintenance providers
- Continuing Airworthiness Management Requirements
- Maintenance Programs
- Airworthiness Reviews
- Maintenance Personnel Licensing for Small Aircraft.
The discussion papers will present options on the above topics as they relate to the proposed CASR Operational Regulations.
Also a draft of Subpart 21.J (Approved Design Organisations) is available for public consultation at the moment with the comment period closing on 30 November.
Misconceptions by some sections of the industry
Recently there has been some disturbingly misinformed debate within sections of the current general aviation community about these still to be developed new maintenance regulations. It is clear some people believe all of the new maintenance regulations currently covering the regular public transport sector are to be directly applied to general aviation.
Let me make it very clear - this is not the case. As the Director has said before, the new suite of maintenance regulations that came into effect in late June 2011 apart from licensing Parts, only applies to operators and maintainers of RPT aircraft.
At the time CASA clearly and publicly stated that ‘revised maintenance regulations for other sectors of aviation such as charter, aerial work and private operations will be developed at a later date, after wide consultation with these sectors’. This position and CASA’s commitment to it have not changed.
Over the last year, CASA has been working with expert representatives from the aviation industry on proposals for new maintenance regulations for the general aviation sector. When these proposals are adequately developed in the near future, everyone will get an ample opportunity to have their say.
The consultation process will include the release of discussion papers in the near future, notices of proposed rulemaking and draft regulations. The discussion papers will open a wide ranging conversation with the aviation industry and other stakeholders about the proposed direction of the new maintenance regulations.
No matter what you may have heard or from whom you have heard it, and contrary to some of the ill-informed statements in the aviation press, the new maintenance rules for the non-RPT sectors have not been determined, and will not be pre-determined.
We fully recognise the RPT maintenance regulations cannot simply be applied across the board. Each sector of aviation is different and the new regulations will reflect those important differences.
However, if aspects of the RPT maintenance regulations are relevant and appropriate to some other sectors of the industry, then, subject to the outcome of the consultation process, those provisions may be incorporated into the proposed new rules.
The development of new rules is not a process done in isolation by CASA and I encourage you to play an active role in providing feedback when the discussion papers are out for industry consultation as each of you individually – and collectively in bodies such as this represented here today – can provide valuable input to the successful development of new rule sets.
We will carefully consider the views of all interested sectors of the industry and the wider aviation community, and we will take all reasonable comments and submissions into account before any rules are finalised.
CASA recognises that there are constraints on the ability of sections of the industry to absorb extensive and rapid changes to regulations, and this is a factor CASA will carefully consider in the development of timelines for regulatory implementation.
Implementation of new aviation rules
CASA has established a dedicated team to implement the new regulations.
The team has been tasked with developing implementation plans for each of the new CASR parts as they are developed and will include:
- detailed plans for the safe and efficient implementation of the new CASR parts across the aviation industry
- comprehensive education and training programs for both CASA staff and the aviation industry.
Again let me reiterate, CASA will be consulting closely with the aviation industry as implementation plans are developed and rolled out.
Aviation safety is never static – we must be ready to meet the challenges of the future and strive for better outcomes. CASA’s intention is for the rules to be part of a living set of aviation safety standards that evolve as the aviation industry further matures and grows.
As we move into this new stage of regulatory change, I can assure you it is not CASA's intention to disrupt the smooth operations of aviation. However, we are committed to modernising and improving the aviation safety standards.
We are striving to deliver an aviation safety system that performs even better, with risks identified and managed to minimise accidents and incidents. Everyone in Australia is rightfully proud of the aviation industry and our safety record. Orderly and timely change to the regulations will mean we can hold our heads even higher.
Thank you and I’m now open for questions.