Sport aviation safety explained
The safety risks of sport aviation are very different to the risks of flying in large passenger jet aircraft or smaller commuter aircraft.
Many of the aircraft involved in sport aviation do not meet the design or maintenance standards that are applicable to large jets or small commuter aircraft.
Activities such as making a parachute descent, hang gliding, paragliding, warbird adventure flights, and recreational flights are not operated under the same operational or airworthiness standards applicable to large jet aircraft or small commuter aircraft used in regular public transport. You need to be aware therefore that there is a reduced level of assumed safety.
Participating in sport aviation carries a higher level of risk than flying as an airline passenger.
What is informed participation?
Informed participation in sport aviation relies on the premise that before you take part or pay for an activity that you are fully aware of the potential risks and consequences.
This may include asking questions of the operator, researching their website, checking with the relevant self–administering organisation/s, further research on the internet, in other literature such as CASA or ATSB publications, or simply by discussing with other participants.
However you inform yourself of the risks, it is important that you consider the consequences of the intended activity, which may include death or permanent disability as worst case scenarios, and how this would affect you and your family.
Do people have to understand and accept the risks?
Yes. Before you undertake a sport aviation activity as an informed participant you may:
- have to read and sign a document acknowledging you have been told and understand the risk involved in that particular activity or
- be given a verbal brief or presentation on the risks for that particular activity.
Depending on the type of aircraft there may also be a warning placard indicating that CASA and the self-administering organisation do not guarantee the airworthiness of that aircraft and all pilots operate these aircraft at their own risk.
This means that you need to accept the risks of flying in, or jumping from, the aircraft as an informed participant and be aware of the potential consequences for you and your family.
Why doesn’t CASA take a more active role in managing safety in this area of aviation?
Ninety six per cent of Australians fly on commercial aircraft operated by our airlines or charter companies.
Naturally, this is where CASA concentrates the majority of its time and resources.
CASA's primary responsibility is to carry out safety checks and audits on airlines and other passenger carrying operations to make sure standards are acceptable and risks are being properly managed.
CASA oversees the organisations that administer sport aviation functions. The organisations oversee the daily operations of these activities and provide safety and educational material to their members and to the general public.
Find out more about self-administering organisations.