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The CASA Briefing


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November 2011


From the Director of Aviation Safety


John McCormick


While there are undoubtedly people in the aviation industry who still hold a critical opinion of aspects of CASA's performance, I hope even the most jaundiced will acknowledge the scope of the improvements we have made over recent years. Many things in CASA have changed for the better and more improvement is on the way. The recent publication of CASA's 2010-11 Annual Report gave me an opportunity to set out clearly where we have lifted our game and how we will continue to enhance our performance. In my review of the year I wrote about the programs, initiatives and activities that were successfully undertaken to benefit aviation safety and CASA. Highlights were the delivery of the new maintenance regulations, strengthening safety oversight of key sectors of the industry, providing targeted education to the aviation industry and enhancing efficiency and accountability.


Over the year we made excellent progress in aligning our policies and procedures across the organisation. This is important as the process is steadily improving consistency in the way CASA operates. Internal consistency means more consistent regulatory advice and decision making for aviation industry. Consistency is essential for achieving the best possible safety results. During the year we rolled out a new Certificate of Approval Manual to be used by staff, which was a great step forward in standardising our processes nationally. Work on developing a new Air Operator's Certificate Manual is underway. We have also purchased a new data management tool to replace a number of existing systems which have become difficult and expensive to support. This new data tool will allow data sharing that was previously not possible and will provide standardised business processes. In the last year CASA also put extra effort into making sure our technical staff have the training they need. We now have a comprehensive training program for all inspectors, covering both classroom and on-the-job training.


Looking ahead, I can assure everyone we will remain focussed on continuing to improve all areas of CASA. We have set ourselves five major deliverables:


  • standardisation, consistency and efficiency
  • continuing to build the skills of our staff
  • delivery of regulatory services to a growing aviation industry
  • successful implementation of the new maintenance regulations and effective planning for the delivery of the suite of operational regulations
  • ongoing surveillance of the Australian aviation industry.



I know CASA's staff are committed to delivering in each of these areas and I look forward to the support of the aviation industry as we continue to improve the Australia aviation safety system.


Best regards


John F McCormick


Have your say on new pilot licence rules


The aviation industry is being asked to comment on draft new regulations covering flight crew licences, ratings and authorisations. CASA has published a detailed draft of Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations, along with a short and easy to read briefing statement. The proposed new flight crew licensing regulations will consolidate and replace existing rules contained in the Civil Aviation Regulations and Civil Aviation Orders. The draft regulations align to the maximum extent possible with the relevant International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommended practices. They also follow Australian government policy for vocational education and training to be structured and competency based. The proposed flight crew licensing rules retain the current framework of licences, ratings and endorsements. New flight crew licences will reflect all ratings and endorsements issued to the licence holder, although the final format of the licences is yet to be determined. Licences, ratings and endorsements to be permanently valid subject to the demonstration of competency and recency.


Under the proposed rules a recreational pilot licence would be introduced. The recreational pilot licence would authorise private flights in command of a single pilot certified aircraft with a maximum take off weight of less than 1500 kilograms, operating below 10,000 feet by day under the visual flight rules. The medical standard for this licence would require certification from a general practitioner in line with the private motor vehicle drivers licence medical standard. For private pilot licence holders the private instrument flight rules rating and the night visual flight rules rating will both remain. In larger aircraft operations the proposed rules introduce a requirement for multi-crew co-operation training for all pilots engaged in multi-crew flights. Co-pilots will be required to hold the same ratings as the pilot in command, with the removal of the co-pilot qualification.


Read the full details of the proposed new flight crew licensing rules and submit your comments by 3 February 2012.


REX wins new airworthiness approval


Regional Express Airlines has become the first airline to gain an approval under Australia's new maintenance regulations. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has issued Regional Express with a Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Part 42 approval. Part 42 is a key element of the new maintenance regulations that sets out the continuing airworthiness requirements for aircraft and aeronautical products used in regular public transport. It clearly separates the responsibility for managing continuing airworthiness from the actual conduct of maintenance. Under Part 42 regular public transport operators are required to establish a continuing airworthiness management organisation. CASA's Director of Aviation Safety, John McCormick, said the first Part 42 approval was an important milestone for aviation safety regulation, CASA and Regional Express. "These new maintenance regulations are clearer and provide certainty about maintenance responsibilities. They are also aligned with internationally recognised standards, which will help Australia's aviation industry compete in the global aviation market. Now that Regional Express has taken the lead in transitioning to the new regulations I look forward to the successful transition of the rest of Australia's regular public transport operators."


The suite of new maintenance regulations, including Part 42, came into effect in late June 2011. It is expected about 35 operators will transition to Part 42 by June 2013.


Part 42 sets out in detail how regular public transport operators will manage continuing airworthiness. This includes requirements for maintenance approvals, airworthiness reviews, requirements for recording and certifying aircraft maintenance, issuing aircraft releases to service and airworthiness tasks to be completed before flights. Regional Express chief operating officer, Chris Hine, said being the first airline to be approved under Part 42 was a testament to the maturity of the organisation.


Find out more about the maintenance regulations.


Ask now if you'll need services over Christmas


Christmas is coming and that means it's time to plan now for any regulatory services you may need from CASA during the holiday season. CASA will be closed for normal business from Friday 23 December 2011 until start of business Tuesday 3 January 2012. Regulatory services such as medical renewals, aircraft registrations and air operator certificate variations will not be processed during the Christmas-New Year shutdown. All offices, including the CASA Licensing and Registration Centre and the Permission Application Centre, will be closed. If you believe you may need regulatory services over the Christmas-New Year period you should act now. Contact the relevant area within CASA as soon as possible so that your service request can be processed well before the shutdown. Leaving a service request to the last minute can lead to disappointment.


Naturally, CASA will have staff available over the holiday period to assist with urgent aviation safety matters. The best way to contact CASA will be through the switchboard telephone number – 131 757 – and follow the prompts. Foreign air operators who require assistance over the Christmas period should contact CASA through Dean Robertson, team leader, international operations, by phone on + 61 7 3144 7400 or mobile +61 435 963 446 (mobile number 0435 963 446) or through the International Operations email address.


Find out more about the CASA holiday shutdown.


New support for unmanned aircraft operations


The unmanned aircraft systems sector is to get better regulatory support. CASA has set up a project to review the rules currently covering unmanned aircraft systems and to develop a package of new guidance material. Six advisory circulars will be published to guide both the aviation industry and CASA in managing the safety of unmanned aircraft systems. They will cover unmanned aircraft systems in general, training and licensing, operations, manufacturing and initial airworthiness, maintenance and continuing airworthiness and safety management. Once the advisory material has been developed there will be a review of the unmanned aircraft regulations, which are set out in Part 101 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. The project will also look at the long term integration of unmanned aircraft operations into normal aviation operations in all classes of airspace.


The rules covering unmanned aircraft systems were first drafted nearly ten years ago in anticipation of the civilian operation of unmanned aircraft. At the time there was little civilian unmanned operational experience to draw on from around the world. This meant the rules do not contain great detail in areas such as pilot qualifications, risk management and airworthiness. The current rules provide a basis for CASA's oversight of the sector, with minimal guidance to the aviation industry. At present each application for an unmanned aircraft systems operation is a standalone exercise and requires significant education of applicants. With a rapid increase in activity in this sector there is a risk that unsafe decisions could be made without comprehensive guidance material being available.


Find out more about the unmanned aircraft systems project.


Replace those stainless steel control cables!


Aircraft operators and maintainers are being urged to replace all flight control cables made from stainless steel before they reach 15 years time in service. The recommendation by CASA follows continuing reports in Australia and the United States of failures of flight control cable terminal fittings due to stress corrosion cracking. The fittings are made of stainless steel specification SAE-AISI 303 Se. Cracking in the fittings is caused by chloride stress-corrosion, which can originate from within the terminal. Even very small corrosion pits on the surface of the terminal fitting are indications the terminal maybe very close to failure, although there may be no visible pitting in some cases. For these reasons a visual inspection for pitting is not considered adequate as extensive internal corrosion may have taken place. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA recommends that aircraft technical log books should be reviewed to establish which flight control cables have been replaced in the last 15 years. Before any cables made from stainless steel reach 15 years time in service they should be retired. Where required by aircraft maintenance documentation flight control cables should be periodically inspected.


Find out all the details in the control cable airworthiness bulletin.


Work continues to help our industry compete overseas


Australia will continue to work to establish bi-lateral aviation safety arrangements with other nations to help the local aviation industry develop overseas markets. That was the message from CASA's Director of Aviation Safety, John McCormick, in a speech delivered to Aviation/Aerospace Australia. Members of the non-profit organisation that supports Australia's aviation and aerospace industries were told CASA was working to establish bi-lateral and technical arrangements with a number of nations. These include Singapore, Korea, Canada and the European Union. Mr McCormick said in the speech the Federal Transport Minister had made it clear CASA is expected to pursue the establishment of appropriate mutual recognition arrangements, including bilateral aviation safety agreements. This is because even though the Australian aerospace sector employs about 13,000 people, with revenue of about $3.9 billion, the domestic market for aviation products is relatively small. Currently exports make up about 25 per cent of the industry's revenue.


Mr McCormick said one issue facing the exporters of aviation products was the need for an approval from CASA, as well as from the nation to which the product is being exported. "We recognise that the requirement for duplicate approvals adds to time and costs for manufacturers and can be an impediment to exports," he said. "CASA will continue to seek opportunities to achieve greater recognition of Australia's safety system and acceptance of CASA's certification by other aviation authorities. While CASA has a number of specific technical arrangements with other national aviation authorities, the Government has recognised the industry's desire for increasing the range and scope of such arrangements, and asked CASA to continue to pursue these."


Read the Director's speech, which also covered future technology, unmanned aircraft systems, growth in aviation and ageing aircraft.


Hervey Bay airspace gets tick of approval


A review of the airspace within 20 nautical miles of Hervey Bay aerodrome has found the current airspace arrangements are safe and efficient. However, the review – carried out by CASA's Office of Airspace Regulation – did identify a number of areas where improvements could be made. The airspace studied includes both Hervey Bay and Maryborough aerodromes, which share a mandatory common traffic advisory frequency. Hervey Bay aerodrome is used by QantasLink and Virgin Australia, as well as charter operators, medivac operators and flight training organisations. The review concluded the airspace classifications are appropriate to the volume and mix of traffic, although there are some pilot education and training issues in relation to common traffic advisory frequency procedures and the use of radios. The local frequency can also at times be congested. It is recommended additional pilot education about radio use and airspace should be addressed and the aerodrome operator in conjunction with Airservices Australia should investigate improvements to ground VHF radio reception. The current combined radio frequency for Hervey Bay and Maryborough should remain due to the instrument approach design and their close proximity.


Read the full Hervey Bay airspace review report.


Warning to watch out for cracked nuts


Aircraft owners, operators and maintainers have been warned about the dangers of the failure of a range of self-locking nuts. The warning comes in an airworthiness bulletin issued by CASA after a report of cracking in nuts which attach the R44 helicopter main rotor blade cuff to the hub. Other helicopter manufacturers have received similar reports of failed self-locking nuts. The nuts in question are standard hardware MS 21042/NAS 1291 series. In the airworthiness bulletin CASA says items such as high tensile nuts are used throughout the aviation industry in a wide variety of locations on aircraft. The problems with the nuts are typical of hydrogen-induced delayed cracking and failure may occur within hours, days or weeks from when the nuts are torqued. Despite the nuts cracking, they can stay in place as if they are serviceable. CASA recommends pilots and maintainers closely monitor high strength steel standard aircraft hardware such as nuts, both after installation and during pre-flight and periodic inspections. Where nuts have cracked advice should be sought on the replacement of associated fasteners which may have suffered overloading as a result of the nut failures. All failures must also be reported to CASA using the service difficulty reporting system.


Read the full airworthiness bulletin about cracked nuts.


Two enroute airspace reviews completed


Two reviews of Australian enroute airspace have been completed. The reviews, carried out by CASA's Office of Airspace Regulation, cover the Bight and Tops groups of airspace. The Bight group is a volume of airspace located within the southern flight information region, extending from the south of Western Australia across to western NSW and north to Alice Springs. The Tops group is within the northern flight information region and extends from the north of Western Australia across the Northern Territory to the northern part of Cape York in Queensland. Both groups are covered by air traffic control services – in the Bight group from 30,000 ft and above and in the Tops group 29,000 ft and above. This aircraft surveillance is delivered by Automatic Dependant Surveillance – Broadcast ground stations. The reviews found that in both groups of airspace the expansion of the mining industry is increasing aircraft traffic numbers, as well as the mix of instrument flight rules and visual flight rules traffic, which may increase risk. It is recommended that traffic numbers and mix continue to be monitored. The Bight group review also recommended class C airspace overhead Alice Springs from 18,000 ft to 24,500 ft becomes class E outside air traffic control tower hours. In the Tops group it is recommended a review of the class E steps into Broome is conducted to determine if the current airspace design is appropriate.


Read the Bight group report.


Find out more about the Tops group review.


Lucky last safety seminars for pilots in 2011


The successful 2011 program of AvSafety seminars is winding to a close during December. There are three AvSafety seminars being held in December – Tumut and Cooma in NSW and Horn Island in far north Queensland. The Horn Island seminar is a must for anyone who flies in the Cape York/Torres Strait region. A guest speaker from Surveillance Australia will take part in the seminar to explain how coast watch operations are conducted and how they interact with other air traffic. CASA's aviation safety advisors will also give a presentation about effective communication. This presentation looks at the human factors issues that arise whenever people send or receive messages and contains a short interactive exercise which demonstrates how easily effective communication can break down. Effective communication is essential for the safe operation of any aircraft. At Tumut the topics to be covered will be pilot maintenance and operations at non-towered aerodromes, while in Cooma people will hear about weather to fly and airmanship. With the AvSafety program almost complete for 2011, pilots should start thinking about whether they'd like a seminar held in their region in 2012. You can register interest in organising a seminar by filling in a form on the CASA web site.


Find out more about the next AvSafety seminars and request a seminar for 2012.


Update to popular flight planning kit


Earlier in 2011 CASA launched a new flight planning kit for pilots operating to the visual flight rules. This flight planning kit covers all eight stages of flight, as well as providing guidance on how to set personal minimums and the use of global positioning systems (GPS). It includes manoeuvring maps for Archerfield, Bankstown, Camden, Moorabbin, Parafield and Jandakot aerodromes. There is also a flight planning notepad, kneeboard, personal minimums card, a time in your tanks card and a pad of fuel calculation sheets. The kit, which has been very popular, has been reviewed and it has been decided to withdraw the flight planning notepad and time in your tanks card. While the information contained in the notepad and on the card is not incorrect, they do not include some items that will fully assist pilots when managing their fuel. CASA recommends pilots do not use the flight planning notepad and the time in your tanks card that were issued earlier this year. Please dispose of these elements of the flight planning kit. The rest of the kit may continue to be used. Pilots who ordered and received the kit and the flight planning notepad will be contacted from December 2011 so a replacement notepad can be provided.



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Guest Andys@coffs

So I take it you all picked up on this one:-


Under the proposed rules a recreational pilot licence would be introduced. The recreational pilot licence would authorise private flights in command of a single pilot certified aircraft with a maximum take off weight of less than 1500 kilograms, operating below 10,000 feet by day under the visual flight rules. The medical standard for this licence would require certification from a general practitioner in line with the private motor vehicle drivers licence medical standard.


Makes our progress from 544 to 600 seem a tad minor.....I suppose it'll still be VH certified and maintained



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A lot more to it than that,


The proposal is for a separate RPL It is structured in a similar way Raaus with a license with appropriate endorsments ie XC Rad, CTAirspace and controlled Airports etc. Student license from 15yo Full RPL @ 16yo, or if you hold a current PPL or higher you can opt back to an RPL with the restrictions Max 2 pob unless a current class 2 ( or higher) medical and recency is held by one of the command seats. MTOW1500kg Which will take in a 182 RG or a Nanching Yak or similar. AFR (BFR) as usual If you hold a PPL or higher, renew the appropriate medical and all prior entitlements are revalidated


VH Reg and maintained....


Assuming it gets up it should put a lot of extra bums on seats!


Go to the CASA part 61 Draft section 61.385 to 61.445



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Guest Maj Millard

CASA continues to bring a lot of our regulations in line with those of the US FAR sytem, which is way more workable, and more recognized worldwide. Many in the industry, especially those who have operated under these rules overseas, feel it should have been, and could have been done 20 years ago if CASA had got off it's axxx back then. The NZ system which is also based on the FARs is way ahead of ours now. We would all be much further advanced by now if CASA had done so back then, instead of persisting with an outdated and inefficient british CAA based system.


McCormick is a strong leader and an experienced airline pilot, I'm sure he can see how inefficient or system has been on the world stage. He appears to have the strength to finally succeed against the very strong internal resistance that CASA has had for decades. He may finally do what they wouldn't let Dick Smith do many years ago, and I wish him luck with his plans........................................................................Maj...024_cool.gif.7a88a3168ebd868f5549631161e2b369.gif



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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest Maj Millard

Yenn, I have been a bit out of touch of late with US regs, but i do believe they do have and have had for some time a recreational license with similiar limitations to what we are proposing....................................Maj...024_cool.gif.7a88a3168ebd868f5549631161e2b369.gif



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  • 2 weeks later...

I asked the question because the EAA is trying to get drivers licence medical equivalent for its pilots. They along with AOPA are proposing that pilots do a course in medical requirements and then self certify. They say that at the present the pilot is not self certifying and his medical is only bi-annuall, so their new system would lead to better safety outcomes.



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