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CASA Briefing Newsletter - April 2018

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Update from CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody


Everyone in aviation can be proud of the new top six safety ranking given to Australia by the International Civil Aviation Organization. The ranking follows the latest International Civil Aviation Organization audit of Australia's aviation safety system, carried out in late 2017. The audit delivered a 95 per cent safety oversight score, which we must now work to maintain. This means Australia currently ranks sixth out of International Civil Aviation Organization member states for effective safety oversight. The International Civil Aviation Organization assesses a nation's safety oversight capabilities by looking at aviation legislation, licensing, operations, civil aviation organisational structures, air navigation and accident investigation. The high ranking demonstrates Australia has a robust aviation safety system supported by public sector agencies with a deep commitment to achieving the best possible safety outcomes. Credit for the ranking also goes to the commitment to safety by the people and organisations who make up Australia's aviation community. It is your day-to-day work, delivering safety during every flight and every aviation activity, that makes Australian skies amongst the safest in the world. Naturally, I am proud of the role the CASA has played in lifting Australia's safety ranking and I thank all staff for their contribution. Tribute also goes to the contributions and efforts of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, Airservices Australia, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the Australia Maritime Safety Authority and the Bureau of Meteorology.


Get more information on the International Civil Aviation Organization's Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme.


I am very pleased the implementation of the recent change which allows designated aviation medical examiners (DAMEs) to issue on the spot class two medicals is progressing well. So far more than 110 DAMEs have completed the short online training course to become eligible to issue class two medicals on the spot. I know a number of on the spot medicals have already been issued to pilots by these DAMEs and the numbers will grow in coming weeks. The range of reforms we are making to the aviation medical system will make life a little easier for many pilots by cutting red tape. I understand the pressures that are on the general aviation community in particular and I will continue to strive to find ways for CASA to ease any regulatory burdens.


I had the pleasure recently to attend an industry function in Darwin with the CASA Board and to be able to have robust discussions with around 50 local aviation identities on the challenges they are facing. The CASA Board also took time to visit Hardy's Aviation and Air North. We are grateful for the time they provided, their insights and their suggestions. The candid conversations were a great value to us all.


Best wishes


Shane Carmody


Latest News


New multicom proposal


Pilots are being asked to comment on a fresh proposal on the use of radio frequencies near uncharted aerodromes in class G airspace. The proposal would permit the use of the multicom frequency 126.7 MHz in the circuit area of aerodromes not published on an aeronautical chart. The circuit area would be within a three nautical mile radius of uncharted aerodromes and 1,500 feet above ground level. The use of 126.7 MHz for uncharted aerodromes will only be a recommendation and single-user aerodromes/ALAs may still use the area VHF frequency where airmanship dictates this as appropriate. CASA will recommend pilots capable of monitoring two frequencies monitor 126.7 MHz in addition to the area VHF frequency when operating at an altitude which could generate a conflict with the circuit area of an uncharted aerodrome. CASA will recommend that 'busy', currently uncharted, aerodromes be published on aeronautical charts.


Comments on the proposal should be submitted through the CASA consultation hub by close of business 14 May 2018.


Spark plug damage warning


There has been an increase in reports of spark plugs in aircraft engines suffering physical damage. CASA has released an airworthiness bulletin looking at issues relating to piston engine spark plug insulator cracking. Maintenance organisations and engineers are advised to consider undertaking specific maintenance to detect and give warning of possible adverse internal engine wear. The primary contributing factors for spark plug insulator cracking are vibration from detonation, mishandling, improper cleaning or gapping and thermal shock from pre-ignition. Proper magneto-to-engine timing is also an important factor. As timing is affected by wear it should be checked and reset at intervals specified in the engine manufacturer's instructions. Lean-of-peak operation where precise control over engine performance cannot be assured is to be avoided to negate the possibility of detonation. The service life of a spark plug can vary greatly with operating conditions, engine models, ignition systems and spark plug types. This means adherence to scheduled servicing intervals is essential for optimum performance. It is important all spark plug failures are reported using the defect reporting system so trend monitoring can be effective.


Find out more about spark plug issues in the airworthiness bulletin.


Drone roadmap is coming


CASA is developing a remotely piloted aircraft systems regulatory roadmap to give the drone industry more certainty about the safety regulation of the sector into the future. The roadmap will seek to address airspace integration and unmanned traffic management, certification and airworthiness standards, detect and avoid technology, communication protocols and low cost automatic dependant surveillance-broadcast technology, autonomous systems, registration and e-identification, training and competency, geo-fencing and safety management systems and human factors. In a speech last month CASA's branch manager Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, Luke Gumley, said the drone sector is changing at a revolutionary pace. Luke told the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems conference the roadmap will provide a level of certainty about where CASA is moving with policy and legislation. "The roadmap might not have all the definitive answers as the technology is evolving, however it will provide sufficient information where it is known, to provide certainty to you. I can tell you that in my conversations with the Director, he has made it clear that CASA will be a fast-follower of international developments so that CASA and Australia does not lag other countries."


Read the remotely piloted aircraft in Australian skies speech.


Drone licensing in the spotlight


There's now essential viewing for everyone thinking about entering the professional drone industry. CASA has released a video explaining the benefits of being a licensed drone operator. Experienced drone operators set out the reasons for needing a remote pilot licence, which range from ensuring safe operations to having the financial protection of insurance. The video also explains the steps to obtaining a remote pilot licence and the training offered by approved courses. Ross Anderson of Aviassist says a licence is needed if you want to operate properly in the commercial drone industry. Ross says: "If you want to go out and do the big jobs, if you want to operate in all areas, then getting licensed is mandatory in our opinion". Kelly Monahan of Overall Photography says: "If you're using (a drone) for a job, the people who are going to hire you are going to look for qualifications". The video explains that training covers a wide range of subjects including safe drone flying, the use of aviation radio, weather forecasts, aerodynamics and how to read aviation charts.


Watch the drone licensing video now.


Update on fire extinguishers


Updated information has been released by CASA on the installation of hand held fire extinguishers in aircraft. An airworthiness bulletin looks at a range of issues, including Halon-replacement fire extinguishers. The International Civil Aviation Organization has urged a faster rate of implementing Halon alternatives in fire extinguishers located in engines and auxiliary power units, lavatories and handheld installations. By 2019, new production aircraft will have Halon-replacement handheld fire extinguishers. CASA has implemented this requirement through the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. Regardless of whether the regulations require a fire extinguisher or not, CASA recommends at least one extinguisher be fitted to an aircraft and it should be located so it is accessible to a pilot. There are issues to consider in relation to different types of extinguishers being used in aircraft, such as the effects on people when used in closed compartments, corrosion and clean up. When replacing an extinguisher with one using a different extinguishing agent there should be a review of the structural installation. Halocarbon fire extinguishers are heavier than Halon extinguishers.


Read the fire extinguisher airworthiness bulletin.


Bathurst, Dubbo airspace reviews


Reviews of the airspace at Bathurst and Dubbo aerodromes have found there are no risks that require changes to existing airspace arrangements. The Bathurst review identified an opportunity to improve safety through CASA-initiated education and training programs focussed on local procedures, as well as the establishment of a local airspace user forum to raise issues and identify risks. Feedback from airspace users identified some concerns about glider operations, including communication problems between gliders and other aircraft. Recent collaboration between airspace users has identified the benefit of publishing local procedures in a NOTAM for the duration of each gliding camp and the possible benefits of publishing the procedures in ERSA. Feedback from airspace users around Dubbo indicated an improvement in airmanship and frequency management would enhance situational awareness and safety in the region for all airspace users. CASA will continue to provide education and safety information seminars at Dubbo to improve awareness about operations in the vicinity of a non-controlled aerodrome and to enhance awareness of issues related to the close proximity of the Narromine aerodrome. There was insufficient support for the establishment of a broadcast area using a dedicated frequency to cover Dubbo and Narromine.


Read the Bathurst and Dubbo airspace reviews.


In brief


  • A new cabin safety bulletin has been issued covering the seating of disabled passengers. The bulletin looks at check-in, boarding, safety briefings, emergency rows and seat allocation.
  • A technical working group set up by the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel to CASA held a three-day workshop in April 2018 to provide technical expertise and industry sector insight to the review of Part 66 (aircraft engineer licences and ratings). The working group examined 40 issues identified through an earlier public consultation and developed possible solutions. A report will now go to the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel for consideration.
  • CASA received 27 responses to the Fatigue review final report: implementation considerations consultation. Responses are now being analysed and considered. Feedback will be provided to a technical working group for consideration prior to CASA releasing a detailed response, including an implementation timetable. CASA is extending fatigue exemptions and legislative instruments to enable time for the recommendations to be considered.
  • Mark Rindfleish – who has held senior safety and advisory positions in several major Australian airlines – has been appointed to the CASA Board for a three-year term. Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack announced the appointment. "In addition to possessing a wealth of aviation safety expertise, as a former head of flying operations and chief pilot with Jetstar Airways and Singapore Airlines captain, Mr Rindfleish also brings extensive aviation operational experience to the Board," Mr McCormack said.
  • A proposed legislative instrument covering Required Communication Performance and Required Surveillance Performance (RCP 240 and RSP 180) Capability Declarations is open for comment until 2 May 2018. This instrument would enable aircraft registered in Australia or operated by an Australian operator to declare RCP and RSP capabilities as required in any airspace.




Safety seminars for pilots


The popular lessons for life safety seminars for pilots continue in May 2018. There are seminars being held at:


  • Dubbo
  • Townsville
  • Bathurst
  • Charters Towers
  • Inverell
  • Launceston
  • Armidale
  • Ballina*
  • Burnie
  • Merimbula
  • Derby
  • Broome
  • Alice Springs
  • Yulara
  • Esperance
  • Tooradin
  • Deniliquin




The seminars will explore three major themes: flying within your limits, making the right decisions in-flight and hazards on arrival. Case studies of accidents will be used to take pilots through many of the safety-related decisions faced at three crucial phases of flight - before departing, in-flight, and at the crucial arrival and landing phase. CASA's safety advisers ensure the seminars are interactive and open, with pilots encouraged to talk about their own experiences and offer their own lessons. In Ballina a special seminar is being held on radio procedures in the area. Jetstar will talk about their local operational procedures.


Book your place at an AvSafety seminar now.


Seminar for engineers


Engineering seminars are being held in May 2018 at Alice Springs and Broome. These seminars will look at a range of topics including airworthiness issues, specialist maintenance certification, regulations and Part 66 licenses. They are aimed at engineers, heads of airworthiness and maintenance, other people from airworthiness organisations and training personnel. The seminars are a great professional development opportunity and allow people to talk with CASA maintenance experts and ask questions.


Find out more and book a place at an engineering seminar.



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I have been advised by AOPA senior DAME that the DAMEs taking up the authority represents only about 25% of DAMEs. There appears to be no great interest in DAMEs adding this authority to their resumes because predominantly of the risks of litigation if someone they have deemed fit has an event. If 75% have said they are not going to get the authority it would suggest the idea is an abject failure.



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I have been advised by AOPA senior DAME that the DAMEs taking up the authority represents only about 25% of DAMEs. There appears to be no great interest in DAMEs adding this authority to their resumes because predominantly of the risks of litigation if someone they have deemed fit has an event. If 75% have said they are not going to get the authority it would suggest the idea is an abject failure.

I can understand that reaction; the public liability immediately passes from CASA to the DAME; a daunting situation when you consider that fatalities from medical negligence now roughly equal our road toll. When looked like greener pastures over the fence - to be able to get a medical without being reamed out by that nasty old CASA - has turned to a field of dog sh!t when you step over the fence.However, the more enterprising DAMES will realise this is not much different from the liability risks they face every day - allowing drivers to drive etc - and if they are pro-active they'll set up suitable benchmarks to underwrite the decisions, and the original dream will com true.



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