An aviation researcher, writer, aviation participant, pilot & agricultural researcher. Author of over 35 scientific publications world wide.


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#casa December Monthly Missive

I went reading the #casa annual report and although #casa and Mark Skidmore trumpet how they have reached “…magic millions…” with their publications, the truth is somewhat different.

casa monthly missive 2015

casa regulatory environment 2015


On #casa numbers, there are 35, 000 pilots [but the table below, when combined with the medicals  – shown below], just do not add up. A pilots licence is not valid without a medical and there is a huge difference between the two sets of numbers. What is better, is that in #casa’s annual report for 2015, #casa says there are 35, 000 pilots.

In 2013, a look at the data gives a similar picture.

Not true on the face of it.


casa basis of Annual Report pilot numbers 2015

casa medical certificates 2015




CASA Briefing
December 2015

From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore

I have begun the process of renewing CASA through a major change program which will deliver more effective safety regulation and better regulatory services for all sectors of the Australian aviation community.

The change program is in line with the Government’s response to recommendation 21 of the Aviation Safety Regulation Review, which called for a client-oriented organisational model. The changes will bring together complementary functions within CASA and are being phased in by the middle of 2016.

casa medical certificates 2015One of the important goals of the restructure is to improve our communication with the aviation community. A lot of the feedback I have received over the last year has told me that the way CASA interacts with the aviation community at all levels must lift and now is the time to start delivering real change. Part of this real change will be the introduction of more online services to streamline the application, processing and delivery of as many services as possible.

The restructure will create three main groups – stakeholder engagement, aviation, and sustainability. The stakeholder engagement group will bring together all communication functions into one area to ensure CASA’s communication and information is consistent and delivered effectively to all stakeholders. The aviation group will manage and deliver all collaboration and interaction with the aviation community. This includes entry control, surveillance, regulatory services, standards setting, regulatory development and regulatory implementation. The sustainability group includes all support functions, both internal and external.

As Christmas and the holidays draw close I wish everyone an enjoyable and above all safe festive season. In most of Australia this can be a great time to go flying and if I get the chance that is certainly what I will be doing. Whatever type of aircraft you fly, in whatever category of operations, please remember to plan carefully, comply with the rules and operate within your own personal limitations. There is a wealth of safety information and tools on our web site to help everyone, with OnTrack and Out-n-Back two resources many pilots will find very useful. The visual flight rules guide is also online and is invaluable when refreshing information or checking on requirements. I look forward to 2016 and getting another opportunity to meet and hear from as many people as I can across the aviation community.

Safe flying, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Mark Skidmore



Visual flight rules guide online

Purchase a copy of the guide

Flight Safety Australia 2015 highlights out now

A special collector’s edition of the best from Flight Safety Australia during 2015 is now available. There are 168 pages of informative reading bringing together articles from the year’s digital editions. All of the 2015 feature articles are included, as well as the best of the general articles and close calls. There is a great selection of articles on airworthiness, aviation medicine and accident analysis. The publication is a high quality coffee table style book and only costs $15 to cover the postage and handling fee. The Flight Safety Australia 2015 Collectors’ Edition can be ordered through the CASA online store from Monday 14 December 2015. There are 17 of the always popular ‘close call’ articles, five stories covering maintenance and six pages of quizzes. CASA’s Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore, says people across the aviation community have told him Flight Safety Australia is highly regarded as a source of credible, informative and comprehensive aviation safety information. “While many people have got the Flight Safety Australia app and read the digital magazine when it is published every second month, others have been asking for a publication that brings together all the highlights and that is what we have delivered for 2015,” Mr Skidmore says.

Order your copy of the Flight Safety Australia 2015 Collector’s edition now.

To read Flight Safety Australia every two months subscribe and download the app.

Solutions to making mustering safer

Sixteen risks specific to the aerial mustering sector have been identified in a special new study. The study has put forward actions to address the risks and improve the safety of aerial mustering. Risks include the lack of a visible CASA presence at locations where mustering is carried out, checking and testing pilots with inappropriate or inadequate operational experience conducting checks on mustering pilots, inadequate provision of mentoring and supervision for pilots with low flying hours, loss of control in flight leading to a deviation from an intended flight path and a lack of understanding of human factors issues. Solutions include surveillance sweeps by CASA, improving mustering specific regulations, an industry mentoring program, pilot training manuals or handbooks and fatigue training.

The detailed analysis of the mustering sector was undertaken jointly by CASA and key industry representatives in a sector risk profile. These profiles present a picture of the key risks facing a sector and are completed as part of CASA’s function to monitor safety performance, identify safety trends and to develop and promote safety improvements. The responsibility for implementing safety improvements lies with both CASA and the aviation industry. The next step is to jointly develop a set of mustering practice statements covering mentoring and supervision, pilot decision making, radio frequency use, fatigue, establishment of regional forums and an annual mustering sector conference. A working group of CASA and mustering representatives will work on these themes. There are more than 134 mustering operators and more than 1000 pilots working in the sector which is unique to Australian aviation.

Read the mustering sector risk profile report.

Multi-crew pilot requirements eased

CASA is making it easier for pilots who need to meet new multi-crew cooperation training requirements. As of 1 September 2015, pilots wanting to conduct multi-crew operations for the first time must complete a course of training in multi-crew cooperation and have a multi-crew type rating. Feedback to CASA from the aviation community was that this is not necessary for pilots who have already completed acceptable training elsewhere. As a result a new exemption has been issued recognising a number of other ways pilots can meet the requirements. These include having completed a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved multi-crew cooperation training course, or holding an EASA multi-crew type rating or an Australian Defence Force operational conversion for multi-crew aircraft. Pilots can also benefit from the exemption if they have sufficient experience in air transport or charter multi-crew operations or meet other multi-crew operational experience requirements. Pilots applying for an air transport pilot licence who want to have their alternative multi-crew cooperation training recognised will need to include evidence of that training with their licence application form when it is submitted to CASA. These pilots are also encouraged to provide this evidence to the flight examiner who is conducting their flight test.

Find out more about the multi-crew changes.

Corrosion warning for Victa Airtourer

Operators and maintainers of all Victa Airtourer aircraft have been warned of possible structural corrosion in the main fuselage longerons. Longerons are part of the structure of the aircraft which add rigidity and strength to the frame and create a point of attachment for other structural supports, as well as the skin of the aircraft. In an airworthiness bulletin CASA states corrosion in the Victa AirTourer longerons can severely reduce the structural integrity of the aircraft. Corrosion has been found in the lower fuselage longerons in the area of the steel splice, which are major structural elements. CASA recommends gaining access to the interior of the aft fuselage and carrying out a detailed inspection of the main fuselage left and right longerons. Any signs of corrosion or missing rivets should be investigated further. Appropriate engineering advice should be sought before further flight if corrosion, missing rivets or structural deformation is evident. All instances of corrosion should be reported to CASA through the service defect reporting system. There are currently 74 Victa Airtourer aircraft registered in Australia. The aircraft is certified for a wide range of aerobatic manoeuvres.

Full details in the Victa Airtourer airworthiness bulletin.

Extra time for fatigue rules transition

Air operators are being given an extra year to make the transition to the new fatigue rules. This follows consultation with the aviation community that found both CASA and air operators needed more time to make a smooth and safe transition to Civil Aviation Order 48.1. The transition period now extends to 1 May 2017 – four years after the new rules were made. Air operators can move across to the new rules at any time during the transition period. All operators that have not completed the transition by 31 October 2016 will need to submit amended operations manuals or a fatigue risk management application to CASA by that date.

To support the requirement to move to the modernised fatigue system CASA has released a new video and a report on the science behind fatigue management. The seven minute video featuring a number of fatigue experts sets out some of the reasons for changing the rules, highlighting the importance of effective fatigue management in aviation and providing real examples of the consequences of fatigue. The video has been released along with a 16 page review which sets out the scientific support for Civil Aviation Order 48.1. The review covers International Civil Aviation Organization fatigue requirements, relevant accident and incident data, research supporting the changes, comparison with aviation regulations elsewhere in the world and prescriptive rules versus a fatigue risk management system. CASA examined more than 200 fatigue studies, research papers and reports in developing the new rules. The latest peer reviewed scientific studies of fatigue were assessed, with the provisions of Civil Aviation Order 48.1 specifically developed to address key fatigue hazards. The old fatigue rules have their origin back in the 1950s and reflect what was known about sleep and fatigue at that time. New rules were needed to take into account the nature of aviation operations in the modern world.

View the fatigue video on CASA’s YouTube channel.

Read the report on the case for the change of the fatigue rules.

Rescue and firefighting standards under review

A comprehensive review of the standards applied to aerodrome rescue and firefighting services is underway. The review will identify improvements to be made to the manual of standards for Part 139H of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. It is needed to address unnecessary costs and operational burdens imposed by the existing rescue and firefighting standards. Consideration will be given to replacing prescriptive standards and practices with performance based alternatives to allow flexibility and reduce costs. There are also standards that exceed international requirements without clear justification and standards and practices that do not reflect current operating requirements. The current rules have created a high workload for service providers and CASA due to the need for exemptions. Improvements to the manual of standards will improve compliance while maintaining safety standards. CASA is planning to issue a notice of proposed rule-making to set out options for improvements to the standards. In developing options CASA will look at best international practice, identify key challenges facing aerodrome rescue and firefighting and complete a gap analysis of current Australian standards and International Civil Aviation Organization standards.

Find out more about the aerodrome rescue and firefighting review.

Comment now on large helicopter maintenance proposals

There’s more time to comment on proposals to change the maintenance arrangements for large transport category helicopters used in charter operations. The aviation community is being asked to respond to a notice of proposed rule-making by 31 January 2016. CASA is proposing to extend the application of Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Parts 42 and 145 to large helicopters used in charter. Part 42 covers continuing airworthiness requirements for aircraft, while Part 145 sets the standards for approved maintenance organisations. Both parts currently only apply to regular public transport operations. If CASA’s proposals go ahead charter operators of large transport helicopters will be required to get a continuing airworthiness management organisation approval. Only maintenance organisations approved under Part 145 will be able to provide maintenance services for these helicopters. The notice of proposed rule-making says the level of risk associated with large charter helicopter operations has risen, particularly in off-shore operations. Higher levels of safety would be provided by clear and concise continuing airworthiness requirements and the high standards of maintenance provided by Part 145 maintenance organisations. CASA acknowledges there will be increased costs, but believes the long term safety benefits should offset that impost. Initially the change would be implemented on a voluntary basis, followed by a transition period of several years.

Read the large helicopter maintenance proposals and have your say.

Last days to have your say on CASA’s performance

The important new survey being conducted to benchmark the aviation community’s views about CASA closes on 18 December 2015. The online survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and covers CASA’s key performance areas. Views are sought on CASA’s performance in specific areas such as efficiency, responsiveness, accountability and timeliness. Questions cover how easy it is to comply with regulations, the development of new regulations, consistency of decision making and satisfaction with service delivery. Overall, the survey aims to determine the strengths and weaknesses of CASA’s relationship with the aviation community. Results will be used by CASA’s Board and management to improve CASA’s performance, build stronger working connections with the aviation community and lift service delivery. The survey is being conducted online by an independent market research organisation, all responses are held securely and participants can choose to be anonymous. This survey will be run every two years so CASA can measure changes in performance and interaction with the aviation community. The survey meets recommendation eight of the Aviation Safety Regulation Review.

Make sure your views are heard and complete the survey now.

CASA services closed over Christmas

All CASA offices will be closed for the Christmas-New Year holidays. This means no CASA services will be available from close of business Thursday 24 December 2015 until Monday 4 January. Services such as the issue of licences and medical certificates or aircraft registration will not be available. Anyone who anticipates needing any CASA services over the Christmas-New Year period must contact CASA straight away. Leaving service requests until the days before Christmas is likely to mean applications cannot be processed before the shutdown. CASA staff will be available to help with urgent aviation safety matters during the Christmas-New Year period – but please limit enquiries to matters that need immediate attention. For urgent help over the holidays call: 131 757 and follow the prompts.

CASA’s online self-service facility will still be available over the holidays, allowing contact details to be updated and maintenance personnel and air navigation services licence details to be viewed. Forms can also be submitted and the status of service requests can be viewed.

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