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


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CASA’s March Missive

CASA’s March Missive

I address these comments to you Mr. Skidmore.

In the March missive, you say:

“………. in 2014 we refused 102 applications out of 25,855 and in the second half of the year there were 13 official complaints…….” This is around 13% of the refusals Mr. Skidmore and doubtless, many phoned the organisation and complained, but did not take it to an official complaint.

The CVD group no doubt could improve your numbers, with hundreds concerned about the AVMED activity. The complaints that surround the activities of your [now departed] Pooshan Navarthe, not only in the face-to-face activities, but where he was not an acceptable witness in AAT hearings should be considered in that context, before poor data like you have presented goes into the public arena.

You also say: “…Where criticism is warranted I will make sure the causes of problems are identified and addressed as quickly as possible.…”

In the past, where criticism occurred, CASA directly came out blaming the person who had the temerity to raise matters. (This is happening on your watch already.)

An excellent example Mr. Skidmore is your “Safety Advisors”.

Peter Gibson tells us these individuals are:

“….(to) provide an opportunity for pilots to learn about key issues, raise local and national safety and regulatory issues, ask questions and provide feedback to CASA……….”

My experience has been to ask questions, not get answers as “..we are not briefed on matters about Part 61…”, to which I was seeking a serious answer.

As to feedback to CASA, I have my serious doubts, but maybe a series of visits with the audiences and an “..after the meeting meeting…” would prove to you just how deep your problems are and without direct action, how difficult they are to solve.

Over to You Mr. Skidmore

Standing By!!


March 2015

From the Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore

The management of aviation medical certificates is an issue of interest to many pilots and air traffic controllers. I recognise some people have strong views about CASA’s aviation medical system, the decision making processes and medical rulings. This is not surprising as we process more than 25,000 medical applications each year. But the debate about CASA’s medical system needs to be put in context – in 2014 we refused 102 applications out of 25,855 and in the second half of the year there were 13 official complaints.

Despite this low level of complaints and medical refusals I believe we can do better and the relatively small number of complaints we receive can be reduced.

That is why I have initiated a full review of CASA’s AvMed capabilities. This review is now underway and I expect it will be completed in the second half of 2015. It is looking at our strategic approach to aviation medicine policy standards and clinical practice development, options for the better delivery of medical services in the future and the recruitment and retention of qualified and experienced aviation medicine doctors. Our bottom line is to find ways to improve medical service delivery, ensure our decision making processes are transparent and evidence-based, as well as improving the management of complex medical matters.

In addition to the broad review of aviation medicine CASA will undertake a review of the arrangements that currently allow approved Designated Aviation Medical Examiners to issue and renew class 2 medicals. The results of this review will facilitate an examination of the potential for DAMEs to renew class 1 and class 3 medical certificates in the future. I will ensure CASA consults widely and effectively with the aviation community during the course of these aviation medical reviews.

Where criticism is warranted I will make sure the causes of problems are identified and addressed as quickly as possible.

I believe the aviation community and CASA need to build a closer working relationship based on our mutual interest in achieving the best safety outcomes. This relationship must be based on respect and trust. CASA is open and committed to an appropriate ‘safety partnership’ with the aviation community and I am devoting a good deal of time and energy towards working to the achievement of this goal. Of course a closer relationship between the aviation community and the regulator does not mean CASA can agree to every proposal or view put to us. Not everyone will get what they want and consensus may not always be possible. However, I will make sure we are listening to your views and criticisms and we respond in a considered and respectful way to your comments, questions, concerns and complaints.

You can read my speech on the way forward in aviation medicine which was recently delivered to the aviation Medical Society of Victoria.

Safe flying

Mark Skidmore AM

Time to replace flight control cables

Aircraft owners and operators have been given three years to replace a range of stainless steel aircraft primary flight control cable assemblies. An airworthiness directive has been issued requiring the cables to be replaced after 15 years time in service. The directive applies to primary flight control cables constructed of SAE-AISI 303 Se and SAE-AISI 304 stainless steel. Action has been taken due to a number of reports of cables failing because of stress corrosion cracking. Inspection of the primary flight control cable terminals can be difficult, with surface indications of cracking hard to see. Failure of primary flight control cables in flight can cause a loss of aircraft control. Cable control assemblies on aircraft that already have more than 15 years time in service must be replaced before 1 January 2018. Where total time in service or the material cables are made of cannot be determined there are also new requirements. For aircraft manufactured in or before 2002 cables must be replaced before 1 January 2018. Aircraft manufactured after 2003 need cables replaced before the aircraft reaches 15 years since the date of manufacture. CASA consulted on the proposal to introduce the requirement to retire primary control cables, with 33 responses provided to a notice of proposed rule making issued in 2014. The original proposal was modified as a result of feedback to reduce costs to aircraft operators.

Find out more about the primary flight control cable directive.

Gradual start for new look on-line self-service

CASA has launched a new look online self-service facility. Over time the new facility will replace the old Self-Service Portal and grow to include a range of services. Right now the new online CASA Self-Service facility can be used by licensed engineers, air traffic controllers and ground handling personnel. To use the new facility people will have to register, with registration on the old Self-Service Portal not transferred to the new facility. Once registered people will be able to see their maintenance personnel and air navigation services licence details, as well as their personal details such as postal address, phone number and email address. Registration will allow engineers to submit and track a range of service requests relating to their maintenance personnel licences and ratings. This includes payment advice for licence reports and the authority to release licence information. Engineers will be able to submit forms on the CASA Self-Service facility using Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat. Although the new CASA Self-Service facility is operational it is not yet available for updating personal details. The new CASA Self-Service facility will expand over time to include flight crew licensing and viewing service requests. In the future an additional range of forms will be able to be submitted online. Correctly filling out the forms on CASA Self Service will require either Adobe Reader XI or Adobe Acrobat version 11 (or greater). Due to the interactivity in the forms, they are not compatible with older Adobe versions or non-Adobe PDF readers.

Find out more about the new CASA Self-Service.

Download the latest version of Adobe Reader for free from the Adobe Website so you can use forms on CASA Self-Service.

Get to a safety management system workshop

There is a wealth of help available for people and organisations developing, implementing or updating safety management systems. CASA is holding seven capital city safety management system workshops during April and early May 2015. The workshops coincide with the release of the fully revised second edition of the safety management system resource kit. The workshops will take people through the revised resource kit, explain how to get a safety management system started and set out CASA’s requirements and expectations. The day long workshops costs $50 and include a copy of the revised resource kit. They offer a unique opportunity to ask questions, raise issues and provide feedback to CASA. The revised resource kit is made up of eight booklets covering the basic components of safety management systems, with a special focus on small non-complex organisations. There are two video dramas which explore safety management system issues in a fictitious small charter and flying training organisation, as well as interviews with experts. A CD is provided containing useful tools such as checklists and templates.

Find the details of the safety management system workshops and book now.

Order your copy of the safety management system resource kit.

Get the resource kit online.

Keeping wrong data out of the sky

New regulations to improve the processes for managing, maintaining and sharing aeronautical data and information are now in place. Civil Aviation Safety Regulation Part 175 took effect on 5 March 2015. This set of regulations covers aeronautical information service providers, data service originators and providers and obstacle data providers. It creates a new standard for ensuring the integrity and quality of aeronautical data is maintained as it is processed through the aeronautical data chain – from data originators, to information service providers and to commercial data service providers. The aim is to avoid air safety being compromised by corrupt or incorrect information and data being shared. Under the new regulations there are standards for the systems used to collect data and information, the format used for digital exchange or supply, the frequency of sharing, the qualifications of people handling data and the processes for the correction of errors. Aeronautical data originators will be responsible for conducting annual reviews of their data that is published in the Aeronautical Information Publication and on aeronautical charts. There is a 12 month transition period for organisations that need to take up the new regulations.

Find out more about aeronautical information management.

Recreational pilot licence exams now online

Flying schools can now use CASA’s online flight crew examination system to conduct exams for the recreational pilot licence. Three exams are available – recreational pilot licence aeroplane, helicopter and navigation. The addition of recreational licence exams to the CASA online system – known as PEXO – was made in response to requests from flying training providers. Flying schools can still use their basic aeronautical knowledge exams, with the CASA online exams an alternative option. The recreational pilot exams are also available through Assessment Services Proprietary Limited, the company delegated by CASA to supervise the professional and private pilot licence exams in a number of cities and towns throughout Australia. Flying schools can only be given access to the exams relevant to the type of flying training they conduct. For example, flying training schools that only conduct training for aeroplane pilots will not be given access to helicopter flying exams. The process to request access to the CASA online exams depends on whether the flying training organisation is approved to conduct PEXO exams or not. The recreational pilot licence was introduced in September 2014, authorising pilots to fly light, single-engine aircraft as the pilot in command or co-pilot. It replaces the student pilot licence and general flying progress test.

Find out more about the online recreational pilot licence exams.

Get more information about the recreational pilot licence.

Warning about Piper wing corrosion

A warning has been issued to the owners and operators of a range of Piper aircraft about the potential for severe undetected corrosion. CASA continues to receive reports of corrosion in the PA28 wing trailing edge flap construction. This corrosion includes missing sections of nose ribs, corroded spars and missing rivets. The problem can also affect PA32, PA34 and PA44 series aircraft which share common construction methods and materials with the PA28. A key issue is the difficulty of finding evidence of the flap damage without dismantling the structure. Periodic inspections of the internal flap structure using equipment such as a borescope may not detect the full extent of the damage. The Piper maintenance manual says regular inspections should be carried out once an aeroplane has reached ten years in service, however, in many cases this cannot be achieved as there are no access panels for an internal inspection. In an airworthiness directive CASA strongly recommends detailed external and internal inspections of the wing trailing edge flaps and attachment fittings for corrosion, missing rivets and other defects. Where there is not adequate access for an internal inspection consideration should be given to obtaining an engineering approval for the installation of access holes or panels. Any problems should be reported using the CASA defect monitoring system.

Get all the details in the Piper corrosion airworthiness bulletin.

Get your own Visual Flight Rules Guide

The fully revised Visual Flight Rules Guide is on sale from 30 March 2015. Pilots are advised to order a copy now as numbers of the new guide are limited. The guide costs $49.95, including postage and handling. The easy-to-use and understand guide is presented in an accessible A5-size ring-bound folder, ideal for use both on the ground and in the air. The visual flight rules guide is divided into five main sections, plus an index. The sections are: general – which includes the rules, licensing, pilot responsibilities and radio procedures; pre-flight planning – covering meteorology, briefing, notification, information services; operations – including communications, non-controlled aerodromes, controlled airspace and sport aviation; helicopter operations and emergency procedures.

Place your Visual Flight Rules Guide order now.

Extra time for comment on scenic flight proposals

There is now more time to comment on proposed simplified rules for scenic flights in small aircraft. CASA has responded to submissions from the aviation community and is proposing scenic flight operators would no longer need an air operator’s certificate. Instead they will hold a simpler CASA authorisation. People and organisations commenting on an earlier discussion paper covering the regulation of scenic flights in small aircraft generally supported a reduced level of CASA involvement. As a result CASA has issued a notice of proposed rule-making CASA supporting lighter regulation. If adopted this would see scenic flights operated under the day visual flight rules only with a maximum of five passengers. There would also be a 50 nautical mile radius restriction on flights and passengers must return to the departure point on the same day but not necessarily on the same flight. Scenic flight operators would be required to have an operations manual that includes a hazard and risk identification and management plan. All pilots would need a commercial pilot licence or air transport pilot licence to conduct scenic flights and an operator must not have a fleet of more than five aircraft, unless approved by CASA. Training organisations would be allowed to conduct scenic flights if approved by CASA.

Comment on the scenic flight proposals before 16 April 2015.

Calling all pilots – a local seminar for you

Six safety seminars for pilots are being held across five states and the Northern Territory during April 2015. The AvSafety seminars are being held at Cairns, Merimbula, Moruya, Jabiru, Albany and Echuca.

They provide an opportunity for pilots to learn about key issues, raise local and national safety and regulatory issues, ask questions and provide feedback to CASA. A menu of topics has been set for the AvSafety seminars, with the most relevant topics to be covered at each location.

There will be a focus on providing information and resources on the new licensing regulations, with pilots encouraged to ask questions and seek guidance on any areas of the new regulations.

Other topics that can be covered at the seminars include ageing aircraft management plans, communicating with air traffic control, graphical area forecasts and the terminal area forecast review and safety information from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Airservices Australia.

Find an AvSafety Seminars near you.

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