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Dick Smith re-enters the fray – problems with AirServices [ASA]

I was travelling two weeks ago and Macca on Sunday had Dick Smith pointing out the problems with Part 61, and the substantial extra costs imposed on the industry. He also went to the confusion being foisted on the entire industry.

In the article by Steve Creedy,  the matter is further developed.

Rob Rich of the Helicopter Association is decidely disappointed by the attitude of CASA. The article is again against the issuance of Part 61 and in particular, draws our attention to the ludicrious nature of the part. I e-mailed clarc about this late on 2nd October 2014 to be told that clarc was over-run by part 61 inquiries, and they would eventually get to my inquiry.


Airwaves_October 2014

As this is the first edition after the launch of CASR Part 61 (Flight Crew Licensing); I have asked our President, Peter Crook to start this column with a brief overview of things happening at his end of the line. Peter is in Sydney and your editor (AHIA Secretary) resides in Brisbane. Peter’s comments are:
We are almost through the second week the implementation of the new CASR Part 61 and associated MoS and I and other members of the AHIA have been fielding a considerable number of questions from the industry.

Some of the more pertinent issues are:
From fixed and rotary wing flying schools: “I cannot understand the new Regulation, the wording is unclear and in some cases ambiguous. Can you please help in the interpretation; we do not want to operate illegally”.
One fixed wing flying school has made some calculations which indicate the cost of an endorsement on a basic light twin will increase by around $1,000.00.
This is due to the instructor, who is not an ATO, now being unable to sign off the endorsement as before. They will have to hire in an ATO to carry out the competency check flight. “Some young students just don’t have the additional funds available”.
The Chief Pilot of a helicopter operation has held approvals to train and endorse pilots on a medium helicopter for many years. As he is not an ATO they will have to hire these services, as per the previous case. The  additional cost of the ATO and the competency check flight could add around $7,000.00 to each endorsement.
As well as the additional cost there is also a degree of risk as the Chief Pilot has the knowledge and experience to conduct the training and check flight in a safe manner. The ATO who most likely would have minimum time on these machines could unwittingly compromise the safety of the check flight by not having the same level of experience and currency.
It was disappointing CASA did not listen to the number of individual aviation professionals, the major aviation associations via the TAAAF (The Australian Aviation Associations Forum) to further delay the introduction of CASR Part 61 until more of the problems were rectified.
Subsequent to my letter to The Hon. Warren Truss requesting a delay, a reply from his office states the delay in implementation from December 2013 to September 2014 was to allow changes in the regulation sought by industry be made in December 2013 and for recent amendments to related provisions under CASR Part 141 to also be approved which will reduce compliance costs for the industry.
Unfortunately from May 2014 to September 2014 there were several changes made to the legislation and associated MoS which were not made available for comment from the industry.
The reply from The Hon Warren Truss also suggests the understanding and implementation of the regulations will be further improved by a range of information available and being enhanced on the CASA website and Aviation Safety Seminars being held by CASA with industry around the country. One would have thought the
Seminars should have been held prior to the implementation so as to avoid the obvious misunderstanding that currently exists.
The AHIA is working though Part 61 to prepare a report with constructive criticism and suggestions to amend what we have for the benefit of all. CASA has suggested this review should be completed in late March 2015. The AHIA will run several seminars to gather feedback from our members prior to March 2015.

In this edition of Airwaves; we are trying to move on from CASR Part 61 anxiety.
Although our lead article asks why over regulation is creeping into the way we do things, and if the FAA system reports an accident rate half of ours – then why not use this apparently more user friendly and plain English legislation?
Too late I know; but it had to be stated again by someone – it is now my turn.

Mike Becker’s recent battle with NIMBYs in areas north of Brisbane makes everyone feel uneasy and helpless.
Being a democracy, we are easy prey for junior politicians stirring up trouble whilst seeking more votes at the next election. Our thoughts are with Mike and his team. Hopefully sense will prevail. A lot of money has been invested in their international training organisation.
Our last article is the crocodile egg saga – if it ain’t broken why fix it??


The Australian

Wall Street Journal [October, 2014]

Dennis Shanahan
Political Editor

MILLIONAIRE entrepreneur and aviator Dick Smith has threatened the board of the government’s aviation safety body with legal action for failing to implement a ministerial directive on radar protocol.

Mr Smith, a former chairman of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and renowned civilian pilot, has warned Airservices Australia board members, including its chairman, former commander of the Defence Forces Angus Houston, they face personal legal responsibility for not implementing a 2004 ministerial safety directive relating to radar at 10 airports.

“The failure by AA to take meaningful steps to fulfil its binding statutory duty to comply with a ministerial direction, made over 10 years ago, is extraordinary. It gives rise to real safety concerns,” the legal advice says.

It says there has been a failure to provide the correct level of radar control services at Albury, Alice Springs, Coffs Harbour, Hamilton Island, Hobart, Launceston, Mackay, Maroochydore, Rockhampton and Tamworth.

But AA says “technology has moved on” from 2004 and all “air-traffic control operations throughout Australia, including in the regional airports identified in the ministerial direction, are safe”.

In 2004 the then transport minister John Anderson issued a directive for a change of radar classification at the airports which could have prompted costs of tens of millions of dollars in equipment and services.

Mr Smith, who was the chairman of CASA at the time, disagreed with the decision but now has warned Airservices Australia board members they may be personally legally responsible for any incidents resulting from the directive not being implemented.

But the Airservices Australia chairman, Air Chief Marshal Houston, told The Australian technology had moved on from 2004.

“Airservices has continued to progress technological and operational changes to enhance the safety of our services in regional Australia,” he said.

“ … there are now advanced technologies which in the near ­future will, to a large extent, replace radar surveillance.”

In September 2011, the Department of Transport told the then transport minister, Labor’s Anthony Albanese, a plan was in place for “enhanced traffic services at regional airports over the next few years”. “In developing the final implementation plan, we have prioritised the enhancement of regional air traffic services and surveillance having regard to the availability and quality of existing services and infrastructure, current and forecast passenger traffic growth and industry comments,’’ the department told Mr Albanese.

In August last year, before the change of government, the department told Mr Albanese the “milestones have been met”, including services outside normal traffic-control hours for airports in Tasmania.

Air Chief Marshal Houston said: “Airservices has reported openly and transparently to successive governments in relation to our plan to deliver improvements to safety and service delivery, and all have endorsed the approach and actions we have undertaken to address the ministerial direction.”

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