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Helicopter industry dismayed at CASA forcing through Part 61

The Helicopter industry is dismayed at CASA forcing through Part 61, Rob Rich says in the current issue of the AHIA Journal. The full article is below.

From this it is apparent, either CASA is not listening, or is determined to force through changes regardless of what industry wants, which is central to the submissions from industry to the current review. Rob Rich, of the AHIA properly reports that the Minister has not yet given any response to the ASRR report of David Forsyth.

The avoiding of proper scrutiny by CASA and blunderbus changes is precisely what the aviation industry cannot have, either now or in the future.

The activity by local members of constituents has been a continuing thorn in the Minister’s side and shows the depth to which there is a ground-swell of support for major changes to the regulator.

The winding back of the micro-management by CASA of the industry must be a priority of the new Board.

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From The Helicopter Editor
Rob Rich – Helicopter Editor, AIRWAVES

Well we tried so hard!

What a month it has been since our last edition.

AHIA working with other similar associations had noted nothing had been received from the Deputy Prime Minister’s office after the release of the Aviation Safety Review Report, and the later submission of comments by industry on the ASRR itself. Almost without exception, other associations asked CASR Part 61 (Flight Crew Licensing) be deferred yet again so as serious cost and safety issues could be resolved before becoming legislation.
As a last ditch stand, our President Peter Crook, stated our case in The Australian on Friday 1 August, seeking a deferral. It was pleasing to see the flood of emails congratulating the AHIA on our stand; a good response from a now very regulation-fatigued aviation community.
But we were surprised on Friday 8 August 2014, when The Australian newspaper published a rebuttal by CASA about AHIA’s statement about the troubled new legislation which will be Law as you read this column. It seems CASA had not noticed recommendations made by The Aviation Associations Forum (TAAAF), a co-operative group made up of Australia’s peak aviation
bodies designed to give the industry coherence when dealing with government and regulators. The members of TAAAF are:

  • Aerial Agriculture Association of Australia,
  • Australian Association of Flight Instructors,
  • Australian Business Aviation Association,
  • Australian Helicopter Industry Association,
  • Aviation Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Business Association,
  • Regional AviationAssociation of Australia and the
  • Royal Federation of Aero Clubs of Australia.

As the DAS leaves CASA on 31 August 2014, CASR Part 61 will be effective the next day on 1 September 2014. A CASA spokesperson told AHIA the new legislation is definitely going ahead on schedule and their staff were now being briefed on the new system. As there are still many unresolved matters; these will be covered by the issue of “Concessions” to tide us over the coming transition period.
RIP – Queensland Institute for Aviation Engineering. Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Daily recently announced the Supreme Court
has given the green light for creditors to step in at Queensland Institute for Aviation Engineering, established at Caloundra Airport
in 2000. QIAE is now in liquidation. The loss of the company, which provided training for about 60 apprentices, pre-trade and
international students is not welcome news for our industry heading towards a shortage of maintenance technicians. We wish all
those involved all the best for the future.

Please communicate!

The AHIA Regulatory Review Coordinator has advised the AHIA Board that we must demand the regulator not place documents on their website listed as “Final” and then tell our review committee it was really only a draft. For example, the stated final version of the CASR Part 61 Manual of Standards was released on the 2 June 2014. When the AHIA later submitted comments on serious safety issues, the CASA’s written reply stated the MoS was actually a draft (although published as the final version) and will be changed again for release. Not a good move when we were then only a few days away from the implementation date.

IREX and the instrument rating. The AHIA has always held the view our steady annual growth of 6% to 8% will cause a shortage of instrument rated pilots, especially as the demand for IFR qualified multi-engine pilots has increased due to the accelerated growth of ME heavy helicopter registrations. But the introduction of CASR Part 61 (Flight Crew Licensing) will bring expensive changes. For example, cessation of the co-pilot licence will have an impact on aircrew supply.
The AHIA Board knows this topic has been overlooked by many due to the enormous flood of other new aviation rules. So we are rolling up our sleeves and are seeking ‘helping hands’ (or brains)?

Smiling crocodiles?

The draft helicopter sling load rules for carrying a person on a sling device will ban the R44 (piston) helicopters now used for collecting crocodile eggs. A number of these machines have been around for more than a decade without any significant safety problems, according to the operators. New rules state a turbine powered helicopter must be used. Your AHIA queried why the need to reduce HOGE weight by 20% for the ambient conditions?

A well meaning and very helpful CASA staffer said it appears to come from EASA rules; the assumption being that in the event of a magneto failure there was a reasonable chance the machine can move the egg collector safely to an area away from Mother Crocodile. Concerns are being expressed the Industry may not be able to afford the cost of going turbine. The CASA team working
on this draft are seeking a safety case from the operators to avoid the harsh restrictions and welcomed the AHIA becoming involved
in this process as a lot is at stake.
But pause awhile and enjoy a light hearted moment – what about the 20% factor – think about it?