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Is #casa testing the water over private pilots??

One of the most active areas of #aviation, with no comment from CEO Carmody, but a lot of noise from Peter Gibson, who routinely gets it wrong.

The Australian this morning has a report on the matter.

It seems though, it is a “….water testing….” moment by the regulator.

As Margaret Pagani says “……the charity already sought stronger-than-­required CASA standards for its volunteer pilots, including at least 250 hours in command experience. ……….”

AND:  “We have 3200 registered pilots; five to six times more than CASA requires for private pilots in a private flight, all documents are checked including current insurance and $10m public liability.

We cant do anything but rely on CASA’s standards.’’


CASA to re-examine charity flight standard

Investigators examine the site of the plane crash at Mount Gambier this year. Picture: Tom Huntley.
Investigators examine the site of the plane crash at Mount Gambier this year. Picture: Tom Huntley.
  • The Australian

Two fatal Angel Flights in six years have prompted Australia’s civil aviation safety regulator to re-examine standards for community service flight providers.

The review was prompted by the June 28 crash of an Angel Flight near Mount Gambier airport that killed private pilot Grant Gilbert, 78 and his passengers Emily Redding, 16, and her mother Tracy Redding, 43 who were on their way to a medical appointment in Adelaide.

It was the second doomed Angel Flight, after experienced volunteer pilot Don Kernot and passengers Julie and Jacinda Twigg, died in August 2011 when their plane crashed in country Victoria on a return flight from Melbourne to Nhill.

Jacinda, 15, was being treated for juvenile arthritis in Melbourne and was returning to her home near Nhill, when the plane came down in poor weather.

Angel Flight Australia is a charity that co-ordinates non-emergency flights to help rural Australians to access city medical services, providing almost 22,000 flights since 2003.

Prompted by the 2011 crash, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority toughened regulations for the sector in 2014, saying the status quo, where any aircraft could be used by any privately licensed pilot, was not “sound safety regulation”. Although it pushed for the charity to self-regulate — including overseeing pilot training, regular pilot checks and aircraft approvals — strong resistance from Angel Flight and its regional supporters prompted any proposed changes to be shelved.

CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said the discussion was now being revisited. “CASA is looking at the safety issues relating to community service flights in the wake of the tragic accident at Mount Gambier,” he said. “However, given the (Air Transport Safety Bureau’s) full analysis will not be available for some months, it is too early to comment on the accident itself or any factors that may have caused the accident.

“As a prudent regulator, CASA always reviews safety issues following serious accidents.”

Angel Flight chief executive Marjorie Pagani said the charity already sought stronger-than-­required CASA standards for its volunteer pilots, including at least 250 hours in command experience. Any changes to regulations on community service flights was the responsibility of CASA.

“We’re happy to co-operate with CASA and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau,” Ms ­Pagani said. “We have 3200 registered pilots; five to six times more than CASA requires for private pilots in a private flight, all documents are checked including current insurance and $10m public liability. We cant do anything but rely on CASA’s standards.’’

The Nhill pilot, Mr Kernot, had 6000 hours in command and Mr Gilbert had “well in excess” of 250 hours.

Ms Pagani said the Mr Gambier crash had not damaged Angel Flight’s reputation. “The support that we had from people in the community, from the passengers from pilots has been nothing short of amazing. The general tenor is this is a tragedy, but please don’t stop,’’ she said.

ATSB’s full report on the Mount Gambier crash is expected by the middle of next year.