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Mark Skidmore’s first “Missive” – No future for Aviation

Mark Skidmore’s first “Missive”:

Well, the training wheels are off on Mark Skidmore’s first foray into the big aviation world.

He lists the “….five principles CASA must embrace when making decisions or taking actions…”, but the “..principles…” are not bound at all in the CAAct, except for Principle 1 – CAAct 9A.

This approach does not give any hope at all for the industry as this missive is only a half-hearted attempt to show the aviation industry that Mark Skidmore is there to make the principles directed by the ASRR actually happen. To make these ASRR reccomendations work, Mark Skidmore has not made any sort of auspicious start.

In Mark Skidmore’s own words, “..I have told CASA’s people that I will require everyone in the organisation to think about and apply these principles…”.

No control of CASA effected by Mark Skidmore:

These words indicate that Mark Skidmore is not in control and does not intend to take control of the organisation to ensure that the aviation industry is turned around from the obvious “..air-crash…”.

In fact, Mr. Skidmore has said “…an even more effective aviation safety regulator…” wheras the aviation industry has sent a clear message through the Senate, the ASRR and other fora that in fact CASA is anything but “effective”.

If the KPI’s [Key Performance Indicators] for CASA are met the industry will not survive[ the industry just needs “..more of the same..”] Mr. Skidmore. I believe the KPI’s are such that aviation will only be subject to more and more difficult and complex regulations and when it can’t comply be subject to onerous regulatory, legal and fiscal requirements. Part 61, CAO 100.5 are but two examples.

There is an article by Hitch’s Australian Aviation today, which discusses the same “missive” and certainly I agree that the “missive” is of great concern.

December 2015 Bungle:

I have done minor edits to the missive reproduced in full so that it has any clarity to what Mr. Skidmore has written.

The CASA Briefing

January 2015

From the Director of Aviation Safety, Mark Skidmore

There are five principles CASA must embrace when making decisions or taking actions that affect the aviation community.

Principle 1:

The first principle is of course aviation safety. The Civil Aviation Act makes this certain by stating its main object is to “establish a regulatory framework for maintaining, enhancing and promoting the safety of civil aviation, with particular emphasis on preventing aviation accidents and incidents.”

The Act also requires CASA to “regard the safety of air navigation as the most important consideration” when exercising our powers and performing our functions.

So clearly CASA’s first principle must be to support the safest aviation environment for all Australians. CASA’s activities must pass the test of making a positive impact on maintaining or improving aviation safety. With safety at number one there are four other principles I will use to ensure CASA is an even more effective aviation safety regulator, while building our relationships with the aviation community.

These principles are:

2. Communication;

3. Cost;

4. Complexity and

5. Consistency.

I know people in the aviation community have been talking about issues relating to these principles for some time and I thank those who have provided input to my approach.

I have told CASA’s people that I will require everyone in the organisation to think about and apply these principles when we make new regulations or amend existing regulations, when we make decisions and take or recommend actions.

These principles will guide CASA in all our dealings with the aviation community. CASA has a responsibility to communicate clearly, simply and effectively. If the aviation community does not understand CASA’s safety requirements we will not get the right safety outcomes.

When CASA makes changes or takes decisions and actions we must consider the financial impact on both the aviation community and CASA and seek to keep it as low as possible-without of course compromising the achievement of optimal safety outcomes.

While we are bound by legal requirements in the way CASA’s legislation is developed and presented, we must do our very best to minimise complexity and provide clear explanations of what we require that are free of jargon and confusing language.

Finally, CASA must be consistent in its decision making and actions. It is not acceptable for different areas within CASA to present different views on the same issues to the aviation community.

I am personally a great supporter of aviation and want to see as many people flying as possible. In keeping with this vision and our core regulatory functions, CASA’s role is to encourage, support and foster higher standards of aviation safety.

Safe flying

Mark Skidmore AM

 The rest is below:


New guide for VFR pilots out now

A new version of the popular online guide for visual flight rules operations in and around controlled airspace has been released. The pre-flight planning guide for pilots of both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters – OnTrack – now covers 13 locations. They are the aerodromes at Cairns, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Archerfield, Bankstown, Camden, Moorabbin, Launceston, Cambridge, Parafield, Alice Springs, Jandakot and Darwin. The guide covers inbound and outbound routes at each location, as well as a number of scenic routes. Features include visual terminal chart information interactively overlaid on Google maps, a video for each location explaining key issues, airspace infringement hotspots, runway hotspots and printable flight notes. There are aerial photographs at key points on the routes so pilots clearly understand what they should be seeing when flying the approaches and departures. The flight notes for each route include radio frequencies, altitudes, restricted airspace, parachute drop zones and other essential information. The videos feature people with expertise on each location who talk about visual flight rules operations – providing information on the routes, explaining how local traffic operates and identifying any risks or dangers. OnTrack now has a box in the page about each route for pilots to enter their own notes and this can be easily printed. In addition, there is a feedback form to send CASA comments and information which can be used to improve OnTrack in the future.

Go to OnTrack now.

Calling all pilots – there’s a seminar for you

Pilots in many locations across every state and territory will have a chance to meet face-to-face with CASA’s aviation safety advisors during the first half of 2015. A total of 56 AvSafety seminars have been scheduled over the six months, both in capital cities and regional centres. The seminars provide an opportunity for pilots to raise local and national safety and regulatory issues, ask questions and provide feedback to CASA. A menu of seven topics has been set for the AvSafety seminars, with the most relevant topics to be covered at each location. There will continue to be a focus on providing information and resources on the new licensing regulations. Pilots will be encouraged to ask questions and seek guidance on any areas of the new regulations. CASA will go through the transition arrangements, stressing for many pilots there is no need to immediately move across to the new Part 61 licence. The aviation safety advisors will also go through all the information and support resources that are available for the licensing 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. Pilot groups and individual pilots are encouraged to contact the local CASA aviation safety advisor to discuss appropriate topics for their area. In February 2015 there will be seven seminars in three states.

Get all the information on the 2015 AvSafety seminar program.

Find a seminar near you.

Helping engineers deliver on the job

All aviation engineers will benefit from a new guide just released by CASA. The chief engineers guide sets out the roles and responsibilities of maintenance organisations working under Civil Aviation Regulation 30. Maintenance organisations approved under this regulation provide maintenance for non-regular public transport aircraft. The new guide was produced in response to feedback from engineers who asked for clarification of responsibilities of maintenance organisations. It covers three levels of responsibilities. At the base level these responsibilities are data management, tools, equipment and facilities, stores and parts and people. The middle level includes issues such as managing maintenance, procedures and quality control. At the top level are responsibilities such as those relating to consumers and CASA and managing the overall business. The new guide is printed in a durable tabbed booklet and is set out in an easy to read format. It is being sent to all Civil Aviation Regulation 30 maintenance organisations and LAMEs. Extra copies can be ordered free through CASA’s online store, with a $15 postage fee.

Order your copy of the maintenance organisation responsibilities guide now.

Choose your tyres carefully

A warning has been issued about the dangers of fitting unapproved tyres to aircraft. In particular aircraft operators need to be careful when choosing from an aircraft tyre manufacturer’s catalogue. Even tyres which appear to match all the requirements set out by the aircraft manufacturer – such as ply rating, maximum load, speed rating and size – may not be suitable. It is essential the tyre manufacturer has also approved the tyre for fitting to the aircraft make and model. In a new airworthiness bulletin CASA says subtle differences in tyres may make them unsuitable for certain aircraft. In one case the fitting of tyres unapproved for a particular aircraft led to serious grooving of the main landing gear tyre side wall. The dimensions and ratings of the tyre matched those required by the aircraft manufacturer but the tyre had a softer side wall which allowed it to rub on the brake housing during landing and taxiing. This problem was not apparent when the tyres were being fitted and the aircraft was sitting on jacks. Moving to different tyres can also have flow on effects on the shock absorption of the undercarriage and the aircraft structure. The airworthiness bulletin says when new tyres are fitted a check must be done for interference with wheel spats, brake housings and wheel wells and doors.

Find out more about aircraft tyres. AWB 02-014 Issue 3

If you support safety apply now for sponsorship

Aviation organisations promoting safety can apply for the latest round of CASA sponsorship. Applications for financial or in-kind sponsorship can be made until Friday 13 February 2015. CASA offers sponsorship for activities such as conferences, workshops, seminars, educational programs and publications that promote Australia’s civil aviation safety capabilities, skills and services. CASA looks to align sponsorship with current safety promotion activities and priorities. These include ageing aircraft safety, sports and recreational safety, promoting new safety rules and helicopter operations in remote and regional areas. Applications for sponsorship of activities outside of these priorities will be considered if there is a strong safety focus, known risk factors are addressed and the activities lead to improved aviation safety. CASA is unlikely to sponsor an activity if there is not a strong focus on positively promoting safety in Australia’s aviation community. Organisations wishing to apply for sponsorship need to fill in a form which is available on CASA’s web site. This form asks for a description of the event or activity, the safety messages to be conveyed, the expected number of participants or people impacted, the amount of money or in-kind contribution sought and the reciprocal benefits to CASA.

Find out more and apply for sponsorship.

2015 AOC holder safety questionnaire

To make informed judgements and decisions about aviation safety across Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority requires detailed and accurate operational information from the aviation industry. To gather this information, CASA will again be conducting the annual air operator certificate holder safety questionnaire. It is anticipated that further information regarding the questionnaire will be distributed in late March 2015. The questionnaire will ask for information about operations conducted between 1 January and 31 December 2014 and seeks details of staff levels, passengers carried and the aircraft operated by each holder of an air operator’s certificate. When the questionnaire is available an email and letter will be sent to all holders of air operator’s certificates with a link to the online survey, including login and password details. Operators will then have 28 days to complete the survey from the start date.

Any questions or feedback regarding the survey can be directed to Julie Codyre on 131 757 extension 1841 or email: aocsurvey@casa.gov.au.

Bigger markings for closed runways proposed

Larger markings to alert pilots to closed runways are being proposed by CASA. This follows the investigation of a 2008 incident at Perth Airport where an international flight attempted to land on a closed section of runway that was occupied by workers and construction equipment. A subsequent Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation found the size of runway unserviceability markings was inadequate and recommended CASA review the relevant standards. As a result CASA has developed a set of proposals for changes to runway unserviceability markings that have been released for public comment. It is proposed that all runways with a width greater than 23 metres be marked with white crosses 14.5 m wide x 36 m long. Runways less than 23 metres in width would require 9 metre white crosses. The unserviceability marking for taxiways would be yellow in colour and 9 metres in size. It is also proposed that aerodromes without air transport operations or air transport flights in aircraft below 5700 kilograms be given a 12 month transition period if the new standards are adopted. The proposed changes – which have been issued in a notice of proposed rule making – would more closely reflect International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommended practices.

Read the runway unserviceability proposal in full and have your say before 27 February 2015.

Avoid Cessna 400 undercarriage failures

Owners and operators of Cessna 400 series aircraft with electro-hydraulic undercarriage systems have been advised to take steps to avoid undercarriage failures. A recent review of the CASA service difficulty reports database found a rise in the rate of Cessna 400 electro-hydraulic undercarriage failures, as well as defects re-occurring on the same aircraft. The review found the system failures can be placed under seven groupings. These relate to the undercarriage actuator, micro-switches and plungers, actuator locking, wiring, reservoir sight glass, hydraulic lines, and ram rod and ball ends. CASA has made four recommendations to avoid Cessna 400 electro-hydraulic undercarriage catastrophic in-flight failures in an airworthiness bulletin. Where a hydraulic pipe or actuator rod fails on one side of the system consideration should be given to replacing the same components on the other side of the system. An overhaul of each undercarriage actuator or retirement of the rod ends should be carried out at about 1500 hours or 1500 landing cycles unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. This is even more important for aircraft using rough airstrips. There should be a periodic close inspection of the hydraulic system lines and pilots should check/test the functions of the annunciator panel as part of daily or pre-flight inspections.

Read the Cessna 400 undercarriage airworthiness bulletin.

Jabiru precautionary operating limitations

A set of precautionary operating limitations on aircraft powered by Jabiru engines remains in place. The precautionary limitations follow a high number of Jabiru engine failures and power loss incidents, some of which resulted in aircraft forced landings. More than 45 Jabiru engine failures or in-flight engine incidents were reported in 2014, with CASA recently becoming aware of incidents in previous years. Problems with Jabiru engines include failures of through bolts, flywheel bolts and valve train assemblies, as well as cylinder cracking. The failures affect a range of Jabiru engine models and have occurred in aircraft used in different flying activities, although many have been reported in aircraft used for flying training. CASA is currently working with Jabiru and other stakeholders to identify the causes of the engine problems and to implement appropriate solutions. Causes being investigated include design and mechanical issues, how aircraft are flown, and maintenance-related issues. While this investigative work is ongoing, the precautionary limitations have been introduced to reduce risks for people on the ground, passengers and trainee pilots flying solo. The limitations ensure that trainee pilots flying solo and passengers understand and accept the risk of a Jabiru engine failure.

The limitations restrict flights to day time under the visual flight rules, require aircraft to be flown so they can at all times glide clear of a populous area, require passengers and trainee pilots flying solo to sign a statement saying they are aware of and accept the risk of an engine failure and require trainee pilots to have recently and successfully completed engine failure exercises before solo flights. CASA consulted with the aviation community on the Jabiru limitations, receiving more than 630 comments. CASA revised the proposed limitations after taking account of the consultation comments and other relevant information and considers the limitations now appropriately manage the safety risks.

Get more information on the Jabiru limitations.


1 comment to Mark Skidmore’s first “Missive” – No future for Aviation

  • Concerned Aviator

    Long time pprune commenter, Sunfish says:

    Old 25th Jan 2015, 07:35 #19 (permalink)

    Join Date: Aug 2004
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Posts: 5,660

    The Demise Of Aviation Industry In Australia Is Now A Lot Closer.
    Skidmore has just proclaimed himself to be a fellow traveller who won’t make waves or attempt to change the course of Aviation regulation in Australia. That can only be bad for the entire industry from Qantas all the way downwards for reasons I will explain below. Dick Smith is also right about the “affordable safety” although the use of that term is unfortunate. I will explain that as well.

    Lets start with the Senate report; that catalogued the failures of aviation regulation and made the most serious charge possible against a public service anywhere of any kind: – a total lack of trust of the regulator by the industry, in other words a breakdown of any constructive relationship between regulator and regulated. Additional to this is the breakdown of trust with CASA’s partners Air Services Australia and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau who are joined by memorandums of understanding to CASA and cooperate in its malfeasance, as evidenced by the disgraceful ATSB report into the ditching of the Pel AIr aircraft.

    In addition, thanks to Karen Caseys law suit, we now find that there appears to be a web of corruption involving political donations by Pel AIrs owners to political parties who then lent upon CASA and ATSB. This has all the features of what is termed Crony Capitalism – you scratch my back, I scratch yours.

    The characteristic of Crony Capitalism is that rules are bent to suit your mates and the legislative preamble of the Aviation Act: “establish a regulatory framework for maintaining, enhancing and promoting the safety of civil aviation, with particular emphasis on preventing aviation accidents and incidents” is what facilitates this because “safety” is a nominative, it can mean anything you like it to mean. It is this sentence that facilitates the entirety of CASAs bastardisation of Australian Aviation – CASA is always chasing “safety” a willow the whisp which means that what CASA calls unsafe practices for one pilot or operator are perfectly reasonable for another.

    The impact of Crony Capitalism is that investment in the industry diminishes since no investor can secure himself against sovereign risk – that the regulator is going to take agin you for some reason and destroy your investment and capital, as CASA has demonstrably done time and again. Lack of investment means lack of jobs and growth in the industry and overall, Australia suffers. Mark Skidmore has, by his own words, refused to redefine “safety” in practical terms and will thus allow the bastardisation and embuggerance of the industry to continue on his watch, no matter what his no doubt good intentions may be.

    Dick Smith is right about “affordable safety” but seems to not understand what this means in practical terms, and the spineless jellyfish in ATSB who could have been the enablers in such a process are silent. The practical name for achieving “Safety” is “risk management”. This discipline is at least Forty years old, I was taught it on my first job with an oil company. It involves the quantification of risk and the cost of accidents, followed by a determination of what it would cost to mitigate the risk followed by a straightforward cost benefit analysis.

    Risk management is not rocket science, it is well understood. It is the basis for rule making by other regulators (notably the FAA). The ATSB can produce most of the statistics for its implementation off the top of its head and the industry has the rest. What it does require is for a Government to decide what an acceptable level of risk is for various classes of Aviation: “One in a Million”? “One in Twenty million”? Again there are international metrics for this stuff to guide us and most of the world, except Australia, benchmarks their aviation sectors against these metrics every year. Just redefine “Safety” in the preamble of the Act and everything else Dick Smith requires will follow.

    However it now appears certain that nobody in Government on either side of politics has the guts to become accountable for anything, let alone aviation safety, and this provides a perfect opportunity for the parasites that are CASA, ATSB and AsA and their corrupt business partners to milk what is left of the industry for all they are worth to satisfy their bloated egos, lust for power and of course the money.

    Need I add that the final outcome of this situation is to make the industry as a whole much less safe and ultimately lead to a series of catastrophic accidents?
    Last edited by Sunfish; 25th Jan 2015 at 07:54.
    Sunfish is offline Report Post Reply
    Old 25th Jan 2015, 08:36 #20 (permalink)

    Join Date: Aug 2007
    Location: Australia
    Age: 51
    Posts: 4

    Sunfish “Skidmore has just proclaimed himself to be a fellow traveller who won’t make waves or attempt to change the course of Aviation regulation in Australia”

    My heart sank when I read CASA’s latest news letter. No new broom here!
    mack44 is online now Report Post Reply

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