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monthly missive from CASA – December 2014

Monthly missive from CASA – December 2014

This is a very poor start for Mark Skidmore, who says little more than “……I will listen…”. The aviation industry/ community cannot wait any longer. The article refers to Jonathon Aleck’s address to the National Conference of the Australian Airports Association. It would be interesting to see if there was an interface to the people who pay for the priviledge of providing service into these airports – GA, AOC holders, pilots, Maintenance organisations etc.

There is no inference of the impportance of these people in the speech.


The CASA Briefing

December 2014

From the acting Director of Aviation Safety Terry Farquharson

The delivery of the Federal Government’s response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review report has been welcomed by CASA and the aviation community alike.  Out of the 37 recommendations made in the report only one was set aside by the Government.  To ensure the recommendations are implemented in a timely and effective manner the Government will be issuing a new statement of expectations to CASA’s Board.  The Board will then set out an implementation plan, which will be incorporated into CASA’s next corporate plan.  This will clearly show how and by when CASA will deliver on the recommendations that have been supported by the Government.  In its response the Government noted some recommendations have already been implemented, while others can be acted on fairly quickly.  Others will take longer as policies will need to be developed and regulatory or administrative changes made.  The Government made it clear implementation of changes will need the active, close and constructive co-operation of the aviation industry.

I was pleased to see the Government confirmed Australia has an advanced aviation regulatory system, with sound safety governance arrangements.  But as the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss told Parliament the role of the regulator is a difficult one.  Mr Truss said: “CASA is part of a system which is charged with protecting all passengers, their crew and the community.  Members of the travelling public are not usually able to make their own individual assessments of safety issues and rely on the regulatory system for assurance.  In such a complex environment the Government expects the regulator to be firm but fair in how it conducts its role.  The regulator also needs to be well informed about the industry context, conscious of the impacts that its actions have on operators and open to approaches which achieve safety outcomes without unnecessary impacts on industry.  This approach calls for effective and ongoing engagement and communication with the industry, both at a strategic and working level.”  Mr Truss said there needed to be a foundation of mutual understanding and respect between CASA and the aviation industry.

I can assure everyone CASA is one hundred per cent committed to delivering the outcomes required by the Government and work has already started to ensure this happens.  However, there is the small matter of Christmas almost upon us, which means there will be a short pause for rest and relaxation with family and friends.  On behalf of CASA I would like to wish everyone in the aviation community a happy and peaceful Christmas.  If you are flying over the Christmas-New Year holidays take care and make sure you put safety first.  This is my last column as acting Director of Aviation Safety, with Mark Skidmore taking over from 1 January 2015, so I would like thank everyone for their support over recent months.

You can read Mr Truss’s speech to Parliament on the Aviation Safety Regulatory Review.

Look at the Governments full response.


Yours sincerely
Terry Farquharson

From Director of Aviation Safety designee Mark Skidmore

While I have not yet stepped into the role of Director of Aviation Safety, I just wanted to take this opportunity to start the important job of communicating with everyone.  Communication and consultation are high priorities for me and I have already begun to meet people and organisations from the aviation community.  You may notice that I am deliberately describing the aviation sector as a community rather than an industry.  This may be a subtle difference but it recognises there is more to aviation than just the commercial operations which are embraced by the term ‘industry’.  As an active general aviation pilot I appreciate the commitment to aviation of the many people who are not in any way earning revenue from flying.  In fact, as any private aircraft owner knows, being a part of aviation can cost quite a bit of money.  We stay involved because we love aviation and love flying.  It is that commitment to aviation that drove me to seek the position of Director of Aviation Safety and it will guide my thinking during my five year term.  When I take the reins on 1 January 2015 I will keep listening to everyone who is part of the aviation community, as well as people in the broader Australian community who have an interest in aviation safety.  I look forward to meeting and hearing from as many people as possible in the months and years ahead.

Have a safe and merry Christmas
Mark Skidmore

 New faces on CASA’s board

Three new appointments have been made to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Board.  They are Anita Taylor, Ian Smith and Murray Warfield.  The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the appointments bring technical, operational and managerial experience to help the Board play a more active leadership and review role in setting and steering CASA’s strategic direction.  Anita Taylor is a well-known sports aviator who has been gliding since she was 16.  She is the former President of the Gliding Federation of Australia and a member of the Australian Sport Aviation Confederation.  Ms Taylor is a chartered accountant and an experienced company director, with involvement in banking, finance, community and sport sectors.  Ian Smith has 24 years’ experience in the aviation insurance industry.  Mr Smith has been a private pilot since 1976 and has held both twin-engine and command instrument ratings.  Murray Warfield is an aviation consultant who has held both piloting and senior executive roles with Qantas, after a successful career in the Royal Australian Air Force. Mr Truss said the new appointments will strengthen CASA’s vital role as the independent aviation safety regulator to the high standards expected by Australians.


CASA looks to streamline drug and alcohol requirements

CASA is moving to streamline the requirements of the regulations covering drug and alcohol management plans.  This follows a CASA review of how the regulations are operating, as well as an examination under the Federal Government’s drive to remove unnecessary red tape.  The review highlighted the fact that individual people can be required to comply with more than one drug and alcohol management plan, meaning they need to repeatedly undertake education and testing.  This duplication imposes an unnecessary burden on both individuals and aviation organisations.  CASA is considering the development of a drug and alcohol management plan card for individuals.  This card could be issued to people who have undergone appropriate education and testing and would be used to show they satisfy the requirements of different drug and alcohol management plans.  CASA is also looking at the scope of aviation activities that need to be covered by drug and alcohol management plans and the reporting requirements for individuals.  CASA’s associate director, Jonathan Aleck, told the recent Australian Airports Association national conference that CASA was fully committed to the Government’s deregulation agenda.  “We are conducting an ongoing program of reform to remove redundant provisions in regulations, and have already removed over 3000 items from our legislation this year.  We have made, and are making, changes to simplify and improve administrative processes and to remove redundant or otherwise unnecessary requirements.”

Read Jonathan Aleck’s speech in full.


New air traffic standards on the way

A CASA project has been set up to address several issues relating to air traffic control standards.  The new standards will cover the operation of remotely piloted aircraft within controlled airspace and low level helicopter operations within a control zone in close proximity to a primary airport.  There are increasing requests to operate remotely piloted aircraft in controlled airspace, sometimes close to an aerodrome.  Normal aircraft separation minima either cannot be applied or create large buffer zones that hamper air traffic movements.  CASA will look at several concepts for remotely piloted aircraft separation minima and airspace procedures.  If safety risks can be adequately addressed the minima and procedures will be adopted as regulatory standards.  Currently there are no international standards on remotely piloted aircraft operations in controlled airspace.  CASA has already approved low level helicopter operations in the Sydney control zone with the pilots responsible for self-separation with arriving and departing traffic.  Airservices Australia conducted a review of these procedures and found no significant issues.  It is proposed air traffic standards be changed to allow these operations elsewhere and without the need for an exemption from the regulations.

Get more information on the air traffic control standards project.


Make sure you don’t put your flight at risk

The holiday season is a time for travel and travelling safely means thinking about dangerous goods.  People need to know what items can be carried on aircraft, what needs to be specially packed and which items need to go into hand or checked luggage.  These questions can be simply and quickly answered by using CASA’s dangerous goods app.  The DG app covers a large range of items and products.  Users simply put in the name of the item or good they wish to carry or transport to get the right safety advice.  Particular care must be taken with risky items such as lithium batteries, gas cylinders, lighters and matches, ammunition, fireworks, aerosol cans, flares, paints and household chemicals.  The DG app is available for Apple and android devices, as well as desktops.  By using the app aircraft passengers will be able to help reduce the more than 300 dangerous goods incidents a year.  CASA has also produced a YouTube video highlighting the potential dangers of carrying lithium batteries on aircraft.  The video – which is on the YouTube channel CASABriefing – shows what can happen when lithium batteries are not packed safely and why strict safety precautions must be followed. Lithium batteries must be individually protected to prevent short circuiting and cannot be carried in checked-in luggage.

Go to the dangerous goods app and watch the Lithium battery video.


Time running out for services before Christmas

There are only days left to act if you think you’ll need regulatory services from CASA over the Christmas-New Year holidays. CASA will be closed from midday Wednesday 24 December 2014 until the start of business on Friday 2 January 2015. During this time normal regulatory services such as medicals, licence changes, certificate variations or aircraft registration will not be available. Naturally, CASA will be on hand to help out during emergencies but resources will be limited so please restrict requests to essential matters only. Talk to or email the CASA Licensing and Registration Centre as soon as possible if you need their services as they get busier than usual as the holidays draw closer. CASA will be available to provide urgent assistance to foreign air operators during the holiday period for operations such as non-scheduled medical flights.  Short notice airspace requests will also continue to be processed.

Get all the Christmas-New Year information.


A new guide to being a chief pilot

Being a chief pilot for an air operator comes with a range of important responsibilities.  These include legal and safety functions, as well as being the critical link between the holder of the air operator’s certificate and CASA.  To help air operators, current chief pilots and prospective chief pilots CASA has just released an updated version of the chief pilot guide.  This online publication sets out information in an easy-to-follow format and covers key issues such as the chief pilot approval process, responsibilities, flight checks, leave arrangements and safety culture.  The guide says chief pilots are responsible for the professional standards of the pilots and personnel under their authority, as well as for ensuring all aircraft are dispatched with the safety of passengers and flight crew as the top priority. To be effective chief pilots must have the knowledge, experience and strength of character to balance the sometimes conflicting demands of safety and commercial considerations.  Chief pilots also need operational expertise, technical skills, leadership ability and sound business sense.  Air operators make a written application to CASA to seek the appointment of a chief pilot and cannot operate without an approved chief pilot.  CASA sets minimum qualifications for chief pilots.

Download the chief pilot guide now.

First approval under new design rules

A milestone in Australian aviation has been reached with the issue of the first approval under new aircraft design regulations.  Qantas is now an Approved Design Organisation under Subpart 21.J of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.  This regulation covers the design of aircraft products or modifications to existing products.  It enables approved organisations to carry out design activities within the scope of their approval without further reference to CASA or an authorised person.  Large and small aviation organisations can become Approved Design Organisations, taking advantage of the greater flexibility of the new system.  The scope of the design functions that can be approved under the new system will vary depending on each organisation’s demonstrated capabilities.

Find out more about the new design rules.

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