An aviation researcher, writer, aviation participant, pilot & agricultural researcher. Author of over 35 scientific publications world wide.


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Overbearing dead hand at the wheel – #CA$A is killing vital industry

I think this clearly says it all.

We must immediately, as an industry, maintain order and deal with the immediate challenges, which is an #aviation industry creaking to a grinding halt, particularly in regional Australia.

#aviation is vital infrastructure, which must incorporate a plan that protects airfields and landing areas from local Council onslaught and the ever present developer.

A quote from CASA:

“Yes, GA is dying, but the good news is sport aviation is thriving”.

Industry comment from FaceBook:

If only there was a path from sport aviation to the airlines without 500 MECIR hours in a heavy, old GA twin, flying bank and mail runs, single pilot in crap weather at all hours of the day and night for small remuneration.

CASA is no doubt glad RAAus and LSAs are relatively new and simple to maintain, but none of that helps GA business resolve the 45+ year average age of GA aircraft (with their wiring, corrosion and fatigue issues) that aren’t being refurbished or replaced because GA has become uneconomical under the overbearing weight of CASA regulation and strict liability.

That is not to say that CASA should turn a blind eye to ageing aircraft, but small business is stifled by overbearing compliance costs and constantly shifting goal posts; they can’t charge a price that funds all the management overheads and still attract and sustain the volume of work required to amortise refurbished or new aircraft in a capital cost bracket of US$350-600k plus GST plus 3% hull value for insurance pa plus hangarage and operating fees.

We have a need and golden opportunities to build and sustain a thriving GA aviation industry in Australia, but not on CASA’s watch.

CASA has made the cost of management and governance more than the value of the business itself.

That’s viable for an 800 person, $300M pa taxpayer funded bureaucratic money pit with no KPIs (that expects ‘users’ to pay for full ‘service’ cost recovery), but no viable commercial outfit can operate that way.

Add that to the divestment of airfields to local councils (an epic fail in most areas), equally bureaucratic Government organisations that design and manage airspace (AsA), accident investigation (ATSB) and weather services (BOM) and now its up to Geosciences Australia to put a GEOSAT in orbit for SBAS (WAAS-like) service to Australia.

Have any of these organisations coordinated provision of free in-flight NEXRAD-like and NOTAM services to GA?

I doubt it …

If CASA was serious about general aviation safety, back in 2008 they would have opted to subsidise ADS-B for the 14,000 piston-engined GA aircraft in Australia, rather than spend $45M funding NAVIAD upgrades, over half of which have since been decommissioned.

… and where did the savings go?

ADS-B was supposed to substantially reduce the cost of primary radar services, so where did those savings go?

AsA corporate is a mess and the sky would fall in before the ATSB and CASA perked up.

We share a huge geography with a small population of relatively smart people.

We need aviation and it should be thriving.

Our industry has critical interdependencies, but how did we, collectively, allow public service organisations to become so self-indulgent so as to ‘govern’ the viability out of business?

Sometimes it’s all in the name.

Somehow the Federal Aviation Administration (not ‘Authority’) performs all these functions and more, and quite successfully by comparison.

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