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Part 61 and the aviation industry – Skidmore undertakings

Part 61 and the aviation industry – Skidmore undertakings

The following has been released by the AHIA yesterday and demonstrates the problems of part 61 and it’s implementation.

That there has not been a retraction [which would be a proper committment by Skidmore to a direct alignment with industry] by CASA and Skidmore, shows the Skidmore is not committed to progressive and immediate improvement.

The issues of:

  • Perceived COST, and
  • INTERPRETATION (Complexity).

are at the top of the list for AHIA [and the industry.]

In an article by Steve Creedy [see below], Skidmore makes some further admissions, [“I’m quite prepared to say that we haven’t implemented this as well as we should have but there’s work that we have to do there … to correct that,’’ he said.]

Bbut Skidmore fails to show how he proactively going to stop the current problems and ‘fix-part 61’.

People from the industry I have spoken to are clear that part 61 is not going to work in it’s current form [ASRR recommendations not followed] and the best way forward, which will involve a serious shake-up at the top of the CASA heap, with removal [not use of] the perpetrators of the part 61 [and other parts] mess.


Australian Helicopter Industry Association Limited      

PO Box 462 Carina Qld 4152 Australia

Mob: 0415 641 774 E: secretary@austhia.com

MEDIA RELEASE – AHIA/CASA Meeting – 6 May ‘15


Recently CASA agreed to request from the AHIA to have a meeting to discuss industry concerns since the implementation of CASR Part 61 – Flight Crew Licensing. This is a critical piece of legislation being the foundation of all the other licensing regulations. We acknowledge the framework of the legislation is sound but some areas require change or modification to better suit the Australian operating environment.

Representatives from CASA at the meeting were: Mark Skidmore, Director Aviation Safety; Peter Boyd, Executive Manager Standards Division; Roger Crosthwaite, Manager Flight Crew Licensing Standards; Dale South, Section Head Rotorcraft Standards and John Grima, Manager Flight Standards Branch.

The AHIA representatives were: Peter Crook, AHIA President; Ray Cronin, AHIA Senior Member Part 61 Review Committee and Richard Davis, AHIA Member, Partner and Aviation Law Specialist HWL Ebsworth.

The meeting concentrated on the post implementation industry concerns on two basic issues:

Perceived COST, and


There was agreement on both sides these issues require addressing. CASA advised a Post Implementation Review (PIR) of the regulation is underway and the important issues raised by AHIA will form part of the review. There were a number of issues identified in the feedback we requested from industry. There was not time to discuss all specific issues but a number of critical issues were identified requiring immediate attention to alleviate the anxiety currently existing.

The AHIA had prepared a list of issues with suggested actions and left this with CASA.

CASA has agreed to work on the critical issues first and should have suggested actions and/or changes to industry as soon as possible. The AHIA offered assistance to CASA by way of industry sector specific processionals to jointly look at areas requiring change and how those changes can be implemented in a manner that is both safe and financially acceptable to industry.

In order to move forward in a positive manner we identified the following specific technical points as the matters of utmost priority, to create pathways for voids created by the implementation of Part 61:

* Expand the 61.040 testing approvals to include grade two instructors and those approved persons who held the relevant qualifications prior to the implementation date.

* Fast track the pending exemptions in relation to low level operations and flight testing for winch, sling and rappel operations and others in the system.

* Create a pathway to allow pilots to obtain an ATPL in Australia, potentially by way of an exemption for the MCC course for the transition period.

The AHIA will increase representation at the CASA Flight Crew Licensing Sub-Committee meetings, the next of which is to occur on the 19 May 2015, we will also be in regular contact with our assigned CASA liaison officer.

This we believe was a “milestone event” as it was a most encouraging and productive meeting.

We will be communicating with CASA on a regular basis and advising the industry of outcomes as they occur.

Peter Crook
Australian Helicopter Industry Association


Mark Skidmore: CASA to fix bungled flight crew rules

CASA to fix flight crew rules bungle

CASA boss Mark Skidmore says the regulator is working to rectify its controversial flight crew licensing rules. Source: Supplied

Civil Aviation Safety Authority boss Mark Skidmore has conceded that the regulator botched last year’s introduction of controversial flight crew licensing rules, but says it is working to rectify the situation.

Mr Skidmore said he believed industry angst about the Part 61 regulations resulted from a combination of poor communication and the rules themselves.

“I’m quite prepared to say that we haven’t implemented this as well as we should have but there’s work that we have to do there … to correct that,’’ he said.

The regulator has so far issued 10,600 new Part 61 licences, seen as a high take-up despite a tran­sition period running until September 2018.

But there remains industry anxiety about the rules, associated material such as the Manual of Standards and the way the transition had been handled by CASA.

Mr Skidmore took the unusual step last month of writing to all ­pilots about Part 61 seeking feedback on the rules.

The letter said CASA had made adjustments to the way some aspects of the new rules were being implemented, as well as to the regulatory requirements, after a forum involving representatives of the aviation community in December.

It said many of the issues related to transition arrangements for the new rules and changes made by way of instruments and exemptions would ultimately be incorporated into revised rules.

“While consultation takes place as rules are being developed, inevitably there are issues or unintended consequences that need to be addressed,’’ the letter said.

“We need feedback from individuals about what is working well and what is not.’’

Initial feedback looked at ­issues ranging from ratings and endorsements, the licence format, the need for air transport pilots ­licence flight tests and confusion about the transition for private pilot’s licence.

Officials said the dozen emails received by Tuesday were constructive and dealing with the ­issues. In a phone hook-up with reporters this week, Mr Skidmore said how long it took to address the Part 61 issues would depend on the feedback he received from the letter.

He said this included making sure CASA staff were educated about the changes so that they clearly understood what the authority was attempting to achieve with Part 61.

Asked about criticism of CASA’s failure to respond to industry warnings before the changes were implemented, he noted this had occurred before he was appointed. “I can’t correct the past,’’ he said. “All I can do is try and correct the future and learn from it and hopefully make sure we don’t do it again.

“But at the same time what I’m trying to do now is … get the information — here’s my letter to ­people to say tell us what you think is not right and let us have a look at it and try to correct it.’’

On lessons learned from the experience, he believed the authority should be comparing the implementation of Part 61 with other changes and looking at whether more upfront work was needed in areas such as staff training or whether there should have been testing in pilot programs.

He had also been driving consistency in the authority’s approach to the aviation community to minimise confusion and ensure staff were providing “good relevant and consistent information’’.

But he agreed it was sometimes difficult for the industry to accept change.

“Change is difficult for people, there’s no doubt about it,’’ he said. “But to me change is inevitable at the same time; if you don’t change you’re not evolving so you’re not going forward. We need to look at ways we can improve and do things better and I’m looking internally at CASA at how we can improve and do things better.’’

Mr Skidmore also revealed he was looking at reinvigorating the Standards Consultative Council as one way of improving the regulatory process.

“I also want to engage with the industry, with the aviation community, to understand and have good discussion regards regs into the future — what do we need to establish how best we can achieve that,’’ he said

On the lack of trust between the aviation community and CASA, Mr Skidmore said it would take time to rebuild trust, but he was hoping the parties could work together to achieve that.

“It’s cultural change both on my side for CASA and externally for the community to understand or to trust us,’’ he said. “Cultural change takes five to seven years.’’

He vowed to try “as hard as I bloody well can’’ to achieve the change in his first term, and noted it was often the case that signs started appearing in a year or two.

“That’s nice when you can see that starting to happen, so I’ll be looking for that and I know you guys will judge me on it,’’ he said.


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