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


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September missive by #casa and goodbye Skidmore

This is Skidmore’s last misssive, and …goodbye…

[Remember, the missive only goes to around 7000 people and many of these only have an interest in #aviation, being on the “list”]

What has Skidmore brought us?

  • More regulation;
  • No improvement of regs especially Part 61, which brings higher costs and no understanding improvements, despite Skidmore’s “Tiger Team”;
  • A maximum 42% approval rating – #Colmarbrunton report;
  • An aviation industrial that has no faith in the regulator;
  • #aviation calling for the introduction of the FAA-FAR’s;
  • Bad decisions not fixed: Pantovic, Quadrio, Rudd, Polar Aviation, Barrier Aviation;
  • No move to “Rule of Law” and keeping to MLO;
  • Fail to fully and completely implement the 37-ASRR recommendations;
  • Fail to enliven internal protocols for meeting the full MLO’s;
  • Fail to meet 10-commandments;
  • Cause major losses of pilot numbers and registered aircraft, then blame others for the source of the data [internal FOI data and annual reports]

All from Fort Fumble or as some wish it, Non-aviation house:

casa - furtzer street

And if you would like to compare, from January 2015, the Skidmore “…forward look…” was:

“………………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.

So during his 20-month responsibility period, Skidmore gets a :


This is supported by the recently released [we will do another survey in 2-years], #colmarbrunton report and the heralded 10-commandments.




CASA Briefing
September 2016

From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Mark Skidmore

This is my last column as CASA’s Chief Executive Officer and Director of Aviation Safety, as I leave the organisation in early October 2016. I would like to thank everyone who has worked constructively with me and the CASA team since the start of my tenure. There are many great people across the aviation community with a strong commitment to aviation safety who have deep knowledge and expertise in aviation operations. It was a priority of mine from day one to seek out these people and listen to their views and ideas to enrich our approach to aviation safety regulation and drive further improvements in the safety system. I put a lot of effort into making it clear CASA is not the sole source of expertise on aviation safety and collaboration with the aviation community is essential. I believe many of the changes I have driven at CASA will embed this collaborative and co-operative approach in the years ahead as the relationship between the regulator and the aviation community matures and strengthens.

Despite this commitment to work together to get the best safety outcomes, there will always be points of tension between the regulator and the regulated. This is normal and a sign of a healthy relationship. As the safety relationship matures we all need to recognise these points of tension and work to address our differences in a positive way. Genuinely listening to each other is critical and sometimes both sides will have to accept there is no magical middle solution that satisfies everyone. What CASA and the aviation community must strive for are the right safety outcomes, reached through proper processes, real consultation and transparent decision making. We then must all respect the decisions that are taken in the best interests of the safety of the aviation and wider communities. If CASA and the aviation community can reach this point we will have taken huge steps forward from the regulatory warfare that still breaks out from time to time, needlessly chewing up the time and resources of many people.

Lastly, I would like thank my colleagues at CASA who have worked extremely hard to understand, embrace and advance the change program I have introduced to improve our performance right across the board. Change is always difficult in any organisation and I have been impressed by the way CASA’s staff have performed during the last 18 months. They have devoted much time and effort to improving all aspects of CASA’s operations while never losing sight of our key safety responsibilities.

I will remain active in aviation and look forward to continuing to fly for enjoyment and being part of our Australian aviation community.

Safe flying
Mark Skidmore

Aviation industry has its say on CASA’s performance

Representatives from the aviation community now form part of a new panel looking at issues relating to the performance of CASA. The panel is providing CASA with advice on the performance targets set out in the corporate plan. The latest corporate plan has been released and includes five key performance areas.  They are aviation safety regulation and service delivery, industry oversight, stakeholder engagement, governance and organisational effectiveness, and CASA’s capability and capacity. Ten key performance indicators will be used to measure success in each area. The external performance validation panel supports the CASA Board in assessing and monitoring key performance measures, reviewing the evidence used to support the performance measures and monitoring regulatory service standards and performance. The panel is made up of representatives from the Federal Department of Infrastructure, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority as well as two people from the aviation community. CASA’s Board Chairman Jeff Boyd says the latest corporate plan focusses on the implementation of the Government’s response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review. He says steady progress has been made to implement changes that will benefit all aviation industry participants. “We are laying the building blocks for our future, yet remain mindful of the external pressure and challenges facing CASA,” Mr Boyd says in a forward to the corporate plan. “This plan identifies the broad challenges and emerging risks that we face, however I remain confident that CASA’s skilled and professional workforce will continue to meet and deliver safety outcomes that meet the Australian public’s expectations.”

Go to CASA’s 2016-17 to 2020-21 Corporate Plan.

Self Service gets better

CASA’s online Self Service will soon offer a range of new functions.  The Self Service tool already provides a number of online functions to people across the aviation community. It is used by many pilots, engineers and air traffic controllers. By using the online Self Service these people can update their address details held by CASA and view their flight crew, maintenance personnel and air navigation service licence details. A number of CASA forms can also be downloaded and submitted.  New functionality within the individual profile section of CASA Self Service will allow users to update their postal address details along with their residential address.  Users will also be able to add and update multiple phone, mobile, email and fax numbers and set their preferred contact methods.

Go to CASA Self-Service now.

Making airworthiness a little easier

CASA is making it easier to meet a number of continuing airworthiness maintenance requirements. A project has been set up to move the requirements from unique Australian airworthiness directives to the manual of standards for Part 42 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. Part 42 sets out continuing airworthiness requirements for aircraft and aeronautical products. The 14 unique airworthiness directives do not address any design deficiency or a production or manufacturing fault, which is generally the purpose of airworthiness directives. They also relate to aircraft systems and equipment that are generally common to all aircraft types. As the systems and equipment are essential for the safe operation of an aircraft the requirements should ideally be treated as maintenance program instructions. By including them in the Part 42 manual of standards they will be additional maintenance that must be included in an aircraft’s maintenance program. In many cases the maintenance requirements may already be covered by the aircraft or equipment manufacturer’s instructions for continuing airworthiness. If so the manual of standards would require compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Equipment and systems affected by the change will include transponders, instrument flight rules aircraft instruments, some propellers, life rafts and life jackets, cabin heaters and towing release systems.

Find out more about the airworthiness project.

Time to learn about the new drone rules

An easy to use online tool has been launched to teach people about the safety rules for commercial remotely piloted aircraft and recreational drones. The eLearning tool has been released to coincide with changes to the commercial remotely piloted aircraft rules which establish a new under two kilogram category. Operators in the under two kilogram category can carry out commercial remotely piloted aircraft flights without the need for a certificate and licence from CASA. This cuts red tape, saving about $1400 and the need to create manuals and other documentation. To protect safety CASA has put in place strict operating conditions and has set up an online notification system. The notification system requires under two kilogram commercial operators to acknowledge they are aware of the strict operating conditions and will comply with the Civil Aviation Act and Regulations. The eLearning tool explains operator and remote pilot regulatory responsibilities in plain English.  Easy navigation allows people to access just the key safety messages or to delve deeper into the details of the safety requirements. There are also links to specific regulations and other related websites for more information.

Go to the remotely piloted aircraft eLearning now.

Renewed alert for Cessna undercarriage failures

A renewed alert has been issued about the risks of undercarriage failure in a range of Cessna aircraft. The alert covers Cessna 172RG, R182 and 210 series aircraft. The old style nose landing gear down lock pins work loose, crack and fail at the retaining groove, which allows them to move out and jam the undercarriage actuator.  This prevents the nose landing gear from locking fully down, which typically collapses on landing. A Cessna service bulletin was issued calling for inspections and replacement of cracking and loose lock pins. A survey of CASA Service Difficulty Reports has revealed that structural undercarriage component failures have been occurring in landing gear actuators and trunnions, frequently resulting in gear-up landings. There have been other cases in Cessna single engine retractable aircraft where the main landing gear could not be either fully retracted or extended due to broken actuator piston rack teeth, or due to the housing cracking open. CASA strongly recommends the incorporation of Cessna SID inspections for all Cessna aircraft undercarriage structures and systems, including the relevant service bulletin.

Read the Cessna undercarriage airworthiness bulletin.

Comment now on proposed self-administering rules

It’s time to comment on detailed proposals for a new approach to the regulation of self-administering aviation organisations. CASA has proposed clarifying, simplifying and modernising the arrangements for self-administering aviation organisations. Current arrangements are complex and are based almost entirely on exemptions rather than positive rules. The proposed changes would allow existing self-administering aviation organisations to continue to operate as long as they meet the relevant new standards. There would be a stronger legal framework for self-administration, providing a modern, efficient and effective alternative to conventional regulation. A notice of proposed rule making on the issue says self-administration is not self-regulation as CASA retains oversight of the organisations. Under the proposed new framework an approved self-administering aviation organisation would have a direct regulatory relationship with CASA under a specified set of largely outcome-based regulations. The proposed rules are designed for the sport and recreational aviation community. This includes light recreational and microlight aircraft, gliders, hang gliders, parachuting, paragliders, recreational ballooning, warbirds, gyroplanes, model aircraft, rockets and kites as well as amateur- built and experimental aircraft. Part 149 envisages the potential for bringing a growing range of self-administering aviation organisations into this regulatory framework.

Find out more about the self-administering proposals and comment before 21 October 2016.

Pilots and engineers will learn more

There will be 13 safety seminars for pilots around the nation during October 2016. Lessons for life seminars are scheduled for Tyabb, Loxton, Canberra, Cairns, Port Lincoln, Geraldton, Gatton, Wollongong, Toowoomba, Broken Hill, Swan Hill, Esperance and Ayr.  These seminars will focus on fuel management and handling partial power loss in a single engine aircraft. Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation reports nominate these issues as the cause of a high number of accidents. Lessons will be learnt from accidents, with everyone asked to consider how the accident could have been avoided. Other issues may be discussed such as electronic flight bags, regulatory changes, correct procedures to follow at non-controlled aerodromes and the requirements for automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast. The seminars also provide an important opportunity for pilots to give feedback and suggestions to CASA.

There will be three engineering knowledge development seminars during October 2016.  They will be held at Sunshine Coast, Albury and Moorabbin. These seminars will focus on professional development, continuing airworthiness, certification, maintenance licensing and ageing aircraft. They are ideal learning opportunities for everyone involved in aviation maintenance, with lots of opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback to CASA.

Get more information on seminars and book a place now.

Hobart airspace review

A review of airspace around Hobart and Cambridge aerodromes has found no need for changes to airspace classification or architecture. However, the study did find standard arrival routes should be introduced and terminal instrument flight procedures should continue to be improved. CASA’s Office of Airspace Regulation conducted the review of airspace 35 nautical miles from Hobart and Cambridge aerodromes, looking at traffic data, airspace design and incident data. There was also consultation with relevant stakeholders. Overall traffic reduced by 7.4% between 2009 and 2015, with incidents remaining low and no injuries recorded. The air traffic surveillance network includes a combination of radar coverage that extends from Melbourne, Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) and Tasmanian Wide Area Multilateration (TASWAM). Aircraft in the en route phase of flight can be detected using multiple inputs from Melbourne radar and from the ground-based TASWAM system, which incorporates ADS-B. The report found the introduction of a surveillance approach service to Hobart would not mitigate the loss of separation assurance incidents which have occurred and would result in significant additional costs to the aviation industry, with minimal efficiency benefits.  For these reasons the introduction of a surveillance approach service at Hobart is not required nor recommended at this time. CASA will continue to monitor aircraft movements, passenger numbers and incident reports.

Read the Hobart airspace report and comment by 30 September 2016.

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