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Truss can’t direct CASA

I have seen reasons to be angry and this is it. Minister Truss says he can’t direct CASA.

This is a huge nonsense. Mr. Truss you have been told by the Senate, the Forsyth review and numerous other representations, by the industry as how CASA must be taken in hand and properly cleaned up.

Mr. Truss, you just don’t get it.

 In an article today in Australian Flying:

Angel Flight anger over proposed CASA changes

AWA

Proposed changes to the way the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulates not-for-profit community service flights have angered charity groups such as Angel Flight.

A CASA discussion paper released in August outlined a number of options that would change the way community service flights – which are offered on a voluntary basis – were regulated.

Among the options presented in the paper, CASA advocated giving these charity groups the responsibility to “ensure that the pilots and aircraft meet specified standards when conducting such activities under the organisation’s auspices”. This would mean they would have to, among other things, assess pilots, monitor pilot currency, assess and approve aircraft for their operations and conduct regular pilot proficiency checking as an Approved Self-administering Aviation Organisation (ASAAO).

“The ASAAO would be required to produce an exposition detailing how it would perform the specified operations for which it sought approval,” the CASA discussion paper said.

“CASA would assess and if satisfied, approve the exposition and any associated manuals; these would then constitute the guiding document(s) for the activities of the organisation, and provide a set of benchmarks by which CASA would monitor the organisation’s record in meeting its safety obligations.”

CASA said the costs of setting up an ASAAO would be similar to that of establishing an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC), which was listed as about $14,600 in the discussion paper.

This preferred option met safety management goals within reasonable regulatory constraints, CASA said, allowing those who run community service flights to address safety appropriately.

CASA said it believed there was a need to “ensure appropriate boundaries around activities of this kind, with a view to ensuring the safety of passengers, pilots, other airspace users, people and property on the ground”.

Angel Flight chief executive and founder Bill Bristow said CASA’s preferred option would create a “huge, demanding and complex bureaucracy” that would be extremely costly and threaten the viability of the service.

Bristow said its pilots were already regulated by CASA and had “higher entry-level credentials than CASA requires”.

“We are not an aviation organisation. We’re like a dating agency – we find people in need and introduce them to the resources they need,” Bristow told Queensland Country Life.

“What we do is like driving your friend to hospital.”

Angel Flight, established in 2003, has facililated about 14,500 flights helping more than 2,400 patients, carers and family members entirely funded by private donations.

In a separate interview with Brisbane’s Courier Mail newspaper, Bristow urged Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss to intervene.

However, the Minister said CASA was a statutory body and he as the responsible minister could not direct it on safety regulations.

Truss did offer his support to Angel Flight and its role in the community, describing it as a “well-respected and admired community organisation”.

“It does outstanding work across Australia, which is greatly appreciated by country communities,” Truss wrote in a letter to the Courier-Mail published on September 22.

“The government is anxious to ensure that this work can continue without interruption.”

In his first CASA Briefing note, acting director of aviation safety Terry Farquarson reminded interested parties that the comment period on the discussion paper closed on October 10.

“The discussion paper seeks the views of the public and the aviation community on how CASA should approach the safety regulation of community service flights,” he said.

“In particular CASA is looking for comment on how to balance the need for appropriate safety standards for flights that carry passengers against the public benefit of the services.

“The discussion paper recognises if safety compliance costs are high the service flights may no longer be available.”

_______________________________________________________________

And from the Courier Mail 22nd September 2014

 

This was in answer to the following article:

* * * * * *

Angel Flight, set up by Bill Bristow, is under threat of being shut down. Picture: Jono S

Angel Flight, set up by Bill Bristow, is under threat of being shut down. Picture: Jono Searle

DEPUTY PM TURNS BACK ON THE BUSH

WHEN his cancer made an unwelcome return to his brain, Augathella shearer Gary Zohl called Angel Flight.

Like thousands of other Australians whose homes are too far away from specialist medical care, the Angel Flight charity flew into action and organised everything.

A volunteer pilot in his own plane picked Gary up in the western Queensland town and whisked him to Brisbane 748km east. A volunteer driver was waiting at Archerfield aerodrome to take him to hospital or his motel.

In his brave, five-year battle Gary has made the journey to Brisbane 20 times for doctors’ appointments, chemotherapy, surgeries, MRIs, and stereotactic radiation therapy. And it hasn’t cost him a cent.

“We’d be lost without it,” he told me.

Gary was too ill to make the 12-hour road trip to Brisbane, his wife Jan said.

Angel Flight, which was set up in 2003 by Brisbane advertising guru Bill Bristow has notched up 16,800 missions of mercy transporting 2600 patients and their families. There have been children with leukaemia from the Gulf, drovers with broken spines and an endless list of other ailments.

Volunteer pilots around the country crisscross the skies almost daily in a free service helping mostly outback families. Sometimes they ferry lifesaving drugs or blood products. Angel Flight has not received any government funding and the pilots aren’t paid.

Now the charity is under threat with the busybodies from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority proposing “regulatory changes”. That’s Canberra-speak for red tape.

“They want us to be responsible for pilot training and licences, aircraft certification and maintenance checks, not to mention a possibly unattainable burden of insurance,’’ said Bristow, 70, himself a pilot.

“We are a charity, not an aviation company.’’ He’s scratching his head because the pilots have already undergone exacting safety training.

He said CASA had shown a lack of understanding for the plight of sick people.

Bristow has been shunned. For 11 months he has tried, but failed to get an audience with the minister responsible for CASA, Warren Truss.

Insultingly, Truss is the Deputy Prime Minister, leader of the Nationals and member for Wide Bay who is supposed to look after the interests of regional Australia. He could solve this problem with a phone call.

Now Truss may be left with blood on his hands.

“There has been no consultation with us whatsoever,’’ Bristow said. “I’m just about ready to close the door and walk away.”

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