Get on with it!

The national aviation authority’s new director won’t have to look very far for examples of systemic breakdowns that urgently need fixing. The regulator’s most recent assault on the aviation industry’s trust and respect displays most of the hallmarks of similar actions over the past 20 years, and could easily be interpreted as the adoption of a “scorched earth policy” by elements whose departure may be imminent.
The events surrounding CASA’s publication of Consultation Draft CD 1425SS – Operating limitations for aircraft fitted with Jabiru engines, reprinted below, and the response of RA – AUS President Michael Monck, appear to be typical of dozens of CASA actions we have reviewed in the past, in which a “financial first strike” is adopted in preference to measured and professional compliance with the regulator’s common law duty of care, statutory obligations, and its own compliance & enforcement guidelines.
Assuming Mr Monck’s narrative doesn’t contain any major errors or omissions, CASA’s management of the events as he records them appears to have been seeking the same outcomes, and we’ll leave readers to draw their own conclusions. They also appear to support Mr Monck’s labelling of the event as “the misconduct of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.”
The Jabiru issue isn’t the only aberration that has cropped up since David Forsyth’s ASRR report was released, but so far it’s the most drastic, and has further elevated industry concerns at the government’s tardiness in responding to the ASRR, and also finalising the composition of CASA’s board. Of even more concern is the growing industry belief that Minister Truss is simply stalling the government’s detailed response to the review it commissioned. What industry cannot understand is what is holding the Minister back, who is responsible for developing the government response, and when it will be delivered.
Another puzzle is a meeting in Sydney that is planned for next Friday (November 27) of the all-but-defunct AICC (Aviation Industry Consultative Committee or Council) – nobody remembers.) All former members have been invited to attend, along with a few people from the industry forums who are not former members, but also not CEOs of their organisations. The inaugural meeting is at the Commonwealth Parliament offices in Sydney, costs of attending meetings will not be met by the Council, and at this stage there are to be two meetings per annum. No agenda for the meeting is at hand.
What nobody understands is why on earth the Minister needs yet another advisory body at this point. How many more people need to tell him that CASA is broken and urgently needs fixing? That some of its crazier initiatives need to be frozen in time or in some cases reversed until they have been properly scrutinised? What will be achieved through a biannual meeting of the AICC that the Minister’s ASRR and on-going implementation of the Forsyth report cannot achieve?
And if there are any information gaps why not consult the Australian Aviation Associations Forum, which presents a concise, industry-wide, mutually agreed, collective position, intelligent recommendations, and access to more aviation savvy than exists within the entire national aviation authority? Is the Sydney meeting just another piece of placatory window-dressing, while obfuscation continues and decisions are avoided? Is there something missing from the Forsyth report that the Minister needs to know? It seems to most that the needs of the industry are precisely known, to everyone, except apparently to the Minister and the bureaucrats and advisors who surround him.
The Forsyth report recorded concerns about “the internal management and governance of CASA.” The message from within the industry has been pretty clear. It is that if those responsible for reform are not looking closely at the top three levels of CASA management there will be no culture change, no reform, and no implement ion of the Forsyth panel’s recommendations.
What is the government waiting for?
Note: The following is the exact text of the letter from RA-AUS President Michael Monck to Lee Ungerman at CASA, who (ironically) is a former CEO of RA-AUS.

Recreational Aviation Australia Inc letterhead
Mr Lee Ungermann,
Project Leader on Consultation Draft
Civil Aviation Safety Authority – Australia
GPO Box 2005
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Dear Mr Ungermann,
Consultation Draft – CD1425SS – Operating limitations for aircraft fitted with Jabiru engines
We, Recreational Aviation Australia (RA-Aus), write to you with concern for the proposed actions as outlined in the above draft instrument. We would also like to draw your attention to the misconduct of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in relation to this matter and the negative impacts their actions will have on aviation in Australia and the broader economy. These impacts include far reaching financial and social impacts as well as, and perhaps more importantly, significant safety impacts in the aviation sector. It is with respect to these latter impacts that the Government should perhaps pay a great deal of attention as CASA’s primary purpose is to advance safety in the sector and not hamper it. Their actions are also illustrative of their lack of concern for the recommendations made by the independent Aviation Safety Regulation Review panel contained in the ‘Forsyth Report’ published in May 2014.
Introduction
RA-Aus express serious concerns at the recent actions of the CASA in relation to proposed restrictions relating to operations of aircraft in Australia. While we concede that the actions taken are in relation to the reliability of Jabiru engines and agree that said engines display markedly lower reliability figures than competitor engines, it is our belief that irreparable damage has been caused to the already fragile Australian aviation industry as a result of the regulators actions.
Without due concern for the industry CASA has embarked on a destructive path that threatens the existence of an Australian aviation manufacturing company, Jabiru, along with associated businesses. Further, this proposed action threatens the existence of Recreational Aviation Australia, the body charged with the responsibility to administer the safe training and operation of approximately 10,000 pilots and 3,500 aircraft.
In order to effectively perform these functions RA-Aus provides services in a number of areas including:
• The development of training syllabi for the maintenance and operation of aircraft,
• Oversight of flight training facilities to ensure high standards of operation, and
• The administration of events to promote safety in the sector.
In addition to this RA-Aus delivers critical services in relation to accident investigation and has been called upon to provide assistance and support to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau where their resources are not sufficient.
Background
The majority of Jabiru aircraft and other types powered by Jabiru engines in Australia are registered by RA-Aus. The number of aircraft in the RA-Aus fleet affected by these actions totals more than 1000 and these aircraft have flown in excess of 92,000 flights totalling more than 41,000 hours in the 10 months from January through October 2014. With the weather becoming more favourable for flying activities coupled with extended daylight hours, it is expected this number will grow quite markedly during the final two months of the year. In 2013 more than 100,000 flights were conducted totalling 47,728 hours. There are a further 131 Jabiru powered aircraft on the CASA register that will also be adversely affected.
CASA has provided no specific failure data related to Jabiru engines to industry other than to suggest an increasing rate of engine failures. At no point has CASA published evidence or otherwise to substantiate its claims. RA-Aus and the aviation community have no evidence to suggest that the statements by CASA are made with any substance.
RA-Aus have also noted a marked improvement in the reporting culture of members in recent years, making it critical to fully understand the underlying data and apply sound statistical analysis to test conclusions drawn from any data. A key area to understand in relation to placing these statistics into context is the possibility of not just engineering or manufacturing issues, but also correct operation of the engine in accordance with manufacturer information.
Process
On 27 October 2014 RA-Aus received a request from CASA for specific data relating to operations of Jabiru aircraft. This request was made with a specific deadline of 10 November 2014, requiring significant investment of RA-Aus resources, and was requested for the purposes of a proposed SASAO audit of Jabiru’s operations on 17 November 2014. The data provided contained information on incidents and accidents involving Jabiru engines for the year to date, covering the period from 1 January 2014 until 27 October 2014.
RA-Aus formally submitted this information to SASAO on 3 November 2014.
On 4 November 2014 CASA engaged directly with Jabiru in relation to the proposed restrictions on Jabiru aircraft which included all aircraft manufactured by Jabiru as well as those non-Jabiru aircraft that have a Jabiru powerplant.
In this notice CASA clearly states the following:
“Prior to making the instrument, CASA invites Jabiru to make representations about the terms of the proposed instrument…”
In the days immediately following this Jabiru made arrangements to meet with CASA on 14 November 2014 to address the concerns and to take advantage of the opportunity to discuss the terms of the instrument as outlined in the regulators notice. This meeting was also intended to action CASA’s request for Jabiru to respond by 10 November although it should be noted that due to illness of key CASA staff the meeting could not take place by the required date and that CASA agreed to extend the time. At this point Jabiru was led to believe that the proposed instrument would not be published until after the scheduled meeting.
On the afternoon of 13 November CASA pre-empted the outcome of the scheduled meeting with Jabiru and effectively ended the consultation with the manufacturer by publishing the commercially destructive proposed instrument. This occurred some 18 hours prior to the scheduled consultation with Jabiru.
In the days prior to this RA-Aus began receiving enquiries from concerned members noting that CASA officials had made mention of the proposed actions “over a beer or two” during the national Chief Flying Instructor conference held by RA-Aus. The conference is an annual event designed to inform RA-Aus instructors on new developments, changes to rules and generally improve safety in the aviation industry through the provision of training and education. It is fully funded by RA-Aus with no support from CASA or any other public source of funds.
Following the publication of the draft instrument RA-Aus has been inundated with communication from aircraft owners, Flight Training Facilities and aircraft maintainers expressing concerns about the proposed restrictions and the potential impacts on business viability and reputational damage as a result.
It should be noted that the information provided covered a period of less than one year and should have resulted in deeper engineering analysis as to root causal factors, along with requests for further detail prior to any action taken by the regulator. RA-Aus is firmly of the view that any conclusions drawn from the data are deficient in detail and do not address fundamental issues relating to potential manufacturing, operational and any other possible deficiencies.
At the time of writing this submission it has become apparent that CASA recognised this deficiency in terms of their understanding of the data that was provided on 3 November. On 18 November CASA wrote to RA-Aus seeking instruction on how to identify 28 engine related issues referred to earlier in this submission. It is of serious concern that CASA does not only provide a basis for its decision, it does not understand the data provided by RA-Aus and has acted on a flawed understanding of the issues.
Impacts on industry, aviation and RA-Aus
Whilst the impacts on industry should not be an overriding factor when related to safety and decisions made, consideration must be given to potential financial and reputational damage caused by the issue of this consultative document to industry with insufficient analysis of data and short response times. Moreover, the ability of a crippled industry to cope with and implement growing requirements in terms of safety should be a consideration. This is certainly the case when proposed actions may indirectly and adversely impact the industry’s ability to sufficiently address future safety related issues.
RA-Aus has approximately 1000 affected aircraft on its register and charges $130 for the annual registration of each. With around three times as many pilots as aircraft it could be argued that there will be around 3000 affected members, each of whom pays $210 per year to maintain their pilot certificate.1 If all those affected chose to discontinue their relationship with RA-Aus as a result of these restrictions then the worst case loss of income may be in the order of $760,000 per annum. With an operating budget of approximately $2.5m per annum (compared to some $180m for CASA to administer around the same number of private pilots) if even a small proportion of these pilots and aircraft owners left the association then the ability of RA-Aus to administer its safety related functions on behalf of the Government would be severely impacted.2
If Jabiru, the aircraft and engine manufacturer were to fail, this would result in a worsening of the situation and a deterioration of safety standards. Not only would RA-Aus struggle to maintain its activities in relation to improving safety in light aircraft, current Jabiru owners would have no access to ongoing support or spare parts for their current aircraft. That is to say, if Jabiru failed as a result of CASAs actions, owners would no longer be able to maintain their aircraft to a standard that would be safe due to a lack of ongoing support from the manufacturer.
With US media outlets already publicising CASAs blunt approach to the problem the news is already reaching foreign shores. Indeed at the time of writing this submission RA-Aus has become aware of at least two foreign manufacturers that have cancelled orders which will have a notable financial impact on Jabiru and affect their ability to address the many concerns that CASA may have.
CASA has been cited in the Forsyth Report as being adversarial with industry and, some five months after the publication of this report, appears to be maintaining that style of approach despite it being ineffective as noted in the same document. The manner in which this matter has been handled to date is a standout example of the type of behaviour for which the Forsyth Report reserved its strongest criticism. That the CASA personnel involved either didn’t recognise or didn’t care that their actions constitute that kind of behaviour is of great concern and suggests that CASA has made no efforts to address the significant concerns of the report in the five months since its publication.
CASA states on its website that its mission is “To enhance and promote aviation safety through effective regulation and by encouraging the wider aviation community to embrace and deliver higher standards of safety” yet the actions outlined above seemingly contradict with this mission. Indeed, the actions taken on this occasion can only be described as far from encouraging a positive result.
In addition to these impacts the aircraft types in question form a large part of the fleet used for training purposes. Flight training is the first opportunity for RA-Aus (and any flying body) to impress the need for high levels of safety on new pilots. With two thirds of the RA-Aus flight training facilities relying on Jabiru for their operations, this safety message can no longer be promulgated to pilots.
CASA will argue that the flight training activities being proposed are not eliminating pilot training, they are simply restricting pilot training to dual pilot operations. That is, pilot training can continue but trainee pilots cannot go solo using Jabiru aircraft. This sentiment further reinforces the lack of understanding of the industry on the part of CASA, the body responsible for regulating it.
Pilots are required, by law and under the RA-Aus Operations Manual, to undergo solo training before being issued with a licence or pilot certificate. This is a fundamental requirement of any training regime whether it be administered by RA-Aus, CASA or another body. The simple fact is that you cannot become qualified to fly an aircraft in Australia without conducting solo flying time. Thus, the restriction on flying schools that renders them unable to provide such training and effectively shuts them down.
Before any student is permitted to undertake a solo flight of any type, competency in managing emergency situations which include engine failures must be demonstrated. This is a requirement for both the CASA and RA-Aus flight training syllabi and is intended to equip pilots with the required knowledge to safely cope with such an event. Thus the recommendation to restrict solo flight training operations in Jabiru powered aircraft is a position that RA-Aus patently disagrees with and vigorously opposes.
The negative effects of the proposed restrictions must include potential loss of income and the threat to the livelihoods of those Australian’s that are employed in the industry. These include, but are not limited to, the direct impact on manufacturing (including the sub-contractors involved in Jabiru’s manufacturing processes), the employment of aircraft maintainers in the industry (a sector already crumbling under pressure) and the pilots and instructors that have devoted significant amounts of time and money to gain their flying credentials. With dwindling opportunities in the sector there is a significant possibility that these people, especially pilots, will leave the country to seek work elsewhere contributing to the existing problem of a decline in aviation expertise in Australia.
For private operators of the aircraft the ramifications are equally significant. With many individuals purchasing these aircraft with the intention of using them as a two seat vehicle, the proposed restrictions effectively render them unsuitable for this type of operation. Furthermore, each and every aircraft is required to have a warning sticker attached to the instrument panel that is visible by all occupants stating that the aircraft does not comply with the standard safety regulations and that all persons fly in the aircraft at their own risk.
In addition to this, many operators use their aircraft for work related purposes such as cattle spotting, observing fences and checking dam levels. For regional Australia where these type of operations are common the implications of the restrictions will extend well beyond aviation and into other, struggling sectors such as agriculture. With regional employment already suffering this proposed restriction has the potential to worsen an already difficult situation. There is also a significant chance that many regional based pilots will ignore the proposed instrument and continue with the status quo.3
These impacts on regional Australia and the potential employment effects are in addition to the simple economic impacts of stranded capital in the economy. There are well in excess of 1000 Jabiru aircraft or other types of aircraft with Jabiru engines fitted currently registered with RA-Aus. With a conservative estimate of $40k per aircraft the implications of this action at worst will be some $40m of aircraft rendered useless in the economy.
RA-Aus also note the inclusion of experimental or amateur built aircraft in the proposed instrument could be considered as outside CASA authority. This class of aircraft is not subject to any CASA imposed safety standards and by their inclusion CASA could be perceived to be acting beyond its remit demonstrating a clear lack of understanding of the implications of the proposed restrictions or the regulations it is supposed to administer. This highlights yet another example of the regulator being ineffective due to an insufficient understanding of the industry.
Summary
Whilst RA-Aus is supportive of moves to improve the reliability of Jabiru engines and safety in the sector, the adversarial approach taken by CASA and the lack of due process, transparency and direct consultation may be extremely damaging to aviation and the broader economy. The extent to which these impacts may affect the aviation sector include damaging the ability for the sector to improve safety related practices relating to all aspects of the industry be they maintenance or flying operations. For the broader economy the impacts are widespread and include negative employment impacts, adverse effects on regional Australia and the issue of stranded capital. Further, given that Jabiru aircraft are under-represented in fatality statistics, any claim of safety benefits arising from these measures is dubious at best.
The aforementioned Forsyth Report noted that “the industry’s trust in CASA is failing” and the actions undertaken by CASA on this occasion provide evidence that CASA simply does not care. CASA shows a complete lack of respect for the industry and the Government commissioned report is being treated with the same lack of respect. This is a clear demonstration that CASA is simply not interested in taking on the practices of leading regulators around the world and has even less interest in reforming its practices and heeding the advice of the report:
“The Panel concludes that CASA and industry need to build an effective collaborative relationship on a foundation of mutual trust and respect.”
It is clear to RA-Aus that CASA views itself as being responsible to no stakeholders be they industry, Government or any other sector within the economy. They have an attitude that they can unilaterally take any actions they please and have demonstrated their clear arrogance and belief that nothing needs to change despite professional and independent advice to the contrary.
They also show complete contempt for the present Government’s mandate of only introducing regulations and rules where there can be a clear and demonstrable benefit arising out of the new regulations. With no transparency, data or analysis it is once again clear that CASA believes it can operate outside of those rules that guide decision making in all other government departments.
The lack of transparency and consultation relating to Jabiru powered aircraft is of huge concern to industry. Not only has CASA made a decision that is not transparent, it has not sufficiently engaged with industry in an attempt to solve the perceived problem. CASA has also, in the days following the action, shown a lack of understanding of the data that was obtained through misleading statements making its claims even more dubious.
RA-Aus vigorously opposes all of the actions proposed by CASA and strongly urges the Department and the Minister to:

1. Withdraw the instrument in full and appropriately consult with all parties to develop an acceptable solution

2. Review the process for addressing the so called issues,

3. Reconsider the findings of the five month old Forsyth Report, and

4. Act on the recommendations contained within the Forsyth Report.

Delaying such actions will only allow CASA to continue to have damaging effects on aviation in Australia and indirectly impact the broader economy.
Yours faithfully,
(signed)
Michael Monck, President, Recreational Aviation Australia
Footnotes:
1 Given that more than two thirds of RA-Aus’ 170+ flight training facilities use Jabiru aircraft or engines, the true number of affected pilots may indeed be much higher.
2 While CASA is not transparent in terms of how it allocates its funding it should be noted that their total operating budget is in the order of $180m annually. With similar numbers of private pilot licence holders (although again, CASA is not transparent in terms of how many are active) to RA-Aus’ active pilot community it is clear that RA-Aus ostensibly performs comparable functions in a much more efficient manner than CASA.
3 Productivity Commission 1997, GREY–LETTER LAW, Report of the Commonwealth Interdepartmental Committee, on Quasi-regulation, Canberra

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Industry bodies unite in call for action

At least eight peak aviation industry bodies are now presenting a united front in demanding government action over the ever-worsening interface between industry and regulator.

In meetings in Sydney on November 13, the Australian Aviation Associations Forum (TAAAF) developed a multi-faceted critique headed, “Now is the time for Government to act,” which focused on the key issue it defined as “the lack of drive and commitment to act urgently on aviation – even judged by the government’s own promises.”

The Forum noted; “in considering the government’s performance against their 12 key aviation election commitments, TAAAF scored the government as having delivered around 40% of their commitments.”

TAAAF comprises industry groups that represent virtually all non-airline aviation sectors and include the Aviation Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul Business Association, the Aerial Agriculture Association of Australia, the Australian Association of Flying Instructors, the Australian Business Aviation Association, the Australian Helicopter Industry Association, the Recreational Aviation Association, the Australian Federation of Aero Clubs, and the Regional Aviation Association of Australia.

While the Forum’s expressed concerns at the lack of a government response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review were central to the communiqué, it also homed in on several related issues including government tardiness in the process of nominating CASA’s new board members and CEO, the multiple failures of the new rule-sets to meet the regulatory reform program’s (RRP) founding principles, CASA’s non-transparent internal processes, and the flawed regulations that continue to flow from the regulator’s 20-year-old RRP process, says the communiqué:

“In particular, the Forum expressed concern at the lack of a government response to the Aviation Safety Regulation Review [ASRR]. The Review was seen as a blueprint for the reform of CASA to make it an effective, efficient, fair and trusted regulator.

“[The Forum] called on the Minister to respond urgently to the Forsyth review, to finalise board appointments to ensure the CASA CEO is supported by a strong board reflective of the interests of the industry, and to issue CASA with a new letter of strategic direction under the Civil Aviation Act.

“The appointment of Jeff Boyd to the CASA board was warmly welcomed but it is of ongoing concern that the CASA board still has three vacancies, which is seen as holding back the reform of CASA.”

The Forum also welcomed the recent appointment of new CASA CEO Mark Skidmore, but clearly iwarned that it believed “significant challenges lay ahead in the reform of CASA and in bringing about badly needed improvements as highlighted in the independent ‘Forsyth Report.’”

The communiqué strongly supported the ASRR’s recommendation for the return of a three tier regulatory system to facilitate the drafting of simple operational rules. It rejected the CASA’s move away from its founding principles and towards the use of non-regulatory measures such as advisory material, policy documents, exemptions, manuals and forms as compliance requirements for operators and pilots. It also strongly supported the introduction of key quality assurance mechanisms within CASA, including a ‘merit decision appeal process’; again identified in the Forsyth report.

In the face of a growing mountain of unworkable new regulations, the Forum also called on the government to “establish immediately a moratorium on CASA regulatory development work until the new CEO is fully operational, the CASA board is appointed, and the government has made a clear response to the Forsyth report:

“In particular, CASRs Part 61 should immediately be suspended to prevent further damage to the industry and a joint industry/CASA task force appointed to apply the principles of sound regulatory development:

“CASR Part 61 was seen as a serious problem and not acceptable to the industry in its current form. It was identified as a threat to the viability of some sectors and significant numbers of operators. Additionally there is clearly confusion within the regulator about the implementation of the rule-set and a lack of consistent interpretation and education.”

Part 61 (Flight Crew Licensing, 75,000 words), creates 47 new offences, 22 of which are of strict liability, and all of which attract the maximum allowable penalty of 50 penalty units. It is littered with instances that support industry concerns, reports a senior industry ATO (approved testing officer) with a lifelong background of general aviation and airline flying with training and checking responsibilities, in Australia and internationally:

“The baseline assumption they always promoted, said firstly that whatever you were doing before, you’ll still be able to do it. And secondly, that there would be a three year transition period to allow the industry to adapt to new arrangements. I’ve now been told that although it was intended that training and checking people who were already qualified would be re-titled ‘examiners,’ they are now being told that if they don’t have an instructor rating they’ll have to start again and get one. I’m also told that this means that highly experienced people who have been training and checking in airline environments all their life are now being considered non-acceptable and it’s being put to operators that they should employ flying school instructors to gain type ratings and supply training and checking services on contract.

“The problem is that nobody has any idea of what we’ve got to do to comply with the new part 61 – literally nobody! That includes all the flying operations inspectors in CASA I’ve asked, who don’t even agree with one another!

ProAviation will be publishing a more detailed analysis on the expectable industry impacts of Parts 61 and 135 as the situation unfolds.

Author’s Note: The following paragraph represents a correction to some miss-typing

Part 135 (Australian air transport operations – small aeroplanes) – 154 pages not including the Manual of Standards, creates 210 new offences, 109 of which are of strict liability, with every one attracting the maximum allowable punishment of 50 units. It is littered with instances that support industry concerns, reports a senior industry approved testing officer (ATO) who has a lifelong background of general aviation and airline flying with training and checking responsibilities, in Australia and internationally:

Unkept promises of “seamless change”

“If and when it sees the light of day at all, part 135 is set to be even more controversial than Part 61, and in its present form would clearly spell the end of some aviation sectors.”

CASA has yet to announce the target dates to launch Part 135, but we note that the most recent ‘consultation draft’ is no longer available on the CASA website, and some in industry optimistically believe that CASA may actually be backing away from launching it in its present form.

“The baseline assumption they always promoted, said firstly that whatever you were doing before, you’ll still be able to do it. And secondly, that there would be a three year transition period to allow the industry to adapt to new arrangements. I’ve now been told that although it was intended that training and checking people who were already qualified would be re-titled examiners, they are now being told that if they don’t have an instructor rating they’ll have to start again and get one. I’m also told that this means that highly experienced people who have been training and checking in airline environments all their life are now being considered non-acceptable and it’s being put to operators that they should employ flying school instructors to gain type ratings and supply training and checking services on contract.

“The problem is that nobody has any idea of what we’ve got to do to comply with the new part 61 – literally nobody! That includes all the flying operations inspectors in CASA I’ve asked, who don’t even agree with one another!

Footnote:

With apologies in advance to non-technical readers, we suggest that pilots, AOC holders MRO workers and businesses would do well to contemplate carefully the likely resulting changes to the way they do business if the following advices (cut and pasted from CASA’s website) are fully implemented. We’ve tidied up the English a little, but may have missed a blooper or two. There are also some assertions that tend to downplay or sidestep significant potential cost and manageability impacts:

Part 135 Significant changes

  • aeroplanes will be required to be operated in accordance with a Minimum Equipment List (MEL).
  • Aerodromes standards – For aeroplanes less than 5700 kgs, Part 135 requires runway widths as per the Part 139 MOS Chapter 13/other legislative instrument, unless some narrower width is allowed under the operator’s approved exposition (It should be noted that floatplane ‘aerodromes’ standards are still to be written).
  • The ability to use single engine aeroplanes approved under Part 90 for IFR and NVFR operations (Airworthiness Advisory Circular 1-116 requirements are to be incorporated into CASR Part 90 for the aeroplane approval process. Operational procedures must be included in the operator’s exposition.) CASA also proposes to manage the very few turbine powered aeroplane below 5700 kg that can currently carry more than nine (9) passengers but cannot meet the current CAO 20.7.1B through an engine monitoring program under CASR Part 90.
  • The new ICAO fuel-standards for Part 135 fuel planning and fuel use rules have been incorporated, including requirements for operators to monitor the soundness of their fuel policy.
  • The introduction of ICAO take-off alternate requirements where a return to the departure aerodrome is not possible due to weather. An alternate will also be required when planning flights to a ‘relevant external aerodrome’ as defined in Part 135 (Lord Howe, Norfolk, Christmas and Cocos Islands).
  • Inclusion of the ICAO approach-ban criteria.
  • Performance criteria for very light jets and aircraft above 5700 kg are referenced under Part 121. This is to avoid duplication and it is consistent with current CAO 20.7.1B.
  • Additional rules requiring operators to outline specific procedures for determining IFR take-off minima in relation to the performance of the aeroplane used at the time.
  • A new requirement for weather radar to be fitted to aeroplanes with more than 5 passenger seats conducting IFR operations. The commencement date of this requirement will be determined after consideration of any technological developments in weather reporting systems that may be suitable as an alternative to radar systems.
  • Auto-pilot requirements for single pilot operations in passenger air transport operations with relief for cargo only operations in certain aeroplanes before 30 June 2015.
  • Emergency locator beacons required to be fitted for all flights, however for flights up to 50 nautical miles the beacon can be portable.
  • TAWS B fitment for passenger-carrying IFR operations on aeroplanes configured with more than 5 passenger seats. The commencement date of this requirement will take account of the commencement date of GNSS requirement for IFR aircraft, in order to take advantage of expected technology advancements that will reduce costs of incorporating TAWS functions.
  • Additional criteria for flights over water, including requirements for the wearing of life jackets and the carriage of life rafts when flying beyond gliding distance from a safe forced landing area.
  • The introduction of a portable, emergency proficiency training qualification for pilots for over water operations.
  • Operator and flight crew member’s training, checking and recency requirements based on an operational complexity model. Pilots flying multi-engine aeroplane requires two (2) proficiency checks annually but VFR single en gine pilots will require one (1) only.
  • The ability for operators to use a `certified Part 142 organisation for their training and checking activities provided they do so to the requirements of the Part 135 AOC holder’s Standard Operating Procedures.

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  • A chain of events that competent, responsive and honest management could clearly have prevented, ended in the grounding of about 65% of Australia's general aviation fleet in December 1999; most of them for almost four months. In-house Civil Aviation Safety Authority documents show that CASA ignored important industry input and supporting evidence, blanketed the whole…
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  • The document below was circulated widely in March 1998. Yes, that's 15 years ago. It brought a glimmer of hope to an industry that was already beset by the out-of-control advance of adversorial, prescriptive and punitive regulation. Its fate should be part of the terms of reference of the government’s planned major external review of…
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Albanese airport decision under AAT microscope

In an Administrative Appeals Tribunal hearing commenced this week, the Archerfield Chamber of Commerce (ACC) Inc. is seeking an AAT finding to set aside a Ministerial Decision of former Transport Minister Anthony Albanese in May 2012, which approved the Archerfield Airport 2011-2031 master plan. The hearing commenced in Brisbane yesterday (Tuesday 18 November) and is expected to run until November 26.Witnesses for the Chamber will include a former Federal Minister of Aviation Mr Peter Morris and other aviation experts, some of whom are former Federal Government employees.
The Chamber is asserting that the Department of Transport and Infrastructure and CASA did not assess the approved Master Plan with the required detail and technical accuracy demanded. In short the approval was granted without having regard to current applicable legislation, the interests of the aviation industry, the general public and the use of erroneous technical assessments.Archerfield inappropriate devels highlighted & boundaries
The ACC says, “The Department in recent years has suffered from an absence of specialised professionals in the aviation field with important decisions and recommendations to the responsible Minister being taken by uninformed bureaucrats who do not understand the industry or apply the law correctly.
“Chief among these failings has been the extraordinary policy of the Department to absolutely refuse to apply the statutory requirements of the Airports Privatisation Act. They advise that all problems arising between the users of airports and the lease holders, where the leaseholders breach the Act, are commercial disputes and should be settled in the courts.
“Instead of the Government applying its laws the onus is transferred to the general community to do so. The so called “Light Hands Policy” in relation to airports, a policy designed as a cover for bureaucratic executive action, has no legal backing at all and has never been raised in the Parliament.
“The Department has been acting as an un-informed regulator and uniformed protector of the public interest. It has been acting only as a post office rather than doing its job to protect the airports and the users. The consequences are that general aviation industries are being destroyed and airports infrastructure including runways being downgraded or lost.
“There is no or inadequate compensation to aviation businesses losing their assets through a system of refusals to renew aviation related leases of Commonwealth owned airport land upon which tenants paid for the buildings and improvements. Aviation land through the airport’s master plan will be converted to commercial and industrial sites without any control or supervision by State planning authorities.
“The full resources of Governments of all political persuasions have been deployed to ensure the commercial profits of the airport lease holders are ensured, without regard as to the loss of vital national infrastructure or the interests of the community at large, and the viability of general aviation businesses that try to provide services in a competitive market environment.
“The Act provides that airport lease holders must not alienate land that is required for present and future aviation needs. The Chamber’s application is to preserve our precious aviation infrastructure, stop new commercial and industrial development on land that is currently being used for runways and aviation businesses and to send a clear message to all federal airport leasing companies that only aviation related developments on taxpayer land in Australia will be permitted.”
Similar disputation has marred airport/operator relationships at some but not all other secondary airports. Bankstown based operators complain of ongoing intrusion of non-aviation development that has wiped out the only north-south runway available to general aviation in the Sydney basin and also taxiways, aircraft parking space and land they say should be held available for the growth of further aviation businesses.
Head lease holder Moorabbin Airport Corporation (MAC) is also widely criticised by its tenants for degrading airport functionality through the length reduction of runway 04/22, and the loss of space available for helicopter emergency procedures training due to the encroachment of non-aviation commercial buildings, and “astronomical” lease rental increases.

But on the brighter side, happily, GA airports don’t really have to work that way. At Parafield, Adelaide’s secondary airport, operators and airport owners exist in relative harmony. Significantly the main difference between Parafield and its three east coast counterparts is that its head leaseholders also own Adelaide’s main airport and have a strong background in airport ownership and operation elsewhere. Pine Pienaar, Managing Director of the airports biggest customer, Flight Training Adelaide, is more than happy with the service:

“We have a great relationship with Parafield Airport Ltd, which is owned by the same guys who lease Adelaide Airport, and they are very positive about having their airport here; they’re not looking to develop non-aviation property at the expense of the flying side of the business. We may rub each other now and again, but that’s just part of doing business; they see us very much as part of their commercial solution here, and they’re also happy with all the other flying operators. We occasionally have dialogue with some of the surrounding areas because we’re nestled in between some housing and businesses, but the airport people are very supportive and helpful in helping to educate the local population in why we are here and how much employment we generate. There’s no doubt that they have a model to utilise some of the ‘dead ground’ for want of a better expression, for commercial real estate rental, but overall we have a very good working relationship.”

And in Western Australia, aviation tenants at Jandakot airport learned in 2006 to monitor their interests closely when the airport owners sought to move the relatively new airfield to a new site and subdivide Jandakot for commercial real estate. Now cited as Australia’s busiest general aviation airport, Jandakot was saved by a most uncharacteristic political intervention. Airport tenants had became concerned that the airport head-lessors were planning to shut down the airport and move it to a new location considerably further from Perth, obviously in preparation for converting the entire landholding to commercial real estate.

In a very straight-to-the-point letter, the (then) Minister Mark Vaile wrote to Ascot Capital Limited, the head lease owners, suggesting that they should forget their plan and get on with meeting their obligations under the Act:

Should you wish to proceed with developing the airport development and relocation proposal, Ascot Capital Limited should not assume any right to re-develop the current site. The Jandakot airport site would be subject to the Commonwealth Property Disposals Policy, which, except in very limited and specific circumstances, requires a sale on the open market for full market value with the proceeds to the Australian Government. The policy does not provide any opportunity for a land-swap or similar negotiated arrangements as may be contemplated in the proposal put forward by Ascot Capital………..

…..the airport site is Commonwealth land with JAH holding a 99 year lease to run an airport on the site. In the absence of a much more convincing case to the contrary, the Government remains committed to the Jandakot airport site and is of the view that the long-term airport lease on the existing site should remain.

No indication should at this time be given that the Australian Government is in any way inclined to support the proposal to relocate Jandakot Airport. I would like to restate the Australian Government’s position that JAH proceed with implementing the approved Master Plan for Jandakot airport and operating the airport in accordance with the Airports Act 1996 and the Airports (Transition) Act 1996.

In effect, Minister Vaile was warning he would enforce the provisions of the Airport Act, and if here, why not everywhere else? It is difficult to understand why this doesn’t occur at all similarly-situated airports. It has been perfectly within the authority and the duty of successive governments and the Minister to deliver similar messages to the head-lessors of Archerfield, Bankstown and Moorabbin.

Meanwhile, a well-organised Jandakot Airport Chamber of Commerce closely monitors issues around the airport Master Plan, and actively participates in all dialogue affecting its members’ futures. “It’s really just a matter of watching to see that everybody continues to play by the rules,” says Chamber of Commerce spokesman Michael Braybrook.

 

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  • Saving your airport If your airport is at risk of being transformed into an industrial real estate venture that limits aviation operations, the you should be aware of the following letter from Archerfield Airport Chamber of Commerce Inc Lindsay Snell. The situation currently being contested by Archerfield users might very easily be duplicated closer to…
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Hall of Fame honours our Aviation achievers

Wagga Wagga’s rich and eventful aviation history, an excellent and thriving airport that’s still a major aviation activity centre, an aviation-oriented community and a modern, regionally-focused university, made the Riverina city an obvious choice as the home of the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame. Also, Wagga is almost exactly half way between Melbourne and Sydney.
The ambitious but well-planned AAHOF initiative was announced just three years ago, and its three co-founders were former Qantas Chief Pilot Chris Manning, Paul Tyrrell, CEO of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, and Geoff Breust, former CEO of Regional Express.

AAHOF Members, inductees and their families visiting Temora Aviation Museum

AAHOF Members, inductees and their families visiting Temora Aviation Museum

The founders and AAHOF’s board and executives were in Wagga last weekend to join almost 200 industry identities and inductee family members at a civic reception on Friday afternoon, a visit to the Temora Aviation Museum and the third gala induction dinner to honour the newest inductees:
• Sir Reginald Ansett, KBE, who founded and developed the Ansett group of airlines and associated companies;
• Horace Brinsmead, OBE, MC, Australia’s first Controller of Civil Aviation;
• Harry Hawker, MBE, AFC, aircraft designer, test pilot and lifelong record-setting aviation adventurer;
• Colin Pay, pioneering agricultural pilot and warbird movement leader;
• Ingo Renner, OAM, record-setting glider pilot, instructor and gliding guru;
• Senja Robey, BEM, a dedicated general aviation flying instructor with 52 years flying experience; and
• The Australian Air Force Cadets organisation (formerly known as the Air Training Corps.
Founding AAHOF President Chris Manning has explained the AAHOF philosophy:
“You can’t forget your history. Aviation, especially in regional Australia, has played a huge role in opening up the outback, and there’s a tendency to forget that, especially as we become more city-centric. So it’s very important that we keep the memory of those people and institutions alive.
“Also we’re inclined to glorify the “flyboys” but they’re only a part of it. There are also the commercial people who’ve started airlines, the people involved in air traffic control, in administration, engineering. They should all be honoured and they tend to be forgotten. So apart from the people like Kingsford-Smith and all the usual suspects there area lot of other people who deserve recognition.
“It’s going to be a project with international stature; it’s not going to be a small thing, which is why the project has a fairly conservative timeline. We’re basing it a little on Canada’s Hall of Fame, which is attached to a museum, but the showpiece is an annual dinner of inductees. In Canada that’s a big event, and we expect it to be THE aviation dinner in Australia.”
Chris’s co-founder Paul Tyrrell has explained the timetable:
“We decided not to wait for the bricks and mortar, but to establish a ‘virtual’ Aviation Hall of Fame on the Internet so we could get things moving. It sounds like an easy task but it’s quite complex. We’ve started a web site and we’re going to make that a high quality site so people can observe progress as it’s made. We need to do our research, develop categories and so on. We have discussed with the new Board how we’re going to develop the web site, but we want to say to the people of Australia: ‘These are the sorts of things we’ll be looking at, in terms of deciding who should be inducted into the Hall of Fame, then we need to build that very carefully and the people from Charles Sturt University will be assisting us. They’ve provided the assistance of highly skilled librarians, archivists and historians; the broad range of skills of just the kind needed in such a project.”
The group’s vision is: “To honour those individuals and organisations whose outstanding contributions have advanced aviation significantly in a national Australian Aviation Hall of Fame, thereby inspiring future generations.”
Its two-point mission statement is also clear:
• “Establish the Australian Aviation Hall of Fame, to formally induct into it people and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to civil aviation in Australia, and Australians who have made an outstanding contribution internationally; and
• “Honour all of those inductees with a public exhibition of their contribution both electronically via a web site and physically in a facility located in Wagga Wagga NSW Australia.”
And its motto is simply: “Honour the past, and inspire the future.”
Mr Tyrrell says, “The Hall of Fame is an incorporated association, and its membership is open to aviation associations of which there are quite a number. It’s also open to professional bodies, major airlines, and particularly to staff at universities and the Wagga Wagga City Council.
“Our clear aim is to have a world class facility not only in terms of the web sites, but also in the actual material it contains.’
They’re off to a good start with a detailed web site which invites membership, details the requirements for nominees and how to nominate them and provides nomination forms.
AAHOF is confident of ongoing industry and society support, and significant sponsors already include Alliance Airlines, General Electric, Hawker Pacific, Jeppesen, Norton White Lawyers, Shell Aviation, Wagga City Council, Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, Qantas Link and QBE Insurance.
Proaviation congratulates AAHOF’s founders, their organisation, and industry supporters on their ongoing efforts and successes.

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CASA’s Designated Aviation Medical Examiners (DAMEs) received the following advice as part of an internal CASA newsletter today:

Changing of the Guard

I have decided that it is time that AvMed is led by a different leader. As we get a new Director, it seems appropriate that we renew this area of CASA as well. Accordingly I will be moving on from CASA in the new year. More details about the arrangements of CASA AvMed are being finalised and I will provide more details in the next newsletter.

Regards,

Pooshan’

 

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