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Australia CASA Briefing - December 2017

18-Dec-2017 From CEO and Director of Aviation Safety Shane Carmody

Rather than slowing down in the final month of 2017, CASA has delivered on a number of long standing issues. The announcement of major reforms to the aviation medical system was widely welcomed by the aviation community, including by organisations such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association who are not noted for being CASA supporters. I thank the people and organisations who worked with CASA to develop the plans for the reforms and ask for a little patience while we put the changes into place during the coming months. My aim is to have the new basic class two aviation medical available for pilots by the middle of 2018. I have noted that some people would like the reforms to go further and I understand this sentiment. However, I believe the changes we have announced are significant and will offer thousands of general aviation pilots access to a simpler and easier aviation medical. Importantly, this is not the end of aviation medical reform. CASA will be undertaking a holistic review of the aviation medical system and this means we will be striving for further improvements and reforms.

Two other significant developments were the next step in introducing new radio procedures for use in low-level class G airspace and the beginning of consultation on options for low cost ADS-B. Final consultation is being undertaken on using the MULTICOM frequency as the common low-level class G frequency below 5000 feet where there is no other established frequency. CASA has listened to the views of the aviation community on this issue, particularly general aviation. Our earlier discussion paper found 82 per cent of respondents supported the MULTICOM proposal and on the basis of this overwhelming support CASA developed a set of proposals that maintain and enhance safety while offering operational benefits. I am pleased that we have moved to resolve this issue as it had generated considerable debate over a number of years. Low cost ADS-B is another potential win for general aviation and the views and detailed comments of pilots and aircraft maintainers are essential in developing future plans. I look forward to reading responses to the ADS-B discussion paper in the New Year.

The year ahead will be a big year for CASA. As well as the implementation of the aviation medicine and MULTICOM changes, I am committed to finalising the remaining suites of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations. This work alone will be a huge task for our organisation. In addition we will be completing the review into the new fatigue regulations, which will allow a final policy position to be reached. I would like to thank everyone in the aviation community who has worked with CASA and contributed to maintaining and improving aviation safety during 2017. Safety belongs to the whole aviation community and CASA will continue its work of supporting, facilitating and educating in the year ahead. Enjoy the holiday break and fly safely.

Best wishes
Shane Carmody

Have your say on low cost ADS-B

A package of initiatives to cut the costs and red tape of fitting automatic dependant surveillance - broadcast (ADS-B) technology in visual flight rules aircraft has been released for comment. CASA wants to hear the views of the aviation community on the best ways to make ADS-B OUT more easily accessible for visual flight rules operations. A new discussion paper seeks comment on options to reduce the cost of ADS-B installation and maintenance, standards suitable for visual flight rules aircraft, developing technical standards and various ADS-B configurations. It also looks at portable installations, indicative equipment costs, ADS-B IN equipment and ADS-B use by remotely piloted aircraft.

All aircraft operating under the instrument flight rules are already required to carry ADS-B transmitting equipment and there is an extensive ADS-B ground receiver network used by air traffic control. Current technical specifications for ADS-B are designed for instrument flight rules operations in controlled airspace and the requirements may preclude ADS-B solutions suitable for use in visual flight rules aircraft. Very few visual flight rules aircraft have been voluntarily fitted with ADS-B OUT technology as the cost of installing the equipment can be prohibitive. CASA hopes that by exploring ADS-B compatible technologies a safe and effective solution may be available at a reduced cost to allow greater voluntary fitting of the equipment. CASA currently has no intention of requiring ADS-B technology to be fitted to visual flight rules aircraft – ADS-B equipment remains an option.

Have your say on options for ADS-B for visual flight rules aircraft by 23 February 2018.

Comment now on low level frequency proposals

The next step towards the introduction of new procedures for radio use in low level class G airspace has been taken. A notice of proposed rule making has been released for comment on using the MULTICOM frequency of 126.7 MHz as the common low-altitude frequency in class G airspace. It would be used where a discrete frequency such as common traffic advisory frequency or broadcast area does not exist. It is proposed that aircraft operating to both the visual flight rules and instrument flight rules will monitor and broadcast on the MULTICOM frequency below 5000 feet. Instrument flight rules aircraft would still be required to monitor and respond on the overlying area VHF frequency where able. CASA is also proposing to increase the size of common traffic advisory frequency broadcast areas from 10 to 20 nautical miles laterally and up to 5000 feet vertically. This will enhance the safety of instrument flight rules operations, particularly air transport operations. It will ensure all aircraft at a common traffic advisory frequency aerodrome are on the same frequency, including aircraft conducting instrument approaches, which typically commence at around 15 nautical miles. This change will result in all traffic being alerted earlier to incoming instrument flight rules traffic and will avoid instrument flight rules aircraft having to manage multiple frequency changes in a very short period, thus reducing cockpit workload. Using the MULTICOM at low levels was strongly supported in responses to an earlier discussion paper issued by CASA.

Have your say on the low level frequency proposals by 12 January 2018.

Drone registration supported

Strong support for some form of drone registration scheme has been expressed by people responding to a CASA drone discussion paper. Eighty six per cent of the 910 responses supported drone registration, although there was disagreement about how this should be achieved. Registration options include basing schemes on the owner, operator or drone, with weight or the type of operation being a determining factor in whether registration is required. A majority of respondents said small drones should not be required to be registered. The analysis of the discussion paper found broad support for mandatory training and proficiency for drone flyers. Weight was again seen as a determining factor in the need for training and proficiency. There was strong support for free and user friendly education on the safe flying of drones, with e-learning mentioned as valuable. Views on whether mandatory geo-fencing technology should be fitted to all drones were evenly split for and against. Some people believe geo-fencing should be used in areas close to airports while others say the technology is ineffective. In the area of counter drone technology most people were supportive of trained law enforcement personnel having access to the capability. Many people said this technology should not be available to the general public. Overall, people responding to the discussion paper said the current drone rules are appropriate and CASA is doing a good job. CASA is now considering the detailed feedback as part of a review of drone regulation.

Go to the drone discussion paper responses.

Work starts on major reforms to medicals system

Work is now underway to implement a series of major reforms to the aviation medical certificate system. The reforms include creating a new category of private pilot medical certificate, allowing non passenger carrying commercial operations under a full Class 2 medical certificate and extending the delegation of medical decision making to medical professionals. The new medical certificate category to be known as a basic Class 2 will be available to private pilots flying piston engine powered aircraft carrying up to five non fare paying passengers. Operations will be limited to the daytime visual flight rules and will be permitted in all classes of airspace. This basic Class 2 medical certificate will only require an assessment by a doctor using the Austroads commercial vehicle driver standards. General practitioners will be able to carry out assessments. There will be no additional medical review by CASA of the basic class 2. Medical issues covered by the Austroad commercial standard include cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, psychiatric conditions, blackouts substance abuse and vision and hearing disorders. The new basic Class 2 medical will be valid for a maximum of five years up to the age of 40 and a maximum of two years above the age of 40. The current unrestricted Class 2 medical certificate will remain in place for private pilots operating aircraft up to 8618 kilograms with a maximum of nine non fare paying passengers. This unrestricted Class 2 medical will be used under all flight rules and allow for operations in all classes of airspace. Importantly, pilots flying commercial operations with no passengers – such as flying training and aerial agriculture – will now be able to do so on the basis of an unrestricted Class 2 medical certificate. Previously these operations required the pilot to hold a Class 1 medical certificate. The reforms to aviation medical certification will be progressively introduced during 2018.

We’re closed for the holiday period

Time is running out to obtain any regulatory services from CASA before the Christmas-New Year holidays. CASA will be closed from end of business Friday 22 December 2017 until start of business Tuesday 2 January 2018. New applications, variations and renewals should be submitted to CASA well before Friday 22 December 2017, as only urgent matters will receive attention on the day. All normal services will resume on Tuesday 2 January 2018. Over the holiday period there will be some CASA staff available to help with urgent aviation safety matters but please limit enquiries to matters that need immediate attention. For holiday season help call the main CASA telephone number – 131 757 – and follow the prompts. Foreign air operators looking for information over the Christmas-New Year period should go to the international operations section of the CASA web site. Urgent assistance for international operations requests such as non-scheduled medical flights can be obtained by calling +61 7 3144 7400. CASA will also assist with urgent or emergency airspace requests - call +61 2 6217 1177.

Get all the 2017-18 holiday information.

Holiday season cabin safety campaign

A holiday season cabin safety campaign has been launched by CASA using a series of videos targeting poor passenger behaviour. High quality animated videos deliver safety messages on issues such as listening to cabin safety briefings, wearing seat belts, limiting carry-on luggage, losing electronic devices in seats, smoking in toilets, safe carriage of children, following crew instructions and emergency evacuations. The messages are delivered using ‘jelly bean’ characters that show the disastrous consequences of failing to do the right thing on board an aircraft. The campaign will increase public awareness of important cabin safety issues and support airline safety messages. The campaign’s concept has been supported by the Asia Pacific Cabin Safety Working Group. CASA has also recently updated cabin safety web site information and issued new cabin safety bulletins to the aviation industry.

In brief

Comment is being sought on a policy paper on indemnity and insurance arrangements for industry delegates and authorised persons. There are four proposals – continuing current arrangements, extending coverage, case-by-case coverage and coverage where commercial insurance is not available. Lodge comments by 22 December.

A new edition of the legislative instrument that sets out the flight review requirements and type ratings for specified aircraft types under Part 61 of Civil Aviation Safety Regulations has been released. It also prescribes the flight training and flight review requirements for the exercise of the privileges of specified class ratings.