CASA Consultation Hub

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is committed to working cooperatively with the aviation industry and community to maintain and enhance aviation safety. This hub is a place for you to find and participate in consultations that interest you.

COVID-19

We have suspended many face-to-face engagement activities in line with nation-wide efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

To ensure our more important and longer-term initiatives remain on track, we will still be conducting online consultation and encourage your participation. 

Your feedback is important and if you have any specific circumstances or challenges in participating during the current environment, please contact us using the details listed in each consultation.

Recently updated consultations are displayed below. Alternatively, search for consultations by keyword and interests.

 

Open Consultations

  • Register your interest for our Technical Working Groups

    The Aviation Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) has been established to provide the CASA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Director of Aviation Safety (DAS) with informed, objective high-level advice from the aviation community on current, emerging and potential issues that have, or may have,... More

    Closes 30 June 2021

Closed Consultations

We Asked, You Said, We Did

Here are some of the issues we have consulted on and their outcomes. See all outcomes

We asked

From 9 to 23 September 2020 we invited public comment on proposed changes to the rules for drones, also known as remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).

The summary of proposed changes included:

  • the operation of foreign-registered drones under a permission in Australian territory
  • the proper conduct of online examinations (operator accreditation)
  • all registered RPA to, at all times, display CASA-generated registration mark(s) legibly
  • registered drone modifications and the criteria any modified drone must meet for it to be re-registered, or registered, as a new drone
  • replacing the requirements for excluded category notifications with registrations to reduce administrative burden on operators.

We also proposed additional relief in response to COVID-19, including a transitional amendment to Chapter 2 of the Part 101 Manual of Standards (MOS) for remote pilot licence (RePL) training courses and an 18-month extension for RePL training instructors to obtain the required qualifications.

The consultation asked if participants agree the proposed amendments to Part 101 reflect the policy change as set out in the summary of proposed changes, if it will work as intended and that the amendments will not result in unintended consequences.

You said

CASA thanks the contributions provided by respondents and acknowledges that their feedback is beneficial for the consultation process. The consultation received responses from 56 individuals or organisations, including 17 remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) holders, 14 remote pilot licence (RePL) holders, seven training organisations and eight excluded category RPA pilots.

Key feedback

Responses were largely supportive of the proposed amendments. Sixty-seven per cent of respondents agreed that the proposed amendments reflected the change in policy and that they will work as intended. Thirty per cent of respondents did not agree. Almost 58 per cent agreed the proposed amendments would not result in unintended consequences and 39 per cent did not agree.

Respondents provided additional comments to support their response. Overall, additional responses provided feedback outside the scope of the consultation’s proposed amendments and mostly related to the registration requirements and drone safety rules, such as operating near aerodromes, maximum operating height and operating 30 metres from people. As part of our continuous improvement process we have documented this feedback which may inform future consultation and amendment.

Some responses highlighted that elements of the proposed policy relating to the COVID-19 transitional amendment for RePL training courses should be moved from 31 January 2021 to coincide with the respective state or territories first school term of 2021 to allow students to complete their RePL courses at school.

Some respondents advised that some elements of the proposed amendments were unclear, including the removal of the requirement for excluded category operators to notify CASA, registration requirements for modified drones and how this applies to modified drones used for research and development, and that the proposed 18-month extension for RePL training instructors to obtain the relevant qualifications is too long.

Other responses included specific feedback on RePL training course syllabi, the use of registration marks for drones registered in Australia and foreign registered drones operating in Australia.

We did

In response to the consultation, we will extend the transitional amendment to allow any student who commenced a RePL course on or after 3 April 2020, but before 10 October 2020, to complete the course and its examinations and assessments under the relevant syllabi by 30 April 2021. This extension will allow those students and training organisations impacted by COVID-19 to complete their RePL courses during the first term of the 2021 school year. Any course commenced on, or from, 10 October 2020 must be completed against the new syllabi.

We will retain the proposed 18-month extension for RePL training course instructors to 10 April 2022 for Part 101 MOS paragraph 2.30 (2) (c) in Division 2.7. While we recognise some training instructors were able to obtain their qualifications, COVID-19 has had different impacts around Australia and the additional time will provide further support for all training instructors and organisations.

By incorporating the excluded category notification into the RPA registration process, CASA aims to reduce red-tape by simplifying the notification requirements. Combined with the requirement to register the RPA, the requirement for excluded category operators to obtain RPA operator accreditation before they fly will provide data about who is operating an excluded RPA. CASA does not believe the oversight of these operations will be diminished by simplifying the notification requirements.

CASA will consider all feedback as part of a post-implementation review.

We asked

From 25 August to 13 September 2020 we invited public comment on proposed charges for drone regulatory services, including:

  • an initial fee-free registration period for commercial drones registered before 30 June 2021
  • the introduction of a simplified fee structure for other commercial drone services.

The consultation asked you to comment on changes from an hourly rate charge to fixed fees for some services, continued hourly rate charges for complex commercial drone operations, a $0 drone registration fee and whether you thought our estimates of the expected volume and demand for services from commercial drone operations over the next five years reflected the available data.

You said

CASA appreciates the contributions made by respondents and acknowledges that their feedback has been beneficial to the consultation process. The consultation received responses from 262 individuals or organisations—including 162 remote pilot licence (RePL) holders and 108 remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) holders.

60 per cent of respondents reported operating a very small drone (2 kg or less) and 35 per cent of respondents reported operating a small drone (between 2 kg and 25 kg) – approximately 3 per cent operate a drone more than 25 kg.

Responses were largely supportive of the proposed initial fee-free registration period, with 77 per cent of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing they support the proposal. Some respondents partially supported the proposed fees and fewer did not support any element of the proposal at all.

Many agreed or strongly agreed (53 per cent) that the simplified fee structure provided greater certainty of business costs. Fewer (33 per cent) agreed or strongly agreed it would reduce administrative burden on their business when applying for CASA services, while 30 per cent neither agreed nor disagreed.

40 per cent of respondents reported they disagree or strongly disagree that the simplified fee structure would result in cost savings for their business. A smaller proportion neither agreed nor disagreed (34 per cent), while 6 per cent reported they didn’t know if it would result in costs savings for their business.   

Most respondents (58 per cent) reported they did not know if the proposed fees reflected the estimated demand for services and volume of commercial operators in Australia – 23 per cent agreed.

Consultation feedback highlighted that some elements of the registration and accreditation process were unclear, including how to deregister a drone if it is sold or damaged beyond repair and if unused drones are required to be registered. Other feedback included specific questions about future fees, exemptions for some operators and partial refunds for deregistered drones.

We did

In response to the consultation, CASA will introduce a fee waiver for commercial drones registered before 30 June 2021, allowing for a $0 drone registration fee.

Registration will open on 30 September 2020 and be required by 28 January 2021. It will be valid for 12 months from the date of registration.

Any future registration fees, exemptions and refunds will be considered in early 2021, at which point you will be consulted accordingly on any proposed fees.

More information about the registration and accreditation requirements and the process is now available on our website – casa.gov.au/drones

The Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) will be published after the Australian Government’s consideration and its deliberations on the future funding arrangements for CASA. This will include consideration of fixed fees for other RPAS related regulatory services.

We asked

From 30 July to 28 August 2020 we invited public comment on consequential amendments to Subpart 101.H - Rockets.

This consultation proposed changes to the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR), primarily to:

  • ensure the definition of 'high power rocket' in regulation 101.425 of CASR does not overlap with the definition of 'high power rocket' in section 5 of the Space (Launches and Returns) (High Power Rocket) Rules 2019, which commenced on 30 June 2020
  • clarify the existing regulatory framework by amending a small number of relevant provisions to enable CASA to continue regulating model rockets and rockets which are not high power rockets
  • ensure that launch of high power rockets and the launch of space objects using rockets may only be undertaken in an approved area.

You said

Six submissions were received from six respondents. All respondents supported the draft amendment, five without changes (83 per cent of respondents), one (17 per cent of respondents) with suggested changes.

None of the suggested changes were related to the specific intent of the draft regulations which was to align CASA regulations with the Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 The two suggestions were to:

(1)  change to the draft amendment to require CASA to interact with ASA

(2)  amend the Airspace Act 2007 to provide rockertry applications higher      priority when the Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR) assesses equitable acces to airspace.

          1.  

For the first proposal one respondent suggested:

"If the intention is that CASA and the ASA are in constant communication during at least a partial phase of the ASA launch permit assessment process this is not in the Act, nor in the Rules, and the legislation should be amended to reflect that."

CASA proposes that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two agencies is a better mechanism to achieve the outcome the respondent requests. This will facilitate timely communication and business process interactions between the agencies on these matters.

For the second proposal the same respondent also noted that additional changes to aviation legislation is required, in this case, to adjust the priority given to rocketry operations access to airspace under the Airspace Act 2007:

"…to give equal priority to space activities as to other aviation and ADF activities."

CASA notes that the current Australian Airspace Policy Statement 2018 

<https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2018L01386> specifically mentions, in clause 8 of the statement, that " the administration of Australian-administered airspace shall consider the current and future needs of the Australian aviation industry, which includes civil and military aviation; as well as shall consider cost implications for all airspace users, and shall be in the best interests of Australia."

No other comments suggested any change to the draft amendment. However, extensive feedback was received in relation to non-legislative matters. To ensure clarity to industry, major concerns emerging from this additional feedback is addressed below.

Timelines for approval from CASA and ASA

Four of the six respondents were concerned with the time it may take to achieve approval from two regulators (CASA and ASA). The majority of the respondents were concerned that the process would be serialised in fashion, first with the ASA approving the risk to people and property (ground risk), before CASA would subsequently be consulted and then secondly approve the risk to other aviation stakeholders (air risk). Both agencies are committed to ensuring as smooth a process as possible and propose to enter into an MoU to address such matters.

In addition, it is not envisaged by CASA that the process will be serialised as this does not consider the trade space between an appropriate airspace volume and ground area and the required discussions with both CASA and ASA to ensure compliance with both regulatory frameworks. As described by one consultation respondent:

"The process to obtain a High Power Rocket permit or Launch permit is extremely detailed and requires substantial effort to develop the various plans (Program Management, Operations, Environmental, Technology Security, etc.) as well as the Risk Hazard Analysis, to assess the ground based risk. There is absolutely no point in the launch provider initiating this process unless they know that they have a reasonable chance of obtaining a CASA Area Approval for their proposed launches and flight paths."

Use of the Term amateur rocket

Two respondents raised issue with the term amateur rocket used for rockets that are:

  • not a model rocket
  • not a High Power Rocket as defined by the Space (Launches and Returns) (High Power Rocket) Rules 2020.

We did

Timelines for approval from CASA and ASA

CASA agrees it will be important for it to be part of early engagement with an applicant, facilitated by the ASA as entry control regulator for high power rockets and space objects. CASA is engaging with the ASA on these matters to establish early discussion processes between the applicant and both agencies to ensure that all parties are aware of the considerations CASA must apply as part of its regulatory approval (that is, an area approval under Part 101 of CASR).

Use of the Term amateur rocket

CASA understands that this term can cause confusion as it implies a non-business aspect to the activity. CASA would first note that this term is not a defined term in the regulations, as these rockets are defined by exception, rather than inclusion and as such there is no requirement for area approvals to specifically mention this term. To provide some additional context on the intended use of this term, CASA was seeking to reflect the United States definition of amateur rocket as defined under Subsection 1.1 of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations:

Amateur rocket means an unmanned rocket that:

(1) Is propelled by a motor or motors having a combined total impulse of 889,600 Newton-seconds (200,000 pound-seconds) or less; and

(2) Cannot reach an altitude greater than 150 kilometers (93.2 statute miles) above the earth's surface.

However, given the feedback received, CASA will instead consider adopting the term medium power rocket when describing the rockets within Grouping C as defined in the Summary of Proposed Consultation.

In the longer term, CASA considers an MoU describing interagency processes is the most appropriate way to ensure that an applicant, CASA and the ASA, are aware of their obligations under such an MoU, and that the process is transparent. Likewise, in the course of their industry engagement, CASA has raised this issue for the ASA's consideration. However, in the shorter term, CASA will work with the ASA using interim ad-hoc processes, which will provide important process learnings and feedback, to ensure near term applications are not unnecessarily delayed.

Next steps

Due to the nature of the comments which are overwhelmingly supportive of the amendments being made, there will be no further changes to the draft amendment. The comments provided will be used by CASA in formulating its partnership with the ASA in future, particularly with respect to the timing of approvals.