Proposed new Manual of Standards Part 138 (Aerial Work Operations) and regulation amendments – (CD 1919OS)

Closed 17 Jun 2020

Opened 30 Apr 2020

Results updated 5 Nov 2020

We sought detailed comments on the proposed Part 138 MOS from 30 April to 3 June 2020.  The closing date was extended to 17 June 2020 following several requests for more time in which to respond.

We received a total of 114 submissions, which included 2 separate sets of identical responses numbering 71 in total. Eighty-two people consented to have their comments published on our website. Eighty-two respondents identified as current aerial work AOC holders, one identified as an aerial work operator without an AOC and 15 identified as pilots conducting aerial work operations.

Feedback was varied, ranging from the proposal being a positive step forward with strong support to the proposal being an unnecessary extra definition.

The feedback identified four themes:

  • complexity in the regulations and manual of standards (MOS)
  • performance standards
  • risk management standards
  • Part 61 of CASR issues related to Part 138 of CASR.

We have amended the Part 138 regulations and MOS and engaged with the Technical Working Group (TWG) throughout this process. We will continue to engage with the TWG as development of the guidance material progresses.

Read the summary of consultation, via the link below, for the full details.



Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


This consultation closes on 3 June 2020. If you are unable to meet this timeframe and would still like to provide feedback, please contact before the consultation period closes.

Part 138 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) - Aerial Work Operations and its Manual of Standards (MOS) are designed to address the safety risk of current and future aerial work operations.

The rules will apply to people and operators who conduct aerial work activities in aeroplanes and rotorcraft. This includes:

  • mustering
  • spotting and survey operations
  • media operations
  • external load operations
  • surveillance operations
  • marine pilot transfers (now reclassified as aerial work)
  • emergency service operations such as search and rescue, police and customs operations.

Key changes at-a-glance

The main changes in Part 138 and Part 138 MOS, when compared to current rules, include the following:

  • The consolidation of the rules authorising the aerial work activity into Part 138 and Part 138 MOS. This removes the need for almost all permissions, approvals and exemptions for most aerial work activities as they are now included within the Regulation and MOS. 
  • A new concept of aerial work passengers which:
    • defines who can be an aerial work passenger and differentiates between air transport passengers and aerial work passengers
    • significantly alleviates the current rules, to allow the carriage of passengers on aerial work operations without requiring an air transport AOC.
  • Performance requirements for certain higher risk aerial work operations for rotorcraft and significant simplification of the current CAO 20.7.4 requirements for aeroplane performance.
  • A new category of crew member ‘task specialists’, together with outcome-based requirements related to their training and checking.
  • Requirements for risk assessments and hazard identification applicable to the size and nature of the operation, to ensure the unique risks of aerial work operations are addressed through appropriate mitigation measures.
  • The description of the different classes of external load, to ensure the risk presented by each class of external load is managed appropriately.

How Part 138 works in conjunction with Part 91 general operating and flight rules

In order to permit certain aerial work operations to occur it is necessary to 'turn off' or disapply particular requirements of Part 91, the general operating and flight rules. These disapplication provisions (off switches) are specified in regulation 91.035 of CASR. The primary task of Part 138 is to outline a separate set of safety risk management processes, risk mitigations and operational circumstances, which must be applied by the operator and the crew members for the flight.

Overlap with Part 137 (aerial application in aeroplanes)

Part 137 of CASR currently regulates aerial application operations in aeroplanes.  Work on the amendments to integrate CASR Part 137 with CASR Part 91 and CASR Part 138 prior to the commencement of these Parts is ongoing.  These amendments to Part 137 will include the incorporation of helicopters and the requirement for an Aerial Application Certificate rather than Air Operators Certificate (AOC). There will be some overlap between Part 137 - Aerial application operations and the dispensing operations under Part 138 - Aerial work. Operators will be able to elect which Part is best suited to the conduct of their application/dispensing operations. Key considerations when considering the benefits and costs of one part over the other, will be other types of aerial work conducted, the limitations on the type of aircraft that can operated in CASR Part 137 and whether all operations can be conducted under the same CASR part, to avoid the need to have multiple certificates.


CASA has worked closely with industry for many years to refine and develop aerial work policy (see the previous consultations section below) and develop a MOS that supports the entire breadth of aerial work operations. Recently, work has focused on reducing both the complexity of the requirements in the MOS and the repetition of rules from other CASR parts. Two examples are the fuel and equipment fitment requirements which were duplicated from the Part 91 MOS. 

As a result of working group feedback, Annexes have been included for specific industry sectors to show, aspects of the MOS are relevant to their operations.

CASA is currently developing, aerial work specific guidance material including plain English guides and sample operations manuals to be included in the Manual Authoring and Assessment Tool (MAAT) to assist with manual development.

CASA acknowledges full support for this draft of the MOS was not gained by the most recent technical working group. However, the group supported the proposal to seek wider industry and community feedback on the MOS.

Feedback sought

This consultation seeks feedback on the proposed Part 138 MOS. It also proposes amendments to the Part 138 Regulations that were made into law during December 2018 and have yet to commence.

More Information

Joint Part 138 working group meetings (under various consultation structures) and briefings were held as follows:

  • 15-16 June 2010, to recommence the Part 138 work
  • 23-24 November 2010, aerial work policy briefing
  • 31 March 2011, SA CFS and NSW RFS meeting with CASA
  • 25-26 July 2012, joint media operations specific meeting
  • 25-27 September 2013, industry briefing on medical transport operations/Part 138/night vision imaging systems (NVIS)
  • 1 April 2014, Part 138 briefing at the Operational Standards Sub-committee meeting
  • 30 March 2015, Part 138 briefing at the Operational Standards Sub-committee meeting
  • 31 July 2015, Part 137/138 firefighting policy meeting
  • 14 to 15 October 2015, industry consultation meeting
  • 16 March 2016, Part 138 aerial mustering industry meeting
  • 10 to 11 October 2018, Part 138 industry technical working meeting
  • 27 to 28 March 2019, Part 138 MOS industry technical working group meeting
  • 12 November 2019, Part 138 MOS industry technical working group teleconference
  • 05 February 2020, Part 138 MOS industry technical working group teleconference
  • 12 March 2020, Part 138 MOS industry technical working group meeting

Why your views matter

CASA recognises the valuable contribution community and industry consultations make to the policy decision-making process and future regulatory change. We are consulting to ensure that the proposed new rules are clearly articulated and will work in practice as they are intended.

A copy of the Summary of proposed change CD 1918OS and other documents related to this consultation are provided below in the ‘Related’ section as attachments or links. This includes a downloadable MS Word copy of this consultation for ease of distribution and feedback within your organisation.

To make it easier to work out which rules would apply to you, we have included a comparison of the new rules with the current requirements for specific operations:

  • an R22 day VFR mustering operation
  • a combined task specialist, incendiary dropping and external load operation
  • a task specialist C441 aerial survey operation.

There is also a comparison of current aerial work requirements compared to proposed requirements under Part 138 of CASR and Part 138 MOS.

Documents for review and reference:

  1. Summary of proposed change on CD 1918OS
  2. Annex A to CD 1919OS - Draft for Part 138 Manual of Standards
  3. Annex B to CD 1919OS - MOS comparison and review for a R22 day VFR mustering operation
  4. Annex C to CD 1919OS - MOS comparison and review for a combined task specialist, incendiary dropping and external load operation
  5. Annex D to CD 1919OS - MOS comparison and review for a task specialist C441 aerial survey operation
  6. Annex E comparison of current aerial work requirements compared to proposed requirements under CASR Part 138 and Part 138 MOS.
  7. MS Word copy of online consultation - Proposed new Manual of Standards Part 138 (Aerial work operations) and regulation amendments – (CD 1919OS

You will find all the documents above under ‘Related’ together with links for additional information.

Note: The word document and PDF are not to be used as an emailed submission, unless there are extenuating circumstances and this form of submission has been agreed to by the consultation project lead.

General comments and file upload option

There is a general comments page available at the end of the consultation, into which you can place your comments on matters related to the regulatory amendment, which have not already been addressed in the consultation.

Note: CASA can no longer offer the option to upload files because of the potential risk of malware.

Information about how we consult and how to make a confidential submission is available on the CASA website.

To be notified of any future consultations, you can subscribe to our consultation and rulemaking mailing list .

Using an iPad

If you are using an iPad to complete the survey you will be asked to 'download the relevant PDF'. Depending on the software you have on your iPad you may need to download the free viewer to review the single document PDF files. Where a file is a 'multi-file or portfolio PDF you will need to source the Adobe free view - available from iTunes.

What happens next

At the end of the response period for public comment, we will review each comment and submission received. We will make all submissions publicly available on the CASA website, unless you request your submission remain confidential. We will also publish a summary of consultation which summarises the feedback received, outlines any intended changes and details our plans for the MOS.

CASA will be conducting further public consultation in the coming months on the proposed transitional rules, that migrate existing operators from the existing CAR/CAO based legislation to the future CASR/MOS based legislation.

The new rules (CASR/MOS) are planned to commence in 2021. Delayed provisions will take effect at the later dates applicable to each individual provision.

CASA is currently working on essential guidance material, including where appropriate, the publishing of acceptable means of compliance, and plans to have this ready for industry well in advance of the start of the new rules.


  • CASA Staff
  • Air operator
  • Pilots
  • Aircraft owner/operator
  • Aerial work operator


  • Operational standards