Proposed amendments to CAO 95.55 - Removal of the 45-knot stall speed limit for certain sport and recreation aeroplanes – (CD 2204OS)

Closed 13 Apr 2022

Opened 23 Mar 2022

Feedback updated 19 May 2022

We asked

From to 23 March to 13 April 2022 we sought feedback on the Proposed amendments to CAO 95.55 - Removal of the 45 knot stall speed limit for certain sport and recreation aeroplanes. The consultation asked if the removal of the 45-knot stall speed limit for lightweight aeroplanes would, in relation to the operation of these aeroplanes under Approved Self-administering Aviation Organisation (ASAO) administration, maintain an acceptable level of aviation safety.

About this consultation
CAO 95.55 was amended in December 2021 to support the commencement of the new flight operations regulations. Added to the scope of the CAO were lightweight aeroplanes that can have a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 760 kg and a maximum stall speed of 45 knots. Consultation to increase the MTOW to 760 kg recognised there was further consultation to conduct in relation to the 45 knot stall speed. That was the purpose of this consultation.

Sport and recreation aeroplanes that are the subject of CAO 95.55 are grouped into ultralight aeroplanes, light sport aircraft and lightweight aeroplanes. These groupings are based on the aeroplane's maximum take-off weight (MTOW) and the airworthiness standards to which the aeroplane has been designed, including its landing configuration stall speed.

The focus of this consultation was on the safety aspects of removing the stall speed limitation from the definition of lightweight aeroplane.

The aim of the proposed changes to CAO 95.55 is to provide greater flexibility to the sport and recreation flying sector, as it will provide for a wider range of aircraft that can now be utilised, some which had been previously excluded.

You said

In total, there were 134 respondents to the consultation. Responses came from various groups (some respondents said they were associated with more than one group); 87 identified as being sport and recreational aircraft owners or operators, 87 identified as a pilot of sport and recreational aircraft, 65 identified as a Part 61 licenced pilot, 27 identified as being a sport and recreational aviation maintainer or organisation, 2 identified as a maintenance engineer or a CAR 30 approval holder, 15 identified as being a flight school (sport and recreational aircraft - other than gliders), 2 identified as being gliding clubs and 2 identified as being a sport aviation body or as a prospective ASAO. Of the submissions, 95 consented to allow their responses to be published and 39 requested their submissions to be confidential.

Summary of feedback
Most responses (80%) agreed that the proposed change to the light aeroplane definition would maintain an acceptable level of aviation safety in relation to the operation of lightweight aeroplanes under ASAO administration.

For the rest of the respondents, who either disagreed or agreed to the proposed amendments with changes, the common themes across their feedback were:

Theme 1 - Pilots - scope of aircraft, pilot competencies and medical
Feedback in support of the proposal but with changes mentioned the following benefits:

  • Broadening the range of aeroplane types greater than 600kg available for operation by pilot certificate holders.
  • The removal of a barrier to entry to recreational operation of sport and recreation purposes for aeroplanes with stall speeds greater than 45 knots that are suitable for sport and recreation purposes, potentially contributing to arresting the decline of GA by broadening the suite of aeroplane types available to the recreational sector with its more relaxed pilot medical requirements.

Feedback opposed to the proposal mentioned the following concerns:

  • An increased level of discomfort in relation to pilot competencies and operation of aeroplane types greater than 600kg with stall speeds exceeding 45 knots that are not training types.
  • Landing incidents are not unusual with light sport aircraft and increasing the light sport aircraft allowable stall speed will only increase the accident statistics as it relates to LSA.

Theme 2 - Aircraft - certification and maintenance
Feedback in relation to certification mentioned the following issues:

  • Concern that increasing the stall speed lowers safety standards by not simultaneously amending the certification basis of aeroplanes to increase structural integrity.
  • The potential safety benefits that arise from modern advanced technology. The change in stall speed will encourage the introduction of modern more technologically advanced aeroplane designs which will, over time, raise the safety profile for these aeroplanes.
  • The relationship between stall speed and MTOW. Clarification was sought on the operation of aeroplanes up to MTOW in accordance with their certification.
  • That the structure around and in front of the occupants must protect the occupants from injury, in the event of a crash at approach configuration airspeeds.

Theme 3 - Administrative oversight by ASAOs
Feedback in relation to administrative oversight highlighted the issue of pilot competency and the role of the ASAO, with the following mentioned:

  • That pilots of lightweight aeroplanes should be competent to operate the type of aeroplane, including the upset recovery techniques applicable to the type.
  • That the pilot training, maintenance oversight and most importantly culture of these organisations must be appropriate for the safe operation of these aeroplanes.

CASA's responses
While there were a few responses which disagreed with the proposed amendments, overall they were generally accepted. CASA is satisfied that because the change applies only in relation to lightweight aeroplanes for which a certificate of airworthiness is in force and not to light sport aircraft or ultralight aeroplanes, most of the safety concerns identified by the submissions are acceptable and can be managed within the existing CAO 95.55 framework.

For lightweight aeroplanes, CASA agrees with the responses regarding the need for pilot training to include a broader range of skills. CASA supports greater pilot and organisational responsibility for general competency in relation to the operation of heavier, faster, and more complex aircraft. CASA agrees that, with the expanded availability of appropriate training types, the competency standards for pilots of these aircraft should encompass training not possible in the LSA/ultralight group, including the training of instructors in the demonstration of stalls, spin avoidance, and recovery techniques in lightweight aeroplanes to pilot certificate holders where appropriate for the type.

CASA also observes that this expanded capability is likely to have a flow-on safety benefit to the sector as more pilots will gain exposure to these kinds of manoeuvres and handling considerations. This was identified as one of the benefits of the earlier proposal to raise the MTOW for light weight aeroplanes covered by ASAOs.

CASA is dedicated to assisting ASAOs to build capacity and capability in delivering outcome-based flight training and the further promotion of a safety culture within the recreational sector. Mechanisms to address these issues have been drafted for the proposed Part 103 Manual of Standards.

In relation to aircraft certification, CASA notes that the removal of the 45 knot stall speed limit for lightweight aeroplanes has no impact on the certification status of the aeroplane. Any lightweight aeroplane to which a certification standard that includes a stall speed limit applies, would be constrained by that limit.  For example, if an aeroplane is certificated to JAR-VLA/CS-VLA, the 45 knot stall speed would remain as a certification limit for the aeroplane. For lightweight aeroplanes which are not certificated (amateur-built aeroplanes) the stall speed is determined during the aeroplane's flight testing and is dependent on the aeroplanes design and construction.

We did

Next steps
CASA thanks the many highly qualified people and organisations contributing their time and thought to this consultation and acknowledges the feedback as beneficial to the effectiveness of the consultation process.

Based on industry feedback, CASA will proceed with amending CAO 95.55. The amendment will include:

  • removal of the stall speed limit; and
  • inclusion, as appropriate, of requirements in relation to competency standards and units of competency for the operation of lightweight aeroplanes, including for the flying training mentioned in section 11 of the CAO; and
  • minor mechanical changes to correct existing errors and omissions.

In addition, CASA will investigate the development and promulgation of further educational tools to assist ASAOs further enhance their competency standards, flying training and safety culture.

Published responses

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

Overview

The purpose of this consultation is to set out CASA’s proposals for the stall speed limits that apply to lightweight aeroplanes operated under Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 95.55.

On 2 December 2021, CAO 95.55 was amended to include the operation of aeroplanes up to a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 760 kg. These aeroplanes are referred to as lightweight aeroplanes.

The change to the MTOW was the final outcome of a CASA discussion paper (DP1912SS Maximum take-off weight limit for aeroplanes managed by approved self-administering aviation organisations). The discussion paper sought feedback from the aviation community about amending the CAO to include certain aeroplanes up to a maximum weight of 760 kg under the administration of an approved self-administering aviation organisation (ASAO). Feedback was sought on the relevance of the stated benefits, the identified risks and the industry impacts more broadly.

The summary of consultation for the discussion paper noted some respondents either requested CASA increase the maximum stall speed limit beyond 45 knots to capture two-seat aircraft with an MTOW of 760 kg or less (whose stall speed was greater than 45 knots) or identified the stall speed limit as a concern. However, most respondents did not specifically raise any concerns regarding the 45-knot stall speed limit.

In consideration of these submissions, CASA determined the 45-knot stall speed should initially remain and a follow-on review of the stall speed limitation be conducted. This consultation is the result of the follow-on review.

Proposed amendment

CASA proposes to amend CAO 95.55 to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. Remove the 45-knot stall speed limit for lightweight aeroplanes (other than for aeroplanes certificated to CS-VLA as this speed remains a certification limit for these aeroplanes) for which a certificate of airworthiness is in force under regulation 21.176 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR).
  2. Remove the 45-knot stall speed limit for lightweight aeroplanes for which an experimental certificate of airworthiness issued for a purpose mentioned in either paragraph 21.191(g) or paragraph 21.191(h) of CASR is in force.

The outcomes will be implemented by omitting paragraph (c) from the definition of lightweight aeroplane in subsection 5 of the CAO. The CS-VLA 45 knot limitation does not need to be specified in the CAO as it is encompassed by the type certification rules.

Further information on stall speed limits for different certification standards and their purpose is contained in the accompanying SPC document.

Previous consultations

The change to the MTOW in the revised CAO 95.55 of 2 December 2021 was the outcome of a CASA discussion paper (DP 1912SS - Maximum take-off weight limit for aeroplanes managed by approved self-administering aviation organisations) that was publicly consulted between 30 August to 28 September 2019. The discussion paper sought feedback from the aviation community about amending the CAO to include certain aeroplanes up to a maximum weight of 760 kg under ASAO administration. Feedback was sought on the relevance of the stated benefits, the identified risks and the industry impacts more broadly.

The summary of consultation for the discussion paper, published in December 2019, noted the strong support for the increase in the MTOW of aeroplanes that an ASAO may administer, with 83% of respondents supporting an increase to 760 kg, and that CASA should implement the policy change in line with the discussion paper. The change was implemented in CAO 95.55 on 2 December 2021.

Why your views matter

The summary of consultation on DP 1912SS noted that some respondents submitted that CASA should also consider increasing the maximum stall speed limitation above 45 knots to capture those two-seat aircraft with an MTOW of 760 kg or less that would otherwise fit in the category, other than for the fact that their stall speed is greater than 45 knots.

In consideration of these submissions, the outcome was that the 45-knot stall speed should remain, and that CASA would review the maximum stall speed limitation and any proposed amendment would be subject to further consultation (this consultation).

CASA recognises the contribution that 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 and as they are intended.

Comments are sought from every sector of the community. This includes the public, government agencies and all sectors of the aviation industry, whether as an aviator, aviation consumer and/or provider of related products and services.

Your feedback will make a valuable contribution to our standards development and making process and help inform any future regulatory change.

Comments on the summary of proposed change on CD 2204OS should be submitted through the CASA consultation hub online response form.

Documents for review

All documents related to this consultation are attached in the ‘Related’ section at the bottom of the page.

General comments

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

What happens next

At the end of the response period, we will review each comment and submission received. Relevant feedback that improves the proposed change and is consistent with the regulations and other CASA policy, will be incorporated into the final ruling. 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 regulation.

Post-implementation review

This CAO 95.55 definition change will also be incorporated within Part 103 of CASR. 

Audiences

  • CASA Staff
  • Manufacturers
  • Pilot
  • Sports aviation operators
  • Amateur/kit-built aircraft owners and builders
  • Self-administering Aviation Organisations
  • Sport and recreational aircraft maintainers
  • Sport aviation bodies & prospective ASAOs
  • Aerodrome owner/operators
  • Flight training organisations

Interests

  • In-house training
  • Airworthiness / maintenance
  • Sport and recreational aviation
  • Licensing
  • Operational standards
  • Aircraft certification and design
  • Private operations
  • Amateur/kit-built aircraft
  • Airworthiness/maintenance (CAR 30 and CASR Part 145 maintenance orgs)
  • Self administration aviation activities
  • Safety promotion