Proposed instrument (CASA EX64/22) - Flight Training and Flight Tests by Grade 1 Training Endorsement Holders (Exemptions and Approvals) - (CD 2212FS)

Closed 31 Aug 2022

Opened 17 Aug 2022

Feedback updated 27 Sep 2022

We asked

We sought industry feedback between 17 and 31 August 2022 on proposed changes to the privileges of the Grade 1 training endorsement.

Industry had previously told us that parts of the flight training and testing scheme are not working as efficiently as intended. Not all of the privileges of the Grade 1 Flight Instructor Rating under the old scheme were transferred to the Part 61 Grade 1 training endorsement and this has diminished the incentive for flight instructors to seek a Grade 1 training endorsement.

We proposed changing the rules to allow some Grade 1 training endorsement holders to conduct:

  • flight training for a Grade 2 training endorsement, design feature training endorsement, flight activity training endorsements and low-level training endorsements
  • assessments (flight tests) and grant of nominated ratings and training endorsements.

About this consultation

We received 43 responses, mostly from flight instructors and flight examiners, pilots and flight training operators.

You said

The consultation survey asked respondents “Do you have any comments about the proposed instrument?”. Twenty-nine responses were clearly in support of the proposed instrument. Ten responses implied support for the objectives of the policy, while either suggesting changes to the technical detail of the instrument, proposing changes that are out of scope of the instrument, or posing questions on the operation of the instrument.

Common themes from the free text responses included opinions that the new rules will:

  • encourage more uptake of Grade 1 training endorsements and support the retention of experienced instructors in the flight training industry
  • streamline the pathway for Grade 1 training endorsement holders to attain flight examiner ratings
  • provide better flexibility and efficiency, and reduce barriers and burdens for flight training operators
  • improve access to training and assessment (flight test) activities for nominated authorisations
  • maintain aviation safety as the additional privileges are within scope of ability of Grade 1 training endorsement holders.

Four responses did not support the proposed instrument. These free text responses included comment that the instrument could:

  • decrease the level of skill within the industry, and lead to reduced aviation safety or increased risk
  • permit Grade 1 training endorsement holders to conduct activities that they are not competent to conduct, and for which flight training operators are unable to adequately prepare the Grade 1 training endorsement holders to conduct
  • lead to conflict between the motivations of flight training operators and the required independence of assessment activities conducted by Grade 1 training endorsement holders
  • create two standards for assessments.

Summary of feedback

Common themes, issues and suggestions raised in responses included:

Conduct of assessment (flight test)

Seven respondents made comments relating to the proposal to allow relevant Grade 1 training endorsement holders to conduct nominated assessments (flight test) and grant authorisations. The comments related to:

  • Grade 1 training endorsement holders conducting assessment (flight test) activities without a significant amount of experience conducting training for the authorisation, and suggest that minimum training and experience requirements be included
  • concern that CASA may be overestimating the industry’s current capabilities to safely conduct assessment (flight test) activities
  • ongoing oversight from CASA
  • potential conflict between the motivations of flight training operators and the required independence of Grade 1 training endorsement holders who conduct assessment (flight test) activities
  • indemnity insurance under CAAP ADMIN-1 that will not apply to Grade 1 training endorsement holders who conduct assessment (flight test) activities.

We recognise that the Grade 1 training endorsement holders who can make use of the instrument are experienced in training pilots and/or other instructors. Assessment of competency is a fundamental capability of all instructors, and as such these instructors have demonstrated their ability to assess trainees undergoing training at least at the basic level. What they have not covered in their training is the administration aspects of conducting flight tests and granting authorisations. While we acknowledge the possibility of a Grade 1 training endorsement holder conducting an assessment (flight test) for a training endorsement which the Grade 1 training endorsement holder themselves recently attained, it should be noted that the core competency of the Grade 1 training endorsement includes the ability to assess trainee competency. Grade 1 training endorsement holders will need to comply with the general competency rule in regulation 61.385 of CASR and ensure they are competent to conduct the activity in an aircraft.

We will review how the proposed instrument has worked before amending Part 61 of CASR, to further consider whether the assessment for the grant of the additional training endorsements needs to be a flight test. This would mean that Grade 1 training endorsement holders would be permitted to assess and grant the endorsements without conducting a flight test, as for flight activity and design feature endorsements and indemnity will therefore not be extended to Grade 1 training endorsement holders.

Further expansion of Grade 1 training endorsement privileges

Four responses suggested that the proposal does not adequately address problems experienced by the rotary sector conducting training for specialised activities typically associated with the low-level, aerial application or night VFR ratings and endorsements, and should be extended. These responses suggested that:

  • Grade 1 training endorsement holders should be able to conduct assessment (flight test) for the grant of the aerial application rating (day) and aerial application rating (night) training endorsements
  • Grade 1 training endorsement holders with either a low-level training endorsement or a night VFR training endorsement should be permitted to conduct flight tests for a low-level rating or night VFR rating (as relevant)
  • experienced pilots should not need a Grade 1 training endorsement to train, assess and sign off for activities such as low-level, aerial application, firefighting, sling and winch operations.

CASA is developing an alternative pathway for the training, assessment and grant of nominated 'specialised pilot endorsements' as part of its GA Workplan: Improving pilot licensing rules | Civil Aviation Safety Authority (casa.gov.au). The generic term specialised pilot endorsements has been used by CASA to refer to the aerial mustering, sling operations, winch and rappelling operations, and firefighting endorsements to the low-level or aerial application rating (as relevant). CASA expects that this project will provide benefit for operators and pilots who conduct some of the specialised activities mentioned above. The focus of the alternative approach is to facilitate the training, assessment, and grant of nominated low-level or aerial application endorsements to experienced pilots, rather than to facilitate the training, assessment and grant of nominated training endorsements to other instructors.

We expect to make a draft instrument for the alternative 'specialised pilot endorsements' pathway available for consultation in the near future and will seek feedback to determine if that instrument will address the problems and proposals mentioned above.

Noting these factors, we intend to proceed with the proposals as drafted.

Questions posed by respondents regarding how the instrument will work

Seven respondents also asked questions on how the instrument will work. These questions (edited for length and consistency) and CASA's responses are presented in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Respondent questions and CASA responses

Question

CASA response

Will there be a specific form and applicable e-learning module link created for those who meet the necessary prerequisites?

Yes. Grade 1 training endorsement holders who seek to conduct assessments (flight tests) under the instrument will need to use a form to apply for access to the e-learning modules. This form will be made available on the CASA website upon commencement of the instrument.

Why do Grade 1 training endorsement holders need to complete the e-learning modules?

Training for the Grade 1 training endorsement currently does not address administrative matters and other matters to ensure consistency in assessments across industry. During the e-learning modules, Grade 1 training endorsement holders will also be required to develop workbooks to facilitate their conduct of assessments (flight tests) and will be able to view sample workbooks produced by CASA.

Will you need to complete the e-learning modules for each type of assessment (flight test) you want to conduct?

No. A Grade 1 training endorsement holder only needs to complete the e-learning modules once.

Will the Grade 1 training endorsement holders conducting assessments (flight tests) need to complete an instructor proficiency check with a flight examiner?

Yes. A Grade 1 training endorsement holder must have successfully completed an instructor proficiency check conducted by a flight examiner within the previous 24 months before conducting an assessment (flight test).

Will the grant of an additional training endorsement be taken to satisfy an instructor proficiency check?

For an instructor (the trainee) who successfully completes an assessment (flight test) conducted by a Grade 1 training endorsement holder under the instrument, the grant of the additional training endorsement will satisfy the trainee’s instructor proficiency check.

A Grade 1 training endorsement holder conducting assessments (flight tests) must have successfully completed an instructor proficiency check conducted by a flight examiner within the previous 24 months before conducting an assessment (flight test).

This means that the grant of an additional training endorsement to a Grade 1 training endorsement holder following an assessment (flight test) conducted by another Grade 1 training endorsement holder will not 'reset' their instructor proficiency check for the purposes of the instrument.

Can a Grade 1 training endorsement holder who conducts training for the Grade 2 training endorsement also grant the Grade 2 training endorsement?

No. A Grade 1 training endorsement holder is only permitted to conduct training for the Grade 2 training endorsement. The flight test for the grant of the Grade 2 training endorsement must be completed by an appropriately qualified flight examiner.

Will Grade 1 training endorsement holders who also hold a flight examiner rating and who become authorised to conduct assessments (flight tests) under the instrument be able to have those approvals added to their flight examiner rating?

No. The privileges allowed under the instrument are privileges of the Grade 1 training endorsement, rather than the flight examiner rating. The instrument provides a temporary pathway while it is determined if flight tests are required for these types of competency assessments.

If the Grade 1 training endorsement holder conducting the flight test must be approved to conduct flight training for the same kind of authorisation by a flight training operator, does this mean responsibility for the conduct of the flight test and grant of the authorisation falls on the flight training operator?

No. The conduct of flight tests is not a Part 141 or Part 142 flight training activity. Although a Grade 1 training endorsement holder must be authorised to conduct the training by a flight training operator, responsibility for the assessment and grant will lie with the Grade 1 training endorsement holder.

This will reflect the likely future state whereby the relevant authorisations can be granted by instructors without a flight test (as flight activity and design feature endorsements are currently granted by instructors).

Can both Part 141 and 142 flight training operators use Grade 1 training endorsement holders to conduct activities authorised by the instrument?

Yes. The instrument is not intended to be limited to Part 141 flight training operators. Generally, operators conducting training for training endorsements are Part 141 flight training operators.

We will ensure the instrument refers to both Part 141 and 142 flight training operators.

 

We did

The consultation demonstrated broad support for the proposed instrument and the changed privileges of the Grade 1 training endorsement. Minor changes will likely be made to improve the clarity of the instrument. However, any changes will not impact the intended effect of the instrument or the underpinning policy.

The instrument will be in place by the end of September 2022.

Published responses

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

Overview

We are reviewing parts of the flight training and testing scheme that are not working as efficiently as intended.

Since the commencement of the flight crew licensing rules in 2014, practical barriers to the efficient conduct of entry control testing have emerged, and the intended proportionate approach to flight testing has not materialised.

Part 61 enables the holder of a Pilot Instructor Rating to apply for a training endorsement which permits them to instruct someone for specific pilot authorisations. One of these authorisations is the Grade 1 training endorsement, which permits the supervision of Grade 2 and Grade 3 training endorsement holders. Additionally, holding a Grade 1 training endorsement is one of the optional qualifications to be named the head of operations for Part 141 operators.  

The qualifications and operational and instructional experience of Grade 1 training endorsement holders usually far exceeds that of Grade 2 training endorsement holders, including in the areas of assessment and attending to challenging training cases. However, the Grade 1 training endorsement privileges do not reflect the responsibilities that would normally be associated with these instructors.

As there are minimal differences between the Grade 1 and Grade 2 training endorsements – apart from higher experience levels and the additional privilege of supervision – there is diminished incentive for flight instructors to seek a Grade 1 training endorsement. This is believed to be one of the reasons for the diminishing availability of suitably qualified flight instructors to become the head of operations for Part 141 operators. Another disincentive is the additional requirements these instructors need to complete to gain additional training endorsements required to be authorised to conduct a wider scope of training and assessments.

To address these problems, we propose to allow some Grade 1 training endorsement holders to conduct:

  • flight training for a Grade 2 training endorsement, design feature training endorsement, flight activity training endorsements and low-level training endorsements
  • assessments and grant of nominated ratings and endorsements.

Conditions will apply to ensure the endorsement holder is competent to conduct the nominated activities.

This will be a phased approach.  As a first step, we are seeking feedback on the consultation draft of the Flight Training and Flight Tests by Grade 1 Training Endorsement Holders (Exemptions and Approvals) 2022 instrument. This instrument will allow some Grade 1 training endorsement holders to conduct nominated flight training and assessment activities, until the rules are amended.

To explain the operation of the instrument and the intent of each provision we have included a plain English explanation document in the documents for review.

The instrument will be in place by the end of September 2022.

Opportunity to comment

Please submit your comments on proposed instrument CASA EX64/22 - Flight Training and Flight Tests by Grade 1 Training Endorsement Holders (Exemptions and Approvals) through the Consultation Hub using the survey provided. If you are unable to provide feedback in this way, please contact us at regulatoryconsultation@casa.gov.au.

Documents for review

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

  • SPC on CD 2212FS - summary of the proposals included in the draft instrument
  • Consultation Draft - CASA EX64/22 - Flight Training and Flight Tests by Grade 1 Training Endorsement Holders (Exemptions and Approvals) - draft instrument
  • Explanation document - CASA EX64/22 - Flight Training and Flight Tests by Grade 1 Training Endorsement Holders (Exemptions and Approvals) –provides an explanation of the intent and effect of each provision in the draft instrument
  • MS Word copy of online consultation - Proposed instrument (CASA EX64/22) - Flight Training and Flight Tests by Grade 1 Training Endorsement Holders (Exemptions and Approvals) (CD 2212FS) for ease of distribution and feedback within your organisation.

What happens next

At the end of the response period, we will:

  • review comments received
  • make all responses publicly available on the Consultation Hub (unless you request your submission remain confidential).
  • publish a Summary of Consultation which summarises the feedback received, outlines any intended changes and next steps.

All comments received on the proposed instrument will be considered. Relevant feedback that improves upon the proposed instrument will be incorporated into the final instrument.

Audiences

  • Pilots
  • Part 142 operators
  • Part 141 operators
  • Instructors and flight examiners

Interests

  • Licensing
  • Flight training