Proposed safety standard - Community service flights (CD 1814OS)

Closed 31 Jan 2019

Opened 18 Dec 2018

Feedback Updated 12 Feb 2019

We Asked

From 18 December 2018 to 31 January 2019 we invited public comment on our proposal to set a new minimum safety standard for community service flights (CSF). The consultation asked you to comment on a draft legislative instrument that would apply additional safety requirements for the conduct of CSF and included 16 provisions that related to licensing and medical requirements for pilots; minimum CSF pilot experience; a requirement that flights at night be conducted under the instrument flight rules (IFR); and maintenance-related enhancements intended to align with requirements governing similar operations in Australia.

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 233 individuals or organisations—including 115 people who said they were a pilot who had flown a CSF. Responses were evenly split between a group of respondents that did not support any element of the proposal and a combined group of those respondents that partially or fully supported the proposal. Consultation feedback highlighted that some elements of the proposal were disproportionately costly compared to their safety benefits. A detailed analysis of the feedback in provided in the Summary of Consultation (published below).

We Did

In response to the consultation, CASA has modified the new minimum standard to provide appropriate safety protections to CSF passengers at a significantly reduced cost compared to the initial proposal.

Key changes are:

  • Specific engine maintenance requirements have been removed.
  • Factory-built light sport aircraft registered under Part 47 of CASR may be used.
  • The definition of CSF has been refined to provide that the pilot and passengers are introduced through a charitable or community service organisation, and the passengers are not charged for the flight.
  • The PPL multi-engine 100-hour experience requirement has been reduced to 25 hours and applied to all pilots.
  • The flight notification requirement has been clarified to be a full flight details or SARTIME notification with a remark stating the flight is a CSF operation.

The requirements will come into effect on 19 March 2019.

Further information about the new requirements for CSF is published on the CASA website.

Results Updated 12 Feb 2019

Files:

Published Responses

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

Overview

CASA is proposing to introduce a new minimum safety standard for community service flights (CSF). The new standard relates to:

  • licensing and medical requirements for pilots
  • minimum CSF pilot experience
  • a requirement that flights at night be conducted under the instrument flight rules (IFR)
  • maintenance-related enhancements consistent with requirements governing similar operations in Australia.

CASA believes that a CSF is different to a private flight in that they are usually organised thrugh an intermediary, for the purpose of transporting people with medical conditions for medical treatment. These people usually have no connection to the pilot.

CASA considers that it is appropriate to establish a regulatory baseline that provides clarity regarding an appropriate minimum safety standard. CASA anticipates that most pilots currently conducting CSF will meet the proposed new standards.

There are currently no legislated minimum qualifications or experience requirements for Australian CSF pilots other than the standard requirements for holders of a Private Pilot Licence (PPL). Furthermore, CSFs are not conducted under the safety umbrella of an Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) or necessarily under what may come to be an Approved Self-administering Aviation Organisation ASAO[1]

The proposed conditions are necessary in an operation where there is no AOC or other structure to support the supervision and oversee the development of new and existing CSF pilots, or to ensure that maintenance standards appropriate to the nature of the operation have been satisfied.

The safety benefits of the standard significantly outweigh the requirements being imposed. These actions are consistent with CASA’s regulatory philosophy where air safety is not compromised, and the proposal reflects a proportionate risk-based approach.


 

Background

CSFs are non-emergency flights coordinated by registered charitable organisations and conducted for the purpose of transporting people to receive specialist medical treatment. It does not include those flights you may do for friends or family members travelling to and from medical appointments.

The charitable organisations who act as intermediaries for medical transport flights are not air service providers. CSFs are conducted by volunteer pilots who are solely responsible for the safe conduct of these flights. CSFs can be conducted by day or night, in varying weather conditions, from and to familiar or unfamiliar aerodromes carrying passengers with a variety of medical conditions and needs. CSFs can pose potentially significant challenges for pilots who may have limited flight experience. Many of these flights are carried out in difficult operational situations including marginal visual meteorological conditions (VMC) and night VFR operations.

Operations conducted under an AOC are supported by a comprehensive organisational safety system or a formal safety management system (SMS). Operations in the CSF sector are not required to have any equivalent processes, procedures or risk defences. CASA currently does not have assurance that the CSF sector has consistent processes in place to ensure that pilots who satisfy initial entry requirements into the organisation continue to satisfy the requirements for undertaking CSF operations. 

This lack of safety risk mitigators and the reliance on individual pilot assessments regarding mission acceptance, commencement or continuance, results in an increased need for pilots in command to have appropriate and recent flight time experience, and to be well versed in in-flight management, human factors and threat-and-error management skills. People piloting aircraft on CSF are potentially subject to operational risks of the kind to which pilots of charter flights are exposed. These risks are exacerbated in the CSF environment.

CASA is committed to supporting CSFs to maintain public confidence through improved safety. We acknowledge the work being done by CSF organisations to improve pilot and safety education and we are committed to continuing to work collaboratively on these important initiatives.

 While some actions have been undertaken by the sector, CASA considers it appropriate to establish a regulatory baseline that provides clarity regarding a minimum safety standard.

Previous consultation

In 2014 CASA sought comment on safety standards for CSF operations via a discussion paper. The responses to the discussion paper, indicated a significant lack of support for any regulatory intervention. In response to the feedback on the 2014 paper CASA decided not to take any immediate action, although CASA indicated it would monitor the sector and take action in the future if necessary.

Now

CASA has also engaged with the relevant charitable organisations to encourage the sector to improve safety themselves. While some actions have been undertaken by the sector, particularly in the area of safety education, CASA considers that it is appropriate to establish a regulatory baseline to provide a minimum safety standard.

What Happens Next  

At the end of the response period for public comment, we will review each comment and submission received through the online response form. We will make all submissions publicly available on the CASA website unless a respondent requests that their submission remain confidential. Information about how we consult and how to make a confidential submission is available on the CASA website.

When the responses to the consultation, for which consent to publish has been granted, are published, we will also publish a summary of consultation (SOC).

The SOC will summarise feedback received, describe any intended changes and detail our plans for the proposed standards.

Why We Are Consulting

You will be asked to comment on the proposed requirements. These requirements are contained in the Summary of Proposed Change (SPC) attached in the ‘Related’ section a the bottom of this page.

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.  More information on the 'how to' is available below in 'related' section below.

What Happens Next

At the end of the response period for public comment, we will review each comment and submission received through the online response form. We will make all submissions publicly available on the CASA website unless a respondent requests that their submission remain confidential. Information about how we consult and how to make a confidential submission is available on the CASA website.

When the responses to the consultation, for which consent to publish has been granted, are published, we will also publish a summary of consultation (SOC).

The SOC will summarise feedback received, describe any intended changes and detail our plans for the proposed standards.

Audiences

  • CASA Staff
  • Pilots

Interests

  • Licensing