We Asked, You Said, We Did

Below are some of the issues we have recently consulted on and their outcomes.

We asked

We sought industry feedback over  the 2-week period 4-17 April 2022.

We are proposing to exempt operators and maintainers of Cessna aircraft in the broader private and aerial work sectors from the requirements to carry out Cessna Supplemental Inspection Documents (SIDs).

Cessna SIDS are significant documents for managing continued airworthiness of ageing Cessna aircraft. The new instrument provides flexibility for registered operators of aircraft in the private and aerial work sectors to consider relevant SIDs and take appropriate action to maintain their aircraft. We encourage operators to continue to apply SIDs but recognise not all SIDs are necessary in all cases.

About this consultation

We received 30 responses. Most responses received were from aircraft owners/operators, pilots, maintainers and maintenance organisations. Three responses represented the view of type club, flying school or aero club. One response from design engineer Part 21.M and 1 response from IOA holder/CASA delegate. Four responses provided no comments for the free text question of "How will the proposed instrument work in practice?".

You said

The consultation survey asked respondents their views on "How the proposed instrument will work in practice".

Fourteen responses were clearly in favour of the proposed exemption instrument. In the free text these were voiced as a blend of:

  • a welcome common-sense approach, excellent initiative
  • the CASA mandate for SIDs should never have happened in the first place
  • the cost of full SID compliance had been way too much for most aircraft owners/operators.

Ten responses indicated they are not in favour of the proposed instrument. Extracting from the free text responses these can be aggregated as a blend of:

  • the proposal is unsafe and will cause accidents 
  • a dislike that CASA will now exempt from SIDs compliance
  • there will be a risk to safety by exempting from mandatory compliance.

Four responses provided no comments for the free text question and two responses provided comments that were unable to be as assessed as in favour or not in favour. Therefore, these six we are not able to gauge their submission as 'for' or 'against' the proposed exemption instrument.

Summary of feedback

The majority of respondents who commented were in favour of exempting private and aerial work operators from the current CASA mandate for Cessna SIDs compliance.

Comments were mixed, with the majority favouring the change but others raising concerns about safety and others observing it was 'too little, too late' or 'about time'.

Respondents also raised several important issues and concerns.

The common issues, questions or suggestions were:

  • There has been a huge cost to aircraft owners in complying with SIDs due to the CASA mandate and now you are doing a complete turnaround and providing exemption. Will the industry be reimbursed? Too little help, too late.
  • Higher risk operations like low level aerial work where aircraft fatigue can be a significant factor should not be exempt from complying with SIDs.
  • Under the previously issued Instrument even the twin-engine Cessna aircraft had been relieved from compliance with the 'ATA32' tasks for landing gear but now aircraft in air transport operations that are twin-engine will not gain exemption from those landing gear SIDs inspections.
  • At least four respondents indicated that they severely dislike the way that whole SIDs issue has been handled by CASA since 2014.

We did

Next steps

The consultation showed that there is the majority who are in favour of CASA relaxing the compliance rules around Cessna SID compliance for private and aerial work operations. Therefore, the exemption will be issued as consulted and will be in place by the end of April 2022.

This policy will bring forward corresponding outcomes from the proposed general aviation maintenance regulations (Part 43 of CASR). It brings us into line with global practices and only the specific SIDs elements required by an airworthiness directive will be mandatory.

Under Part 43 of CASR aircraft will be inspected at regular intervals and if action is needed, we will require it to be taken.

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.

We asked

From 15 February to 1 March 2022 we sought feedback on draft advisory circular (AC) 61-09 - Competency-based training and assessment for flight crew. The consultation asked if the AC contained sufficient explanation for the implementation of competency-based training and assessment (CBTA) and recognition of prior learning (RoPL) in the flight crew training environment.

This consultation has now closed, and a summary of feedback is provided below.

About this consultation

Prior to this consultation, there has been inconsistent awareness and implementation of CBTA systems and the use of RoPL for Australian aviation training. While CBTA training concepts are not new in vocational education and training environments, they may not yet have been completely introduced and accepted in a flight crew training setting. This consultation enquired into the understanding and experience of CBTA and RoPL, asking respondents if the AC provided a sufficient explanation of the concepts, and an opinion of its success if and when implemented.

You said

In total, there were 10 respondents to the consultation. Responses came from various groups (some respondents were part of more than one group); 4 flight training operators, 5 flight instructors, 5 flight examiners, 1 CASA inspector and 1 trainee. Of the submissions, 5 consented to allow their responses to be published and 4 requested their submissions be confidential.

Summary of feedback

The majority of responses agreed with the amount and relevance of the information within the AC, although various responses requested clarification or additional guidance.

Common themes across the feedback were:

  • CBTA and RoPL has a diverse meaning amongst a wide range of training environments
  • there were several suggestions to include guidance on specific matters or training
  • the terminology used around CBTA and RoPL can be confusing, particularly when comparing other training sectors
  • these methods may already have been implemented by some FTO's but further guidance will be helpful.

We did

There were few responses which disagreed with the AC contents which confirms the information is generally accepted.

CASA accepts CBTA training methods are varied and broad in many environments. CASA recognises the challenges faced by many training organisations to implement or transform their current training methods to a CBTA framework, while keeping up with industry standards.

CASA agrees with the responses regarding some difficulties in interpreting information on the RoPL Candidate Application (Annex A). Minor amendments will be made to improve this sample form. Similarly, amendments will be made to the AC to include information that may have originally been omitted.

CASA is dedicated to assisting training operators with a smooth, simple transition to, and maintenance of CBTA methods.

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.

Relevant stakeholders will be notified of the AC, a Notice to Instructors circulated and a proposal to develop further education and training on CBTA and RoPL.

Based on industry feedback, CASA will proceed with the publishing of AC 61-09 and will undertake the following activities:

  • provide comparison of traditional training methods against CBTA methods to assist with interpretation of CBTA methodology
  • investigate the development and promulgation of further educational tools to assist training operations with CBTA and RoPL methods.

We asked

Between 15 December 2021 and 21 February 2022, we invited public comment on proposed amendments to the drone rules following a regulatory post-implementation review (PIR) of Part 101 of CASR and its MOS.

The aim of the PIR is to recognise what:

  • is working well
  • could work better
  • will be needed in the future to support the rapidly evolving drone industry environment.

In addition to Part 101 of CASR and its MOS, CASA also administers several legal instruments in the form of:

  • directions
  • exemptions
  • approval conditions.

The proposed amendments seek to streamline these instruments to create a set of regulations and standards, with built-in flexibility, and provide clarity and consistency for industry.

We asked you to comment on:

  • Policy Proposal 2107US, which provided background on the proposed amendments

Supporting documentation and links were:

  • Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (legislation.gov.au)
  • Part 101 (Unmanned Aircraft and Rockets) Manual of Standards 2019 (legislation.gov.au)
  • CASA 55/20 — Operation of Certain Unmanned Aircraft Directions 2020 (legislation.gov.au)
  • CASA 01/17 - Approval — operation of RPA at night (legislation.gov.au)
  • CASA EX38/21 – Obtaining Experience for Grant of RePL for Medium RPA, and for RePL Upgrade to Different Category of Small or Medium RPA – Exemption Instrument 2021 (legislation.gov.au)
  • CASA EX46/21 — Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operations Beyond Visual Line of Sight Instrument 2021 (legislation.gov.au)
  • Drug and alcohol management plans | Civil Aviation Safety Authority (casa.gov.au)
  • DAMP exemption for micro-businesses | Civil Aviation Safety Authority (casa.gov.au)

You said

We received 255 responses to the consultation:

  • RePL holder 74
  • ReOC holder 71
  • Drone/ Model aircraft retailer 1
  • Model aircraft flyer 18
  • Model aircraft association member 2
  • Emergency services employee or volunteer 9
  • Excluded category operator 26
  • FPV pilot/ enthusiast 12
  • RPAS training organisation 6
  • Education and/or research organisation 3
  • Other 33

We thank respondents for their contributions and acknowledge their feedback is beneficial.

Responses to the consultation were positive. Most respondents agreed to the proposed changes, or agreed with changes and specified those suggested changes.

We did

We considered all feedback provided and incorporated or further clarified the proposed amendments.

The amendments to the Part 101 MOS and CASA55/20 reflect CASAs intent to continue to streamline these instruments to create a set of regulations and standards, with built-in flexibility, and provide clarity and consistency for industry.

Further amendments to CASR Part 101 and its MOS will be made throughout 2022.

Published responses

Comments will be published shortly.

We asked

Since May 2021, CASA and Airservices Australia have been conducting an automated airspace authorisation trial in Adelaide, Canberra and Perth.

The trial allows operators who hold a remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC), or those who operate under one with a remote pilot licence (RePL), to quickly and easily apply to fly within 5.5 km (3NM) of a controlled airport.

Between 10 December 2021 and 28 January 2022, we invited public comment on the trial from those who had taken part, those who would like to take part and those who hadn’t heard of the trial.

We asked 22 questions about the trial and how it has been used and received by operators.

You said

We received 446 responses to the consultation:

Remote pilot licence (RePL): 244
Remote operator's certificate (ReOC): 168
Excluded category RPA (sub-2 kg or 2-25 kg over my own land): 11
Micro RPA (250 g or less) for commercial or business use: 6
‘Other’ or ‘recreational’: 17

We thank respondents for their contributions and acknowledge their feedback is beneficial.

Responses to the survey were positive. The feedback from respondents revealed some common themes including:

  • low awareness of the trial
  • enthusiasm for more airports to be added
  • support to continue and extend the trial.

While many respondents hadn’t taken part in the trial due to various reasons, there was an overwhelming consensus (98%) that the trial should continue and other airports be added.

From the respondents who had taken part in the trial, 80% said it was fairly easy or easy to apply for authorisation and more than 55% have been able to take on more work.

We did

We considered all feedback provided and have consulted with Airservices Australia.

The automated airspace authorisation trial will be extended for a further 6 months and additional airports are currently being considered.

In addition to the extension, we will consult with developers to address the identified enhancements to the trial platform and drone safety apps to improve the service.

We asked

This consultation asked industry to provide feedback on the draft advisory circular (AC) on the commissioning of aerodrome lighting systems.

Commissioning is a final check of a new, upgraded or replaced aerodrome lighting system prior to being made available for operational use at night or in low visibility conditions. It is designed to ensure that the installed system is complete, compliant, and useable.

The revision of this AC was triggered by the revision of Part 139 (Aerodromes) Manual of Standards (MOS) 2019.

The consultation has now closed, and a summary of the feedback is provided below.

You said

A total of 13 responses were received from five qualified flight checkers, 3 aerodrome managers, 3 lighting supplier/consultants and 2 air navigation service provider personnel.

Of the respondents, 12 consented to their submissions being made public.

Summary of feedback

In addition to some relatively minor editorial and typographical matters raised, the main actionable subjects that were identified included:

  • ground check procedures and documentation requirements (including coordination with air traffic control which has been partially addressed)
  • qualified flight checker approvals
  • optional lighting during flight check.

There were some comments on important matters that could not be addressed within the scope of this AC. The reasons why include:

  • requirement established by Part 139 MOS
  • more applicable to the lighting planning and design phases
  • insufficient data to support a change at this stage.

Respondents who made submissions on these topics are encouraged to raise these issues in appropriate consultative forums ahead of future amendments to the Part 139 MOS.

We did

Each comment was reviewed and, where actionable, incorporated in the text of the AC. All comments were greatly appreciated as the resulting AC is a better product for it.

With respect to the 3 areas of actionable comment, the following summarises the actions taken.

The development of the ground check procedure details and the addition of a checklist template addressed several comments. Firstly, it is a direct response to those who identified a disparity in the guidance provided on flight checks as compared to ground checks and the lack of guidance for documenting ground checks. Other comments addressed in these changes include ensuring technical PAL specifications are met and lighting activation and control by third parties is checked.

The requirements for and approval of qualified flight checkers has been changed considering comments received and changes to flight operations regulations. Firstly, a qualified flight checker no longer needs to be a pilot. The flight safety aspects that appeared in the previous AC are now covered by Part 91 of CASR. As such, the qualified flight checker role is now focused on lighting standards and performance.

In the previous AC, there were some non-runway lights included in the flight check procedures. While it is not a MOS 139 requirement to check these lights, it was decided to retain the guidance material on checking them, if the aerodrome operator wished to have it done. A section on the aerodrome operator establishing a scope for the flight check has been added and the word optional has been added to the relevant sections of the AC and the checklist.

We asked

Between 5 November and 18 November 2021, we invited public comment on proposed amendments to registration and accreditation requirements for drones.

According to CASA regulations, drones are defined by their intended use:

  • model or remote controlled aircraft, is a drone flown for sport or recreation – solely for fun
  • remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) is a drone flown for business or as part of your job – for commercial purposes.

A summary of the proposed changes includes:

  • amending the commencement date for model aircraft (recreational drone) registration and operator accreditation from 1 March 2022 to 1 July 2022
  • moving the registration incentive period to follow the new commencement date
  • removing the requirement to register RPA used for test flights in aircraft innovation, development, and manufacturing
  • aligning registration provisions so recreational drones are subject to the same 12-month registration period as commercial RPA
  • clarifying that a person may not sit the operator accreditation quiz, or hold a valid operator accreditation, until the person is at least 16 years old
  • updating Part 101 Manual of Standards (MOS) to require recreational drone operators to update changes to their contact details and other information provided to CASA as part of registration or accreditation. For example, a change of address or new email address.

The consultation asked participants to review the proposed amendments and provide feedback to:

  • Part 47 of CASR
  • Part 101 of CASR
  • Part 101 Manual of Standards (MOS).

You said

We received 159 responses from individuals or organisations, including:

  • 11 remote pilot licence (RePL) holders
  • 75 model aircraft owners
  • 6 RPA owners
  • 34 self-identified drone owners.

We thank respondents for their contributions and acknowledge their feedback is beneficial.

Key feedback

Registration of each model aircraft

Proposed amendments to register each model aircraft used for sport or recreation were largely unsupported. While 11% agreed with the proposed amendments, more than 80% of respondents disagreed.

The consultation addressed the likely consequence that each model aircraft or drone used for sport or recreation would be subject to a separate registration levy in the future. At present, there is no levy for registering drones flown for sport or recreation. However, many respondents commented about the potential future cost. The Australian Government has not determined the cost recovery model for any proposed levy. The value of any proposed levy will be released in a Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) on the CASA website. It will be open for public consultation before it is finalised, approved and published.

Some respondents were unaware that registration and accreditation requirements would not apply to owners and operators of model aircraft (drones) operating from approved model aircraft sites, managed by model aircraft associations.

Some respondents also asked for more information about the safety outcomes expected to be delivered by drone registration. Drone registration is a deterrent to poor safety behaviour as registered operators displaying unsafe behaviours can be personally identified and contacted. Further safety applications are expected in the future as technology evolves. The registration system will also provide wider public safety benefits for security, policing, privacy, and the environment (noise).

In addition, the requirement for accreditation and ongoing safety education makes sure every operator has demonstrated a sound understanding of the drone safety rules to protect themselves and others when flying their drone.

Clarifying the requirement for persons to be 16 years old to complete the operator accreditation

Comments from respondents indicated widespread confusion of the regulatory history and requirements for young people wishing to fly model aircraft (drones) for sport or recreation under the new scheme.

To summarise:

  • The requirement for a person to be at least 16 years of age to obtain an operator accreditation (commercial or recreational) was first consulted on in 2019.
  • This was written into the regulations in 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, implementation of recreational operator accreditation and drone registration were delayed until 2022.
  • Under the existing regulations for recreational operators, not yet implemented, CASA cannot issue an operator accreditation to a person under 16 years of age.
  • Provisions for people under 16 who wish to fly model aircraft (drones), will include:
    • flying a drone that weighs 250 grams or less unsupervised
    • being supervised by an accredited adult who is 18 years or older, when flying a drone that weighs more than 250 grams
    • flying at an approved model aircraft site under the management of a model aircraft association, where registration and accreditation exemptions apply.

The proposal sought to amend the part 101 Manual of Standards (MOS) to align with subregulation 101.374E (2) which already explicitly states an applicant is eligible for an accreditation if the applicant is at least 16 years old. This is an administrative change. Despite this, the proposed amendment was supported by fewer than a quarter of respondents. More than two thirds of respondents disagreed with the proposal.

Removing registration requirements for certain aircraft test flights

The majority of respondents were either interested in, or operated, model aircraft. Given the commercial nature of the proposal to remove registration requirements for certain RPA test flights, more than a quarter of respondents declined to express an opinion on this question. About two-thirds of those who did, agreed with the proposal to remove registration requirements for certain RPA flown for test flights. Many respondents identified a potential for this exemption to be exploited. However, we are aware of this potential consequence and are developing mechanisms to prevent this.

We did

Acknowledging that some of the measures are not popular, we will proceed with the proposed amendments as consulted. 

We expect model aircraft registration and operator accreditation will open from 1 July 2022 and be required by 30 September 2022.

Accreditation will be free and valid for 3 years.

Registration will be valid for 1 year. The Australian Government has not determined the cost recovery model for any proposed levy. The value of any proposed levy will be released in a Cost Recovery Implementation Statement (CRIS) on the CASA website. It will be open for public consultation before it is finalised, approved and published.

Provisions for people under 16 who wish to fly model aircraft (drones), will include:

  • flying a drone that weighs 250 grams or less unsupervised
  • being supervised by an accredited adult who’s 18 years or older, when flying a drone that weighs more than 250 grams
  • flying at an approved model aircraft site under the management of a model aircraft association, where registration and accreditation exemptions apply.

For the latest information on model aircraft registration and accreditation requirements, visit www.knowyourdrone.gov.au

We continue to work with model aircraft associations to identify new sites where their members can continue to operate, without the requirement for accreditation or registration.

CASA has mechanisms in place to reduce or eliminate the impact of registration costs in exceptional circumstances. For example, registered charitable organisations or public interest events.

CASA will also conduct a post-implementation review.

We asked

This consultation provided details of miscellaneous amendments, including the addition of some new aircraft type ratings, CASA is proposing to make to the Part 66 Manual of Standards (MOS). The consultation period has now closed. A summary of feedback is provided below.

About this consultation

Participants in this survey were asked to provide their feedback on a small number of proposed minor amendments to the Part 66 MOS. A total of 14 responses were received to the consultation survey. Of the 14 respondents, nine of these identified themselves as licensed aircraft maintenance engineers (LAMEs), two identified as CAR 30 approved maintenance organisations, a further two respondents identified as falling into the 'other' category, with the remaining respondent identified as falling into a 'licensing' category. In addition, nine of the 14 respondents have given permission for their submission to be published by CASA.

You said

Of the total of number of responses received:

  • One respondent's comments were unrelated to the topics of this amendment.
  • Two respondent's comments were general in nature relating to aircraft type ratings, but not targeted towards any specific amendment.
  • One respondent's comment suggested grouping one of the variants of the Cessna 525 aircraft together with similar variants under the one type rating endorsement.
  • Seven respondents expressed their support of the proposed amendments.
  • The remaining three respondents disagreed with the amendment related to the Category C licence academic qualification pathway.

Summary of feedback

More general comments received in support of the proposed amendments stated the amendments made perfect sense and were appropriate. One comment in support of the academic qualification pathway for a Category C licence agreed that if an applicant who already has obtained the basic knowledge applicable for a Category B1 or B2 licence, he/she should not need to be re-examined on this knowledge when applying for a Category C licence.

One respondent expressed a view that a particular variant of the Cessna 525 aircraft (i.e., the Cessna 525C - CJ4) should be included in the proposed amended type rating endorsement for the Cessna 525 which will include the 525, 525A, 525B variants.

Three respondents took exception to the current Part 66 policy to qualify for a Category C licence, via an academic qualification training pathway.

We did

Based on the comments received and the miscellaneous and minor nature of the topics covered by the amendments, CASA will proceed with the proposed amendments as presented.

We asked

This consultation sought feedback on the proposed amendments to Part 61 MOS, Schedule 3 to ensure that they accurately and practically reflect the new rule set and they will work in practice as intended.

The consultation was open to industry from 1 Nov 2021 to 15 Nov 2021. It has now closed, and a summary of the feedback is provided below.

CASA thanks all respondents for their constructive feedback.

About this consultation

The new CASR Flight Operations Regulations came into effect on 2 December 2021. To harmonise with these changes, amendments are required for the Part 61 Manual of Standards (MOS) Schedule 3, Aeronautical knowledge standards.

The primary purpose of the amendments to Schedule 3 is to align content and vocabulary with Part 91 and the associated flight operations rules; however, concurrent amendments include:

  • editorial changes to make elements associated with the helicopter units more relevant to that aircraft category
  • improvements to support Schedule 2 practical competencies and underpinning knowledge currently examined for the issue of licences, ratings and endorsements
  • action words added to many of the schedule’s unit elements which articulate the level to which the knowledge in the standard must be demonstrated on completion of a course of training, essential for the document to be regarded as an authoritative competency standard
  • correction of grammar and formatting errors.

The consultation asked respondents if they agreed that:

  • the proposed changes harmonise Schedule 3 units with the new flight operations rules
  • the editorial changes make units associated with the helicopter category more relevant to that aircraft
  • the action words added to several Schedule 3 unit elements accurately state the level to which the knowledge in the standard must be demonstrated on completion of a course of training
  • Schedule 3 is fit for purpose.

A free text field was provided for any general comments regarding the proposed amendments and any potential impact the changes may have on a respondents' operations and was not covered in the consultation.

You said

There were 5 respondents to the consultation. Two represented flying training organisations, 2 were provided by flying instructors, and one was a pilot. Two respondents provided a written submission and one consented to having their response made public. Four of the respondents requested their submissions be kept confidential.

Summary of feedback

Of the 5 respondents, all their responses supported the proposed amendments.

All agreed that the changes harmonise Schedule 3 units with the new flight operations rules, and that the action words added to several Schedule 3 unit elements accurately state the level to which the knowledge in the standard must be demonstrated on completion of a course of training.

While 3 respondents indicated they were undecided or that the helicopter category was not their area of expertise, two agreed that the editorial changes make units associated with the helicopter category more relevant to that aircraft.

Three respondents agreed that Schedule 3 aeronautical knowledge standards amended as proposed were fit for purpose, one indicated they were undecided or that it was not their area of expertise, and one agreed, but with changes.

Written feedback was provided by 2 respondents which provided several editorial corrections and recommendations for the Schedule 3 amendments which will be considered for incorporation into the amendment when made.

In addition to the feedback particular to Schedule 3, recommendations were also made to correct a spelling error in Schedule 2, clarify the aeronautical knowledge content of the RPL Navigation endorsement in Schedule 1, Appendix G.8 (Examination code RPLN in Schedule 4 Appendix 1), and to improve the Table of Contents hyperlinks within the version of the Part 61 MOS and other Manuals of Standards available on the Federal Register of Legislation website. Some of these recommendations are already being actioned in the present tranche of amendments, and all will be given careful consideration in the next amendment cycle.

We did

Overall, respondents strongly supported the proposals. As a result, CASA will now undertake to implement changes to licensing examinations consistent with the proposed amendments.

While the Schedule 3 amendment should come into effect with the flight operations regulations, transition will be defined by the rate at which new exam questions are seeded into the flight crew licence exam suite.  A phased approach is proposed to occur over several months.

 

We asked

This consultation proposed a solution to issues with restricted and danger areas outside Australian territory in Australia-administered airspace. The consultation has now closed, and a summary of the feedback is presented below.

About this consultation

In November 2019, ICAO issued a notice of deficiency for non-compliance against Australia due to the publication of restricted areas in Australian-administered airspace. CASA conducted research into how other countries have approached this issue and came up with a proposed solution which was consulted with stakeholders from 2019 to 2021.

You said

One response was received from a CASA employee which did not support some aspects of the proposal.

Summary of feedback

The response received queried whether the proposed solution to the issues with restricted and outside Australian territory is ICAO compliant and thought the terms Military Exercise Area (MEA) and Military Training Area (MTA) could confuse international operators.

We did

Next steps

The detail of the proposed solution was discussed further with the CASA employee and their concerns were allayed. ICAO was advised of the proposed solution and supported it as a compliant response to the deficiency issued against Australia. As such, CASA will proceed with changes to the Airspace Regulations 2007 and continue working with Airservices Australia and the Department of Defence to amend the restricted areas outside Australian territory to MEAs and MTAs.

We asked

This consultation asked industry to review the proposed transition of the night vision imaging system (NVIS) legislation from Civil Aviation Order (CAO) 82.6 into the relevant Parts of the MOS. The consultation has now closed, and a summary of the feedback is provided below.

About this consultation

Prior to the consultation, two NVIS Technical Working Group (TWG) meetings were held to develop the draft MOS instrument, after which the developed draft instrument was subject to this public consultation. Approximately 14 NVIS operators participated in the TWG and were advised of the consultation document and the opportunity to provide further comment. Also, CASA's Flight Standards Branch held an online meeting for the remaining five NVIS Operators who were not part of the NVIS TWG, and they were briefed on the content of the consultation document.

You said

In total, CASA received feedback from two separate NVIS operators relating to the transition of the NVIS legislation.

The first operator's comment related to minor inconsistencies between the NVIS flight rules in the different MOS parts (Part 91, Part 133 and Part 138 of CASR) and an inconsistency with an element of the VMC criteria that had changed from CAO 82.6.

The second operator's comment related to concern over the commencement date of the new flight operations rules and the short period between the NVIS legislation transition and the commencement date of 2 December 2021 for the new legislation.

Summary of feedback

No feedback was received that did not support the transition of the NVIS legislation from the CAO into the CASR. The first comment related specifically to an error in the transition of the VMC criteria from CAO 82.6 that placed conditions on the use of operating in Class C airspace, clear of cloud and inconsistency with the alternate lighting criteria contained within the Part 138 MOS. The second operator comment related to concern over the implementation timeline.

VMC criteria - Ability to operate clear of cloud Class C airspace.

The comment from the operator related to the transitional legislation that was not consistent with CAO 82.6. The VMC criteria allowing a NVIS operation to be conducted clear of cloud in Class C airspace, had conditions imposed that were not required under CAO 82.6. CASA accepted the conditions had, in effect, changed the current NVIS policy relating to the use of the VMC criteria and has removed the conditions for the final legislation.

NVIS alternate lighting

The NVIS operator also identified the wording relating to NVIS alternate lighting in Part 138 MOS, chapter 12.06, differed from the wording in Part 91 MOS, chapter 3.07 and Part 133 MOS, chapter 8.07.

CASA noted this difference was unintended and has amended the final legislation to maintain consistency of wording.

NVIS MOS transition timeline

The second operator raised a concern relating to the limited time available from the intended publication of the amended MOS's containing the NVIS legislation, and the commencement date of the legislation on 2 December 2021.

As a result of the comment, CASA contacted the operator directly to discuss the concern of the proposed transition timeline. The operator's concern related to the volume of flight rules that are due to commence on 2 December 2021, including the transition of the NVIS legislation.

CASA acknowledges there is a significant volume of flight rules due to commence on 2 December 2021. The preference was to have the NVIS flight rules embedded into the MOS at least 12 months prior to the commencement of the legislation; however, CASA has ensured all NVIS operators have been involved in the development of the transitional legislation since March 2020, including their participation in 3 NVIS TWGs. Further, CASA provided a draft of the transitional legislation in June 2021 and all members of the NVIS TWG have had access to the proposed MOS Parts. CASA has ensured the NVIS flight rules remain mostly unchanged in this transition from the CAO to the new MOS's and should not require a significant change to NVIS operators' operations manual procedures.

CASA remains committed to transitioning the NVIS legislation by 2 December 21 to ensure operators are not required to refer to the legacy NVIS legislation contained within CAO 82.6.

Additional CASA actions

CASA separately identified that the contents of a Note in the draft instrument were seemingly prescribing a safety policy regarding the situation where an NVIS crew might de-goggle during the overflight of significant cultural lighting in order to maintain aviation safety.

At the NVIS TWG meeting in November 2021 following the consultation, CASA discussed with the TWG moving the contents of the Note into the main legal provisions of the legislation. This was accepted by the TWG and these changes have been made.

We did

CASA will proceed with the transition of the NVIS legislation into the relevant MOS's to ensure NVIS operators are not required to revert to CAO 82.6 for NVIS flight rules. This transition will include the making of a separate Part 11 direction to Part 119 and Part 138 certificate holders, in accordance with the public consultation, that requires these kinds of operators to obtain CASA's approval prior to operators first using NVIS in an NVIS operation. This approval will not be required for operators already holding CAO 82.6 approvals.

We asked

From 9 June 2021 to 11 July 2021, the Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR) invited public comment on frequency congestion in the vicinity of Ballina and the allocation of a different common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) for Lismore, Casino and Evans Head aerodromes.

The survey asked a number of questions.

  • Should Lismore and Casino Airports be allocated a different CTAF to Ballina?
  • If Lismore and Casino Airports are allocated a different CTAF, should CASA declare a broadcast area 10 nautical miles (nm) around Lismore and Casino aerodromes?
  • If a broadcast area is declared around Lismore and Casino - what would be an appropriate upper limit (in feet above mean sea level)?
  • Should the Evans Head CTAF change?
  • Should the Ballina broadcast area be reduced in size from 15nm to 10nm in radius of Ballina?
  • Should the upper limit of the Ballina broadcast area be lowered from 8,500 feet above mean sea level (AMSL) to 4,500 feet AMSL?

Respondents were also asked for other suggestions or concerns with the airspace in the vicinity of Ballina, Lismore and Casino aerodromes.

You said

The OAR would like to thank all of the contributions provided by respondents and acknowledges that their feedback is beneficial for the consultation process. The consultation received responses from 84 individuals or organisations.

Key feedback

Responses validated the issues of frequency congestion and over transmission of radio calls. Responses were largely supportive of the proposal to allocate Lismore and Casino aerodromes a different CTAF to Ballina.

The results of the survey are published on the Consultation Hub.

We did

In response to the consultation, the OAR will develop a formal proposal to change the CTAF of Lismore and Casino and will consult with industry prior to making a final determination.

The results of the survey and comments received will be included in an airspace review of Ballina which is currently underway.

We asked

This consultation asked industry and stakeholders to identify any effects from implementing the proposed changes to the Part 60 Manual of Standards (MOS). The consultation has now closed, and a summary of the feedback is provided below.

About this consultation

Prior to the consultation, CASA had informal feedback from industry stakeholders indicating that the changes were appropriate and are welcome. CASA noted this feedback when developing the policy for the changes and, to gain perspective from the widest possible audience, undertook formal consultation.

The consultation asked respondents if the proposed changes provided sufficient time to make upgrades to upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) capable devices and if it would present any safety issues. Further, the consultation asked if the addition of a CASA qualification system as a standard would lead to inadequate devices becoming qualified.

Respondents were also asked to provide input on any additional issues they would like considered by the post implementation review.

You said

There was 1 response to the discussion paper. The respondent represented a flight crew training and checking organisation and requested their submission be confidential.

Summary of feedback

The respondent indicated they supported the change providing additional time to make the upgrades to UPRT capabilities. Of note, the respondent indicated that without the proposed change, operators would likely bear significant costs and would face other operational impacts. For example, the respondent highlighted that without the proposed changes, UPRT would not be able to be integrated into recurrent training (which is undesirable for both CASA and operators) and mandatory training would be outsourced to other countries.

Regarding the proposed addition of FSD-1 as a qualification standard, the respondent was also supportive. The respondent noted the significant costs required to meet the latest alternative qualification standard, which for an older device would be prohibitive, and would deliver additional training activities for UPRT.

We did

Next steps

Overall, through the formal consultation survey and from informal feedback, industry stakeholders have strongly supported the proposed changes. As a result, CASA will now undertake to implement the changes for the Part 60 MOS to reflect the proposals.

We asked

The Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR) received an application from local stakeholders, proposing that a broadcast area and discrete frequency in the vicinity of Tyagarah, Murwillumbah and Gold Coast flying training area be established, intended to reduce frequency congestion.  

Aircraft are currently required to transmit on 126.7 MHz when operating within the vicinity of Tyagarah, Murwillumbah and within the Gold Coast flying training area, including danger area D656A-D. Aircraft operating from further afield are also required to transmit on 126.7, including the areas of:

  • Kagaru (Archerfield’s training area)
  • Morton Island
  • Grafton/South Grafton
  • Tenterfield, Stanthorpe
  • Inglewood
  • Pittsworth
  • Millmerran
  • Clifton
  • Gatton.

A mix of operations including parachute operations, recreational aircraft, gliders and gyrocopters operating from the Tyagarah aerodrome as well as circuit training at Murwillumbah is adding to the frequency congestion.

The OAR sought comments from stakeholders regarding this proposal.

You said

We received a total of 17 responses from airspace users operating within the vicinity of the proposed area. Twelve respondents consented to having their comments published, 5 did not give their consent.

Summary of feedback

All respondents agreed with the proposal however some modifications to the proposed area were suggested.

The common message in all responses was the improvement in safety that would be achieved by removing the proposed area from the already saturated frequency.

We did

Consideration was given to those suggestions however through consultation with the proponents of the change, and other stakeholders, the originally proposed area is to be adopted.

The proposal was submitted for and subsequently received approval and will be implemented as described in the consultation documents effective 2 December 2021 AIRAC cycle date.

We asked

We recently invited feedback on guidance material for remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) holders who conduct operations beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS).

We asked you to comment on:

  • 5 BVLOS standard scenarios
  • guidance material developed by CASA.

The documents consulted on were:

  • Draft Standard Scenario application and documents – guidance material
  • Draft AU-STS 1: Applicant response – BVLOS operations near a vertical object(s) with a controlled ground environment
  • Draft AU-STS 2: Applicant response – BVLOS operations near a vertical object(s) with a sparsely populated ground environment
  • Draft AU-STS 4: Applicant response – BVLOS operations in a remote area within 3 NM of a registered or certified non-controlled aerodrome
  • Draft AU-STS 6: Applicant response – BVLOS operations in remote Australian airspace (below 400 ft AGL)
  • Draft AU-STS 7: Applicant response – BVLOS operations in remote Australian airspace (400 ft AGL to 5000 ft AMSL).

Each standard scenario details:

  • a type of operation
  • the required operational mitigations
  • information needed to apply to CASA.

These standard scenarios use the Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA) developed by the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems (JARUS). The SORA is an internationally recognised risk assessment method.

You said

We received 44 responses to the consultation:

  • 18 ReOC holders
  • 1 RPAS training organisation
  • 9 commercial or professional RPAS pilots
  • 2 sport or recreational drone pilots
  • 2 government organisations
  • 1 identified themself as ‘other aviation’
  • 11 identified themselves as other, with backgrounds ranging from RPA manufacturing, technology development, and engineering.

Of the 44 responses received:

  • 25 provided feedback for an organisation
  • 19 provided personal feedback

CASA values the feedback from all respondents.

Your feedback

Responses to the consultation were positive. Most respondents found the standard scenarios either usable or requiring minor changes.

The feedback also revealed some common questions and themes about the scenarios. These included:

  • whether a ReOC holder needs approval from CASA if an operation is carried out in alignment with a published standard scenario
  • whether a 1:1 ground risk buffer is enough to ensure safe operations
  • the definition and meaning of the 'J-curve'
  • the impacts continuing evolution of the SORA will have on these scenarios in the future

In addition, several respondents commented on the IREX qualification needed to meet the aeronautical knowledge requirements in CASR 101.300 (4) (a).  It was noted that the IREX felt like an unnecessary burden for the standard scenarios and may not be fit for purpose. Safety concerns were also raised about electronic conspicuity requirements for non-remotely piloted aircraft.

We did

We considered all feedback provided and incorporated or further clarified in this summary of consultation.

CASA approval is required for any BVLOS operation. The purpose of the standard scenarios is to lessen the time and resource burden on ReOC holders in the application process. The scenarios do not replace the need for a ReOC holder to seek CASA approval to operate BVLOS.

The 1:1 ground risk buffer detailed in the scenarios is the minimum buffer set out in the JARUS SORA. This buffer will not be suitable for all operations. The ReOC holder must show in their application that this buffer is enough or apply a larger buffer, where needed.

CASA acknowledges the documents provided did not define the term ‘J-curve’ in the context of the standard scenarios. This definition will be in the final versions.

The standard scenarios used the latest iteration of the SORA (at the time of publication). JARUS is continuing to develop and improve the SORA method. CASA will update the standard scenarios to align with the latest international standards and Australian regulations, when required.

CASR 101.300 (4) (a) mandates the remote pilot in command (RPIC) must hold an IREX qualification. This is beyond the scope of this consultation. This regulation was developed to allow medium and large RPA to operate BVLOS in the same airspace as piloted aircraft in the future. An IREX qualification would be essential to make sure these operations are safe. Some alleviations are already available in legislative instrument EX46/21. Separately, CASA is considering other pathways for remote pilots to gain the knowledge and skills needed for lower risk BVLOS operations.

We have noted feedback raised about the electronic conspicuity requirements for non-remotely piloted aircraft. This is beyond the scope of this consultation. 

What to expect

We will publish the final documents by the end of August 2021. Following their release, we will review the standard scenarios to find out if they have been useful guidance for BVLOS operations. We will make any updates or changes as required.

We will also aim to develop new scenarios based on your feedback. We will review the scenarios to ensure international consistency with our own standards and any new advice from JARUS.

Your feedback on the standard scenarios will be helpful in guiding the direction of the RPAS and Advanced Air Mobility strategic regulatory roadmap. This roadmap will aim to give industry a clear understanding of the future direction of RPAS regulations in Australia. The BVLOS standard scenarios are a step towards streamlining and improving the application process for complex operations in Australian airspace.

We asked

From 13 January 2021 to 10 February 2021, aerodrome and aircraft landing area operators, planning authorities, pilots, persons involved in the design, construction and operation of wind farms and wind monitoring masts and internal CASA personnel were invited to review and provide feedback on the suitability of guidance material on matters that should be considered when assessing a wind turbine development so that all necessary measures can be taken to protect aviation safety.

You said

We received a total of 6 responses, all from different areas of industry. Three respondents consented to having their comments published, 2 did not give their consent and one respondent was a CASA officer.

Summary of feedback

Most respondents recommended changes that were editorial in nature.

Several matters were raised that required further consideration and clarification, including:

  • Aeronautical studies commissioned by wind farm proponents can lack independence and down-play the extent and impact of the wind farm proposal on aviation activities. There is potential need for an independent accredited auditor to review aeronautical assessments to ensure non-biased assessments are being provided to CASA.
  • Inclusion of more detail in the 'early review by proponent' stage to ensure proponents do not miss uncertified aerodromes and aircraft landing areas nearby to proposed sites.
  • Providing clear guidance on what conditions and criteria CASA will base advice upon when aviation hazard lighting is recommended.

The need for the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications to update the National Airports Safeguarding Framework Guideline D: Managing Wind Turbine Risk to Aircraft to reflect current windfarm technology was noted.

We did

Next steps

All comments provided by industry have been carefully considered and where appropriate, incorporated into the AC. The AC 139.E-05 v1.0 - Obstacles (wind farms) outside the vicinity of a CASA certified aerodrome is now available on the advisory circular page of the CASA website.

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.

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

The revised Part 139 Manual of Standards (MOS) was made on 05 September 2019. In support of the new rules CASA committed to provide additional guidance material in the form of 'advisory circulars' (AC) to assist aerodrome operators in design, operation, and maintenance of certified aerodromes.

AC 139.C-06 'Skid resistance of aerodrome pavements' and AC 139.C-07 'Strength rating of aerodrome pavements' were subsequently drafted to explain regulatory or standard requirements associated with runway pavements, as well as to provide context for the legislation and its application. It should be noted that the content of an AC is intended to provide good practice and guidance and is not mandatory. CASA acknowledges, in some instances, there may be alternative methods that provide for an acceptable means of compliance, and as such, it is the aerodrome operator's responsibility for determining the best way in which they will meet their regulatory responsibilities.

Between 12 August and 10 September 2020 aerodrome operators, aerodrome consultants and internal CASA personnel, were invited to review the proposed guidance and provide comment on the suitability of the material in support of the revised MOS.

The consultation has closed, and a summary of feedback is provided below. CASA would like to thank industry for providing this feedback.

You said

A total of nine submissions were received— six from consultants and three from aerodrome operators.

Eight respondents consented to their comments being made public, one requested their submission to remain confidential.

Summary of feedback

In addition to recommended changes that were largely editorial in nature, a number of important matters were raised that required further consideration and clarification, these included:

  • requirement to meet surface texture or surface friction characteristics
  • terminology (consistency and definitions) as well as inclusion of references to support content
  • functionality of aircraft tyres in water dispersal
  • phenomenon of aquaplaning
  • surface testing means, locations, frequencies, and the principle of 'averaging'
  • expected timeframes for adopting a new pavement classification system
  • inclusion of information to support assessment of the bearing strength of unrated pavements
  • inclusion of risk-based considerations for pavement concessions.

We did

All comments provided by industry have been carefully considered and where appropriate, incorporated into each AC.

AC 139.C-06 was amended, based on apparent differences in interpretation, to make clear the requirement for surface texture or surface friction testing. Runway grooving is not an acceptable means of compliance in its own right, as they are prone to deterioration over time and even closing up. Grooved runways must meet friction requirements and sealed runways that are not grooved must meet either the minimum standards for surface friction or surface texture.

Sand patch testing has been clarified as the only approved method for measuring surface friction. Should an aerodrome operator seek to utilise an alternate method, CASA approval will be required. The principles associated with establishing an average surface texture depth were further explained. While one test per location is agreed, 'average' refers to within a test location and not across them. The intent is that given the criticality of these areas low texture wheel paths cannot be 'fixed' by averaging with high texture runway edges. Additional guidance was also provided with regard to performing continuous friction measuring equipment (CFME) surveys.

Regarding the life expectancy of sealed pavements, no airport should be planning its maintenance based on 15 years. CASA recommends aerodrome operators should, in addition to complying with the minimum legislative requirements, make their own assessments for the need to conduct additional measured assessments based on the type of aircraft movements and frequency of operations at their aerodrome.

While there was reported confusion by interchangeability of terms skid resistance and friction, it is important to understand that skid resistance equals surface texture and friction, working in combination. Each of the terms are clearly defined in the definitions table and the terms are used very specifically to indicate different issues.

Contrary to feedback received, aircraft tyres do have a tread pattern. Although limited, the circumferential grooves assist in providing escape paths for water.

The phenomenon of aquaplaning was expanded to include explanations on dynamic hydroplaning, reverted rubber, and viscous hydroplaning, as requested, and as a means to assist understanding issues that may require resolution.

To address the question of accuracy, it has been demonstrated that for a dense grade mix, the size of the large stones has very little effect on the macrotexture. This is because the gaps between the larger stones are still filled by the finer particles. Therefore, the resulting texture is almost always 0.4-0.6 mm.

Given the small number of block paving surfaces and, in the absence of full-length concrete runway surfaces in Australia, specific comments on these surfaces were not considered warranted. CASA will consider their inclusion in future revisions.

Additional references were added throughout the document as requested. Aggregate quality assurance was considered beyond the scope of this document, and preparing NOTAMs is addressed in other guidance material.

AC 139.C-07 is about pavement strength rating and is not intended to educate designers. Amendments were made to make clear that the new strength rating system (ACR-PCR) has not yet been adopted by Australia. A target date for implementation (November 2024), has been advised, and CASA will provide ongoing industry education and support well in advance of the transition.

Content was included to support use of APSDS (Airport Pavement Structural Design System) software (commercially developed in Australia) which provides another methodology for the design and construction of aerodrome pavements.

K-values for pavement design are 'indicative' values which come from published literature which has now been referenced.

Equivalence factors relative to the thickness of types of pavement materials have also been referenced as requested, and an example as to how equivalence is applied has been included.

Content from the now redundant AC (139-25(0)) - Strength Rating of Aerodrome Pavements, has been incorporated based on the request for guidance on assessment of bearing strength of unrated pavements.

Further explanation, including an example and referencing, has been provided to explain normalised values with respect to flexible and rigid pavement thicknesses.

Additional guidance has also been included in support of a risk-based decision-making process when considering a pavement concession.

To avoid the potential for erroneous information, ACN values are not included in CASA guidance, this information should be obtained from the airline or aircraft manufacturer as appropriate.

AC 139.C-06 and AC 139.C-07 will be published concurrently with this summary of consultation.

CASA will monitor the effectiveness of the new Part 139 of CASR and the MOS with a view for further revision based on industry feedback and safety outcomes. A post-implementation review is planned to occur after the end of the transition period of 13 November 2022.

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.