We Asked, You Said, We Did

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

We asked

We sought feedback between 17 May and 30 June 2023 on a proposal to establish standards for fatigue management for air traffic services (ATS) personnel.

We proposed changes to the Part 172 Manual of Standards (MOS) that would require an ATS provider to use a fatigue risk management system (FRMS). The standards for the FRMS would be consistent with the standards specified in Annex 11 to the Chicago Convention, but would include practical operating procedures and administering requirements based on existing standards within Civil Aviation Order 48.1 that apply to flight crew.

We also proposed complementary changes to the Part 65 MOS, which would set conditions on licence holders to the effect they must not begin to perform an ATS function if, due to fatigue, the holder is, or is likely to be, unfit to perform a task that the holder must perform for that function. Again, the proposed requirements were consistent with the requirements that already apply to pilots.

About this consultation

Airservices Australia (AA) - the national ATS provider - has used an FRMS since 2003. However, there has been no underpinning legislation, so AA's action was a voluntary undertaking.

Effective from 5 November 2020, ICAO amended Annex 11 to the Chicago Convention with new standards requiring States to have legislation for managing fatigue in the provision of air traffic control services. At the time the new ICAO standards came into effect, AA wrote to CASA expressing its intent to continue using an FRMS into the future and agreed to, as necessary, amend its FRMS to address any differences with the Annex 11 standards.

While AA's voluntary compliance would satisfy immediate safety requirements, the arrangement is not sufficient to demonstrate that Australia is meeting its international obligations to have adequate legislation. As a signature to the Convention on Civil Aviation, Australia has an obligation to adopt ICAO standards unless there is a compelling reason against such an adoption. Also, the lack of legislative authority limited CASA's ability to effectively regulate the provider's FRMS.

We consider fatigue among aviation personnel is a critical safety consideration and therefore considered it appropriate to introduce appropriate legislation. Summary of proposed change (SPC) 2303AS therefore asked two questions of respondents "Do you think the proposed fatigue management requirements in the proposed amendments to Part 172 will work as intended" and "Do you think the proposed fatigue management requirements in the proposed amendments to Part 65 will work as intended".

You said

We received 17 responses - the majority of which were from Air Traffic Controllers expressing personal views - one response from a Part 121 air operator and one response from Airservices Australia.

Three respondents consented to having their feedback published, while the remaining requested their submissions remain confidential.

Summary of feedback

Proposal 1: Changes to the Part 172 MOS

Seven respondents agreed with the first proposal, with all providing feedback or recommendations for change. A summary of the feedback from those agreeing is as follows:

  • The requirement for FRMS should be extended to technical support personnel - those covered under Part 171 of CASR
  • The requirements for practical operating procedures should differentiate between the requirements for day shift work and night shift work
  • Data gathered for the FRMS should be accessible to employees
  • There needs to be assurances about the science used when developing an FRMS
  • An FRMS must have a simple if possible automated process to log scheduled and actual work
  • There are gaps in the provider's existing FRMS and it will be critical for CASA to routinely review the provider's FRMS and scrutinise risk assessment reports
  • It should not be necessary for a provider to have a standalone FRMS manual, but instead it should be possible for the policy, procedure and documentation for an FRMS to be addressed or embedded with other forms of a provider's policy procedure and documentation.
  • Maximum and minimum values for the practical operating procedures should not be hard limited and instead should allow variation
  • As AA has had an FRMS for many years, it should not be necessary for the provider to undergo trial implementation approval
  • It is essential for CASA to take a more active role in overseeing the ATS provider's FRMS as the existing system is not fit for purpose, has no easy reporting channels, does not provider for consultation for changes and currently unsatisfactory responses from CASA to confidential reporting.
  • We need for CASA to assume oversight of FRMS as the non-regulated system has not been fit for purpose.

Six respondents disagreed with the first proposal. However, all but two respondents provided free text feedback that indicated satisfaction with the proposed standards or reflected concern or dissatisfaction with AA's implementation of FRMS.

A summary of this feedback is as follows:

  • The requirement for an FRMS should be clearly laid out and should not be subject to change as a result of enterprise agreements
  • A licensed controller should be able to measure their own fatigue as this is individual and not able to be reflected by standardised assessment.
    • Overtime is preventing the system from operating even more frequently at reduced capacity.
  • The provider's current FRMS is flawed or not fit for purpose.
  • The proposal to identify 'operational person' complicates matters and is not compliant with ICAO standards.
    • Standards should simply refer to 'air traffic controllers'
  • The intent behind the change is sound.
  • The ATS provider's governance of its FRMS is suspect.

Four respondents either didn’t provide feedback on the first proposal or indicated they were undecided or that the matter was outside their area of expertise. However, 3 of these respondents provided feedback and this is summarised as follows:

  • AA should always proactively move to ICAO's standards
  • The fatigue management standards for ATS personnel should be expanded to also include Part 171 (Aeronautical Telecommunications) personnel.
  • Respondent had an unsatisfactory experience when dealing with CASA on the approval of a Part 133/138 helicopter operator's FRMS
    • CASA experts did not properly contextualise safety policy and fatigue science to suit the scale and complexity of an operator's operations or made incorrect assumptions
    • CASA did not recognise that the provider's existing, fit for purpose, FRMS did not provide a reasonable basis for an Appendix 7 FRMS
    • Respondent is concerned that ATS provider's will have a similar negative experience.

Proposal 2: Changes to the Part 65 MOS

Seven respondents agreed with the second proposal, with 3 providing feedback or recommendations for change. A summary of the feedback from those agreeing is as follows:

  • There needs to be a mechanism for operational personnel to provide direct feedback to CASA
  • The respondent's feedback against the changes to the Part 172 MOS apply equally to the changes to the Part 65 MOS
  • The changes [as proposed] are necessary to align Part 65 with the changes to Part 172.

Six respondents disagreed with the second proposal, with four providing feedback or recommendations for change. A summary of the feedback from those disagreeing is as follows:

  • The requirement for an FRMS should be clearly laid out and should not be subject to change because of enterprise agreements
  • The respondent's feedback against the changes to the Part 172 MOS apply equally to the changes to the Part 65 MOS
  • The proposal to identify 'operational person' complicates matters and is not compliant with ICAO standards.
    • Standards should simply refer to 'air traffic controllers'
  • Concerned that the ATS providers has used incomplete data to justify using less people on console.
    • Concerned that the provider would not provide robust data while justifying their FRMS proposal.
    • Asserts that none of the people who collect and interpret the data have qualifications in data collection or data analysis.
    • However, the proposed changes themselves seem sound.

Four respondents either didn’t provide feedback on the second proposal or indicated they were undecided or the matter was outside their area of expertise. However, 2 of these respondents provided feedback and this is summarised as follows:

  • Cannot comment on the pros or cons of the proposal,
    • But can say that if a topic is not contained within CASR/MOS it is subject to the whim of the provider - this is not a policy position that Australia should be proud of.
  • 'My concern is more in the support of Part 172 rather than Part 65'.
  • The fatigue management standards for ATS personnel should be expanded to also include Part 171 (Aeronautical Telecommunications) personnel.
  • The respondent summarised an unsatisfactory experience when dealing with CASA on the approval of a Part 133/138 helicopter operator's FRMS
    • CASA experts did not properly contextualise safety policy and fatigue science to suit the scale and complexity of an operator's operations or made incorrect assumptions
    • CASA did not recognise that the provider's existing, fit for purpose, FRMS did not provide a reasonable basis for an Appendix 7 FRMS
    • Respondent is concerned that ATS provider will have a similar negative experience.

General feedback

Twelve respondents provided general feedback on the proposed changes. This is summarised as follows:

  • ICAO expects member States to adopt the 2020 amendments, striving for the world's best practices should be the position Australia adopts.
  • The ATS provider’s technical staff may have significant work hour and travel obligations that can lead to fatigue of these personnel. I encourage the inclusion of FRMS while the Part 171 Reg and MOS are being updated.
  • Minimum required time off between shifts must be clearly mandated. At least 12 hours in all circumstances
  • If ATC are responsible for their own fatigue management, then taking our feedback on FRMS trials and implementation should also be included.
  • Previous changes to FRMS have resulted in more fatiguing rosters, because fatigue data was seemingly misrepresented, misunderstood, incomplete, or lacked a proper scientific process.
  • These proposed changes will likely impact my ability to conduct overtime shifts which I enjoy and enables my airspace to remain at full capacity.
  • Cementing the current FRMS will not protect controllers but entrench a poor tool that is fundamentally unfit for purpose.
  • "What frequency are reviews of operational FMRS going to occur?
  • What industry standard is CASA utilising when approving proposed FMRS from service providers?
  • Ultimately this seems like a positive move towards reducing operational risk
  • Airservices have historically used FRMS as an excuse to punish staff for not ceding rostering restrictions contained in employment agreements.
    • This has created an imbalance where staff find it difficult to manage work/life balance due to rosters yet when required for additional duty Airservices sign off on bogus risk mitigators to supress the problem.
  • The proposed changes seems sound. Mandated breaks and maximum time plugged in are much better than ASA offers us now.
  • Unknown how a regulated FRMS would integrate with an Enterprise Agreement system providing similar protections.
    • A regulated FRMS appears to be CASA and Employer developed/approved, not necessarily with employee input.
  • The proposed changes aim to address the significant flaws in AsA's current FRMS and improve fatigue management for ATS personnel.
  • Our experience with a flight crew FRMS shows that implementation requires considerable resourcing, data gathering, review and ongoing focus.
    • An FRMS for the ATS provider must be implemented in a way that is considerate of provider’s current resourcing challenges.
    • It is important to understand the impact that compliance and importantly, the process of becoming compliant, may have on aviation industry. 
    • The change management process will be particularly important to ensure continuity of Air Traffic Services are maintained throughout implementation."

We did

We thoroughly reviewed the responses and feedback to this consultation, and the following summarises our response and intended course of action.

Concerning the feedback that subsection 4.08(1) should have separate maximum/minimum values for day shifts and overnight shifts, we are confident that the proposed requirement covers all types of work shifts. The maximum and minimum values required by section 4.08 of the proposed standards must be relevant for any time that a ATS function is performed. Accordingly, the section requires values to be based on scientific principles and knowledge (including well-established knowledge about circadian rhythms and the effects of night shift work), and to be subject to safety assurance and amendment processes as necessary. CASA is satisfied that the existing wording of section 4.08 is adequate to cover all situations (night and day) where ATS functions are performed. We also require the ATS provider to obtain approval before making significant changes to the FRMS including changes to maximum and minimum benchmark values.

Regarding the feedback about employees having access to FRMS data, we believe this is adequately addressed via section 4.07 of the proposed standards, which requires ATS providers to include mechanisms for ongoing involvement in fatigue risk management of management, operational personnel, and all other relevant personnel."

CASA does not believe it is appropriate to leave it to the individual to assess and manage their own fatigue. The proposed standards have complementary obligations on individual staff and provider for managed overtime. However, we are of the view that it is essential for the ATS provider to manage work practices and rostering to ensure that fatigue does not cause unacceptable risk to aviation safety. The proposed standards are consistent with existing Australian standards for other types of aviation personnel personal as well as standards specified by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Concerning the feedback about a negative experience when engaging with CASA’s fatigue panel, we informed that panel. While it is not appropriate to respond about individual circumstances, each application for an FRMS approval is an opportunity to improve processes and procedures. We have successfully assessed several applications for FRMS approval since the new CAO 28.1 came into effect, and we would use the experience thus gained to ensure a fair and appropriate assessment of an ATS provider's application.

We have confirmed that the proposed standards are set in a way that allows FRMS policy, procedure and documentation to be embedded within or to be addressed by other forms of provider policy, procedure and documentation. This is also a clear requirement in paragraph 4.06(2)(b) for a provider’s FRMS to be integrated with the provider’s FRMS. However, CASA would expect whatever method used to address the requirements of an FRMS to distinctly mention its relevance and application to FRMS.

Regarding the feedback that standards should not specify outer or absolute limits, we agree that a maximum or minimum values within section 4.08 should be for benchmark or strategic planning and that the values would not represent outer or absolute limits. Accordingly, we have amended the proposed standards so that there is provision for variation from specified values, including the necessary actions required in the event of deviation.

We disagree that Airservices should be exempt from the trial process. The trial period provides an opportunity for Airservices to fine-tune and demonstrate that its Annex 11-compliant FRMS is operating effectively within a regulated environment. A trial period also allows shortcomings to be revealed and corrected without the need or compulsion for non-compliance action - which would be CASA's only option if Airservices has a final FRMS implementation approval. Accordingly, we intend to proceed with the original proposal.

We also recognise that implementing a requirement for a provider's FRMS to be approved (either as a trial or final implementation) at the onset of the new standards would cause Airservices to be immediately in breach of the standards. For this reason, we have amended the standards to the effect that the requirement for an FRMS has immediate effect however the requirement for approval is deferred until 1 September 2024. This provides lead time for Airservices to apply for a trial implementation approval."

Regarding the feedback about having a mechanism for operational staff to provide direct feedback to CASA. This mechanism already exists, either directly to CASA – including anonymously – using this web page https://www.casa.gov.au/about-us/contact-us/report-concerns-about-aviation-safety or via the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s REPCON system. Information so provided would inform CASA's engagement with the ATS provider on the relevant matter.

Regarding the feedback that the standards should simply refer to controllers instead of operational personnel, we chose that term to provide something that would apply to both air traffic controllers and flight service officers. The latter continue to be employed for ATS functions.

Regarding the feedback that CASA must routinely review the provider’s FRMS and scrutinise the risk assessment reports, we intend to conduct safety reviews based on assessed risk in accordance with existing CASA procedures. These risk levels are initially established and then reassessed at regular intervals. The proposed standards will require the ATS provider to operate under a trial FRMS for at least one year. At the conclusion of this time and only once the ATS provider has demonstrated the effective operation of its FRMS will CASA grant a full FRMS approval. Thereafter, reports and incidents relating to FRMS will drive CASA's review intervals.

We believe employee involvement in fatigue management matters is adequately addressed via section 4.07 of the proposed standards, which requires ATS providers to include mechanisms for ongoing involvement in fatigue risk management of management, operational personnel, and all other relevant personnel.

Regarding the feedback about including personnel involved in the provision of aeronautical telecommunications (Part 171 of CASR), we have asked the relevant CASA subject matter expert to consider this as part of the Post implementation review of that Part.

Next steps

Considering that the proposals are based on ICAO requirements and existing CASA standards for an FRMS and the overall positive response to the feedback, we believe it is appropriate to proceed with the proposed fatigue management standards.

Accordingly, we will finalise the changes to the Part 65 MOS and the Part 172 MOS proposed in this consultation but with small changes as identified in our response to the feedback.

We asked

This consultation provided details of amendments we are proposing to make to the lists of type rated aircraft in Appendix IX of the Part 66 Manual of Standards (MOS). The consultation has now closed, and a summary of the feedback is provided below.

About this consultation

This consultation survey asked respondents to provide their feedback on a small number of proposed amendments that will update existing type rating information and add new aircraft types and a new type certificate holder to the aircraft type ratings lists in Appendix IX of the Part 66 MOS. A total of 15 responses were received to the consultation survey. Of the 15 respondents, 12 identified themselves as licensed aircraft maintenance engineers (LAMEs), one identified as an aircraft owner/operator, one as a professional organisation representing LAMEs, 3 identified as a CAR 30 approval holder, a further 4 respondents identified as a Part 145 AMO and 2 identified as CASA employees.  

You said

Of the total number of responses received:

  • One respondent's comments were unrelated to the details of these amendments.
  • Five respondent's comments were general in nature relating to aircraft type ratings, but not targeted towards any specific amendment.
  • Nine respondents expressed their support of the proposed amendments.

Summary of feedback

General comments received in support of the proposed amendments stated the amendments would increase the safety of maintenance carried out on these aircraft due to the engineer needing to undertake training on the specific aircraft type. One respondent commented that any extra training required by an engineer is a good thing and that whilst experience is essential, as retirement approaches for the "old school" engineers, it is essential to continue to raise the bar on skills and training for the younger generation. One respondent commented that there were limited training courses for some earlier Airbus helicopter MBB-BK 117 variants, while another respondent suggested CASA conduct a review of some of the other existing type rated aircraft which were not type rated under the previous CAR 31 licensing scheme.

We did

Based on the comments received, the majority of which were supportive of the proposed changes, we will proceed with the proposed amendments as presented.

We acknowledge the comments describing issues with certain aspects of the Part 66 type rating requirements. These issues will be considered as part of our GA Workplan.

We asked

We sought industry feedback over the period 20 April to 7 May 2023 for a proposed amendment to the Part 65 Manual of Standards (MOS) that would formally adopt International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) English language proficiency (ELP) standards for air traffic service (ATS) personnel.

We said the amendment was based on standards specified in Annex 1 to the Chicago Convention but would use language proficiency terms and procedures specified in Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR) (Flight crew licensing).

The standards would apply to:

  • anyone who performs an air traffic control (ATC) or flight service function under Part 65 of CASR
  • current or future applicants for an ATC or flight service licence.

About this consultation
ICAO implemented standards for ELP in 2008. At the time, we determined that the standards were relevant for Australian ATS personnel and we consulted with industry about expanding the existing language requirements to comply with the ICAO standard. However, despite favourable responses, it was not possible to carry out the proposed amendment to Part 65 of CASR.

In the intervening time, the national ATS provider, Airservices Australia (AA), voluntarily introduced the ICAO ELP standard for all its operational staff. We also introduced ICAO-compliant aviation ELP (AELP) standards for flight crew (Part 61 of CASR and authorisations for non-licensed personnel (Part 64 of CASR).

While voluntary compliance achieves the objective of the ICAO standard, this arrangement is not adequate, particularly for demonstrating compliance with an ICAO standard.

We identified that amending the Part 65 MOS would achieve the same outcome as the originally proposed amendment to Part 65 of CASR. The recent consultation was based on this premise.

You said

We received 5 responses. One from an ATS provider, 1 from an air traffic controller, and 3 from pilots. Three respondents consented to having their comments published, while the remaining 2 requested their submissions be kept confidential.

Summary of feedback
The feedback clearly supported the proposed amendment. It was apparent that all respondents recognised the importance of clear communications in aviation and having appropriate standards to facilitate such communication.

One respondent said that constraining the scope of the standards to Part 65 was too narrow and similar standards should also apply to all those who verbally communicate as part of their regulated aviation role. The respondent gave examples, such as: aviation rescue and firefighting personnel personnel, NOTAM or briefing office staff, aerodrome safety personnel and certain CASA officers.

Another respondent observed that some student pilots, at a regional aerodrome, speak very quickly on the aviation frequencies, and this causes confusion. The respondent asked if the English language proficiency test assesses speech rate and sought CASA assistance to resolve the issue.

We did

Next steps
We appreciate all the comments provided by the respondents to this consultation.

Regarding the recommendation for ELP standards to apply to a broader range of personnel, we would like to point out that, according to the Manual on the Implementation of ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements (ICAO Doc 9835), ICAO’s primary focus is on improved aeronautical radiotelephony communications and cockpit resource management (CRM). As such, these matters are covered by a range of Australian legislation for AELP, including:

  • Division 61.B.5 of CASR – which applies to flight crew
  • Subpart 64.B of CASR – which applies to any person, other than flight crew and ATS personnel, who transmits on an aviation safety radio frequency
  • Subregulations 121.655 and 135.455 of CASR – which apply to all air crew members (flight attendants etc) of an air transport operator.

In particular, subpart 64.B of CASR captures most of the persons cited by the respondent, including aviation rescue and firefighting personnel, aerodrome reporting officers, and aerodrome safety officers.

We are of the view that, while proficiency in the English language is beneficial for non-radiotelephony-based briefing services and CASA regulatory services, it is not necessary for persons performing these services to have a formal assessment.

Regarding the respondent's concern about language proficiency among some student pilots, we acknowledge that neither Australian nor ICAO AELP requirements include a specific 'words-per-minute' assessment. However, the standards do require applicants to demonstrate an ability to 'communicate effectively in voice-only (telephone/ radiotelephone) and in face-to-face situations'. Effective communication logically includes an appropriate speech rate. CASA is also directly addressing such matters through its current series of industry seminars on operations at non-controlled aerodromes. These seminars are presented by aviation safety advisers. Theses seminars include discussion about correct and effective communication techniques.

In conclusion - based on the positive feedback, we intend to proceed with changes consulted on in CD 2301AS. We anticipate making the amendments by mid-2023.

We asked

We sought feedback between 17 and 30 April 2023 on the proposal to establish a tailored system for training, assessment, grant and exercise of "specialised endorsements" including the sling, winch and rappelling operations and firefighting endorsements.

We had previously been told that the flight training and testing scheme for these specialised endorsements was not working as efficiently as intended. This is believed to be one of the reasons for the limited availability of suitably qualified flight instructors, examiners and flight training operators to conduct training and assessment for specialised endorsements and consequently impacts the availability of suitably qualified pilots to conduct specialised operations.

In many respects, the intended approach to flight training in which the requirements for conducting lower risk activity authorisations were meant to require less rigorous training and testing compared to the higher risk activities has not materialised for these pilots and an alternative approach to better facilitate training and assessment for these endorsements may be possible.

We proposed changing the rules to establish a tailored alternate system for training, assessment, grant and exercise of specialised endorsements.

Note: The existing Part 61 and Part 141 flight training scheme remains available for training, assessment, grant and exercise of these specialised endorsements.

The proposal addressed:

  • entry criteria and prerequisites for new pilots seeking a specialised endorsement
  • training and assessment requirements for the grant of specialised endorsements
  • supervision requirements following completion of training, assessment and grant of endorsement
  • maintenance of competency following grant of endorsement
  • entry criteria and prerequisites for persons conducting training specialised endorsements for Part 138 or Part 137 operators
  • maintenance of competency for persons conducting training and flight tests for specialised endorsements
  • requirements for Part 138 or Part 137 operators who elect to conduct the training and facilitate the assessment and grant of specialised endorsements.

About this consultation

We received 13 responses, the majority from pilots, Part 138 or 137 operators, flight instructors and flight examiners and flight training operators.

You said

The consultation survey asked respondents “Do you have any comments about the proposed instrument?.” Six responses were clearly in support of the proposed instrument. Five responses implied support for the objectives of the policy, while either suggesting changes to the technical detail of the instrument or posing questions on the operation of the instrument.

Common themes from the free text responses included opinions that:

  • training and testing for these endorsements should be facilitated in industry due to the limited access to instructors and examiners
  • industry is better served by training, testing and checking for these endorsements being conducted by those using them regularly in industry
  • the new rules will allow operators to more easily move new pilots into specialised roles without incurring prohibitive costs associated with accessing limited training providers
  • the new rules should explain what needs to be included in the practical flight training, to ensure that trainees have exposure to a wide range of scenarios and environments.

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

  • would be detrimental to aviation safety by lowering the quality of pilot produced
  • would not improve aviation safety because the 'train-the-trainer' course would not be sufficient to impart adequate instructional skill and techniques to the trainer. Additionally, operators would be conducting the training on an irregular or seasonal basis and so the trainer would have no ability to improve their instructional skills or the quality of the training course
  • would be detrimental to aviation safety because trainers would not be competent to conduct emergency procedures training. These procedures would be ignored and so pilots who receive an endorsement using this pathway will not be trained in how to manage potential emergency situations
  • is over complicated and unnecessary because the current system is working
  • will not help with the shortages of instructors and should not be allowed as an alternative to the current instructor and examiner system.

We recognise and emphasise the importance of pilots and operators conducting sling, winch or rappelling or firefighting operations implementing and maintaining a strong safety culture. The proposal emphasises operational responsibility and builds on safety requirements such as safety systems, training and checking systems and operational manuals required under Parts 138 and 137 of CASR.

Operators who intend to conduct training and facilitate the assessment and grant of a specialised endorsement will need to develop a training syllabus and have it approved by CASA. CASA must be satisfied that the operator can safely and adequately deliver the training and that the operator has suitable staff to conduct the training. Continuous improvement is necessary in any training course, whether it is delivered by a flight training operator or a commercial operator through this pathway.

In addition, the 'train-the-trainer' course requirements prescribe the minimum amount of training required. The training provider and instructor delivering the training to the trainer pilot must be satisfied that the trainer pilot is competent to deliver training.

Trainer pilots under this proposal must be sufficiently experienced and are expected to be knowledgeable and skilled in managing emergency procedures. Ensuring trainees are competent in emergency and non-normal procedures is an operational responsibility and should also be addressed in the operator's ongoing proficiency checking.

Summary of feedback

Common themes, issues and suggestions raised in responses included:

Specific technical requirements

Six responses made comment or reference to the specific technical requirements proposed in the instrument (for example, the prerequisites for trainee pilots). These responses made quite varying suggestions, including that:

Prerequisites for trainee pilots

  • the trainee prerequisites should be consistent for each specialised endorsement and require 200 hours PIC experience for the relevant category.

Training and assessment

  • for the sling operations endorsement, 10 hours of training would be more suitable. If training and testing for the sling endorsement, then the fire rating could be conducted in house by a quick check ride
  • Part 142 flight training operators should have an avenue to conduct the training and testing, in addition to Part 141 flight training operators
  • the firefighting endorsements should be attached to the low-level rating rather than the aerial application rating. This would be better for this instrument because the 'trainers' operating under the instrument would only be issuing an endorsement without the need to issue any new rating
  • for the firefighting endorsement, most beginner firefighting pilots begin with flying an AAS (air attack supervisor) platform which principally involves doing slow left-hand orbits at around 500 ft. The 5-hour dual flight time requirement is unnecessary for this, and 1 mock fire flying session of at least 1 hour flight time with strong correlation to a briefing/theory session following a syllabus would be more appropriate
  • for the firefighting endorsement, the requirement for the training to include at least 5 firefighting operations, conducted during a minimum of 3 flights serves no purpose and is virtually impractical to achieve because if it is a mock firefighting session then one is enough especially if the operation can involve as little as flying slow left-hand orbits. If it means a real firefighting operation, then that is truly impossible.

The instrument does not include detail of what is involved in a firefighting operation and we understand that this may create ambiguity. For clarity, the 'firefighting operations' contemplated in the instrument involve activities which require the firefighting endorsement to conduct. In essence, this involves applying or dispensing water or fire retardant from below 500 ft AGL for fire suppression. There are various methods of applying or dispensing the firefighting material, including buckets and tanks.

Air attack supervisor activities that involve slow left turns at around 500 ft AGL, as mentioned in the comments above, are not 'firefighting operations' contemplated in the instrument, and do not require a firefighting endorsement to conduct - only a low-level rating with the relevant category low-level endorsement is required.

The training for the endorsement under the instrument must involve training to the competency standards and in the activities permitted by the firefighting endorsement (applying or dispensing water or fire retardant from below 500 ft AGL for fire suppression) rather than simply air attack supervisory services. We will clarify this in the final instrument.

The intent was to enable operators to consider what is involved in a sling or winch or rappelling operation for their unique operational circumstances, rather than defining or explaining what a 'sling operation' and 'winch or rappelling operation' involves. We will consider whether it is necessary to also define 'sling operation' and 'winch or rappelling operation' in the final instrument.

In addition, training in firefighting operations refers to simulated or mock firefighting operations, rather than actual firefighting activities. We will clarify this in the final instrument.

Recurrent checks

  • annual checks should be required for pilots with less than 20 hours actual fireground experience; for pilots with over 20 hours fireground experience, a check should only be required if the pilot has not completed any fire work in the last 18 months.

Trainer requirements

  • the trainer pilot requirements for the specialised endorsements should be consistent, with 1000 hours PIC on relevant category, 100 cycles (for sling and winching), and 100 hours experience for firefighting. The 2 years' experience requirement does not ensure competency or experience
  • an instructor with an operational endorsement should be able to conduct training for that endorsement
  • Grade 1 training endorsement holders with the relevant training endorsement should be able to conduct the flight test.

We have considered the comments made above, though CASA intends to proceed with the requirements in the original proposal. We will review the operation of the policy following commencement by continuing to engage with relevant sectors, and we will complete a policy review before making any changes to incorporate the effect of the proposed instrument into CASR.

Questions posed by respondents regarding how the instrument will work

Four respondents also asked questions regarding how the instrument will work. These questions (edited for length and consistency) and CASA's responses are at Table 1.

Table 1: Respondent questions and CASA responses

Question

CASA response

Who can conduct the annual operator proficiency check?

The instrument does not prescribe recurrent checking; instead, existing operator proficiency check requirements in Parts 137 and 138 are expected to be met. The person conducting these checks should be the same person as currently permitted or required to conduct the checks under Parts 137 or 138 of CASR.

How will the requirement for a winch and rappelling operations endorsement trainee to have 100 hours PIC on type assist junior first officers in multi-engine roles gain a winch and rappelling operations endorsement after being hired?

Trainees for winch and rappelling operations endorsements are not required to have 100 hours PIC on type. Under the draft instrument, they are required to have at least 100 hours PIC of a helicopter.

Will it be an option to use an Industry Flight Examiner Rating Courses (IFERC) instead of the FERC e-learning modules required in the instrument?

No. There is currently only one approved IFERC. IFERCs are set up for people who want to become flight examiners and are therefore tailored to examiner competencies. The e-learning FERC modules prescribed in the instrument are intended to provide trainers with knowledge around conducting a test and administrative requirements for tests. Completion of the e-learning FERC modules also provides CASA with visibility of people who can conduct the training and testing under the instrument.

Can a flight instructor with the relevant training endorsement complete the FERC requirements and be able to operate under the instrument?

Yes, so long as they meet the trainer prerequisites prescribed in the instrument (e.g. aeronautical and operational experience, be employed or engaged by a relevant operator).

How many instructors meet the criteria prescribed for the instructors delivering the 'train-the-trainer' course? Is it possible this instrument may shift the problem of the lack of qualified specialised endorsement instructors to a lack of qualified instructors that can conduct the 'trainer' training?

There is a moderate amount of instructors who meet the prescribed criteria to conduct the train-the-trainer course, approximately: 150 for sling, 70 for winch and rappelling, 75 for helicopter firefighting and 5 for aeroplane firefighting.

 

We expect the instrument will make it easier for pilots to access training and testing for specialised endorsements and will not merely shift the problem.

We did

The consultation indicated support for the proposed instrument and the proposed alternative pathway for the training, assessment and grant of specialised endorsements. Minor changes will likely be made to improve the clarity of the instrument. However, any changes will not impact the intended effect of the instrument or the underpinning policy.

The instrument will be in place by mid-June 2023.

We asked

We sought your feedback on the draft advisory circular (AC) 139.V-01 guidelines for vertiport design. The consultation period was between 30 November 2022 and 31 March 2023. The proposal was for initial guidance for a new type of aerodrome designed to service next-generation vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capable aircraft (VCA).

Vertiport sites can be in urban and regional locations as well as on existing aerodromes. Draft AC 139.V-01 v1.0 - Guidelines for vertiport design, is intended to provide guidance and information to people designing and constructing vertiports in support of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) operations.

About this consultation

To assist the future introduction of AAM aircraft, proponents had sought information about vertiports to support the development and introduction of infrastructure to support the emergency AAM industry. The guidance is intended to guide those who are in the early stages of vertiport development.

The guidance provided is structured in such a way that it will evolve with the industry. Accordingly, this first AC was developed to support performance-based outcomes to suit the intended operational needs of the vertiport, and their intended aircraft operations.

This AC provides initial guidance on developing vertiports and includes:

  • site selection including downwash protection
  • physical characteristics
  • obstacle limitation surfaces
  • visuals aids including markings, markers and lights.

You said

We received 36 responses. Twelve responses were from vertiport developers, potential vertiport owner/operators and aviation consultants. Three were from existing aerodrome operators. Seven were from AAM aircraft manufacturers, aircraft operators or potential AAM aircraft pilots/crew. Fourteen responses were from others.

Summary of feedback

The feedback supported the proposed guidance. However, there was a view that existing heliport guidance material would be suitable for early crewed AAM operations in visual conditions. The majority of feedback supported the performance-based outcomes approach.

Some responses, although important, addressed matters outside the scope of AC 139.V-01, such as focussing on the performance of the aircraft or crew. Where appropriate and applicable, CASA has noted those comments and will use that feedback when developing further guidance and regulatory documents.

Of particular interest, comments on downwash, obstacle limitation surfaces (OLS) and the requirements for solid Final Approach and Take-off Areas (FATO) were common themes in the responses.

We did

We appreciate all the comments provided by the respondents to this consultation.

A thorough review of the responses was completed with the feedback used to improve the guidance material.

Regarding downwash and outwash, Table 1 ‘guidelines for maximum downwash velocity’ was removed and more information and guidance was included. Specific advice on downwash and outwash impacts at and in the vicinity of vertiports cannot be finalised until information from AAM aircraft manufacturers becomes available.

It should be noted that a new definition ‘downwash protection zone’ had been included in the AC, which is consistent with new guidance for heliports from ICAO in the ‘heliport manual’ (Doc 9261). 

To further assist understanding of the OLS, drawings were updated with more notations, improved orientation, and inclusion of indicative AAM aircraft flight paths.

Regarding the need for a solid FATO, the understanding of proposed and actual AAM aircraft performance and any rejected take-off requirements is not yet sufficient to move away from the solid FATO requirement.

In addition to these items, guidance on geometry-based aircraft parking stands has been included for ground manoeuvring aircraft and apron safety markings have now been included in the guidance material.

Along with these amendments, ICAO’s vertical flight infrastructure working group, the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) Vertiport Design and Operations Technical Working Group, and CASA’s internal Non-Conventional Aerodrome Regulatory Framework working group are now working towards developing a performance-based outcome framework for AAM landing site infrastructure; this may widen the future focus of AC 139.V-01 Guidelines for vertiport design.

We asked

Since the introduction of Part 66 of CASR, CASA has received submissions from industry stakeholders indicating that the Part 66 licence pathways are too inflexible, particularly in relation to pathways for initial licence issue in comparison to the previous CAR 31 licensing system

The “all or nothing” approach of Part 66 has been cited as a stumbling block for individuals, who either don’t have a strong interest in one of the aspects of a full Part 66 licence or who are unable to accumulate the necessary practical maintenance experience for all the required systems. The issue also affects people who hold foreign licences and are seeking to convert their foreign licence to an Australian licence.

These industry submissions generally suggest that a progressive, modular licensing structure should be developed to facilitate earlier and more achievable licensing outcomes with improved flexibility for licence applicants and businesses.

CASA has committed, through its GA Workplan, to consider more progressive, less onerous maintenance licence pathways tailored for light aircraft.

About this consultation

CASA published DP 2218MS to outline considerations and possible options for AME licence pathways that would provide a more flexible and achievable licensing outcome, particularly in relation to initial licensing outcomes.

This consultation asked people to provide comment on DP 2218MS and the suggested changes to the Part 66 licence structure, that would address both industry submissions and the GA workplan objectives.

You said

CASA received 60 responses to the discussion paper, 46 of which were from licensed aircraft maintenance engineers, 10 from aircraft owner/operators, 11 from CAR 30 approval holders, 8 from Part 145 approved maintenance organisations and two from Part 147 maintenance training providers.

3 CASA officers also provided comments.

39 respondents gave permission to publish their responses.

Summary of feedback

Of the 60 respondents, 38 supported the proposals as published, and 6 respondents were opposed to the concepts.

Of the remaining 14 respondents, the proposals were generally acceptable however some changes were proposed.

Key themes and issues

Modular licensing pathways would be beneficial

Most respondents clearly supported the intent to provide a more flexible, modular licensing framework.

Use of exclusions

A majority of respondents supported the use of exclusions. Four respondents opposed exclusions on the grounds that exclusions are confusing.

Seven respondents called for expanded use of the full range of exclusions, to maximise flexibility and licensing outcomes. In particular, reference was made to providing for a licence to be obtained without needing practical experience on systems that are not accessible or not applicable to a person's employment, such as air conditioning, pressurisation and retractable undercarriage.

The proposal in the DP is framed around the use of exclusions, in the first instance, in order to expedite delivery of the intended benefits and outcomes. However, CASA acknowledges that some industry stakeholders do not agree with the use of exclusions in any context.

Exclusions were designed to transition between CAR 31 and Part 66 licences. Exclusions do have the potential to be used as a useful and beneficial mechanism to facilitate licensing outcomes, particularly in cases where a licence applicant cannot achieve the necessary experience in particular systems. This is a common situation in regional areas. Expanded use of exclusions also has potential application in acceptance of foreign licences with different scope.

Any ongoing use of exclusions will need to be carefully considered, particularly in relation to the associated training requirements, administrative implementation arrangements and clear understanding of licence scope and privileges.

Whether we need a phase 2 positive description

A small number of respondents opposed a second phase to develop a positive description of modular licensing, on the basis that it would only further add to confusion.

It is acknowledged that the desired practical outcomes of a modular licensing system can be achieved using exclusions and a positive description of privileges is not essential. CASA intends to continue to focus on expediting the desired modular licensing outcomes via exclusions and will consider a positive privilege arrangement as a possible future extension, after a settling-in period using exclusions.

Propellers separate from powerplants

The majority of respondents did not comment on this subject. Two respondents specifically opposed separating propellers from power plants. An equal number of respondents specifically expressed support for the concept.

An objective of this initiative is to increase flexibility and improve licensing outcomes for industry. Providing propellers as an option, rather than a requirement, is consistent with this objective. It is also noted that a propeller qualification would be an unnecessary and potentially unwelcome burden for LAMEs who work in a helicopter-only environment.

Following discussions with the TWG, and with the aim of expediting delivery of core modular licensing outcomes, CASA will develop a proposal that retains propellers as a requirement for piston engine aeroplane licences but not helicopters. This approach can be reviewed in later phases of this initiative, if necessary.

Practical experience period should be longer

Some respondents suggested that the minimum practical experience proposed in the discussion paper is insufficient.

CASA notes that this proposal is intended to facilitate licensing outcomes. It is understood that a modular approach to licensing will naturally reduce the training and practical experience requirements and timeframes. Experience should be specific to the required licence outcome and proportional to the proposed licence scope. In cases where the licence scope is reduced, relative to the current arrangements, it is considered reasonable to proportionately reduce the experience. In all cases, the proposal would ensure at least 1 year practical experience, which is consistent with recommendations set out in ICAO Annex 1.

Following discussions with the TWG, and in order to expedite core modular licensing outcomes, CASA will develop a legislative proposal that does not change the current experience requirements stated in the Part 66 MOS. CASA will consider proportionate adjustments to the experience requirements in the second phase of this initiative.

Physics should be mandatory for all licences

Several respondents commented that physics should be a required theoretical module for all licences.

Omission of physics module 2 in the discussion paper was a typographical error.

Physics is a relevant knowledge element for all licences and is an element of the ICAO licensing standards.

Electrical should be mandatory for all licences

Several respondents commented that electrical should be a required theoretical module for all licences.

An objective of this initiative is to increase flexibility and improve licensing outcomes for industry. Providing electrical as an option, rather than a requirement, is consistent with this objective. It is also noted that an airframe only licence would be a useful practical outcome, particularly for small, simple GA aircraft. 

CASA will consider this issue further and will work with the TWG to develop a flexible and practical legislative proposal.

CAR 31 basic examination credits should be recognised

Several respondents suggested that credits obtained under the old CAR 31 licensing arrangements should be recognised.

This concern is outside the scope of this paper. However, CASA has a process in place for mapping CAR 31 examination credits for RPL purposes.  We will consider a review of procedures in this area.

Recognition of expired CAR 31 licences

CASA has received feedback during this consultation suggesting that we should consider applying the same approach that is used for recognition of foreign licences to recognition of expired CAR 31 licences.

CASA agrees that this is desirable and will consider options to achieve this outcome.

Use of CAR 31 summary of experience (in place of the journal/log of industrial experience)

Several commenters requested CASA accept the old CAR 31 summary of experience in lieu of the new journal/log of industrial experience developed for the Part 66 self-study system.

This concern is outside the scope of this paper. However, CASA will review its procedures in this area.

The proposed CAR 31-based model vs other options (EASA B3)

Respondents generally indicated strong support for a CAR 31-like structure.

No respondents supported adoption of the EASA B3 or B2L licence arrangements. Respondents who mentioned EASA were generally critical of the EASA licensing structure.

In order to expedite core modular licensing outcomes, CASA will develop a legislative proposal that does not specifically adopt the EASA B3 and B2L structure. CASA will consider this issue in more detail in the second phase of this initiative.

We did

Overall, respondents have strongly supported the proposals and encourage CASA to expedite the delivery of more flexible licensing outcomes.  

CASA will therefore proceed with this initiative, using the input provided to develop a more detailed policy, legislation and implementation package.

Consistent with the feedback from industry and the TWG, CASA will seek to expedite the delivery of the core beneficial outcomes of this proposal. To achieve this, CASA will develop a legislative proposal that will facilitate modular licensing outcomes using exclusions. This approach will also provide more flexible pathways in other cases, including Australian trainees, that cannot access certain systems to gain practical experience, as well as recognition of foreign licences and defence authorisations. In order to expedite these outcomes, the status quo will be maintained on some requirements, such as minimum experience requirements and propeller exclusions. These requirements will be considered in more detail in later phases of this initiative after the core outcomes are achieved.

We asked

Between 8 December 2022 and 22 January 2023, we sought feedback on the Proposed new Part 105 Manual of Standards (MOS) - Parachuting from aircraft. The consultation sought feedback on the proposed Part 105 MOS for the rules governing parachuting activities.

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

About this consultation
Part 105 of CASR and its associated Manual of Standards (MOS) integrate parachuting activities in the Part 149 self-administration framework. This means Part 149 approved self-administering aviation organisations (ASAOs) must follow Part 105 requirements for their Part 149 aviation administration functions. The Part 105 MOS provides the complex technical detail for the rules governing parachuting activities conducted under Part 105 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR). 

The Part 105 regulations commenced on 2 December 2021, concurrently with the other new flight operations regulations. As with these other Parts, Part 105 will have an accompanying MOS, which document was the subject of this consultation.

The Part 149 transitional arrangements that apply to sport aviation bodies that are not ASAOs, whereby the sport aviation body is exempt from Part 105 of CASR by the application of regulation 202.502 of CASR, self-repeal on 1 December 2023. The Part 105 MOS will therefore commence on 2 December 2023.

The scope of the proposed Part 105 MOS covers the following:

  • relevant definitions; Technical Standard Orders and the prescribed activity of ground control
  • standards for reserve parachute assemblies and emergency parachutes
  • requirements relating to pilot training and recency requirements, aircraft maintenance requirements, and related exposition requirements, for parachute descents involving trainee parachutists or tandem parachutists
  • requirements relating to the dropping of objects during the conduct of a parachute descent or from a parachuting aircraft
  • operational requirements relating to parachutes
  • requirements that apply to pilots of aircraft operated to facilitate parachute descents
  • requirements for the safety of aircraft used for parachute descents
  • requirements for the safe conduct of aircraft operations for facilitating parachuting descents
  • requirements for the management of aircraft weight and balance, including the loading of aircraft being operated to facilitate a parachute descent
  • requirements for the carriage and use of radio equipment and oxygen equipment for aircraft being operated to facilitate a parachute descent
  • pilot requirements for parachute descents from a Part 103 aircraft or a manned free balloon.

The consultation sought feedback on each of these topics as well as general feedback on the policy underpinning the proposed Part 105 MOS.

The Summary of Proposed Change (SPC) for the Part 105 MOS also noted 3 issues identified within the Part 105 Technical Working Group (TWG) by industry members that were outside the scope of the Part 105 MOS. The TWG also noted that all of these matters are either managed under an exemption instrument or are currently subject to further review by CASA.

You said

In total, there were 12 respondents to the consultation. Of the respondents who made written submissions, 8 consented to being published. CASA has published all that consented except for one with objectional content. Four respondents requested their submissions be confidential.

How many supported this change proposal and how many did not?

Most of the responses (6) received were from Jump Pilot Authorisation holders. Two of the responses were received from concerned parties affected by a previous parachute incident. Two respondents hold parachute packer or rigger authorisations. One respondent was a sport aviation body, one respondent was associated with ground control and one respondent was a Part 61 licence (non-jump pilot) holder.

The majority of the responses were in support of the proposed amendments, several others supported the proposed changes but with some changes and 1 response included responses that were in disagreement with the proposed changes.

Summary of feedback and issues raised
Issue 1: Jump pilot competency reviews
Five responses suggested the Part 105 MOS provides for a too short tolerance period for the holder of a jump pilot authorisation to conduct a competency review. Respondents noted that the Part 135 MOS, that provides requirements for smaller aeroplane air transport operations, provides for a 30-day period, before or after a check of competency or proficiency is due. 

CASA’s response
The submissions appear to be based on a misconception that the Part 135 MOS provides for the operation of an aircraft by a person for up to 30 days after they no longer satisfy the operator’s training and checking requirements. The Part 135 MOS provisions relate only to preserving the due date for a competency check conducted under the checking and training system of a Part 135 operator (for the purposes of management of the operator’s training and checking regime), which aspect is not usually relevant to a parachute operator. 

The respondent’s proposal would effectively introduce 7 and 13 month intervals between competency reviews, which would render the published intervals meaningless. The 6 and 12 month intervals are retained, but amendments have been made to the Part 105 MOS to expand the window for the conduct of a competency review, such that where a person with a valid competency review completes a new review 45 days or less prior to the expiry of that review. The period of validity of the new review will commence immediately upon that expiry.

Issue 2: Target panels
Two responses commented that the inclusion of target panel requirements is unnecessary on the basis that these panels are an obsolete medium no longer used by industry. One respondent also noted that the term “target” may be interpreted as an aiming point on the ground for parachutists (with associated safety risks if the panel is situated in an unsafe area), when in fact the function of the panel is as a ground to air communications medium. 

CASA’s response
CASA agrees that the use of the term “target” could result in confusion as to the purpose of these panels and has amended the MOS terminology to refer to “ground communication panels”. CASA is aware these panels are rarely used but is of the view that the panels provide a mechanism that would permit a parachute descent to be completed by providing an alternative communications medium if radiocommunications fail, in the same manner as light signals can be used at aerodromes as an alternative means of communication. 

Issue 3: Flight time should include flight time as PICUS
Five responses suggested that the pilot flight-time requirements (for powered-lift aircraft) include time as pilot in command under supervision (PICUS) in addition to the existing flight time as pilot in command (PIC) requirements. 

There were also suggestions that multi-engine aeroplane and single-engine turbine-powered aeroplanes allow PICUS flight-time to meet the pilot flight-time requirements.

CASA’s response
CASA does not consider that flight time gained only as PICUS, or under supervision by an ASAO jump pilot supervisor in the operation of a particular type of powered-lift aircraft (or a type of rotorcraft generally), provides an appropriate level of safety assurance (i.e. one that would not be likely to have an adverse effect on the safety of air navigation) because:

  • there are no parachute operators using powered-lift aircraft
  • there is not an established pool of appropriately qualified, experienced and current pilots capable of delivering an ongoing national capability of ASAO supervision and assessment for pilots of rotorcraft used in parachuting operations
  • there are no established competency standards for such supervision.

The Part 105 MOS pilot flight time requirements for powered-lift aircraft will be limited to 10 hours on type as pilot in command. CASA will review these provisions when:

a.    CASA has a more comprehensive understanding of the risks associated with the operation of such aircraft in parachuting operations.

b.    Part 61 and Part 133 of CASR include appropriate oversight of the required pilot competencies for powered-lift aircraft operations used for passenger transport.

c.    There is an established pool of appropriately qualified, experienced and current pilots upon which an ASAO could depend to deliver an ongoing capability of ASAO supervision and assessment of jump pilots conducting powered-lift aircraft parachute training operations.

CASA will also extend the scope of the powered-lift flight time on type requirements to apply to helicopters used in parachuting training operations in the instrument mentioned below.

Changing the multi-engine aeroplane and single-engine turbine powered aeroplane flight-time on type provisions requires amendments to regulation 105.080 of CASR, which is outside the scope of the Part 105 MOS. However, CASA acknowledges that some flight time gained as PICUS or under supervision by an ASAO jump pilot supervisor can be recognised toward the flight time on type requirement for aeroplanes, because both Part 61 PICUS and Part 105 ASAO oversight of jump pilot competency and jump pilot training requirements for aeroplanes are established and ongoing. There is also a pool of pilots capable of conducting jump pilot training, competency assessment and supervision in aeroplanes across a number of parachute operators. 

An exemption instrument will, from 2 December 2023, provide for the recognition of up to 7 hours flight time on type gained as PICUS, or under supervision by an ASAO jump pilot supervisor, for single-engine turbine powered aeroplanes and multi-engine aeroplanes engaged in parachuting training operations. 

Issue 4: Manufacture of parachute components
Two responses raised concern around the wording in subparagraph (b)(ii) of the definition of rigger authorisation, which the respondents suggest means a rigger may only manufacture ‘parachute components’ and may be interpreted as excluding a rigger from manufacturing a main parachute. 

CASA’s response
CASA has amended the definition to remove any ambiguity.

Issue 5: Compatibility assessment of a main parachute with the container of a reserve parachute
One respondent proposed that the mechanism for who can conduct a compatibility assessment be expanded to include a person who has met competency requirements set by the ASAO to conduct the compatibility assessment – rather than being just confined to canopy relative-work coaches that are limited to compatibility assessments of parachutes used in canopy relative-work descents. 

CASA’s response
CASA has amended the Part 105 MOS to expand the scope of compatibility assessments to include a parachutist certificate holder who holds an ASAO authorisation to conduct compatibility assessments. However, the compatibility assessments of equipment used by a student parachutist or tandem parachutist remain confined to the holder of a packer or rigger authorisation. Consequential amendments to relevant definitions and provisions have been incorporated in the MOS.

Issue 6: Definition of rigger authorisation
One response raised a concern that the definition of rigger was too restrictive by limiting the manufacture of parachutes and parachute components to the use of a sewing machine.

CASA’s response
CASA has amended the definition of ‘rigger authorisation’ to reference the use of appropriate equipment rather than identifying specific tooling.

Issue 7: TSO/ETSO authorisation
One respondent commented that a manufacturer may claim compliance with TSO-C23 or ETSO-23 when that manufacturer may not be authorised to identify equipment with compliance markings (that is, may not be the holder of an approval mentioned in paragraphs 21.607(2)(a)-(ca) of CASR).

CASA’s response
CASA acknowledges a manufacturer of a parachute must be authorised for the purposes of TSO-C23 or ETSO-23. The Part 105 MOS has been amended to reflect this.

Issue 8: Manufacturers requirements documents
One respondent commented on the terminology of the Part 105 MOS regarding the manufacturers’ requirements about the airworthiness of an assembly contained in a document, implying all the manufacturers requirements are held in one single document, which is not accurate.

CASA’s response
In accordance with the Acts Interpretation Act 1901, references to the singular includes the plural and vice versa. Reference to a single applicable document in the Part 105 MOS therefore includes reference to all applicable documents. No changes made to the Part 105 MOS for this issue.

Issue 9: Amendment of a reserve parachute service life
One respondent suggested a means for an ASAO to amend the service life of a reserve parachute if the manufacturer no longer provides airworthiness support.

CASA’s response
Where the holder of a relevant design authority has specified a service life for a reserve parachute assembly, only the holder of the design authority may amend the specified service life. Where an ASAO has assumed responsibility for the continuing airworthiness of a reserve parachute assembly for which the manufacturer no longer provides airworthiness support, the ASAO may only amend the service life if:

a.    in the case the relevant design authority holder specified a service life, the ASAO also holds the relevant design authority and amends the authority in accordance with the civil aviation legislation of the national aviation authority that issued the authority
or
b.    the relevant design authority under which the reserve parachute assembly was manufactured does not specify a service life.

No changes made to the Part 105 MOS for this issue.

Issue 10: Parachute packing logbook requirements
One respondent noted a parachute packing log must be maintained for a parachute (not a reserve or emergency parachute) by a trainee parachutist. Elsewhere a trainee parachutist is defined to include a certified parachutist training for a rating or endorsement. This would effectively require a certified parachutist to maintain a packing log for a main parachute.

Additionally, it was noted Part 105 MOS requires that a packer or rigger must maintain a personal packing log which should include the packing of main parachutes used by a trainee or student parachutist. This requirement is captured elsewhere in the Part 105 MOS.

CASA’s response
CASA has amended the Part 105 MOS such that the main parachute packing log requirements only applies to main parachutes used by student parachutists or tandem parachutists.

CASA has omitted, from the Part 105 MOS, the requirement for a packer or rigger to include in their personal logbook the packing of main parachutes.

Issue 11: Change of parachute components
One respondent mentioned that the Part 105 MOS is not clear on the compatibility assessment requirements when a parachute component is replaced by an identical parachute component.

CASA’s response
The Part 105 MOS compatibility assessment requirements in relation to component changes are only intended to apply when a parachute component is substituted with a component other than one that is identical to the replaced component. The Part 105 MOS has been amended to reflect this intent.

Issue 12: Parachute descents over water
One respondent commented that the term ‘over water’ was too definitive and that there should be some inclusion for parachute descents not ‘over water’ but in close proximity to water.

CASA’s response
CASA has amended the Part 105 MOS to provide for an outcomes-based approach, that places the onus on the drop zone safety officer, for a drop zone, to identify water hazards.  We have also included a requirement that the drop zone safety officer, for a drop zone with a water hazard, must conduct a risk assessment to determine if flotation devices are required to be worn by parachutists during a descent at that drop zone.

Issue 13: Flotation device standards
One respondent mentioned that there are personal flotation devices (PFD) being used which are manufactured to Australian Standard AS4758 – Level 50 and Level 100 and that PFDs manufactured to these standards should be included in the Part 105 MOS.

CASA’s response
CASA acknowledges there is at least one personal flotation device manufactured to AS4758 – Level 100 standard, which is suitable for use whilst parachuting over or near a water hazard. 

The Part 105 MOS has been amended to:

  • include PFDs manufactured to AS4758 – Level 100
  • remove references to PFDs manufactured to obsolete standards that are no longer permitted to be used in maritime operations
  • require a drop zone safety officer to ensure the level of PFD to be used is commensurate with the outcomes of the risk assessment they are required to conduct.

Issue 14: Safe conduct of parachute descents
Two responses submitted by concerned parties affected by a previous parachute incident raised safety concerns in relation to the accessibility of knives and the approval of the design of aircraft modifications that involve the fitting of a step for parachutists to the aircraft.

CASA’s response
CASA recognises the carriage and use of knives as a means to free a parachutist who has become tangled with their equipment or snagged on the parachuting aircraft. The Part 105 MOS makes specific provision (in section 5.40) that a knife suitable for emergency situations is to be carried on board the aircraft and readily available to the pilot in command and, for a parachuting training operation, the parachutist instructor. Section 5.25 of the MOS further provides that a Part 105 ASAO that administers parachute descents must include, in the ASAO’s exposition, procedures for the safe conduct of parachute descents of a kind it administers including, if applicable, descents by trainee or tandem parachutists. CASA expects that an ASAO’s safe conduct procedures would include the ASAO’s procedures for the carriage and use of knives in emergency situations.

In relation to design approval of aircraft modifications, Part 105 of CASR has no powers in relation to aircraft modifications because such modifications fall within the scope of Part 21 of CASR. Any aircraft modification must be compliant with the requirements of Part 21.

We did

Next steps
Overall, the responses we have received have supported the proposals. As a result of the consultation, CASA has implemented the mentioned changes to the Part 105 MOS, which will come into force on 2 December 2023.

We asked

This consultation sought feedback on the proposed aeronautical knowledge standards and associated guide supporting an examination to authorise remote pilot licence (RePL) holders to conduct Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, outside of controlled airspace (OCTA).

CASA published the consultation documents on the Consultation Hub on 7 December and closed the consultation on 17 January 2023.

About this consultation

The BVLOS OCTA examination forms part of a larger body of work to future proof the Australian remotely piloted aviation industry, as outlined in the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Strategic Regulatory Roadmap (the Roadmap).

The Roadmap was published on 1 July 2022, with an immediate term deliverable (2022 to 2023) to review and implement an alternative training and examination pathway for remote pilots conducting BVLOS operations.

The BVLOS OCTA aeronautical standards document describes the knowledge standards required of a candidate to pass the BVLOS OCTA examination. A pass in the theoretical exam would provide a person with a BVLOS OCTA pass (a pass credit), which would permit them to operate in compliance with a remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) holders’ procedures and conduct BVLOS operations OCTA. The ReOC holder must hold an approval to operate BVLOS under regulation 101.029 of CASR.

CASA developed the BVLOS OCTA aeronautical standards, in consultation with the BVLOS Industry Working Group, between June 2022 and November 2022.

The aim of the proposed standards and examination is to:

  • act as an alternative pathway from the instrument rating exam (IREX) for BVLOS operations outside of controlled airspace.
  • be the first step in a broader BVLOS licensing framework.

Subsequently, CASA commenced consultation on the proposed standards and the associated guide seeking feedback to determine if the content would meet industry’s needs and work in practice, and to identify any unforeseen consequences or impact.

We thank respondents for their contributions and acknowledge their beneficial feedback. A summary of the feedback received is below.

You said

CASA received 128 responses to the consultation. The responses represented a broad cross section of the aviation community, with the top five respondent groups originating from the following categories:

  • Remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) holder (29%).
  • Remote pilot licence (RePL) holder (26%).
  • First person view (FPV) remote pilot/ enthusiast (17%).
  • Recreational drone flyer (9%).
  • Other (9%).

Sixty-four percent of responses represented the respondent’s personal views and not those of an organisation.

While all questions elicited responses, several respondents chose to answer specific questions as undecided or beyond their expertise, with one question having approximately 20% of respondents answering in this manner.

Seventy-eight percent of respondents responded positively to the proposed examination. Of this group, around 56% of respondents supported the direction CASA is taking, agreeing without comment that the new examination's structure, scope, and knowledge items were appropriate. A further 22% supported the exam but suggested further changes.

Two key messages were highlighted in the comments provided in support of the exam. First, was the support for the increased flexibility for CASA to allow remote pilots to be qualified to conduct BVLOS operations outside of controlled airspace.

Second, that the proposed examination is fit for purpose and likely to ease pain points through increased efficiency. In particular, the reductions in administrative burden (by no longer having to sit the IREX) were positively highlighted in the comments.

A key message from the respondents who supported the exam but with further changes, was that the exam process should be transparent and not too onerous. 

Key themes and issues
Content of the aeronautical knowledge standards

Complexity

Several respondents commented that the aeronautical knowledge standards were too detailed and lacked relevance in some areas, particularly for remote pilots planning to carry out relatively simple BVLOS operations.

CASA has considered these comments, and where CASA has agreed with the input, the matters have been amended or deleted. It is noted that the proposed aeronautical standards are for all BVLOS operations outside of controlled airspace, regardless of the operational complexity. 

Consequently, CASA has maintained the depth and detail of the aeronautical standards to cater for any operator planning to carry out either complex or simple BVLOS operations. However, in the future CASA plans to develop additional guidance material and possible exam scenarios for other types of BVLOS operations.

One respondent commented that the material used too much jargon. CASA acknowledges the use of standard aviation terminology in the examination, which may be foreign to new entrants to the industry. A remote pilot operating BVLOS must know how to communicate and operate in an aviation safety environment.

It is a prerequisite of the examination that the examinee holds a RePL, the training for which introduces much of the terminology used. It is expected that any additional terminology knowledge required will be learned during the study for the BVLOS OCTA examination.

Single examination

Multiple respondents questioned why there were not differing examinations based on the complexity of the intended operations. The proposed exam structure will provide remote pilots operational flexibility depending on the ReOC instrument of approval for which the RePL holder will operate under.

Further, if CASA were to include specific variations for subsets of operational limitations, the remote pilot would have to pass multiple exams for the various conditions. A ReOC holder would also be required to oversee the various capabilities of those remote pilots.

Specific Operations Risk Assessment (SORA)

Some respondents questioned why the SORA risk methodology was not included in the examination. SORA is one type of risk assessment methodology currently used to assess air and ground risks, particularly in BVLOS operations.

CASA notes that the SORA methodology may change, or different methodologies may arise. It should also be noted that inclusion of SORA into the aeronautical standards would significantly increase the complexity of the BVLOS OCTA exam for the RePL holder, without providing a direct improvement to subsequent BVLOS operations they participate in under a ReOC approval. 

CASA acknowledges the importance of a thorough understanding of risk mitigation methodology and includes agnostic risk assessments in the initial RePL training course aeronautical knowledge standards.

Syllabus and training material

Some respondents questioned why the consultation material was not a detailed syllabus. The standards and guide are documents from which a syllabus is created; they are targeted at training content creators (or providers) to develop training content to prepare students to sit the examination.

CASA does not intend to review and authorise training material and will instead maintain control of the exam. Study preferences for the exam will remain up to the individual in compliance with the published standards.

One respondent questioned why CASA didn’t adopt the VET Certificate IV in Aviation (Remote Pilot-Beyond Visual Line of Sight) as the basis for the BVLOS OCTA examination. The version of the certificate that was published during CASA’s development of the BVLOS OCTA exam (AVI40419) was not appropriate for the intended examination, due to the type and form of content delivered.

Respondent feedback on the proposed aeronautical knowledge guide found most content relevant and timely and should be retained. Based on the comments provided, CASA has made some amendments to the aeronautical knowledge standards for efficiency in some areas.

Futureproofing

Several responses highlighted that the examination is an important first step; however, CASA will need to ensure that the standards and guide, and the examination are reviewed as technology and industry develop.

CASA acknowledges that over time the standards, guide, and examination will require modification. The BVLOS OCTA examination is the first step in a future remote pilot licencing framework. The standards have been developed with technological changes in mind and will be reviewed in line with the progression of the future remote pilot licencing framework.

Privileges granted by the examination

Scope

The examination only permits the RePL holder to conduct BVLOS operations outside of controlled airspace, under a ReOC that holds an applicable BVLOS approval. CASA received comments that there should be more flexibility in the scope of the BVLOS operations that could be conducted with a pass in the examination.

A BVLOS rating that permits BVLOS operations without an additional area approval may form part of CASA’s future remote pilot licencing framework, however this is not the intention of this exam. The risks and mitigators associated with BVLOS operations vary considerably between operations.

CASA manages these specific risks through a ReOC BVLOS area approval process, with the issued approval instrument containing additional conditions appropriate to the operation. Though the examination is intended to ensure that the remote pilot has the knowledge to operate RPA BVLOS outside of controlled airspace, to ensure the safety of all airspace users, each operation will require specific mitigators assessed through the area approval.

Necessity

Differing responses were received as to the necessity of the exam, with some respondents commenting that the examination did not go far enough and needed a practical component. Others stated that it is sufficient for the operator to have either no examination, accreditation, or an RePL.

It should be noted that CASA recently issued an exemption (CASA EX27/23 — Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operations Beyond Visual Line of Sight Exemption 2023) from the requirement to hold an IREX for persons conducting EVLOS operations under a ReOC, and that many of the use cases highlighted in consultation feedback as operations that do not necessitate an examination, could be conducted under EVLOS.

First Person View (FPV)

Several respondents commented that the examination should enable recreational FPV activities and enthusiasts to fly BVLOS. As above, the examination only enables operations under a ReOC and only where the ReOC holder has an area approval permitting BVLOS operations.

Consistent with the Roadmap, the examination is intended to provide an alternate pathway from the IREX for the purposes of regulation 101.300 of CASR (conditions on remote pilot licences). In line with the Roadmap, CASA is continuing to review Australia’s RPAS regulations, including those relating to BVLOS, to safely enable the implementation of RPAS operations.

Enthusiasts can continue to fly FPV recreationally indoors without a CASA approval, or, at an approved aviation administration organisation site (i.e., model aircraft club), or can apply to CASA for an area approval.

Cost of the examination to applicants

The amendment introducing a fee of $70 plus a third-party fee for the new examination caused some contention. However, there were comments that considered the fee was reasonable given the current cost of the IREX, and the consequent easing of the administrative requirements for the new examination.

The proposed regulatory fee of $70 is set by CASA in accordance with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines. The administrative fee for the examination is set by a third-party supplier, and both fees are a one-time cost per exam. The purpose of the fee is not to raise revenue but to recover costs as mandated by the Australian Government.

Appropriateness of CASA consultation

Fewer than ten respondents stated that CASA must consult more with industry to identify opportunities for improved collaboration and consultation. The BVLOS OCTA examination was developed in consultation with an industry working group (and the supporting Roadmap was developed by a separate technical working group) and had significant representation from a broad cross section of the RPAS community. CASA acknowledges the importance of further collaboration and consultation and will continue to engage with industry through formal and informal consultation processes.

CASA encourages any interested party to register interest to join a TWG and receive notifications of regulatory change schemes and provide feedback.

We did

CASA has reviewed each comment and submission. Overall, respondents agreed that CASA's aim to streamline processes and increase efficiency for industry has been achieved, with less than 20% of respondents disagreeing with comments. In addition, 75% of respondents agreed that industry could comply with the proposed changes without undue burden.

Minor changes have been made to the standards and guide to improve the clarity and content. However, any changes will not impact the intended effect of the qualification or the underpinning policy.

CASA will monitor exam results during the initial rollout phase and on an ongoing basis. CASA will also continue working on deliverables in the Roadmap and the further proposed changes to Part 101 of CASR and its MOS to support uncrewed aircraft operations.

CASA aims to roll out the proposed examination available through the current PEXO system in the first half of 2023. The feedback we receive from this consultation will also assist CASA in developing implementation and transition timeframes.  

We asked

We sought industry feedback between 1 and 16 December 2022 on the proposal to establish a tailored system for training, assessment, grant and exercise of aerial mustering endorsements.

Previously, industry had told us that the flight training and testing scheme for aerial mustering endorsements was not working as efficiently as intended. In many respects, the intended approach to flight training has not materialised for mustering pilots. This is believed to be one of the reasons for the limited availability of suitably qualified flight instructors, examiners and flight training operators to conduct training and assessment for aerial mustering endorsements and consequently impacts on the availability of suitably qualified pilots to conduct mustering operations.

We proposed changing the rules to establish a tailored alternate system for training, assessment, grant and exercise of aerial mustering endorsements.

Note: The existing Part 61 and Part 141 flight training scheme remains available for training, assessment, grant and exercise of aerial mustering endorsements.

The proposal addressed:

  • entry criteria and prerequisites for new pilots seeking an aerial mustering endorsement
  • training and assessment requirements for the grant of aerial mustering endorsements
  • supervision requirements following completion of training, assessment and grant of endorsement
  • maintenance of competency following grant of endorsement
  • entry criteria and prerequisites for persons conducting training and flight tests for aerial mustering endorsements for Part 138 operators
  • maintenance of competency for persons conducting training and flight tests for aerial mustering endorsements
  • requirements for Part 138 operators who elect to conduct the training and facilitate the assessment and grant of aerial mustering endorsements.

About this consultation

We received 22 responses, the majority from flight instructors and flight examiners, pilots, flight training operators and Part 138 operators.

You said

The consultation survey asked respondents “Do you have any comments about the proposed instrument?”. Nineteen of the 22 responses provided feedback on this question. Four responses were clearly in support of the proposed instrument. Twelve responses implied support for the objectives of the policy, while either suggesting changes to the technical detail of the instrument, making comment on the mustering sector generally, or posing questions on the operation of the instrument.

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

  • maintain or improve aviation safety by allowing training to be conducted by reputable trainers with practical experience in mustering operations
  • promote the transfer of knowledge from experienced mustering pilots who do not want to become flight instructor rating holders to trainee pilots.

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

  • could create more obstacles for new pilots starting their career rather than helping the future of general aviation
  • should require trainee pilots to hold at least a commercial pilot licence, and the training and assessment should be conducted by persons holding the flight instructor rating and flight examiner rating.

Summary of feedback

Common themes, issues and suggestions raised in responses included:

Focus on safety culture

Two respondents emphasised the importance of the mustering sector—and the pilots and operators operating in that sector—adopting and maintaining a safe flying culture.

One of these respondents indicated:

  • the mustering industry is becoming increasingly safety aware, and a strong safety culture should be the foundation of the proposed instrument
  • a strong safety culture has positive outcomes for operators, pilots and animal welfare and will lead to a greater industry overall.

Conversely, another respondent commented:

"Some of the most unsavoury habits that exist in the helicopter industry exist within the mustering community."

They also noted:

  • it should not be assumed that all HOOs of Part 138 operators will ensure that training be conducted in the correct manner. Instead, the HOO of Part 138 operator that would like to conduct training under the instrument should be assessed and granted the privilege by a CASA delegate initially to ensure the candidate has a suitable knowledge, flying ability in demonstrating best practise in standard and adverse conditions, and most importantly, to check their attitude.
  • CASA should properly control the people allowed to deliver the training, assessment and grant for the endorsement to ensure that pilots with adequate skill, theoretical knowledge and aptitude can become trainers.

We recognise and emphasise the importance of pilots and operators conducting mustering adopting and maintaining a strong safety culture. The proposal is intended to emphasise operational responsibility and to build on safety requirements such as safety systems and operational manuals required under Part 138 of CASR. Part 138 operators who intend to conduct training and facilitate the assessment and grant of endorsements will need to develop a training syllabus and have it approved by CASA. CASA needs to be satisfied that the operator can safely and adequately deliver the training and that the operator has suitable staff to conduct the training.

Specific technical requirements

Eight responses made comment or reference to the specific technical requirements proposed in the instrument (for example, the prerequisites for trainee pilots). These responses made quite varying suggestions, including:

Prerequisites for trainee pilots

  • the proposed prerequisites for trainee pilots are suitable
  • the proposed prerequisite for a trainee pilot to have 100 hours PIC experience is excessive, and 50 hours would be more suitable
  • trainee pilots for the aeroplane mustering endorsement should be required to have a minimum of 300 hours pilot of an aircraft with 200 hours of pilot in command and a low-level rating
  • trainee pilot must have CPL.

Training and assessment

  • the proposed initial training requirement for trainee pilots is too high. A minimum of ten hours of dual flight training for the initial aerial mustering endorsement would be sufficient, and any further training should be as required for any particular trainee, or on-the-job.
  • training course should comprise a minimum of 10 hours mustering training with a minimum of 6 hours dual flight and 4 hours under supervision
  • the assessment for the aerial mustering endorsement should be assessed as an endorsement added to the low level rating and not conducted as a flight test for the endorsement.

Recurrent checks

  • the proposed recurrent checks for trainee pilots are suitable
  • the proposed recurrent checks for trainee pilots are suitable for pilots with less than 1,000 hours experience in mustering operations, and the annual recency requirement should be increased to 100 hours. In addition, these pilots should not be permitted to carry additional crew during mustering operations
  • the proposed recurrent checks for trainee pilots are excessive for pilots with more than 1,000 hours mustering experience. The biennial flight review and annual recency requirement of 50 hours would be adequate.

Trainer requirements

  • the proposed trainer requirements are excessive for aeroplane pilots who wish to become trainers, and the Part 141 pathway would remain the only practical avenue to train for aeroplane mustering
  • if allowing an instructor with a low-level rating training endorsement to also conduct the training in the pathway, that instructor should also have a mustering endorsement and be a Grade 1 training endorsement holder
  • trainer pilot for the aeroplane mustering endorsement should be required to have at least 2 years operational experience conducting mustering operations and a minimum of 1000 hours fixed wing mustering experience
  • trainer pilot must have full instructor rating
  • person conducting the assessment must have flight examiner rating.

Questions posed by respondents regarding how the instrument will work.

Three respondents also asked questions regarding how the instrument will work. These questions (edited for length and consistency) and CASA's responses are at Table 1.

Table 1: Respondent questions and CASA responses

Question

CASA response

Can Part 141 operators that currently provide training for aerial mustering endorsements still provide that training once the instrument is in effect?

 

Yes. The proposed instrument is an alternative pathway to gain an aerial mustering endorsement. Part 141 operators who conduct training for aerial mustering endorsements can continue to deliver that training as usual.

Is it intended that a pilot who receives an endorsement under this instrument could immediately conduct unsupervised aerial mustering operations under Part 138? Or will the requirements in the Part 138 MOS section 17.02 continue to apply?

The Part 138 MOS outlines operational standards for Part 138 operations, including mustering. Within the Part 138 MOS there are additional requirements concerning pilots conducting unsupervised mustering operations beyond the scope of the proposal. It is intended that a trainee pilot would still be subject to the requirements in the Part 138 MOS at the completion of training conducted under the proposal. This means that trainee pilots may be required to gain additional experience, as they would if they were to gain an aerial mustering endorsement through the existing Part 61 pathway.

However, we will consider whether amendments to the Part 138 MOS are required.

Will a flight test be required for the grant of an aerial mustering endorsement through the proposed instrument?

Yes. The training culminates in a flight test, however this will be conducted by the trainer appointed by the Part 138 operator that has conducted the mustering training.

Further consideration of the flight test requirement would be included in the review and subsequent amendment to the regulations. The proposed flight test requirement is to keep this interim solution as streamlined with the current rules as possible and to minimise the differences from a licensing administration perspective.

We did

Considering the highly variable suggestions mentioned above, we intend to proceed with the proposed requirements. We will review how the instrument is operating once it is in effect by continuing to engage with the mustering sector, and we will complete a policy review before making any changes to CASR to incorporate the effect of the proposed instrument.

Next steps

The consultation indicated support for the proposed instrument and the proposed alternative pathway for the training, assessment and grant of aerial mustering endorsements. Minor changes will likely be made to improve the clarity of the instrument. However, any changes will not impact the intended effect of the instrument or the underpinning policy.

The instrument will be in place by the end of January 2023.

We asked

This consultation opened for 1 week from 3rd November to 10th November 2022. We asked industry to provide feedback to the following question, "Do you have any comments on the proposed exemption?"

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

About this consultation

CASA is progressively transitioning the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CAR) to the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR) through the Regulatory Reform Program. This work involves a range of activities which will ensure that the new rules will be practical, proportionate, and effective. Where appropriate, CASA is working to bring forward agreed, beneficial policies to facilitate better outcomes for industry.

One of the issues identified through the Part 145 Post Implementation Review (PIR) was the unnecessarily restrictive requirements for approval of new maintenance facilities, particularly facilities that will only be used on a temporary basis. This issue has been further considered through the broader work on future maintenance organisation policies for the air transport sector.

The proposed instrument (CASA EX67/22) – Authorised Maintenance at Unapproved Locations (Part 145 Organisations) Exemption 2022 intends to exempt Part 145 Approved Maintenance Organisations (AMO) from the requirement to have new maintenance facilities approved by CASA through the significant change process in all cases. Specifically, CASA approval will not be required for facilities that will be used on a temporary basis to carry out line maintenance activities.

This will bring forward corresponding outcomes from the proposed future Part 145 policies (PP 1915SS). It will also reduce unnecessary administrative burden for industry and bring the Australian requirements into line with contemporary global practices.

In this consultation CASA was seeking industry and public comment on the consultation draft of the proposed exemption instrument .

Assessment of maintenance facilities and record keeping are important safety assurance measures associated with maintenance organisation approvals. A condition of this instrument will be that the AMO has appropriate procedures for assessment of new facilities, and that the organisation has appropriate record keeping procedures. These procedures would be included in the AMO’s exposition, enabling an individual approach to be tailored to each AMO's circumstances. Subsequently, the procedures would be approved by CASA.

You said

In total, there were 36 respondents to the consultation. Of these respondents only 2 provided no written comments for the proposal.

Of these19 consented to having their responses/submission to being published. Fourteen requested their submissions be confidential. Three submissions were from CASA Officers.

The vast majority (19) of responses received were from Licenced Aircraft Maintainers (LAMEs), with the next biggest group being Maintenance Managers/CAM/HAAMC. The remaining groups in order of quantity of submissions were from Part 145 AMOs and then by Helicopter Operators/ Helicopter AMOs and then submissions from Avionics AMOs/LAMEs.

Two submissions were received from pilots.

The 36 responses are broken-down and categorised into the following:

  • Eighteen submissions were very supportive and with comments that can be summarised as such:
    • industry has needed this for a long time, and this proposal should have always been available to provide the flexibility needed for most operators and their AMOs.
  • Six submissions were supportive but with some confusion or discomfort about the scope, intent and implementation.
  • Two submissions provided no comments so therefore we were unable to determine as supportive or non-supportive.
  • Three submissions were simply suggested comments to make the instrument or proposal clearer.
  • Seven submissions were clearly disappointed and were unsupportive of the CASA proposal with some considering that this proposal is flawed and will provide for unsafe practices.

Summary of feedback

The feedback can be summarised by saying that the majority of comments were brief and supportive. The feedback shows that industry does acknowledge that the current CASA requirements for the approval of temporary locations for maintenance are onerous and are burdensome to industry which itself is under pressure to constantly adjust their operation to market needs and community service requirements. The following feedback does show that CASA's efforts towards red-tape reduction is appreciated by industry. It also shows that, in these situations, the additional freedoms given to industry to make their own operational safety determinations is welcomed.

The general trend of the positive comments could be described simply as 'about time', 'industry needs this' and it 'makes sense'.

Examples of feedback and comments in favour of the proposed instrument:

"I think this is a great idea,………. we currently have 5-6 locations in our MOE, it is a time consuming and costly process to add another location and I have never been able to see the point in doing this.  The AMO uses the same MOE and CASA approvals for maintenance anywhere in Australia.  We have remote location forms and registers to keep track of any temporary locations we have visited and it all just gets filed away, I feel its pointless".

"I agree with the proposed instrument, this would certainly help alleviate issues with maintenance at remote locations".

"A step in the right direction, the whole idea of pt. 145 is to make the AMO responsible for best practice so if this is adhered to excellent".

"This proposal will make it easier for both the Part 145 and Part 42 to conduct maintenance."

"It will also reduce unnecessary administrative burden for industry….."

"This is a very welcome change and will permit an AMO to approve a temporary location when required. This especially important when an operator gives minimum notice that they require line maintenance at a location not listed in MOE".

(We are) "happy to see that CASA understands the need to do away with redundant paperwork that no longer is relevant.  Any real safety issues can easily be addressed with the AMO's Safety Management System".

"It is a no brainer. 145 organizations already have a high standard of regulatory compliance and remote location maintenance procedures in place in case of breakdowns. Just following these procedures over a longer period".

"The proposal appears logical and workable".

"Currently we are frequently saying no to customers who wish to charter our aircraft to destinations which are not on our Part 145 approval which is creating a large commercial disadvantage to our operation.  The current rules are not in line with other authorities worldwide and the proposed chance would allow our business to compete on a level playing field with other larger organisations.  This change has been a long time coming and is most welcomed. It really can't happen fast enough".

"Fully supported within capability of any AMO. AMO authorisation - no need for CASA duplication of approval".

Comments (de-identified and aggregated) which did not support the CASA proposal would fall into the 3 concern areas of:

    1. fairness of the proposal when considering that many AMOs have had to apply for and comply with the CASA process of significant change to their Exposition for a "new" location regardless of temporary use or permanent base
    2. shortcuts and loopholes in the regulatory system where there will be less rigour applied for the using of a new (but temporary) location for maintenance
    3. concerns about oversight ability in the regulatory system if the use of the temporary location is unknown and not always "visible" to CASA as the safety regulator.

We did

Overall, respondents have strongly supported the proposal.

As a result, we have now undertaken to make the exemption Instrument EX03/23 with some minor changes as brought up in the consultation.

A future amendment will be required to Part 145 of CASR and Part 145 MOS to reflect this policy  by permitting future line maintenance activities at unapproved (for that operator) locations.

We asked

This consultation asked people to review and comment on a set of policy proposals relating to the implementation of ICAO's Global Reporting Format (GRF). The GRF establishes a system ensuring the consistent assessment, reporting and use of dry, wet, and contaminated runways. The consultation has now closed, and a summary of the feedback is provided below.

About this consultation
As these are new requirements recently introduced by ICAO, the proposals were aimed at a risk-based implementation of a very broad range of procedures and requirements affecting a wide number of aviation stakeholders such as airline pilots in particular, aerodrome operators servicing scheduled air transport operations and air traffic controllers. We asked for feedback on:

  • the definition of contaminated runway and associated terms
  • standards associated with aerodrome serviceability inspections
  • how GRF standards apply to aerodrome operators
  • triggers for runway surface condition inspections
  • runway surface condition assessment process (including use of technical solutions)
  • timely communication of Runway Condition Reports (RCRs)
  • introduction of SNOWTAMs
  • embedding GRF implementation in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP)
  • transition to implementing these standards.

You said

In total, there were 21 respondents to the proposals. Of the respondents who made written submissions, 10 consented to having them made public and 11 requested their submissions be confidential.

The 21 respondents encompass the spectrum of the industry with pilots, aerodrome operators, air navigation service providers and consultants providing responses.

Broadly, the responses to these policy proposals have been positive.

Summary of feedback
In general terms, there was a consistent theme from some respondents promoting alignment with ICAO standards and recommended practices and others preferring an Australian-specific approach. Similarly, in feedback on implementation timeframes, we saw a strong division between urgency and delay.

Numerous respondents raised concerns with the resource implications on non-controlled, certified aerodromes. These issues covered establishment of a Unicom, additional training, equipment, personnel, and hours of service at the aerodrome. There were also issues raised about management activities.

At controlled, certified aerodromes, several concerns regarding air transport operations outside of tower hours were raised.

We did

Next steps
The policy proposal document, and the feedback received, has been subject to industry consultation through the National Runway Safety Group (NRSG). A working group consisting of members from CASA, Airservices Australia and industry was established under the NRSG specifically to consider Australia's implementation of the GRF. This working group has been instrumental in the development of this policy.

The feedback from this consultation was presented to the NRSG GRF working group with the following amendments incorporated:

  • Additional inspection requirements will be based on a concept of a runway assessment validity period rather than prescriptive inspection periods.
  • Multiple policies will be amended to clarify that GRF implementation will only be required when aircraft operating at an aerodrome can use the GRF runway condition code.
  • Transitional arrangements will be provided for aerodromes that wish to implement the GRF earlier than the transition timelines proposed.

Given the feedback on resource implications at non-controlled aerodromes we will review the policy for GRF implementation at these aerodromes.

These policies will now be used in the development of amendments to relevant legislation, particularly, aerodrome standards. The final amendment proposals will be subject to consultation through the NRSG GRF working group and the broader industry through the CASA Consultation Hub.

We asked

From 11 October 2022 to 7 November 2022 we asked for feedback on a draft advisory circular (AC) 61-20 v1.0 on pilot supervision for operators that do not have a check and training system. The AC provides guidance to operators for delivering a structured supervision program to pilots operating in a new environment or after completing the regulatory requirements for a new qualification. 

You said

There were 13 responses to the consultation. Most responses were from Heads of Operations (HOOs) and organisations that indicated that they had a Part 133 or Part 135 certificate. Nine consented to having their response published and four requested their submission remain confidential.

Most respondents (9) agreed with the proposal that pilots who are flying for an operator without a training system should have a period of supervision after joining the organisation or obtaining a new qualification, albeit with changes to the current draft of the AC.

The respondents raised important issues for further consideration by CASA, including:

  • clarity on the scope of the definition of supervision
  • the use of language to ensure there is no confusion from stakeholders between operational standards(competency) and mentoring programs (professional development and continuous improvement)
  • the need for greater emphasis on professional development and continuous improvement.
  • clarity that these programs should be holistic and ongoing rather than self-limiting.
  • restricting the use of disciplinary outcomes through actions and information received through mentoring.

Other general matters raised included the need for more understanding of supervision and mentoring, being part of an organisation operational systems and for some respondents it wasn’t clear that the supervision plans and mentoring program should be tailored to the type of operation and experience of the pilot.

We did

Respondents supported the proposal overall.  We have amended the AC to provide more clarify, specifically the use of language, to ensure there is no confusion between operational standards, supervision programs and other workplace policies and processes.

We will be engaging with industry in 2023 to develop the AC further and understand any additional aspects that need to be considered. From these engagements we will develop additional guidance material to assist in the effective and efficient embedding of supervision programs within the aviation environment.

We asked

We sought industry feedback over the period 26 September – 24 October 2022 on proposed changes to air traffic services (ATS) facility and equipment standards. This was detailed in Chapter 3 of the Part 172 Manual of Standards (MOS).

The proposed changes included:

  • enabling use of electro-optical technology (known as visual surveillance system (VSS)) in the provision of aerodrome control services
  • addressing a gap in the control tower sight line requirements for situations at an aerodrome with an existing aerodrome control facility where a new runway is commissioned, or an existing runway is modified
  • removing standards from the Part 172 MOS that replicate standards already specified by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

About this consultation
This consultation occurred to address outcomes of a post implementation review (PIR) of the regulations and standards that apply to ATS providers. The PIR revealed that the existing regulatory arrangements for facilities and equipment were at the same time restrictive and inadequate for dealing with new installations at aerodromes. There was also considerable and unnecessary replication with equivalent ICAO standards and recommended practices.

You said

We received 6 responses. One from an ATS provider, 2 from air traffic controllers, 2 from pilots, and 1 from a CASA staff member. Four respondents consented to having their comments published and 2 requested their submissions be kept confidential.

Summary of feedback
Four respondents agreed with the proposal to enable the use of VSS; however, 2 of those responses sought or recommended changes to certain requirements or the wording of the standards.

Two respondents disagreed with the VSS proposal with 1 saying the existing standards are not restrictive and that more regulatory standards are not required. The other respondent submitted a detailed statement challenging the concept of indirect human observation for ATS and the apparent contradiction between this concept and ATS provider assurances that controllers will always be locally based and highlighting the vulnerability of the interconnecting data links.

Three respondents agreed with the proposal to extend the performance requirements for newer control towers to apply to new or modified runways. One of those respondents said there were several aerodromes potentially impacted by the performance requirement and that it would take time to develop and implement a solution. The respondent requested a 24-month horizon for implementation.

One response was 'Undecided/Not my area of expertise' about the proposed performance requirements and 1 respondent did not provide an answer to the question. On the other hand, 1 respondent did not agree with the proposal saying it may be difficult to construct a new runway so that it cost-effectively meets the proposed movement from an existing control tower.

Four respondents agreed with the proposal to delete standards in the Part 172 MOS that replicate existing ICAO standards. One response was 'Undecided/Not my area of expertise' and 1 respondent did not provide an answer to the question.

Three respondents agreed with the proposal to extend the range of ICAO standards that would apply for the purposes of Division 172.C.3 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (Standards for facilities and equipment). One response was 'Undecided/Not my area of expertise' and 1 respondent did not provide an answer to the question. On the other hand, 1 respondent did not agree with the proposal explaining that there may be insufficient equipment screen space to display all the data that would need to be supplied to an aerodrome control service unit, and that:

 "…there may be a disconnect between Met provider and ATS provider obligations with the increased reliance on ICAO recommendations and requirements".

In 'additional comments' to the consultation, 1 respondent said removing people by the introduction of remote ATS operations would degrade local situational awareness and local knowledge. Another respondent said that applying the detailed visibility in 3.03 (1) and (2) to existing control towers would likely result in retrospective non-compliance for established control towers and that this would necessitate a transition period to allow remedial action. The respondent also made the following comments or requests:

  • The draft paragraph 3.03 (c) (visibility of service roads) is broader in scope than the existing requirement and is not required by ICAO Annex 11.
    • The respondent suggested the requirement should apply to service roads that are within 150m of a runway strip - that is subparagraph (b) but not the more generic (a) - manoeuvring area.
  • Confirmation that VSS can be used for applying standards within the broad scope of the ICAO Procedures for Air Navigation Services - Air Traffic Management (ICAO Doc 4444) (beyond Chapter 7).
  • The signal lamp requirement should cater for situations where the control tower unit is remote from the aerodrome.
  • Control towers should not be required to display information about space weather.
  • Tower controllers should always have visibility of the local airborne operations, whether nor not the tower has dedicated airspace.
  • ATC units should not have to monitor area navigation systems or the backup navigation network.

We did

Next steps
We appreciate all the comments provided by the respondents to this consultation.

Regarding the comment of 1 respondent that the term control tower does not imply a physical building, we have advice that the standards in Chapter 3 of the Part 172 MOS can be interpreted as requiring a physical structure. The existence of different understanding on the matter is evidence of a need to give clear interpretation and thus overcome the potential for future argument. Accordingly, we intend to proceed with providing this interpretation.

Concerning the comment about retrospective impact of the proposed standards on existing control towers, we are of the view that section 3.03 is less onerous than existing standards rather than a new or additional obligation. The existing standard in subparagraph 3.1.2.2 (b) of the Part 172 MOS requires control towers to have 'unobstructed views', whereas the new standard narrows that requirement to focus on the certain parts of an aerodrome and surrounding airspace known to be critical for the provision of aerodrome control services. It removes any implication that additional views beyond critical areas are required. Accordingly, we intend to proceed with the proposal.

We acknowledge that the wording in subparagraph 3.03 (1)(c) exceeds the existing service road visibility standard. However, we do not believe the issue would be resolved by making the requirement apply only to service roads within 150 m of the edges of runway strips (as proposed by the respondent). A runway strip extends laterally to a distance of up to 150 m from the runway centreline, so applying the requirement to the edge of a strip potentially requires visibility of service roads as far as 300 m from the runway centreline. This is more than the current requirement. To resolve the matter, we intend to make subparagraph 3.03 (1)(c) apply for services roads within 150 m of a runway itself and not its associated runway strip. The combination of this requirement and the new requirement for visibility of runway strips (subparagraph 3.03 (1)(b)) would provide ATC with sufficient and equivalent visibility of activities occurring in the vicinity of runways—both on service roads and off those roads.

We also accept the respondent's recommendation about subparagraph 3.03(1)(e) - Visibility of surrounding airspace - and will amend the relevant clause to generally require visibility of flight operations on or in the vicinity of the aerodrome.

We confirm that VSS is useable to relevantly apply any standard within the broad scope of ICAO Doc 4444. This is implied through the broad scope of tower functions in section 7.1 of ICAO Doc 4444, for example: paragraph 7.1.1.1, which says,

 'Aerodrome control towers shall issue information and clearances to aircraft under their control to achieve a safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic … with the object of preventing collision(s) between: a) aircraft …'. 'Preventing collisions'

Preventing collisions logically includes the application of separation minima and procedures, which are specified in other chapters of ICAO Doc 4444.

Regarding the comments about signal lamp requirements, displaying space weather and monitoring area navigation systems, we will amend the signal lamp requirement to accommodate remote siting of the control tower. We note the request to exclude 'space weather' from the requirement in subparagraph 3.06 (1) (c) - 'other significant weather information' of the draft instrument, but we do not agree it is necessary or appropriate to specifically exclude the information. On the one hand, the provision does not imply a specific requirement for space weather information. On the other hand, space weather information may be useful to ATS and airspace users for service provision and operation. For example, planning for a likely GNSS outage due to solar conditions. We consider that the requirement is sufficiently generic to cover a multitude of situations and types of weather information. We are also of the view that ATC has a definite need to monitor the status of navigation systems (despite the recommendation of the respondent). The proposal was for ATC to be able to monitor those navigation aids being used for control purposes and not every navigation aid in an area. We believe it is important for ATC to be aware whether a navigation aid is usable for control purposes and, therefore we, will retain the requirement as proposed.

We acknowledge the request from a respondent for a 24-month timeframe for implementing the sighting performance standards and are aware of the aerodromes potentially impacted. Accordingly, we will amend the sighting performance standards to include the requested implementation timeframe.

In relation to the respondent's concerns about remote provision of aerodrome control services or the use of VSS, we disagree that overseas experience is not translatable to the Australian situation. Remote provision of services does not automatically imply vast distances between sensors and controllers. ATS using VSS can be implemented in several ways, including:

  • On-site: A conventional control tower with VSS equipment to cover blind spots.
  • On-site: A control room at ground level at the aerodrome with sensor equipment installed around the aerodrome.
  • Locally: A control room/display system at one aerodrome with sensor equipment at another aerodrome in close proximity. For example, situations like Hobart and Cambridge.
  • Regionally: A control room/display system display at one aerodrome with sensor equipment at a different aerodrome in the near region. For example, situations like Gold Coast and Ballina.
  • Between locations far apart: As described by the respondent.

Several of these examples are directly comparable with existing overseas configurations. We are aware that initial installations of VSS technology are likely to involve on-site configurations. We acknowledge that no system is invulnerable to interruption or interference. However, procedures and systems can address or overcome any potential disruption. As with any other system or process, we require an ATS provider to apply its safety management system to ensure it can safely provide air traffic services for the provision of remote services using VSS. Accordingly, we intend to proceed with VSS provisions within the Part 172 MOS.

In conclusion, we intend to proceed with changes consulted on in CD 2203AS, but with changes as discussed in this summary. We anticipate making the MOS amendments in the third quarter of 2023.

We asked

We asked industry to provide feedback on the suggestion to remove Class E airspace from Avalon controlled airspace (CTA) in line with a recommendation made during the 2020 Avalon Airspace Review.

Removing Class E airspace will result in:

  • Class D airspace during tower hours of operation
  • Class G airspace operating outside tower hours below 4,500 feet (FT) above mean sea level (AMSL).

We sought feedback to understand industry and community issues, observations or positions about the suggested removal of Class E airspace at Avalon.

The consultation was open from 22 August to 23 September 2022. We received 59 responses via the Consultation Hub. Respondents included pilots of passenger transport operations, sport aviation operators and representatives of user groups.

You said

Overall, responses highlighted the effects of the suggested change from a range of perspectives but did not identify any unacceptable risks.

The feedback validated the issues identified in the Avalon Airspace Review with operations in Class E airspace.

The majority of supporters identified enhanced safety to their operations between instrument flight rules (IFR) aircraft and visual flight rules (VFR) aircraft.

The largest group concerned about the suggested change was Recreational Aircraft of Australia (RAAus). The removal of Class E airspace will impact RAAus operators’ ability to transit through the airspace without the requirement to obtain a clearance, and likely result in RAAus pilots operating at lower levels or increasing track miles to avoid the area.

Other users concerned about the suggestion to remove Class E airspace did not believe the risk to airspace users was the same as the risk to users during the period when the airspace review was conducted. Post airspace review, the traffic levels were reduced due to COVID-19, therefore aircraft were not exposed to the same risk level when higher numbers of air traffic operated in the area.

Alternatively, other users thought the action did not go far enough and the airspace classification should be Class C or Class B airspace.

We did

Each comment has been reviewed and was greatly appreciated.

Additional engagement and discussions regarding the airspace operations at Avalon is required to address issues raised during the consultation and feedback provided by industry.

The Office of Airspace Regulation intends to continue monitoring Avalon airspace in line with the recommendations from the 2020 Avalon Airspace Review.

We asked

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

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

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

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

About this consultation

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

You said

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

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

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

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

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

Summary of feedback

Common themes, issues and suggestions raised in responses included:

Conduct of assessment (flight test)

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

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

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

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

Further expansion of Grade 1 training endorsement privileges

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

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

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

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

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

Questions posed by respondents regarding how the instrument will work

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

Table 1: Respondent questions and CASA responses

Question

CASA response

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

We did

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

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

We asked

We asked industry to provide feedback on the draft Mangalore Aeronautical Study conducted by CASA’s Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR). This aeronautical study assessed the airspace within 25 nautical miles (NM) of Mangalore from the surface to 8,500 feet (FT) above mean sea level (AMSL). 

We sought feedback to understand industry and community issues, observations or positions regarding the information contained in the draft report.

The consultation was open from 13 July to 11 August 2022. We received 28 responses (21 via the survey, and 7 via email) from membership-based organisations (such as Civil Air, Recreational Aviation Australia and the Australian Airline Pilots' Association) as well as pilots from sporting, recreational and general aviation backgrounds. Fifteen respondents consented to having their comments published. Read what people had to say in the ‘Published responses’ section on this page.

You said

Overall, responses were generally supportive of the draft aeronautical study.

The feedback validated the issues of frequency congestion and use of non-standard phraseology. Various aviation groups expressed an interest in presenting information at aviation seminars to help improve education.

There were some comments on topics outside the scope of the aeronautical study, including:

  • the mid-air collision that occurred in 2020 and related Australian Transport Safety Bureau report
  • impacts of the Navigation Rationalisation Project with the removal of ground-based navigation aids from outside the study area, and the use of alternate means for compliance with flight training.

We did

Each comment was reviewed and, where actionable, incorporated into the final report. All comments were greatly appreciated. Where consent has been given to publish a response, these have been included in the final version of the study

The recommendations in the draft report have not changed.

We are now actioning the recommendations we are accountable for:

Recommendation 1
CASA Aviation Safety Advisors should conduct a safety seminar at Mangalore and surrounding aerodromes with an agenda that focusses on awareness and safety for operations within the vicinity of a non-controlled aerodrome and the importance of precise and concise radio calls.

Status: In progress
In September 2022 we started our latest AvSafety seminars for pilots with the topic “Non-Controlled Aerodromes: Manage Your Risks”. These free seminars are being held at locations across Australia for 12 months including regional centres near Mangalore. 

We also launched a broader national pilot safety campaign in mid-August. The ‘Your safety is in your hands’ campaign is built around 4 key safety topics. Operating around non-controlled aerodromes was the first topic and activities. We engaged pilots via a range of channels including podcast, investigative panel video and webinars. Resources continue to be available on our pilot safety hub.

Recommendation 2
En Route Supplement Australia (ERSA) entries at Mangalore, Ballarat, Latrobe Valley and Busselton be amended to remove or clarify the requirements for the addition of 1,000 FT to prescribed altitudes during practice instrument approach procedures.

Status: Completed
The ERSA was updated and effective from 8 September 2022.


Feedback outside the scope of the study has been provided to CASA Executive Management for consideration. 

The OAR will continue to monitor the airspace around Mangalore at regular intervals.

We asked

We asked people to provide feedback on a proposal that would extend the period within which terminal instrument flight procedures (TIFPs) are revalidated by CASA from 3 to 5 years. The consultation has now closed, and a summary of the feedback is provided below.

About this consultation
From 8 July 2022, CASA consulted on a proposal to amend paragraph 6.1.4.2 of the Part 173 Manual of Standards (MOS) that requires all TIFPs to be revalidated by CASA at intervals not exceeding 3 years. In line with ICAO Annex 11 and PANS-OPS Volume II, the proposal was to amend the MOS provision so that all TIFPs are revalidated at intervals not exceeding 5 years.

The consultation closed on 22 July 2022 and there were 14 responses. Respondents included 2 unknown/unspecified respondents, 1 air operator, 1 aerodrome industry consultant, 1 aircraft owner, 1 pilot, 1 air traffic controller, and 7 Part 173 certified flight procedure design organisations. Eleven respondents consented to having their comments published and 3 requested their submissions be kept confidential.

You said

The consultation survey asked respondents whether they agree with and support the proposed amendment that all TIFPs are revalidated at intervals not exceeding 5 years.

All the respondents agreed that it is a good idea to align this regulatory amendment to existing ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS). The respondents were in favour of the proposed change and overall supported the proposal.

Summary of feedback

Proposal – Amend the flight revalidation interval standards in section 6.1.4 of the Part 173 MOS
Responses were positive and constructive. Generally, respondents were in favour of the proposed change and supported the extension of the flight revalidation interval from the current not exceeding 3 years to not exceeding 5 years to align with ICAO SARPS. Most respondents agreed that the proposed change would reduce the cost of compliance for the industry without affecting safety.

One respondent provided no feedback on this proposed amendment.

Another respondent, although supporting the alignment with ICAO SARPS, felt by changing the time interval from three to five years would allow for hazards to go unchecked for longer.

CASA's response
Paragraph 6.1.5.1 of the Part 173 MOS states:

Before the effective publication date of a TIFP, the certified designer must forward to the aerodrome operator for which a procedure has been designed, diagrams and obstacle data sufficient to enable the aerodrome operator to fulfil obligations to report and monitor obstacles in the vicinity of an aerodrome as required under Part 139 of CASR.

There are no differences in obstacle monitoring and reporting regimes as obstacle restrictions and limitations are required by Chapter 7 of the Part 139 MOS.

Chapter 7 of the Part 139 MOS relates to obstacle restrictions and limitations. It requires an aerodrome operator to monitor the manoeuvring area of, and the airspace around, an aerodrome; maintain them free from obstacles in accordance with the Part 139 MOS; and report new or changed critical obstacles to the certified procedure designer.

Under section 7.03 of the Part 139 MOS, an aerodrome operator must establish and monitor the obstacle limitation surfaces (OLS). OLS means a series of planes, associated with each runway at an aerodrome, that defines the desirable limits to which objects or structures may project into the airspace around the aerodrome so that aircraft operations at the aerodrome may be conducted safely applicable to the aerodrome, and, as far as possible, ensures that the OLS within the aerodrome boundary is maintained clear of obstacles.

Under subsection 7.20 (3) of the Part 139 MOS the aerodrome operator must inform the certified designer of a TIFP at the aerodrome of the following:

  (a)  any change in the status of an existing critical obstacle;
  (b)  any proposed development that is to be higher than the critical obstacles within the area depicted by the designer;
  (c)  any new object or structure that is higher than the critical obstacles within the area depicted by the designer.

Therefore, CASA has assessed that extending the intervals at which CASA must conduct a flight revalidation of a TIFP does not impose any new obligations on TIFP design organisations, aerodrome operators or airspace users.

We did

Overall, the respondents were in favour of the proposed change and strongly supported the proposal. CASA will now undertake to implement the changes in the Part 173 MOS.

CASA is also currently undertaking a complete Post Implementation Review of the Part 173 MOS (Project AS 04/02 - CASR PART 173 - Review of CASR Part 173 Manual of Standards (MOS) - Instrument Flight Procedure Design) and will further update the existing Part 173 MOS as a result of more discussions with industry.

We asked

We asked industry to provide feedback on the draft Airspace Review of Ballina conducted by CASA’s Office of Airspace Regulation (OAR). This aeronautical study assessed the airspace within the vicinity of Ballina from the surface to 8,500 feet above mean sea level.

The consultation was open from 16 June until 17 July 2022.

We sought feedback from airspace users via a survey, drawing on the contents of the airspace review. The review had identified 3 areas of concern:

  • frequency congestion
  • heightened risk of separation incidents
  • situational awareness.

To address these concerns and improve safety, the review proposed 9 recommendations. They represent a graduated approach to reducing airspace risk at Ballina, intending to build up to a controlled aerodrome service with an associated control zone and control area steps.

You said

We received 148 submissions via the survey and email.

Responses were received from a variety of airspace users. Most were from airlines, aerial work operators, flight training, air transport licence holders, commercial licence holders, private/recreational pilots, sports aviation pilots and air navigation service provider staff.

The reduction of airspace risk was widely supported. There was virtually no opposition to the importance of airspace safety and strong support to improve safety in and around Ballina.

There were some differences in opinion regarding the appropriateness, timing and phased implementation of the recommended measures.

There were a small number of remarks regarding the cost associated with the recommendations. Some preferred more cost-effective solutions such as the existing SFIS services. The primary concern among the general aviation community was the balance between retaining the current level of access and amenity while deriving the safety dividend.

There were some concerns about airspace efficiency and that controlled airspace constraints may reduce capacity at times. Some expressed the view that the introduction of ATS reduces the efficiency of the airspace due to the separation standards applied to aircraft operating in the area compared to uncontrolled airspace. Some users had concerns about potential delays in obtaining clearances to operate in their usual volumes of airspace.

A common theme was interim solutions should be ICAO-compliant and form part of the enduring solution. Any interim measure should not have to be wound back as subsequent measures are phased in.

Timing of the measures is a critical consideration. Many stakeholders favoured the earliest practical adoption of the measures. There were no comments seeking to delay the initiatives among the vast majority that support the measures, notwithstanding that some respondents preferred the status quo.

We did

Based on the responses received, no changes were made to the recommendations in the draft report however the proposed milestones were revised.

The timelines and milestones for implementing the recommendations will be finalised through further engagement with stakeholders.

Read the full report on the CASA website.

We asked

From 9 June 2022 to 8 July 2022, we sought comment and feedback on key proposals arising from a post implementation review of Part 172 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR) and the Part 172 Manual of Standards (Part 172 MOS).

This consultation has now closed.

This is an interim summary of consultation (SOC) addressing only the feedback provided in relation to the fatigue management proposals.

We have not finalised our policy position on other matters, and we will issue a further SOC in due course.

About this consultation
In relation to fatigue management, we identified that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) amended Annex 11 to the Chicago Convention requiring States, from November 2020, to introduce legislation supporting and requiring air traffic service (ATS) providers to implement one of the following:

  • air traffic controller schedules complying with the prescriptive limitation regulations

or

  • a fatigue risk management system (FRMS) for the provision of all air traffic control services

or

  • an FRMS for a defined part of its air traffic control services in conjunction with schedules in compliance with the prescriptive limitation regulations for the remainder of its air traffic control services.

Relevant to the situation, we were aware Airservices Australia (AA)—the national ATS provider—has used an FRMS since 2003. AA had written to CASA expressing its intent to continue using an FRMS into the future.

We mentioned that Annex 11 did not specify any prescriptive limitations and that States were required to develop those limitations based on their own research. Based on our experience with the flight crew fatigue standards, we were of the view that developing these limitations would take considerable effort for no specific benefit.

Considering the situation, PP 2207AS included the following key policy objectives:

    1. ATS providers would be required to have a system for managing fatigue, applicable to persons who provide ATS functions.

Note: ATS functions are described in subregulations 65.075 (2) and 65.130 (2) of CASR — for example: functions carried out under an aerodrome control rating or a traffic information service rating.

    1. CASA would be empowered to issue a MOS containing standards for the system for managing fatigue.
    2. An ATS provider’s system for managing fatigue would have to be:
      1. in accordance relevant standards specified with the Part 172 MOS
      2. integrated with the provider’s SMS.
    3. ATS providers would be able to assign people to perform ATS functions only if the assignment is in accordance with the provider’s system for managing fatigue.
    4. An ATS provider would have to seek approval from CASA for the initial implementation of its fatigue management system then for any significant changes to the system.
    5. An FRMS incorporating the matters described in Appendix 6 to Annex 11 would be the initial and only standard for an ATS provider’s system for managing fatigue.
    6. CASA’s processes for approving and regulating an ATS provider's FRMS would be based on procedures specified in Appendix 7 to Civil Aviation Order 48.1.
    7. Prescriptive standards would be provided only if the FRMS-only policy is found insufficient for managing fatigue among ATS personnel.

You said

A total of 8 responses were received from 2 ATS providers, 2 airlines, an ATS training provider, and one remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) operator.

Of the respondents, 3 consented to their submissions being made public.

Summary of feedback
Five respondents agreed with proposals a. – f. (as mentioned above), while 3 respondents either didn’t comment or indicated they were undecided or the matter was outside their area of expertise. The following is a summary of their feedback:

  • "The Policy proposals appear to provide a reasonable approach to meet the intended policy outcomes…"
  • CASA should not double-up, but simply cross reference the fatigue standards in Annex 11.
  • Fatigue management would be regulated at the level of a CAO and not a MOS. 
  • How will CASA decide that an FRMS is sufficiently integrated with a provider’s SMS?
  • How would a requirement for a provider to seek approval from CASA for its FRMS apply to an organisation that has already implemented an FRMS?
  • FRMS baseline requirements should include maximum time in position and minimum breaks between time in position; that it should not be possible override maximum and minimums; and CASA should not approve an FRMS unless it contains mandatory limits on tactical shift changes.
  • FRMS would be effective, but only if implemented with the intent of managing fatigue and not for providing a quick workaround to accept higher levels of fatigue.
  • How is an acceptable level of safety established?
  • How would FRMS promotion requirements apply for an organisation already using FRMS?
  • How would the baseline for the ATS controller FRMS rule set would be set?

Four respondents agreed with proposal g. (FRMS administration based on CAO 48.1), while 4 respondents either didn’t comment or indicated they were undecided, or the matter was outside their area of expertise. The following is a summary of their feedback:

  • The word ‘continuous’, though contained in CAO 48.1 is open to interpretation and not required by Annex 11.
  • The proposal does not take into account that fatigue management is a joint responsibility between the operational person and the controller. Pilots and the operator are captured under regulation 91.520 of CASR. Similar should be provided for Part 65 licence holders.
  • If the CAO 48.1 model is adopted, CASA would approve operational/duty limits as part of the provider's FRMS as well as any changes to them. This model could restrict the level of flexibility currently available.
  • Process appears appropriate however Flight Crew FRMS applications required a safety case as an entry control for variances to a prescriptive ruleset. We are proposing to have no prescriptive ruleset, so it is unclear how the administrative process can function in this regard.

Proposal h. (Prescriptive standards only if FRMS is found insufficient) had a mixed response, with 3 respondents agreeing with the proposal, 2 disagreeing, and 4 either not commenting or indicating they were undecided, or that the matter was outside their area of expertise. The following is a summary of their feedback:

  • Assessment and approval of the FRMS should ensure some prescriptive rules are already contained within the FRMS.
  • While FRMS is an approach that can provide improved fatigue and operational outcomes through tailored risk management and greater flexibility, the provision for prescriptive standards should be available where a justifiable need exists.
  • Given the basis of assessment in entry controls for mandatory duty maxima/off-duty minima are prescriptive rulesets, it is unclear how FRMS entry control and approval can be effected in their absence.
  • The process to develop a prescriptive ruleset for the single ATS provider would not be fraught as it was for Flight Crews and would provide a baseline for future ATS providers should such developments in industry occur.
  • There may be towers/centres where prescriptive limits may be appropriate.

We did

We thoroughly reviewed the responses and feedback to this consultation, and the following summarises our response and intended course of action.

Regarding comment about integrating a provider's FRMS with its SMS, we are of the view that sufficient integration exists if FRMS processes are documented within, carried out in accordance with, and managed under the provider’s SMS. 

For implementing the new FRMS standards, our intention would be to assess the provider's existing FRMS against the final standards and where necessary work with the provider to arrive at an acceptable configuration. Consistent with CAO 48.1, we would then grant a trial FRMS implementation approval, thus enabling the provider to gather data to prove the effectiveness of the FRMS. Once satisfied with the effectiveness of the provider's trial approval, we would grant a full implementation approval.

We agree that baseline values should include maximum time in position and minimum breaks between time in position, and this will be addressed in our future proposals. We also agree that operational personnel (controllers and flight service officers) have a commensurate responsibility in the effective management of fatigue. Accordingly, we will include maximum time in position and minimum breaks baseline requirements as well as individual personnel responsibilities consistent with the requirements for flight crew specified in subsection 91.520 of CASR.

As to the acceptable level of safety for an FRMS, we are of the view that this is achieved when there is clear evidence the FRMS is present and suitable (established during the initial approval of the FRMS), operating (there is ongoing evidence that the relevant FRMS is in use and an output is being produced) and effective (there is evidence that the relevant indicators are achieving the desired outcomes and having a positive safety impact).

We consider continuous monitoring/improvement/promotion is fundamental to an FRMS. Annex 11 and ICAO Doc. 9966 have many references to 'continuous' in the context of FRMS. The principle is that an FRMS is not a static system but one that is subject to continuous improvement.

Regarding the comment about the administrative arrangements being restrictive, we believe the administrative arrangements are consistent with the arrangements applied to aircraft operators and are demonstrably suitable for CASA having assurance that a full FRMS is effective in managing fatigue. Aspects such as enabling the provider to propose the baseline limits for the FRMS mean the arrangements are, in fact, more flexible than the requirements applied to aircraft operators.

Concerning the negative responses to the proposal for not specifying prescriptive standards, we wish to point out that the proposed arrangement still requires baseline limits for benchmarking the effective operation of the FRMS. The difference is that the provider proposes baseline limits rather than CASA. It should be noted that, unlike the standards in ICAO Annex 6 (Aircraft Operations), an Annex 11 FRMS is not dependent on the State specifying prescriptive standards. Having said this, we are also of the view that baseline standards should not be changeable at will as this arguably affects the ability to observe trends. Instead, we believe it is logical that baseline limits are set in place or are changed only after careful development and testing, and subject to assessment and approval by CASA.

Concerning the transition from a provider’s existing FRMS to the new standards, we do not believe it would be necessary for an ATS to submit a new safety case to re-justify that FRMS. 

Finally, a MOS and a CAO have equal relevance from a regulatory standpoint, so there is no benefit in using a CAO for the ATS fatigue management standards. While our initial preference was to simply cross-reference Annex 11, the wording of that Annex does not support this. Hence the proposal to incorporate the standards within the Part 172 MOS.

Next Steps
Considering that the proposals are based on ICAO requirements and existing CASA standards for an FRMS and the overall response to the feedback, we believe it is appropriate to proceed with the proposed fatigue management standards.

Since the release of PP 2207AS, we have established that it is possible to implement them without creating a specific head of power within Part 172 of CASR. Instead, we can use existing powers under Parts 11 and 172 of CASR to fatigue management standards by way of an amendment to the Part 65 MOS and the Part 172 MOS.

Accordingly, we will develop and consult on changes to these manuals of standards that reflect the original proposal in PP 2207AS, but with essential changes as identified in our response to the feedback.

Published Responses
Annex A to this summary details the responses from persons or organisations who have given consent to publish their fatigue management responses.

Once the full SOC is published, those consenting to publish their comments will become visible on the consultation hub.

We asked

We sought industry feedback over the 2-week period 21 June – 4 July 2022 on proposed changes to multi-engine helicopter ratings.

Industry had previously told us that our current approach of requiring a type rating for each multi-engine helicopter limits access to qualified flight instructors, flight examiners, and flight training operators for some multi-engine helicopters. The issue is compounded by the very small number of these types of helicopters in Australia and it has led to increased costs and time to access training and assessment.

We proposed changing the rules to create a class-like system as the first step in introducing a new multi-engine helicopter class rating.

About this consultation

We received 20 responses, mostly from pilots, flight instructors and flight examiners. Three responses were submitted on behalf of flight training operators and commercial operators. Three responses did not provide any comments.

You said

The consultation survey asked respondents “Do you have any comments about the proposed instrument?”. Nine responses were clearly in support of the proposed instrument.

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

  • reduce barriers and regulatory burdens for commercial operators, and make it easier for small operators to make the switch to multi-engine helicopters
  • reduce costs for operators, including those who operate multiple types of helicopters
  • make it easier for pilots to become authorised to operate multi-engine helicopters across multiple types, thereby increasing the number of qualified aircrew in general aviation
  • improve safety by encouraging the use of appropriate multi-engine aircraft for aviation activities
  • support the ongoing improvement of the competency-based regulatory framework.

Seven responses implied support for the objectives of the policy, while suggesting changes to the technical detail of the instrument. Four responses provided comments that identified minor errors in the instrument, posed questions on the operation of the instrument or proposed changes that are out of scope of the instrument.

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

  • does not go far enough and the parameters of the 'class' should be expanded
  • goes too far, and type ratings should be retained while providing for a streamlined pathway to attain subsequent type ratings.

Summary of feedback

Common themes, issues and suggestions raised in responses included:

Comments on the 'complexity' of aircraft nominated to be in the 'class'

Four responses commented that the use of the term 'less-complex multi-engine helicopters' was inappropriate. These respondents noted that the multi-engine helicopters included in the Prescription of Type Ratings Excluded from CASR Part 142 Flight Training (Edition 6) Instrument 2018 did not reflect the characterisation of a 'less-complex helicopter'. CASA acknowledges that characterisation is broad and open to interpretation. However, since assigning these single-pilot types to be Part 141 flight training activities CASA has not identified any negative safety impacts. It is the link between the complexity of the training (organisational systems) and the operation of the aircraft, especially for multi-crew operations, that is significant and the rationale for assigning multi-crew type rating training to Part 142 of CASR.

Noting that there were no comments on the appropriateness of the training being under Part 141 of CASR for helicopters included in the system, CASA intends to proceed on the basis that existing training activities in these helicopters can be maintained with minimal impact.

Proposed significant or beyond-scope changes

Multiple respondents also proposed significant changes to the proposed multi-engine class or suggested other changes beyond the scope of the policy. These suggestions included:

  • expanding the multi-engine class rating to encompass any multi-engine helicopter below 5700 kg MTOW, and to still prescribe type ratings for any multi-engine helicopter 5700 kg MTOW or above or for multi-crew certified multi-engine helicopters
  • retaining the existing type rating system, but creating an alternative streamlined pathway to facilitate instructors and examiners to gain multiple type-specific training or testing endorsements
  • permitting instructors and examiners who hold any type-specific training or testing endorsement for any multi-engine helicopter type to conduct training or testing (as relevant) for the multi-engine helicopters prescribed in the class.

CASA notes these responses are significant or beyond the scope of change therefore they will be brought forward in future policy considerations prior to including the class rating in the regulations.

Errors in Schedule 1 of the proposed instrument

Two errors in the schedule of prescribed helicopters were identified and will be corrected prior to commencement of the instrument. These were:

  • Schedule 1 incorrectly refers to SK76(SP). The correct type rating is “SK76”
  • Schedule 1 does not include the BK 117 D-3. This will be added to the same cell as the BK 117 D-2.

We did

The consultation showed there is broad support for the proposed instrument and the establishment of a multi-engine helicopter class rating. Minor changes will be made to correct identified errors in Schedule 1 of the instrument. Minor changes will likely also be made to improve the clarity of the instrument and to prevent any unintended consequences. However, any changes will not impact the intended effect of the instrument or the underpinning policy.

The instrument will be in place by 15 August 2022.