Ken Cannane, Executive Director of the Aviation Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Business Association (AMROBA), has urged CASA to adopt the US maintenance rules for passenger-carrying operations in small aircraft.
According to Cannane, the rules laid out in FAR 135 Subpart J have the capability to revitalise the general aviation sector. Under the US rules, operators of small passenger-carrying aircraft have the option of three approved maintenance organisations:
- Part 135 maintenance organisation (the operator's own AOC)
- Fixed-base Operator who has CASR Part 43 approval
- Part 145 Approved Maintenance Organisation.
"With CASA moving to FARs for GA maintenance, it would seem natural that FAR Part 135 maintenance aspects for commercial operations should be adopted," Cannane believes. "It would address commercial charter operations in Australia.
"Like FAR Part 121, it is based on the Part 135 operator performing its own maintenance under the AOC but then provides provisions for contract maintenance."
CASA has released for rulemaking the CASR Part 135 rules on operations for passenger-carrying operations in small aircraft, but done so without any reference to what maintenance regulations will apply.
On Friday, CASA also published the policy paper for CASR Part 43 GA maintenance rules, which specifically exclude passenger-carrying operations such as charter and joy flights, but apply to aircraft on airwork and private operations.
"CASA has proposed the biggest change to GA maintenance since the creation of CAA/CASA," Cannane stresses, "so why not adopt the FAR 135 principles that enables the 135 operators to maintain their own aircraft under their Part 135 authorisation?
"FAR Part 135, Subpart J adoption is a radical change for a sector that is struggling and made save the sector. Subpart J would reduce red tape and improve an operator’s aircraft reliability.
"Employing their own maintenance staff means they are available and on call to address deficiencies that some pilots may not record until aircraft are scheduled for maintenance."
According to CASA, the maintenance rules for CASR Part 135 have yet to be determined.