• Overhauls often require major repairs to return the engine to the manufacturer's original specifications. (Steve Hitchen)
    Overhauls often require major repairs to return the engine to the manufacturer's original specifications. (Steve Hitchen)

Aviation Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Business Association (AMROBA) Executive Director Ken Cannane has sounded a warning about engine failures should CASA implement plans for CASR Part 43 as they stand.

In a communique issued this week, Cannane said CASA's plan to permit Aircraft Maintenance Technician Certificate Class 1 (AMTC) certificate holders to overhaul engines is a return to bad practice that has a history of contributing to engine failures.

An AMTC Class 1 is a person authorised under Part 43 to repair or supervise maintenance on an aircraft including return-to-service and engine overhauls.

"CASR Part 43 is proposing a change that will resurrect a system that caused aircraft accidents, some fatal," Cannane states. "In fact, the proposal will enable the AMTC Class 1 to overhaul a piston engine. Australia’s past experience results, when a LAME could do this, [it] was not a safe environment.

"To reduce/stop the accidents, Schedule 7 was amended to prevent the splitting of the crankcase by a LAME.

"I know the reasons, as I was one that investigated a fatal aircraft accident due to engine failure. The engine was 'overhauled' by an individual LAME."

The USA's FAR Part 43–on which the Australian version is said to be based–allows technicians to overhaul engines provided no major repairs such as splitting crankcases or structural repairs to engine components are needed.

CASR Part 43 doesn't contain such restrictions, permitting an AMTC Class 1 to overhaul an engine outside of an approved maintenance organisation.

"CASA is totally ignoring past history and is proposing that the AMTC1 can split a crankcase, but the qualified certificated A&P technician cannot split the crankcase, neither can the LAME as long as Schedule 7 exists," Cannane stresses.

"CASA's approach is uniquely Australian and cannot be based on a safety case or past experience within Australia or in the USA or EU.

"Where is the 'reduction of accidents' mentality they supposed to have?

"Where is CASA’s safety case to override the Authority’s previous safety case that implemented similar FAA restrictions and included these provisions in CAR 1988 Schedule 7 after numerous engine failures, some fatal, in Australia?"

CASR Part 43 is intended to create a more simplified maintenance regime for private and airwork category aircraft, reducing costs and permitting engineers to perform work outside of a maintenance organisation.

Initially, CASA's proposal for Part 43 gained industry-wide support, but has since lost the backing of AMROBA.

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