• Aircraft like Cessna 150s could be flown without a CASA medical if they can be registered with RAAus. (Glen Alford)
    Aircraft like Cessna 150s could be flown without a CASA medical if they can be registered with RAAus. (Glen Alford)

AOPA Australia last week called for harmonised regulations across both general and recreational aviation.

The call came in AOPA's response to the CASA discussion paper on the proposal to increase the maximum take-off weight limit on Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus) administration to 760 kg.

In doing so, AOPA has agreed with neither the option to make the change nor the option to do nothing, but proposed a third option that would mean aircraft in the 600-760 kg MTOW range flown under CASA administration could be done so without the pilot holding a CASA medical.

"The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Australia maintains the view that all private recreational pilots should be provided with harmonised access to aviation, without unnecessary cost and restriction," AOPA CEO Ben Morgan states in the response.

"AOPA Australia supports private recreational pilots–both CASA-regulated and those belonging to the Recreational Aviation Australia–having access to a self-certification medical standard, that permits them to operate aircraft with an MTOW of up to 760 kg, outside of controlled airspace, daytime VFR with one passenger on board.

"AOPA Australia believes that the national aviation industry would benefit from harmonising pilot training and licensing standards, improving overall aviation safety and enabling both CASA-regulated and self-administrated pilots to participate without restriction."

CASA discussion paper proposes lifting the MTOW limit for Approved Self-administering Aviation Organisations (ASAO) to 760 kg from the current 600 kg, but the ASAO's existing medical standard would apply. Maintenance standards, however, would remain the same as if the aircraft was still on the civil register.

AOPA Australia has accused CASA of creating a dual administration system where RAAus aircraft owners and pilots have a distinct advantage over those that must remain with CASA administration.

"AOPA Australia is genuinely concerned that CASA is misusing their aviation safety regulatory powers, delivering biased dual standards that are undermining successful harmonisation and long-term sustainability of the national aviation industry," Morgan says in the response.

"CASA’s function is to set aviation safety standards for the industry as a whole, providing a national regulatory framework that enables all sectors of aviation to participate equally and efficiently."

Whilst AOPA has rejected both options proposed in the discussion paper, it has put forward its own recommendation to harmonise medical, training and engineering standards across both CASA and RAAus administration.

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