AOPA Australia CEO Ben Morgan has reinforced calls for medical self-certification in light of CASA proposals to increase the maximum take-off weight (MTOW) for aircraft registered with Approved Self-administering Aviation Organisations (ASAO).
CASA last week issued a discussion paper proposing an increase in MTOW that ASAOs such as RAAus could register from 600 to 750 kg. The proposal also stated that pilots flying aircraft in the new category would adopt the medical regime of the ASAO with which the aircraft was registered.
Speaking with Australian Flying yesterday, Morgan said that AOPA Australia has always supported the idea of an MTOW increase, but now the pressure was on CASA to extend the medical regime to GA pilots as well.
"AOPA Australia has been on the public record for some time as being supportive of higher weight limits for the self-administration of Recreational Aviation Australia [RAAus]," Morgan said.
"However, we regard any weight limit increase for the recreational sector as endorsement by CASA that the use of self-certification pilot medicals for private and recreational pilots that are wishing to fly those classes of aircraft are safe, and therefore any increase in MTOW for the recreational sector should be provided on the basis that the industry as a whole–both CASA and self-administered pilots–be afforded the same medical standard and the same opportunities.
"It must be said that the future of the Australian aviation industry cannot be assured whilst the government runs and maintains dual standards; standards which are biased towards one side of the industry at the cost of the other.
"I think it's a fair statement that both recreational and private pilots on either side of the industry would warmly welcome and industry-wide medical standard that allows for the divide between recreational and general aviation to finally be closed forever."
RAAus has said that it does not oppose self-certified medicals for GA pilots.