• One of the Bristell aircraft used in spin testing. (BRM Aero)
    One of the Bristell aircraft used in spin testing. (BRM Aero)

Czech manufacturer BRM Aero responded late last week to CASA's intention to ban stall training in the Bristell LSA.

In a letter to all Australian owners of the type dated 14 March, BRM "strongly refuted" the claims that the aircraft had not been spin tested properly and included the test results.

"Contrary to CASA’s assertions, the Bristell LSA aircraft have undergone extensive spin testing and have been demonstrated to be compliant with the ASTM F2245, section 4.5.9 standard," BRM says in the letter. "This spin testing was carried out by a professional Russian test pilot Mr Yury Vashchuk.

"Our understanding is that CASA has rejected these declarations and apparently consider that Mr Yury Vashchuk is not sufficiently qualified to carry out this testing and make determinations of compliance against the regulations.

"For information Yury is not only a graduate engineer but he also graduated from the Russian Test Pilots School in 1993. As a professional test pilot since 1993, he actively participates in the creation of new models of military and sports aircraft including those aircraft types intended for agricultural use and other civilian applications."

BRM notes that the spin testing was done in Russia because spinning of any sort is banned in the Czech Republic in aircraft of the Bristell type.

BRM also took issue with CASA's procedures, saying that the Australian regulator failed to provide reasons for rejecting the evidence of testing and issued its notice of intention to ban stalls before a seven-day submission period expired.

"Although the spin testing data had been previously supplied to CASA it was agreed that the data would be compiled into a more readable format, together with videos taken by on-board cameras, and would include digital data recorded by on-board data recorders. This was supplied to CASA by the agreed deadline of 26 February 2020.

"Once again CASA rejected the report, videos and the data supplied, with no reason given whatsoever!

"On the 11 March 2020 CASA issued a BRM a Notice of Intention allowing BRM 7 days from the date of that notice to provide CASA with further written submissions or evidence as why CASA should not impose any operational restrictions on Bristell aircraft – 7 days!

"Despite this 7 day window of opportunity, and without any notification to BRM, Anderson Aviation [Australian Bristell distributor] or their legal representatives, less than 24 hours later CASA released an email with a Notice of Intention to impose operational restrictions on Bristell aircraft.

"As far as we can assertain this notice was distributed to an undisclosed list of owners and operators of Bristell aircraft, including those registered with Recreational Aviation Australia. Why did CASA not wait at least the 7 days they allowed in their 11 March 2020 notification? Only they know!"

BRM also moved to reassure owners that the aircraft is safe, and reinforced that intentional spinning was banned.

Despite CASA’s assertions, BRM maintains that your aircraft is completely safe to continue all flight operations provided the aircraft is flown within the aircraft operating limitations.

A spokesperson for CASA said that it would take into account the spin test data in its deliberations over the Bristell.

"CASA has issued notices of intent to impose operational limitations on Bristell Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) to both BRM Aero, as the aircraft manufacturer, and also to the Certificate of Airworthiness holders of the four design variants of the Bristell LSA operating in Australia," the spokesperson told Australian Flying.

"CASA will take into account the spin testing data supplied by BRM Aero, as well as any other submissions or evidence supplied by other interested parties, before reaching a final decision about whether operational restrictions are necessary in the interests of safety.

"Further information will be made available to BRM Aero, to affected Bristell LSA operators and to the general public, once a decision is made in that regard."


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