• Proposed changes to ASAO weight limits could see both Cessna 152s and Jabiru J-160s registered with RAAus. (Steve Hitchen)
    Proposed changes to ASAO weight limits could see both Cessna 152s and Jabiru J-160s registered with RAAus. (Steve Hitchen)

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority opened consultation on a weight increase for Recreational Aviation Australia (RAAus) by releasing a discussion paper last Friday.

The DP proposes to allow Approved Self-administering Organisations (ASAO) to register and administer aircraft with maximum take-off weights up to 760 kg. The current limit is 600 kg.

"The premise for discussion is for a change to the MTOW limitations that currently apply to 3-axis aeroplanes," CASA hgas said. "It would potentially amend the relevant regulations to permit 3-axis aeroplanes up to a maximum weight of 760 kg, regardless of whether the aircraft is equipped to land on water or not and to be included as aircraft that could be administered by an ASAO.

"Other limitations such as maximum stall speed would not be changed by this proposal.

"The proposal is for the establishment of a new operating classification within an ASAO's safety system to manage operations of aircraft within the proposed higher MTOW and above the 600 kg limit which currently exists."

If accepted, the change would mean that some smaller GA aeroplanes such as the Cessna 150/152 could be registered with RAAus. Such aircraft would have to meet the following conditions:

  • have only two seats
  • have an MTOW not above 760 kg
  • have a stall speed not exceeding 45 knots
  • adhere to the minumum useful load requirements of CAO 95.55 (for a two-seat aeroplane with a 100-hp engine – 181-185 kg)
  • be maintained under CASR Part 103 MOS, not under the current regime of the ASAO, unless amateur-built in which case the current maintenance rules apply.

The discussion paper also proposes that pilots flying in the new category would do so under the existing medical requirements of the ASAO. The proposal would not change other operational limits such as controlled airspace access, types of operation, number of engines and flight rules.

CASA has identified 1250 aeroplanes that would fit into the new category that are currently on the Australian Civil Register, but points out that many may be disqualified due to the stall speed limits. One such is the Piper PA-22 Tomahawk, which has an MTOW of 757 kg, but stalls with full flap at 47 KIAS.

The DP also proposes that the very few aircraft with four seats that come under the new MTOW limit could not be modified to fit the new classification by removing two of the seats.

RAAus is the key proponent of the changes, submitting a proposal to CASA in September 2016 that requested a change from 600 kg to up to 1500 kg. It is thought that the 760 kg limit may be the first stage of the move to 1500 kg, which would bring RAAus weight limits in line with that of the Recreational Pilot Licence.

The full discussion paper and feedback details are on the CASA website.

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