Implementing simplified maintenance rules for the private and airwork categories won't be as easy as first thought according to the Aviation Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Business Association (AMROBA).
Then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack announced CASR Part 43 at Wagga Wagga in 2018, aimed at isolating aircraft in the private and airwork categories from the complex maintenance required for aircraft on passenger-carrying operations.
CASR Part 43 is designed to be an inspection-base system, with the primary anchor of safety being a periodic inspections to ensure the aircraft still complies with the original type certificate and any Airworthiness Directives (ADs). The rule-set is supposed to be based on the USA's Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 43, a move supported widely in the GA community.
Significantly, under Part 43, CASA would not require a maintenance organisation approval to do work on aircraft and components other than instruments and propellers. A new Inspection Authorisation (IA) would be introduced for individual engineers.
AMROBA Executive Director Ken Cannane supports the introduction of CASR Part 43, but points out it will require changes to other regulations to match how FAR Part 43 works.
"What has to be understood is that FAR Part 43 [rules] needs to be amended to fit into the whole CASR system as does CASR Part 66 need to be amended to accommodate the FAR Part 43 privileges of the licenced aircraft maintenance engineer(LAME) to fully comply with both ICAO Annex 1, Chapter 4 privileges," he told Australian Flying.
"This change is to revert to the previous privileges held by Australian LAMEs to certify an aircraft, or part of an aircraft, as airworthy after an authorised repair, modification or installation of an engine, accessory, instrument, and/or item of equipment.
"The current privilege is to certify maintenance and issue a release to service."
Cannane also says that changes would need to be made to Australia's Airports Act 1996 to enable FAR 43 clone legislation to function as designed.
"The other major issue is that the FAA system has both approved and unapproved specialised services that may include aircraft flight clubs, flight training, aircraft airframe and powerplant repair/maintenance, aircraft charter, air taxi, air ambulance, avionics, instrument or propeller services.
"However, the FAA requires the airport operator to have a licensing or permitting process in place that provides a level of regulation and compensation satisfactory to the airport. FAA AC/5190-7, Minimum Standards for Commercial Aeronautical Activities, has very specific safety standards that have to be implemented by business authorised by the airport operator."
Consultation on CASR Part 43 was open during the December 2018 – January 2019 period, which revealed an industry divided over the impact of simpler maintenance rules for private and airwork.
Several responses to the CASA Consultation Hub cited a loss of business income and a potential lowering of safety standards as obstacles to Part 43, whilst other submissions praise the initiative as delivering practicality and cost savings to a sector currently under significant burden.
CASA has completed the policy work on Part 43 and have sent it to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel (OPC) to draft the legislation, but as yet there is no timetable for that do be done.
Following OPC, the legislation will go back to a technical working group and public consultation to finalise it before implementation.