• CASA's first FlySafe forum in Adelaide attracted 90 participants. (Steve Hitchen)
    CASA's first FlySafe forum in Adelaide attracted 90 participants. (Steve Hitchen)

CASA Executive Manager – Stakeholder Engagement Rob Walker is optimistic about the future of the FlySafe consultative forums after nearly 80 people attended the very first event in Adelaide earlier today.

FlySafe forums are intended to compliment the AvSEF website in replacing the function of the Regional Airspace and Procedures Advisory Committees (RAPACs).

According to Walker, the number that attended the forum has given CASA encouragement that the aviation community will see value in FlySafe.

"I’m very happy and very comfortable with our first FlySafe forum," he told Australian Flying. "You always go into these things with a degree of uncertainty around the mix of audience and presentation.

"We had 78 people turn up, which is encouraging considering the year that we’ve had and that some of the industry are still grappling dramatically with the impact of COVID on a daily basis and managing their own operations, so I’m very happy with the turn out and I’m looking forward to seeing the feedback."

FlySafe brought together several aviation agencies to provide the industry with updates to the aviation including:

  • CASA Airspace Operations, Airworthiness Standards, Regulation Implementation, Safety Management Systems
  • Australian Transport Safety Bureau
  • Airservices Australia
  • Department of Defence
  • Bureau of Meteorology

Chris Hine, Executive Director Regional Express and Chairman of Australian Airline Pilot Academy provided a presentation on how REX responded to the COVID crisis and managed operations in a very challenging environment, focusing on the need to innovate in what has become commercial aviation's new normal.

One of the key presentations for the day was a briefing from CASA Branch Manager Regulatory Service and Surveillance Transformation Chris De Luis on changes within the regulator aimed at getting more consistency in decision making. The changes will see CASA abolish the regional offices and the Certificate Management Teams and move to a more national model.

Walker also said he thought that FlySafe was a crucial part of replacing the role of the RAPACs.

"The AvSEF and FlySafe combination is an evolution of the RAPAC model. RAPAC had been in existence for 40 plus years and it has been a highly effective tool. It had moments where it was done really well, and has had moments where it was somewhat flat-spotted in terms of the approach that had been taken.

"The feedback that we started to get was that people wanted more from the RAPACs. What we’ve tried to do is preserve the best of RAPAC, and that is the opportunity for industry to come together face-to-face. I think we’ve achieved that, but slightly differently. The average Adelaide RAPAC meeting didn’t have 78 people in it!"

"The other agencies needed to step up and get involved, and that had waned a bit with the RAPAC model. Some agencies were really good at it, others were struggling in terms of their own bandwidth."

With FlySafe forums planned for various venues across the country during the balance of 2021, Walker believes the Adelaide event has set a good foundation for further success.

"My initial take-away from today is that I think we’ve got the mix about right, but we’ll wait for the feedback on that," he said.

"With these things you generally see an early morning peak, a plateau then a bit of a decline after lunch. I didn’t see too many people drifting off; we held the room for most of the day."

The next FlySafe forum is in Darwin on 22 June.



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