Ben Morgan, CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Australia (AOPA) believes there may be more reforms to the Class 2 medical system to come, despite he and his organisation openly praising CASA for the reforms instituted last week.
CASA announced a new Basic Class 2 medical last Thursday, which allows PPLs to fly after a medical examination by a general practitioner to the Austroads commercial drivers standard.
However, the new privileges were restricted to VFR flight by day only, non-aerobatic flight and excluded aircraft fitted with turbine engines. Morgan believes there is little justification for these operations not to be included.
"CASA is showing the we've still got work to do," Morgan told Australian Flying. "We've got to prosecute a far better case of explaining and justifying those inclusions. We knew how this was going to play out. We knew we'd be handed a solution that we'd have to go away and do a heap of background on to try to get it across the line in a really usable format.
"And I'd also remind everyone that CASA as this stage hasn't really delivered anything. They've only made an announcement, and I hope what we can do in the interim is sit down with CASA and prosecute a really good justification for the inclusions."
Morgan also said that he believed one of the reasons why complete reform was not achieved was that CASA's consultation process was lacking, citing the fact that AOPA was not on the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) that approved the new Basic Class 2.
"I don't believe that the consultation framework that either the minister or CASA has set up is adequate and is not providing the best possible opportunity for CASA to understand the needs and aspirations of the industry. For example, not having AOPA sitting directly at that table, or fundamentally, for the entire reform, because there was not one member sitting at that ASAP table that had a significant contribution to that reform policy.
"AOPA has the largest percentage weight in the game, but we were not at the table for political reasons. And we were not at the table because the minister has not liked us opposing the policies of his government and the policies of the regulator. We understand that ... it's politics. I would call it poor politics, but politics nonetheless.
"I believe there's been an enormous missed opportunity by CASA to have industry sitting at the table and help guide them through that last 30%, which really wouldn't have delivered 90% of the benefit to the industry."
Regardless, Morgan continues to stress that the Basic Class 2 does represent a win for general aviation, despite significant cynicism still being expressed by many pilots and aviation activists.
"My personal view is that I think this is a thundering success for our industry," he said. "We identified and prosecuted an evidence-based case that AVMED was having a negative impact on the pilot population.
"I'm certain as we go forward we'll see this system further liberalised and see a lot more happy faces."