• The new operational regulations will impact all aircraft operators and pilots, with some having several new rules to consider. (Steve Hitchen)
    The new operational regulations will impact all aircraft operators and pilots, with some having several new rules to consider. (Steve Hitchen)

CASA's new suite of operating regulations officially began yesterday, giving the aviation industry and community a new set of rules to abide by.

Known colloquially as the "six-pack", the new rules are CASR Parts 91 (general operating), 119 (AOC certification), 121 (large air transport), 133 (rotorcraft air transport), 135 (small air transport) and 138 (air work).

Part 91, which covers general operating and flight rules, is also one of the first rule sets ever to be released accompanied by a plain English guide to make it easier to understand and therefore comply with.

CASA Director of Aviation Safety and CEO Pip Spence said she didn't believe the new rules would force a lot of change on the aviation community.

“This is how it should be, as the last thing we want is for regulatory change to be disruptive and to take focus away from safe day-to-day operations,” she said. 

“CASA certainly does not expect everyone affected by the new rules to have completed all aspects of transition today. For air operators there are certain actions that need to be completed, however we recognise some organisations will take longer than others to finish the transition.

“We have also delayed the introduction of some of the more complex new requirements. This is to give operators adequate time to make required changes and allocate appropriate resources, as well as to make sure CASA has in place all the resources the aviation community needs for the new requirements.” 

Spence said that CASA expected the new suite would be an improvement over the old operating rules that encompassed many different documents such as approvals and exemptions.

“We should not lose sight of the fact that there are significant benefits in the new regulations. There is a greater focus on safety management systems and pilot training and checking.

"The new regulations replace and consolidate into one resource hundreds of documents, such as regulations, orders, exemptions, approvals, permissions, instructions and directions.

"Importantly, they are based on what activity you do, making finding what is relevant more logical.”

The new regulations introduce new rules in some cases, whilst simply formalising others. Some of the new rules laid out in CASR Part 91 include:

  • a pilot must ensure no risk of collision exists on take-off
  • pilots can choose crosswind or downwind take-offs provided they are satisfied it's safe
  • engines cannot be started on the ground unless the pilot seat is occupied by a competent person
  • people must ensure fuel loaded on an aircraft is not contaminated
  • hot refueling is now permitted for turbine aircraft only
  • pilots and operators can grant permission for assistance animals to be carried
  • new rules around shutting down engines in flight.

CASA has produced a series of guides to key operational changes, which can be downloaded from the CASA website.

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