• CASA's Executive Manager Stakeholder Engagement Andreas Marcelja addresses the AHIA conference at RotorTech 2024. (Steve Hitchen)
    CASA's Executive Manager Stakeholder Engagement Andreas Marcelja addresses the AHIA conference at RotorTech 2024. (Steve Hitchen)

CASA Executive Manager Stakeholder Engagement Andreas Marcelja told the Australian Helicopter Industry Association (AHIA) this week that CASR Part 43 will not be mandatory once implemented.

Part 43 covers only those aircraft used in private or airwork operations, and is intended to remove the greater maintenance burden imposed on aircraft used in passenger-carrying operations. It will apply to both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.

Marcelja said that private and airwork operators would have the option to keep their aircraft in the higher category if they wanted.

"Our aim was to try and produce a ruleset that was appropriate for that kind of activity, particularly as we’re migrating airworthiness rules into the new CASR parts, so CAR 30 will eventually disappear and transition," he said.

"We wanted to disconnect the private and aerial work requirements from the air transport requirements, so not drag everyone up to an air transport requirement as we made those transitions.

"So [CASR Part] 43 makes a disconnect between air transport airworthiness and private and aerial work airworthiness. It gives people a choice."

CASR Part 43 was initially broadly welcomed by the aviation community, but as the ruleset and implementation get closer, reservations are starting to emerge, as was aired last week by the Aviation Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Business Association (AMROBA).

AMROBA's withdrew support for the legislation, citing disparity with the US system Part 43 is said to be based on. 

"During consultation, the overwhelming feedback we received was that people felt the US system was the most appropriate one, so Part 43 in Australia was based on the US Part 43," Marcelja stressed.

"And what it will do is allow a LAME who is licensed to do most of the maintenance and services on a private and aerial work aircraft only, independently of an organisation. But it’s absolutely a choice rather than a requirement.

It recognises that trained LAMEs have the skills, knowledge and background to perform a range of aviation maintenance without organisational approvals and produces a layer of checks and balances through an inspection authority.

"It won’t just be any LAME who can do everything; there’ll be certain maintenance tasks that a LAME can do and there’ll be other tasks that need an inspection authority.

"It will also allow maintenance providers such as CAR 30 organisations to service aircraft under the 43 scheme if they choose to.

"Some aircraft owners may keep their aircraft out of the 43 scheme because they have a future desire to use that aircraft for charter or sell it for use under another activity."

CASA has said the new part was currently with a Technical Working Group and transitional rules were still under construction, but that CASR Part 43 was expected to be implemented in the last quarter of this year, with a Plain English Guide to be published at the same time.

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